Faudzil @ Ajak

Faudzil @ Ajak
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1 January 2015

AIRCRAFT STORIES - Dr M questions reluctance to use existing technology for locating aircraft

Dr M questions reluctance to use existing

technology for locating aircraft 

Published: 1 January 2015

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad questions why Boeing is reluctant to use existing technology that can immediately help locate a plane that's disappeared off radars. – The Malaysian Insider pic, January 1, 2015. 

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has raised questions over aircraft

manufacturer Boeing's apparent reluctance to use existing

flight data recording technology on commercial aircraft that

can immediately help locate a plane following a disaster,

asserting that such a system could make the search for

crashed jetliners much faster.
Writing in his blog today about the AirAsia Indonesia QZ850 crash, the former prime minister highlighted an ongoing disagreement between Boeing and rival Airbus over the use of deployable flight data and voice recorder systems for commercial aircraft.
This system, according to the description on the website of the Flight Safety Foundation, either allows the recorder to automatically eject itself from the aircraft in a fatal crisis – to become a beacon locator for the downed plane later, or to virtually transmit data upon a "triggered transmission".
Dr Mahathir noted that Airbus, which made the 320-200 plane used for flight QZ8501, is said to be ready to move forward with the system, but Boeing remained reluctant, without any reasons given.
Boeing, the maker of the plane for MH370, disagreed about the system being suitable or safe for commercial planes; yet, the company had installed deployable recorders on at least three military aircraft fleets, Dr Mahathir said, citing an article published in October this year on the Flightglobal website.
"Just imagine if this recorder and beacon is installed on the Air Asia Indonesia aircraft or MH370, we would not have to search the oceans for the planes.
"I cannot understand why Boeing is against it," he wrote in his popular chedet.cc blog today.
The article titled "Why flight tracking philosophies must align", said the Airbus concept involved deploying one of the two sets of flight data and cockpit voice recorders in the event of a mid-air collision or impact with the ground.
The deployable unit includes a locator beacon, and is designed to float if the crash occurs in water, said Dr Mahathir.
The Flightglobal opinion piece also cited the Air France flight 447 crash in 2009. It took authorities over two years to find the missing plane at the bottom of the South Atlantic Ocean.
It said following the incident, the appeal of such a system was obvious and could spare the industry the embarrassment of losing another aircraft.
QZ8501 disappeared on Sunday morning when flying from Surabaya to Singapore with 162 passengers and crew members. On Tuesday, Indonesian authorities confirmed that the Airbus A320-200 had crashed into the Java Sea near Pangkalan Bun, central Kalimantan when debris and bodies from the plane were found floating in the sea.
MH370 went missing on March 8 this year shortly after it left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing with 239 people onboard. The plane remains missing until today, with little clue as to what had happened, despite a massive multinational search conducted in the southern Indian Ocean.
Dr Mahathir also cited a December 2006 Flightglobal article titled "Diagrams: Boeing patents anti-terrorism auto-land system for hijacked airliners".
The article reported that in late November that year, Boeing had received a US patent for a system that allows seizure of an aircraft by remote control as a means to prevent terrorist hijacking.
Once activated, the system removes all control from pilots to automatically return a commercial airliner to a predetermined landing location.
The “uninterruptible” autopilot would be activated – either by pilots, by onboard sensors, or even remotely via radio or satellite links by government agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), if terrorists attempt to gain control of a flight deck.
In the article, Boeing was quoted as saying: "We are constantly studying ways we can enhance the safety, security and efficiency of the world's airline fleet."
Aside from the safety and security aspects of having such a system, Boeing sees it as a preventative measure: “Once the automatic control system provided by the present invention is initiated, no one on board the air vehicle is capable of controlling the flight to the air vehicle, such that it would be useless for anyone to threaten violence in order to gain control the air vehicle", the article reported.
"Boeing had made no comment on its powerful capability. And MH370 has not been found till now.
"And now Boeing seems to be unwilling to make finding lost aircrafts easier and faster, possibly saving lives as well. Why?
"The mystery deepens," Dr Mahathir said.
He also conveyed his condolences to all families of passengers and crew on board flight QZ8501.
There was one Malaysian, a businessman from Kuching, onboard. A majority of them were Indonesian, with five others from South Korea, Singapore, Britain and France. – January 1, 2015.

Source: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/dr-m-questions-reluctance-to-use-existing-technology-for-locating-aircraft

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