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Author's Note: How Black Boxes Work

I have a recurring nightmare about zooming through the skies in a doomed jet. Each time, the plane leaves the runway during takeoff and then violently accelerates straight up into the sky. I never get to the end of the dream. Perhaps that's a good thing. Happily, aircraft malfunctions are exceedingly rare – statistically speaking, your car is a whole lot more dangerous. But when planes do fall from the sky, it's a relief to have some idea why...otherwise, engineers and family members would be left agonizing, wondering why innocent people died in such an awful manner. I hope I'm never part of an accident scene where a black box is necessary. Unless, of course, it's just in my dreams. - NC

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