TechSpot

Satellite tracking could help locate airliners that go down in remote areas

By Shawn Knight
Sep 23, 2016
Post New Reply
  1. Technological advancements over the years have made airline travel safer and more convenient than ever. Unfortunately, things like mechanical failures and intentional acts of terrorism are still a very real concern in this day and age.

    For loved ones that have lost friends or family members as a result of a downed aircraft, the realization that nothing can change what happened can be overwhelming. Factor in the possibility of not knowing what caused a crash or even where a jet went down and you’ve got the worst possible scenario

    Aireon LLC and FlightAware, two US-based firms in the airline industry, hope to ensure the location of wreckage from flights like Malaysia Airlines MH370 don't remain a mystery.

    As Reuters reports, traditional methods involve planes sending tracking signals to ground-based stations. That’s a problem when flying over the ocean or a desert as there are no stations within range. The company’s upcoming solution, GlobalBeacon, will instead utilize satellites to receive tracking signals from planes.

    While a satellite-based tracking system would make it much easier to locate a missing plane, investigators still may not be able to determine why the aircraft went down if they couldn’t locate its “black box” flight recorder.

    What would be abundantly more helpful in my opinion would be security cameras that stream what’s going on inside a plane at all times. Again, this wouldn’t prevent a crash but it could help to provide closure and save search and rescue crews a lot of time, money and effort.

    Technically speaking, I can’t see a reason why livestreaming wouldn’t work, especially considering many planes now offer respectably fast Wi-Fi for passengers. Some would no doubt bring up privacy – a valid concern indeed – but would the trade-off be worth it?

    Aireon and FlightAware say their flight tracking system will be operational come 2018.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 340   +133

    "What would be abundantly more helpful in my opinion would be security cameras that stream what’s going on inside a plane at all times. Again, this wouldn’t prevent a crash but it could help to provide closure and save search and rescue crews a lot of time, money and effort."

    It would also open up a whole new level of F'd-up videos on Youtube. You just know that news agencies will get a hold of copies of those videos - especially if they are streamed live. It still wouldn't tell anyone WHERE the plane went down - just 'look at the final moments of life for these people'. Satellite tracking would provide more closure by allowing for the location of wreckage and human remains, while respecting the victims and their families.
     
  3. RebelFlag

    RebelFlag TS Addict Posts: 135   +67

    Seems to me rather than adding cameras which would pose possible privacy issues among other things, the best thing to do would be to stream the data from the flight data recorder, and the cockpit voice recorder (commonly referred to as the "Black Boxes, even though they are day-glo orange) to the satellite and have it stored there for a limited amount of time unless an incident occurs. Would also be less bandwidth intensive and less data to store since you would not be sending graphics.
     
    Jaxin likes this.
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,558   +2,363

    Technically speaking, I can’t see a reason why livestreaming wouldn’t work, especially considering many planes now offer respectably fast Wi-Fi for passengers. Some would no doubt bring up privacy – a valid concern indeed – but would the trade-off be worth it?

    For starters, it would require additional infrastructure and staff to function. It would also open up new security vulnerabilities both internally (on the aircraft) and externally (over the web) by giving any bad actors a live look at crew positioning and movement patterns. And it would create these problems and costs for airlines, regulators, and passengers (ticket pricing), all for... no benefits to flight quality or security.
     
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,676   +780

    The technology has been around for over 20 years but the FAA did not make it mandatory over the objections of the airlines. The last time this was publicly discussed was shortly after the disappearance of MH370 but not much has happened since then. At that time the cost per aircraft was roughly $2,500 plus the annual monitoring fees. Doubtful it would be necessary for all airlines but for those flying overseas and remote routes there are obvious advantages. Considering how quickly the airlines could absorb this cost there doesn't appear to be a good reason, especially when you consider all the negative press that has been created because of this shortage.
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  6. Fbarnett

    Fbarnett TS Booster Posts: 206   +30


    Everything on the plane fails and it crashed But the WIFI is powered by GOOGLE and still works!!
     
    davislane1 likes this.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...