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Jet-deployable breadcrumbs

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Small lead breadcrumbs, painted fluorescent green, dropped every 100m by commercial airliners.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 13 2014

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       But the jet was lost over the Pacific Ocean.
rcarty, Mar 13 2014
  

       //But the jet was lost over the Pacific Ocean.//   

       I'd heard it was the English Channel. But no matter - that's why the breadcrumbs are lead. You don't want them floating on the surface getting drifted all over the place.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 13 2014
  

       Along the routes of major airways, pretty soon you're going to be knee deep in them, which won't help.   

       String. Huge roll of hairy sisal string, attached to tailplane. Plane goes missing - just follow the string*.   

       *If the plane was in a holding pattern for a while, it may be easier to just look around for a huge ravelled mass of string with bits of plane poking out here and there.
8th of 7, Mar 13 2014
  

       Yes, I considered string. Or probably nylon monofilament. The problem would be entanglement in those areas where planes congregate.   

       However, it would enable the Red Arrows to do some precision macramé work.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 13 2014
  

       Not lead, please. There is already too much in the environment (shotgun pellets), increasing the toxicity of things.   

       Also, you want them to be VERY small. Imagine being the unlucky person whose head one of these pellets hits, after falling from 10,000 meters of altitude.
Vernon, Mar 13 2014
  

       // String. Huge roll of hairy sisal string, attached to tailplane. Plane goes missing - just follow the string*   

       Agreed. Good lord I agreed with his Borgnessm what is the world coming to?   

       Alternatively bungee cable, so in the event of engine failure, it would automatically sproinge back the airport.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 13 2014
  
      
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