I've just read this article about the disappearance of
QZ8501 and was surprised by the following statement:
Even with automated beacons (we can assume these weren’t used, weren’t on board or were intentionally disabled) and EPIRBs, losing an aircraft is actually not that difficult.
Now, is it?
I was under the impression that if Breitling can make a watch with a 406 MHz distress beacon, a €70 million aircraft must surely be equipped with an automated ELT that can start to transmit automatically and whose signal can be picked up by [LE/GE]OSAR.
As it seems, US-registered civil aircraft are not required to carry 406 MHz ELTs while aircraft registered in Australia must be equipped with ELTs that operate on both 406 and 121.5 MHz (see the same reference).
Can you shed some light upon what is the current state of ELT regulations, how ELTs fitted to commercial aircraft operate in case of distress (automatic/manual?), what are the relevant regulations for EU-registered aircraft, and how can one lose an aircraft when all these systems operate?
I don't buy that “losing an aircraft is actually not that difficult” if all available technology is used (even assuming little redundancy and an adequate price range).