MH370 Data

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KG5HHS

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Sorry to bring alive a dead post, but surely I'm not the only that thinks losing an aircraft of this size could even be possible. After all, we have things such as GPS that can track a device as small as a cell phone and smaller. How do you lose a Boeing 777??? I happen to work in the HEMS business part time and we track our helicopter using SkyTrac. How is this not required for commercial flights with so many souls on board?
 

krokus

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Sorry to bring alive a dead post, but surely I'm not the only that thinks losing an aircraft of this size could even be possible. After all, we have things such as GPS that can track a device as small as a cell phone and smaller. How do you lose a Boeing 777??? I happen to work in the HEMS business part time and we track our helicopter using SkyTrac. How is this not required for commercial flights with so many souls on board?
The tracking systems were shut off. The flight was over some of the most remote ocean on the planet, so the only communications would be via satellite or HF.

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KG5HHS

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The tracking systems were shut off. The flight was over some of the most remote ocean on the planet, so the only communications would be via satellite or HF.

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what do you mean shut off? Why would that even be necessary? I understand where they were at is very remote, but with satellite alone, they should have been able to track the aircraft to is exact location.
 

michy

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This is an interesting article that talks about the pilots ability to disable any communication from the aircraft that could disclose its coordinates.

Boeing 777 Pilots: It's Not Easy To Disable Onboard Communications : The Two-Way : NPR

Hopefully they will eventually locate the flight recorder from this aircraft to be able to learn more about what happened in the final hours of its flight.

That said, it appears that at least one of the flight crew invested the necessary time to research how to disable the comm deliberately.

Speaking of which, to prevent similar disasters (and one where the German pilot flew into the side of a mountain) Transport Canada added restrictions that made another member of the flight crew be in the cockpit whenever the pilot or copilot left it for any reason. However, that rule was recently lifted.
 
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krokus

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what do you mean shut off? Why would that even be necessary? I understand where they were at is very remote, but with satellite alone, they should have been able to track the aircraft to is exact location.
It appears that someone intentionally shutdown every system they could, that would connect with the outside world. The necessity has been postulated to be to hide the plane's location, for whatever reason. This might have been a ransom attempt, that ended badly, or take your pick from a lot of other possibilities.

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Token

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Sorry to bring alive a dead post, but surely I'm not the only that thinks losing an aircraft of this size could even be possible. After all, we have things such as GPS that can track a device as small as a cell phone and smaller. How do you lose a Boeing 777??? I happen to work in the HEMS business part time and we track our helicopter using SkyTrac. How is this not required for commercial flights with so many souls on board?
GPS does not track anything. Using GPS a platform (cell phone, airplane, camera, etc) can determine its own position. Whether it then reports that position out is a totally different thing. The platform must then cooperatively send the position data out somehow.

The key there is cooperatively. If the systems that sends the position information out of the platform are disabled then all that GPS and similar technology does squat.

You can’t really make a system on an aircraft that cannot be turned off in some way. Power isolation in an emergency is always going to be on someone’s list. Completely isolate it? Make it battery powered and outside the pilots control? Great, what happens when the pilot decides it is a hazard to his aircraft because that system is on fire and putting smoke in the aircraft? Worse yet, what happens when it does do this and kills a few people, or a plane full. Design it so this can NEVER happen? Great, and we are going to bet lives on that with no safeguards? Even if you decide to design it that way, this is a system with a transmitter on board, something that definitely could impact flight safety if it fails in such a way that it starts to interfere with other systems on the aircraft.

For a non-cooperative target, one not intentionally reporting its own location, there are other options, but they become more limited. In the area of the world that aircraft was it is even more limited. Essentially all aviation radars are line of site limited. And even when the aircraft has LOS to a radar it is most common to use secondary radar today, that means a transponder on the aircraft that, you guessed it, must be turned on to function. Skin radar is an option, but is used less and less, and in aviation, at least, is still LOS limited.

There are radars that can see beyond LOS, these are Over The Horizon Radars (OTHRs). Most OHTRs that can track aircraft are military. They might be able to track such a target as MH570, but only if someone tells them they need to. Even then OTHRs with the ability to track aircraft typically have predefined regions of operation. The antennas typically cannot be turned in any direction desired; they work in specific arcs or cones. An aircraft outside those arcs cannot be tracked.

what do you mean shut off? Why would that even be necessary? I understand where they were at is very remote, but with satellite alone, they should have been able to track the aircraft to is exact location.
What civilian or aviation related satellites can track a non-cooperative target that has turned off every system it can to avoid detection? Sure, military sats can do this, but those are not used in civilian aviation, and if they were what an uproar that would cause. Now not only can the mil track your home/car/boat/bike/airplane, but so can these uncontrolled civilians.


T!
 
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