Innovation and the search for Malaysian Airlines MH370

Mar 18 Posted By Aj Khan | 0 comment

The search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has once again started a discussion about how to use innovative techniques to ensure that relevant data in greater amount is available for airliners while in flight.  Currently, the main sources of data for any investigation are the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), also known as the “black boxes”. However, as was obvious from the search for flight Air France 447 which went missing in 2009 over the South Atlantic Ocean, finding and recovering these black boxes can be a time consuming and extremely challenging exercise.  And even if the “Black Boxes” are recovered, there is no guarantee that all the data would be available for detailed analysis on these damaged boxes. 


A Canadian company, FLYHT Aerospace Solutions Ltd. has come up with an innovative approach for such an eventuality with an existing and simple solution i.e.  Data Streaming through Satellites.  This solution has been discussed and explored before.  However, the biggest challenge was the cost of streaming all the data in real time through satellites.  This would be very expensive and was not financially feasible so far.  Also, flying has become increasingly safe and certainly events such as the disappearance of MH370 are extremely rare.  Flyght’s approach to solving this problem is to define “triggers” which would start transmitting more flight data continuously rather than periodic maintenance data which is sent out under regular flying conditions.


Another innovative approach to trying to solve the mystery of flight MH370 is to use crowdsourcing to search for the missing Boeing 777 through Satellite data.  There are currently 2.3 million people who are using Tomnod to scan for any signs of the missing plane in thousands of square kilometres of the Indian Ocean.    You can join the search yourself at