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Downed Plane Transponder

Tethered transponder for downed flights
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We've all seen it before. A flight goes down in the ocean and there's a search for the wreckage. Unfortunately, because of the way planes are built, everything splinters and shatters, and either sinks to the bottom, or remains floating but drifts off way before any search party arrives. This idea is for a simple tethered device to deploy upon inundation of a piece of the plane. Let's put it into the tail of th wing. Once the tail detects that it is indeed sinking, a small charge is set off, releasing a bouy and a long, thin line (4 miles?) that allows it to mark exactly where the plane hit the water. Days of expensive searching and tension could be avoided if they knew exactly where to dive to find the wreckage.
twitch, Sep 20 2010

Distress radiobeacon http://en.wikipedia...istress_radiobeacon
Wikipedia on current technology. [baconbrain, Sep 20 2010]

[link]






       I worked on some prototypes for some similar oceanagraphic tech thingys back in the the 80's. Engineering challenges abound.
normzone, Sep 21 2010
  

       What [norm] said.
8th of 7, Sep 21 2010
  

       Sounds like a good idea to me.   

       But also, is there no transponder which will give a signal when underwater, which is detectable from the surface? Maybe even a simple sonar thing that goes ping ping ping, loudly enough to be detectable by a hydrophone from a few tens of miles away?
MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 21 2010
  

       The idea is that the beacon is buoyant, but tethered to airframe by a line.
8th of 7, Sep 21 2010
  

       Contrary to popular belief, the flight recording devices are often damaged beyond use so they don't tell crash investigators what happened.   

       Take TWA 800, for instance. The recorders got everything that happened up to about 15,000 ft then stopped recording when a catastrophic explosion in an inner starboard wing tank took everything apart. The recorder boxes were ripped open and inundated, damaging the data already recorded though they were easy to recover, being in only 100ft of water.   

       Making them buoyant implies less robust construction and therefore even less value to investigators, I fear.
infidel, Sep 21 2010
  

       why not make multiple blackboxes? Making 10 less robust blackboxes might be cheaper and more reliable than 1 really robust one.
twitch, Nov 23 2010
  

       <pet peeve> Planes don't have port and starboard sides, infidel. They have left and right. <pp>
21 Quest, Nov 23 2010
  

       wot about flying boats then ?
FlyingToaster, Nov 23 2010
  

       Actually, port and starboard are widely used in reference to planes. The exception (I believe) is the navy, whose planes have "left" and "right", to avoid confusion with the "port" and "starboard" of the aircraft carrier.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 23 2010
  

       By an interesting coincidence, I recently visted the bridge of an aircraft carrier,and was informed that the terms "right" and "left" are used, there.
mouseposture, Nov 23 2010
  

       Shirly modern tech can make black boxes pretty cheap and tough? I mean, to record all the data on the aircraft you'll need.... oooh, a truncated RaspberryPi and a 32gig micro SD card? Thick rubber box, hide 1 under each seat if you like...
bs0u0155, Jul 10 2013
  

       ...and run a huge cable trunk to it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 12 2013
  

       //...and run a huge cable trunk to it//   

       Or say some kind of TCP connection to every seat. Bun for [bs0u155]'s anno. These could also be cryptoamagraphically secure using big keys and such, so no danger inherent in the odd one getting stolen. What's more, to add buoyancy to the units, partial vacuum could be harvested at cruising height.   

       Of course, the meagre power for Raspberries might just trip the balance and cause planes to catch fire on the runway ... again.
bigsleep, Jul 12 2013
  

       Alternatively, the first hacker on board might use the system to fly to Disneyland. Where there's a connection...
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 12 2013
  
      
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