Flight changes

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.

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