Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Boeing role in missing Malaysia Airlines crash not yet fully reported ?

Will Malaysia Airlines replace transponder, other communication, and tracking instruments aboard its fleet of Boeing aircraft, like how Air France replaced airspeed instruments aboard its fleet of Airbus aircraft following the crash of AF447 ?

As hopes ebb and flow over the intensive mobilization to locate and retrieve the Boeing 777-200’s data and voice recorders of the missing Malaysian flight, the authorities taking part in the coordinated international effort to find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are having to bear the expense of a "needle in the hay stack" search and recovery effort that just should not be.

The report in The New York Times indicated that authorities and companies participating in the search will likely bear their own costs for the search, but it is a shame when there appears to be negligence involved in the horrible fate that befell Flight MH370.

After news first broke that the flight went missing, the Malaysian government was reluctant to share information, because they feared exposing their "weak radar and satellite systems," The New York Times reported at the time, alluding to a shared fear by American aviation officials, who didn't want any political blowback directed their way over American failures, chiefly from aircraft manufacturer Boeing, that may have contributed to the crash. Boeing, an undisputed leader in aviation, has taken a backseat in the search for Flight MH370, an aircraft it manufactured. Will U.S. and other aviation authorities focus on the spectacular manufacturing failure that appears to have allowed people aboard the missing flight to deactivate transponders and other tracking equipment, as speculation suggests, exposing a lingering risk of vulnerability aboard aircraft to criminality over a decade since the Sept. 11 attacks ? There seems to be a lot of hostility directed at the Malaysian government over its troubled search efforts, but nobody questions Boeing's faulty manufacturing that may have had a contributory negligent role in the flight's disappearance.

Five years ago, the prior record for the costliest aviation search and recovery effort ever undertaken was set following the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447 several hundred miles off of the coast of Brazil, The New York Times reported, adding that the cost of that two-year effort, for the remains of an Airbus A330, reached about €115 million, before noting that "... the search for Flight 370 is already far more complicated, and may have already topped that total. Some of the ships involved cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a day apiece to use, and some of the aircraft being used can cost thousands of dollars an hour each to operate, officials say."

Misreadings by airspeed instrumentation aboard the Flight AF447 Airbus was ruled to have contributed to that accident, and Air France ultimately "replaced the speed sensors, known as Pitots, which were manufactured by French company Thales, on its Airbus planes with a newer model after the crash," The Daily Mail reported. No word yet if Malaysia Airlines plans to audit, investigate, and ultimately replace transponder and other communication and tracking equipment on other Boeing aircraft in its fleet.

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