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Why Are Planes Getting Lost In The Ocean?

1592 words - 7 pages

Why are Planes Getting Lost in the Ocean?

An Air France 447 plane was lost on June 2008 in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Paris and Rio de Janeiro and recently on March 8, 2014, Malaysian Airlines 370 was lost somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Both the aeroplanes mysteriously got lost at sea without radio contact with the Air Traffic Control. In April 2011, the wreckage of the Air France flight was found deep in the ocean which raised several questions regarding the safety of aeroplanes and how they can be recovered quickly after they have crashed. Moreover, because of the immense force of impact and underwater pressure, the data in the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) was inconsistent ...view middle of the document...

In comparison, ADS-B is a lot better as data is sent at real time but because it is expensive, most commercial airlines are not implementing it. The thing that doesn’t really make sense is that several airlines are equipping their aircrafts with Wi-Fi, which is not a necessity and only for luxury purposes, but when it comes to installing technology which can literally save lives and millions of pounds spent towards search operations, airline executives present the lame excuse that implementation of such technology is going to be very expensive therefore they would like to stick to HF as it is apparently very effective. According to Kunzi, the cost of installing ADS-B in a plane is only $18000 compared to the millions spent in search and rescue operations hence their argument can clearly be rendered as invalid (2009). Fortunately, the FAA has decided to make it compulsory for all airlines to install ADS-Bs but worldwide implementation is expected to take place after 2020, which is six years from now therefore we still have a long time to wait (Federal Aviation Administration).
All aeroplanes have Flight Data Recorders (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVR). FDRs and CVRs basically record all the information of the flight onto a magnetic tape, similar to the old cassettes which are nowhere to be seen in this century. These devices are crash resistant but since crashes can occur in the ocean, they get lost deep in the water where locating an object the size of washing machine is next to impossible. This is where the Underwater Locator Beacons (ULB) and Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT) come in handy. ULBs transmit signals that can be received by nearby sonar equipment but because the ocean is so vast, it takes more than a few months to find a plane. This is very unfortunate since the battery life of a ULB is only 30 days. Similarly, ELTs send signals to satellites but because of the impact of a crash, they break and are also not resistant to water. However, ULB batteries do exist which can last for at least 90 days but instead of installing slightly expensive batteries, airline companies would much rather spend millions in searching for a lost plane which could take years (Federal register, 2012). Likewise, ELTs can be made water and crash resistant, and can have floatation devices attached to them but only military aircrafts are using this technology at the moment (Brucato & Gainey, 2014). Applying such updates to commercial airlines should be made mandatory since around 8 million people fly across the world each day and risking their lives just to save a few million dollars is completely bizarre (Mirror). Furthermore, newer technologies such as live streaming of the flight data are available. Streaming all the information of a flight to the ground can make a flight extremely safe as small faults and errors in a planes computer can be easily detected, thus, the pilots can be alerted to manually fly the plane. In addition, the exact...

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