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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 30th May 2014, 08:33
  #10861 (permalink)  
 
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Poor Design Validation DFDR CVR

Originally Posted by gonebutnotforgotten
OK, I give up, if these pings came from the searching ship(s), why did they disappear, roughly at a time when the original locator batteries were expected to die?
There seems to be a common thread here.

The ULB, is at a frequency where its range is less than the ocean depths over which aircraft routinely fly
The ULB battery life is insufficient for a search and recovery operation in remote areas - such as over the ocean
The ULB is not encoded so a ping has to be assumed to come from a ULB based on its frequency and recurrence frequency
The CVR with the voice data is shorter than the oceanic flights routinely made and only records sounds not what is happening in the cockpit
The DFDR does not record the output to the pilots on the assumption that both sets of instruments are receiving and displaying the same data
etc etc

This discussion of pings by subject matter experts reminds me of similar discussions by other subject matter experts on 'what that noise was' on CVR recordings. Or the discussion on the data actually shown to the PF rather than the PNF

This is poor systems analysis. These 'black boxes' are literally not fit for their purpose in multiple ways. Not only have recording and data communication capabilities vastly increased but also the type of flying has changed with aircraft commonly flying 'thin routes' over sparsely populated areas including all oceans and the poles. Rather than a piecemeal approach to fixing shortcomings (or demanding that they are not fixed), it is time that the industry started a complete reappraisal of the areas such as recordings, emergency location, aircraft tracking, survivable recording devices; and generated a formal functional requirement that included all of these issues in one overarching specification. This is a job that ICAO, RTCA, EUROCAE and other standards bodies should take on urgently.
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Old 30th May 2014, 08:42
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Ian W
well said - good study

beggars belief with the latest technology now (and its cheap) that ETOPS is given out for 3 hours or more (5.5 hours max) with major safety recording instruments that record just for 30 mins and batteries that give up in 30 days plus the signal given off is poorly identifiable it seems.
its nonsense now...

considering these ETOPS aircraft now have been given that sanction which no doubt takes them further over very remote seas and land masses that technology has been not applied retrospectively -
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Old 30th May 2014, 08:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOING View Post
In my experience aircraft can only fly TO an FMC fix. Now, as a pilot in an aircraft west of Indonesia who wishes to fly the aircraft on an unlikely track for a long enough period of time to ensure it runs out of fuel what fix position would you enter into the FMC to meet these needs, a fix position that requires no great imagination. Obviously the geographic South Pole.
Or to an airfield near the south pole on the antarctic continent? You'd still flame out before you got there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BOING View Post
If anyone is taking bets I would locate the aircraft on a track from its last known position to the geographic South Pole and a distance along track to a little beyond the last Inmarsat ping.
Looks like a decent bet.
See my post 8089 25th March

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.

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 30th May 2014, 09:09
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To MM43 @00:59 today,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply, but any explanation of why the false positives occurred surely has to extend to why they stopped, given that the towing operations continued for some time. I remain puzzled. Though if the TPL results are indeed entirely false, it partly solves the problem of how the search area was successfully narrowed down so dramatically... it shouldn't have been.
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Old 30th May 2014, 11:03
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Reading between the lines, the govts and other authorities seem convinced this was a criminal act, so IMHO we can definitely expect some changes to the satellite tracking systems so they (a) transmit the position (i.e. the airlines will have to pay up the fairly trivial amounts involved) and (b) cannot be disabled from the cockpit or cabin.

None of that is technically hard. Maybe relocating some circuit breakers.

If this pilot really did what many think he did, it was a clear "go out in style" job, which some may want to copy. Let's face it, it is amazingly easy to do. Either pilot can do it if the other leaves the cockpit.
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Old 30th May 2014, 11:29
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ULB range

My understanding, I think was from one of Angus Houston's briefings, is that the ULB is not intended to be detectable at such depths. It is for finding the flight recorders once you have already found the debris field.

Having said that it does lead one to the conclusion that when it was introduced possibly there was no expectation that debris would be recoverable from somewhere as deep and remote as the southern Indian ocean.
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Old 30th May 2014, 12:07
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Reading between the lines, the govts and other authorities seem convinced this was a criminal act, so IMHO we can definitely expect some changes to the satellite tracking systems so they (a) transmit the position (i.e. the airlines will have to pay up the fairly trivial amounts involved) and (b) cannot be disabled from the cockpit or cabin.

None of that is technically hard. Maybe relocating some circuit breakers.
Every electrical system or circuit breaker removed from the control of the flight crew is an added fire risk.

Let's not be in such a rush to quick fixes for one in ten million risks that make more-likely risks worse.

If this pilot really did what many think he did, it was a clear "go out in style" job, which some may want to copy. Let's face it, it is amazingly easy to do. Either pilot can do it if the other leaves the cockpit.
I cling to the the perhaps naive view that there are not that many commercial pilots out there waiting to take out their aircraft and passengers - waiting only for suitable "inspiration".

If there is someone like that up-front who has decided that today is the day then basically we are pretty much stuffed. New tricks for finding the wreckage afterwards are not that much of a comfort.
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Old 30th May 2014, 12:43
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Originally Posted by imaynotbeperfect
My understanding, I think was from one of Angus Houston's briefings, is that the ULB is not intended to be detectable at such depths. It is for finding the flight recorders once you have already found the debris field.

Having said that it does lead one to the conclusion that when it was introduced possibly there was no expectation that debris would be recoverable from somewhere as deep and remote as the southern Indian ocean.
This is absolutely correct the design was for cases such as when the debris was in a river - say the Potomac and the CVR/DFDR needed to be found. So what we have is a failure of systems analysis, what happens if an aircraft goes NORDO on the way to Hawaii and does not arrive? What about LAX - SYD? My suspicion is that the systems analysis was limited at the start by external inputs like funding, weight and the capabilities of the then systems. It is in urgent need of revisiting.
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Old 30th May 2014, 12:51
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If its a criminal act...

....do the authorities/countries involved have to report what they know. How much information are they obliged to release?

....if it was a criminal act by a radical group - they would have let us know within hours that they were responsible to bask in their infamy.

....if it was the sad act of an individual who had the extensive knowledge and cunning to perpetrate this - surely that person would want the world to know that they were that clever/sick! They would have left some note, tweet, Facebook clue. I feel they could not have the self-control to leave no clue at all - unless the authorities have that clue and want to keep it to themselves.

....or it was an insurance job and had to be scrupulously covered up.
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Old 30th May 2014, 14:06
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if it was the sad act of an individual who had the extensive knowledge and cunning to perpetrate this - surely that person would want the world to know that they were that clever/sick! They would have left some note, tweet, Facebook clue.
I don't think this one is a problem. Two reasons for a start:

1) To protect the dignity of the family (very important in those cultures)

2) To enable them to get the full life insurance payout

I feel they could not have the self-control to leave no clue at all - unless the authorities have that clue and want to keep it to themselves.
The "clues" are probably fairly obvious, but until you have proof you have nothing at all in legal terms.

I cling to the the perhaps naive view that there are not that many commercial pilots out there waiting to take out their aircraft and passengers - waiting only for suitable "inspiration".

If there is someone like that up-front who has decided that today is the day then basically we are pretty much stuffed. New tricks for finding the wreckage afterwards are not that much of a comfort.
That's why I think the search will never end.
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Old 30th May 2014, 14:23
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A process change could provide immediate risk reduction

Don't Hang Up- I understand your concern-

"Every electrical system or circuit breaker removed from the control of the flight crew is an added fire risk.

Let's not be in such a rush to quick fixes for one in ten million risks that make more-likely risks worse."

But as I understand it, if current technology is mandated and processes are updated, we could almost immediately reduce the risk of entirely lost aircraft where no one is aware of a potential problem and the dragnet isn't thrown out until it is too late.

1. All commercial AC of x size/over water routes should be required to use a satellite based acars system that trickles out a small amount of info every 5 minutes- If it stops reporting for more than x minutes- a minor problem is assumed, however the alert processes is started and escalates over time.

2. All commercial AC of x size/over water routes should be required to use a satellite based communication system like Immersat with a minimum of 5 minute handshakes- If it stops reporting for more than x minutes- a minor problem is assumed, however the alert processes is started and escalates with time.

(Note that I am talking about a potential process-- not specific technologies, ie where ACARS stops and Sat com starts-)

Of course, if this leads to a crash, it doesn't give us the crash coordinates- However,
1. We are altered to a potential problem, we know where the AC was at the time and we can escalate as needed.
2. The search area would be greatly reduced
3. Some type of assistance might be possible (a military AC leading an electrically comprised AC to a suitable runway)
3. No one would imagine they could get away with an intentional MH370 like event.

Forget about the transponder for a moment- there are too many reasons it could be turned off and the alerts described above would be easily automated.

Costs would be limited to current technology, process changes aren't drastic, and it's unlikely to set off false alarms- ie 5 minutes after an alert, an aircraft with minor electrical issues may report in and stop the alert.

Or 10 minutes after an alert, if officials can't make a radio connection, it's likely that something's going on. Maybe just electrical, but we're aware and looking at potential to assist?

Other than fear of change, and possible satellite bandwidth, does anyone see major holes in this thinking?

Last edited by Zionstrat2; 30th May 2014 at 18:03.
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Old 30th May 2014, 15:06
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re 10982

The post of IanW and the reference contained within, is the most important for everybody.We all live in a world which is virtually shrinking,even my present keystrokes are probably being monitored from afar!
Unwilling taxpayers worldwide are paying for defence systems which generally are useless to most of us and I think the time has come for a better use of people's money.Ruling elites have to mandate better regulations covering air travel.
Like any other human activity,if one type of event has happened,there is no earthly reason to state that it has only been an isolated event,the same type of event can again happen.
Just take a quick peep at the nuclear industry and it's massive spend on safety,bad things do happen.
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Old 30th May 2014, 18:04
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http://www.pprune.org/engineers-tech...ml#post6913079

^From a guy who lives in Malaysia
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Old 30th May 2014, 18:10
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Every electrical system or circuit breaker removed from the control of the flight crew is an added fire risk.

Let's not be in such a rush to quick fixes for one in ten million risks that make more-likely risks worse.
@Dont Hang Up: I entirely agree. There are far too many people piling in here with apparently quick fixes, without looking at the wider situation and the probabilities of different occurrences. I'm not at all sure I'd want to fly on aircraft where the crew have no control over some systems, just on the off chance that they might have some homicidal intent. The legal profession has a saying, "hard cases make bad laws", which I think applies to a lot of these ideas.
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Old 31st May 2014, 09:51
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OTOH, major mishaps are so rare in "1st World operated" big jets that every case you react on is going to be a rare hard case.

This isn't the 1950s when stuff used to crash all the time. When it comes to improving airline safety, one has been scraping out the bottom of the barrel for many years now, reacting to hugely improbable events.

Look at AF447. "Extremely improbable" (though most old timers would say "it was only a matter of time"). Yet probably every airline has changed its training after that.

Even if MH370 is never found, it's obvious that there are gaping holes in the system (the ease with which an airliner can vanish in a remote area) which need to be plugged, and which can be plugged relatively very cheaply.

And that's assuming one assumes this wasn't a criminal act. But if it was, and it happens again, you will have two jets vanishing and you will still be totally clueless.
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Old 31st May 2014, 10:18
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IFF another aircraft does a similar disappearing act flying out of a busy airport and vanishing, then I can see many people being reluctant to fly. There will be an extreme drop in the public trust in flight crews and aircraft generally. A second disappearance could be an industry killing event.

This is why the airline industry worldwide must get systems in place to ensure that all aircraft are tracked and remain tracked regardless of flight crew actions.

There are existing on-board systems like ADS-C that could do this, but it will require mandates from ICAO and the ANSPs to stop the beancounters insisting they are switched off.

Last edited by Ian W; 31st May 2014 at 10:19. Reason: grammar
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Old 31st May 2014, 12:44
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Not a pilot but a historian. There were very few real facts known about this event right from the start and those that were known seemed subject to any number of interpretations. Now it is theories about theories based on speculation. The truth behind most historical events only really comes to light with a significant concrete discovery. When other news gets quiet expect more 'theories' to surface as journalists try to earn their salary for that particular week .....
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Old 31st May 2014, 19:46
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Response to RichardC10 5/5 post

Apologies for being slow to respond and thank you for your further analysis.

For me, with the official release of the Inmarsat data, the roles of BFO and BTO are a bit clearer. I still think that the inferred location for the first point is somewhat problematic, and I am concerned that this casts doubt on the BFO calibration for the remaining points. The BTO seems a lot clearer, in placing the aircraft on the "ping rings". However, there are a lot of assumptions being made about the aircraft's southerly path that could significantly shift the most likely area along the rings.

On a first principles basis, I am still troubled about the role of probability in the analysis. To be honest, in my opinion, a full "Monte-Carlo" simulation would probably be the best way to go. Since we haven't yet seen the Inmarsat "model", we can't yet tell whether this has been done.
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Old 31st May 2014, 23:05
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To be honest, in my opinion, a full "Monte-Carlo" be the best way to go
Agreed. But then we assume the scenario when pilot on purpose flies such a confusing track (frequent heading changes) to maximally confuse investigators. If you think about it - the same 'rings' could be generated by millions of trajectories, some probably quite spread out in directions, if this is the case, if we are dealing with such conniving person in control of that flight - we have no chance finding this aircraft.
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Old 1st Jun 2014, 04:26
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Ex Prime Minister of Malaysia, Martiar Mohammed, never slow to accuse the a West (usually Australia) for every woe befalling his country, has informed the world via his personal blog that the CIA know what happened to MH370 and that the search in the Indian Ocean is a waste of time and money. On the last point, the man may be right.
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