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Old 15th Mar 2014, 23:56   #4221 (permalink)
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Is it feasible that this 777 may have avoided radar detection by staying low to the ground?

For an a/c at 1000ft AGL, a radar at sea level has a theoretical range of under 40nm. In reality this would be even worse assuming there is a direct line of sight.

OK, I know the 1st thing someone will point out - it was night time, so how could it do any low level VFR?

Assuming this thing followed a predetermined track, isn't it possible that (in theory) whoever planned this out had a means of knowing the MSA for each part of the new route and kept the aircraft fairly low to the ground thereby evading radar detection for the last few hours? Even a set of night-vision goggles could be enough for manual low level flying.

I know this sounds very Hollywood-esque and in true PPRuNe style, but we already know that whoever flew this plane after it disappeared tried pretty hard to make it disappear for a reason no one can explain so far.

Feel free to poke holes in my theory. I'm just speculating like everyone else and trying to give a plausible solution to the dilemma of the a/c not being detected by radar if it flew North after it vanished.
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Old 15th Mar 2014, 23:57   #4222 (permalink)
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You think any eyebrows will lift if Iran Air turns up on a scheduled arrival in Europe some place with a freshly painted 777 in a few weeks time?

Or will we shortly be seeing news reports from Iran, where the state aircraft manufacturer is proudly rolling out it's new invention: A plane that looks remarkably similar to a 777-200ER?
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:00   #4223 (permalink)
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Bearcat F8F

I suggest you read up on EGPWS.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:02   #4224 (permalink)
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A UK newspaper is reporting that the captain attended the high-profile trial of the opposition leader of Malaysia just a few hours before the flight, which doesn't seem like the most calming thing to do before piloting an international commercial flight:

Doomed airliner pilot was political fanatic: Hours before taking control of flight MH370 he attended trial of jailed opposition leader as FBI reveal passengers could be at a secret location | Mail Online
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:04   #4225 (permalink)
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Xcitation: please read the account of how Uncle Sams military and allegedly his ATC organisation behaved on Sept 11th and then say you are confident that the scramble scenario would occur "TopGun" style in this corner of the world as you believe it should have.

It's nearly 13 years since that event, and it is probable that until this week most military setups are not really on alert like a coiled spring as the public would like to imagine.

Within weeks of 9/11 a small turboprop aircraft was discovered straying in the London TMA without a single F3 Tornado launched in response, not exactly trumpeted by the authorities at the time.
Do you really think that US/UK ATC would not respond to transport who turn off transponder and comms then change heading to a large military base? I can assure you that things have changed in the US since 9-11. There have been many incidents of F-16s surprising a/c that failed to respond. It saddens me that the RAF has been cut back so much since the cold war.

However to your point I am surprised that certain parts of the world apparently turn off all air defenses at 5pm so they can all go home for the evening.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:08   #4226 (permalink)

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RI radar 'did not detect MH370 in Malacca Strait'

"Hadi told The Jakarta Post that the Indonesian Air Force’s radar unit in Lhokseumawe, Aceh, did not detect the missing MH370 in the area where the Malaysian military suggested as being the plane’s last detected position around Penang waters.

“Our radar information has been shared with our Malaysian counterparts,” he said.

When asked if Lhokseumawe radar’s coverage had reached Penang, he only said that the radar had the capability to detect flying objects for up to 240 nautical miles, or about 445 kilometers.

A rough calculation using Google Earth shows that Lhokseumawe’s distance to Penang is about 300 kilometers, meaning that the radar could cover up to the Malaysian Peninsula."

RI radar 'did not detect MH370 in Malacca Strait': Air Force | The Jakarta Post
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:10   #4227 (permalink)
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Would be interesting to set up a survey for posters to vote on what they think is the highest probability cause for the disappearance from the main theories.

In his book "The Wisdom of Crowds" James Surowiecki argues that if you want to make a correct decision or solve a problem, large groups of people are smarter than a few experts.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:11   #4228 (permalink)
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I don't think of one minute any state actors were involved deliberately, the stakes would be too high, and for what?

Would still argue a catastrophic failure of some kind disabling some buses, could be that disabled the crew (hypoxic or otherwise), and some poor (clueless) bugger attempting to fly the a/c via the MCP, but ending up in the middle of nowhere.

As for all this leaked information, I suggest it is treated with some discrimination, a lot of it may simply be found later to be 'incorrect'.

I'm very much still with the theory this was accidental.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:15   #4229 (permalink)
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Yeah, YEAH! I remember 777s taking part in SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) missions alongside some F-15s from the 48th Fighter Wing a few years ago, flying real low n' stuff
There is no reason why a skilful aviator shouldn't be able to fly an airliner fairly close to the ground.

Here's a KC-135 flying very low. And I am not suggesting this 777 was doing this. But even at 1000ft, chances of radar detection are significantly reduced.

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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:16   #4230 (permalink)
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Orge said,

The one thing that strikes me odd about all the talk of hijack (either to destroy the plane in flight or take it intact) is that no-one has claimed responsibility. If you were a terrorist mastermind and wanted to gain from having pulled off this undertaking, would you not be phoning the local media and making it known by now?

With the way the internet is used on a daily basis to broadcast everyones opinion, not one reference has appears in any news broadcast regarding "we did it"!
I think you are looking at it all wrong - what is more terrifying than day 9 and we are still not even sure it was a terrorist attack, let alone who is responsible and what their ultimate goal is?

If this was a terrorist attack, they were unbelievably successful regardless if they had another goal they never achieved. After all, the #1 goal of Terrorism is Terror!

Also, taking responsibility actually happens less than we think, and sometimes it happens much later in time. Plus, someone we don't know did take responsibility. That leaves 3 possibilities - they did and we don't believe them, they will eventually after we start figuring out who might have done it anyway, or they have no intention to.

The no intention to is especially valid if this was a dry run, and not the actual eventual goal. THAT is the really scary aspect in my mind.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:16   #4231 (permalink)
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I think the time is long past to lock this thread, until such a time that either the airplane is found, or evidence of an irrefutable nature is discovered. Some of this is bordering on libel. Certainly some of what is being said here and in other places may be putting the families of these airmen in danger.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:17   #4232 (permalink)
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I do hate to add fuel to what I already don't believe is the case myself, but...

olasek says

People committing suicide are not exactly in their most lucid frame of mind, why would you then exclude certain behaviours?
In all honesty, you might be under an extremely lucid frame if ones intentions were to...

a) ditch the plane where it is unlikely to find and completely figure out what exactly happened

...allowing for...

b) insurance claim for your family (as the Malaysian Government has mentioned multiple times, oddly enough)

Suicide is likely not covered under the claim, but dying at the hands of terrorists will allow for both the insurance claim and a big lawsuit.

I repeat, I don't think that is what happened, but would make sense
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:17   #4233 (permalink)
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Speed of Sound says

And does anyone seriously believe that £120 million worth of gold would be carried on a scheduled passenger flight?
...not without heavily armed guards escorting it

And one would think such escorts would be able to do at least something in a hijack, honestly.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:19   #4234 (permalink)
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Am I correct in saying ACARS turned off 10 (?) or so minutes before transponder? If so, why? What would ACARS transmit that you didn't want known while still appearing ops normal to ATC?

This has been carefully planned by someone. This detail may be significant.

Would ACARS transmit decompression?

If you were going to decompress the cabin, the ideal time to do it would be near or soon after TOC. You would want rapid incapacitation, so not from departure (plus you presumably need time to somehow exclude 2nd pilot). But you would also want some time when alarm would not be raised and so pax wouldn't try to interfere. At or near TOC when pax used to cabin climbing seems logical.

Then after this was accomplished, turn of transponder and disappear.

This scenario would also avoid any calls from alarmed pax when crossing land.

Last edited by slats11; 16th Mar 2014 at 00:22. Reason: Typo
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:20   #4235 (permalink)
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And one would think such escorts would be able to do at least something in a hijack, honestly.
Unless of course, they did not know they were hijacked? Or perhaps, as has been postulated a few times here, the PAX air was turned off or cabin allowed to depressurise
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:21   #4236 (permalink)
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Just facts. You follow with any logic:

Long standing political drama exists in Malaysia centered around very controversial opposition leader Anwar_Ibrahim - trumped up sodomy charges, reversal, etc. On day of flight March 7 his acquital was overturned, to great consternation of his many vocal supporters, who hate current govt.

According to UK paper, Captain Zaharie was a huge supporter of Ibrahim and his opposition party.

Only Zaharie would have senior skills to perpetrate the hiding of MH370, the long trip, announcements to calm the PAX, tactics to throw off the authorities as long as possible.

To embarass the current Malaysian govt with hours and hours of drawn out suicide creating what we say today, would be a possible motive and make more sense than anything else associated with this tragedy.

Is the eccentric flight-simulated divorced pissed-off Captain Zaharie capable of such an evil adventure? You be the judge!
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:22   #4237 (permalink)
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New twist

The UK Daily Mail (Sunday edition) is reporting that the capt had attended the court hearing of a former deputy PM of Malaysia the same day that he took control of MH370. He apparently has been a staunch and vociferous supporter of the accused (of sodomy in a long standing political battle).

Next, MH370 had made a quick climb to outer space practically (to knock crew out and probably FO sent out of cabin (can captain survive on non-pressurized O2 alone?). Following that, a turn was made with a descent to escape radar. All this at a point of ATC handoever (the black window). Further (?deliberate) turns at Nav points, pings upto 7 hours flying time.

The theory here is that the captain was incensed that his friend was awarded a 5 year jail sentence. It follows that the capt is looking for revenge. He is apparently divorced although wife lives in the same house.

I shall leave it to the imagination as to what the captain's intention is (or probably was), in this scenario.

Loud bang reported by ground witnesses on beach near Kota Bharu and oil rig worker observing a "fire" - these may be accounted for by the high altitude where the air density is decreased and may cause a change in the engines to backfire - any engineers care to comment?

Last edited by brika; 16th Mar 2014 at 00:30. Reason: addition of last para
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:23   #4238 (permalink)
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Interesting theory Slats. Yes, why turn the ACARS off first? It would transmit maintenance messages regarding depressurisation.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:23   #4239 (permalink)
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That's how the USN found the sub Scorpion in the late '60s. Admittedly, the group used were experts in various fields pertinent to sub construction and operations. See Blind Man's Bluff book.

The total tonnage of bizarre and uninformed ideas expressed by members who have fewer than 10 posts and join dates later than Feb 2014 is mind boggling and rather a waste of PPRuNe's bandwidth. OTOH, posts by experts in arcane fields of SATCOM, Electronics and cellphones is much needed and always welcome when these things happen.

FYI for the newcomers: you can't jettison cargo in civil planes; transponders, like many others pieces of kit, have OFF switches for good reasons, the US MIL is not as all-seeing and all-knowing as you'd like and hate.; militaries of the world can't intercept unknown "targets" as they mostly are 8-midnight operations, at best. The US Mil were caught on 9/11 and so would most others militaries. The Russians had their Mathias Rust, remember.

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Old 16th Mar 2014, 00:24   #4240 (permalink)
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Sheep Guts says

They must continue searching the South China Sea they don't have enough evidence to not stop.
What evidence is there of it being there?

The absolutely only thing that says it is possibly at the location of its last call is that it was once at that location - that is it, absolutely nothing else indicates it is there.

The evidence that it isn't there is extreme though - including the fact that they have had 14 countries with Ships, Planes and Satellites searching this very tiny and unbelievably shallow area for 8 days without finding even a single seat cushion.

That alone should scream "uhm, it probably isn't here guys" without even having to go into all the physical and witness reports indicating it turned West.
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