Don't know about you people, but I'm just a poor person looking for a plane! The Future I-160 looks the go but $33,000? Maybe the professional search org's can get one & claim back on tax or the police can get one?
Fellas I'm glad this is generating a bit of interest among some of you, there have been efforts to combine all efforts into one for some time, I hope it works, the idea of putting it up here is top hopefully get some different perspectives from experienced pilots as opposed to the armchair airline captains out there... Keep it coming and RatsoreA when you go up next let me know I am keen, thanks.
I believe 'Mr Ratsore' may be on his way up that way as we speak - 'tis Friday - I would suggest you PM him with your contact number and he can ring you direct.....or, a PM to moi and I will email it on so he can ring you.........
A joint search effort sounds good, but the trouble is so many different theories of what happened & which way MDX went after the 1st Ident! All I've been working with is disappearing off radar @ 5000ft over Craven, according to radar info paper-the air traffic controller telling the pilot to 'keep heading east or to Williamstown' on the recording & ground speed of 170kts(approx.) worked out from pilots flight plan & approx. tail wind speed=11min. to off radar & 32nm approx. from 1st Ident. Decending @1600ft/min. approx.= 5nm east of Craven (approx)Who is in charge of searches & deciding where to search any way?
To answer your question - please don't take this as being anything other....
However, my first call would be to the NSW Police Rescue Service to see if they know of any similar minded groups. Obviously, from the links here, there have been other searches, and the local SES or others, may be interested and even organised to some extent. They would almost certainly have a list of areas covered so far.
Or, seeing as this is a much read forum, you could always suggest a meeting place/time for a 'get together' of interested people who would like to co-ordinate such a search in the more 'accessable' areas... like an organised 'bushwalk', just to eliminate those areas.... And keep the Police /SES informed.
Form a group, appoint a 'chairperson' to organise things, a secretary as a 'focal point' for emails etc, a treasurer for getting together some funds to finance fuel, accommodation etc for the weekends away looking, a 'searchmaster',for record keeping for all of the areas searched so far, and by whom....etc etc.
It could be done as a 'hobby' group, with some 'official' input from time to time perhaps by other groups such as the SES for training purposes etc. Local Scout Groups may be interested in looking in the 'more accessable' areas where its OK for 'young teenagers' to bushwalk - low risk areas could be 'eliminated' in this way....
You may find this organisation has all been covered by the SES, and all you have to do, is to offer your services.
The unfortunate event occurred in 1981, and the Police / SES or whatever the NSW organisation is called, have not forgotten.
But the Police would be the first point of contact for info etc - you never know, they might have some good advice and know of local groups etc.
And, once again, sorry if this seems condescending in any way, but you did ask...and its a good question. Cheers
Last edited by Ex FSO GRIFFO; 15th Oct 2010 at 17:06.
Who is in charge of searches & deciding where to search any way?
Well, the one I just attended was part of an annual search organised by BWRS (W W W . B W R S . O R G I think) in conjuction with NSW Police Rescue and POLAIR. Happens every year and has been for some time now.
Excellent records kept, the idea being every year there is a little bit of place marked off where it isn't, so there are less and less places where it is in the future!
Searches walk in and then are extracted by POLAIR Winch. Extremly tough going though. For a while movement rates were down to about 20 metres per hour! Did I mention steep?
many different theories of what happened & which way MDX went after the 1st Ident
There was a second POSITIVE radar ident made by RAAF Williamtown radar at about 1934 at 320M 48nm from Williamtown. These posistions have been given to me in the form of an original statement by the controller on the night by Nev Dennard (Thanks mate!!! ) and then plotted by Ex-FSO Griffo (Thanks again!! ).
That's a new one for me! EVERYONE should put ALL the info up so we can work it out properly! Anyway that's not very far from 1st Ident, what about ALL the other info? Like disappearing off radar at 1939 @ 5000ft over Craven + decent distance with a high tail wind= increased ground speed/distance & timing in recording etc. Is all this other info bogus, not relevant or what? Can you explain why all the searches continue to be around south Tops area, when the info (to me) points more to the east? Like Craven area!
That's a new one for me! EVERYONE should put ALL the info up so we can work it out properly!
I got that bit of info on friday, and as soon as I could, I shared!
And if you can keep your pants on, I am getting all the RELEVANT info that is based in fact all together in one place (it's nearly finished!) that will be able to be veiwed by anyone with Google Earth!
It will contain everything that is verifiable and a small amount of educated guessing.
What the? MDX has been gone for 29 years! Did I say 29 years? & new info just coming out now? What the? At this rate MDX will never be found!! I'm going on info from Nev's site & he's never had this one on there? I'll look again!
Sorry for that last one, getting a littile frustrated! RatsoreA on page 2 you mention about 2nd radar Ident near Craven, but say ignore that for now, can you explain why to ignore it? Ps. I've worked out same stuff as you,exept for MDX's ground speed, & recording says head to Williamtown, not West Maitland!
Sorry for that last one, getting a littile frustrated!
Think nothing of it.
The 2nd radar ident at Craven is not really a radar ident. Original Radar Ident is an actual ident with sqawk, which I am informed by an experienced Ex-FSO (Who we call Ex-FSO G. No, wait, that's to obvious, lets call him him E Griffo!) makes the plot show up quite large on the screen. The second Radar ident when they get him to change from 4000 to 3000 is for the benefit of Williamtown radar (the one I mentioned last!) who then plots him there. What is written on that bit of paper is an approximation of the flight path drawn by hand. It's accuracy is suspect.
As I am sure many many people here will attest, and the combined studies of many many men in white coats with pointy heads will agree, Spatial Disorientation is a bad thing, and with partial panel, bad turbulance, down draughts, a malfunctioning ADF and all the other stressors of such a situation, I would be London to a brick that SD was a major player in this accident. So IMHO, maintaining a straight course would be near on impossible!
So this initial ident point, and the subsequent ident point aren't that far apart. He does ask for vectors to WMD but at the last bit the he is advised to head to williamtown, but bear in mind, the guy he is speaking to does not have a radar infront of him. The actual radar screen is down the hall in front of another guy and they are communicating by intercom.
If anyone feels that I am incorrect on any technical aspects, feel free to wade in!
You've got it pretty well nailed. Nothing to be able to say 'there it is'... unfortunately. How are the leg muscles??
For Mr 'cruizer', and others who are interested in following this, from the description given by the YWLM Radar Operator, there could be 4 'potentially' possible locations - I thought, so
Given the time frame - like, tonight would be 'nice'....( 'no wurries').... I made 2 assumptions -
- In 1981, the RADAR 'head' MAY have been located,
(a) on the top of the TWR cab for 'local' TWR ATC use, or
(b) at the CRU Radar site, 1.3nm or so to the NW of the TWR- 'Up on the hill' with a 'feed' to the TWR operator....and the distances measured accordingly.
- The bearings MAY have been in
(c) degrees 'True' or
(d) degrees 'Magnetic' - the more likely I would have thought. And given the magnetic variation of some 12 degrees, that could be a 'fair walk' thru dense scrub....a bit over 10nm or so.... Hence, without any definite info - 4 potential locations.
Someone over there would know the situation and discard the 3 'useless' locations.
So, Nos. 3 and 4, as labelled, (G/E) 320T/48nm WLM are plotted from the WLM CRU (Radar Unit), then from YWLM TWR building as the base datum respectively.
Nos 1 and 2 yellow pins, (G/E) 320M / 48nm, are more likely for correct direction in that they are Degrees Mag., (332T ON G/E ) with the distances measured from 1. - the CRU site - 2.- the TWR site - hence the 1.3nm difference. Note the terrain....1.3nm of scrambling /climbing in dense scrub.
So that is the rationale behind the 4 plots - and only 1 of them is the correct plot from the WLM Radar operator's observation. But, better to have all the 'possibles' than making the wrong assumption, then they can then be 'eliminated' locally.
No. 1 is the most likely location to start from, I would think - so 'somewhere' to the East/SE(?) of there would be my guess, I would imagine that even this bearing/distance would be 'about' 320M, 'about' 48nm as the last observation. Unfortunately, there appears to be little knowledge of how far / in which direction(s) the aircraft may have travelled prior to the final event.
Disclaimer - as a ex FSO, I am NOT qualified on RADAR use in this context. However, I do know how it works on a boat....where its all 'relative'.... I have tried to explain this fully, so that it may assist.
Thanks Mr 'R' for the opportunity to assist in some small way. Good Luck with the search, ...... When are ya going again..??
Ok! So I don't know where to go from here? So everything is just a lot of guess work, from controllers guessing direction & point of travel, guessing MDX continued on or went into a spiral dive, guessing direction & distance from radar etc.etc. Looking for something the size of a small car(crumpled) in a very large area with dense veg! With no real facts, & every one guessing, I'd say you'd have no hope in hell of finding it! The pilot didn't do himself any favors by not refering to anything that he could see & it's approx distance/angle. Might have to wait for Technology to help! I'd like to find MDX to, but without solid info, it's like finding a needle in a sand trap! Good Luck!
Sore to say the least! It was a pretty tough old hike and at some stages there, we were cutting our way through Blackberry patches and only moving about 20 metres an hour! It was pretty steep too, and at some points I was just clinging to the side of the hill on all 4's! At one stage I fell off, but only went 2 feet, as the vines were so thick and strong, I just stopped! I could have slept in the, Bear Grylls style!
Many thanks go to BWRS.
Ok! So I don't know where to go from here? So everything is just a lot of guess work, from controllers guessing direction & point of travel, guessing MDX continued on or went into a spiral dive, guessing direction & distance from radar etc.etc.
Well, yes and no!
Look, this thing will be hard to find, it's been missing 29 years now, and if it were easy to find, we wouldn't be wondering about it now!
Don't give up, because it is out there somewhere! Here are some facts that you can use.
Radar ID'd at 1928 36 nm from SGT on MT Sandon-SGT track. Again at 1935 (Squawk 3000 with Ident) at 320 degrees 48nm Williamtown. See Griffo's post about that last ID.
Now, you have 2 circles, a big one and a smaller one inside it. Those circles represent how far the aircraft can go from the ID'd points in the time till contact lost, that being 11 minutes and 4 minutes. These circles are not centred on these points, as the wind is quite strong.
Add Spatial Disorientation, and you can bet your last dollar that a perfectly straight course was not maintained. Therefore, it (in theory) must be somewhere inside that smaller circle!
I have spoken with a WNGCMDR at Def Space co-ord and he reckons the technology present in Australia (Synthetic Apeture Radar) would be next to useless, so unfortunatly, it will be more likely discovered by walking!
If I may borrow a quote from E. Blackadder, "It will be as difficult to find as a piece of hay in a massive stack-ful of needles!"
It would seem that if the blackberry bushes etc are that thick, dense, high, then they would most certainly have overgrown any signs of visible wreckage / luggage / other signs etc, and buried it forever.....
From your description, you possibly could be standing right next to a piece of crumpled aluminium and not see it, buried in there.
I've recieved back an email from Nev confirming that the info he has on his site was given to him by BASI & is based on facts of the events ie, pilots flight plan-the tracked position on radar to Craven etc. Nev didn't mention anything about a 2nd Ident near the 1st Ident in his email, he said the controller only said MDX didn't fly outside a 144 sqkm blackout area, & I only hear on the recording atc ask MDX to sqwauk 3000 at 1st Ident, & later atc talk to Willy about getting MDX to change to 4000 if MDX went in their space. All info & area's should be investigated before they're written off! including the east Craven area! The only factual bit of radar evidence is the one mention above, the other is hearsay! You say the radar people were guessing the plot at Craven, it gives a good indication where MDX went, & quite frankly I think we are all having a good ol guess & speculating! You worked out as I did that there is at lest 11min of flight/last msg after 1st Ident, so the searches should be at lest on your circle line! The 2nd Ident point/radar position at 1934 you mentioned & searched, is not relevent because MDX was still at 5000ft at 1939! Allow for 1600ft/min decent rate that you & I worked out & that puts MDX just outside your circle! About your circle, I don't know where you get a speed of 120kts from, when MDX is heading east with a high tail wind it increases it's ground speed, which I worked out to be 160-170 kts! So it dosn't make sence that you have the time & distance worked out for MDX to travel, but you & the walkers are still looking around the centre still?
G'Day 'Cruizer', and to all other 'interested parties',
- and a big acknowledgement to Mr 'Ratsore' who provided some more info - from the YWLM Radar operator.
To try and put 'things' into perspective, from the WLM Controller...
Who says, that at ABOUT (my capitals) 1931hrs he received an intercom call from "I think Sector 1" i.e. SY Sector 1 - asking him to make a Radar Ident on an aircraft. (Some doubt in recall already..? - His Statement date is 4th Nov. '81)
The Willie Controller says " I then attended to the Radar screen and I identified aircraft VH-MDX, which was on a bearing of 320 from WLM and at a distance of approximately 48nm'. (Actual time frame?)
See previous post about this plot....
Sector 1 then explained to him that the aircraft was 'in trouble'. (Time Frame again ?).
The WLM controller says - "I was then involved in the control of other aircraft into my space and shortly thereafter (Time Frame again ?) Sector 1 again called and asked me if I still had VH-MDX on Radar but there was nothing on the screen which I could identify with VH-MDX. I then learnt that VH-MDX had crashed, but I had nothing to do with the aircraft at that time". (Time Frame again ?)
If the actual comm tapes were still available, then they would provide the time frame for all of this, as all ATC / FS tapes are 'time injected' automatically - you may hear this as a 'voice interruption' on copies. They would normally have been held by Air Safety Investigators at the time. So, the questions I have revolve over what actual time frame did all of this occur? It may have been something like a minute or three, or even more...time flies when you are busy...
And it is no fault of the Willie Controller that he says "I think" - this was just going to be another night shift for him, nothing unusual, he wasn't actually involved in this emergency, so he is just recalling after the event, what may have been another dull and boring night on the job.....(?) Just putting things into perspective guys/gals...nothing personal...been there, done that..!
Because of the closer proximity of YWLM vs SY, and the statement that the Willie controller 'indentified' MDX, means he was probably asked to 'squawk' a transponder code - so this would be a transponder generated signal - a radio signal - more accurate than a 'primary reflected' signal. Therefore, this signal, ident position, is very important, as is the TIME FRAME.
It is indeed unfortunate that there are no further indications of the heading(s) flown - it was not a straight line by any means as the pilot had all sorts of problems with instrumentation, icing, mechanical turb. etc - and at night to boot - nor does there seem to be a definite time until the final event, so the distance travelled, and in which overall direction, is the subject of conjecture.
So there you are Mr 'C', excuse the rambling, but I have tried to see the events from the RAAF ATC / ATC / FS Viewpoint - its just so easy sometimes to be 'wiser' in hindsight.
Now, add to all of this, all of the other info gleaned from other sources....and.....
I'm just trying to pin point a loction! Not trying to offend anyone!!
The recording that Nev has, which isn't in order, has the timing in the back ground, & that's where the 11 min comes from 1st Ident. Once an aircraft has a Transponder code set & it's on, it shows up & stays on the radar screen until turned off by the pilot or a/c disappearing off radar! Identing just makes the letters VH-MDX flash on the radar screen when the pilot is asked to push the button on the unit! The 2nd Ident isn't really an Ident, it's only been Identified(seen & confirmed) on the controllers screen! So MDX was being tracked not Idented the 2nd time! If the pilot became VMC & sore lights on the coast he could have flown reasonably straight!
DEISOL as Glen Rd heads east-west, can you find out if the a/c you mentioned was north or south of Glen Rd or crossing over?