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#268006 - 03/11/14 11:57 AM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: ireckon]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7347
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: ireckon
I'm still in shock trying to figure out what's going on in this case. In some travels, it's probably best not to know too much. Otherwise, I would just stay home as I become more risk-averse.

This incident notwithstanding, I believe it remains true that the safest way of getting from A to B remains commercial air. You will be more at risk driving to the airport.
Geezer in Chief

#268008 - 03/11/14 01:09 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: ireckon]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 863
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: ireckon

Can someone here answer these questions: Would a cell phone's GPS chip be operable inside an airplane during flight? Also, would the GPS chip interfere with the airplane's communications? I'm just curious from a technological standpoint.

A cellphone is a radio receiver-transmitter.

An airplane fuselage is a metal can with a few windows in it.

Putting a cellphone in a metal can means it won't work with anything outside very well.

Some signals can sometimes be gained by holding the receiver-transmitter against a window but it's still a very restricted line of sight for the radio.

This is why the airplanes comm system has externally mounted antennas for all radios.

#268010 - 03/11/14 01:53 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: Ian]
ireckon Offline

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1629
Loc: Northern California
This case should cause a push to update tracking systems on airplanes to include GPS. It shouldn't be difficult or expensive to put a GPS receiver outside the cage of the plane. The plane could receive GPS coordinates and transmit its position via radio every second or whatever is appropriate. Or are planes already equipped with GPS receivers such that the hardware is basically already there?
If you're reading this, it's too late.

#268011 - 03/11/14 02:05 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: Ian]
ireckon Offline

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1629
Loc: Northern California
According to this article, there is basically no good reason the tech is not up and running:

If you're reading this, it's too late.

#268015 - 03/11/14 03:03 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: ireckon]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
At this point it seems the best probability of finding the B-777 is with acoustic sensors lookng for the flight data recorder (it pings).

If they don't dind it then maybe a UFO plucked it out of the sky and transported it to the future to repopulate the world after... sorry, too much SciFi.

Really strange that in this day and age they have such poor tracking on a commercial aircraft.

...or, whomever was in control of the aircraft deliberately made it lost.
Malaysia military tracked missing plane to west coast: source

#268016 - 03/11/14 04:16 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: Ian]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 831
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
There are several reports (unconfirmed) that passengers cellphone are showing up as "active" on a Chinese on-line messaging service, and that relatives have dialed the numbers of people on board and gotten "ring sounds" but no answer.

I don't know what to make of this, but assuming it is true, could this just be an artifact of the network's programming, or would the "ringing" sound reported actually mean the phone was on-line?
"Better is the enemy of good enough."

#268018 - 03/11/14 06:55 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: ireckon]
DesertFox Offline

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 339
Loc: New York, NY
I've played with a Garmin e-Trex in the cabin of an airliner. It worked, but it was spotty. Took a long time to lock on initially, then would lose the lock fairly frequently.

#268024 - 03/12/14 12:43 AM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: bws48]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 856
Loc: Southern California
If the service is paid up, there will be a ringing sound on the line. It doesn't matter if the receiving phone is online or not. I don't know how the messaging service determines if a phone is active.

If that was the plane detected over the Straight of Malacca, it would have been heading WSW. The only thing reachable near that route is Sri Lanka. The next landmass is North Africa, roughly a 1000 Km longer distance from point last seen then to Bejing. This is shaping up to be a Tom Clancy novel.
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane

#268025 - 03/12/14 12:52 AM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: Ian]
James_Van_Artsdalen Offline

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 449
Loc: Texas
Beyond-the-horizon radar imaging is hard. And civilian aviation rarely has any need for it.

Moreover, such a radar would be a military radar. Were Malaysia to use one on this route it would not be long before the Vietnamese military jammed it.

A more realistic approach would be to have "transponders" that periodically sent the plane's position to satellites, similar to the way a GPS-equipped PLB sends location to satellites. There are problems of cost and where to find the radio spectrum (hint: anyone with good spectrum for satellites will not surrender it easily). Couple that with the need for international agreement ... I suspect a lot of countries are willing to accept a mystery disappearance every 50 years rather than spend the money.

This is a case where absence-of-evidence eventually becomes evidence-of-absence: the plane probably didn't crash into the sea where they're looking. The worst case for SAR is if the engines kept running after whatever inhibited the transponder, and the pilots were able to maintain powered flight.

#268036 - 03/12/14 08:58 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: James_Van_Artsdalen]
Leigh_Ratcliffe Offline

Registered: 03/31/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: United Kingdom.
Either the plane:
Disintegrated abruptly in flight as a catastrophic cabin systems failure( possible).
Was destroyed either as an act of terrorism or by some other man made or natural event. Could have been bb'd by a meteorite for all we know.
Or suffered a gradual depressurisation accident that incapacited everyone befor anyone could react.

Either way the chance of survivors is frankly non existent, absenting an act of God.
I don't do dumb & helpless.

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