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Wingtip Transponder

Impossible to disable during flight
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Suspicion is growing that the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was deliberately diverted by people who knew how to tamper with the transponders which report the plane's status and position to the ground.

Would it be a good idea to require that all commercial airliners have a self-contained battery powered transponder mounted on one of the wingtips, so that it can't be disabled without landing the plane?

Wrongfellow, Mar 15 2014

We are addressing the problem and will be back shortly http://louisvilleky...-plane-monster2.jpg
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Mar 15 2014]

I cant find the part so I made a bypass. https://www.youtube...watch?v=lJdfLi2gvqY
Where's it flying to? Larnaca. It will make it... [pashute, Mar 18 2014]

I"m not certain how much of an improvement it would be... https://www.google....ce.html%3B700%3B465
[normzone, Mar 19 2014]

[link]






       Until the first time it shorts out, and the pilots can't cut the circuit, resulting in a fire burning down the wing.
MechE, Mar 15 2014
  

       Instead of self-powered, integrate it with ignition circuits. Any tampering disables the airplane before it even takes off.
Alterother, Mar 15 2014
  

       I thought they usually put them in the empannage, or am I thinking of something else.
FlyingToaster, Mar 15 2014
  

       Put one on _each_ wingtip.   

       If the distance between them changes, you know it's not going well.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 15 2014
  

       ^.
FlyingToaster, Mar 15 2014
  

       There are good reasons why pilots can turn transponders on and off. If you want better airline tracking, it should be a satellite based tracker that simply sends position updates every 5 minutes.
DIYMatt, Mar 15 2014
  

       nobody's bothered to activate gps on the passengers' cellphones yet I imagine.
FlyingToaster, Mar 15 2014
  

       //nobody's bothered to activate gps on the passengers' cellphones yet I imagine.//   

       Yes, I expect somebody has activated gps on the passengers' cellphones, so that the passengers, if alive, will know where they are.   

       Sadly, unless they have crashed fairly close to one of the many cellphone masts in the Indian ocean, it will be of no assistance in finding them.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 15 2014
  

       // self-contained battery powered transponder //   

       Maybe they could use those Lithium-ion batteries from the 787 ... then you could find the plane by just following the smoke trail.
8th of 7, Mar 15 2014
  

       //Sadly, unless they have crashed fairly close to one of the many cellphone masks in the Indian ocean, it will be of no assistance in finding them.   

       Which suggests subsidizing shark-fishing boats. They can remove the fin surgically and replace it with a prosthetic containing a mobile phone repeater. Over time it should be possible to provide fair coverage. I feel a post coming on.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 15 2014
  

       // a satellite based tracker that simply sends position updates every 5 minutes //   

       They could piggyback the technology on that used by big Class-A North American railroads, which I believe* is itself piggybacked on something else.   

       * believe because I don't know, but I can't imagine a railroad spending money on anything new when they can pick up something cheap on the used market.
Alterother, Mar 18 2014
  

       Black boxes are well protected. By a tough outer casing AND MILES of red tape. It would be impressive if they brought them up to 2004 level of tech. Nowadays, it would be possible to record the whole flight video, audio, flight parameters, on 100 distributed microSD cards and beam the whole lot up by satellite in real time all the time. It's not even expensive.
bs0u0155, Mar 19 2014
  

       So, who gets to climb out onto the wing when ATC asks you to squawk/ident? If you are NORDO (7600), hijacked (7500) or declaring an emergency (7700) there would be no way to change codes. [-]
Klaatu, Mar 19 2014
  

       //there would be no way to change codes//   

       I'm not suggesting this should be the _only_ transponder on the plane.   

       //The reason the pilots are given such a convenient way to turn the self- reporting maintenance system off is for inflight troubleshooting.//   

       Sure, let 'em troubleshoot all the standard systems, however they like. This one wouldn't come into play until the "forensic analysis" stage, so there wouldn't be this source of confusion.   

       //...completely self contained which is always off UNLESS a discrepancy is detected...//   

       How does this detection of discrepancies relate to this system's completely self-containedness?   

       //Or leave the current system in place as is and add one that is triggered thusly.//   

       Give the man a dollar!
Wrongfellow, Mar 19 2014
  

       I don't know... gay terrorists could threaten to turn our homes and important landmarks bright purple...
RayfordSteele, Mar 20 2014
  
      
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