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originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: southbeach
This despite what Zaphod, who is an expert in these matters, had said about radar coverage?
Here is the thing. From what I understand of the make up of the tracking systems for aircraft, you have two main ways that an aircraft gets tracked through airspace. Over land and coastline, there is radar coverage, and that directly tracks the object of the aircraft itself. Then you have the reporting systems aboard the aircraft, radio links with the mainland of whatever air traffic control centre is nearest to the aircraft.
There is NOT any way for a satellite to track every aircrafts physical position, without the aircraft reporting it. It is just not possible. Unless you had one satellite for every aircraft in the air, all dedicated to doing NOTHING but tracking that one aircraft, there would be no way to do it. So contrary to your belief that nothing happens on the face of the Earth that goes unnoticed, actually, any plane that spends a significant amount of time over open sea is basically like Schrödinger's cat, until it gets into radar range of land based systems again, and their range is limited, very limited indeed.