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What may have brought flight down
03:51 - Source: CNN

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NEW: Debris from AirAsia flight has been recovered, officials say; two bodies found

The question: How can we lose a plane?

There is pressure for new technology to be installed on planes

But there are obstacles that remain

CNN  — 

You don’t have to be an expert to ask yourself the question: How in the world, with today’s technology, can a commercial airplane go missing?

It’s a question, but also an expression of disbelief.

Those who get lost driving can use GPS. If you lose your iPhone, there’s an app to track it down. Scientists successfully plotted the course for a spacecraft that landed on a speeding comet.

But something goes wrong aboard a 123-foot, 67-ton passenger jet, and rescuers must resort to scouring the ocean?

“Why is it easier to find an iPhone (than) to find a plane?” one Twitter user, Catalina Buitano, asked.

There are dozens of similar questions on social media. They hint at the same sentiment: In a world where people’s locations are tracked for everything from map apps to what ads appear on a Web browser, why does Big Brother’s gaze avoid the skies?

“Why, in this day and age, do we rely on the physical recovery of black boxes? Flight data should be continuously streamed to the cloud,” read a tweet by Jacob Rossi.

Of course, this question has been asked before.

The disappearance of AirAsia Flight 8501 on Sunday was the second time this year that a plane vanished. Debris from the Airbus A320-200 has been found, the airline said Tuesday, and two bodies have been found.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished, too, and remains missing 10 months later.

At that time, Jim Hall, the former head of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, called for upgrades to the tracking capabilities of planes that fly for extended periods over water.

The airline industry has invested billions of dollars in safety features, “yet many allow their aircraft to fall off any direct tracking capability as they fly over vast ocean distances and remote locations, confident that these planes will occasionally check in and reappear as they near the other side of the blacked-out area,”