[time-nuts] Aircraft ping timing

Jim Lux jimlux at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 22 08:04:44 EDT 2014

On 3/21/14 8:52 PM, nuts wrote:
> On Thu, 20 Mar 2014 14:42:42 -0400
> Joe Leikhim <jleikhim at leikhim.com> wrote:
>> I just red somewhere that the last "ping" was the only one recorded
>> by Inmarsat system, Pings up to that point were presumed to occur due
>> to known reporting intervals. So there is no "track".
>> T
>> Maybe there is a market for Orbcomm asset tracking transmitters
>> mounted way up in an inaccessible location of the tail with own back
>> up battery supply.

Tracking isn't the problem.. Argos does nice tracks of birds, fish, etc, 
with 10 gram transmitters, etc.

It would be a trivial matter to have a GPS receiver feed into a inmarsat 
transmitter (like the ACARS data) and beacon every minute.  But it would 
cost money (big money)

It's more that there's no real economic need to do the tracking.  All 
the stuff they've been flailing around with provides information that 
sort of, sometimes, might be able to infer some kind of position, but 
was never intended to do that, and certainly not in real time.  Most of 
this stuff is intended for long term maintenance and monitoring (is the 
satellite in the right place.. are the engines due for service).

It's only after the fact (which is an unlikely occurrence..big planes 
are lost something like once every 5-10 years)  that people get all 
excited and want to do things.

Someone has to foot the bill for it, and *in the long run* there's not a 
lot of benefit.  Does the airline care how long it takes to find the 
wreck or plane?  Not really - it's more of a PR problem than anything 
else, and it's hard to put a dollar value on that.  In fact, once could 
cynically say that the airline (and aircraft mfr, and a lot of people 
involved) might rather the plane stay missing and never be found.  If 
it's found, then there's evidence that will be argued about in court, 
and used to attempt to assign responsibility. If it's not found, after a 
few months, the excitement will die down, the insurance company will pay 
off, etc.

It took months to find and recover the black box from the Air France flight

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