Technological development continually exceeds our wildest imagination. There is probably no better example of that than modern commercial aircraft; If your surgeon said to you, “with this procedure, the success rate is 99%”, you would be saying, “where do I sign?” Apply a 99% success rate, to the 28,000 daily commercial flights in the US, and you would get something like, 280 failures per day!
With so many moving parts, variable and wild weather, an industry with some of the strongest competitive pressures – the reliability is completely staggering. How is it then, that the most sophisticated commercial jet ever built can simply drop off the radar without site or reference?
It appears that the only tamper proof device on board these sophisticated aircraft is a black box (1st designed in 1957 – in Melbourne!) with a limited battery; and, there is only one of those.
Technology for the streaming of real time data to follow planes has been available for some time, unfortunately this has never been mandated by authorities and was probably avoided by the industry because of cost.
It may sound strange, but do we really need the “black box”? With the advent of cloud technology and live streaming wouldn’t the flight data be simply a click away and safely stored in the cloud? No need for million dollar searches, no battery issues….
If cost was an issue, couldn’t real time streaming commence immediately there is a departure from f pre- set conditions (ie flight path, engine KPI’s etc)? It seems remarkable to me that possibly the most sophisticated machines ever built are reliant on methodology originating from 1957 (even if it was Australian!).
It doesn’t matter if it’s a football team, a business team or the most sophisticated machine ever built, it’s only as good as the weakest bit!
Image Source: Australian Government, Department of Defence – Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)