I often get asked, "Bob, as an aviation expert slash cab driver, do you think they'll ever find the missing Malaysian airliner?" And I always reply, "Nope! Not a chance.” People do seem astonished that a big plane like that could just...you know...vanish into thin air (or thick water, if you believe the Malaysian government). We wonder, "Aren't there devices onboard the plane (like the passengers' personal cell phones) that could be tracked by...something...or someone…GPS, hello? Hmm. Good question. I don't know.
Here's what I think: Globally, the number of aircraft in the air at any given time is staggering. Nevertheless, I think the U.S. government does indeed have a way of tracking everything that is in the sky. Maybe there aren't people watching computer screens of global aviation activity 24/7 and monitoring every flight...but then again, who knows, maybe there are. In any event, I believe we *do* have the capability of tracking everything that's in the air. Don’t ask me the specifics of how, but come on…let’s not be naïve about what our government is or isn’t capable of doing. Edward Snowden, anyone? It’s 2014: The technology is obviously there.
But just as obviously the U.S. would want to keep the knowledge of this capability quiet. Why should ol’ Vladdy Putin know that we can in real time track every Aeroflot flight that takes off and crashes?
Furthermore, when MH370 disappeared I believe that the U.S. government reviewed its data of that area at that time. We probably knew there was no hope of survivors. Eventually, after waiting to see whether the Malaysians or Australians would figure it out on their own (which they obviously did not), the U.S government did...discreetly...tell the Malaysians where the plane went down. (Don’t you think it was strange that the Malaysian government suddenly had a very specific area they were focusing on and they never said why?)
We told them. We probably didn’t tell them how we knew; we probably just sent our ambassador to meet with the King of Malaysia, showed him a map and said, “Hey look, Yer Highness, it went down right here. We know this. I can’t tell you how we know this or I’d have to kill you. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out how you’re going to explain to the world how a 500 mph jet with no transponder overflew your country and didn’t send your defense forces into a tizzy.”
So the plane is a gone pecan. The extended, frantic, desperate search was in vain after a day or two of, “You know…umm…err…we’re not exactly sure *where* it went after the transponder got shut off.” I doubt they’ll ever find it…or more importantly find out why it crashed, which is what we really want to know, right?