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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:17
  #4721 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by SLFplatine
Agree: Australia, which has highly sophisticated radar, interestingly said the same thing and for the same reason -costs; its expensive (really? -why build it in the first place?).
They have sophisticated radar systems so that they MAY operate them if required. In the same way that the military have Reserves as well as Regular soldiers in case they are required in the future.

I find it hard to believe that military radar does not operate 24/7 -airborne threats only show up during business hours?
They are provided against known threats based on intelligence and it is simply not affordable for many smaller countries to maintain high readiness at all times.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:24
  #4722 (permalink)  
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The report on Captain Shah by The Daily Mail may be a hatchet job, but it does suggest that he spent all day Friday awake and engrossed in this big trial. It claims he left the court at 9pm straight for the airport to fly overnight to Beijing. Surely he's likely to be tired, and this could lead to poor judgement, possible mistakes and short-temperedness, and not the masterminding of a multinational heist or terrorist plot?
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:25
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For me, this event may only make sense in hindsight once more information is known. With the conflicting and sketchy information currently available, none of it makes sense in totality.

For those in the commercial aviation industry, how do you posit an entire planeload of people were kept under control for the length of time this A/C was apparently operational? This is what I cannot wrap my head around.

If one accepts the argument that the shut down of ACARS, then the transponder, followed by routine communication with ATC in a situation that demanded anything but routine communication is suggestive of deliberate disruption of the flight, then this mean that passengers and some flight crew were essentially hostage. If the dramatic changes in altitude are even close to accurate, people on that flight had to be aware very early on that something was wrong. Let's say that there were no dramatic changes in altitude because those reports were incorrect; wouldn't you expect one or more of the FA to notice something during that period of time when direction was reversed along with those waypoint crossings? As in, hey the water is supposed to be starboard, but now it's port?

What announcement could possibly be given to more than 200 people to ensure their complacency and/or cooperation for this number of hours? Well past the scheduled landing time of their flight, well past sunrise?

From what I can gather, if the A/C was operational at 08:11, this would not support some kind of situation where hypoxia was a factor, simply because oxygen supplies would not have been available for that length of time. My understanding is that O2 supplies for the flight crew should have been 2 hours and this does not reconcile with the almost 6 hours since the ACARS system stopped reporting. Can anyone confirm how much oxygen would have been required for the FD crew?

It would be helpful for authorized spokesmen to be more transparent with information, including releasing detailed info on the Inmarsat data transmissions.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:26
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Technical question on ACARS please?

Sorry to intrude into such a knowledgeable (or wannabe knowledgeable) group. I've been lurking to learn, and test a few theories of my own (i.e. catastrophic electrical fire/failure, followed by loss of pressure in cabin). To that, I've paid attention to those that note the shut down of ACARS first. So to that, I have a question that I don't believe has been addressed to the pros here yet.

Much of the suspicion that is being cast on the cockpit crew at this moment stems from a Malaysian authority's (is that an oxymoron??) insistence that ACARS was deliberately shut down over 10 minutes before final communications and transponders failure/turned off. On one hand, I have to agree with one prior comment that until I saw a log off log, I'm not sure we can believe much from Malaysian authorities, or the press. Lousy track record and all that jazz... But for now, let's assume there was a formal log off.

I've heard pilots over the years mention that the ability to disable transponders is an important safety feature while in flight. But I don't hear much about the the same for ACARS, or the limited access you have to ACARS thru MCDUs on the pedestal. I have gone back to read older threads here about the value of ACARS, not to mention the insecure communications that are part and parcel of the system.

So two questions:

1: Is there a reason a pilot would voluntarily log off of ACARS?

2: Doesn't ACARS, if it loses VHF communications for a gap of time, request a voice log on at that time, forcing it to SATCOM? In which case, does it go thru it's own "log off" sequence? And isn't it possible that the crew would not notice if they were not depending upon it for weather (great weather that night), or confirming general log in events not needed until later?

The only reason I ask was that I tried some self education on ACARS and any anomalies - or why a crew may voluntary go thru a log off procedure in flight. And what I landed on was Canada's TSB report on the Swiss Air 111 crash back in 1998.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada - AVIATION REPORTS - 1998 - A98H0003

It probably taught me enough to know I'm even more a clueless novice. So I thought I would put it to the forum for further education.

Personally, can't see much reason for terrorism or suicide. The political views held by Capt Shah are about as far away from militant actions and fundamentalists as possible (pro Demoracy/anti-corruption). Nor would disgruntled attitudes towards Malaysian politics INRE the jailed opposition leader be much of a reason for killing what is a majority of innocent Chinese citizens.

Most importantly, I'd certainly hate to think that pilots' political views have to be considered for employment, or used to destroy reputations as a scapegoat. That's a dangerous precedent.

INRE suicide, according to media accounts, he and his wife had been separated for some time, but were sharing a home. So I can't see existing marital problems as suddenly being a reason for suicide.

All theories around deliberate acts, targeting the crew, start with ACARS... *if* it was deliberately shut down. Thus my questions. My thanks for your explanations, and I'll go back to lurking now.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:26
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You only occupy either seat (L/R) , because of your PA . Pax don't get on board a remote.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:27
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Someone mentioned DG as being conceivably within range dozens of pages ago. Then the subject of hangars there was mentioned. They're not big enough for the B-52's so they wouldn't be for a 777 either, judging by Google Earth. So that should be the end of that one....

And this has probably been done, but as for the 777 integral ELT, shouldn't SARSAT/коспас pick up any 406 MHz ELT's going off? There has mostly been discussion of search planes and Inmarsat. Sorry if it's a dumb question.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:27
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Oxygen Saturation

It has been a few years since my last low pressure chamber run, but here is what I remember:

Above FL350, even breathing 100% oxygen will not keep your blood oxygen level up and you must pressure breathe.

Pressure breathing is a lot of work and very unnatural, but can keep you going at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet for up to 30 minutes.

If one of the crew or a bad guy had access to pressure breathing equipment, then the climb to high altitude as reported by NYT informant makes ominous sense as a means to disable and possibly terminate all others in the aircraft.

Radar signals recorded by the Malaysian military appeared to show that the missing airliner climbed to 45,000 feet, above the approved altitude limit for a Boeing 777-200, soon after it disappeared from civilian radar and turned sharply to the west, according to a preliminary assessment by a person familiar with the data.
The radar track, which the Malaysian government has not released but says it has provided to the United States and China, showed that the plane then descended unevenly to 23,000 feet, below normal cruising levels, as it approached the densely populated island of Penang.

I concur with the first part of post 4377 by xcitation
Assuming the hijack hypothesis are we talking a very skilled pilot with planning or an extremely lucky amateur?

Data points:

Precise timing of disappearance at the minute when switching between Malaysia and Vietnam airspace.
FL450 excursion when heavy requires skillful handling at performance limits (maximum energy climb). [contested by some posters with experience on type. However service ceiling is not absolute ceiling!]
Cruise at FL295 which avoids outbound/inbound traffic.
Follows border between Thailand/Malaysia when crossing peninsula.
Minimal air defense monitoring at night - opportunity to leave the area before dawn when full air defense is active.
A/c avoids areas with active radar coverage.
I speculate that the path chosen afterwards depends on the motivation of the hijacker. If a suicide plan, he took the Southern route.
If there was high value cargo, then he took the Northern route.

The Malaysian authorities should have the data for that logical decision point.

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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:28
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Astana is 3800 Miles or so. Kerguelen Island is 4000 'ish miles on a rough extrapolation of the Southern arc. Is is feasible? Vallee des Sables would be a lovely quiet place to put down?
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:29
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Some 737 O2 discussion here on Pprune

This link indicates that at least one portable bottle is pressurized to 1800psi with a flow rate variable to deliver between 7 and 70 minutes.

Are all ten or so portable bottles the same specification?

It raises the issue of hypothermia on the flight deck and instruments freezing (?) if the plan was to keep cabin depressurized beyond the endurance of the emergency O2 supplies available to cabin crew.
Or does 777 have cockpit heating that overcomes the issue, if so can it work for an hour or more?

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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:29
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Here are the last few pghs of a good peice by James Fallows in the current online issue of THE ATLANTIC:

"I agree about the streaming of black box data. It would be hideously expensive, and black boxes are (at least until now) invariably found.

But I hope this episode (regardless of how it ends) leads to more robust flight tracking. It really is not acceptable that airplanes can vanish over water any more; there are simply too many flights over water, and the incidence of catastrophic events on such flights seems to be once every few years, if this and AF447 are any guide. It does not appear that the combination of ELTs and underwater pingers is nearly reliable enough to dependably locate the site of crashes into large bodies of water.

The structure for such tracking is largely in place with all large modern transports fitted with ADS-B; the remaining tasks seem to be around the robustness of the tracking.
5) On Malaysia. Disasters often have entirely unforeseen political and social effects. Chernobyl, Katrina, the Fukushima nuclear breakdown -- these all became shorthand for points about institutions in those countries and their newly revealed vulnerabilities. A reader in Asia introduces a point that's been on my mind, especially considering my oft-pronounced and sincere enjoyment of Malaysia and its people in the years my family lived there. The reader says:

I've lived/worked there 2X. I like it. the people, country, and most of all, food.

But they have serious problems. In two decades, they're falling behind in the region. To me, its 'crony capitalism', which exists in Indonesia as well (lived/worked there for almost 2 yrs)
This is going to be a millstone around their necks for the immediate future. And it was all preventable-if they had just been honest WITH THEMSELVES.
There is a lot this last note implies that needs to be more fully explained for people unfamiliar with Malaysia's strengths, weaknesses, and similarities and differences with Indonesia. That will have to wait for the next time. Thanks to all who wrote in (and thanks to United for ever-so-slowly closing the WiFi gap with Delta, Alaska, and other airlines)."
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:31
  #4731 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by RatherBeFlying
-- and yes, targeting assets to the T7 when it was still in range might have shed more light on the situation.

But remember that an interceptor has limited range and would have to head back home for gas.
This assumes that the Malaysian Air Force maintains an interceptor on a 15 minute alert. From the time of the turn back it would have taken only about 15 minutes before the target was back overland. It would take almost as much time to determine that a scramble was necessary.

Once the aircraft is overland the interceptor probably has no chance of catching it up because, as you point out, it is fuel limited.

Something with longer range would have to be dispatched, but most maritime patrol aircraft are turboprops and at best could only hope to pick up a blip receding at max range. However an interceptor or patrol aircraft might possibly have given us a track to work from.
What other aircraft could have been used? As you say, a turbo prop would be too slow. You also assume that one was on standby.

The highest alert for a patrol aircraft is usually no more than 60 minutes and more likely 2 hours. Even more likely is that no standby is maintained at night and 3-4 hours being a more likely reaction time.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:36
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Originally Posted by Jake the Peg
Captain Shah..Surely he's likely to be tired, and this could lead to poor judgement, possible mistakes and short-temperedness, and not the masterminding of a multinational heist or terrorist plot?
Yep, it is possible that with fatigue (and short temperateness, he could have made a monumental mistake by deciding to do something to the flight (and pax). A spur of the moment act thought through from 9:30pm to midnight?

This begs the question as to what he did with FO and pax? Further, what was the ultimate end of MH370 according to the captain's spur of the moment plan?
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:38
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Re: "Astana is 3800 Miles or so. Kerguelen Island is 4000 'ish miles on a rough extrapolation of the Southern arc. Is is feasible? Vallee des Sables would be a lovely quiet place to put down?"

With various altitudes and maneuvers of course affecting it, CNN meterologist Chad Myers today has suggested that destinations up to 3000 miles away are the most reasonable realm of possibility, based upon available fuel.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:39
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Spoofing/faking another flight

I'm sorry if this has been touched upon before, but a search in this thread for "fake flight plan " doesn't return any hits. So:

Could whoever piloted MH370 have filed a "fake" IFR flight plan for "Whatever flight XXX/Private XXX" in advance and then, when the aircraft had been disappeared over the ocean in an area without ATC and radar coverage, simply present himself as "Whatever flight XXX/Private XXX" in accordance with the filed flight plan to ATC when entering controlled airspace, set the ACs transponder to the designated squawk and then all of a sudden be a legit flight being able to travel in controlled airspace without anyone including military types noticing (for the time being at least)?

Or would ATC know in advance that "Whatever flight XXX/Private XXX" had in fact never taken off from it's filed origin and therefore flag it as trouble? Does - or rather must - the ATC handing the aircraft off into uncontrolled airspace advise the ATC in the other end that "Whatever flight XXX/Private XXX" is approaching in accordance with filed flight plan?

(With a Mode S XPDR I guess you really can't unless ATC doesn't couple the transponders ID with the ICAO database or doesn't notice the discrepancy, but can the pilot of a 777 toggle the transponders mode and run in ie mode A/C?)

((Asking because I'm trying to weed out a conspiracy that's pretty much off the top))
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:40
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Pressure breathing equipment is not standard in airliners. It would have had to get on there somehow, and not in a carry on: An O2 tank of sufficient size would cause all sorts of alarms, considering what happened to me and my spinlock life vest on my last transpacific flight! It's got a 20 gram CO2 cartridge in it which made the doozies lose their plots, knickers their twists and all such things.

Having said that, climbing to FL450, depressurising, waiting until you're almost out of O2 yourself (~30-45min?), then descending to a manageable FL295 on a low O2 flow to maximise range sounds like an awesome plan - but not a if you think about it in detail. Out of your 23x specimens in the back, there are at least 10 or so that will come back without permanent damage. Altitude tolerance is extremely individual. I don't think that's a risk I'd take.

I think I like my theory still the best: A spook sliced them open near where contact lost, that might have well resulted in the reported altitude excursion, crew and pax out etc, and subsequent fireball into the ocean. The PSR target then was the spook making its way out of the area, apparently not fully disabled at that stage.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:42
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Originally Posted by rigbyrigz
The left turn was pre-programmed into the FMC and noted on an ACARS event log before ACARS stopped (for whatever reason).
Then why did the plane clearly turn right just after the waypoint IGARI?
If the original flight plan had been changed and a new waypoint West of IGARI had been inserted before 1:07 (in order to be allegedly reported in the last ACARS log), supposedly VAMPI, then why do we clearly see the aircraft turning right as per original flight plan indicating he's headed for BITOD, as any other MAS 370 (now MAS 318) did before and after March 8, 2014, before it disappears from secondary radar?

I never saw an aircraft, which is following the flight plan stored in the FMC, turning right when the next point clearly requires a left turn.

Can anyone please care to explain me this?
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:44
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The disapearance of MH370 was either caused by cascading technical failures followed by a crash or it was a deliberate act, like it is the comunicated official version at the moment. And it is fair to say that we meanwhile see it as the most probable event as well.

A deliberate act to prevent MH370 from reaching its planned destination can only be executed from within the aircraft, from one or more passengers, from one or more crew members, or a combination of both, one single passenger being the most unlikely one in my humble opinion. All passengers and all of the crew are suspects at the moment.

A deliberate act could be a single persons deed like suicide or some kind of personal vandetta, or it could be an outside job with the acting people on board being the mercenaries. A suicide or personal vandetta could be straight forward, get the aircraft and do something weird with it, thereby killing yourself and doing whatever damage you intend to do. I'm no shrink, but i can't see a person with a suicide will go to such detailed planning and execution and missing the final big bang glory, to let everybody know what he did.

That leaves the outside job, from a group with resources, money and motive.

Could that group be some political motivated group from inside or outside malaysia to make some statement and do some damage (terror), or a criminal group with the intent to make money from the load and aircraft (crime)?

If it is some terror scheme, then their aim may be reached by making aircraft and load disappear without trace ( crash it in deep water),or by crashing it in 911 style which did not happen. Other option would be landing it somewhere for the purpose of using its load or / and the aircraft for a later purpose (terror or crime). Landing it in the water would be not an planned option for that last intention, too many unknown risks for the aircraft and the load would be involved. Imagine unloading some tons of gold in the middle of the ocean from a sinking aircraft by hand from the hold. If the load was of interest, the number of suspects is limited to the circle in the know of the shipment, in the first line being the sender and the recepient, as only those both would have the detailed insight about the kind of shipment, the size, the weight, the look alike, the value of the shipment and the planned timing.

Landing the aircraft somewhere on land (normal or crashlanding) needs lots of preparation and logistcs to make sure the place is suitable, the place is deserted at landing time and the infrastructure for the getaway is safe and managable. Furthermore the place must be remote enough that actvities raise no suspicion and remain unobserved from legal forces like military, police and third country survailance systems like satelites. Furthermore, to not get caught later with such a crime all evidence has to disappear somehow pretty soon after landing and stay hidden for quite some time, the best forever.

Such a plot could only be pulled off with the help from powerfull organisations or with the tolerance and assistance of a whole state. Such help would bare great risk in case of failure, therefore the prize to be gained must be worth it in the long term or they don't have to loose anything.

What am i getting at?

1. The disappearance of MH370 was most probably a deliberate act.

2. MH370 was crashed on purpose if it was a personal act.

3. MH370 would have been crashed 911 style or similar, if some terror group wanted to make a statement

4. MH370 could have been hijacked with the intention to land it somewhere, for its load or for criminal or unknown political reasons.

5. Planning for such a landing needs wealthy, influential and powerfull asistance, only states or state organizations can provide.

Now look for somebody along the suspected flightpath with the power, the ability, the will and the reclessness for such a plan.

Last edited by RetiredF4; 16th Mar 2014 at 22:20.
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:44
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If the plane really is intact someplace, what could you DO with it
No one is going to buy it.
No one is going to buy the parts either.
If you want to do a kamikaze attack, all the sleepy air defense operations are sure as hell awake and looking NOW.

Just don't get it...............
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:45
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shot down

Acars turned off - Transponder turned off - Acars transmitters would have still pinged satellites hence the ping from the aircraft - Most likely scenario is that it has been shot down for not responding, military radar picked up an unknown aircraft, military jets would have been dispatched to intercept, why is there no mention of this? Now how do the governments tell people and families we had to shoot it down...
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Old 16th Mar 2014, 21:47
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Depends where in the FMS flight plan the new waypoint was entered and then made the active waypoint which was in the ACARS message. It could have been entered after BITOD.

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