Are the solutions to tracking a plane already at hand?

By Christine Wieringa

Technology has been advancing faster than the speed of light, it seems, for a long time now. We have gadgets and gizmos that do everything for us. Things that could only take place in our imagination are springing to life before our very eyes and making life a lot easier, or in some cases, a lot more challenging than they really need to be.

Unless you have had your head under a rock for the past couple weeks, it is no secret that the hunt is on for a tiny black box in the Indian Ocean, that has crucial information on it in regards to what happened on a Boeing 777 destined for China that apparently has ended up off the coast of Australia. So far, there has been no such luck locating the exact whereabouts of the plane, leaving the families of the passengers with little closure on what happened to their loved ones. This has brought to the spotlight, alternatives to black boxes and it seems that the idea of being able to pinpoint a plane’s location is proving to be extremely difficult.

Why? That’s the biggest question I have. Why is finding an alternative to dated technology so hard? I can pinpoint my location at any given time on my cell phone. I can set up a camera in my house to spy on my babysitter and have it send live feed to my work computer. I can Google any location on the planet and be brought on a virtual vacation without ever leaving my house. Better yet, to drive the point  home, I could fly a drone anywhere in the world from the comfort of my own country. Why is it so hard to pinpoint the location of a plane when we have all this technology out there that would make it easier to not only find a plane that is in crisis, but take over the plane from a ground-base when the plane is being threatened?

Easy To Adapt To Existing Technology

Wouldn’t it be easier to use the technology that is already out there to its full potential instead of depending on a very dated system to explain why and where this plane went into crisis? It is as simple as having a camera in the cockpit and in different locations of the plane that sends live feed back to the ground in real-time. You can make them almost invisible to the naked eye, so that if the plane is compromised, the cameras are still rolling. The idea that  you can fly a drone over an ocean, and pinpoint a target should be motivation to get the ball rolling on using similar technology in commercial aircrafts. I do not understand why it hasn’t been looked into further after it took two years to find the black box when the Air France flight crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. Applying this simple technology could save hundreds of lives. It could mean the difference between a terrorist threat and an actual act of terror. It boggles my  mind why airports are asking you to basically strip naked before you are even allowed to enter the terminal, but once you have boarded the  plane, all other means of logical security have gone out the window. I  have come to the personal conclusion that it is all about the bottom line. It would cost too much. The equipment needing to be installed in each plane would cost millions in itself. Apparently people’s  lives are just not worth that much. This is an outrage to me. I do not  understand how people can make up petition after petition to get silly things done, such as, deport Justin Bieber, but when it comes to something that could really make a difference in the world as we know it, people are quiet. I do not get it, why are people not outraged that in 2014, we are literally losing an airplane!

With the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370, it is no surprise that terrorism was the very first card being played to explain it. Very few people understand that pilots are under a lot of stress and are not able to take any medication for it. Most medications that help with common mental illness, such as depression, are strictly prohibited. I know this because someone very close to me was prescribed a very common medication for depression and lost his pilots license for that reason alone. There is a list of prohibited medications as long as your arm, that pilots are unable to use in some  of their most vulnerable times. These people are choosing between their own mental well-being and their livelihood. It’s a very unfair predicament to be in. With that being said, who is to say the pilot didn’t decided to just check out and crash the plane himself? You know what would answer that question? Live video-feed to the ground. If that were the case, or if the plane was being compromised, someone on the ground could have taken the plane over and flown the passengers to safety. But here we sit, waiting to find a needle in a haystack, which we call the black box.

2 Responses to "Are the solutions to tracking a plane already at hand?"

  1. Keith Vanderee   April 10, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Malaysia Air and several other airlines have not opted for installing advanced satellite technology in their aircraft to avoid cost. Radar and radio equipment is just as ancient as the first jet engine ever installed, creating radar jig saw puzzles many times, and radios failing to communicate and relayed via other planes is proximity. A very poor excuse for a reason that “plane crashes are very few. Fact is that human lives are at stake for the sake of spending money. Profit and competition in the industry comes lives are regarded as a monopoly.

    • christine wieringa   April 10, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      I agree. I wanted to start a real conversation about solutions, and ideas and ways we can prevent things like this from happening. I want my voice to be a start, and to have other people to keep adding to it so that eventually we can find something that can potentially save lives.

      I appreciate your input and thanks for taking the time to read my rant to the world lol