> So you've added two or three more people to be bribed to ignore a faulty tracking device - 1 or 2 in maintenance, and someone in the control tower?
They'd be the first people to be arrested when the syslog was backtracked on the first day of the search. I'll admit that some people are not the brightest, but looking at a red flag on a computer screen and granting take-off permission anyway is a little beyond belief.
You'd need a sysadmin or ATC site admin to inject fake data, but that wouldn't survive the satellite data analysis.
I don't know if it would be possible, but you might be able to have a ghost transponder in another aircraft or on the ground which pretends to be the target. You'd have to be careful to transmit at the correct time and with the correct signal drop-off if you wanted to hide the fakery from the investigation.
It the investigators managed to get satellite triangulation data, even that wouldn't work.