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FORUMS General Discussions Open Forum WTF
TOPIC: WTF
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"will autopilot really just fly a plane indefinitely until its fuel runs out?"

That's exactly what they will do, assuming the AP was set to maintain level flight. They will maintain both course heading and altitude. They also will ascend or descend the aircraft according to what you plug in. Pilots who fly instrument-equipped aircraft only spend a couple of minutes of an entire flight piloting manually, on take-off and approach/landing.

Belle Chasse LA
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Update: The plane just now crashed into the sea just off the north coast of Jamaica. I expect there will be no survivors - if there was even anyone on board who could have survived.

Winter Garden FL
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[This is happening right now - will autopilot really just fly a plane indefinitely until its fuel runs out?]

An unresponsive turboprop plane over the Atlantic Ocean has cleared Cuban airspace, officials said, but the F-15s that were following it have returned to their base for refueling.

Two F-15s following the aircraft, which left New York this morning bound for Florida, had temporarily broken off their pursuit when the flight entered Cuban airspace, a NORAD spokeswoman said today.

The F-15s were initially supposed to fly around Cuba’s eastern end and wait in international airspace to pick up the trail, officials said. But the planes have now returned to base to refuel and it was unclear whether they will pick up the trail again, NORAD said.

The single-engine plane was flying from Rochester, New York, to Naples, Florida, officials said. “The plane’s occupants did not respond to attempts to communicate," the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said this morning.

U.S. and Cuban aviation authorities were communicating in an effort to assure a smooth transition, NORAD Capt. Jennifer Stadnyk said. Cuba said it was tracking the plane on radar.

There are other passengers aboard, and the fog on the aircraft’s windows suggests all aboard are unconscious, NORAD said. It's unclear how much fuel is on board.

The aircraft was flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet and has not been responding to radio calls since 10 am ET, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Winter Garden FL
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I totally get ya. I find it odd that so many otherwise sensible news organizations would run with something in PopSci as a story and taking no effort to vet it.

I have a lot of crow to eat if this turns out to be for real... it would at least have been nice for the reporters to check with a couple of independent sources.

Winter Garden FL
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Yahoo finance is normally pretty reliable, and this story had Reuters as a reference source. But my intuition was that something about it might be fishy, hence my vetting disclaimer.

Belle Chasse LA
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Well like I said I don't know for sure that this company isn't on to something, but I find it amazing that they developed a product, offered it for sale, and THEN this story broke (by them) about these mystery towers.

So either they knew about them all along and quietly developed their product so as to have a huge jump on the competition (possible, but risky) or they are trying to scare everyone into buying their stuff. I am not going to pretend I know anywhere near enough about the technology under discussion to comment on whether or not any of this is possible, but that fact that all roads in this topic lead back to the same guy makes me very suspicious.

Winter Garden FL
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I hate that kind of stuff! My father would have been all over it, eager to spend the $3,500 to try to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. One time we barely stopped him from trying to out-smart a scam artist.

Sheboygan Falls WI
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This story is all over the web, but all of them reference the same story in PopSci, which is presented as a story, with no clear indication it's an advertisement, but all information and quotes in the story come from this one company and their claims, complete with details about how you can acquire one, whether you need one, etc.

Winter Garden FL
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MSM is notorious for not doing sue diligence. An immediate example comes to mind, Dan Rather story about GWB. For which he lost his job.

New Orleans LA
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I saw that. It's Yahoo! not doing their homework, and using an advertisement disguised as a news story in Popular Science and running with it.

The advertisement is for Cryptophone 500, which promises to protect you from said evil towers for $3,500.

That's not to say that there isn't some truth to the concept that this is going on, but shame on Yahoo! for taking a story which is just an ad disguised as a story and running with it.

Winter Garden FL
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TOPIC: WTF