The hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 black boxes - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

The hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 black boxes

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One of the U.S. Navy's black box locators is already en route to the search area 1500 miles off the Australian coast where Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may have gone down.

Without the black boxes, it would be virtually impossible for investigators to definitely say what caused the crash.    

What are the black boxes that investigators are hunting for and what kind of information do they hold? For answers, 13abc went to the Toledo Public Schools Aviation Center.  Instructors say the information is vital to finding out why the jet went down.  Plus, those black boxes aren't black. They're orange.

Time is running out to find the crucial keys to solve the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. 

"The black boxes provide a lot of valuable information," says Richard Naves, the Training Director at the  TPS Aviation Center in Swanton.

Naves says the two bright orange boxes containing the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder will sink to the bottom of the ocean after a crash.

Finding them soon is crucial.

The locator beacons, or battery-powered pings the boxes emit, fade away after 30 days.

"The data will still be recoverable, but it's much easier to find it with the beacon," says Naves. "Obviously, it's giving a radio signal out that they can home in on, but it does have a limited range."

If found, they'll be able to back track information for the entire flight: every movement, every power setting, the altitude and speed of the aircraft, as well as the attitude of the pilots.  It'll answer the question of whether they purposely went off course.

"We probably won't have an answer for a long time," says Naves.

In the case of the Air France jet which went down in the Atlantic in 2009, it took more than $40 million, four searches, and almost two years before the plane and black boxes were found.

"I think it had to have been hijacked," says Anthony Monroe, a sophomore at Anthony Wayne High School who is one of 43 students at the TPS Aviation Academy this year.

Like the rest of the world, the future plane mechanic and pilot is eager to know what happened to the Malaysia Airlines flight.

"There's going to be theories and they may find it," says Monroe.

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