Crash Recorder Interview with Steve Leaper

February 02, 2016 | BY: Steve Leaper


Crash Protected Recorders have been used for decades to help investigators to determine what occured during an accident involving an aircraft. Curtiss-Wright has been designing and manufacturing crash protected recorders since the 1950s. In this interview, Steve Leaper, product manager for crash recorders, talks about the history and future of crash protected recorders.


Video Transcript for the hearing and visually impaired

Curtiss-Wright has been manufacturing flight data recorders since 1952. We introduced a wire based recorder at that time and very limited data acquisition. Through the years we’ve produced a number of different types of recorders as more and more data is required, and we’re now looking at somewhere in the region of 48GB of information stored within a crash protected memory environment.

The previous generation multi-purpose flight recorder which has been in the market place for the last ten years, that provides voice and data recording capability only. The Fortress recorder exceeds that and includes datalink recording which is the digital messages from ground to aircrew, and it also includes image recording. Fortress recorder provides a modular frontend so that we can change from an ARINC 717 interface to ARINC 429, 664 or MIL-STD-1553.

All the recorders are designed to be combined recorders, so that’s voice and data, datalink and image – we can sub-equip so that we provide just a voice or a data recorder. We can put to voice recorders, two data recorders in a smaller combined box onto a larger platform, saving equipment cost, installation time, logistics costs etc. The Fortress recorder is implementing a 1Gb Ethernet interface so that any flight data that is recorded can be downloaded within 10 seconds so you’re transferring a quick access recorder type function into a flight recorder. So that gives it duel functionality.

Author’s Biography

Steve Leaper

Product and Avionics Bids Manager

Steve Leaper works for Curtiss-Wright in the role of product manager for flight recorders and bids manager. He joined Curtiss-Wright in 1986, initially working with tape based voice and flight data recorders. Steve has spent virtually all of his career working with the flight recorder product range, with extensive knowledge of the product range and requirements. Steve has held the positions of engineer, programme manager and had key account management responsibility for Leonardo Helicopters, BAE Systems, and Collins Technologies (formerly Goodrich) amongst others whilst also representing Curtiss-Wright at international committees such as ARINC and EUROCAE.

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