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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:05
  #1401 (permalink)  
 
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Can a Airliner traverse the whole of Malaysia without anyone detecting it?
A B777 sure can't. And that's what we're talking about in this thread?
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:11
  #1402 (permalink)  
 
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@mabuhay_2000

A worthy, analytical, and common sense post.

We know the plane disappeared, but where is it.

I think you are correct in that they are looking in the wrong place.

Last edited by Old Boeing Driver; 10th Mar 2014 at 17:11. Reason: Spelling
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:12
  #1403 (permalink)  
 
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To add to the recent postings from Telecoms people -I am not a mobile phone expert but I do know about undersea cables and one of the big problems here is elapsed time since the incident if there are significant surface or sub surface currents in the area.
Even a modest surface current of 3 or three knots can expand the potential search area by an enormous amount after three or four days creating a classic catch-22 where the longer it takes to find a trace means the harder it is to find a trace.

Sub surface currents are not always well documented and do not necessarily act in the same way as surface ones. So rather than a predictable drift of say 2 knots eastwards they can add a sort of crosswind component effect creating a north or southeast vector making the SAR job harder still.

Otherwise it seemed very unlikely from the start that there is, whatever the cause, going to be a very sad outcome
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:12
  #1404 (permalink)  
 
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Can a Airliner traverse the whole of Malaysia without anyone detecting it?
If said airliner's transponder was inop (either intentionally or not), then whilst there might be a radar return, would it necessarily be recognised (and recorded) as belonging to that particular aircraft?
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:14
  #1405 (permalink)  
 
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Latest info at 15.30 today suggest possible debris now found a long way from its final known position. We have been here before though so lets hope its true this time.

CNN reporting the two people who produced the stolen passports allegedly looked Iranian and African ??

Also seen reported elsewhere that after ATC lost contact with MAS 370 they asked a Vietnam Airlines pilots to try and contact the plane. He was 30 mins ahead of the MAS plane. Reported that he made contact but seems voices from the cockpit were very muffled as if it was miles away.

Malaysian Authorities are still not commenting why they have been searching the Maccalan Straights, which is in completely the opposite direction from where it had been heading.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:15
  #1406 (permalink)  
 
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A B777 sure can't. And that's what we're talking about in this thread?
This is what confuses me. Assuming they have a half decent military radar system they will know or not if MH370 crossed back over the country. That is why they are searching there after all...but if they know this then why still bother to search along the flight path and up towards HK.

Unless they don't actually know anything more than FR24!

Last edited by flt001; 10th Mar 2014 at 17:17. Reason: Spelling.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:17
  #1407 (permalink)  
 
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@selfin

Many thanks for your efforts, it is one of the most informative posts in the past 500 (if not 1000).

I would have assumed that an aircraft would NOT be able to cross the peninsula without appearing on PSR but apparently this is not the case (though we do not know how many military radar sites are there that are unpublished in the AIP).

... whilst there might be a radar return, would it necessarily be recognized ...
selfin's diagram demonstrates that theoretically even a T7 could cross the peninsula without showing up on radar. However if it does show up for any period, I'm sure the radar return would be investigated, especially if ATC is aware that there is a missing aircraft. Of course there is always the possibility that a weak return beyond the effective range was recorded, but not displayed. ATC radar screens no longer show actual signals from the radar antenna, rather a computer generated image that is based on the processed signals. There are very complex algorithms to filter out backscatter and other noise (one of the most closely guarded secrets of military radar manufacturers), and whether a faint real target makes it on the screen will be a function of whether the computers can distinguish between noise and target. Also the radar display may be set for a certain range, so even if the actual radar antenna captures a more distant target, it will not necessarily display on the screen. However the primary signals are stored for a period of time, to be retrieved in situations we are now discussing. Also as it had been discussed previously on this thread, the military operates more sensitive radar stations the existence of which are not necessarily in the public domain, and their data may be available. Using more sensitive (hence slower) algorithms much more may be retrieved from the raw signals than what was originally displayed on the screen. Undoubtedly this had already been done, and may have prompted the search along the western coast of the peninsula.

However this is not an exact science. There might be some very faint radar returns that may or may not be the missing aircraft, first they need to be cross checked against other identified traffic. Also these faint signals at the edge of the theoretical range usually don't form a continuous track, but are intermittent pings as reception conditions fluctuate between poor and nil. I can easily envision that Malaysian radar picked up something that might have been MH370 given the place and the time, but authorities would not want to make a public statement about it in case it turns out to be a cold trail just like so many others - however the possibility is high enough to allot some SAR resources to follow it up, especially after three days of searching in the primary area yielded nothing.

Last edited by andrasz; 10th Mar 2014 at 17:51.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:19
  #1408 (permalink)  
 
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I am wondering why they have not pulled the records off any of the shipping traffic that would have traversed the area. That is a high traffic region, and those ships would have most likely had such systems, as outlined in Wiki:
Voyage Radar
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:19
  #1409 (permalink)  
 
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ppl

Yes, Rolls Royce at their Derby HQ do track live the operational performance of all their aircraft engines, but not exact location. They would at least have noted when transmission stopped, probably the same time as radar transponder.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:24
  #1410 (permalink)  
 
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If there was a structural failure
It wasn't.
If the B777 were to have some nasty secrets it would have been uncovered by now. It's been in service for a long time.
For any pilot trained om the B777, it takes a bomb to remove it from the map just like that.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:32
  #1411 (permalink)  
 
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Exclamation The security issues from the AVSEC side

As I mentioned in my first comment, I feel well qualified to comment on the security issues, after my years spent as a detective inspector and, subsequently, an AVSEC specialist.

The furore surrounding the confirmed use of at least two stolen passports by PAX on MH370 raises many issues but doesn't strongly indicate terrorism or foul-play in this specific case.

There is a highly variable standard of screening indifferent countries, even different airports in the same country. There is no standardised training, globally. There is no global standard for passport design and security features. There is no global agreement over the use of the Interpol stolen passport database. There is no requirement for countries to notify Interpol about stolen passports. Most countries pay only cursory attention to passports when PAX are leaving a country. Airlines have no access to any stolen passport databases and only check for the appropriate visas at check-in.

By now, you should be getting the picture: there are more holes in the security net than a sieve. However, there are a number of factors that should have set alarm bells ringing. Tickets paid in cash, tickets bought by a third party, a long-way-round itinerary, one-way tickets, etc., are all classic indicators that something dodgy is going on and should be investigated before the two PAX are allowed to board that flight.

However, all these signs were missed. Why? I think the lack of good, old-fashioned paper tickets, which contained all the information needed to join the dots on a single coupon, is partly to blame. That being said, these PAX did have a paper coupon with the info on it and still the warning signs were missed. I suspect that check-in staff, many of whom are now contracted from third party vendors by airlines, do not have the requisite training to spot the warning signs.

As I mentioned above, immigration staff often do not have access to the right information and often pay no attention to other travel documentation aside from the passer, so they miss the warning signs as well. Security staff are concerned only with physical security not documentation. Then, of course, we have to remember that even well-trained humans make mistakes.

But the bottom line is that it is far, far too easy to evade detection when travelling with false or stolen travel documents. Not all those who do it are terrorists, but they certainly are criminals and up to no good.

Does this help us solve the riddle of MH370? No, right now it's a distraction from the main aim, which is to find the aircraft. Only then can the proper investigation begin. It will have to work backwards. Finding out the cause of (almost certain) crash and, if foul play was involved, working backwards to try and find out who was involved.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:34
  #1412 (permalink)  
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@Roadster280 @Wire_Mark

To prevent the use of mobiles already aboard held by crew and passengers, a couple of mobile phone jammers could have been taken aboard, they are quite effective and some look like wireless access points so could easily be mistaken for a bit of IT kit by airside security.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:36
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Originally Posted by mabuhay_2000 View Post
Somebody, somewhere, knows a lot more than they are letting on for public consumption and I'd wager that various nations and agencies are not sharing what they know with the others involved.

A large object, such as a B777 cannot simply disappear without somebody having some knowledge of its last known whereabouts. Failure to plot it on military radar seems highly unlikely. Failure to share that information seems rather more likely. In a busy shipping area it also seems highly unlikely that somebody wouldn't have seen something.

It seems highly unlikely that it could have evaded detection and landed somewhere after a highjacking. First, it would need a considerable runway to accommodate it and, second, it would have had to overfly a hefty chunk of land and somebody would most likely have seen something.

All you're missing is a plausible reason why they would keep it a secret. That's a pretty serious hole in the theory. The players who would have the radar track on Air Defense radar, but are keeping it secret would be: Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, tenuously, Thailand, even less plausibly, Indonesia.

Pick any one of those. Assume that they have radar track data which indicates where the airplane went. What *possible* reason would they have for keeping it secret?

Last edited by A Squared; 10th Mar 2014 at 17:51.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:37
  #1414 (permalink)  
 
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To prevent the use of mobiles already aboard held by crew and passengers, a couple of mobile phone jammers could have been taken aboard, they are quite effective and some look like wireless access points so could easily be mistaken for a bit of IT kit by airside security.
Wouldn't Hijackers just confiscate mobile phones? If indeed there was a hijack
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:38
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Intercept!

Surely large, unidentified radar return, flying in controlled airspace, would prompt an interception to evaluate a potential threat?
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:52
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Surely a lot easier to just jam them than search several hundred passengers.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:52
  #1417 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Sober Lark View Post
The prolonged and unsuccessful search clearly illustrates a system failure in the organisation.
I'll offer that it illustrates the lack of a flaming datum. Estimates of where it might have gone down are not the same as more substantive cues regarding where and when it went down.

Granted, organizing and executing a multi-national search effort requires a well run command and control scheme, and a lot of practice.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:54
  #1418 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by mabuhay_2000
There is no global standard for passport design and security features.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) issues passport standards which are treated as recommendations to national governments. The size of passports normally comply with ISO/IEC 7810 ID-3 standard, which specifies a size of 125 88 mm (4.921 3.465 in). This size is the B7 format.

Machine-readable passport standards have been issued by the ICAO, with an area set aside where most of the information written as text is also printed in a manner suitable for optical character recognition.

Biometric passports (or e-Passports) have an embedded contactless smart card chip in order to conform to ICAO standards. The chips contain data about the passport holder, a photograph in digital format and data about the passport itself.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:58
  #1419 (permalink)  
 
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Mabuhay_2000: "Surely large, unidentified radar return, flying in controlled airspace, would prompt an interception to evaluate a potential threat? "

As in aviation security in many countries, military radar surveillance capability is not equaled by the competence of its practitioners.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 18:01
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Not the first time...

I recall the Boeing 737-400 Adam Air Flight 574 accident - 1st Jan 2007 - departed cruise altitude of FL350 and disappeared into the Straits of Makassar. Nothing was found until 10 days later when fisherman came across a large fragment of the tail. The black boxes were located by a US Navy Ship, the Mary Sears, 27 days after the disappearance, and took considerably longer to recover them.

Probable cause of the Adam Air accident was loss of control whilst attempting to trouble shoot faulty INS system.
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