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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:12
  #5941 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
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If there was a plan to steal the plane, could the carefully planned "hijack route" meant to confuse/avoid radar/etc have been pre-entered into the computer as route 2, so that at the appropriate time, all that would be needed to execute would be to press a couple buttons?
As far as I can see, yes. I'm guessing that the FO loads the FMS at Malaysian, and the captain checks it. With some carriers the PNF loads and the PF checks. In all honesty I don't think I've ever checked the secondary flight plan on preflight. Maybe I'll start.

Also, some of the folks I fly with seem to spend more time out of the seat than in it once airborne, don't know about this crew. One of the pilots could have programmed the second route after takeoff without the other's knowledge. In the Egyptair 990 crash the FO waited for the captain to go to the lav, then he started chanting and pulling circuit breakers.

Since the waypoints on the turnback route were well behind the KUL-PEK route, they would not appear as clues on the nav display screens in front of the pilots.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:16
  #5942 (permalink)  
 
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What is in the inactive route will not be shared via ACARS, regardless of what operator options are chosen.
Bear with me for a moment - I'm trying to fit together bits from various posts and get my head around the whole thing. Is the following correct?

The "B" route is not shared via ACARS until it is selected. When/if it is selected, it shares essentially a step ahead of what the plane is currently doing? So if you programmed the plane to fly straight for ten minutes (or miles, or to a specific point) and then turn to a specific heading, ACARS would send out the information that you intended to turn while you were still going straight?

If I'm correct on this - that could explain a lot. PF pre-programmed route B with the hijack route - but the first 10 minutes of that route were the same as route A. While the PNF is distracted, PF activates route B. Not knowing of the change, PNF proceeds to contact ATC. PF then gets PNF out of the cockpit, locks the door, and flight turns and continues along the remainder of route B.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:25
  #5943 (permalink)  
 
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indicators...

Let's consider the vested interests involved... if this is a "nutty pilot commits suicide" story, the cost will be born by airline training and line management departments. If it's a "loony fundos steal plane and screw up" story, the cost will be carried by security and intelligence departments and communities. (ie in both these cases, ultimately by us, the travelling public).

If, however, there was (another) 777 electronics bay fire - remember Egyptair on the ground at Cairo a couple of years ago - it will be Boeing that carries the can. And after the 787 PR fiasco, I wonder if Boeing can survive if their cash-cow 777 turns out to be prone to spontaneous in-flight ignition...

Check the Boeing share price ticker for the past couple of weeks. Big drop 12 days ago when MH370 disappeared. Back up again when the suicidal pilot/loony fundo theories took hold. Starting to drop away again now....

Follow the money, as always.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:26
  #5944 (permalink)  
 
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The secondary flight plan/route in the FMS is exactly what ETOPS240 has quoted.
In summary, two flight plans can be loaded in to the FMS. One is active, the other isn't. The inactive route can contain anything - a diversion, an escape route, a mirror image of the active route, a modified version of the active route, or something completely irrelevant. To activate it, it's just short keystroke sequence.
We use the secondary flight mode all the time for forward planning on multi sector days or where a quick turn around is required on the ground, once loaded it takes a couple of key strokes to activate.

@Jug

The secondary flight plan is displayed on the MFD as "secondary" when activated you cannot pretend to use the primary flight plan while actually using the secondary.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:29
  #5945 (permalink)  
 
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slats11 said,

However it does seem an odd coincidence that the claimed level of precision should just happen to produce a result of 40 degrees.
I'm not so sure I understand why 40 Degrees is seemingly so odd.

The Map



The lines are fairly close to begin with and a little bit of rounding would likely make little to no difference when we are talking about a last known with an up to a 59 minute margin for variance anyway, imo

The 8:11-9:10 time frame seems to mean a 4-5 Degree +/- in both directions is possible considering that (4-5 degrees) is roughly what the plane managed between last Contact and last Radar hit (roughly an hours time). The "40 degrees" already becomes anywhere from roughly 35-45, with fuel levels (as we believe we understand them) indicating it is probably closer to the initial 8:11 time anyway.

Plausible theory - 40 is easy for all to remember and report, and doing so would make no real difference, so they rounded it to that.

Or am I just thinking about this incorrectly?
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:31
  #5946 (permalink)  
ETOPS240
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To be totally honest, I don't know exactly how much information can be sent by ACARS regarding position reports.

I do know that as a minimum, an automated position report sends from your aircraft tells them the waypoint you're heading to (the active waypoint, as it's known), and the one after that. Whether CPDLC can provide more info further down your flight plan automatically, I'm not sure.

So to answer your question, yes. An ACARS position report will tell ATC you're at XYZ, at 11:12z, FL350, estimating next WPT ABC at 11:25z, and then heading WPT DEF after that.

All of this elaborate conjecture of pre-loading RTE 2 is all well and good, but wouldn't be a deal-breaker. Ultimately, if someone got control of the aircraft, the use of automation, LNAV/VNAV, hand-flying etc. is a all irrelevant.

If you lock the other pilot out of the flight deck, who cares what medium you use to navigate?

I'd have thought the big 'breakthrough' in your hypothesis isn't a clever or covert insertion of a second route. The bigger news that someone locked themselves in the flight deck in order to hijack the aircraft.
 
Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:36
  #5947 (permalink)  
 
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@TheShadow
Parallels with prior inflight fires
It's a reasonable theory.
If we look at the stats #1 cause is pilot error, #2 cause is mechanical failure. However the flight path/9-11 style stealth is more consistent with an intentional act.
It is hard to explain no communications were detected from mobile phones or other signal when the a/c crossed the peninsular and apparently this might have been at low altitude.
For me what is most odd about this incident is that after 10 days we have inconsistent data released, contradictions and an apparent lack of co-operation between the parties involved. Unlike AF447 there is very little stated plan of action and I fear there is a lack of leadership and focus in the investigation.
I understand that some data is classified however it appears that even the skunk works data has not helped locate the a/c except within a vast area.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:36
  #5948 (permalink)  
 
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All talk has been about a/c heading North, West or South. Any possibility it could have doubled back in an Easterly direction? Don't me #JustAsking
On the logic side; you would have had to of gone back across land yet again (almost certainly picked up on someones radar and/or spotted.) Why bother going across the Peninsula once (leaving your only known trail) just to do it once more? You were over there to begin with and could have just ensured you avoided all radar by staying there

On the technical side; doesn't match the Pings. Earlier pings they have would have indicated that eastward path, plus hitting the 40 degree at 8:11 after a short double back would be impossible. Going East also means they would be very close to/end up pinging a second Satellites range. That would have been unbelievably helpful in this SAR effort! (but sadly didn't happen)
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:48
  #5949 (permalink)  
 
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I'm not so sure I understand why 40 Degrees is seemingly so odd.
It has been suggested the timing is highly accurate and so should have a fairly precise number. 40.00 (? how many significant figures) seemed a bit unlikely.

As you suggest, it is likely just rounding to a number.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:52
  #5950 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks D.S
If it were possible (Terrain 'hugging', etc) , regardless how unlikely, to double back, then given all eyes appear to be on the Indian Ocean, it's mission accomplished in terms of diverting the SAR effort and execute Pt II of whatever overall plan is?
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:54
  #5951 (permalink)  
 
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Spot On....

TheShadows post Parallels with prior inflight fires strikes me as the most sensible thing I have read on this tragedy in the past few days.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:58
  #5952 (permalink)  
 
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It would seem to me that in a fire, those thin ARINC 629 cables carrying ACARS data would be first to go. Failure of those might make it appear as if a human was turning knobs as systems can not connect to their LRUs.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 07:59
  #5953 (permalink)  
 
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Boeing Share Price

That's a hell of a good observation.

Wonder what happened to Air Malaysia Share price?

And if the wreck were found?

Right now , not finding the wreck appears to be
a financial plus for them and finding it
a hell of a liability.

No wonder they are sending everyone off on a wild goose chase..
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 08:03
  #5954 (permalink)  
 
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Uploading flight plans to a T7 FMS

Is it possible to upload a flight plan previously drafted on a PC to the T7's FMS from a flash drive or a smartphone/tablet USB connection? Is proprietary software required to draft a flight plan or is it available to the general public?
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 08:04
  #5955 (permalink)  
 
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What many of you dont seem to realise is that ACARS outages are pretty common, even in the middle of Europe. ACARS comes in and out sometimes and pilots would think nothing of it, a station might be congested or doing some maintenance or whatever. Likewise transponders fail on occasion, not very often but again if a transponder failed during my flight I would think nothing of it, that is why we carry two of them. I would not know it has failed until ATC told me though and at that point i would just switch to the other transponder.

Flying is not like the high security prison some of you imagine it to be where a change in the FMC triggers loud sirens at a ground facility. There might be 101 reasons why I do or change things in my FMS. There are literary 100 of thousands of flights every day, 99.99999999% of them landing safely. The role of ATC is to make sure that in this very congested airspace airplanes do not collide with each other. They do not have a role to police what I input or not in my FMC.

Most serious emergencies would be dealt with by turning the aircraft towards a suitable landing airport, if heading out across the sea turning initially back towards the coast would seems sensible if confronted with fire or fumes. Although pilots have their own supply of oxygen there have been occasions in the past where the crew oxygen has been filled with nitrogen by mistake. If that was the case the crew would have been incapacitated quite quickly. Passenger oxygen has a limited supply of about 15 minutes, at altitude they would have been incapacitated too. Cabin crew do have portable bottles but can the fly the airplane? They can try and maybe they did but the portable supply doesn't last vey long at the flow needed if the airplane has depressurized, one way or another they would have ended up incapacitated too if they did not manage to descent the airplane to bellow 10,000 feet. Finally incapacitated people can do all sorts of funny things while trying to do something else, that is the nature of incapacitation.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 08:04
  #5956 (permalink)  
 
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Amazing how the same ideas keep cycling ...

Info on 2009 777 onboard fire - check out the links for pictures of damage.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 08:10
  #5957 (permalink)  
 
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What many of you dont seem to realise is that ACARS outages are pretty common, even in the middle of Europe. ACARS comes in and out sometimes and pilots would think nothing of it, a station might be congested or doing some maintenance or whatever. Likewise transponders fail on occasion, not very often but again if a transponder failed during my flight I would think nothing of it, that is why we carry two of them.
On the contrary, many of us do realize that. The question must be put, however, is what are the odds of both of them failing on the same flight within minutes of each other? How often has that happened in your knowledge and experience?
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 08:23
  #5958 (permalink)  
 
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On the contrary, many of us do realize that. The question must be put, however, is what are the odds of both of them failing on the same flight within minutes of each other? How often has that happened in your knowledge and experience?

What are the odds of flipping a coin and getting heads five times in a row?

Having flipped a coin four times in a row and got heads every time what are the odds of getting heads again if I flip it one more time?

I don't think probability works in the way you imply. ACARS fails quite regularly, once ACARS has failed what is the probability that the transponder fails? The same as it always has been for transponder failures. Unless there is a common mode failure in which case it is much higher.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 08:32
  #5959 (permalink)  
 
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The statistical approach whilst attractive is fundamentally flawed. Just because an event happens frequently and even more frequently than other events does not mean that it will prove to be the cause of the next incident (if you want a spectacular illustration of this take a look at the Fukushima nuclear power station). The fire explanation is just as far fetched as any of the other explanations - perhaps even more so as it requires an even greater number of unlikely events to happen (which does not preclude it from being the explanation). However, even though the rarity of the hijack or pilot deviance explanation is significant this particular line of investigation still fits the known facts better.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 08:35
  #5960 (permalink)  
 
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@ Contact Approach

MH370 was overcome by a fire, why is this being overlooked?
This is exactly what I am trying to say. Electrical fire makes perfect sense for ACARS going off and pilots unaware of ACARS not transmitting, rather than a manual turn-off that everyone is implying.
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