When asked recently by Reuters about lessons learned from Malaysia Flight 370, I said, “It’s time to move the black box to ‘the cloud’ at least for essential limited flight recorder data for long flights over (areas) like the Indian Ocean, or other remote areas across large land masses like across the Brazilian Amazon.”
The Missing Malaysia 370 Mystery and the call for lessons learned prompts a story I reminiscence.
A hedge fund manager growing nervous about traveling by air went to see a statistician a day before her flight.
“Can you advise me,” she asked, “what are the odds against my boarding an aircraft, which a passenger predicted, as we boarded the plane, would go missing?”
“I cannot tell you until I have analyzed the available data,” the statistician replied. “Come back in a week or so.”
“Well,” the worried manager asked on her next visit, “do you have the answer?”
“Certainly,” the statistician said. “The odds are one in a trillion — that is a one followed by 12 zeros, provided you are flying in the American air traffic system, or a one followed by 18 zeros, provided you are flying in the British air traffic system — against your getting on an aircraft that would go missing.
“Those are some good odds,” the manager pondered, “but I am not sure they are good enough for me. You see, I travel a great deal.”
“Well, if you really want to be safe,” the statistician said, “take a good friend along with you. That way, the odds are one in a septillion — that is a one followed by 24 zeros, if you are flying American, or a one followed by 42 zeros, if you are flying British — against your boarding an aircraft that would go missing.”
Ironically, it is all about the ones and zeros, in particular, how many and where they reside.
A Mystery Defying the Odds
“This is the second accident in five years where we’ve had to wait to get the black boxes back,” said Mark Rosenker to Reuters, who is former chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, and a retired United States Air Force General.
According to Reuters, “Twenty-six nations have been searching for the missing Boeing Co 777 airliner over an area roughly the size of Australia for 12 days, but the massive hunt has found no trace of any wreckage thus far.”
I reported on Fox News, “This mystery is missing two things, the plane and patience … this is baffling to aviation experts, and the consequences are absolutely extraordinary. We’ve never seen anything like this in aviation safety and security history.”
International Deployment of Assets Involved Are Enormous
The most recent Malaysia 370 press briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister of Defense and Acting Minister of Transport, on March 20, 2014 (5:30 pm local, 5:30 am ET), focused on debris picked up by an Australian Satellite, as well as factual information about the substantial assets deployed in the international search for Malaysia Flight 370.
Of the 239 souls on board Malaysia Flight 370, the passenger manifest had 38 Malaysians, 7 Indonesians, 6 Australians, 5 Indian, 4 French, 3 Americans, 2 New Zealanders, 2 Canadians, 1 Austrian, 1 Dutch, 1 Italian, 1 Russian, and 153 Chinese citizens.
China has engaged a huge amount of resources, including 21 satellites, to search China’s land mass and coastal borders. Additionally, China remains on stand-by to send more ships and aircraft wherever they are needed. The search teams deployed are truly international in scope with Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Maldives, Nepal, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, England, and United States, all represented.
The search for Malaysia Flight 370 and its possible recovery has moved from the South China Sea and Straits of Malacca to the northern and southern corridor identified by satellite. The world’s largest deployment of assets comprises: 18 ships, 29 aircraft, and 6 ship-borne helicopters, altogether deployed between the northern and southern corridors.
All 18 ships dispatched (6 Malaysian, 1 Australian, 5 Chinese, and 6 Indonesian) are in the southern corridor.
Four aircraft (2 Malaysian, and one each from Japan and the United States) have been dispatched to the northern corridor; and additional 25 aircraft (2 Malaysian, 5 Australian, 3 Chinese, 4 Indonesian, 2 Indian, 4 Japanese, 1 New Zealand, 2 South Korean, 1 United Arab Emirates and 1 United States) have been called to the southern corridor.
Finally, the 6 helicopters deployed encompass 3 from Malaysia, plus 3 from China. Within the northern arc, 4 Cambodian helicopters are conducting search operations within Cambodian territory.
Altogether, this international aviation search is the largest in aviation history. As each new day arrives, the “search for a cause” of the “Missing Malaysia 370 Mystery” continues to intensify, as people from all walks of life wait in suspense and great anticipation of breaking news the missing Boeing 777-200 aircraft has been located.
Calls for a “Nexus of Forces” in Aviation Safety and Security
Retired United States Air Force General Mark Rosenker, I believe is absolutely correct in his Reuters statement about the ”need to bring the concept of operations for accident investigations and the technology of what is available up to the 21st century.”
Four ‘Big Mega-Technology’ trends emerging in airline business operations, cockpit aviation, navigation, and communications, air traffic control management, and international aviation safety and security in the next decade will be:
(1) Cloud Streaming of limited ‘Black Box’ data, ‘the cloud’ being just another meaning for a secured internet;
(2) “Big Data” airline business operational intelligence and data-analysis;
(3) Advanced Wireless and Mobile Cockpit Information Management Systems, Mobile Air Traffic Control Systems (at least on some limited tasks and operations inside the airport control towers), and Mobile Working Capital Management Systems for airline business operations, cash management, liquidity-analysis, and international financial market communications; and finally,
(4) Social Media-based crisis communications, family-care and mediation, crash investigations and recovery, and media relations management.
Essentially, these four mega-technological trends embody a simultaneous nexus of egalitarianism (The Cloud), markets (Big Data), communications (Wireless Mobile), and technology (Social Media) applicable to next-generation aircraft, flight supervision, engine performance data-analysis, and air traffic control management systems. This nexus is the social, technological, educational, economic, and political challenge presented to all of us, brought about by the “greatest aviation mystery in aviation security history,” as I reported on Fox News.
Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research firm, also calls this trend a “Nexus of Forces,” applicable to various industry segments today or next-generation product and services industries in the future. The airline industry, for instance, could be completely transformed through simultaneous and concurrent leverage of these four mega-technological trends, which is absolutely the essential next step for next-generation aviation safety and security beyond the missing Malaysia 370 mystery.
The nexus of forces can rapidly move today’s aviation safety and security concerns forward into the next decade. More importantly, airlines are already quietly behind the scenes, shaping more dynamic scenarios for their future strategies to quickly capture value from these four mega-technology trends. Otherwise, airlines will lose their competitive advantages for surviving working capital cash management and solvency in the future.
Plane or No Plane — Where Do We Go Forward From Here?
Aviation and navigation of safer skies is all about being in communication at all times. This requires making advances in an innovative nexus of mega-trends towards seven grand-challenge technologies of
(1) information sciences,
(3) wireless technologies,
(5) nanotechnologies (particularly in molecular computing, so we can model real-time the entire flight paths of thousands of aircraft across the world),
(6) cognition research of pilot thinking under stress and crises, and finally,
(7) mobility technologies for an aging passenger payload engaging next-generation aviation safety and security.
The Black Box data should not be lost in remote terrains or oceans, but rather should be secured and stored in ‘the cloud’.
“We need to dig deeper into the technical details of retrieval and storage of cloud data systems, as well as, observe how other industries and firms have transformed how they store and transmit data,” advises Peter Stewart, senior vice president for strategy and partnerships at PGi.
We need to figure out how much usable data stored inside aircraft black boxes is applicable to cloud streaming. In addition, how much black-box data generated during a flight or per flight-hour on average do we need in ‘the cloud’. Probably not all the flight management and engine performance data needs to be transmitted to ‘the cloud’. Moreover, there are ways to compress and transmit data, without having to virtually and digitally manage all the raw data stored in a black box.
Learn more at Partnership Possibilities for America, about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s ‘Black-Box’, including what’s possible about uploading ‘Black-Box’ data in real-time.
UPDATE — Read More at BBC News: Missing plane: How did a U.K. firm track the plane?
Ensuring Safer and Secure Skies in 21st Century Digital-Age Aviation
Global consumers of aviation are concerned about next generation aircraft and aviation, navigation, and communications, especially about ways to ensure international aviation safety and security.
Here is how we do it. We require three things: capital, technology, and competition.
This originally worked for Orville and Wilbur Wright in revolutionizing and reorganizing aviation at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903. Whereupon investing their last capital on critical design information about flight mechanics and technology from the United States’ Smithsonian Institution, these pioneering brothers, who were rather curious about bird flight, reorganized their flight mechanics notes into a bi-plane design to actually test flight stability and control. As a result, the Wright Brothers in 1903 revolutionized the course of aviation safety well into the 21st century.
The Boeing 777 is the world’s first digital-age aircraft. Essentially, it is a “flying laptop in the sky,” with 2.6 million lines of software in the plane’s avionics and cabin entertainment system, including over 600,000 lines of software that runs the Boeing 777’s Aircraft Information Management System.
This aircraft’s information technology encompasses flight and engine thrust management, aircraft maintenance and engine data monitoring, and flight condition sensing and data acquisition, including the ‘Black-Box’.
Boeing made a significant capital and technological investment in material science, systems engineering, aeronautical and structural engineering, and lean-aircraft manufacturing. As a competitive advantage, Boeing also allowed for customer choice in engine propulsion systems employed (among General Electric, Pratt and Whitney, or Rolls-Royce, to name a few). Boeing also provided customers flexibility in cabin features of transatlantic, transpacific, and transpolar air travel.
Boeing’s prime competitive advantage has been “to transport people and cargo safely and cost-effectively over intercontinental routes,” according to William Edward Boeing’s longstanding vision back in 1916. Capital, technology, and competition have thus worked for Boeing well into the next century in re-inventing the state of the art in aviation technology with the Boeing 777 certification on April 19, 1995.
“Besides all the talk of satellites, pings, transponders, circuit breakers, and so forth, what investigators also have on their side are basic scientific principles,” I said to The Washington Post. Likewise, capital, technology and competition will aid future generations in renewing international aviation safety and security well beyond March 8, 2014, when we lost contact with Malaysia Flight 370, which triggered “the greatest mystery in aviation security history.”
We see all at once it is about revolutionizing, reorganizing, re-inventing, and renewing international aviation safety and security. This is a call-to-action for implementation of the “Nexus of Forces” for Safer and Secure Skies in 21st Century Digital-Age Aviation.
As recently stated in my earlier post “Boeing 777 airplanes do not vanish or fall out of the sky” on LinkedIn.com, “This ongoing mystery is about how we globally aviate, navigate and communicate across safer and secure skies of international aviation. That is, safer skies over Asia, safer skies over Australia, safer skies over Africa, safer skies over Europe, and safer skies over The Americas.”
As we now think about the families around the world still worried about their loved ones on board Malaysia 370, the missing piece of information these families want most is to know where the plane is and what happened. This is the primary focus of the international search effort as well. A state-of-the-art digital-age transatlantic, transpacific, and transpolar flight monitoring practice, air traffic management system, and airline business operations, which simultaneously and concurrently:
(1) cloud streams from the ‘Black-Box’,
(2) handles “Big Data” and data-analysis,
(3) incorporates advanced wireless and mobile communications, and
(4) leverages social media, particularly for media relations and family-care, should be the norm in aviation design and flight capabilities going forward. This Nexus of Forces is the ‘tie-that-binds’ back to Retired United States Air Force General Mark Rosenker’s operational concept for accident investigations and the required technologies needed to complete such investigations in the future.
Of course, we are all praying for the grieving families during this tough time. Moreover, we are also thankful for the cooperation of the Malaysia 370 “search and rescue” and “search for a cause” international partners, as they continue their focus on finding the missing Boeing 777-200.
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