March 22: Thoughts for the Day

I heard a news story yesterday on NPR, describing how satellite “pings” from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 were used to infer the jet’s position at specific points in time.  Listening to the explanation of how time-stamps of the pings, coupled with knowledge of the precise position of the satellite at each moment in time, and use of geometric equations made me wish I’d applied myself more during math classes.  Mathematics is such an astonishingly powerful tool, but one I’ve never learned to use properly.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to March 22: Thoughts for the Day

  1. Trish says:

    What you say is true, Juan. I’ve been following this story closely. This may sound callous, in consideration of how many innocence souls that simply boarded a plane, but I’m more interested as to the who (pilots?) and why factor at this point. The French airlines that went down in 2009, and found in 2011 was different. There was communication. Six failure reports (FLR) and 19 warnings (WRN) were transmitted. The messages resulted from equipment failure data, captured by a built-in system for testing and reporting, and cockpit warnings also posted to ACARS. None of this occurred with the Malaysia flight, we seem to appear a deliberately shut down of communication, and redirected its flight pattern. There is the intrigue for me!

  2. No doubt you’re right, Juan, about the assumption by many people that radar covers the world. The lack of radar information about the plane of any consequence is what made the inferences about its position using “pings” and global positioning satellites and the geometric calculations associated with it so interesting to me. But, even with the inferred locations, no one know where the flight went after it’s last known location was calculated. I suspect it smashed into the ocean, as well; and looking for it is akin to the needle in the haystack.

  3. juan says:

    I’m amazed at how media has twisted this incident.

    We can’t hardly know where this plane crashed or landed. The globe is not entirely covered by radar – or sonar, for that matter. There are more times when “we don’t know” than when “we know.”

    And so I have no problem understanding this so called “mystery.”

    I was in a Squadron during my Navy days — in the Bermuda Triangle. In fact, I was with VP-23, a surveillance Bravo-type plane that searched the ocean for submarines. In ’78 or sometime there about, one of our squadron’s planes went down in the Atlantic.

    People have tendency to think that planes go down like in the movies — sliding into the ocean.
    In reality, they don’t!

    They more often “hit” the water, and when they do, it’s like smashing into a concrete wall — because that’s the way ocean is when you go crashing down at high speeds and from way up high. Ocean is not soft. Ocean is as hard as concrete!

    When a plane hits the ocean, it explodes — and not necessarily a fiery burst, either! That’s Hollywood talking, if you think that.

    I lost two close friends from that plane crash: AW1 Hasslebacher and LtJG. Schwarstein. God rest their souls in heaven!

    The wreckage wasn’t discovered for days — because we couldn’t locate it. Can you imagine scanning the Atlantic ocean for wreckage? And — what wreckage that was discovered was small bits of plane-fiberglass and so forth — tiny pieces — that would float.

    When a plane goes into the ocean, it slams heavy!

    We tend to think we are globally connected through radar. NOT SO! Our five oceans on the planet are huge: Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Southern. The Indian Ocean is the largest! There are points in any of the oceans (including the Atlantic) where radar does not reach; hence, there are points in any plane’s sail when they go “invisible,” and where the only contact is through radio. HELLO! We are not the 24th century yet, no matter the propaganda of how great we are in terms of technology.

    If the plane crashed, then wreckage will come forth — though it may be years, and likely as some bit of trash landing on an island’s beach.

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