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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:11
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IF anyone has the answers to the following questions, I think it might prove interesting.

1. Was the last RADAR contact a primary radar or secondary radar?

2. The media has reported the plane turning, again, see above question.

3. Does anyone have the winds aloft from cruise altitude to sea level, general is fine enough, not specific , just to understand drift if the plane came down in pieces.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:15
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Early posts indicated there was only secondary radar at the point of last contact.

I think there were some upper level wind reports in some posts. I'll see if I can find them.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:18
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thanks old boeing driver.

I think they may be looking in the wrong place then. Primary is one thing, secondary, all you have to lose is the transponder antennas or power. then you don't know what is going on.

That 747 in japan that blew the pressure bulkhead flew for almost another half hour before crashing.

Imagine if this 777 flew another half hour beyond the last secondary contact.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:21
  #1444 (permalink)  
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People have insinuated that the Malaysian authorities are withholding information. Could it be the opposite? That they don't have information which they should have. Face is important, patronage secures promotion not merit, graft pays the wages. Such is life in all of South East Asia.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:24
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Couple developments:

Warning of ‘possible terrorist attack on China’ received by Taiwan days before Malaysia Airlines jet vanished

Separately, on March 3 China Airlines circulated an unrelated "aviation security notice" to all staff, warning of a "significant risk of terrorist attacks and military actions against aviation", a spokeswoman said yesterday.
In a statement, the airline said: "China Airlines on March 4 received a call claiming to provide intelligence on terrorist organisations and which referred to mainland China, saying Beijing airport would see terrorist attacks."
Iranian Bought Tickets For Fake Passport Passengers: Report

The two men flying on stolen passports purchased their tickets on MH370 with cash via a middle man, now identified as Kazem Ali. Incidentally, "Mr. Ali" has gone missing; attempts to contact him by phone have gone unanswered.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:26
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Reuters - No ACARS available according to an unspecified "source"

Reuters: No automated messages from missing Boeing jet: sources

(Reuters) - The Malaysian passenger jet that disappeared on Saturday did not make automatic contact with a flight data-monitoring system after vanishing from radar screens, two people familiar with the matter said.

The Boeing 777-200ER is equipped with a maintenance computer capable of talking to the ground automatically through short messages known as ACARS.
In the case of the Malaysia Airlines jet, however, investigators have no such evidence to help them discover what happened to the passenger plane, the people said.

"There were no signals from ACARS from the time the aircraft disappeared," a source involved in the investigations said.
In addition to standard ACARS messages, airlines can install a system sold by Boeing called Airplane Health Management which provides real-time troubleshooting and allows Boeing to monitor the flight as well as the airline, according to its brochure.

This optional system was not installed on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, people familiar with the matter said.

U.S. planemaker Boeing declined to comment.
Full article: No automated messages from missing Boeing jet: sources | Reuters
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:29
  #1447 (permalink)  
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An important clue is that comms were lost within one hour of departure. The aircraft would have been established enroute at its assigned level within this time frame.
A further fact is that no debris has been sighted so far.
Had the flight crossed the FIR and handed over to the Vietnamese or Chinese, we are not informed. All we know is some garbled information of an attempt to relay by the Vietnamese.
The abscence of floating debris would reduce the likelihood of a catastrophic inflight breakup. It is inconceivable that a large aircraft such as the 777 disintegrating at high altitude would not shed some light weight debris which would remain afloat.
The facts known to date would appear to suggest that the aircaft ditched in the sea in a fairly intact state.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:34
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Originally Posted by taffazzi
I too believe that plane, wherever it went down, it was intact like AF447, that it took 5 days to find a piece. And that first piece was the tail that in A330 is composite floating material.
It did not take 5 days to find a piece of AF447. An oil slick and some pieces, e.g. a seat(?), were spotted from the air within 2 days. It took 5 days simply to get some ships to the area where it went down.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:39
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Do I remember correctly that initial reporting said the aircraft dropped 700ft just before 'disappearing'?
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:41
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I have just looked at the NTSB report on TWA800.

On page 91, it shows a synopsis of primary radar returns just after the breakup; the cloud of debris is clearly visible.

The report on EgyptAir 990 that hit the sea in one piece shows on page 36 that also for this flight, primary returns were available nearly until the impact.

So in either case, the primary radar tapes are badly needed. However, an inflight breakup is made less likely by the lack of any observations: an explosion would be well audible and a cloud of debris rather visible to anyone in the area (probably mostly seafarers). And an impact in one piece would have needed to show on at least one seismograph, which it apparently did not (or at least the corresponding spike is not yet found).

I am not yet convinced that this aircraft has crashed.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:42
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Originally Posted by Mark in CA
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.
The trouble with biometric passports is that all you need is someone who looks more or less like you. As the poster said, at airline ticket desks and exit points on immigration passports are not checked as carefully as entry points. Fake passports aren't usually needed to blow up or hijack a plane. Regular passports work well enough, unless the holder is on a no-fly list.
And, if you did need a fake passport, choosing a recently stolen one would seem a better choice.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:45
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...Azharuddin [Malaysian civil aviation chief] said the search includes northern parts of the Malacca Strait, on the opposite side of the Malay Peninsula and far west of the plane's last known location. Azharuddin would not explain why crews were searching there, saying, "There are some things that I can tell you and some things that I can't."...

See How can jet disappear? In the ocean, it's not hard
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:46
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gyptair 990, intact, went straight in 60 NM off Nantucket. Very little debris on the surface. Small oil sheen on the surface when the first Coast Guard ship arrived near the position where transponder contact was lost. Depth at the site was 250-270 feet.

According to google, due to weak currents and significant volcanic activity much of the area has muddy sediment on that forms a layer up to 40 meters deep on the sea floor in some places.

Apparently the water depth in Malacca straights rarely exceeds 30 meters.
At 500 mph a distance of 30 meters is travelled in less than 0.2 of a second so would an airframe be stopped by this depth of water or would it also impact the seabed?

We have seen "holes in the ground" the result of near vertical high speed impacts. Imagine the same hole in the ground but under 30 meters of water and subsequently enveloped by 20 meters of mud.

Below is the impact crater from Flight 93, a 757 -222. The Black box was found at 7 meters feet and they excavated to 14 meters to remove all debris. So if the black box was in the tail and the deepest any wreckage was found was 15 feet deeper, the aircraft was compacted and encased in just 15 ft depth of soil.

Whilst it seems far fetched, does the physics add up?… a similar, near vertical impact to Egypt 990, but into 20 meters of water, then transitioning into soft mud that envelopes the wreckage?

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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:51
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@ TU14 and others, thanks for your replies.

I was of the impression that it wasn't unusual for PAX not to board and that it isn't something that is necessarily sinister.

I can also imagine that it is a PITA for all concerned, not just the ground staff, but also a pilot trying to make a take-off slot - along with us SLF, who get to seethe ground staff unloading luggage.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:53
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Recent Reuters Report - No Satellite Detection of Explosion

"The United States extensively reviewed imagery taken by American spy satellites for evidence of a mid-air explosion, but saw none, a U.S. government source said. The source described U.S. satellite coverage of the region as thorough."
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:59
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Originally Posted by glendalegoon
IF anyone has the answers to the following questions, I think it might prove interesting.

1. Was the last RADAR contact a primary radar or secondary radar?

2. The media has reported the plane turning, again, see above question.

3. Does anyone have the winds aloft from cruise altitude to sea level, general is fine enough, not specific , just to understand drift if the plane came down in pieces.
It is extremely unlikely that anyone in ATC was monitoring anything but 'cooperative surveillance' almost certainly secondary radar. This gives a lot of information that can be used to build a labelled display. There is almost no use for primary radar in current ATC. The lesson from United Flight 93 was switch off the secondary radar (stop squawk) in a secondary only area and your aircraft is lost to the ATC system. What that system _might_ do is 'coast' the response along the expected flight plan track, so controllers may not be aware of when the real transponded responses stopped. Because the transponders are actively sending a response the range of SSR can be more than PSR so the aircraft may not even be in PSR contact. FANS ADS-C (contract reports over SATCOM) would be better as the EPP reports give a lot of FMC information but the bean counters keep these reports down to only one every 10 minutes or so.

Air defense notification systems spotting an unplanned aircraft requires the aircraft to appear on the radar _and_ for someone to be awake and observant enough to notice it. As there have been no Vietnamese air attacks on Malaysia (and vice versa) in the last decades alertness may not be at its best in the early hours. Yes the aircraft response may be found by going back over recordings - now will the loss of face be worth admitting it was missed? Looking at the radar coverage map a few posts back there are gaps that could easily be used should someone want to cross back into Malaysia (although _why_ that would be needs to be answered). There may be similar gaps over Vietnam.

Now I know that crews don't like the idea of FOQA data to the cloud or CVR/CVideoR to the cloud. But had that been the case herre there would be relatives of 200+ people who would at least have known what had happened. Also as someone who spends much time as SLF I would like to know if there was a weakness on the aircraft that currently fly thousands of people daily. It is perfectly technically feasible now with high bandwidths available on both INMARSAT and soon on 'Iridium Next' and those links would keep your EFBs up-to-date as well. Not wanting people watching over you does not cut it any more - controllers have continual watch over them with open mic recordings - even overnight staff at gas stations have it. With aircraft flying routes more over wide expanses of ocean is it acceptable that they can go missing and require huge search efforts to be made? Perhaps if the cost of multinational search and rescue was charged to the airlines things might be different.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 20:00
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If the aircraft had ditched and passengers were on the slides as liferafts, wouldn't said slides have ELTs built in? We are not looking at a controlled ditching here.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 20:01
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I work as a radio optimiser for a well known multi national company in the uk. The use of jammers is common and work very well. I don't want to single out a race about this but we find that these are normally installed within mosques to stop the use of them within the vicinity.

Also we've seen in prisons but I digress.

Generally though they are band specific and not wideband. Therefore they would disrupt a gsm 900 signal but not a WCDMA 2100. For one to be on board a plane and block all frequencies for gsm, WCDMA and LTE it would be wideband unless multiple units were on board. Back to the ecr cells, we have them in the uk, or did do at t-mobile in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. I am surprised they are not deployed in the US.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 20:03
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As a FWIW on our configuration, and I believe most others, the slide rafts do not have built in ELTs....
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 20:06
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Having read all this from the outset, I'm becoming more persuaded by the concept of mass hypoxia ...

But what I can't quite grasp is:
  • How (me not being a 777 driver) the last settings on the a/p don't sustain flight in that direction until fuel exhaustion. (= search offshore near Ho Chi Min city?)
  • Why an initial track of 040-ish suddenly generates search activity on the west of the Malay peninsula. (= someone suspects something more than just that implied left turn at 'lost contact')
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