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AirAsia QZ8501: Why GPS can't track missing aircraft

This article is more than 12 months old

Questions have been asked on why better technology has not been utilised to find missing aircraft since the disappearance of Malaysia Airways Flight MH370.

GPS systems found on modern aircraft - including AirAsia Flight QZ8501 - only function during normal flying.

Once an aircraft plummets out of the sky, this GPS system, known as ADS-B, will cease to function due to the extremity of the condition.

The same applies for GPS systems on mobile phones. 

"People have been comparing this situation to Apple’s Find My Phone app," John Walton, a British aviation journalist, tells TIME.

"But the app can’t tell you very much on the way down if your phone is thrown off a ten-story building."

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) have taken steps to propose the development of such necessary technology, according to Walton.

However, industry insiders believe that airlines would be better off investing into other advances rather than expensive GPS technology.

Source: TIME 

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