APL Colloquium

February 1, 2008

Colloquium Topic: Beyond the Black Box: The Forensics of Airplane Crashes

The black box is orange - and there are actually two of them. They house the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, instruments vital to airplane crash analyses. But accident investigators cannot rely on the black boxes alone. Professor Bibel will provide a behind-the-scenes look at plane wreck investigations, showing how forensic experts, scientists, and engineers analyze factors like impact, debris, loading, fire patterns, metallurgy, fracture, crash testing, and human tolerances to determine why planes fall from the sky - and how the information gleaned from accident reconstruction is incorporated into aircraft design and operation to keep commercial aviation as safe as possible

Colloquium Speaker: George Bibel

George Bibel is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota. He has a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University and is a former NASA researcher and summer faculty fellow. Dr. Bibel is an active member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Pressure Vessel Code Committee and an active researcher for the Pressure Vessel Research Council. These national committees write design rules adopted by law as a matter of public safety for pressure vessels, boilers and nuclear reactors. He recently completed the Air Line Pilot's Association Advanced Accident Investigation course and published Beyond the Black Box: The Forensics of Airplane Crashes. He is currently working on a similar book about train wrecks. His opinion on air safety instructions has recently appeared in the New York Times.