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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.
Wikipedia on current technology. [baconbrain, Sep 20 2010]
||I worked on some prototypes for some similar oceanagraphic tech thingys back in the the 80's. Engineering challenges abound.
||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?
||The idea is that the beacon is buoyant, but tethered to airframe by a line.
||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.
||why not make multiple blackboxes? Making 10 less
robust blackboxes might be cheaper and more
reliable than 1 really robust one.
||<pet peeve> Planes don't have port and starboard sides, infidel.
They have left and right. <pp>
||wot about flying boats then ?
||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.
||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.