Nearly Tragic Incident Caused by 'Black Box'

22 passengers aboard an American Airlines 747 were injured yesterday when the plane was forced to make an emergency landing. The plane touched down without gear, sending a shower of sparks tens of feet into the air, despite the flame-retardant foam that had been hastily laid down on the runway by Dulles Airports emergency response teams.

All of the aircraft's nearly 200 passengers and crew were forced to evacuate using the planes emergency exits. Although 2 passengers did suffer serious injuries, officials say that "both are stable and expected to recover fully." Officials also credit quick thinking by both the pilot and emergency response team for the lack of any fatalities.

The cause of this crash remains the most disturbing part of the incident. The FAA released the following press release:

The cause of the incident has at this time has been clearly identified as a faulty flight data recorder, or 'black box'. At approximately 17:05 the box began billowing a cloud of thick, black smoke for reasons as of yet undetermined. At 17:07 the pilots detected this smoke in the cockpit, and moments later the on-board fire detection alarm sounded. The pilot then decided to return to Dulles Airport and attempt an emergency landing.

The crash has left officials in the FAA baffled. "How the hell are we supposed to know what caused the fire when the black box is a molten heap of plastic?" said one uncouth member of the FAA. John Rutgers, head of the investigation commented "We may not be sure of everything, but there is one thing of which we are sure: This is the most ironic crash in recent memory."

In fact, experts rank it as the most ironic air-incident since a planeload of psychiatric patients trying to overcome their fear of flying blew up over lake Michigan in 1958, making it the third most ironic crash in recorded history.

As a result of this incident the FAA is considering an order that all planes be equipped with a flight data recorder data recorder, or 'mauve box'. Early test results with such devices are not promising however, as Steven Hollar of the aerospace research council elaborates.

"We've been experimenting with these devices for nearly a decade now, and the boxes are very effective at recording information about the black box. Unfortunately, lab tests indicate that these new boxes spontaneously combust approximately 73 % of the time, a marked increase over the 10% of the regular black boxes. That is why we've been working on a cutting edge device to record data from these secondary boxes. Sadly though, the early indications are that these devices are far too volatile and would likely simply engulf the plane in a destructive fireball reminiscent of the Hindenberg disaster.

The FAA has yet to make any firm commitment to the new devices, despite the information that these devices would produce on the recent rash of black-box related air disasters.

PW- All Content 2000.