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Has this been tried in aviation history?

To make airplane sea crashes easier to find, can we use a colored liquid that is lighter than water, environmentally-friendly and safe, with fluorescent properties so that if an airplane crashes into the ocean, this liquid would leak out and float to the surface. During the day, the color is noticeable by satellite and by night it glows.

Does something like this exist? Can it be easily implemented? Has it already been attempted?

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closed as off-topic by abelenky, jklingler, kevin, fooot, Manu H Feb 16 '16 at 15:30

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about aviation, within the scope defined in the help center." – abelenky, jklingler, kevin, fooot, Manu H
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Rough approximation: How many gallons of this stuff would you need for it to not dissipate in minutes? How much would that weigh? How often to airplanes crash in the sea? The cost and complexity just doesn't even come close to the benefit. $\endgroup$ – abelenky Feb 16 '16 at 13:41
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    $\begingroup$ Good points. Those are questions that I was looking for to see if anyone has already tried it. I'm thinking in light of the Malaysia flight. $\endgroup$ – Joseph Shih Feb 16 '16 at 13:55
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    $\begingroup$ For spacecraft splashdowns (certainly Gemini, maybe others) they used a green marker dye, but I don't know how long it lasted. That would be a good thing to start with as they must have tested how long the traces were visible when choosing it. $\endgroup$ – Andy Feb 16 '16 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ prestodye.com/sea-dye-markers says "30 to 40 minutes", depending on sea conditions. Apparently there's a standard: MIL-S-17980D. $\endgroup$ – Roger Lipscombe Feb 16 '16 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ For spacecraft splashdowns, the recovery teams know where it is within a very small area. For lost aircraft, the area is huge. To spot the die, you would need a geostationary satellite or, redeploy a military one. You can't do that in time before the die has dissipated and, or, been spread by the currents. I really can't see any benefits to marking a crash site with die. $\endgroup$ – Simon Feb 16 '16 at 17:17
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Thanks to those who commented and provided answer-worthy comments. Thanks!

What is already in existance today:

@Andy commented:

For spacecraft splashdowns (certainly Gemini, maybe others) they used a green marker dye, but I don't know how long it lasted. That would be a good thing to start with as they must have tested how long the traces were visible when choosing it.

@RogerLipscombe commented:

prestodye.com/sea-dye-markers says "30 to 40 minutes", depending on sea conditions. Apparently there's a standard: MIL-S-17980D.

And for the challenges:

@abelenky commented:

Rough approximation: How many gallons of this stuff would you need for it to not dissipate in minutes? How much would that weigh? How often to airplanes crash in the sea? The cost and complexity just doesn't even come close to the benefit.

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