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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 25th Mar 2014, 14:21
  #8021 (permalink)  
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dingy737 View Post
Since this unfortunate incident, it occurred to me that if required to ditch in the open ocean I should easily be able to contact nearby ships, since then I decided to test the standard HF maritime emergency frequencies and have made continuous attempts to contact ocean going vessels as I fly directly over them in the Atlantic. I have tried several HF frequencies regarded as maritime emergency frequencies over the last 2 weeks without success. It would appear there is no set frequency that is "religiously" monitored as 121.5 on aircraft. Maybe this is something that needs some extra thought as a commercial airliner in distress should quickly and easily be able to communicate with ocean going vessels. it would be a shame to ditch alongside a vessel at night and watch it continue to steam off into the distance. 2182 kHz, 4125 kHz, 8291khz, 16590khz, 12290khz. Any advice?
Red Plum
Most merchant ships ceased to carry radio officers and now have automated communications including email etc. HF is seldom used nowadays.

You would be much more likely to contact ships using the VHF frequency of 156.800 which is commonly known as Channel 16. This is not carried in any commercial aircraft I have flown but is fitted to some Naval helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft.
Nice thinking but Red Plum is correct. As a former Nimrod crew member, I'd say you would also need the name of the vessel to address it. Anyone listening to Marine Channel 16 would be unlikely to respond to a call of a general nature without being addressed. Hopefully a Mayday would elicit a response, although again, without Channel 16 availability, you'll never know.

We used Channel 16 regularly on SAROPS, and always (in my experience) to good effect. With three low level passes of a vessel allowed us by international law, we had a fighting chance of seeing the vessel's name. We could then make the final pass across the bows to grab the attention of whoever was on the bridge as we called the vessel!

In Civvy Street, "Tool this is hawk" is only likely to yield a WTF, a shrug and possibly a chortle.
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 14:25
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It would appear there is no set frequency that is "religiously" monitored as 121.5 on aircraft.
There are but they are normally contacted by Selcall called DSC. This sets off an alarm and then someone might listen to the voice comms channel.

2182kHz would be right but normally preceded by a DSC call on 2187.5kHz.
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 14:26
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dingy737 - the maritime distress frequency is 2182 on SSB and/or as Red Plum says VHF "channel 16" which is 156.800. A transmission on 2182 or Channel 16 will generate an alert response from automatic equipment. Our EPIRBS transmit on 121.5 but more importantly on 406 for Cospas-Sarsat. Basically we now use Inmarsat for almost all coms except line of sight. Radio officers disappeared about the same time that flight engineers did!

edited to add - cross posted with Ionagh who is precisely correct!

Last edited by Methersgate; 25th Mar 2014 at 14:37.
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 14:28
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What determines the handshake ping timing and what could have delayed this final (complete) ping?
Inmarsat will know?

There are three "delayed" bursts:

1:07->2:25 = 1:12
2:28->3:40 = 1:12
6:40->8:11 = 1:31

The burst activity around 2:25 appears to count as one ping, otherwise the number of 6 pings received after 1:07 doesn't make sense. This activity may be attributed to the big change in relative speed between 1:07 and 2:25
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 14:54
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ICAO Annex 12 - Search & Rescue

When all the dust has settled on this tragic mystery and the recriminations and allocation of blame begins, one of the principal criticisms of Malaysian Airlines and the Malaysian Government aircraft safety authorities will be their failure to follow even the basic steps of ICAO Annex 12 – Search and Rescue*. (I assume Malaysia is a Contracting State to the ICAO).

Annex 12 has been around since 1951 and basically lays out three basic steps or actions to be taken when an aircraft goes missing. The ‘Uncertainty Phase’ begins 30 mins. after an aircraft goes off radar or fails to respond to radio calls. This initial phase should act as a wake up call to the closest S & R services and also get everyone prepared in case there is a need to move to the next phase – the Alert Phase. This second phase is less clearly defined, but is certainly not meant to be the point where the aircraft must have run out of fuel. Finally, the third phase, ‘Distress’, is when the aircraft is obviously no longer airborne – i.e. crashed/run out of fuel.

It is debatable which phase is the most critical of the three. In the case of MH370, and with lots of 20/20 hindsight, the lack of real action in the ‘Uncertainty Phase’ will undoubtedly be the focus of Malaysian authority criticism. Again, and with 20/20 hindsight, a coordinator should have been appointed in the first hour of contact being lost with the first step of the coordinator being to contact neighboring countries to backtrack over their radar recordings to search for the B777. It appears the authorities did nothing until the situation was well into the third, ‘Distress’ phase. Coordination with the ACARS/INMARSAT folk during this first phase would most likely have revealed a SW heading of the B777 well before it ran out of fuel, possibly resulting in a search being initiated off Perth on Day 1 instead of Day 12.

Finally, I find it odd that aircraft routinely flying over the Poles and vast uninhabited areas such as Siberia for years have been under a mandatory requirement to be equipped with ELTs or tracking device while aircraft flying the vast trans oceanic routes are not. Lets hope this tragedy, if nothing else, will change that situation and also encourage Government and Airline safety organizations to read and adhere to ICAO Annex 12.

*
http://www.unlb.org/showbinarydata.a...%12%92r%E2W%DE
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 15:16
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Not so absolute...

While solid state media cannot retain overwritten information, hard disk drives CAN retain forensically retrievable information. That is why the US Dept of Defense has had long-standing protocols for multiple repeated overwrites of HDDs to completely erase classified information.
To be clear, the reason why it is possible to recover data from a hard disk is because the heads do not precisely track the same position each time that they pass over the disk. This leaves tiny "edges" where the heads wrote data last time but missed this time. This is what the forensics specialists recover.

Multiple overwrites usually solves this problem. So, digital information cannot be retrieved when over-written, but it's not always over-written completely on a hard disk.
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 15:21
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Originally Posted by Evanelpus
Does it really matter a rats bottom?
Maybe and maybe not. Too many unknowns and too much guessing, certainly.

I think a reason that the Captain's marital status gets discussed again relates to the amount of training, education, and awareness pilots have had about the potential influence of major personal life changes on cockpit performance. Each pilot has his or her own capacity and talent for compartmentalization. Some are incredibly good at it and some not so much. What is unknown is how well he had already adjusted to his change in status at home. May have been mostly sorted out, may have still been a significant annoyance. The nature of a given breakup varies as well.

Take that line of thinking. Apply to the malfunction scenario. If this gent was good at compartmentalization, then as you say it's a non issue.

If not the best at compartmentalization, then perhaps response to a given emergency was not up to his usual standard of performance. It's unknown, and with my guess on CVR data being not available, unknowable.

Remains a human factors issue to consider when the investigation team eventually get their hands on more information.
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 15:46
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"BBC are reporting a final partial Inmarsat handshake ping received at 08:19 following the routine handshake received at 08:11 with no explanation".

Flame out.
RAT deployed.
SATCOM Packs ( are ON/RUN) provides the last (new) "handshake".

IF the report is actually correct.
Sounds plausible to me, however, ACARS on T7 is hooked up to SAFEBus, which is battery powered too. Flame out would not turn off BAT, right?
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 15:54
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Strongeagle:

To be clear, the reason why it is possible to recover data from a hard disk is because the heads do not precisely track the same position each time that they pass over the disk. This leaves tiny "edges" where the heads wrote data last time but missed this time. This is what the forensics specialists recover.
In the early days, hard drives used stepper motors to position the heads and this was followed by voice coil actuators as density increased. In both cases, one could expect that data might be recovered, but modern high density drives have much narrower track spacing. They use very sophisticated techniques like piezo micropositioners on the heads to improve accuracy of the voice coil to lock on to the servo pattern. I would think it would be very dificult to recover prior data on such drives, even using custom test rigs. The latest enterprise drives have robust onboard encryption as well, which makes the problem even more difficult.

Take the lid off one of these drives and it's amazing how much tecnology goes into your $100 2Tb drive :-)...
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 15:55
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ICAO Annex 12 S & R

@lincman
Yes, Malaysia is a signatory nation-state (and holds status as a Council Member): http://www.icao.int/MemberStates/Mem...ltilingual.pdf

Other posters have commented in this thread to the effect that ICAO as an organization does not move, does not adapt to change or emerging challenges quickly. @lincman - do you contend that a case exists for pressing ICAO to change its modus operandi in this particular instance - with respect to an effort to audit and then request remediation of member states' compliance w/ Annex 12?
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 16:15
  #8031 (permalink)  

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I do wonder whether the aircraft flew from close to MEKAR to SPOLE (South Pole) or to YWKS (Wilkins Runway) using LNAV thereby independent of further input.

If the aircraft had been depressurised by turning off the Bleed Air, the range would also have been increased beyond the initial endurance estimate. Jeppesen should be able to provide a more accurate calculation of GS for the period rather than the 450kts GS estimate for the whole route south.
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 16:26
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ICAO Annex 12

Quote:
Other posters have commented in this thread to the effect that ICAO as an organization does not move, does not adapt to change or emerging challenges quickly. @lincman - do you contend that a case exists for pressing ICAO to change its modus operandi in this particular instance - with respect to an effort to audit and then request remediation of member states' compliance w/ Annex 12?

Yes, I guess I do. As a min., the ICAO could at least publicize the inadequate and delayed initial S&R action on the part of the Malaysian authorities.

Note that Annex 12 is reasonably up to date - Rev. 8 being July, 2004.
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 16:33
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Isn't it likely that one of such events is engine flameout or some other major failure, so that the 08.19 ping was triggered by some non-normal event on the airplane?
Given there were no other ACARS messages in the preceding 6 hours, it seems a given that the ACARS reporting system was disabled. It seems far more likely that the 08.19 partial handshake was the result of a power interruption (gen offline or similar) resulting in a "I'm here" attempt as the power came back. However, since the message was only "partial" (INMARSAT words) my guess is the power failed again before the transmission was completed.
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 16:41
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ICAO Annex 12

Willow Run, lincman
This paper, presented this past January, shows the Asia/Pacific region member states' compliance with Annex 12 in graphical and tabular format. http://www.icao.int/APAC/Meetings/20...R%20Status.pdf

It reflects compliance at a high level and doesn't reflect actual incident performance.
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 16:46
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OleOle
Regarding the yellow and the red track on the aaib image/globe.

- Yellow represents the solution which covers the greatest distance, red the solution for smallest distance?
- Yellow is great circle, red is constant magnetic heading?

Together with the search areas that points to great circle solution, i.e. FMC and not to A/P => deliberate action?

Edit: Thinking about it, there could be a solution with 450 knots and constant magnetic heading which is much closer to the yellow track => deliberate action not confirmed
Could it not be that the FGP was set to fly TRK and not HDG
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 16:49
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KTVaughan

"Cabin disintegrating" call.

I remember that, but I don't remember it being proved a hoax.

The forward cabin of Aloha Airlines Flight 243 disintegrated but the plane was still flyable.
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 16:58
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Planned cruise range at altitude vs. 250K below 10000'.

Hi All,
This might have been discussed before...
In the regional jet world, it often amazes me how similar FMS reserve fuel over destination is for a VMC flight of about 2 hrs, for Planned Cruise at altitude vs 250K cruise below 10000'. (Junior RR engines.)
Other than for reasons of ATC, GA traffic and topography, you have to wonder why it is even required to climb to flight level then.
This might be offset somewhat for longer distances by wind, temperature, etc., but can any T7 driver here enlighten us as to Long Range Cruise distance at altitude vs. say 250K below 10000' in still air conditions..?

If the range is more or less similar, then MH370 would get to the crash site without having to climb.
And with breathable cabin air all the way....

If the range at 250K ~10000' is much less or more, this plane could be far away from the proposed crash site.

Last edited by DriverAirframeOneOf; 25th Mar 2014 at 17:52.
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 16:58
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Does the 777-200 do wing to wing automatic fuel balance/transfer?
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 17:00
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"Cabin disintegrating" call.

I remember that, but I don't remember it being proved a hoax
Not confirmed, or proved == false information.
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Old 25th Mar 2014, 17:04
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Above the clouds,

Could it not be that the FGP was set to fly TRK and not HDG
TRK is still magnetic in this context so still subject to the large change in magnetic variation over the course of the flight.

The only way TRK could provide a straight track over this long distance would be if the HDG REF button, a guarded switch, was pushed. The MCP HDG lateral modes would then become referenced to True North.

If that was the case then the same problems of implied technical knowledge and intent rear their heads.
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