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Old 15th Mar 2014, 12:51   #3901 (permalink)
 
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I would not dismiss the Helios theory all together. Explosive decompression takes out some of the kit in the E&E bay, including transponder and ACARS, most pax and crew incapacitated. Some survivor gets on portable O2 and gains access to the FD. They try to push a few buttons but don't know how use the radios or fly the jet. They try a few turns and climbs and descents, typing stuff into the FMC, eventually portable 02 runs out and the jet continues on last track until fuel exhaustion over the indian ocean. Even with the autopilot off a 777 that remains in trim should remain airborne without any inputs for many hours. I don't fly the 777 but relevant questions would be : is transponder (1 or 2) in the same bus as essential kit that drives the ACARS, is the pax O2 in the same bus? what would happen under a variety of electrical malfunctions if appropriate actions where not carried out by the crew? for example loss of essential batt bus. There are sure to be combinations that take out all comms (even if some could have been regained by the crew if they had been able to).



It seems more plausible than a super elaborate suicide plan. I could (try to) understand a suicide as an act of madness but going for hours and hours dodging radar to take 200 souls with you to a far away oceanic grave. It seems far too elaborate and contrived.

As an act of terrorism it also seems contrived. if you wanted a big jet to carry an evil deed later on you could buy a big one in Russia while keeping a pretty low profile. If you wanted a high profile why has nobody credible claimed the action?

Technical and human factors explanations must be completely discarded before going down the "James Bond villain" routes
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 12:52   #3902 (permalink)
 
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MZFW or MLW.

As far as the standby passengers; do we know for sure whether the flight was limited by either? It would certainly suggest different culprits if the limitation was MZFW i.e. lots of/heavy cargo vs. a MLW limitation i.e. many tons extra fuel.
Just following our in-house detective's thought on eliminating various scenarios...

Last edited by ekpilot; 15th Mar 2014 at 12:56. Reason: add-on
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 12:53   #3903 (permalink)
 
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Seems to be lots of focus on the Captain. So much so that I heard the following phrase on BBC Radio 2 - "They are searching the pilot's home". I am assuming they mean the Captain, as the press still have the quaint habit of calling Captain and First Officer, Pilot and Co-Pilot.

So have the press forgotten there is a second pilot at all? I assume they are probably investigating the first officer as well, but BBC don't deem it necessary to mention this.

I think people are barking up the wrong tree about the Captain and his home sim. I doubt that is relevant.

So there were some allegations about the First Officer letting people into the cockpit before. Was this an isolated incident or did it happen more than once? Is it possible that, if the FO was known to be amenable to cockpit visitors, that one of his flights was targetted by would-be hijackers for that very reason? The FO would not have to necessarily be 'in on it'.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 12:58   #3904 (permalink)
 
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FWIW, I think the public is way behind the curve of events. From what I can see, the Malaysian Press conference only came clean with what they know, after a statement by Inmarsat. Based on this information they have now popped around to the crews houses - I can't believe for one minute that this has not already been done.
I can't see any official statement on the cargo or just how much fuel was uplifted. If it was tankered, the 777 could fly maybe 13 hours or so. The cargo & fuel must be known- so why not release that information?
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 12:58   #3905 (permalink)
 
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Formating

Having done real formating in a fighter under a bomber in that very area to cover fighter movements between bases while the bomber was on a 'navex' it would not be easy to maintain the very close formation required in a large a/c if exposed to military radar. It very much depends on range. In my case the bomber was roughly twice the area, but I still had to fly directly under its wing approaching the military radars and they were primitive by today's standards.
I'm deeply skeptical that it could be done over India without 2 blips being discriminated and in two large a/c of roughly the same size for 4 hours.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:00   #3906 (permalink)
 
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I agree! What happens when the lead Aircraft flys into cloud?? Not easy to formate in IMC at night when you aren't trained for it. Almost impossible I'd say.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:01   #3907 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Only the Indian Ocean (64E) INMARSAT was involved in the last ping(s) and so they have ruled out areas (on the 40 degree circle) that overlap with coverage by POR in the Pacific and AOR-E over the Atlantic to the West.
I'm intrigued by the gap between the northern and southern corridors. The coverage maps clearly show this gap exists due to the overlap with POR. However the area of the gap would be at the very edge of coverage with POR, with the satellite very close to the horizon. It is not inconceivable transmissions in this region would only be picked up by IOR. In particular a ditched aircraft in the water may well have difficulty transmitting to a satellite close to the horizon.

From what I see there is a distinct case to make for joining the northern and southern arcs which would once again raise the possibility of the plane being in the South China Sea area. It may have flown a tortuous route to get back to the area it first started - but thats no more unlikely then it ending up over China.

So are the Malaysian SAR authorities being too quick to cease the search to the East of Malaysia?

NB I would love to see similar 'corridors' for the various pings between 1.30-8.11am. This would help rule in/out various flight paths being speculated.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:04   #3908 (permalink)
 
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@Mr philipat - We cover a pretty substantial chunk of air around the Earth with Australian control!

Melbourne | Airservices
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:05   #3909 (permalink)
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And the fact that we all on here basically agreed almost a week ago it had flown to the west somewhere. But only today have the Malaysians have only formally admitted that to be true today.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:06   #3910 (permalink)
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Fuel, fuel, fuel.......

I agree the 'Tailgating' theory is do-able. Is it likely..? No. Too much organisation required to be in the right place at the right time. Way back at the beginning, as soon as the westerly Radar position was revealed, it was clear that the extended westerly flightpath headed for Somalia/Yemen and that a HJ was most likely. Both lawless areas with no ATC/Radar and an all oceanic flight to get there. A little dogleg to the south maybe, to avoid Ceylon. What killed the theory then, was the reported range. However, owing to fuel prices, the a/c may well have had a LOT of fuel on board than we all thought at first. Remember there were also 50 empty seats.... Of course, there were no Somalis on board, but it's an ideal place to take a big a/c without it immediately appearing all over the web. They could unload what they wanted and dump the a/c in the sea, - or just refuel it if they had another nefarious purpose in mind. I think dumping it is more likely.
Personally, I don't suspect the pilots. Whoever did this almost certainly managed to get through the door. The timing of the start of the incident is circumstantially suspicious. If the perps were after all or some of the passengers....there may be surprise happy-ending even yet. If they were after something in the hold....
I'd still like to know what the actual fuel available was.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:09   #3911 (permalink)
 
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Yes agreed. I said before we need to know 2 things more:--

1/ Fuel on board at departure, this will be known by MH
2/ Cargo manifest, what were they carrying?

These things will hopefully already be known by the authorities, but based on the last week I'm not so sure....
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:11   #3912 (permalink)
 
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Woah, just because I suggest it probably could be done with practice does not imply that this is what I think happened.

Indeed, I do not, for now (I am currently on something close to the hypoxia or all dead and autopilot/autothrust flying the plane theories).

Indeed, the more I think of it as a concept, the more I would have expected the pilot to have landed the plane and the mobile phones to become active. That apparently didn't happen, so what did? Keep that for next time.

Last edited by daikilo; 15th Mar 2014 at 13:18. Reason: more thought
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:11   #3913 (permalink)
 
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Sensitive cargo? Where's the manifest?

Okay, due to the lack of a publicly released cargo manifest...

If the flight was carrying a consigned gold cargo:
50pax * (75kg + 23kg) = 4900kg
Gold is approx US$13xx/oz,
4900kg = 172842oz, therefore,
172842 * 1300 = US$224.7mil

One could agree that this could provide ample motivation, and enough to buy inside help and some media whitewashing too. Valuable or sensitive cargo needs to be ruled out publicly. The aforementioned figures are for example only, and intended just to highlight the scope of wealth that can be transported on such an aircraft.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:12   #3914 (permalink)
 
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I'm finding it hard not to think this was all the pilots undertaking, going by the timing of events.

- ACARS was disabled as the aircraft crossed the Malaysian east coast.
- Aircraft continued on until TOC, whereby their last radio transmission was received as they were handed off to Vietnam? ATC
- Transponder then is switched off

So how has ACARS been disabled and the crew are carrying on as normal until TOC ? Unless someone was in the equipment bay.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:14   #3915 (permalink)


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Quote:
But only today have the Malaysians have only formally admitted that to be true today.
Based on the dates of the leaks it would suggest military/government from other nations were aware much earlier. This is a compilation of classified information from multiple countries so how/when it is released is pretty significant.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:15   #3916 (permalink)
 
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A point to consider is that for each "ping" there will be a range calculation from the satellite. the most interesting ones are the first two and the last. The last will give final range but the first two along with the last known position will give an indication of heading or speed.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:16   #3917 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Some posters need to take a step back. There is absolutely a 0% (zero) chance this a/c entered Russian airspace.
Quote:
Did you forget about the Cessna-172 which was flown unchallenged across former Soviet Air Defense Identification Zone from Helsinki to Moscow, and successfully landed in Red Square?
This was dated in 1987, one and half year before whole eastern block collided.

Today's Russia is different. Moreover with Russian/Ukrainian crisis ongoing, Russian military is on high level of alertness. And as you probably know, USAF are on air manoeuvres at Poland, close to Ukrainians borders (with AWACS) and Russia air force over Black sea. I would be highly sceptical to find out, that they missed target huge as 777, even if it was coming from not so exposed direction.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:22   #3918 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
I'm intrigued by the gap between the northern and southern corridors. The coverage maps clearly show this gap exists due to the overlap with POR. However the area of the gap would be at the very edge of coverage with POR, with the satellite very close to the horizon. It is not inconceivable transmissions in this region would only be picked up by IOR. In particular a ditched aircraft in the water may well have difficulty transmitting to a satellite close to the horizon.

[snip]

NB I would love to see similar 'corridors' for the various pings between 1.30-8.11am. This would help rule in/out various flight paths being speculated.
As much much as I'd also love to see these possibilities, the chances of InMarSat releasing both raw dumps of their telemetry and handshaking data, along with ultra-high resolution keplerian elements for the space platforms in orbit responsible for receiving the data, this will remain a mystery to the lay person: like me.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:25   #3919 (permalink)
 
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ACARS and IFF

It cannot be determined that the ACARS and IFF were switched off. Only that they failed to respond to interrogation or transmit data!
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 13:27   #3920 (permalink)
 
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I find the Northern route more credible with Myanmar the hole in the radar fence. They've then got very high ground to cover any intended Westward movement from the Indian radars. The altitude excursions probably indicate non pro pilots as VNAV is the more complicated mode, whist HDG SEL is adequate for LNAV using just a mobile or tablet FMC app. No need for a/c systems nav at all. I've got doubts that they made it unless the authorities in some country en-route were also in on it.
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