posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 09:56 AM
There’s a lot of bogus and misleading information floating around about MAS 370. Here are some clarifications to some of the crazy media
statements. Just some facts for clarification (from someone who works in the business…)
1. Transponders CAN be turned off from the flight deck. There probably is a credible need to have a discussion about whether this should be possible,
but the facts are they can be turned off.
2. ACARS (the in-flight telemetry system) CANNOT be turned off from the flight deck. Turing ACARS off is quite difficult actually and involves
precise knowledge of the electronics (including location) on-board an aircraft (Boeing 777-200 in this case).
3. A transponder disappearing off of a regional ATC (Air Traffic Control) “Center” is a big deal, and generally causes a flurry of communication.
It is not simply ignored as if nothing happened. When a commercial airliner has filed a flight plan from point A to point B (especially an
International flight which will cross multiple countries), this flight plan is distributed to all of the regional ATC facilities which will handle the
flight along its route. This includes “Ground”, “Tower” “Departure Control”, (regional) “Center(s)”, “Approach Control”,
“Tower” and “Ground” (on the far end). If a transponder disappears from any one of those control elements before it is schedule to it causes
a flurry of radio calls to the aircraft and telephone calls between the respective control facilities. Again, it is NOT just simply ignored as some
irrelevant piece of information; people know about it, and those people DO something about it. They don’t just sit back in their chair and say
“Hmmmm….oh well!” and move on to something else.
4. Further to the point illustrated in item #3; aircraft transponders DO occasionally fail. I wouldn’t characterize this as a “regular”
occurrence, but it DOES happen periodically. Aircraft transponders are completely independent of radio communications. Just because one fails does
not mean the other fails. When a transponder does fail, the aircraft is notified immediately, via radio, by the ATC facility responsible for handling
that aircraft at that moment. When a transponder disappears off of secondary radar the ATC facility in control will contact the aircraft on the
designated control frequency. Upon notification the PIC (Pilot In Command) will designate someone to verify the operational status of the
transponder. If the transponder has indeed failed the PIC will then direct that the backup transponder be turned on. All commercial aircraft have
backup transponders (and a backup to the backup). If the aircraft is near a hand-off point (which MAS 370 was), and the aircraft fails to answer the
radio call, the ATC facility in control will contact either the last ATC facility in control, or the next ATC facility in line to control. All will
be discussing last known frequencies and attempting to contact the aircraft. Again, this doesn’t just get “blown off” as some casual
5. A commercial airliner cannot descend “40,000 feet” in one minute (60 seconds). It just CANNOT do this. Any report that says this happened is
simply wrong. A descent rate of 40,000fpm could not even be accomplished with a nose down powered dive. And, if anyone ever attempted such an act
the airframe would structurally fail and break apart well before this descent rate was ever approached. Simply put; it didn’t happen. The data, or
the source, is wrong. Period. (Note: high performance military aircraft might be able to accomplish such a feat, but commercial airliners
6. A commercial airliner, like a Boeing 777-200 (which MAS 370 was), reflects a significant primary radar signature. A “primary” radar signature
is different from ‘secondary’ radar which monitors the transponders (noted above). An aircraft the size of a 777 at cruising altitude can be
“seen” by primary radar from hundreds of miles away. A un-announced radar contact the size of a triple 7 would be a big deal to just about
anyone, especially one which was about to overfly your territory.
---TO BE CONTINUED---