Poll: Will Missing Malaysian Airliner Be Found?

Given that the batteries in the black box won’t last much longer, that searchers only have a vague idea where it might be I think it doubtful they will find it. While there have been some satellite sitings of possible debris, there is a lot of junk floating on the ocean.

I’m assuming there’s an implied “soon” to the question. If you mean “ever” – well, that’s a long time and I’d change my answer.

Voted no. They may find a few chunks of floating debris in the coming weeks, and some of it might wash up on beaches in the next few months or years - but with only the vaguest idea of what large area the plane may have crashed in, and extremely deep water in that area, I don’t believe they will ever find the main field of sunken debris on the bottom of the ocean, and I don’t believe they will ever find the CVR/FDR.

This is a far different situation from AF447, for which the had a very good idea of where it went down, and were on the scene very quickly to recover floating debris, confirming to within a relatively narrow area where the ocean-floor debris field would be found. Even then, it took two years of searching before they were able to recover the CVR/FDR.

Eventually, yes, they’ll find it. Hopefully, within the next few years, but not soon.

Unless they find some better clue where to look, not anytime soon. How long can the black box survive under water?

[Voice of Nathan Arizona]
Its out there somewhere. Something leads to it. And anyone can find it knows the difference between a lead and a hole in the ground!
[/Voice of Nathan Arizona]

I don’t want to be flip, but this sums it up for me. One thing will lead to another thing … which will lead to finding the plane.

The black box recordings are stored on magnetic tape, so battery life isn’t an issue. Those things are practically indestructible, so even if the plane’s discovered ten years from now (which I’m afraid may be how long it will take…) they should be recoverable.

However, the tapes only store 30 minutes of data, so if the plane flew much longer than that, we may never know precisely what happened. :frowning:

The concern about the batteries is for the ping mechanism. Once the recorder goes silent, it becomes that much more difficult to find it.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m inclined to go with “No” on this poll. It is certainly possible that some breakthrough clue is going to make all the difference, or that some accumulation of future clues will lead to some eventual discovery… but I certainly think the odds are less than 50% that the plane is found. Probably less than 10%, honestly.

Just to update you on a few items –

Black boxes are moving to solid state data storage rather than tape, and while only 30 minutes of records is required having two hours worth of data storage (or even more) is becoming much more common. While there are probably still some older boxes out there they are gradually being replaced with the newer, more advanced models.

In other words, they’re even more durable than they used to be.

As I called in the main thread:

Not for 20-30 years, when a hiker/fisherman/treasure hunter (metal detector on a beach grade) comes across something odd, which, after a great deal of time and effort, is tied to the “doomed airliner of 2014”.

At this point, there is no more meat in the wreckage - fish need to eat, too. Eventually, all that will be left are boots and heavy shoes. That is the one thing all old shipwrecks have in common - a field of footware. The Bismarck has bunches because the sailors wore heavy boots. Titanic, not so much - civilian footwear doesn’t hold up as well.

And, since the CVR and FDR (“black boxes”) hold only the last xx (was 30) minutes, if it did fly for hours after whatever happened, all they will record is the last xx minutes - of an airplane flying and then not flying. The record of turns, altitude changes, etc. being suggested as happening between 01:00 and 02:00 will have rolled off the recordings.

Black boxes are two types: CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) and Data (flight parameters). At the current state of the art, the CVR will store from 30 minutes to 2 hours (soon, as a result of this accident, to be substantially increased, IMHO) and the data recorder stores many hours of flight parameters. They are independent. One, both, or none may be recovered or readable (but most are usually recovered and readable).

None of the currently state-of-the-art are magnetic-tape based, but magnetic tape is not immune to saltwater deterioration. Most are now memory-card (solid-state) based, also not immune to damage, but not instantly rendered unreadable under immersion, either.

The pinging mechanism serves as a locater beacon, and is independent from the data stored. The battery-powered locater beacon may never be heard or detected (too far, too late), but the data, once found, may be readable even if the beacon has died long ago, which was the case in the Air France incident.

Not within the next five years, no.

Probably not or at least not for a very long time. I think it may end up being one of those mysteries that is never solved.

I think it will be found, mostly likely by an AUV, just as with AF447.

IIRC, AUVs that found the Air France plane were from Woods Hole. Because so many passengers were from China, the government of China will decide to get into the search big time and will easily leapfrog the Woods Hole effort.

I voted “yes” in the sense that some pieces will be found, somewhere, sometime.

Yes, eventually.

Yes, it will.

The US Navy (which I surprised the talking heads on air haven’t mentioned) has hydrophones in many oceans throughout the world. While they may not the EXACT location of where the plane struck the water, they are probably responsible for the surprising trimming down of the search area in the past week. It’s almost certain that a nuclear submarine is in the area by now and it is assisting in the search.

The Navy’s resources, coupled with the civilian recovery vessels which will be drafted into the search by the Chinese government (who is probably not going want to look ineffective or impotent in this matter) will locate the plane within the next year or so.

Tightest poll we’ve had in ages! This one could come down to the wire.

I really wanted to answer “yes,” but as a geographer, I am aware of how big (and deep) the Indian Ocean is, and how scattered things can get there after a week or two. And the less we are able to find out from other means (forensics in the pilot’s house, etc.), the more likely it is to have been a mechanical problem or the like, the nature of which we’ll never know unless we find the right pieces in the ocean. Looking unlikely at this point, I’m sad to say. Could still happen, though.

I answered yes, eventually… not exactly sure what constitutes “finding” the plane, but I believe they will find at least a part of it eventually. “They” referring to any random person up to decades from now.

Well, if Courtney Love keeps looking maybe we’ll find it…

Kidding. But yes, I think it will be found eventually. Probably not complete bodies, probably not the whole plane, but some sort of evidence of where it landed. Or maybe searchers will get lucky and find it somewhere intact. In my entirely unprofessional opinion I think this will mostly be resolved within the next year or so. Hopefully sooner so families can have some closure.