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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:25
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Yes....I do know littoral means close to shore. Probably comes from lighters which were used for cargo.
THe point I wass making with these was small ships which normally could operate at 20 knots but could perform for some time at the speed the website quoted.
I think the only people who really know what they are are not likely to tell us. I do notice that the tracks of the Pilot Boat Parmelia however are pretty accurate so presumably these tracks are not too inacurate either.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:27
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Thailand just released radar confirming the turnaround.

Thai military radar data bolsters belief that Flight 370 changed path - CNN.com

The Thai military was receiving normal flight path and communication data from the Boeing 777-200 on its planned March 8 route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing until 1:22 a.m., when it disappeared from its radar.

Six minutes later, the Thai military detected an unknown signal, a Royal Thai Air Force spokesman told CNN. This unknown aircraft, possibly Flight 370, was heading the opposite direction.
Nothing really new there, but it confirms what was already believed.

This part is interesting though:

"The unknown aircraft's signal was sending out intermittently, on and off, and on and off," the spokesman said. The Thai military lost the unknown aircraft's signal because of the limits of its military radar, he said.
That sounds a lot more like an equipment failure than someone deliberately turning off the transponder.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:30
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In relation to those vessel tracker and marine traffic websites they work by volunteers feeding in the VHF AIS data frequency exactly like flight radar 24 so if there out of coverage of the nearest feeder it will only show the last position of the vessel when it had coverage.

I believe you can pay $300 a month to marine traffic and get the vessels position by satcom.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:31
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Originally Posted by OldDutchGuy
It is perfectly logical that Malaysian would be tankering fuel running up to China. It is a govt-owned carrier that reportedly is running well into the red. For all we know, the fuel guys up there will not extend credit, or keep a tight leash on the outstanding receivables, or are demanding a prepaid surety account, or have cut the carrier off completely. TWA got into that bind in its last days (actually, the last year). Nobody would sell them fuel on open account. Since Malaysia is a "producer," and the govt has its fingers in that pie, likely some brother-in-law has the supply contract and gets the fuel at say 17 cents a gal. and re-sells it to the Carrier at say $2.20. Meanwhile the Chinese guys are demanding cash up front at (pick your number) $4.00. The solution is driven by the economic realities: they tanker.

I noted that everybody was being very cagey about saying "the normal fuel load was taken on." Normal for what? Normal for the flight parameters, or normal for their not having open-account credit in Beijing? Or, normal for the brother-in-law? Nobody knows. Hey, it's Asia; things are opaque as a matter of course.
How much of this tankered fuel would you burn just to carry it, ie more weight less MPG.

however this extra weight may be the reason why max pax was not available as opposed to some very heavy freight in the hold.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:32
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Nope, that sounds like Thai Military Primary Search Radar was painting the MH 370 at the limit of the Radars range hence it was intermittently painting the target.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:34
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Golf Mike

Have you considered that unfortunately there is no outcome at this stage that can please anyone in the aviation industry?

Two options are especially displeasing - rogue pilot or a cascade of pilot/s errors.

But would it be any better if found to be a catastrophic failure of the aircraft or fire?

The most pleasing option may seem to be a hijack by a person unknown - what would that do for crew security? The question on the safety of the flight deck will then rear its ugly head again.

In the extremely unlikely event of a stowaway, a new round of people including ground crew come under scrutiny and crew are still not secure.

All options are unpleasant but I lean in favour of a rogue captain or possibly the captain under duress heading south to cause a catastrophic embarrassment to the Malaysian Government. The civil unease this incident has caused has the potential to bring down the current Government - especially if the aircraft is not recovered - which may have been the person as yet unknown's intention.

Last edited by Blake777; 18th Mar 2014 at 13:50. Reason: Edit typo
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:34
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Holes in the story - and radar.

I have read this thread from day 1.

Loads of wacky theories out there. Like really out there.

But amongst all the chatter here on pprune there is occasionally some real cutting edge analysis that breaks new ground - often well ahead of news media and especially those god awful 'news' conferences from KL.

I had been firmly of the view after reading all that I have here, that the aircraft most likely ended up in the Indian Ocean at the far end of the southern arc.

I just couldn't conceive that anyone, even after initially engaging in such purposeful and tactical flying, as now seems almost certain, could fly north and avoid detection.

But what has troubled me from day one - why plan this thing thing so carefully, fly so tactically, so dangerously, initially so far north, only then to fly for 6/7/8 hours simply to drop it in the drink.

Many things about this don't make sense. But that to me is the most illogical.

And then I read this post ...


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It is on the ground in western Xinjiang.
I have observed all comments here with interest since Saturday 8 March.
The quality of the technical knowledge on PPRuNe is, for the most part, the best in the world.

The site.....and the 'Mods' deserve great praise.

Tanto nomini nullum par elgoium

I have not posted here for 12 years.

I was a professional pilot. (7000 hours) Before that, a British Army officer. With experience of terrorism.

For the moment I propose this, for discussion:

The aircraft landed safely in western Xinjiang, the homeland of the Uygurs, at about sunrise on Saturday 8 March. On an unpaved desert strip. The passengers are alive. They are hostages. The plane is now in bits and hidden. It is no longer required.

'Echelon' knows this.

The Chinese are looking there.....furiously. For 3 or 4 days.

I will say more tomorrow."


Another crackpot I thought.

Them I googled 'Echelon'

Ok I thought. Interesting. But most likely another red herring.

Then on wading through all today's posts one thing started to jump off the page.

Not one, but virtually all of the countries tied up in this human tragedy have been caught out and actually admitted that their radar capabilities and monitoring is not just hopeless but on weekends and other times simply non existent. They don't even bother turn on what they have on.

These failures and gaping holes in radar coverage have been reported/admitted by Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, India and now Australia.

And these admissions have been obtained only now after 9 days of extreme pressure.

If the aircraft managed to get to northern china and if hostages or ransom negotiations are underway (and with most of the passengers being Chinese that could certainly firm up a motive) I can guarantee the Chinese would deny all and everything. Including radar tracks.

They have already issued instructions to local media not to investigate or comment on the disappearance.

And remember that very first red herring about the large plane parts they spotted floating new the last known position.

That was fishy from day one.

I'll post below some of the most intriguing comments/stories that have made me start to question what I had concluded most likely happened.

"17th Mar 2014, 22:50 #5452 (permalink)

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Chinese Terrorism
"Meanwhile, claims that a 35-year-old Uighur man from Chinaís troubled autonomous Muslim province was on Flight MH370 may be looked at in a new light. The group claimed responsibility earlier this week but were dismissed as opportunistic and not credible, but Malaysian reports now say the passenger had taken flight-simulator training in 2005."
Uighur separatists? claim over missing flight MH370 may be re-examined | News.com.au"

" #5523 (permalink)

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Also, there are parts of Malaysia and Indonesia between point 2 and the top of the southern red arc. Was there no military coverage in these areas?

I am expecting there is a good reason for this but it would be nice to see some detail behind the maps. I'd be wondering if I was a family member.
According to the military chief for India on the Andaman islands they only operate when required to. I have heard that this is during normal working hours and they turn off in the evening."

" 18th Mar 2014, 06:20 #5568 (permalink)

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From the New Straits Times:

NST also reports that Malaysian investigators are currently favouring the theory that MH370 headed north."


"Malaysia Plane May Have Flown Into Radar Black Hole ó Indian Military
Mon, March 17, 2014 6:04pm EDT by Andrew Gruttadaro

Was the hijacker of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 able to escape detection by flying into a part of the Indian Ocean that isnít covered by radar? Thatís the question being investigated after a senior official in the Indian military revealed that they only sparingly check the radar systems in that area.
Initially it seemed impossible that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 carrying 239 people, could have disappeared without anyone noticing, but it turns out this modern age of surveillance isnít as constant as we thought. On March 17, an Indian official admitted that they rarely monitor the radar systems that Flight 370 likely passed through."

Flight 370: Did Radar Systems Miss It?
One of two proposed flight paths the disappeared plane could have taken extends from Indonesia to the Indian Ocean. If Flight 370 did fly through this area, then thereís a good chance that Indian radar systems didnít even pick it up, a senior military official told CNN.

The official revealed that the radar systems covering the Andaman and Nicobar Islands arenít as closely watched by the Indian military as others. That leaves open the possibility that the systems did not notice the plane as it crossed through the area. If Flight 370 flew along that proposed southern corridor, then thereís a good chance that it did so through this ďblack holeĒ in the Indian Ocean.


By Peter Apps and Frank Jack Daniel

LONDON/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Whatever truly happened to missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, its apparently unchallenged wanderings through Asian skies point to major gaps in regional - and perhaps wider - air defenses.

More than a decade after al Qaeda hijackers turned airliners into weapons on September 11, 2001, a large commercial aircraft completely devoid of stealth features appeared to vanish with relative ease.

On Saturday, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said authorities now believed the Boeing 777 flew for nearly seven hours after disappearing early on March 8. Either its crew or someone else on the plane disabled the on-board transponder civilian air traffic radar used to track it, investigators believe.

It appears to have first flown back across the South China Sea - an area of considerable geopolitical tension and military activity - before overflying northern Malaysia and then heading out towards India without any alarm being raised.

The reality, analysts and officials say, is that much of the airspace over water - and in many cases over land - lacks sophisticated or properly monitored radar coverage.

Analysts say the gaps in Southeast Asia's air defenses are likely to be mirrored in other parts of the developing world, and may be much greater in areas with considerably lower geopolitical tensions.

"Several nations will be embarrassed by how easy it is to trespass their airspace," said Air Vice Marshal Michael Harwood, a retired British Royal Air Force pilot and ex-defense attache to Washington DC. "Too many movies and Predator (unmanned military drone) feeds from Afghanistan have suckered people into thinking we know everything and see everything. You get what you pay for. And the world, by and large, does not pay."


Air traffic systems rely almost entirely on on-board transponders to detect and monitor aircraft. In this case, those systems appear to have been deactivated around the time the aircraft crossed from Malaysian to Vietnamese responsibility.

At the very least, the incident looks set to spark calls to make it impossible for those on board an aircraft to turn off its transponders and disappear.

Military systems, meanwhile, are often limited in their own coverage or just ignore aircraft they believe are on regular commercial flights. In some cases, they are simply switched off except during training and when a threat is expected.

That, one senior Indian official said, might explain why the Boeing 777 was not detected by installations on India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an archipelago which its planes were searching on Friday and Saturday, or elsewhere.

"We have many radar systems operating in this area, but nothing was picked up," Rear Admiral Sudhir Pillai, chief of staff of India's Andamans and Nicobar Command, told Reuters. "It's possible that the military radars were switched off as we operate on an 'as required' basis."

Separately, a defense source said that India did not keep its radar facilities operational at all times because of cost. Asked what the reason was, the source said: "Too expensive."


Worries over revealing defense capabilities, some believe, may have slowed cooperation in the search for flight MH370, particularly between Malaysia and China. Beijing has poured military resources into the search, announcing it was deploying 10 surveillance satellites and multiple ships and aircraft. It has been critical of Malaysia's response.

While Malaysian military radar does appear to have detected the aircraft, there appear to have been no attempts to challenge it - or, indeed, any realization anything was amiss.

That apparent oversight, current and former officials and analysts say, is surprising. But the incident, they say, points to the relatively large gaps in global air surveillance and the limits of some military radar systems.

"It's hard to tell exactly why they did not notice it," says Elizabeth Quintana, senior research fellow for air power at the Royal United Services Institute in London. "It may have been that the aircraft was flying at low level or that the military operators were looking for other threats such as fast jets and felt that airliners were someone else's problem."

Current and former officials say that - hopefully, at least - such an incident would be detected much faster in North American or European airspace. There, military and civilian controllers monitor radar continuously on alert for possible hijacks or intruders.

The sudden failure of a transponder, they say, would itself prove a likely and dramatic cause for concern.

"I can't think of many situations in which one would actually need to switch them off," said one former Western official on condition of anonymity.

U.S. and NATO jets periodically scramble to intercept unidentified aircraft approaching their airspace, including a growing number of Russian long-range bombers.

In some other areas, it is simply not seen as worth maintaining a high level of alert - or radar coverage itself may not even exist.


Investigators now say they believe MH370 may have turned either towards India and Central Asia or - perhaps more likely, given the lack of detection - taken a southern course towards the Antarctic. That would have been an effectively suicidal flight, the aircraft eventually running out of fuel and crashing.

The waters of the southern Indian Ocean and northern Southern Ocean are among the most remote on the planet, used by few ships and overflown by few aircraft.

Australian civilian radar extends only some 200 km (125 miles) from its coast, an Australian official said on condition of anonymity, although its air defense radar extends much further. Australia's military could not be reached for comment on Saturday and if it did detect a transponder-less aircraft heading south, there is no suggestion any alarm was raised.

U.S. military satellites monitor much of the globe, including some of the remotest oceans, looking primarily for early warning of any ballistic missile launch from a submarine or other vessel.

After the aircraft's initial disappearance a week ago, U.S. officials said their satellites had detected no signs of a mid-air explosion. It is unclear if such systems would have detected a crash landing in the southern Indian Ocean.

On India's Andaman Islands, a defense official told reporters he saw nothing unusual or out of place in the lack of permanent radar coverage. The threat in the area, he said, was much lower than on India's border with Pakistan where sophisticated radars are manned and online continuously.

At night in particular, he said, "nothing much happens".

"We have our radars, we use them, we train with them, but it's not a place where we have (much) to watch out for," he said. "My take is that this is a pretty peaceful place."


MH370 Australian search looks at target 3000 km from Perth | Plane Talking

He wouldnít be drawn on the possibility that MH370 has come down along the mirror image northern hemisphere arc from which the last known electronic trace from the jet could have come, other than to give the media a lucid explanation as to why both arcs were, signal wise, of equal validity.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:37
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BBC: #Thai air force takes 10 days to acknowledge it did track #MH370 turning west

11:42: Jonathan Head BBC News, Bangkok tweets: #Thai air force takes 10 days to acknowledge it did track #MH370 turning west - makes Malaysian government look swift. Click here for the report. Thai Air Force radar may have detected Malaysia's MH370: Thai Air Force Chief | MCOT.net | MCOT.net
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:37
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Sky. News now reporting that times etc provided by Malaysian Transport Minister and Prime minister are not accurate and that what was given by them as fact is now axknowleged by the Authorities to be speculation?
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:41
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Originally Posted by rampstriker
The thread search function is down now and I am unable to locate the superbly informative post from a satellite expert made here earlier today, but in it he said essentially that there is probably not a log of the earlier hourly Inmarsat pings. They are just written to an overwritable memory buffer and it's probably lucky the last ping had not been overwritten when Inmarsat searched for an MH370 record.
site search function has never worked for me and others have made similar comments.

use google but limited to this site,

take the standard url address ie the address for the thread and prefix with it search terms

<nyt site:http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/535538-malaysian-airlines-mh370-contact-lost>

<> remove them just there to stop text appearing as a link

can't recall who posted the info originally but from me many thanks.

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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:42
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BBC News - Missing Malaysia MH370: Search planes grounded by 'red tape'
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:43
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Flight Singapore Airlines SQ068 (SIA068)

Singapore Airlines (SQ) #68 ? 08.03.2014 ? WSSS / SIN - LEBL / BCN ? FlightAware
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:45
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this although it is weather radar will give an idea of the range it was operating over from Surathani to Butterworth.
Met there quote max range as 240 km. I would expect a lot better from military radar but physically at 415 km they claim to have painted at Butterworth and I think that is physically almost impossible unless the plane was flying very high level.
They did say Surathani radar detected it.

TMD Weather Radar
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:45
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"The unknown aircraft's signal was sending out intermittently, on and off, and on and off," the spokesman said. The Thai military lost the unknown aircraft's signal because of the limits of its military radar, he said.
That sounds a lot more like an equipment failure than someone deliberately turning off the transponder.
Nope, that sounds like Thai Military Primary Search Radar was painting the MH 370 at the limit of the Radars range hence it was intermittently painting the target.
"Sending out" is surely transponder, not primary radar receiving a reflected signal from a skin paint? The "limits" referred to could as easily be display limitations as anything - the radar display only goes to <insert figure here>.

But then reporting in a second language has dogged pronouncements since Day 1.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:48
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Question Dash for Langkawi ?

This analysis that gives fire then a dash for Langkawi,with its 13000 ft runway, is good, but.....


This reply is better:-

" Okay, the theory make sense, but you forgot some procedures in case of 'Cargo fire', 'Engine fire' or 'Cabin fire': Everytime you stick to your checklists. In this case the aircraft gives you ECAM actions! You have to work through this! Perfectly you can watch those Crew Resource Management on Sim Training Videos on YouTube. A good one is this: 'A380 Engine Fire - Pilotseye.tv' Link:PilotsEYE.tv - A380 EngineFire - SimulatorPattern Toulouse - Bonus DVD|BDAfter you analysed the problem as a pilot you inform ATC. You're right with: Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. Aviate: Autopilot on and work correctly. Check. Navigate: Autopilot still on. Communicate: Inform ATC: Short message, takes only few seconds! Then start ECAM actions. Watch the sim video. And the other ones. The Theory fits not to the outcoming information about disabled ACARS before last radio transmission etc. - They intercept an other airway captured by primary radar: IGARI - VAMPI - GIVAL - IGREX.*

- Inmarsat Satellite still gets requests from aircraft hours after disappearing. - No debris found in street of malacca. If it were on fire, look at other incidents, the crew were not able to fly for hours. they crashed within 1 hour!- They are more alternate and possible airports to land in that area.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:48
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Originally Posted by captainjim47
According to historical data this flight normally loses ATC contact around the area of the last report. Most flights regain contact just short of the Vietnamese coast. It was coming right at the time of last report, towards the oil rig. That lends credence to his claim the plane was coming straight at the rig, not moving left or right from his perspective. I would imagine the ASW towed array sonar on one of the A-B class destroyers could pick up the pinger if they ran down that bearing line to the oil rig. Anyone know what frequency that thing pings at?
As previously posted, dozens of pages back, typical acoustic beacons that conform to the spec operate on a frequency of 37.5kHz +/- 1 kHz

Also, as previously noted, and thanks to my Navy experience in ASW, towed array will run into some ambiet noise problems in that area, due to water depth. Not that they shouldn't try anyway, if that is a high probability search area. If you go back through the last fifty pages of this thread, you'll see why it isn't a high probability search area as of this writing.

Nope, that sounds like Thai Military Primary Search Radar was painting the MH
370 at the limit of the Radars range hence it was intermittently painting the
Thta was my takeaway as well. Someone noted that crossing language barriers the occasional nuance or context may be lost.

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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:49
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That sounds a lot more like an equipment failure than someone deliberately turning off the transponder.
Or that it was at the limits of reception of its output power of 200watts (wow, didn't know that)

Useful information for anyone with transponder or SSR questions (pre mode s)

Transponder Basics - AVweb Features Article

Edit; End piece from the above 1998 article;

The FAA is now talking about a future ATC system based not on radar surveillance, as is used today, but on "automatic dependent surveillance" in which aircraft continually transmit their GPS position to ground stations which keep track of them and tell controllers where they are. In view of this, it's possible that Mode S may become obsolete before we need to worry about it.
Possibly (as others here have suggested) a standalone version of the above will be mandated as a result of MH370

Last edited by OPENDOOR; 18th Mar 2014 at 14:17. Reason: Further reading.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 13:52
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FBW94, answered comprehensively, scroll back.
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 14:04
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"China searches own territory for missing Malaysia Airlines jet

7:26 AM, March 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

China is hunting for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 over its own territory, state media reported Tuesday, as the country also said that it has found no terrorism links to the 154 Chinese nationals that were on the missing jetliner.

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang said background checks on Chinese nationals didn't uncover any evidence suggesting they were involved in hijacking or an act of terrorism against the plane, according to the state Xinhua News Agency.

The remarks will dampen speculation that Uighur Muslim separatists in far western Xinjiang province might have been involved with the disappearance of the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers and crew early on March 8."

Question: now if they and everyone else seems so supremely confident that there is no way that the missing aircraft could have avoided radar through Thailand India or China - why are they now confirming they are indeed searching their own territory?
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Old 18th Mar 2014, 14:14
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After 9/11 the details of the entire gang were revealed quite quickly. Thus, it was doable.
If I remember correctly, didn't 'suicide videos' of the participants start to appear in the public domain fairly soon after the attack?
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