Flight changes

May 15th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Prime Minister of Malaysia writes:

Najib, writing in the Wall Street Journal, urged the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which has been meeting in Montreal, to act on a Malaysian recommendation to implement real-time tracking of aircraft.

Yes. If we can trace an iPhone around the world, let’s do it for planes also.

He said the communication systems on aircraft such as transponders and the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting Systems (ACARS) should be changed so they cannot be disabled mid-air.

Najib said the systems on board the missing plane “were disabled. MH370 went dark.”

Also a good idea. There is no good reason you want someone to be able to turn them off.

He said that policy makers need to reconsider the capabilities of airliners’ black box recording devices.

“At the moment, the location pingers – which are activated if a plane crashes – last for only 30 days. This should be increased to at least 90 days, as the European Union has proposed,” he said.

At least 90 days. How much cost is there for some extra batteries?

Najib said it was “wholly inadequate” that today’s black boxes only record the last two hours of cockpit conversations, meaning the important minutes and hours after the plane vanished will not be available.

“Given that a standard i-phone can record 24 hours of audio, surely the black box should have sufficient memory to record cockpit conversations for the full duration of any flight,” he said.

The problem is the pilot unions are against. But again I agree.

Najib also said that airliners’ emergency locator transmitters – which emit a distress signal when the plane is in trouble – could be improved.

“Currently they don’t work very well under water and their mandated battery life is just 24 hours.”

To be honest the status qup sounds like a bit of a custerf**k.

Tags:

40 Responses to “Flight changes”

  1. Craig (21 comments) says:

    Reminds me of a top tip from Viz magazine years ago… They should just make the plane out of the same stuff they make the black boxes out of.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    I am reliably informed the plane and passengers of MH370 are safe and well in the care of the “zionists”. Though my source has not yet revealed why ? :)

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. AM (8 comments) says:

    Systems have to be able to be disabled, what if a wiring or electronics fault occurs in the unit and you can’t disconnect it to prevent fire??

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    AM>Systems have to be able to be disabled, what if a wiring or electronics fault occurs in the unit and you can’t disconnect it to prevent fire??

    An Iridium phone with embedded GPS will keep a record of where it is and can squirt its current position back to base every few minutes. It’d look like a large cell phone connected to a 12v power supply. How often do cell phones burst in to flames? On one hand you have a useful function. On the other hand you have a one-in-a-billion risk. I know which I’d pick.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. lazza (381 comments) says:

    The mystical Power of Pilots, (Silver Foxie-smooth talking Knights of the Airways) in the public imagination gives these dudes some supposed God given right to dictate their terms … max 2 hours CVR, limits on tracking technology and so on.

    Face it … they are just glorified bus drivers/truckies/plant operators, all of whom in the interests of safety/accountability … have their every movement/conversation FULLY monitored.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. JC (956 comments) says:

    “The problem is the pilot unions are against. But again I agree.”

    And unfortunately NZ has justified the pilots concerns when it took legal action to listen to all messages aboard a Dash 8(?) that went down in the hills near Palmerston Nth. I’ve forgotten the details but we went against the conventions of the time.

    JC

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Ed Snack (1,872 comments) says:

    David, you’re making exactly the same mistake others make, we have NO ABILITY to track an iPhone around the world; we can track one where there is cellphone coverage, but that’s a pretty small proportion of the globe. Where at least we think MH370 flew there is/was no coverage except from Satellites. No radar either although the Australian OTH radar is supposedly able to cover at least part of the area, but for cost reasons it is turned off at night !

    So the current situation isn’t optimal and sensible suggestions to improve the situation are welcomed, but please, get away from the iPhone tracking analogy, it’s patently false and not useful except to mislead.

    And AM’s comment; any system on an aircraft needs to be able to be electrically isolated for safety reasons. You can’t track an iPhone either when it is turned off completely.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    ““Given that a standard i-phone can record 24 hours of audio, surely the black box should have sufficient memory to record cockpit conversations for the full duration of any flight,” he said.”

    yeah, wont happen.

    “Face it … they are just glorified bus drivers/truckies/plant operators, all of whom in the interests of safety/accountability … have their every movement/conversation FULLY monitored.”

    idiot.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. questions (207 comments) says:

    “Yes. If we can trace an iPhone around the world, let’s do it for planes also.”

    The problem is, the bosses are against it, profit over safety every time.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. rangitoto (247 comments) says:

    “Systems have to be able to be disabled, what if a wiring or electronics fault occurs in the unit and you can’t disconnect it to prevent fire??”

    Rubbish. It would be very easy to design something totally safe from fire risk.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Fentex (974 comments) says:

    any system on an aircraft needs to be able to be electrically isolated for safety reasons.

    This suggests the thing to do is bolt a completely isolated transponder to the exterior.

    Mount it on the tail, give it a little wind mill generator and rechargeable battery and it could go a long time without maintenance and no interaction with any other part of the craft.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. georgebolwing (854 comments) says:

    Again we have knee-jerk reactions to vanishingly small probability, high impact events. According to Wiki, Flight MH370 is the only instance ever of a scheduled, passenger jet disappearing in unknown circumstances. There are about 50,000 commercial passenger flights each day!!!

    David, none of this is a good idea. It is just governments “doing something”.

    If you want to travel on a plane that is constantly monitored, here’s a novel idea; demand this service as a customer. Go to the airlines and say “I am so worried that this plane might disappear off the radar that I am willing to pay to a premium price to install fail-safe equipment that will allow it to be tracked constantly”.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. somewhatthoughtful (465 comments) says:

    The armchair expertise in here is breathtaking.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    One thing about MH 370 – its provided jobs. even in the aussie budget from hell they allocated 100 mill towards finding the fuckin thing.

    The dude landed it on water and its sitting on the bottom on the ocean. good luck.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Than (473 comments) says:

    Systems have to be able to be disabled, what if a wiring or electronics fault occurs in the unit and you can’t disconnect it to prevent fire??

    So duplicate the equipment. Have two transponders, located as far apart in the aircraft as practical, and set things up so that if one is disabled the other takes over and cannot be disabled.

    If one unit catches fire, it can be disabled. The probability of both units catching fire at the same time is trivial – certainly far lower than the probability of hijacking or pilot suicide.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. lolitasbrother (695 comments) says:

    Than (390 comments) says: May 15th, 2014 at 11:06 am
    quote ”
    Systems have to be able to be disabled, what if a wiring or electronics fault occurs in the unit and you can’t disconnect it to prevent fire??
    So duplicate the equipment. Have two transponders, located as far apart in the aircraft as practical, and set things up so that if one is disabled the other takes over and cannot be disabled.
    If one unit catches fire, it can be disabled. The probability of both units catching fire at the same time is trivial – certainly far lower than the probability of hijacking or pilot suicide.
    unquote”

    Quite frankly i think it more likely that the air hostess catch fire .

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Quite frankly i think it more likely that the air hostess catch fire .

    The ones from the Western countries are not that hot. Zero risk with Air NZ ;)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. xy (187 comments) says:

    Cellphone chargers burst into flames way way more often than planes crash with no trace.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. rangitoto (247 comments) says:

    “Cellphone chargers burst into flames way way more often than planes crash with no trace.”

    Were not talking about a $2 item. The fire risk claim is total bullshit. It is just a matter of proper engineering.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. ross001 (211 comments) says:

    According to Wiki, Flight MH370 is the only instance ever of a scheduled, passenger jet disappearing in unknown circumstances

    The thousands of families whose loved ones died when four commercial planes were hijacked on 9/11 will be relieved to hear that.

    9/11 was the biggest wake up call the aviation industry could ever expect. Unfortunately, some airlines chose to ignore what happened and continued to put profit before passenger safety.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. chris (647 comments) says:

    David, you’re making exactly the same mistake others make, we have NO ABILITY to track an iPhone around the world; we can track one where there is cellphone coverage, but that’s a pretty small proportion of the globe.

    You don’t need cellphone coverage to track with GPS. Spot2 trackers used by runners/trampers/etc (just as an example) use GPS to get the location and send it to the Inmarsat network. Then people can track you via a website to see where you are.

    The biggest issue with GPS device is, from my understanding, batteries are bulky. Probably not so much of an issue with planes but still a consideration.

    I’m fairly flabbergasted myself that we don’t have the technology available on planes now. Seriously, we’re still only using satellite pings and radar?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. xy (187 comments) says:

    I hate to break it to you but we know what happened to the 9/11 planes.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    I hate to break it to you but we know what happened to the 9/11 planes.

    I am withholding judgment until I have consulted UglyTruth.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. ross001 (211 comments) says:

    I hate to break it to you but we know what happened to the 9/11 planes.

    Yep the transponders were turned off…funny how history repeats.

    “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce” ~ Marx

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. georgebolwing (854 comments) says:

    That the 9/11 hijackers could and did turn the transponders off allowed the relevent authorities to conclude that the planes had been hijacked. The 9/11 Commission report states that after the transponders were turned off, the planes were tracked by radar.

    To me, 9/11 showed that any man-made system is always going to be vulnerable to committed fanatics who do not fear death. Even worse if those fanatics actually believe that they will be rewarded by a place in heaven if they die.

    That the airlines were owned by profit-maximisers does not seem to be relevent here.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Ed Snack (1,872 comments) says:

    Chris, they have transponders that aren’t supposed to be turned off. GPS also doesn’t work when turned off with no power. On an aircraft, electrical faults are a major cause of fires, and if a fire starts on board there is a very limited time usually to control a fire before the aircraft crashes. Therefore one of the basic mantras for safety is that all electrical equipment must be able to be completely electrically isolated. This may be something that can be changed, but it isn’t something to be idly dismissed.

    Worth noting as well that transponders can be turned off for legitimate reasons, they do sometimes malfunction and give out false information, and that is worse than no information generally.

    It is good to see something being addressed, but it is worth emphasizing that the MH370 situation is so far unique; an apparent deliberate attempt to fly the aircraft to the hardest possible place to find its remains. Until they find the crash site it is still possible that the aircraft is somewhere else, but so far the best evidence we have supports the Indian Ocean as the destination. Anywhere on land would require a significant conspiracy of silence and an acceptance that Indian (or elsewhere’s) radar surveillance is complete rubbish and can’t track a target as large as a T7. Flying low could make that tracking harder but seriously reduces the range and increases the chance of a visual sighting.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Odakyu-sen (653 comments) says:

    “The problem is, the bosses are against it, profit over safety every time.”

    If you don’t offer safety, you won’t make a profit in a market where consumers are informed and can make choices.

    Have you ever run a business or had to satisfy an intelligent and informed customer in your life?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    On an aircraft, electrical faults are a major cause of fires, and if a fire starts on board there is a very limited time usually to control a fire before the aircraft crashes. Therefore one of the basic mantras for safety is that all electrical equipment must be able to be completely electrically isolated.

    ^^^This.

    Fire is something that gives sailors and aviators the shits above just about anything else. There is a long history of fires on ships and aircraft, and all too often the result of a fire in the air or at sea is that everybody dies, horribly.

    This is why fire safety is taken far more seriously on ships and aircraft, than it is in buildings or cars.

    You can’t simply run out onto the front lawn and wait for the fire brigade. And you can’t even pull over to the side of the road and get out.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. dirtbag (22 comments) says:

    Iazza, can I assume you were

    A: never accepted into flight school or

    B: accepted and then promptly shown the door when they discovered you flew like Edward Scissor hands or

    C: unhappy in your insurance sales job and just felt like lashing out

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Weihana (4,537 comments) says:

    rangitoto (155 comments) says:
    May 15th, 2014 at 11:43 am
    “Cellphone chargers burst into flames way way more often than planes crash with no trace.”

    Were not talking about a $2 item. The fire risk claim is total bullshit. It is just a matter of proper engineering.

    Aircraft parts being expensive does not make them free from the risk of fire. As has already been pointed out there is a long history of safety issues relating to the potential for fire on board aircraft. Aircraft (expensive aircraft) are fitted with circuit breakers to isolate electrical systems in case of malfunction.

    More importantly, and ignoring relative risk of hijacking vs fire, knowing where the plane is will not bring people back to life. Preventing a fire may save your life.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    At least 90 days. How much cost is there for some extra batteries?

    I doubt it is that simple. I’d refrain from talking about anything I didn’t actually have a clue about.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. stephieboy (3,078 comments) says:

    Reid, Ugly Truth,

    Yoo hoo..where art thou both.?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    stupidboy, I think they know too much. Clearly they have been got at… by you-know-who ;)

    They are probably in detention being forced to stir big pots of chicken legs & Nasi Goreng to feed the “hostages”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. lazza (381 comments) says:

    Nice try Dirtbag … but I am afraid your attempts at faux distance physco-analysis of my modest comments of Pilot mystique are all 100% in error …

    You said …

    Iazza, can I assume you were

    A: never accepted into flight school or
    Wrong:
    [Master Green rated instruments on multis, above average assessed flying skills, 2000 accident free hours before I resigned (did not like "bus driving")].

    B: accepted and then promptly shown the door when they discovered you flew like Edward Scissor hands or

    [Nope see above]

    C: unhappy in your insurance sales job and just felt like lashing out

    Huh?

    [I take! insurance ... never worked for the sods].

    There you have it. Cringeworthy apologies are called for now. Fat chance?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. dirtbag (22 comments) says:

    Iazza,

    2000 hours? Bwaaahhaaaaaaaa. I’ve got more time in cloud than that. Your a “never was”

    I’ve seen your kind time and again.

    With 2000 hrs you were probably flying piston engines with your scared stiff mates in the back till you realised you were never going to make it and bailed.

    Most people I know who have flown a little bit have nothing but respect for the training involved and the dedication required.

    Your attitude to aviation speaks volumes

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. OneTrack (3,104 comments) says:

    Weihana – “More importantly, and ignoring relative risk of hijacking vs fire, knowing where the plane is will not bring people back to life. Preventing a fire may save your life.”

    Best comment in the whole thread.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. cha (4,017 comments) says:

    If you don’t offer safety, you won’t make a profit in a market where consumers are informed and can make choices.

    The market’s way of telling us which airline is the safest probably involves people dying so perhaps you could do the air miles necessary to research this life and death matter.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. lazza (381 comments) says:

    I thought this thread was about flight safety not personal invective. Pilots as a group have resisted for years initiatives that would have improved air safety merely to preserve their lofty trusty well paid status. Time for a change now, eat that … it will happen. So come down from your “clouds” “Ace”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    Still paying off your loans from flying lazza?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. lazza (381 comments) says:

    “Loans” … Huh? Still lost up in the clouds Dime?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote