05
Feb
Australia has led the search for missing aircraft MH370, but new rules may make finding missing planes easier. ABC News: Marcus Alborn

All commercial flights worldwide could soon send out an automated signal every minute in times of distress to help rescuers find downed aircraft more easily.

The new measures are in response to last year’s disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in what remains one of history’s great aviation mysteries.

The aircraft, with 239 people on board, has never been found, nearly a year on.

The new tracking rules, prepared by an industry working group, would be phased in by the end of this year, said the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a United Nations agency.

The initiative would be presented to delegates from all 191 ICAO member states at a meeting in Montreal next week, and “a final proposal” would be submitted to the ICAO Council within six months for ratification.

The measure has unanimous support among ICAO member states, a source said, meaning it was virtually assured to be brought in.

Currently, radar can track a plane, however coverage fades when aircraft are out at sea or the plane is flying below a certain altitude.

Under the new rules, airlines would be required to track their aircraft using a system that gives their location at 15-minute intervals.

If an “abnormal event” is detected, including a change in direction or deviation from a flight path, the signal rate hastens to every minute.

Airlines would be responsible for sharing the data with authorities in cases of emergencies…

Read more by AFP/Reuters & ABC News 2 February 2015

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