News / Asia

How Can a Plane Be Lost?

How Can Officials Lose Track of an Airliner?i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Carla Babb
March 13, 2014 4:54 PM
Thursday marks the sixth day since Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared with 239 passengers on board. VOA’s Carla Babb tells us more about the technology that can find, and lose track of, an aircraft.

VIDEO: Thursday marks the sixth day since Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared with 239 passengers on board. VOA’s Carla Babb tells us more about the technology that can find, and lose track of, an aircraft.

Carla Babb
With satellites crisscrossing the globe and GPS technology available at the touch of a button in everything from cars to cell phones, how did officials lose a massive airplane?
 
Aviation safety consultant John McGraw says it’s easier than you think.
 
“People are under the impression that every airplane, even when it’s flying across the ocean, is observed on some kind of radar scope, with a human being looking at that scope. And it's just not the case. Radars don't reach that far,” said McGraw.
 
But McGraw also said that there is a lot of technology inside the missing Boeing 777 that helps pinpoint its location.
 
Systems in the jets automatically transmit altitude, weather conditions, position and speed of an aircraft to traffic control. There are also at least three ways the pilot can communicate with officials. If the plane is downed in the ocean, the flight data recorder, or “black box”, sends out a sound that is detectable up to three kilometers away.
 
Former FAA accident investigator Michael Daniel said there are also global regulations.
 
“The airline has responsibility for what we call ‘flight following.’ That’s an international standard and they are required to know where the airline is at all times,” said Daniel.
 
But in the case of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Daniel said, the airline hasn’t provided a great deal of information.
 
“The standards may not have been followed,” he said. “It’s very concerning because that’s an added piece of information that investigators can work with in determining hopefully the location of the aircraft.”
 
Rescue crews remain determined to locate the jet and its "black box" to try to find out what went wrong. After an AirFrance flight went missing in 2009, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board called for the continuous downloading of an aircraft’s flight data recorder information in case of emergencies.
 
“In the past they haven’t been able to justify installing that kind of equipment, because it’s expensive, and because there hadn’t been that many accidents where it would have come into play. This will certainly provide some additional motivation and there may be calls to do that,” said McGraw.
 
Those monitoring the skies and seas remain hopeful the missing airliner will soon be found.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: kyle from: US
March 14, 2014 7:30 AM
There is a sense that they are not telling us the full story. Some people are starting to speculate that they are hiding something from us.

In Response

by: mds from: usa
March 16, 2014 8:12 AM
Check N. Korea


by: Hannah Do from: Canada
March 13, 2014 2:40 PM
Well, it's a proof that human being are limited regardless how advanced we think we have been.

In Response

by: Sukey from: China
March 14, 2014 5:50 AM
Yes , Hannah ,you are right .But we also hope there is a magic


by: Not Again from: Canada
March 13, 2014 12:15 PM
This has been a very tragic event, our hearts go out to the families of the missing. The events of this disappearance, with out a trace, is very startling, especially given the massive involvement of modern forces, with some of the best equipment in the World, all efforts to no avail. I AM SPECULATING- the type of issues observed, loss of transponder, flight continued, potentially for 5 hrs, no pilot contact,etc. Potentially, a non catastrophic failure causing rapid decompression, in the area near/affecting the transducer, followed by the failure of the emergency oxygen system (for unknown reasons empty/wrong gas,..); causing crew loss. Upon the depressurization, the pilots would attempt a rapid descent, and an emergency return. Upon loss of crew abilities, the plane would continue, on auto-pilot, to fly until fuel run out. There was a previous similar such accident, many years ago, with a small plane, that flew many hours accross the US, until it run out of fuel and crashed. Sad sit.

In Response

by: LdyBug from: Philippines
March 16, 2014 10:42 AM
I think this is a high possibility, why can't the officials look into this angle knowing this kind of aircraft failure happened before. Terrorism is unlikely, I think. I can't imagine the degree of uncertainty and sadness among the family of those aboard the plane. If the plane crashed deep into the Indian Ocean, it might take years before the remains of the plane can be found, or will never be. But hoping for the best. I think all citizens of the world is affected by this incident.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid