About once a month, a group of Malaysians gather at a coffee shop or a home in Kuala Lumpur. They meet to support each other and to keep the memory of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 alive.

Five years ago, the Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Search efforts covered an area from Southeast Asia to the coast of Africa. But neither the plane nor any of the 239 people it carried were found.

Investigators became hopeful when, in July 2015, a piece of the plane’s wing was found in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. But authorities officially suspended the search in January 2017.

Calvin Shim is raising his two children without his wife, Christine Tan. She was a crew member on flight MH370. “The other families know exactly how each of us feel,” he said at a recent meeting at Gonzales’ home.

Since the 1940s, ground-based radar systems have been used to follow planes and other aircraft in flight. But this kind of system cannot track aircraft over large areas of the world’s oceans. This is one reason why the Malaysia Airlines plane has not been found.

The disappearance of MH370 renewed the world’s attention on tracking aircraft around the world. Shortly after the disappearance, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) pushed for quick action “to improve tracking of aircraft in flight.”

The United Nations organization is now asking that aircraft be fitted with a tracking system that reports its position every 15 minutes. By 2021, the organization also wants aircraft to be able to send information once every minute when in trouble.

In April 2017, Malaysia Airlines announced that it would be one of the first airlines to use Aireon's space-based system to track its planes in flight. Aireon says its system uses 66 satellites to cover the world. Its system includes areas that lacked air traffic service in the past -- like over oceans and the North and South poles. The system uses Global Positioning System (GPS) and signals from aircraft to determine locations in real-time.

Aireon chief Don Thoma said in a statement: “Malaysia Airlines has taken a lead role in the industry since the tragic events of 2014. Real-time, global flight tracking, anywhere on the planet, will further its safety goals, by allowing Malaysia Airlines to track its aircraft anytime, anywhere.”


Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.

wing (n.) /wɪŋ/  -  one of usually two long, flat parts of an airplane that extend from the sides and make it possible for the airplane to fly

  • Pilots are being advised to touch their planes' wings before takeoff.

authority (n.) /ɔːˈθɒrɪti/ -  person or organization having political or administrative power and control.

  • Health authorities issued a worldwide alert.

track (v.) /ˈtræk/ - Follow the trail or movements of (someone or something), typically in order to find them or note their course.

  • He tracked the deer for a mile.


Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.

1. What happened to the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370?

2. What was found in July 2015?

3. Why can't the Malaysia Airlines plane be found using the ground-based radar systems?


Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.

wing, authority, track


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.

1. Do you believe that one day we will know what exactly happened with the flight MH370?

2. How can flying safety be improved in your opinion?

3. Do you ever worry about safety of flying?

4. Would you like to learn to fly an airplane or a helicopter?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by VOA.