'Aviation archeologists' on the history of lost planes

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by GLENN FARLEY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley

KING5.com

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 14 at 6:44 PM

TUKWILA, Wash. ---  The Museum of Flight this weekend will feature experts in the field of finding and recovering lost aircraft - some lost for a long time. The museum calls it "aviation archaeology," although some of the recovery experts chafe at the term.

But they do say finding, restoring and displaying the aircraft of the past - and why those technology advancements are important steps to the present - is why they do it.

Among the museum's collection is a restored Lockheed Electra 10-E, parked in the corner of the museum's great gallery. It’s a near exact copy of the plane that Amelia Earhart was aboard when she disappeared over the southwestern Pacific Ocean during the final legs of an around the world flight in 1937.

But Earhart didn't have what the giant Malaysia Airlines 777 has - lots of technology aboard. And nothing like the satellites and radar scanning technologies now looking for Malaysia 370. 

"When a plane crashes, all kinds of bells and whistles are going off,” said Taras Lyssenko of A&T Recovery.  He finds historic planes and recovers their wreckage.  Much of his work is for the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola Florida.

"That aircraft is sending off signals. Right?  It's got a bunch of electronic beacons or signals, it's squawking. It's making noise," Lyssenko added.

It's the presence of those satellite data-link signals aboard the Malaysian jet, even at idle, that are telling investigators the plane continued to fly.  Malaysian military leaders believe their radar tracked the plane as it suddenly turned away from its route into China and traveled west.

Confidence in that data has grown enough, refocusing the main search area to two areas in the Indian Ocean.

 
 

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