David Warren’s Amazing Black Box

Let me tell you about my proudest school project. This initially started off as a project for my school. It’s the S.K Austin Award and it’s the biggest assignment that we get in year 5 and year 6. It is a very prestigious award at Claremont College as it is dedicated to one of the founders of the school. I picked David Warren because when I was going through famous Australians that I could choose from, my dad mentioned that he thought the inventor of the black box was Australian, but he didn’t know his name.

For this assignment I had a good idea as to what needed to be done, since I planned on doing a video because of my past experience creating: the Tunguska documentary. So I knew what I needed to do. I had done a lot of research at the library and I had formed a picture of the story I would tell in my head, so I wrote the initial script on paper. That took me three long days. Then I spent the whole holidays filming, interviewing and editing.

I had a lot of filming problems because this time I wanted to do the filming outside and I tried to do it at a beautiful scene in front of the Harbour Bridge, but the problem was after trying and trying for a few hours I really couldn’t do it consistently with the sun in my eyes. Then I moved to another location, beside the bridge without the sun, but the problem this time was the noise that came from the trains every now and then, ruined my recording. I then started to lose the light so I gave up. In the end I decided to go back to the green screen approach and record that night. I had a new problem, I was wearing a green dress. I looked at the footage I had, much of it was good and I really did not want to throw it out, but I did. I had wasted the whole day on filming problems and I would have to ask to get Raj for another day. Anyway, all the filming got done and I am quite happy with the result.

I did the initial edit in just one day. Then it was just one more day to have all the voices syncing. But the video was very long, more than 45 minutes. My goal was for it to be 8 minutes like my other one (as you can see I didn’t make it). The rest of the editing was a long and gruelling process for many weeks. When I showed the first draft to Ms Thompson, she gave me suggestions on how to make it more interesting. I had a lot more work to do. I didn’t completely finish and I wanted to do many more things on the second half, but I had to hand it in and my dad was getting a bit mad at me spending too much time at the computer. If you know my dad, you will know that is a but ironic.

Lots of people gave me feedback on the video and I want to call out a special thank you to a few:

  • Raj Dhatt, he is a great camera man and gives me a lot of advice.
  • Titus McLaren, who pointed out lots of the editing errors I did with Adobe Premier Pro and tips on Photoshop.
  • Ms Thompson (Meg Thompson), who suggested ways to make it more interesting.
  • Captain Richard Woodward from Qantas, Captain Richard Champion De Crespigny from Qantas and author of the book QF32 and Peter Warren (David Warren’s son) for the interviews.

Thank you Google for helping me track down Peter Warren. My mum and dad helped with that when I couldn’t find him.

My petition

The pivotal moment for me was when I discovered that David Warren wasn’t recognized for 41 years and it is still not fixed. I realized this was terrible and I wanted to change it, so I created a petition so that I could try to get this changed.

When I learnt that Sir Robert Hardingham was honoured at the Gatwick Airport, I thought that was great. It got me thinking, why did the man who approved of David Warren’s idea, seem to have more recognition than the man who actually created it.

It is a common tradition to name an airport after a local hero, in my video I call out a few example of other countries doing this:

  1. The Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome, Italy
  2. The Mozart Airport in Salzburg, Austria
  3. And JFK has 2 airports named after him. One in Queens, New York (John F. Kennedy International Airport) and one in Ashland, Wisconsin (JFK Memorial Airport)

After you watch my video, please consider if Australians should all know the name and story of this great man and sign my petition please. It has been exciting to watch the votes every day and read the comments from people all over the world. First getting to 10, then 40 and currently I have 85, but I am hoping to get a lot more.

Sign my Petition

My dad and his friends have no problem telling me the ins and outs of peoples careers such as Don Bradman, Dawn Fraser and Pat Rafter. I will consider this petition a success when ordinary Australians like my dad don’t ‘think’ that the inventor of the black box flight recorder is Australian, they ‘know’ he is and they can confidently say his name and tell kids his wonderful story.

One day he might even be credited on shows like Air Crash Investigations (by National Geographic Channel, also known as Mayday). Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Name the upcoming airport after David Warren, the inventor of the Black Box

Please click and sign up for my petition