Disappearance-Proof Airplanes

#Travel

Wed, Jan 7th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

After the disappearance of AirAsia Flight 8501, which crashed into the sea "without relaying any information about their last minutes or seconds of flight," the Washington Post looks at First Air, a Canadian airline serving the Arctic Circle that has a "nearly disappearance-proof" system on its planes.

That’s because of a six-pound tracking system, about the size of a hotel safe, installed in the planes’ electronics bays. When flights proceed normally, the system never snaps into action. But if something goes wrong — a sudden loss of altitude; an unexpected bank; engine vibrations — the system begins transmitting data to the ground, via satellite, every second. That six-pound box spits out reams of performance data, as well as the basics necessary for a search-and-rescue: coordinates, speed, and altitude.

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