General Question

pleiades's avatar

How does a Boeing jet simply "lose contact" with air traffic control without prior knowledge of its coordinates etc?

Asked by pleiades (6571points) March 7th, 2014

Shouldn’t it be fairly easy to locate a giant hunk of metal in the sky that was “set on a course and route” anyways?

Ok I don’t meant to come off as assumptious as I am. I’m genuinely curious and no means meant to be judgmental. I hope everyone on board the Malaysian airplane is safe and just lost contact due to electrical problems with contact only.

Here’s a story so you can catch up

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18 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It was an international flight, possibly hundreds of miles away from land and RADAR, over the an ocean without any other communications. It never showed up on Vietnam RADAR.

SwanSwanHummingbird's avatar

There are satellites that have to have some type of sensory data. There are too many random factors that would have to have occurred so that no type of sensor could locate the aircraft.

I think there might be an interesting story behind this.

pleiades's avatar

How sad the aircraft crashed into the ocean…

johnpowell's avatar

If you have a big plane that that is going 600MPH at 30K feet and it explodes over the ocean there will be debris over a large area. And most of the metal will sink. You are looking for seat cushions and bodies.

Cruiser's avatar

They know where it is supposed to be and they know a lot more than they are willing to publicly share with us at this moment. I say this because I was in a plane on 9/11 and 15 minutes into my 8:09 flight the pilot came on the intercom and told us that “due to terrorist activities the entire East coast air traffic control system was knocked out and we were ordered by the FAA and parent company to land immediately”

We all know now that was not true….they knew at that time that one plane had flown into the twin towers and also knew that 3 other flights were also deviating from their flight plans but withheld this information from us now confused passengers on the plane.

Sit tight we will get the real facts on this flight once they know for sure what happened to this flight.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The aircraft’s multiple versions of the EPIRB would have started to transmit location info as soon as: a G- level was exceeded, or water activated it, or pressure exceeded a certain value, or the cabin depressurized above a certain rate, etc. The units are self contained and are built to survive a crash or explosion. If the craft broke up at 35,000 ft, the transponders had over a minute to sent their signals before they hit the water. That is plenty of time to be received by the appropriate detectors.
The job now is to look for ‘survivors’ and then determine if this was an accident or the desperate act of a nutcase.

kritiper's avatar

It flies too low to be detected.

XOIIO's avatar

@Cruiser Damn, that must have been one heck of an announcement to hear.

Cruiser's avatar

@XOIIO Yes…yes it was. Trying to explain it to my kids sitting next to me was even more intense. :(

kritiper's avatar

One of the flight crew was a bomber and the cockpit explosion ended radio contact.

Pachy's avatar

You might find these two articles, here and here, quite enlightening.

kritiper's avatar

One of the flight crew went postal, locked the door to the passenger compartment, pulled a pistol, shot the flight crew, turned the auto pilot off, then shot himself.

kritiper's avatar

@pleiades Speculation. There is no debris as yet so the plane must’ve went down in one piece with no external damage. No radio calls. No transponder signals, like it was turned off. Whatever happened, happened quickly.

Cruiser's avatar

@kritiper A plane can only “went down” in one piece by safely landing either on land or ala Captain Sully, pulling off a small miracle landing on the Hudson River. That said I would also think that is easy to do and after all this time hard to hide. I do agree that whatever happened did so quickly.

kritiper's avatar

It could be found to have been caused by faulty instrument indications due to frozen/clogged Pitot tubes. If the pilots can’t react soon enough, the plane can stall and fall out of the sky. This doesn’t explain why there is no (as yet) found debris or why the transponder may have failed or been turned off. The plane could have been high jacked, the transponder turned off, flown below radar and landed somewhere within 7 hours. A stretch since there isn’t much within 7 hours of their last location. A water landing could explain why there is no large debris field, but the intact plane should be floating, even if slightly below the surface of the water.

kritiper's avatar

Depending on exactly where it is, any debris would be certainly absorbed by the gyre of The Indian Ocean if the plane was flown in that direction after lost contact. Just sayin’ as a possibility of why no debris has been found.

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