What tracking technology is inside your average airplane? - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

What tracking technology is inside your average airplane?

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BEAVER -

After a six day search for the missing Malaysian Boeing 777 turns up almost nothing... we wanted to know  - what all technology is inside your average airplane to track it while it's flying?

We took a look inside a relatively small plane at Albatross Air Incorporated in Beaver.
And comparing this plane to the missing Boeing 777... It's hard to even imagine the amount of advanced technology it has.

Aside from two channels of radio communication inside this aircraft... There's also a device called the transponder that communicates with codes, called squawking.

"Most of the time everything rely's just off of communication, which there are two in here radio one and radio two so if you lose one there is another... But if it gets beyond that control you can squawk," said Maintenance Foreman Joe Smith.

A squawk is just a series of letters and numbers that sends a direct signal from the plane to air-traffic control.  And besides a MASSIVE power failure... Smith said there's absolutely no reason to just mysteriously lose signal.

"To lose the signal on the transponder someone has got to turn that off. Because we've got two," said Smith.

Smith said if a plane gets out of range for radio signal, that transponder is one of your only life-lines to control.

"They lost the signal off the transponder and once you do that you're just a ghost ship nobody knows your there," said Smith.

But there is one last call for help, located outside the plane.

There's also a device on the tail called the Emergency Locator Transmitter which sends a signal back if the plane were to crash.

Which leads many to believe the missing Malaysian plane could have come down safe somewhere on land.