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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 16th Mar 2014, 13:34
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Regarding "investigations" on the ground, I would lend zero credence to any findings. What do we know with certainty? This a/c went missing 6 full days ago; Malaysian authorities launched serious investigations into the crew yesterday. That's five FULL days where serious investigation has simply not been done. Unforgivable.

The decision-making processes and investigative acumen of the Malaysian authorities inspires contempt.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 13:38
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The red arcs are determined just by working out the accurate distance of the ping source from one single satellite (IOR).

The ping messages are very accurately timestamped using very accurate clocks at both ends. Even though this communication system is not for GPS purposes it uses similarly accurate clocks. So we know that the plane was, say 38000km, from the satellite at 0:11Z.

That gives a circle on the surface of the earth.(The so-called 40 degree circle).

No other satellites could be used as there are only four satellites altogether in space listening for ACARS pings. They do not cover the relevant longitudes: they are below the horizon from most of the Indian Ocean and middle Eurasia.

The fact that that the other satellites (POR and AOR-E) did not hear the 0:11Z ping rules out some chunks of the red circle.

This leaves the two red arcs.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 13:38
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The possibility of a rogue pilot is one that ought to have the professional members of this forum extremely concerned. The potential consequential ramifications are significant.
Quite true. Which is why speculation over flight crew involvement in this should be carefully considered before posting.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 13:44
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The military "got distracted" at the beginning.
Is it not just that most countries do not see much of a threat from an aircraft at that altitude so quite possibly 'muted' them on their display to avoid clutter, leave them for the civil ATC people to look after.

They could see their biggest threat as low level flights being used by insurgents or smugglers of various sorts.

An aircraft at that height without transponder could also be the Americans up to no good so best to not get involved.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 13:45
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Malaysia delays

Two points:

(i) It is a frustrating thought that the Malaysians knew the plane was missing while it was still in the air and potentially still discoverable and interceptable! With the benefit of hindsight, if only they had not waited several hours before making the inevitable announcement, it might have made a huge difference to the progress of the search.

(ii) Regarding the Inmarsat satellite that was pinged by the missing aircraft. Would the pings continue to be sent if the aircraft had landed safely? And if so, can we infer from the presumed absence of such pings that the aircraft did not land safely?
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 13:50
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Originally Posted by mseyfang
I think it is important to differentiate between what is established fact and what is theory
Precisely. However based on possible outcomes of unknowns, certain outcomes can be eliminated, and likelihoods can be assigned to others:

Facts
(assuming being reported by authorities as fact is true - only the transponder timing is verifiable from an independent source)
ACARS stopped transmitting at 01:07
Last voice communications 01:20
Transponder ceased transmitting 01:22

Assumpton A: ACARS switched off deliberately

It was either a member of the real crew communicating 'roger that' - in which case whatever happened is most likely deliberate crew action,

OR

It was not a crew member communicating, indicating that at that time already someone other than the crew was in control of the aircraft, for purposes unknown

Assumpton B: ACARS disconnected due to some malfunction

13 minutes later crew were either not aware of it, or whatever was the case did not trigger enough alarm to notify ATC of a problem
2 minutes later issue propagated to a transponder failure.

Beyond that, crew were either too busy to communicate, or failure propagated to comms systems, or crew became incapacitated (or all of these in some sequence). In this case a good explanation needs to be found on how the aircraft could have stayed in the air and conducted the observed flight path for several more hours.

Likely conclusion

I don't have the technical knowledge to go through all possible failure paths in Assumption B, but I'm sure many have worked overtime in Seattle to do so, and my assumption is that most possible failure scenarios have either been eliminated, or tagged as extremely unlikely requiring the line-up of too many layers in the swiss cheese to make it a plausible one.

The logical conclusion is then that it must have been Assumption A, either initiated by the crew (wilfully or under duress) or by a yet unidentified third party. It is this scenario that is being communicated at present in a rather assertive way.

Quite possibly the last ACARS transmission had some information whether it was deliberately switched off, which would actually make Assumpton A. a fact.

Last edited by andrasz; 16th Mar 2014 at 14:04.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 13:57
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Originally Posted by D.S.
Communicator said

Initial remarks are "last contact 2:40" while last primary radar contact just happens to be... 2:40

Yeah, obviously someone connected the flight path instantly but someone else apparently didn't like them saying it and the "official" position was blurred/changed/danced around for a while before being changed back a full week later after it was "corroborated" by the satellite =====SNIP=====

=====SNIP=====
Does the Left hand not know what the Right is doing? Do they just desperately want to ignore anything they don't want to know? (many people here show that quality, so that is kind of understandable I guess...) Do they think they can will the plane into a body of water they want it to be in? Maybe get the Shaman to use his magic and make it be true?

...no matter, all those countries wasting all that time in a Gulf of Thailand that officials pretty much knew the entire time that the plane didn't crash into - and many here selectively believing very few things the Malaysian Officials tell us while ignoring absolutely everything else they and other Governments say

Reality is, the plane turned around and they knew it instantly

I see this as quite normal.

The initial briefing is given based on loss of transponder response followed by primary response for a further hour plus... But all the pundits want it to be an immediate emergency (there are a huge number on here too that still want the aircraft to have ditched just after the last RT call).

So very senior general says to minion - "Where did this information come from - I am being told by experts that it must be wrong - are you ABSOLUTELY certain this was the aircraft?" Minion says that's what he was told by the radar unit - but it will be checked. Minion repeats to junior at radar unit "are you ABSOLUTELY certain this was the aircraft? The general will be extremely upset with you if you are wrong!" Radar unit now has to go to tape archive and check and recheck and make absolutely certain all the way down the technician chain. In the mean time General starts back tracking and using civil reports of loss of transponder only waiting until he gets a totally certain reply from minion. Then the SATCOM pings are reported and grudgingly the primary radar response is now more trusted. But the story of 'total loss of contact at 1:30' has to be carefully backed out of so not to look foolish.

I suspect this is what happened. It is one of the reasons that NTSB is irritatingly cautious on release of details in similar incidents.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:04
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Time of last appearance on primary radar has now been corrected to 2:15.

Exclusive: Radar data suggests missing Malaysia plane deliberately flown way off course - sources | Reuters

(Not 2:40am)
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:09
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Quite possibly the last ACARS transmission had some information whether it was deliberately switched off, which would actually make Assumpton A. a fact.
Electrical equipment is usually switched off by removing the power to the unit. This is because it is usually the power which is most likely to cause a fire or smoke event rather than data.

Even a smart box can only tell you that the power was removed, not whether this action was deliberate or accidental.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:18
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Something I would like to know. Would voice analysis be able to ascertain whether the final call (Roger that) was made by the same person who had carried out the previous radio transmissions?
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:19
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Originally Posted by Uberteknik
Regarding the potential southern track, the Australian government Over The Horizon radar (Jindalee Operational Radar Network) at Laverton has coverage out across that part of the Indian Ocean and would be capable of tracking the aircraft for a consderable distance if indeed it flew that path.

I'm sure the Australians will be looking at this now.
Didn't someone say earlier that it was switched off for the weekend? So if you were ever going to invade Australia, please do it on a weekday so we'll be ready for you!!
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:19
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Technical stuff

Aviator 1970 in post 4349 said:-

ADS-B usually set on auto needs to be deliberately selected off with the FMC interface.

I'm not sure that is correct. Some info on ADS:-

ADS-B is transponder to antenna transmissions and thus is LOS. ADS-B will work as long as the transponder is "on". Thus FMCS has nothing to do with ADS-B.
The -B means broadcast and that's what the transponder does

ADS-C is, on the other hand, data transmitted via FMS/ ACARS and will only be transmitted if the pilots have logged on and Contracted ( that's what the -C means) with the appropriate ATC authority. It is used in conjunction with CPDLC when out over the briny.

Question for 777 pilots.
How can you disable ACARS? I don't recall being able to do that in my airline days and I'm not sure I'd know how to do it in the G-550!
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:23
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Something I would like to know. Would voice analysis be able to ascertain whether the final call (Roger that) was made by the same person who had carried out the previous radio transmissions
That would depend on the length of the recording and the quality of the recording, but in principle, yes.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:24
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ACARS Selected OFF

Some posters are still operating under the misapprehension that the ACARS may have gone out or range or failed due to a technical reason.

The statement that the ACARS was selected off is verifiable and obviously has been which is why it is one of the very few definitive statements the officials are making.

Read back a couple of pages to see a technical description of logoff protocol.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:24
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Here is a map of a relevant part of INMARSAT coverage and the red circle.



The red circle are the points which see the Indian Ocean IOR at 40 degree altitude.

The pink circle are places which can just see the pacific POR above the horizon (I think about 8 degrees). So if you are east of the pink line and ping then POR will hear you. (This did not happen to MH370 at 8:11am).

The green circle is the limit for the Atlantic AOR-E. So if you are west of that then AOR-E will hear you.

Hence, if you ping on the red line and POR does not hear you as well as IOR then you can not be in the South China Sea.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:28
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The Air France 447 thread post count is soon to be exceeded by this event, and they are no where close, if ever, to finding this aircraft. May God watch over the Pax and Crew. One thing I observed from these threads, is that people love to talk, while actually siting no reality.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:31
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Originally Posted by hornetgr
Greek news sites posted that :

The greek oil tanker " ELKA Athina " received orders from indonesian station to investigate at Latitude 0551N and Longtidude 09657,5 Ε (malaca straits) suspect things that they look like suitcases. The ship is 3 to 4 hours away from the indicated point.
The position of the alleged suitcases reported above is here: SkyVector Aeronautical Chart (center crosshair)

Which is:
  • 73 NM SW of VAMPI
  • 123 NM SW of GIVAL
  • 282 NM SE of IGREX
(On Mar 14th, Malaysia's Transport Minister stated that MH370 had routed via waypoint VAMPI, then GIVAL, and finally towards IGREX. The target was said to be lost at FL295 after GIVAL)
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:32
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Question for 777 pilots.
How can you disable ACARS? I don't recall being able to do that in my airline days and I'm not sure I'd know how to do it in the G-550!
Via the comms menu on MFD (multi function display) ACARS can be turned off. To be honest; had to look it up in FCOM manual...
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:35
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I just looked it up as well, because to be honest, it's not something you ever think about doing.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 14:37
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The elephant outside the room

Shadow - Re E&E cabinet access.

Access to this cabinet and tripping the appropriate breakers (which would take some expertise) should be indicated by ACARS ceasing to transmit rather than tidily logging off. I agree with the security hole but before you have a world conspiracy to hide a security weakness, it would be sensible to show that all these comms just stopped as they would have with a CB being tripped or wires cut in the E&E bay.

Similarly, explain why the expert knowledgeable in all E&E bay comms CBs did not trip the SATCOM. One would have thought that all comms would have been disabled.

You would also need to explain why the crew carried on and leveled off and gave a relaxed good night call to Sebang on handoff - while 10 minutes before handoff there was already some miscreant in the E&E bay turning off the ACARS who somehow knew to wait to turn off the Transponder and VHF RT after handoff and only then. With of course unfussed FAs just preparing the meal as normal while this was going on and not alerting the cockpit.

It starts to get a little difficult logically.
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