My Thoughts on Flight 17 and Aviation Tracking in General

I do not normally update these, but being in the aviation industry myself, I just can’t help reading at how misinformed some people can be.

I read about people blaming MAS for taking that route, to cut cost and save time.

I read about people blaming saying that the plane were flying over restricted airspace.

I read about people blaming the pilots for flying over troubled areas.

Do you have the faintest idea how aviation tracking works?

Here’s a clue. Pilots rely on ground controllers to give them directions, which means the heading and the altitude which the pilots then turn knobs on the flight panels and auto pilot trims it and fly. Pilots only control the plane on the stick during landing and take offs.

Sounds contradicting with what you watch in the movies? Yes, because that is a movie, it’s Hollywood.

Does pilot have a say as to where they want to fly, or how high they want to fly? No. Local authorities, in this case, the Ukraine Air Traffic Controller gave them the heading and the altitude of 330. Singapore Airlines were less than 50 km behind Flight 17, on the exact same route at 310.

Were they flying in restricted airspace? NoTAM did not have any indications of that altitude being restricted. That restriction were only in place after the shooting of Flight 17.

Flight planning requires the involvement if multiple parties, including foreign authority. One could not change flight routes without flight planning officers, involvement of local and foreign aviation authorities.

Air Traffic Control will have to direct the aircraft over and around restricted airspace by giving the pilots headings and altitude. In fact, why no one pointing fingers at Ukraine aviation authority, yet?

When Flight 370 went missing from the radar, everyone was questioning why is Subang the one responding, and not KLIA. KLIA is the control tower, they are only controlling who is landing and who is taking off. These usually happens when the aircraft is a few hundred feet from the ground.

Once the aircraft is at cruising altitude, the Area Control Center (ACC) takes over giving them the heading and altitude. As soon as the aircraft enters foreign airspace, the foreign ACC takes over and this happens several times during flights that past through multiple countries.

The ACC uses radar to track aircraft within the area, and separates them to a safe distance and altitude. Pilots cannot change flight path once en route without authority of the traffic control in the countries being overflown. Flight paths are also planned near to airports and minimal time over ocean in case of emergency.

Over the ocean, there is no radar tracking. Pilots are only flying based on GPS navigation. When aircraft enters a country’s airspace, that is when the ACC will notice if the plane is missing if there were no calls. Radio transmission have a distance too.

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