Quiet Flight

The mystery over the whereabouts of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 is a very serious and tragic matter. That the 777 was equipped with sophisticated tracking devices and could still disappear confounds me.

Let’s assume the pilots turned off the transponder. This is a serious question: Why are the transponders manually operable? Is there any value to a commercial pilot or navigator being able to “go silent?”

Perhaps there is, but I don’t see it.


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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow