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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:04
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Hypoxia

Just back on here after several hours. My sincere apologies if this is yet another repetition!! Before going to bed I read someone asking for something on hypoxia. From my own experience, here goes...

Hypoxia means low oxygen, a gas we all need in order to live. Whereas all pilots are required to know about hypoxia, all aircrew in the RAF and, I expect, most western-aligned armed forces, are subjected to it in a barochamber.

There is a world of difference between learning something from a book and experiencing it. Sure, civvies will react as well as military-trained colleagues in a given situation. It is in not detecting hypoxia where there is a potential for major error. Experience must trump anecdote.

An explosive decompression gets your attention, make no mistake! The first reaction, instilled many, many times in every pilot's life, is to get on oxygen. By far the most dangerous situation derives from a slow leak of cabin pressure because all the clues can be rendered subtle enough as to pass the detection threshold unnoticed.

Aircraft are designed to fly high but humans are not. Unpressurised flight would require so much oxygen for everyone to breathe that it would be impractical. Plus, the pressure changes, particularly in the descent would deliver so many nose bleeds, ear drum ruptures and blown sinuses in a sufficient number of the population that the experience would render the prospect of air travel too unpleasant.

Aircraft designed for high altitude flight are designed to operate with a cabin pressure as close as practicable to mean sea level pressure. Were they designed to operate AT mean sea level pressure, the extra strengthening would render them too heavy. And so, as with most things in aviation, we have a compromise. Airliner cabins operate at a pressure differential that the structure can cope with, while keeping the air inside at a pressure which most people can cope with.

Aircraft pressurisation systems work, not by shutting the air in, but by controlling the flow of cabin air out to atmosphere. Were something to create an extra hole where the outflow defeats the pressure regulator, the net result must be a reduction in cabin pressure.

At all altitudes where current airliners fly, the atmosphere is a gas whose composition is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% other gases. Air pressure reduces with altitude. In your lungs, whilst alveolar gas still contains 21% oxygen, the number of molecules decrease as the pressure decreases. Fewer molecules of oxygen deprive the brain from functioning correctly - including the ability to process information and act on it!! Yes, including the ability to recognise the symtoms of hypoxia!! Well from here it gets messy!

In a slow leak, if you're busy, there will be too many distractions for you to notice the symptoms, either in yourself or in the pilot in the seat next to you. You might grumble at the First Officer for missing a radio call. Or for fumbling a simple calculation or (and don't jump on this one because it needs to be looked at in the round) mis-setting some equipment. You feel tired. But it is 1am! You have a headache. But ATC have been a pain, the ordinarily switched on First Officer is still making mistakes!! Was that radio call for us? Where's that glass of water you asked for AGES ago?

If you were alerted to the possibility of hypoxia, you might, given adequate cockpit lighting, wonder why your First Officer's lips were blue - not that you ordinarily look at them! Or that your finger tips had a blueish tinge!

I just think that it would be useful for all airline pilots to experience hypoxia, as we did in the RAF. There IS a difference between experiencing it and reading about it. Some will argue it is a small difference. But what if the "feelings" a pilot were feeling triggered a memory? It's busy. There are distractions. It is easy to pass tiredness, making basic mistakes that everyone makes from time to time and having a headache, to perfectly reasonable causes. But hypoxia is a perfectly natural cause, too. Of course it is money!! In the end, you only get the safety you're prepared to pay for.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:05
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Not sure the satellite image site is within the Chinese claimed part of the South China Sea, but it is mighty close. Would be unsurprising if China uses this incident to buttress their claimed jurisdiction on that basis, if there is anything there. They also seem to have more assets in the area than anyone else, just to back up their eventual stance.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:07
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From the Telegraph

02.00 An update from Malcolm Moore in Beijing.

The Americans don't seem to be taking the Chinese satellite pictures seriously, he reports, they are not changing their search pattern based on the information.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:10
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territorial claims

if in the event that the wreckage lies at the bottom of the south china sea... it will be interesting to know who will have jurisdiction on the investigation given the current territorial dispute in asia
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:10
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the depth is
184 feet
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:13
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My guess is the answer to the root cause of this accident is in the cargo manifest.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:14
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How about we consider this. If in fact the Chinese Photos turn out to be the wreckage, then a lot of the early on statements by the Malays make some sense. Such as approximately a 40 degree heading change, a loss of Altitude of 600'.




In the case of a Explosive or Rapid Depressurization obviously get the freaking mask on, but then make a turn to diverge from your track 45 to 90 degrees, depending on where in world you are. Descent is initiated, Level Change Selected, A/T Off, Speed Brakes Out, and so on.


Probably shortly after all that was accomplished all hell broke loose.
It would certainly account for the airplane ending up in the area that the Chinese have said that they think the wreckage is.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:14
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The area where the possible MH370 wreckage has been sighted is outside any expanded Chinese territorial area of the South China Sea, and is within Vietnams territorial seas area.
However, there's a large Chinese force of vessels in the general South China Sea area, and I'd expect the Chinese will produce more definitive results today.

http://hwebb.freeservers.com/slidesh..._china_sea.jpg
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:15
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shadow:


There'd appear to be a lot of CNN and "expert" agonizing over the apparent size of the objects constituting the satellite imagery of the possible debris field SE of the MAS370 track. Apart from it conceivably being a partially deflated/inflated escape slide, it could also be a concoction of wreckage linked by wiring looms. You only need a few wiring looms to remain partly intact and interweaved to keep a debris field together in one clump.
unlike ABs, the 777 has one wiring loom from fore to aft.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:15
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tdracer 2613 re 777 networks at 17.59

Thanks for the update as to what the FAA directive ..

and this bit " 220mph - the Special Condition is issued as a pre-requisite to certifying a new system (generally Special Conditions are issued when the FAA believes that the existing FARs are not adequate for certification of new or novel technologies - the 787 had a boatload). The 777 system that the FAA issued SC against is still in development and won't enter service for some time."

My point in raising or trying to get facts on the issue was to hopefully tamp down the news reports much like the ridiculous press efforts re the AD and corrosion issues.

Even so - IMHO- the concept of NOT using a completely isolated public system from FBW systems ( and certain comm systems ) is stupidity squared or cubed. IF and when such a system is merged/implemented/ installed, and x years later a 737 or 777 has an upset or accident, there will be more time $$ and effort proving that that tie in was NOT involved than to simply pay for an extra server and cabling, etc.

IMO a 99.9999 probability that such can not happen is not sufficient.

Many years ago, Boeing was responsible for sneak circuit analysis on apollo. Did an excellent job of finding such.

Yet the 787 battery issue and a fire on board in electrical panel during flight test sort of showed that capability was ignored, lost, or not followed up due to cost and schedule. IMO this proposed system will eventually bite them in the **** simply from PR...
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:16
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@ tartare in #2634 (resp to WR in #2629)
Thanks for post. Disclaiming, on my part, specific knowledge of satellite orbital parameters. But carrying on the logic chains: .... point earlier was made or asserted that timing of release of imagery by PRC can be understood with background of time it took to review and analyze what their birds saw. Another factor asserted relative to lapse of time was need to adjust resolution of released imagery to protect against disclosure of asset capabilities (though this, as a timing factor, has fallen into a teakettle of pro's and con's). Your post noted high-density array of assets in the subject region. If that is affirmative, and I have no reason to question it (see, disclaimer, above), then here is a further item: to extent satellite and other coverage is so thick and sophisticated, does it not follow that, (i) PRC assets were able to be surveyed immediately upon news of major airliner incident underway, and (ii) PRC had reason to leap forward and find the facts - precisely because it (the region) is one of such interest? So (and no I don't know enough about these assets to have tried to joke about it) if no reason existed for the birds to have to be moved, then does it not follow they had the imagery pretty early on? So on these premises - specifically on this chain of inferences and explicitly disclaiming any speculative purported knowledge - I'm amending my post in #2629: to extent PRC had imagery quite early on, maybe Uncle made a po-lite request to do the data dump thing? Again tartare, thanks for talking this over.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:18
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HappyAs - No, an exploding crew oxygen bottle, starting and feeding an electrical fire, has a much higher likelihood than a cargo fire, of putting out the comms and transponder feed within a very short time.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:22
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Re weather balloons:

Depends on the type of balloon being released and general conditions but on an average day an 800gm balloon with radiosonde attached would obtain 34-37km, 350gm balloon also with radiosonde attached approx 26-28km and a 100gm balloon wind-only flight around 17-20km.

Size wise, the 350 and especially 800gm balloons at burst are around the size of a small house at burst.

Hope this helps
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:22
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I am beginning to think whether Malay authorities are even acting on the leads provided to them.

How come China is revealing the information online not sharing directly with Malay authorities.. how come they don't pay any head to McKay's (oil rig worker) email.

IMHO they should be more transparent and forthcoming than just giggling during the PCs.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:23
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I'd like to say something about the lack of comms. As pilots, we are always taught to do the following steps in any emergency:
1) Fly the aircraft, i.e. regain control of the aircraft
2) Communicate, tell someone. Mayday calls need not be made on 243 or 121.5, switch only when time permits
3) orientate and subsequent actions.

However many times pilots train in the simulator, when an actual emergency happens, especially in the most benign portion of the flight, there is usually the mental inertia/shock to realise what is happening. We see this in MANY accidents and often wonder how a seemingly simple emergency can cause the inaction or wrong actions by the crew to worsen the recovery actions.

I'd been part of several accident investigations and this is replayed many times. Even in minor incidents, pilots may be unwilling to call out for a simple reason, they don't want to unnecessarily raise alarms. Many have to be taught to call out first, and downgrade the emergency later.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:25
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This link is an Australian depiction of the original flight path, the location of the debris shown in the Chinese satellite images and the location of the oil rig from where Mike Mackay says he saw a burning aircraft.

http://media.news.com.au/nnd//38883f.../assets/01.jpg
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:29
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@tdracer

220mph - the Special Condition is issued as a pre-requisite to certifying a new system (generally Special Conditions are issued when the FAA believes that the existing FARs are not adequate for certification of new or novel technologies). The 777 system that the FAA issued SC against is still in development and won't enter service for some time. The current 777 does not yet have an "Onboard Network System" (ONS), and the flight deck avionics are not linked to the passenger accessible systems in any way. There is simply no way for someone sitting in the back to access the flight deck avionics - there is no link they could use.
The special condition was announced Nov 18, 2013. A few days later Teledyne announced certification of their Airborne Wireless LAN for the 777. This AWLU appears to have been available for other aircraft for some time, and appears it is installed in 787 aircraft among others.

I agree these systems are not likely in operation in 777's currently. I don't think you can definitively say aircraft systems and passenger systems are not linked in any way ... that was the specific concern addressed in the special conditions - that they could be.

I agree its highly unlikely anyone could access from PAX area or outside, however the system does have WiFi, Cellular and similar access and as other have noted just about any system can be hacked today. It DOES contain a flash card as well - and there are Wifi enabled flash cards.

Again I agree its unlikely the public can access, however, workers most certainly could, having access to the MEC. And while I again agree it wouldn't be easy, it certainly does seem plausible that someone with access to the system could conceivably manipulate it.

I don't think its relevant to this incident, but it IS an interesting conversation on its own.

On the other hand the electrical failure in the MEC, which has occurred in 777's in the past, DOES make a great deal of sense to this scenario, as I posted here.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:34
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onetrack - That is a possibility, however you would then expect to see debris in the vicinity of the last know position if the fire was fast and catastrophic. If this aircraft had time to reach the Malacca Straits the pilots may have turned the transponder / ACARS off themselves as they struggled to fly the aircraft to a controlled ditching before being overcome.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:37
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Stanley:

As pilots, we are always taught to do the following steps in any emergency:
1) Fly the aircraft, i.e. regain control of the aircraft
2) Communicate, tell someone. Mayday calls need not be made on 243 or 121.5, switch only when time permits
3) orientate and subsequent actions.
That's not what I was taught. At all. Ever.

In fact, it was along the lines of:

1. Aviate
2. Navigate
3. And last of all, time permiting, Communicate.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 02:39
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neogen
How come China is revealing the information online not sharing directly with Malay authorities.. how come they don't pay any head to McKay's (oil rig worker) email.
Actually the possible crash site location would be roughly consistent both with the report by the oil rig worker and with this report by other witnesses in Marang.
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