Amelia Earhart, Buck Rogers & Bottom Lines

Mar 25, 2014 | 0 comments

Buck Rogers

Buck Rogers

In the two weeks since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished, apparently without a trace, the world seems to have been plunged into a fantasy/sci-fi vortex populated by both real and imaginary unexplained phenomena.  Even with our modern-day technology that goes far beyond the capabilities of Buck Rogers and his two-way radio, the experts are flailing around at a loss for answers.  Or so it seems.

It’s interesting to me that some of the first reports to surface involved conspiracy theories – from aliens being involved to rumors of a ‘New Bermuda Triangle.’  Amelia Earhart’s 1937 disappearance has been dredged up, of course, along with countless references to our unimaginable advances in aviation since that occurrence seventy-seven years ago.

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart

While we worry about our privacy and our personal vulnerability to being tracked by satellites and cell phones and surveillance cameras and computer hackers, we apparently still lack the capability of finding an object that is almost the size of a football field.  We are repeatedly told that the ocean is “vast,” that the weather is “uncooperative,” and that every possible avenue is being followed.  We are also told that the bottom line, once again, is money.

That is not to say that the current search is being directly hampered by financial concerns (although that would not surprise me.)  It’s a broader picture than that.  The Journal of Transportation Security‘s editor-in-chief Andrew Thomas had this to say about the limitations involving modern-day aviation advancements: There are lots of reasons why they haven’t changed, but the major one is cost. The next-generation technology would cost $70 to $80 billion in the U.S.

In Malaysia

Vigil in China

It’s the “next generation technology” reference that bothers me.  If is considering delivering our orders by drones as we speak, I’m sure the technology is here. And for a nation that budgeted $711 billion for defense last year, $80 billion for aviation advancements doesn’t seem all that much.  Surely it’s a matter of priorities.  I don’t know why mine are always out of step with the powers that be…


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