On another note, this is a good read on Air France 447 which will likely come to play in this: https://www.informs.org/ORMS-Today/P...nce-Flight-447
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Many areas in that part of the world are not friendly towards 'Western' interests. We could potentially see another attack come from this.U.S. investigators suspect that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 stayed in the air for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, according to two people familiar with the details, raising the possibility that the plane could have flown on for hundreds of additional miles under conditions that remain murky.
The investigators believe the plane flew for a total of five hours based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from the Boeing Co. 777's engines as part of a routine maintenance and monitoring program.
That raises a host of new questions and possibilities about what happened aboard the widebody jet carrying 239 people, which vanished from civilian air-traffic control radar over the weekend, about one hour into a flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
Six days after the mysterious disappearance prompted a massive international air and water search that so far hasn't produced any results, the investigation appears to be broadening in scope.
U.S. counterterrorism officials are pursuing the possibility that a pilot or someone else on board the plane may have diverted it toward an undisclosed location after intentionally turning off the jetliner's transponders to avoid radar detection, according to one person tracking the probe.
The investigation remains fluid, and it isn't clear whether investigators have evidence indicating possible terrorism or espionage. So far, U.S. national security officials have said that nothing specifically points toward terrorism, though they haven't ruled it out.
But the huge uncertainty about where the plane was headed, and why it continued flying so long without working transponders, has raised theories among investigators that the aircraft may have been commandeered for a reason that appears unclear to U.S. authorities. Some of those theories have been laid out to national security officials and senior personnel from various U.S. agencies, according to one person familiar with the matter.
At one briefing, according to this person, officials were told investigators are actively pursuing the notion that the plane was diverted "with the intention of using it later for another purpose."
As of Wednesday it remained unclear whether the plane reached an alternate destination or if it ultimately crashed, potentially hundreds of miles from where an international search effort has been focused.
In those scenarios, neither mechanical problems, pilot mistakes nor some other type of catastrophic incident caused the 250-ton plane to mysteriously vanish from radar.
The latest revelations come as local media reported that Malaysian police visited the home of at least one of the two pilots.
Boeing officials and a Malaysia Airlines official declined to comment.
The engines' onboard monitoring system is provided by their manufacturer, Rolls-Royce PLC, and it periodically sends bursts of data about engine health, operations and aircraft movements to facilities on the ground.
Of course it could be nothing but the longer this lasts, the more concerned I get.
It reads like the plot of a Tom Clancy/Clive Cussler novel.
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This whole story is also very ironic to me since I'm not a fan of flying. I had to fly a few months ago and on the return trip, I sat next to a pilot for the airline (we were on a 777) who assured me of how safe they are, how they can still land with no power, etc. This was also around the same time as the plane that landed at the wrong airport (which he also assured me that, while not impossible, was also highly unlikely). It's also amazing to me that in today's day and age of technology, satellite tracking, and all of that stuff, that something like this can just vanish for a week and counting with no clue as to its whereabouts. I keep hearing about satellites that can read license plates from orbit, but all China can do is offer up blurry blob pictures of something floating in the ocean?
I guess they need to make sure future models don't have systems that can be turned off by the crew or something? Especially after 9/11, I would think every plane would have a constantly on tracking system anyway (or do they? I am obviously an aviation layman).
I still haven't seen an answer to my earlier question - why don't planes have some redundant GPS tracking device/transmitter to keep track of their location that *cannot* be switched off by anyone. Nothing fancy, just something that sends out a signal every once in a while to show where the plane is (think something along the lines of a SPOT locator that you can use for hiking or motorcycling if you know what that is). I'm not talking a transponder box that can be switched off, something that cannot be tampered with by anyone on the plane (in theory at any rate). If nothing else, this case should make that mandatory on all future manufacturing of planes so that a freaking multi million dollar air liner can't just vanish into thin air with 240 people on board.
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IM starting to wonder if this aircraft will ever be found. Lets just assume it crashed into the ocean somewhere. With the potential places the aircraft could be, and no sign of floating wreckage, how will it realistically ever be found?
At least with AF447 there was decent clues as to the aircrafts final resting spot, and even with that it took two years to find it. With MH370, we have a couple radar pings and that't it. No debris, any fuel slick would have been well gone by now, and much of what would have been floating debris would have sank.
And as far a cost/benefit goes, you may be able to get a personal locator beacon for a hundred bucks or so, but a flight-worthy model will end up costing $2500 or more and require several hundred thousand for flight testing in every model of aircraft it's going into. If this sort of thing were common, it'd probably be worth it. But this is the first time it's ever happened so far as I know.
Very possible it will never be found.
NWA #2501 disappeared somewhere over Lake Michigan in 1950 and to this day the plane has not been located.
Heck, back in the '50s, a B-25 crashed into the Mon River within the Pittsburgh city limits in broad daylight and it was never found. They think they have an idea where it may be, but no evidence:
Well, if you really want to get down to it, if you're an airline, you're not directly comparing the cost of the incident vs the cost of the solution. You're comparing the cost of the solution to the cost of insurance against the incident. There's something like 93,000 commercial flights every day. If you consider that Air France 447 was the last incident where this sort of system would be helpful, that's about 170 million flights in between. As you can see, you're talking about a very, very rare event. And you have to carry insurance against hull loss and the associated liability anyway, so I don't see where it's cost effective for airlines to do this. If it was, their insurance companies would be practically mandating it.
The fact of the matter is, if someone really, really wants to disable any piece of equipment, it can be done. Sure, the FAA can make all kinds of regulations in the wake of this incident (which wouldn't apply to a Malaysian flight anyway), but it's all a waste of money when you consider that the aircrew can bring down any flight at will. There are some risks you just can't mitigate.
In all seriousness though I feel bad for the families. They need closure. My thought is that jet is in about 10,000 feet of water spread out over a 2 mile area.
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