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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 13th Mar 2014, 14:50
  #2761 (permalink)  
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What's cooking?

I offer my apologies if this has been mentioned before, but I may have missed one or two of the plethora of theories ..... but considering the phase of the flight, would a galley fire not be a possibility?

I know not the implications regarding loss of comms.
Maybe someone can tell me.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 14:57
  #2762 (permalink)  
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1. If the US or another country had a SOSUS (or similar) system near there, wouldn't it be possible to listen for an anomaly that could be the plane impacting the water.
2. There is an extensive SOSUS sytem in that area that would have detected a noise of that magnitude,
FWIW, SOSUS was/is mostly a deep water system, not a good fit for the comparatively shallow water of the South China Sea. Beyond that, were there some hydrophone array in the area, a surface anomaly (short duration acoustic event) may or may not reach a given hydrophone due to the varied paths sound takes and the high ambient noise in that region. My estimate (very out of date, been some years since I did real ASW) is that there is no such hydrophone array in that region.

Hoping that SOSUS could give a datum for this search seems low to zero probability.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:06
  #2763 (permalink)  
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It is not where they are looking.

Old Boeing Driver asks is there is anything else to add, past that the A/C took off and contact was lost. Yes, there is. We know it took off, we know it had a competent flight crew, we know it had lots of fuel, we know it climbed to altitude, and we know it was on its intended course.

We can reasonably conclude that the A/C was on autopilot. These guys are not likely to be hand-flying that thing in the gloom of night on a long-haul.

We also know that vast amounts of assets are out looking at the water surface. Plus, lots of small boats out there, fishermen, diesel-fuel tankers, junks, coastal freighters, all kinds of stuff. We know that an aircraft impacting water is going to bust up into a vast number of parts, and a lot of those will float around. Yet, nothing is found.

That tells us that it is not where everybody is looking. So: where is it? Getting past murky reports of radar contacts in other places at different altitudes, you do have to conclude that the more logical flight path is the one the autopilot has it set on. That A/C heads North - to land. From that inference, either the A/C continues onward on that autopilot until it runs out of fuel, then crashes, or the autopilot is interrupted and the A/C goes into an uncontrolled descent and impacts terrain. We have learned that an impact into terrain at high speed will leave a small crater - in the case of United 93, only 30 feet across. Are you going to spot an impact crater in the jungle of Southeast Asia? Or does the jungle simply swallow it up?

In which case, you may never find it. Ever. Hard for us to appreciate, with our fascination with technology, yet still quite plausible.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:06
  #2764 (permalink)  
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Two comments -

RR engine data :
Given the vagaries of HF radio propagation it is entirely possible for Fort Meade to have received signals which did not arrive at RR. A simple issue of antennas in different locations. In any event I would not expect RR to make any public comment for contractual reasons.

Cockpit windshield failure :
This is a possible cause which we have not considered. Such events are rare but they have happened. This would cause explosive cockpit decompression and incapacitation of almost certainly at least one pilot.
With the captain incapacitated and the FO probably injured the shock and startle effect would leave a less experienced FO with a serious workload problem.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:07
  #2765 (permalink)  
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@ Dai Farr 'I flew SAR on Air India 182 back in 1985'

The return on that aircraft vanished at 07.13GMT. An emergency was declared at 07.30GMT and SAR found floating debris at 09.13 GMT just over 120 miles off shore. The technology they had back then was primitive compared to today, yet wreckage location only took a matter of hours.

A mid air disintegration leaves sizable floating wreckage and later washed-up debris. From my involvement the problem with the smaller washed-up debris was the general public didn't recognise them as belonging to an aircraft.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:08
  #2766 (permalink)  
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NASA Joins Hunt for Missing Jetliner | Space.com

NASA Joins Hunt for Missing Malaysian Jetliner
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:11
  #2767 (permalink)  
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Hypoxic descent

It seems to me that while terrorism, unlawful interference, deliberate action or a government cover up of some kind are not confirmed as being completely impossible, they canít be far off, especially given the time that has passed without any proper clues of that nature. I will admit that the Malaysiaís Command and Control of the incident so far has aroused suspicion as has the lack of a cargo report. But as many have said, the most obvious and logical causes are probably the most likely.

That gives us two scenarios.

Either the aircraft went down at the same time as comms was lost (01:21 ish) or it continued to fly for a duration (up to a maximum of 5-7 hours given fuel discussions) in a given direction.

That puts the aircraft in a number of possible locations.

In the vicinity of last comms, in the South China Sea between NE Malaysia (peninsula) and SW Vietnam. This becomes less likely every day, assuming that the search is being conducted effectively.

If it did make the possible turn back towards Malaysia, then it could therefore be on mountainous, densely forested land, or again out to sea in the Malacca Strait, Andaman Sea or even Indian Ocean.

It could also be further into the South China Sea than we think, if the turn back was radar error.

The lack of a debris field found to this point suggests that either itís much smaller than we expect (high velocity impact in one piece, successful ditching followed by aircraft sinking, shallow dive after fuel supply exhausted) or it isnít where we expect (flown a full 7 hours towards the un-searched Indian Ocean for example).

So far, I think the most logical explanations all include hypoxia in some form, which can easily reduce a highly functioning individual to utterly useless in 90 seconds.While I cling to the hope that at least some of those on board MH370 could still be floating on yellow rafts with a dwindling supply of airline food, I take some comfort in knowing that drifting away through the delirium and hilarity of hypoxia must be one of the most painless and peaceful ways to go, particularly in an aircraft accident.

This leaves me with questions still:

Why are land based searches not being conducted in remote and forested areas?

Why are more countries not being asked to support? Malaysia and China between them have plenty of allies with superior military capabilities which could be put to excellent effect in solving this mystery, or even locating some survivors!
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:11
  #2768 (permalink)  
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Transponder identity

AFAIK the aircraft identity is not coded into the transponder. ATC enters the aircraft ident into their system when they assign the transponder code. I would expect that if you select the same code it would cause problems with ATC.

Now if you were to coordinate with another known flight in the area and have them turn off their transponder as you turn yours on with the same code, that would be seamless with ATC.
That is not true (or inaccurate, as the guys in the pc would say). Each mode S transponder is set up before installation with a worldwide unique 24 bit adress obtained from a global registration. You cannot change this adress in flight. The adress is tied to the aircraft registration. The only codes that can be assigned or re-assigned is the call sign and the 4 digit octal transponder code.
Same 24-bit aircraft adress applies to 406 Mhz ELT broadcast.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:12
  #2769 (permalink)  
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What would happen in your scenario to the speedbrakes and thrust setting when the selected altitude is reached and the pilots already unconscious ?

I see the main problem with this hypotheses that only transponder and acars comm equipment would have to be knocked out but all other vital electronics still working. On the other hand what happened on MH370 surely wasn't an everyday event.

BTW:It doesn't really matter but as far as I understand the 29.5 k feet was derived from that unidentified primary radar contact. Precision of that height would depend very much on angular resolution of the primary radar, so I guess it is just a best estimate give or take some 1000? feet.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:13
  #2770 (permalink)  
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There are too many theories on here that just dont hold water.

Whatever people theorise happened i.e. O2 bottles exploding, decompression, skin failure, terrorists, onboard fire, bomb etc. etc. just does not fit with the lack of wreckage (small debris field/ straight down entry into water?), lack of comms, lack of transponder, aircraft did not continue flying on A/P etc.

It's staring us in the face and it is not pretty.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:13
  #2771 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by The Ancient Geek
Cockpit windshield failure :
This is a possible cause which we have not considered. Such events are rare but they have happened. This would cause explosive cockpit decompression and incapacitation of almost certainly at least one pilot.
With the captain incapacitated and the FO probably injured the shock and startle effect would leave a less experienced FO with a serious workload problem.
Doesn't explain the transponder ceasing all transmissions.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:14
  #2772 (permalink)  
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US Officials Believe Missing Plane Crashed in Indian Ocean

US Officials Believe Malaysia Airline Crashed into Indian Ocean - ABC News
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:14
  #2773 (permalink)  
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Dia Farr - Very good info in your post--thanks for being one of those who keeping this thread worth reading. Rather good to see some wheat amonst the chaff. Awblain and Lonewolf also adding good ASW/SAR bits in as well.

Ploughman, I also fly the 777 and you made a point that I think most, if not all of us have missed--and that is problems with the MCP. How many times have we either done it ourselves or seen it happen when the altitude is spun incorrectly or the heading knob (or vice versa) is spun when it was meant to set a new altitude.

These errors are of course normally quickly caught and so no harm no foul...but add in hypoxia and and now we are talking about how this little bit of MCP confusion could lead to bigger problems.

My carrier still keeps the alt selector in auto unless flying a NPA but I can see why yours has changed the procedure.

One little knob, one little twist, one bit of confusion growing ever larger due to hypoxia and suddenly the MCP could be THE major player.

Glad to see the thread this morning with some good info being posted.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:16
  #2774 (permalink)  
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RE Mode S:
It has a code you can enter for that flight, but also a code in the background unique to the airframe. It is - in computer terms - a MAC address and is used like that for data communications in the background.

There are 24 bits in the ICAO mode S address. The USA is assigned a block of codes starting with Axxxxx, where A is the first Hexadecimal digit and xxxxx are 5 Hexadecimal digits unique to the aircraft.

Does the 777 let the pilots change the tail number as well as the flight ID?
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:20
  #2775 (permalink)  
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a very plausible scenario, the MCP is indeed a very obvious gotcha


don't worry, if they need to the CC can get in, if no-one is awake to "deny" them.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:22
  #2776 (permalink)  
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Some of the Qs and As are getting abit too detailed and specific and could/can be used by 'others' for sinister motives.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:24
  #2777 (permalink)  
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I flew with some older FMS's for awhile, and a controller asked about our tail number, which was being transmitted as another ID.

We looked in the FMS, and sure enough, the previous tail number was still in the box.

We were able to change it from the cockpit, although we were on the ground when we did it. I don't know if that would make a difference.

The FMS did talk to the transponder.

Also, ATC doesn't see the tail number for an airliner. Just flight number and airline code

Last edited by Old Boeing Driver; 13th Mar 2014 at 15:25. Reason: Add comment.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:30
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Indonesia Air Force

Guys and gals, did the Indonesian Air Force make any announcements on the MH370??

I find extremely disturbing that a radar primary plot crossed the whole Malaysia heading west to Indonesia and Malaysia didn't send a fighter to check. And find even weirder that the plot disappears very close to the airspace boundary between Malaysia and Indonesia (Pulau Perak).

Digital Globe could release images of the region close to oil rig and debris field seen by CX crew, and also the Malacca Strait...

Definitely the Malaysian military are hiding something, but not some info that would help out finding the aircraft right now, but their own incompetence on letting an unknown radar plot cross the country and do nothing about it.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:36
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MODE S and ADSB transmit as part of the extended squitter the airframes unique ICAO 24bit address.

It is hard coded and cannot be changed.
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Old 13th Mar 2014, 15:37
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Indonesian assistance

Indonesian Air Force Boeing A7303 combed the Malaka Strait in search of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH370 from Monday (March 10) to Tuesday, but in vain.
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