Quick Fire Science

Quick Fire Science episode

Thu, 20th Mar 2014

Air Traffic Communication

Air Traffic Control Tower (c)

With the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 still missing after nearly two weeks, some people are asking how you can lose a plane? But with over 6000 aeroplanes flying above us every day it's essential that air traffic control keeps in contact with them all. Here's your Quick Fire Science on how we know where aeroplanes are with Harriet Johnson and Kate Lamble…

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  • Air Traffic Communication

    With the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 still missing after nearly two weeks, some people are asking how you can lose a plane?

 

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Thanks for the summary.

It sounds like there were a number of errors that occurred with the Malaysian airlines, in part because it was apparently hijacked in the third world, as well as system lapses.  For example a "hand-off" with air traffic controllers apparently doesn't require communication between the first and second air traffic controllers, but rather rely on the plane making the second contact.  Thus there is a gap that can be exploited.

I still wonder why the Thai military apparently had no response to picking up an object on the radar the size of a Boeing 777 jet without an active transponder.  Perhaps since the jet didn't approach Thailand, but still one would think it would have set off numerous alarms as well as an attempt to identify the plane and communicate the sighting of the strange dark aircraft to neighboring countries.

I hope after all the dust settles, there will be some kind of an international conference organized to help improve aircraft tracking and communications. CliffordK, Thu, 20th Mar 2014

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