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  • Not vetted for CNN

  • Click to view wsalopek's profile
    Posted April 10, 2014 by
    wsalopek
    Location
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

    More from wsalopek

    MH370 - Aircraft would NEVER leave altitude just because transponder fails

     
    In response to something Mary Shiavo said this morning...that MH370 would descend below "major traffic lanes" because it's transponder failed. I am a retired FAA Air Traffic Controller and I can tell you that that would NEVER happen.

    There are other ways controllers can keep track of aircraft and keep them separated without a transponder. One is by using the "primary" radar...the raw radar return of radio signals bounced off the aircraft itself, and another is by an aircraft giving a time estimate over a geographic point, or fix.

    But even without radio contact, a controller would still be able to use the last known estimate based on teh aircraft's flight plan, and if in doubt of that, would clear other aircraft away from a large area so as to give the aircraft without the transponder and radio, a wide berth.

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