4. They beat the s**t out of these things
Now to the testing, which is insanely intensive:
1. The black box gets shot out of an air cannon at 3,400 times the force of gravity (or 3,400 Gs, if you’re cool/still like to quote Top Gun). It hits an aluminum target at about the force of a jumbo jet hitting the earth.
2. For five brutal minutes, it’s crushed with 5,000psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure to ensure it can withstand a sustained impact.
3. To test it against fire, the box sits inside a 2,000 degree fireball for an hour. Without sunscreen.
4. Then, testers do a full-on Jacques Cousteau and drop it into a pressurized saltwater tank, simulating the water pressure at 20,000ft below the surface. For 24 hours. In a slightly less-pressurized environment, it must then survive 30 days completely submerged in saltwater.
5. And if all that wasn't enough, a 500lb weight with a quarter-inch pin sticking out is dropped on the box from 10ft up to make sure it won’t puncture.
If all that goes well, then the unit is run through a series of diagnostic tests to see if it still works.