Articles tagged with: Malaysia Airlines 370

07
January
2015

Why We Don’t Need Real-Time Flight Tracking

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Why We Don’t Need Real-Time Flight Tracking

"Of the three recent disasters, none would have changed" with real-time black boxes, says Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst with the Teal Group. "You're just talking about faster closure."

Instead of real-time data tracking, it makes more sense to have the capability to stream all that data in real-time and use it only when something's amiss. If an anomaly—cabin depressurization, say, or an engine malfunction—occurs, air traffic control, carriers and the aircraft manufacturer could begin streaming data from that specific aircraft. This is something that existing communications technology could easily support, were such a system developed, would it would provide much more information to investigators during and immediately after an in-flight incident.

"That capability is currently under development," says Mary I. McMillan, vice president for aviation safety and operational services with satellite communications provider Inmarsat.

As with many things in commercial aviation, the technology is not the biggest hurdle. What data to stream, when to stream it, and how to stream it would be debated among the many constituents involved—airlines, pilots, governmental regulators and the like. Everyone from pilots unions, the International Civil Aviation Organization, national regulatory agencies like the FAA as well as carriers would all need to sign off, and we'd need spectrum dedicated to the communication system. There was years of debate over the privacy implications of cockpit voice recorders before they were adopted, and any discussion of real-time data monitoring would undoubtedly fuel similar debate and discussion.

"There's a lot of sensitivity around information like that," McMillan says. "I wouldn't pretend that it's easy to mandate black box in the cloud."

All that aside, even if the technology to stream flight data recorder data in real-time were developed, there's no guarantee carriers would adopt it without a regulatory mandate. Various regulatory agencies have what's called a Minimum Equipment List, or MEL. According to McMillan, some planes may legally operate without on-board weather radar, for example. Some planes might not even be GPS-equipped, especially if they're flying over land where getting lost is unlikely. Given the rarity of plane crashes, and the fact the black box data recorders are almost invariably recovered, it is unlikely that streaming black box technology would be implemented on a wide scale anytime soon.

"This is nothing new. Every time something bad happens, people come up with an untenable idea for a technological fix or an equipment fix," says Aboulafia. "These are three tragic anecdotes, but the plural of anecdote is not data."

Media Outlet: Wired Tags AirAsia 8501 | Malaysia Airlines 370

11
April
2014

Malaysian Airline Boeing 777 Ranks High in Safety

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Malaysian Airline Boeing 777 Ranks High in Safety

The Boeing 777, boasting two giant engines and a 19 year history is well sought after by airline companies because it has the capability of flying very long distances, clocking flight times of 16 hours. Though the 777 does have a great safety record, it has had some fatal incidents. In July 2013 an Asiana Airlines had a bad landing in San Francisco killing 2 passengers on board. Another incident occurred in 2008 when British Airways also had a harsh landing at London’s Heathrow Airport. Richard Aboulafia of Teal Group comments that the Boeing 777 has one of the safest flight records in jetliner history.

Media Outlet: Guardian Liberty Voice Tags 777 | Malaysia Airlines 370

05
April
2014

Malaysia plane hunt focuses on report of a signal

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Malaysia plane hunt focuses on report of a signal

Aviation expert Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group in Fairfax, Va., called it “potentially good news” but warned that, even if the flight data recorder and cockpit data recorder are found, they might not contain all the information needed to unravel the mystery. The cockpit recorder, for example, keeps only the last two hours of audio, which “could be two hours of silence,” he said.

Media Outlet: Pittsburgh Post Gazette Tags Malaysia Airlines 370

02
April
2014

Report: Technology in the search for Flight 370

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Report: Technology in the search for Flight 370

“Technology can track a flight, but assuming malice was involved, it wouldn’t change the outcome of this disaster. Only better human intelligence and screening can do that,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation consultant with the Teal Group.

Media Outlet: Manila Bulletin Tags Malaysia Airlines 370

29
March
2014

Las limitaciones de la tecnología

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Las limitaciones de la tecnología

“La tecnología puede rastrear un vuelo, pero supongo que alguien hizo algo y no pudimos impedir el desastre”, expresó Richard Aboulafia, consultor de temas de aviación del Teal Group. “Solo mejores servicios de inteligencia y de vigilancia pueden evitarlo”.

Media Outlet: Diario El Día Tags Malaysia Airlines 370

28
March
2014

Technology Hindered, Helped Search For Flight 370

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Technology Hindered, Helped Search For Flight 370

In this day and age of constant connection, the public has been surprised to learn that radar and satellites aren’t actually all-seeing, cellphone locations aren’t always traceable and key data about the plane is only recorded, not transmitted in real time to the ground. And onboard tracking systems can be disabled manually — one theory holds that someone in the cockpit intentionally diverted the plane and disguised their actions. “Technology can track a flight, but assuming malice was involved, it wouldn’t change the outcome of this disaster. Only better human intelligence and screening can do that,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation consultant with the Teal Group.

Media Outlet: NPR Tags Malaysia Airlines 370

25
March
2014

How Malaysia Flight 370 Could Shape Flight-Tracking Technology

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

How Malaysia Flight 370 Could Shape Flight-Tracking Technology

An airline like American Airlines has about 900 planes, making the upgrade cost nearly $50 million. "It's not unaffordable, but some airlines wouldn't be happy about the bill," he said. "For some other airlines, it would just be ruinous." Richard Aboulafia, aviation analyst at Fairfax, Va.-based Teal Group Corp., said there are other costs to consider as well. "Hardware isn't expensive, but bandwidth is," he said. "You're increasing the amount of bandwidth needed to transmit this data." Both Aboulafia and Trimble are unsure whether MH370 will inspire a wave of reformation and innovation in airplane tracking technology. "Maybe there will be some change," Aboulafia said, "but there isn't a lot of historical precedent for it. There are very few examples in the past of how a crash can change a system."

Media Outlet: ABC News Tags Flight Tracking Technology | Malaysia Airlines 370

24
March
2014

Four Strategies to Prevent Another Missing Malaysia Plane Case

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Four Strategies to Prevent Another Missing Malaysia Plane Case

Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace consultant with the Teal Group, also based in Virginia, says no changes should be made to aircraft designs in response to the MH370 case. "The experience of the past few decades shows that bad guys can find a way around technical solutions if they are on a plane, so the most cost-effective use of resources is to keep them off of jets," Aboulafia said. "Authorities need to improve human intelligence with better vetting of flight crews, better sharing of information about passengers, and better safeguards against counterfeit passports, even if they were not a problem with the missing plane," he added.

Media Outlet: Voice of America Tags Malaysia Airlines 370

24
March
2014

Anguished Kin of Passengers Decry Malaysia ‘Wasting’ Search Time

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Anguished Kin of Passengers Decry Malaysia ‘Wasting’ Search Time

Najib’s pronouncement may have been intended to counter criticism that Malaysian officials have been too reticent to share details of the search, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with Teal Group, a consultant based in Fairfax, Virginia. “It’s not much closure, but it’s better than none at this point,” Aboulafia said in a telephone interview.

Media Outlet: Bloomberg News Tags Malaysia Airlines 370

20
March
2014

Assessing the theories about Flight 370′s disappearance

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Assessing the theories about Flight 370′s disappearance

‘‘It suggests something else horrific is being planned, because no one is claiming credit or saying ’Ha ha, you have to deal with us.’ There have been no demands for the 200-something hostages on the aircraft,’’ Hamlin said. Although this line of thinking has spawned a great deal of speculation, there is no hard evidence for it. Investigators have not indicated that anyone on the plane has any affiliation with a terrorist organisation or showed signs of a murderous mind-set. Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst, said he doubts Hamlin’s scenario of the Boeing 777 being used to deliver a bomb. ‘‘Jeez Louise, why mess around with a triple-7? Go and rent yourself a Cessna,’’ Aboulafia said.

Media Outlet: Sydney Morning Herald Tags Malaysia Airlines 370

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