It’s saddening to follow the news of another air disaster this year, especially when it was approaching a new year. Previous events had prompted many to suggest that the aviation industry and especially the aviation authorities do something about monitoring flights in real-time (i.e. continuous tracking of flights). If we had incorporated the real-time tracking system earlier, would 9/11 been possible to prevent? Could the crash sites of MH370 and QZ8501 been located quicker?
In my opinion, having a real-time tracking of flights would have allowed a speedy search and rescue missions. That would have been way better than having to search painstakingly and retrieve bodies, wreckage and the “black box”. In addition to having a system to track flights in real time, I think having the correct emergency kits on-board is also crucial, as suggested in this post (“How we can improve evacuation and rescue during plane crash”, 31 Dec 2014). Several suggestions such as having access to potable water and equipped with life-jackets tagged with radio-beacon (or radio transmitter) would be useful in cases where search and rescue might take several days.
Also, if the aircraft is designed such that when it crash-landed on water (either upside-down or not), a mechanism that increases the buoyancy time of the plane will be beneficial to allow sufficient time to evacuate all the passengers.
The provision of slide-turn-raft is useful and I hope that the raft comes with basic necessities such as a flare-gun, blanket to shelter from the intense sun and cold, manual pump (in case of leak), and hopefully in the future, these rafts will be equipped with manual filtration unit to purify sea water (or at least minimize the salinity of water).
Finally, I think the most important item for each evacuees would be to have a radio-beacon attached to their life-jackets so that rescue can locate them in the open sea.