Dumber and Dumbest — Where is Flight MH370?

Listening to various government and airline officials back and fill about how large the search area is and how difficult it is to find a lost Boeing 777 airliner the size of a Wal*Mart store, we get another lesson in how abjectly boneheaded governments and large corporations can be. Why in Hell do airliners have no tracking device that cannot be disabled from inside the plane?

This is not a new thing. We just have to look at the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Iraq War to see high government officials at the peak of idiocy. There were actually generals telling President Kennedy that we should initiate a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union, as if this were a computer game. It was mere luck that the President was not too high on painkillers that day. Unfortunately, wiser heads did not prevail 11 years ago, when we launched the misnamed Operation Iraqi Liberation. Therefore, bureaucratic brainlessness comes as no surprise.

What takes this out of the realm of ordinary mental vacuity is that repeated airline highjackings have been a fact of life since the 1970s, but no government has required airlines to attach a permanent, continuously-signaling tracker to their planes. Compared to the price of a plane, the cost of such a device would be a pittance and would be an important back-up to the Acars system that can be turned off by the pilot or an intruder into the cockpit. If the United States required a tracker on all commercial planes entering our airspace, the device would quickly become universal.

Now we wait to learn that the wreckage of Malaysia Flight MH370 has been found in the Indian Ocean, or, worse yet, that it has crashed, with a massive payload of explosives, into a major metropolitan center. We also wait longer and longer in airport terminals to be irradiated, felt up, shaken down, insulted, and disrespected, while we wait, shoeless, to be cleared to board a plane that is no safer for the indignity inflicted on us.

A universally recognized, continuously sending tracker on commercial flights would add an additional layer of protection from military mistaken identity. There has been an appalling toll of passenger flights intentionally shot down by military action. In some cases, the planes were claimed to have been mistaken for hostile military aircraft. The Israelis downed Libyan Air Lines Flight 114 in 1973. The Soviets shot down Korean Airlines Flight KAL902 in 1978 and KAL007 in 1983. The United States shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in the Persian Gulf in 1988. If the planes could have been positively identified as passenger flights, those tragedies might have been averted.


John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
©2014 John B. Payne, Attorney

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