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Editor's note: Early in my career I was editor-in-chief of PSA Magazine, a monthly inflight publication of Pacific Southwest Airlines. During my seven years at that post I met a wide range of airline personnel from a broad range of airlines. I witnessed the dedication of the airline industry to serve and protect the consumer. As they must, they strive for zero error. But because man has not yet evolved to sprout wings and fly on his own, we must depend on machines. These flying machines that we trust with our lives are technically close to perfection. However, we all know given the vagaries of human and mother natures planes fail. Crews fail. Weather causes failure or in very rare instances planes disappear entirely. My hat is off to the world airline industry (yes, it is in their economic interest) for quickly rooting out the causes of flight disasters and with praiseworthy determination fix what is wrong. No human can foresee disasters, but the airline industry wastes little time in correcting its flaws. World airline leaders work as a team when solutions need to be met. That is what makes them special. The upcoming PBS program previewed below delves into new technology that claims if implemented will make missing planes a thing of the past. --Tom Shess, editor Pillar to Post blog magazine.
NOVA INVESTIGATES NEW TECHNOLOGY--The disappearance of Flight MH370 stunned the world. In an era of smart-phones and GPS, how could a 270-ton passenger jet vanish into thin air? It was a rude awakening for all of us, showing just how far we are from the world we imagined we lived in—in which every move is monitored all the time. NOVA will air “Why Planes Vanish” 9 pm Wednesday, October 8 on PBS. NOVA tells the inside story of the search for Flight MH370 and meets the key players from all corners of the globe who have spent months searching for the lost plane. In the search for answers, we'll reveal how today's planes must fly through vast radar "blind spots," and investigate new technologies that could allow ground stations and satellites to track planes automatically, without pilot intervention, even in remote areas with no radar coverage. What will it take to guarantee that in the future, nothing will ever be 'lost' again?