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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 21st Mar 2014, 03:57
  #6801 (permalink)  
 
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Regarding the CVR and FDR lifespan at the bottom of the ocean:

The FDR/CVR for Itavia Flight 870 which was shot-down on June 27, 1980 were only recovered in July of 1991 at a depth of 3700m (12140ft).

Both were in excellent condition and manufactured in 1966.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 04:01
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Old FDR had stainless steel tape , I think modern technology would be solid state and possibly more easily destroyed.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 04:10
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Some insights from an ex-RAAF P3 pilot.

As one of the ex P-3 people with experience of searching for things in the Southern / Indian Oceans I thought I might be able to contribute some informed comment on this thread.

Re the P-3 endurance - it is not crew duty but engine out depressurized considerations (3 engine 10,000' cruise) that is the real limiting factor. You have to base everything on returning to Perth / Pearce. We were able to fudge this a bit by using a tailwind component on some flights but you don't actually know the 10,000ft winds so you don't want to get too greedy. There are also issues with loitering engines which is a normal P-3 procedure to extend time on station. Because of the risk of a prop overspeed on a restart you need to be able to start the engine at some altitude with a relatively high TAS or the drag could be really high and you will end up in the drink off SW WA. If there are icing conditions, even a thin layer of cloud can cause a loitered engine to ice up in a flash - can take days to thaw out the solid lump and you are struggling to get back to PER / PEA so you won't loiter. With a limited on station time the benefits of loitering are small and while the risks of a malfunction during engine shutdown are small as well you have to decide if it is worth it. In my series of searches very few captains loitered engines and then only when the weather was clear enabling hi alt shutdowns and restarts.

If the crews are on the ball they will be taking off overweight, using true cruise climbs to on station (i.e set max cont engine temp and max range cruise speed and slowly climb continually) and using min operating reserves (15 mins fixed and no variable). However, to get more than three hours on station would be great going. You actually land with plenty of gas because of the 3 eng 10 considerations.

Re the search

Objects will be very hard to spot!!!! Especially if they are awash.

I was asked by an artist to describe the colours I observed so he could do a painting of one of the yachtie rescues. He painted it but when I described the colours you could see is heart sink - I told him we were in a grey aeroplane over a grey and choppy sea with grey cloud and a hazy grey horizon. We spotted one sailor visually but what we spotted was him standing on the top of the cabin of his sinking yacht which was awash - it was the contrast (he appeared black) which made him visible and we had a beacon location accurate to about 5nm enabling a dense sector search over a reasonably low sea state (3 - 4) and about 2 - 3 mile vis. The other two were radar homings to upturned yachts which stuck above the surface and made good radar and infrared targets - and we had reasonably recent satellite beacon positions to go on. (N.B. none of them had proper EPIRBS but used a French tracking system where the beacons only sent signals intermittently for short periods). You couldn't make them out visually until fairly close as they were white hulls in very angry seas with lots of white wave crests, sea spray, etc; even though they were sticking well out of the water. I did 4 missions searching for stuff down there and the weather was never good and one of the most striking features was how the conditions changed rapidly with time and over small distances.

With any potential MH370 wreckage, there won't be much temperature contrast to help infrared and if the sea state is up, picking out a radar target against sea clutter will be hard (although both the radar and IRDS are better than in my day). I think the best chance is for any items picked up on satellite to be quickly passed to the crews so they can narrow the area of probability. This will be difficult as detecting and interpreting any images may take some time. I hope it is quicker than AMSA passed on satellite beacon data when we searched for the yachties (it was 17 years ago but the importance of speed in transferring the info was one of our biggest debrief points to AMSA). At least they should start to be getting some actual drift rates from beacons and buoys that will have been dropped which should help, and awash objects shouldn't have high wind drifts to complicate the issue.

I can understand sending HMAS Success down there as it is a versatile ship with the ability to lift and store items out of the water - carry a decent helo, etc. However, I would love to see an ASW ship (ie an ANZAC class) and better yet a submarine heading South to search for the data recorder beacons (in the predicted flight path) - their batteries will only last a couple more weeks at best. While the area is large making detection probability low, detecting the beacons is the best way of speeding the time and reducing the cost of finding and recovering the recorders.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 04:16
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Originally Posted by svhar
There is only one logical explanation. But nobody wants to say it out loud. No technical failure nor hijack could have taken MH 370 to this place of all places.
Suicide happens. Even pilots commit suicide, and as has been noted, a small number have done so, not in the privacy of their own homes, but in the cockpit of large passenger aircraft.

Some suicidal people choose not just to kill themselves, but to vanish in the process; this incident looks an awful lot like a very nearly successful attempt to do just that, thwarted only by the satellite pings proving the aircraft remained intact for many more hours and hinting at it's location.

But Egyptian investigators aren't the only ones who feel that the possibility of suicide must not be acknowledged. Doubtless both our posts will vanish like previous posts suggesting that, actually, aviation experts are not qualified to determine that no pilot would ever commit such an act.

Move right along people, there is no elephant in the room, nothing to see here....
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 04:23
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Is the search area within the boundaries of the flight time availiable to the 777 , what was the fuel load, has it been published anywhere.
Forgive me for not reading nearly 7000 posts
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 04:28
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It's not deliberate suicide

Why would he deliberately fly that far? Same disappearing act could have been achieved at much shorter distance.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 04:31
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Last ping showed MH370 over water at cruise speed and altitude?

@kappa

Here's Andy Pasztors March 14th WSJ article.

Malaysia Airlines' missing jet transmitted its location repeatedly to satellites over the course of five hours after it disappeared from radar, people briefed on the matter said, as searchers zeroed in on new target areas hundreds of miles west of the plane's original course.

The satellites also received speed and altitude information about the plane from its intermittent "pings," the people said. The final ping was sent from over water, at what one of these people called a normal cruising altitude. They added that it was unclear why the pings stopped. One of the people, an industry official, said it was possible that the system sending them had been disabled by someone on board.

The people, who included a military official, the industry official and others, declined to say what specific path the transmissions revealed. But the U.S. planned to move surveillance planes into an area of the Indian Ocean 1,000 miles or more west of the Malay peninsula where the plane took off, said Cmdr. William Marks, the spokesman for the U.S. Seventh Fleet...
How did "the people" know the aircraft's altitude, speed and whether it was over water from the last ping? If this is true, then it's pretty evil for them to allow the current goose chasing in desert Central Asia. Good catch!
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 04:33
  #6808 (permalink)  
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Great post Kremin.
You've got to take your hat off to those young P3 crews, hell of a job.
And it's often bumpy as sh!t out there too.
I stood behind an RNZAF P3 Captain, holding onto the back of his seat as we did sharp low levels turns over the Manukau Harbour in 2003 - had me nearly puking - not quite the g's but just as nausea inducing as fast jets.
And the guys down the back just carried on staring at their screens with no windows, as if nothing was happening.

Last edited by tartare; 21st Mar 2014 at 04:45.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 04:40
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Agree with tartare. I remember spending many hours in a Nimrod S&R over the North Sea. Hour after hour of very low level 90 degree turns had even the most hardy of crew reaching for the bags.
Good luck to everyone involved in the operation
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 04:42
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@Dont Hang Up
State of the art technology does not have to be safe to be installed in your teenage kids' PC. Failures are an inconvenience not a disaster.
Keeping safety critical systems safe means they may run a generation (or two) behind the latest capabilities. That is not a bad thing.
Let's face it, using "current technology" batteries in aircraft has created a few issues recently.
@bsieker
And of course PCs have more memory. They are decades newer and they don't have to survive hours in a kerosene-fuelled fire and/or weeks deep under water. Not to mention a 3500G(!) impact shock and still be readable.
To say that a mechanical magnitic tape recorder is safer and more reliable than solid state is .
Some military specs for solid state call for 15,000G.
It has already been establised that SSD has been used in CVR, so that negates all arguments about reliability, submertion and G-force.
Only question left is why only enough memory for 2-hours, when 1,000's is inexpensive.
IF reliability of a memory block is a concern look at corporations, governments and militaries that have been using RAID systems for decades, which can incorporate any number of mirror storage devices, so if one fails the same data will be on 1, 2 or 3 other devices.
Unlike a mechanical media SSD can be made fully waterproof by potting.

In the case of MH370 and speculating that it flew for several hours after transmissions stopped, a revolving recording time of only two hours means that some of the most important audio from around the time when contact was lost will probably not be retrievable even if the recorders are found.
How reliable is that?
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 04:59
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Originally Posted by fred_the_red
Agree with tartare. I remember spending many hours in a Nimrod S&R over the North Sea. Hour after hour of very low level 90 degree turns had even the most hardy of crew reaching for the bags.
Good luck to everyone involved in the operation
Add the fact that the poor bloody coneheads sitting in the cabin of the aircraft are all facing sideways...
Go get em 10/11 Sqn
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 05:02
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rampstriker (post 6867)

That article was first released on the 13th and I saved the earlier version of it. The version the WSJ currently displays is from the 14th and is an update.

Here is a snippet from the copy I saved from the 13th which includes an extra sentence claiming that they had speed and altitude information.

(Flight 370) transmitted its location repeatedly to satellites over the course of five hours after it disappeared from radar, people briefed on the matter said, as searchers zeroed in on new target areas hundreds of miles west of the plane's original course. The satellites also received speed and altitude information about the plane from its intermittent "pings," the people said. The final ping was sent from over water, at what one of these people called a normal cruising altitude. They added that it was unclear why the pings stopped. One of the people, an industry official, said it was possible that the system sending them had been disabled by someone on board.....

There will be many books written about this episode, I hope one of them is devoted to the release, mis-release and non-release of information regarding flight MH370.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 05:04
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P-3 Crews, and air sickness...

Quote:
Originally Posted by fred_the_red
Agree with tartare. I remember spending many hours in a Nimrod S&R over the North Sea. Hour after hour of very low level 90 degree turns had even the most hardy of crew reaching for the bags.
Good luck to everyone involved in the operation


Add the fact that the poor bloody coneheads sitting in the cabin of the aircraft are all facing sideways...
Go get em 10/11 Sqn
Yep. I've been on lots of P-3B flights with (side facing) nugget sensor operators. Sub hunting involved flying lots of low level patterns. We always made them clean their own barf off their consoles. Yech.

My secret to not getting sick (beyond experience) was good Navy box lunches. Slowly eating those, and periodically orienting to face straight forward, did the job. It wasn't helped by the smell coming from the tactical spaces.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 05:17
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Rabbitwear said
Old FDR had stainless steel tape , I think modern technology would be solid state and possibly more easily destroyed.

Guess not.
Magnetic properties change with temperature and stainless steel is usually low magnetic material.
Data programmed into solid state Nand memory may after the solder process, show no change in data retention.
Light weight, small dimensions make it easier to protect.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 05:47
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Another "They didn't ask us for it."

Satellites Searching for Missing Plane Have Limits - ABC News

A Pentagon spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said that as far as he knows, the U.S. has received no specific requests to review its satellite data in response to the discovery in the southern Indian Ocean.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 05:47
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The first item is software - not related to storage device (except for recording length)
Item 3 and 4 have to do with the CVR\FDR it self, not the storage device. (I have never seen a PCB that can withstand anywhere near 1100C).
All those requirements relate to the "crash-survivable memory unit", which is basically a tough metal container filled with an insulating material and the solid-state memory chips.

However, you're absolutely right to say that the storage capacity could easily be increased. Indeed, these units come off the shelf with 512KB of ROM memory but can be expanded with optional flash memory.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 05:57
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WSJ Story Reconsidered

I believe the original version of the WSJ story was based on the notion that substantive ACARS messages were received from the aircraft (by Boeing, Rolls Royce and perhaps MAS), and that those messages included location and altitude information.

WSJ later understood that only non-substantive "pings" were received from the aircraft via Satcom.


@kappa

Here's Andy Pasztors March 14th WSJ article.
Quote:
Malaysia Airlines' missing jet transmitted its location repeatedly to satellites over the course of five hours after it disappeared from radar, people briefed on the matter said, as searchers zeroed in on new target areas hundreds of miles west of the plane's original course.

The satellites also received speed and altitude information about the plane from its intermittent "pings," the people said. The final ping was sent from over water, at what one of these people called a normal cruising altitude. They added that it was unclear why the pings stopped. One of the people, an industry official, said it was possible that the system sending them had been disabled by someone on board.

The people, who included a military official, the industry official and others, declined to say what specific path the transmissions revealed. But the U.S. planned to move surveillance planes into an area of the Indian Ocean 1,000 miles or more west of the Malay peninsula where the plane took off, said Cmdr. William Marks, the spokesman for the U.S. Seventh Fleet...
How did "the people" know the aircraft's altitude, speed and whether it was over water from the last ping? If this is true, then it's pretty evil for them to allow the current goose chasing in desert Central Asia. Good catch!

Last edited by Communicator; 21st Mar 2014 at 06:12.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 06:19
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Basics

I reckon any fairly literate person with 1 hour of research, could switch a transponder to standby, switch off ACARS transmission, and manage course with the AP heading selector. If they have a PC SIM even better. They could not, of course, do much more than that. Hijack (gone wrong) seems just as possible as any other scenario here, doesn't it ?
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 06:36
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WSJ Story Reconsidered

I believe the original version of the WSJ story was based on the notion that substantive ACARS messages were received from the aircraft (by Boeing, Rolls Royce and perhaps MAS), and that those messages included location and altitude information.

WSJ later understood that only non-substantive "pings" were received from the aircraft via Satcom.
Interesting that the story mentions satellites rather than a single satellite. That would imply a satellite in addition to Inmarsat's detected the pings. Perhaps a satellite that could also detect an "echo" from the plane's ping being reflected off water? Hmmm. That could give you all sorts of useful calculations.
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Old 21st Mar 2014, 06:53
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Silly ideas

What would you see if you scanned an area of ocean with LADS? Obviously not the ocean floor at those depths, but would it pick up semi-submerged objects of the size reported? Would it be any better, faster or more reliable (or serve as an aid to) visual search, when light or visibility is not that great? Or would it require a far finer search grid than can be searched visually? (How wide a swathe can you search visually?)
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