Has it occurred to anyone else, or is it just me, that the system of tracking aircraft seems to be somewhat archaic? I remember when the Air France plane came down between Rio de Janeiro and Paris they first knew something was up when, having been last seen by a Brazilian radar station, it failed to show up a few hours later on a radar situated somewhere on the African coast.
And now with this Malaysian plane not only don’t they know where it came down, but they aren’t even sure off which coast of the peninsular to carry out their search. Apparently they have a theory that the plane could have turned around and crashed somewhere in the Andaman Sea, in the entirely opposite direction to the way it was supposed to be heading.
I find this astonishing: in the age of GPS tracking and technology which can locate your iPhone anywhere in the world from your pocket, there is no system in place to monitor aircraft in real time? And they’re relying on various radars, controlled by different authorities, picking up the aircraft when they come into range with seemingly huge gaps in between, unable even to tell if a plane has turned around and flown the wrong way for an hour or two?
Like I say, I’m astonished.
There is an article here from the BBC explaining how aircraft are tracked, and yes, it appears to be somewhat outdated. I’m sure this incident will open up a debate over whether aircraft should have real-time tracking.