Addendum Feb. 1: Edwin Doetzal wrote me on Jan. 31 as follows:
"Your analysis of MH370 contained a couple issues:
Airliners do often have SATCOM tracking 'like trucks'. On MH370, this system was turned off along with the radio transponder.
ADS-B is the new satellite based air traffic control system that will replace the radio based air traffic control system and is already being implemented through efforts by NAVCanada and ICAO.
What is currently in discussion are new systems such as AFIRS that would stream amounts of data automatically or by trigger in an emergency as well as explosive jettisoned FDR/CVR units. Knowing where an aircraft was is of course not enough without the detailed DAQ information that might explain why the emergency happened and what action was taken by the flight crew. A truck's limited DAQ can be retrieved from the ditch. Please be assured that an airliner is a much more sophisticated system than a truck.
It was somewhat troubling to see such an article on an 'engineering ethics' blog. With respect, it would seem that you are speaking outside your professional scope. A retraction would appear appropriate.
It was careless of me to imply that airliners had no such tracking systems, and I apologize
for leaving that impression. In the space I had, I meant to concentrate not so much on the technology as on the international coordination that would be needed to implement it uniformly so that flights such as MH370 would not slip through the cracks. My thanks to Mr. Doetzel for the correction.