License article

Canberra Airport to honour black box inventor David Warren

Canberra Airport will name a building after the Australian inventor of the black box flight recorder David Warren, thanks in-part to the campaign of 11-year-old Eve Cogan.

The Sydney schoolgirl used her personal blog and social media profiles to launch a petition with almost 4000 signatures calling for the change.

Eve said the decision was akin to a "silver medal" after her initial request to have the airport's new terminal named after the inventor was denied last year.

“I was very excited when I heard from Canberra Airport and found out that the managing director Stephen Byron has taken the big step of naming a building after David Warren,” she said.

“It had been a long time since he had called me and I had wondered if he had forgotten about me and our conversation."

Eve became interested in David Warren after completing a school assignment on a famous Australian.


“It seemed strange to me that many Australians know so many sports stars and yet don't know many inventors and scientists,” she said.

Eve has since come to admire Warren, even describing him as a "personal hero".

“He was so persistent when he had a good idea. He was even threatened with being sacked if he kept talking about his flight data recorder idea at work, but that did not stop him,” she said.

The black box flight recorder is carried by passenger planes internationally and is considered a pioneering innovation in aircraft security.

Warren served as a research scientist with the Aeronautical Research Laboratories, which then became a part of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, between 1952 and 1983.

Eve's petition was strengthened by what she calls “pilot power”. The 11-year-old’s petition gained the support of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who landed an Airbus A320 in the Hudson River saving more than 150 lives in January 2009.

Additional support came from Qantas Captain Richard De Crespigny who landed a faulty Qantas A380 without any casualties at Singapore’s Changi Airport in November 2010.

“That was quite amazing because I had read so much about them and watched them in videos on YouTube. They probably have not signed any other petitions, but they signed mine,” she said.

Eve is satisfied with the response and regards it as a great step forward.

“Many people that go to Canberra Airport will wonder ‘why is this building named after David Warren?’ and maybe they will Google it on their phone and go ‘wow' - the black box was invented in Australia’," she said.

The building in the Fairbairn precinct will be formally named in a ceremony led by the Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert on Tuesday, March 25.