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Aeroplanes

Discussion in 'General Technology Discussions' started by 0-markymark-0, 13 Mar 2014.

  1. 0-markymark-0

    0-markymark-0 Über Geek

    Surely with the advance in communications, flight black boxes can now be replaced with data streamers that stream live all the information securely rather than scouring the ocean trying to find a pinging black box that has a life of apparently 4-6 weeks?

    Wouldn't that mean a plane could be tracked in real time and the cause discovered far quicker?
     
  2. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Unless of course you face one of the following problems...

    1) Bad weather break communication.
    2) The communication system fails.
    3) The communication system is sabotaged.
    4) The data is faked.
    5) You are out of range of the receiver...
    6) Malicious people use the data to attack the aircraft.
    The idea of the black box is that it records everything locally in a very hard to get to place that is hard to tamper with and robust enough to survive impact. It's been a proven way to recover data about the last few minutes of flight.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_447

    The aircraft departed from Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport on 31 May 2009 at 19:29 local time
    The aircraft's cockpit voice recorder was found late on 2 May 2011
    By 16 May, all the data from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder had been downloaded

    So not sure why you think the box only has a life of 4-6 weeks. The Air France one was recovered 2 years later and the recovered all the data. It's just a matter of time till they find this latest one, searching the oceans is never easy.
     
  3. 0-markymark-0

    0-markymark-0 Über Geek

    I get all of that and not suggesting they replace it, but why not stream it at the same time? From what I understand, the data will be intact for a long time but the pinging lasts for 4-6 weeks. After that, the only way to find it is by finding the wreckage.
     
  4. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Well the 4-6 weeks for the ping seems reasonable, if you ain't found it within that window you probably do need to find the plane another way.

    As for streaming the telemetric data and I presume the voice recordings too, I guess it would not be technically that hard from some locations.... There are a few problems though. Firstly the voice recorder, as I understand it records all the audio in the cabin, not just radio communications. Now some pilots may complain if their in flight discussions are transmitted in real time over the airwaves.

    Apart from that there could still be the problem of being too remote. After all if a plane comes down over land it's typically found within hours. The only problem seems to be when it goes down outside of normal radar contact. I guess to build a system of streaming the data you would first need to have reliable data communication on all remote over-sea flight paths. Which I guess is very, very expensive. So, although it's not nice for the relatives, the cheapest way is still to recover the black box. After all, if you can't find the plane there is a good chance that everyone is dead so it don't really matter if it take days, week or hours to find the box.
     
    0-markymark-0 likes this.
  5. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Well it seem from the latest reports that this is not a 'normal indecent'. Reports seem to say that both the normal communication channel and the emergency backup were turned off separately at roughly the same time. Then there are reports that the aeroplane pings a satellite and it could have flown under a cloak of darkness for up to 5 hours :eek:

    Will certainly be an interesting story till we find out what actually happened and I guess that there may be a more tamper proof way of tracking airlines after this.
     
  6. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
  7. 0-markymark-0

    0-markymark-0 Über Geek

    So given the security of the location if the black box then streaming might have helped in this?

    This story is most odd and my guess is the complete truth will never be known.
     
  8. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    The conspiracy goes it was a cloaking device that blocks all radio traffic. Streaming would also get blocked.
     
  9. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
  10. Shaun

    Shaun Über Geek

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-26723980

    Chris McLaughlin suggests planes could send SMS type messages every 15 mins or so to relay data such as speed, altitude, and position (assume GPS data) and do so at a very cheap rate - so why isn't this happening already?

    Do plane operators already get this data via a different system (presumably one that can be turned off by the crew)? I wonder if they'll consider making it tamper-proof now?
     
    classic33 likes this.
  11. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Considering this plane is supposed to have diverted off course and been picked up by radar off course then traditional monitoring would have been enough to detect something was not right.

    Hard to believe that you could fly a plane like that on a non scheduled path and not set off alarm bells. The right software should have alerted then or at least a radar operator might have noticed. Then you scramble planes to intercept.

    Though as I said before, visual satellite tracking is the most fool proof.

    What I don't get is. Can't you send subs down there to scan the bottom? Wouldn't they pick up the distress signal? They are fast and immune to the surface weather.
     
  12. classic33

    classic33 Über Geek

    One American airline did have live transmission of what was going on in the cockpit. But removed it after complaints about privacy concerns were raised by flight crews.
    People on the ground, not connected with the industry could listen in. And over a 7 hour flight, not all that is said will be work related.
     
  13. nigel-yz1

    nigel-yz1 Well-Known Geek

    A few things bug me about this:
    They identify an area, find 122 bits in it, declare everyone died there, fly a few planes around. So far so good. Where are the ships sent to look at these 122 bits?
    So it takes a while to get there. Ok, no problem. Nope, they've decided on a new search area. Everyone go there instead.
    The navy is here with their towed array doofer. Hot on the trail? Nope. Sat in the harbour giving freebie tours to Beeb journalists and giving press conferences.
    If time is of the essence then set sail with the bloody thing!

    I just get the feeling there's a lot of flapping about, but something is missing.
    Could it be it's sat on dry land somewhere with lots of family ransom demands being filmed?
     
  14. nigel-yz1

    nigel-yz1 Well-Known Geek

    I may be wrong, but isn't the recorder actually a wire recorder? It's bleeping 'find me!' thingy only lasts so long, but the wire on the drum will last years and survive loads of abuse.
     
  15. Shaun

    Shaun Über Geek

    Yes - such a the Air France flight 447 recorder, found two years after the crash: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/31/airplane-black-box-flight-recorders-investigators

    One thing you ought to know about black box recorders is that they are not black. They are a shade called international orange (not dissimilar, apparently, to the colour of San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge), which, apart from anything else, makes them easier to spot. The recorders, now nearly 60 years old, were originally invented by Australian aeronautical scientist Dr David Warren. These days, black boxes use solid-state memory boards that can track more than 700 parameters. They consist of two pieces of equipment: the flight data recorder (FDR), which records airspeed, altitude, vertical acceleration and fuel flow; and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR). Investigators have become so skilled at listening to CVRs that they can infer the speed the plane was travelling and engine rpm and can sometimes pinpoint the cause of a crash from the very sounds the plane was making before it crashed.
     
    classic33 likes this.
  16. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/15/aeromobil-flying-car-in-2017/

    I actually think we may see these sometime soon. I believe the main problem with any flying vehicle is it's not nice if they decide to drop out of the sky on your home. Heaven forbid you would be anywhere near a multi vehicle pile up!

    How many drivers have you seen on the road you would not like to see flying around over your head?

    So the obvious answer is take the human out of the equation. We are at the dawn of the self drive land based vehicles. It's even easier in the air as there are less obstacles. The main issues would be things like what happens if they fail, can they come to a safe stop if there is a problem, what maintenance checks do you need and how hard is it to hack them?

    Once we are fairly sure we understand these things on the land I think we will see it roll out into the skies too.

    There are other issues with a massive amount of small flying crafts but you have to think we will have to resort to something like this sooner or later.
     
  17. 0-markymark-0

    0-markymark-0 Über Geek

    As you say, it's a nonsense. Driverless cars will revolutionise travel at a fraction of the cost of flying cars. Driving bumper to bumper with the idiot behind the wheel will massively reduce congestion. The only thing I don;t know is rather than people driving to work and parking the car in the expensive car park, they may then send the car all over the place (pick up your shopping using click n collect?) and we'll end up with empty cars all over the place.
     
    classic33 likes this.
  18. beanz

    beanz Staff Member Staff Member

    I've always thought... suppose you had a vehicle with wheels and an engine or two to make it go along, and then you put wings on it so it could - I dunno - plane through the air, you could call it an air-o-plane. Wonder if it would catch on?
     
  19. 0-markymark-0

    0-markymark-0 Über Geek

    Trouble is, you can't drive those around so well.
     
  20. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    I've been on one of these things you call an aeroplane. I had to drive to the airport, catch one of these incredible machines that took me hundreds of miles to another airport where I then had to drive to my destination... The flying car is probably not going to ever replace mass transit systems like that...

    Indeed driving on the ground will always be more fuel effective and automated cars will make travel quicker and safer.

    I still think there will be a market for automated transport of small numbers of people over medium length distances. You are probably not going to fly to your local supermarket a mile or two away as driving on the ground would not take much longer and you are not going to get a small flying car taking you across the Atlantic Ocean.

    Then again I live on the south coast of the UK and if I wanted to head due south to France it would involve either half an hour driving and a 4 hour sea crossing or a few hours driving and a flight from the nearest mainline airports or about 4 hours driving and a 40 minute crossing..... Or with a flying car less than a 30 minute trip.

    Alternatively if you wanted to get from south London to north London it would be quicker to fly than even the most efficiently managed automated road system.

    These vehicles I think would mainly be used in certain areas, hence why they are called flying cars and not planes. They can also run as cars on normal roads. I'd presume something like... Run on roads in the town/city centres and when you get to a mayor road / motorway you can get up enough speed to take off if needed. Which could be used to fly the car between motorways or maybe even replace the need to build a bridge somewhere as cars can just fly over the gorge. Maybe even eliminate the need to have motorways between cities in the future.

    Obviously one of the big problems would be the energy needed to fly the vehicle and how practical it would be fly rather than to drive but I'm sure we will crack the energy problem one day.