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Malaysia Airlines: "The search will not be abandoned before finding the aircraft..."

Interview with Maurice Georges, Director of Air Trafic Control (ATC) at the DGAC

Four days after losing track of flight MH370 of Malaysia Airlines, no one knows what happened to the Boeing 227 carrying 777 passengers between Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The search is ongoing. And, according to Maurice Georges, Director of ATC at the DGAC it will continue until the aircraft is located and light has been shed on the event.

Rédigé par Editorial Board translated by Joséphine Foucher le Mardi 11 Mars 2014

The search field to try to find the Boeing B777 of Malaysia Airlines was extended Tuesday March 11, 2014 - DR: © canaryluc -
The search field to try to find the Boeing B777 of Malaysia Airlines was extended Tuesday March 11, 2014 - DR: © canaryluc - - In your opinion, how can a plane completely disappear from the radar screens, as was the case with Malaysia Airlines flight MH370?

Maurice Georges: "I have no information on this event as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is not involved or associated with the investigation. I have only generalities to say on the subject.

Several reasons may explain the loss of contact with a plane: equipment failure, an accident... All assumptions already mentioned in the press are probable.

But we must be careful when we talk of "radar screens." This is a phrase that is often imaged and general. But it is not necessarily true for the operating systems used in the concerned area.

Sometimes, there is a radar system. But sometimes there isn’t one and control is done through points of communication and regular monitoring. In addition, when there is air traffic control for a flyover far offshore, it is common that there is no radar control." – A loss of contact with aircrafts, does that happen frequently?

MG: "It may happen regularly that there are interruptions of contact with a plane, due to interference with radio or radar. But in general the system is such that, there are redundancies and regular reports that enable contact to be quickly resumed.

This is why when we are faced with a loss of contact, progressive alert phases are launched: first a phase of uncertainty, then the alert and finally a call to search.

It is only after some time that we are able to confirm having lost contact with an aircraft. Sometimes, there is even uncertainty about when or where the device was lost."

The B777 is an extremely safe aircraft – Are planes equipped with systems making it easy to spot them?

MG: "In general, aircraft are equipped with black boxes that emit radio signals to locate the device.

But they must be looked for and that is not easy depending on the area." - The B777 has the reputation of being a reliable aircraft...

M.G.: "It is even more than reputation.

This is an extremely safe aircraft that displays excellent safety performance.

In the case of flight MH370, I do not know the exact age of the aircraft but I think it was not old. And expected to be normally maintained by a major and reputable company.” - What is shocking in the case of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight is that it has not been located in the last 4 days. Do you think that the search can take a long time?

MG: "I do not feel that elements of the investigation are secretive. And besides, the authorities are not hiding their difficulties in locating the aircraft…

What is certain is that the search will not be abandoned until the aircraft has been found.

Experience shows that for this type of event, it truly takes until the end of the process to really understand what happened. It may take weeks, months, or even years.

But the investigation procedures, from the judicial bodies to search techniques are always carried out until the end. For flight AF447, we went to a third phase of research to find the Air France plane.

It is important for the memory of the potential victims, their families, but also for the technical memory to improve aviation safety."

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