Malaysia Flight 370 search may change aircraft investigations forever, former NTSB chair

In this Monday, March 24, 2014 photo, crew members of an RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at low level in bad weather over the Indian Ocean. After 17 days of desperation and doubt over the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, Malaysian officials on Monday said an analysis of satellite data points to a "heartbreaking" conclusion: Flight 370 met its end in the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean, and none of those aboard survived. (AP Photo/Richard Wainwright, Pool)
Richard Wainwright, AP

The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may change the aircraft investigations forever, according to former National Transportation Safety Board chairman Mark Rosenker.

Eighteen days after the plane disappeared, Rosenker said the combination of satellite images and calculations are giving investigators a "great opportunity" to narrow search operations in the Indian Ocean, but acknowledged some of the technology involved in the search equation is antiquated.

"Unfortunately, what we have here is a 21st century series of parameters which are built into these black boxes, but we are dealing in 20th century concepts of operations, which means we have to recover the boxes before we can begin the investigation in earnest."

Beyond technology's limitations, the search has stretched over weeks due to the extreme mathematical calculations and the officials at the investigation's helm, Rosenker said.

He added, "We're not dealing with the most transparent ... and certainly, the most competent group of investors from the Malaysian side. I hate to say that, but that's apparently what we're dealing with right here. And I believe they decided -- based on all of the problems they were having and the world scrutiny on them -- they needed to get this information out when they finally had the ability to validate it."