Is the single engine Piper Malibu required to have a black box?

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    $\begingroup$ Required by who, the operator, the FAA, the EASA? $\endgroup$
    – Jimy
    Jan 24, 2019 at 14:34
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    $\begingroup$ Jimy, I am not sure. I have been following the story of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Alva who was traveling in a Piper Malibu on Monday, and the plane has not been located. The FDR and CVR have never been mentioned, so I just was curious as to why. Thank you for your comment. $\endgroup$
    – cmcinteer
    Jan 24, 2019 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


The short answer is that it probably does not require a "black box".

What you refer to as a "black box" is actually 2 things (and Orange!) a Flight Data Recorder and a Cockpit Voice Recorder. The rules on when they are required is broadly similar, however the data required to be captured by the FDR varies.

For the CVR:

Fixed-wing aeroplanes with a maximum take-off mass of more than 5 700 kg and for which the certificate of airworthiness is first issued after 1 January 2003 shall be equipped with a CVR with a recording duration of two hours

For the FDR:

[...] depending on the maximum certificated take-off mass and the date of first issue of the individual certificate of airworthiness. For example, provision 6.3.6 of Annex 6, Vol. I states that, all aeroplanes of a maximum certificated take-off mass of over 5,700 kg for which the individual certificate of airworthiness is first issued after 1 January 2005 shall be equipped with a Type IA FDR

The Piper PA-46 (aka Piper Malibu) has a MTOW ranging from 4,340lb(1,969kg) to 6,000lb(2,721kg).

Speculation about the recent incident, and the specific model intentionally left out!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Jamiec, Thank you for your comment. $\endgroup$
    – cmcinteer
    Jan 24, 2019 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ 5800kg? How did that number become so golden? I'm just curious as these things sometimes have an interesting backstory. $\endgroup$
    – Dannie
    Jan 25, 2019 at 0:19
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @Dannie 5700kg is (more or less) 12,500lbs, which is the FAA's regulatory definition of a "large aircraft" and also means that a type rating is required. See this question. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Jan 25, 2019 at 2:24

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