I’ve been asking around as to why all the experts are saying that we only have 17 days to find the “black boxes” from missing Malaysia Airline Flight 370.
After all, they didn’t find the black boxes from Air France Flight 447, which went down in the Atlantic Ocean on a flight from Rio to Paris in 2009, for a good two years after the accident.
So why is it any different now? Why don’t they have two years to find Flight 370’s black boxes?
The answer is simple. They spotted the wreckage from the Air France flight within one day. So they knew where to look.
With Malaysia Airlines, we still don’t know where the plane even went down. And the longer it takes to find wreckage, the further away from the original crash site that wreckage will be, and thus the more difficult it will be to backtrack the original position of the crash, taking into account the currents and the time that has passed. If it goes on too long, we may not find where the plane went down.
But still, even if you know the general vicinity of an ocean crash, how do you find a black box when the automatic ping fails after 30 days? Mini unmanned submarines, or “autonomous underwater vehicles.”
These torpedo-shaped AUV’s crawl the ocean bottom, for up to 22 hours at a time, at speeds up to 6mph, using use sonar to search for debris.
And they found it – not too far from where they found the wreckage on the surface.
But they needed to know where to look, where to have the AUVs crawl. And to do that, they either need to hear a ping, or find some wreckage, fast. Yes, you can still put the AUV down anywhere, and have it crawl 6mph, but you’ve got a much better chance of finding the wreckage on a very large planet if you know where to search in the first place.
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More on the search for Air France Flight 370 using the Remus 6000: