I just read this article . From the article at the very end -

ESA claims that the new tech, which may eventually require an Iris terminal/transponder to be attached to every plane in European airspace, provides "4D" flightpath control. Prosaically, this means it provides four coordinates, locating each aircraft according to latitude, longitude, altitude, and time—which ESA says "will enable precise tracking of flights and more efficient management of traffic."

While it would be known in time whether it truly works as advertised or needs kinks to be worked out, something like this should have made events like 'disappearances of MH370' much more rarer as rescuers would have much more precise locations to search in case of any untoward incident.

The simplest way to think of it is like the radio and Uber cabs which constantly ping back to the home location so they know where the drivers are at all times. Just an expansion of the idea at a somewhat ridiculous height :)

Do people think it should improve the safety of the aircraft or it would be another tech. that is just as liable to fail as others ? Hopefully people keep an eye on this technology and where it goes. If anybody knows any similar technology, feel free to share as well.

  • $\begingroup$ MH370 probably had this technology or similar tracking technology on board. The problem is that the pilot can pretty easily turn it off... Basically in the United States, this is what is going to be implemented with the ADS-B and NexGen mandate in 2020, although most commercial traffic already comply. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Dec 21, 2016 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Your Uber analogy is a bit flawed, since aircraft already have all sorts of tracking devices (technically referred to as surveillance equipment). New ATM systems that use 4D trajectory calculations do not so much gather new information, they mainly use and process the information in a different way compared to conventional systems. $\endgroup$ Dec 21, 2016 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ Your question is not clear. Are you asking about Iris specifically or "constantly ping back location"? This system would have done absolutely zero to stop MH370 crashing into the sea with the loss of all souls onboard. $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Dec 21, 2016 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ @J.Hougaard What are ATM systems ? $\endgroup$
    – shirish
    Dec 21, 2016 at 18:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ As far as I understand your idea, you missed one point: Tracking (usually) needs a signal to be sent by the aircraft, which is not a problem, they do it already, many signals. But the signal must be received by a station in range. While this is not a problem over land, it's indeed a problem over water unless you use a satellite as the receiving station. This was not the case for MH370 because this as a cost and is not mandatory. But this is going to be mandatory soon as part of the modernization of ATC. Is Uber capable of tracking over water? No because they use the mobile telephone service. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Dec 21, 2016 at 19:10


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