Control over Flight Transponders

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by MX, Mar 14, 2014.  |  Print Topic

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Should commercial pilots lose access to flight transponders?

  1. Yes

    87.5%
  2. No

    12.5%
  1. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    I understood from several reports about the missing MH-370, that flight transponders may be disabled in flight by pilots/crew. However, it's never done as there's no operational or logical need to do so. Is this indeed the case -- i.e. can anyone think of a possible reason why anyone on board should have the capability to disable flight transponders? If none, then should they be treated the same as black boxes?
     
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  2. Mapsmith
    Original Member

    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Did see an "expert" on TV saying that often the transponder will be disabled while on the Ground to eliminate the clutter from several dozen planes at one time. Imagine all the transponders at DFW or ATL at once. Could be a "pinging" mess.

    Although, I am not a commercial pilot, have never played one on TV, and did not spend the night at Holiday Inn. That is just what the TV "expert" had to say. (I believe it was on Anderson Cooper on CNN, and was a direct response from Anderson Cooper on why the transponder would be able to be disabled.
     
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  3. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    There are instances where control might be necessary though. Pilots regularly switch transponders from Mode A (squawk) to Mode C (altitude) to assist with separation, and to Mode S when flying in controlled space or to prevent over-interrogation in busy areas where there are many radar sources.

    Obviously pilots need to manually interface with a transponder to enter the squawk code provided by ATC prior to take-off, but that signal should probably be locked out once the aircraft is airborne -- or even if you switch the mode, there should be no way to disable it completely or it can be re-enabled from the ground. I mean, in this day and age when you can remotely find your iPhone you should be able to find a plane, no? :)
     
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  4. euromannn
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    euromannn Gold Member

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    Good explanation. You can't fool proof an aircraft when a pilot intentionally wants to crash!
     
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  5. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    It's certainly a well deserved jab at Boeing for leaving the transponder vulnerability open for so long.
     
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