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I agree that it is very odd that the air traffic controllers don't know where all planes are all the time, and there should be more redundancy preventing just turning off communications (assuming it was a deliberate act)."Hand-Overs" should include a 3-way call so that an air traffic controller is always watching.Malaysia to Airplane.Malaysia to Thailand (land line)Thailand to Airplane.
One of the books I read long ago was "30 Seconds over Tokyo", about the Doolittle Raid. Anyway, the one of the planes ran out of gas about 100 yards from the beach, if I remember right. All 3 crew members survived the crash, but they were pretty battered. They concluded that their plane would have been much better off had they retracted the landing gear. I think another plane on the raid landed on water, gear up, without significant injuries.
Planes are a lot bigger now, but they should be capable of water landings.
Perhaps Boeing should buy back some of the end-of-use Boeing 747's, equip them for remote navigation, and crash them into the ocean just to determine the parameters for 100% survival.
Busses, trains, trucks, and armored vehicles all use GPS locators, and it is possible to know where they are 100% of the time. Somebody may not be monitoring all of them all of the time, but it is possible to program in parameters which raise alarms if one deviates from the planned course.
Say a pilot decides to divert to another airport for mechanical reasons or even a rambunctious passenger. Somebody should start actively watching its progress, and make sure it actually gets to its destination.
As mentioned, in optimal circumstances, the open water survival time might be a day or so.
If one waits for a plane not to land at the destination airport, then waits another 40 minutes before doing anything, then one can guarantee nearly a 100% mortality rate, even if they had a perfect water landing.
Perhaps one doesn't have to monitor every Cessna in the sky, but any plane that is carrying over 10 passengers should have an active monitoring system.
As communication and tracking systems on MA370 either were shut off, or failed, I can not think of a single reason why they didn't raise immediate system wide alarms.
Thai air traffic controllers - no "report in".
Thai military - noting aircraft on radar without transponder.
Inmarsat satellite - received "pings", but no additional data.
Malaysian air traffic controllers watched the plane go out of their control area.
Put it all together, and one should have noted the problem while the plane was still in the air.[
An active tracking system would be one step ahead of all of that.
I could imagine hitting a button every few minutes would be a pain.
I believe the USA retired all of the equivalent SR-71 planes.
I'm inbound to A and get a call "runway obstructed, suggest you divert". So I call B and divert. No problem - happens from time to time and every pilot always has planned alternates. But if I forget to push the deadman switch (a diversion is a busy time, what with explaining to the passengers, talking to B C and D to find a landing slot, resetting all the NAV kit, trying to find the approach charts...) I'll invoke a major pandemonium of expensive airplanes looking for wreckage even though there's nothing wrong. Pain in the taxpayer's backside if the missed response was over land, and no hope of achieving anything useful if it was in the middle of the Pacific, 5 hours' flying from anywhere.
Quote from: CliffordK on 05/05/2014 17:11:25I believe the USA retired all of the equivalent SR-71 planes.Almost certainly replaced by better, classified, technology. Only reason we know about the SR-71 is because they were decommissioned and their existence declassified.
If you can ignore ding-ding-ding-ding followed by a radio call after a minute or two of the audible alert, you probably are dead and if you do happen to be alive you have no business flying an aircraft after ignoring an alarm AND radio calls.
I say again: radio range is 200 miles at best and a lot less in bad weather, and there are over 2000 channels to choose from. How is anyone going to call me in the middle of the Pacific?
Are planes still using analog radio?
However, since our airplanes are using century old technology, they may enter communication blackout zones lasting hours, and the ground stations just hope they show up again? Then if they are a half a day late, someone might go out and look for them? I feel safer all the time!!!