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The French island of Réunion lies off the coast of Madagascar in the West Indian Ocean. Wreckage found washed up on the island was examined by French and Malaysian authorities to determine whether or not it was part of the ill-fated Malaysian flignt MH 370, which disappeared in the early hours of March 8, 2014.
Just announced: the wreckage was indeed part of the aircraft.
It was a long road to finding any concrete sign of the missing plane; earlier wreckage found on the island was in determined not to be related to MH 370. This was yet another in a long line of detriments to answers about the mystery of the flight.
The Boeing 777 was en-route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, with 239 people on-board. Despite the fact that Réunion is more than 2,500 miles from the original search area, authorities say the location is consistent with potential debris dispersal 16 months after an origin in the original search area.
Ocean currents, a huge geographic area, and the depth of the ocean are reasons all cited for why locating the missing plane had been a tough task. How Deep? Click on the sliver below
But still, you can’t blame someone for asking:
With all the modern technology we have, why has it been so hard to find this plane?
It’s not so much the size of the world. Radar is the primary means of tracking aircraft—and radar covers vast areas of land all over the planet. The problem is that the oceans and seas are a different matter—there’s no place to put radar equipment in the middle of the ocean. There is space-based radar, but that technology hasn’t been rolled out for civilian aircraft—yet.
GPS, interestingly enough, is one means used by the planes to track their own position, but this information is not transmitted back to air traffic control, because of the vulnerability of GPS to jamming or ‘spoofing.’
Technology exists to live-stream data from a flight, but it has not been embraced by the industry because, according to industry consultant Matt Boyd, planes rarely fall off the grid. “Up until now, we haven’t had a need to track all airplanes.”
And perhaps, most strangely, modern jets like the missing Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 are equipped with ACARS (Aircraft Communication, Addressing, and Reporting System), which can communicate virtually any information via satellite. However, it is up to an airline to determine how much information is sent in a data signal, and it may or may not include location details.
With all this in mind, it would appear that the technology is there to avoid losing a plane. Or at least, to find it should it go missing.
What seems to be lacking is a dedicated effort at coordinating all of the available technology, and ensuring there is a system to use it in place. This system would safeguard the lives of passengers, and possibly prevent future incidents.
This is true for businesses other than the airline industry. Technology is there to make jobs easier, work more efficient, and output of higher quality. It just takes a coordinated effort.
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