The days of lost aircraft should already be a thing of the past. On December 12, 2013, aircraft operating in Australia, Canada’s Hudson Bay, Hong Kong, Singapore, Fiji, Viet Nam and the Republic of China at or above FL290 were required to transmit ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast) Information. ADS-B Out is the next generation surveillance technology incorporating both air and ground aspects that provide Air Traffic Control with a more accurate picture of the airplane’s three-dimensional position in the enroute, terminal, approach and surface environments. The airplane provides the airborne portion in the form of a broadcast of its identification, position, altitude, velocity and other information.
The regulatory authorities race to embrace this new technology, imposing incredible costs to achieve such capability to themselves and the aviation community and aircraft owners and operators, yet stumble over the most basic problem this technology was designed to accomplish. It all doesn’t work if someone turns it off. This is a major fault of the system itself yet it could be resolved without re-tasking or programing satellites, installing expensive components in aircraft or involving thousands of people, ships and airplanes trying to pick up the pieces of a failed system simply because someone is allowed to turn it off.
By relocating the circuit breakers of the Transponders and ACARS systems to locations in the aircraft that are inaccessible in flight and installing a squat switch preventing the transponders from being turned off unless the aircraft is on the ground, we just might know where Malaysian MH 370 is located right now. In listening to all these so-called Aviation Experts expound on all the possibilities of the location of MH 370, it surprised me that none of these individuals even mentioned the next generation surveillance system of ADS-B Out.