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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 11th Mar 2014, 04:44
  #1581 (permalink)  
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I'm still scratching my head here ...

The last known location for MH 370 @ IGARI.
The initial SAR efforts were centered around IGARI. (East of Peninsula Malaysia)

Then we get a cryptic statement that radar indicates a turn back may have occured. MMEA starts by initiating a search in the Malacca Straits centered around Pulau Perak

We now have an expanded SAR area that includes the Malacca Straits and up to the Andamans. This is west of Peninsula Malaysia. The new search area is HUGE, nearly five times that of the search area centered around IGARI.

The head scratcher for me is this ...

How is it possible for a large commercial airliner to fly from IGARI to the Malacca Straits, without getting picked up by an assortment of civil/military radar?

If you straight line IGARI to Pulau Perak, you come within spitting distance of 2 military airbases (Butterworth and Gong Kedak) and 2 civil airports (Penang and Langkawi)

I do not know for sure what is the radar coverage like in that region but surely, in a border zone between Malaysia/Thailand with 4 airport/airbases on the Malaysian side alone, there must be some kind of comprehensive coverage?

So unless MH 370 did some really spectacular low level flying to get under radar coverage, then either ...

i) It did get picked up by radar crossing the peninsula, hence the rather large west coast search area. IF SO, then why are the people "in the know" still searching IGARI?

ii) It did not get picked up by radar approaching/crossing land. IF SO, why the humongous search area in the straits of malacca on the basis of a short radar track indicating a turn back? Unless they had a much longer radar track of MH 370 beyond the turn back?

iii) In which case, Gong Kedak airbase operates SU-30 MKMs, Butterworth airbase operates F/A-18Ds. These are front line fighters for the RMAF, with at least a couple of birds on Alert 15/30/60(?) that could have been scrambled to have a look-see? To me, a large commercial jet deviates 180 deg and does not respond to comms, heading back towards land surely warrants an intercept to have a look-see?

I can understand a difficulty in locating MH 370 if it crashed outside radar coverage and expanding the search area further with a bias towards no-radar coverage areas.

I find it difficult to understand searching a supposedly high radar coverage area, unless they know it did crash there and are not telling us ...

Much appreciated if anyone can shed some light on this.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 04:47
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Some Questions and an Observation

Was MH370 equipped to send ACARS data stream - if so to whom, the airline, Boeing?

What is the range of the of the emergency signal emitted from the black box?

If the plane ditched in the Malacca Straits it must have overflown Malaysia; but its transponders must have been turned off or the flight path would have been visible to FR24 etc right? But visible to military defence systems right?

AF447 should have been much harder to find but for the relative transparency of Air France and other authorities concerned and therein I suspect, lies the rub.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 04:48
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Assiduous moderating (for which, thanks!) has not avoided this PPRUNE mention in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: the conspiracy theories
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 04:49
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As of this morning (Tues, March 11, Vietnam local time), Vietnamese SAR have widened their search area to 20,000 sq km, out to Con Dao Island, which is 97NM SSW of Vung Tau (approximately 180kms).
The Vietnamese SAR crews are searching to the East of the Vietnamese mainland as far out as Con Dao, and also the area South of Con Dao.
Vietnamese SAR currently have 12 aircraft airborne, including 2 x CASA-212's equipped with "modern technical devices to European standards".

Last edited by onetrack; 11th Mar 2014 at 04:51. Reason: typo ..
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 04:49
  #1585 (permalink)  
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@ Long Time in CX:

Very interesting post and video highlighting a serious security weakness.
Your efforts to bring it to the attention of the powers that be should be applauded. I would question however, whether a public forum along with YouTube are sensible places to disseminate such information. Clearly many on this planet have some weird neuro-wiring, and I wouldn't like to think they got the idea for the next aviation disaster from your video.

There was a punchup with the blockheads some 70yrs ago, and posters on the London underground used to say "Ssshhh, loose lips sink ships!"
I'm not saying this glaring security hole shouldn't be fixed, just that these places may not be the most prudent to air such weaknesses in our systems.
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The video purports to have been or contributed to someone's master's degree thesis. I couldn't comment. The fact remains, though, that since it was (and remains coz I just looked it up) on YouTube, then, for as long as it has been published, it has to be considered to have been in the public domain. If terrorists have used the internet to exchange bomb "recipes", buy weapons etc, they might well also know how useful YouTube is for making a homemade particle accelerator (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIkP9V_n9OU) !!! Look, everyone knows how to conduct an internet search and if YouTube is such a useful source of "know-how", then access to videos such as the B777 underfloor equipment bay hatch would be a cinch. If the matter had been discussed in the classroom before making it into a video, then it was no longer a secret even before the publication date. I suppose society needs to decide whether such talk is deemed careless or otherwise. Either way, in this case, the cat was already out of the bag.

You are very right, though, CX old-timer, to highlight the matter of disclosures. If pilots, engineers or other crew/staff spot a glaring error, there are channels of communication. It is a shame if, as people like the original poster of this video on here claimed, their efforts to use those channels to highlight a glaring problem go instantly to File 13! On this note, is this an innate problem of our wonderful communications technology? Is there just too much information going around? Does technology at once confound the innocent and assist those with ill-intent?

The best that can happen, now, over this particular matter is a modification, licketty-split!
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 04:52
  #1586 (permalink)  
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for the relative transparency of Air France
Perhaps French (and Brazilian) were more technically competent and lucky, they found debris relatively quickly and luck may also have something to do with it. But I see zero evidence of lack of transparency in this case. As a 777 pilot explained - ACARS transmission is not 100% reliable specially when SATCOM is involved.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 05:16
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No ELT transmission heard yet (impact unlikely)

No Seismic data

No Mayday call

No Flashbang registered

No debris so far (70+ vessels)

All happened at a waypoint where radar contact lost (supposedly)

All comms lost and no eye witnesses
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 05:17
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military radars have not seen anything
Military radars could have seen it but it takes a human being to actually crunch the data and call a target a 'threat' and act upon it. It isn't military business to sort out a stranded traffic. I bet I could fly in a jet over most of Europe, turn transponder off and none would try to pursue me, shoot me down, unless I ventured over very sensitive areas, perhaps I would be met by stern-faced aviation authorities after landing...
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 05:17
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Malaysian civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, whose agency is leading a multinational effort to find the Boeing 777, said more than 1,000 people and at least 34 planes and 40 ships were searching a radius of 100 nautical miles (115 miles; 185 kilometers) around the last known location of Flight MH370. No signal has been detected since early Saturday morning, when the plane was at its cruising altitude and showed no sign of trouble.

Azharuddin 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."
Interesting quote from a Jakarta newspaper (How can jet disappear? In the ocean, it's not hard | The Jakarta Post)

The powers that be are indeed holding something back. How important the information is and why they're keeping quiet is of course unknown.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 05:19
  #1590 (permalink)  
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The Malacca Straits

1. The Malacca Straits are not just where the label on the map says but the entire waterway from Penang to Singapore.
2. Kuala Lumpar airport is only about 5 miles inland from "The Malacca Straits"

Not verified fact
Aircraft attempts return to base.

My guesses
With limited or no aids overflies the Malay peninsular on purpose. Turns southwards, easier to navigate with clearly defined and familiar coast line on left hand side. Plan to continue southwards until Port Dickson identified left turn and land.
But something happened, so now look in The Malacca Straits.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 05:35
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Did MAS just let something slip out?

In their latest communication the airline said "The authorities are looking at a possibility of an attempt made by MH370 to turn back to Subang" (my italics).

The plane didn't originate from Subang, and if this is more than speculation it explains why they're focussing the search on the west side of the peninsula.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 05:39
  #1592 (permalink)  
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Malaysian officials non-committal on MH370 ACARS transmissions - 3/11/2014 - Flight Global

Officials investigating the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER are tight-lipped about Aircraft Communications and Reporting System (ACARS) data reported by the aircraft.


Nonetheless, ACARS data proved crucial for gaining an early understanding of Air France flight AF447, which crashed 1 June 2009. Within three days of this aircraft’s disappearance investigators released ACARS data, revealing that the aircraft had transmitted a number of failure reports for various aircraft systems.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 05:40
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Borderline Racism?

It is disappointing to see some comments here, along the lines of Iranian = "potential terrorist" or Asian = "less than competent". What plausible reasoning is there for an Iranian to blow up a Malaysian/Chinese flight?

State Actors: Far more violence is perpetrated against Iran by the West (including targeted assassinations of civilians) than by Iran. Furthermore, why would they take action against an ally?

Non State Actors: the primary NSAs in Iran are Sunni Baloch nationalists/separatists. I can see why they might attack an Iranian, Afghan or Pakistani plane, but it is a huge stretch to think they would put serious effort into attacking a far harder target with no obvious benefit to themselves.

Even terrorists need to have reasons, even if the media like to pretend otherwise.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 05:46
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Well done Captain Ross Aimer, on your interview with the World Press...some good points, however,...in response to the question of how an aircraft may react if "Landing" on water....suggesting that it would break into pieces, does not help us or the cabin staff, with the ditching demonstration, which would require far more animation!......otherwise...good stuff!
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 05:48
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In their latest communication the airline said "The authorities are looking at a possibility of an attempt made by MH370 to turn back to Subang" (my italics).

The plane didn't originate from Subang, and if this is more than speculation it explains why they're focussing the search on the west side of the peninsula.
Might be referring to Subang Center ATC. IIRC the flight was in contact with Subang Center when it disappeared, but close to handover to Ho Chi Minh Center. So the statement above may simply mean that the flight might have been trying to return to Subang Center airspace rather than anything more profound/sinister.

Besides, Subang is essentially KL.

Last edited by WearyBizTrvlr; 11th Mar 2014 at 05:58. Reason: Adding the besides.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 05:58
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Let's just give the terrorism angle a rest - and the deep suspicions centred around, "they aren't telling us everything".

1. Terrorists make claims shortly after terrorism events to maximise the terror impact. No such claims have been made, apart from one online claim, from a previously-unknown group within China, that the Chinese have deemed a hoax.
More importantly, world intelligence agencies have picked up no increase in known terrorist groups "chatter" - a common happening immediately after a successful terrorist attack.

2. Of course, we "aren't being told everything"! All countries possess secretive defence agencies and installations, and they're not about to let it become public knowledge what they have, and what they are capable of.
Probably more importantly, they don't want it to become public knowledge, what they failed to pick up!

It is highly likely, that even if MH370 flew within range of a military radar, spying setup, or other military establishment, it wasn't picked up - due to lack of operator alertness, even perhaps even, unexpected downtime of the facility.

The simple facts remain that the aircraft most likely suffered a major electrical fault or power outage, or a rapid decompression caused by a cockpit fire or other reasons, leading to rapid crew incapacitation - and the aircraft flew on for an extended distance, well outside any radar coverage, before it finally splashed down in the vastness of the ocean.

Only those who have actually carried out SAR searches over the vastness of the oceans, fully understand how much even a large airliner becomes a "needle in a haystack" out there.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 06:01
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Mmmmm 6 more hours fuel at 400 + kts is a big search area!!
If it did wander off on its own before flaming out...
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 06:11
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That's my gut feeling Nitpicker.

They turned SW (smoke), DP, all incapacitated and kept going and going.

But have no answer why all went quiet on the comms front. If the electrics all died that transmit that stuff, surely the AP went out as well?

Malaysia and Indo would be understandably quiet on how an unexpected aircraft at FL 200 could transit undetected.

That's my least implausible theory anyway!
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 06:11
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Tomnod has a campaign where you can look at sat. images taken on the day and tag anything suspicious

Crowdsourcing the Search for Malaysia Flight 370 - ABC News
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 06:12
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Left field question for experienced SAR people out there:

We're approaching the end of 4 solid days of searching for a missing 777.

Accounting for the last transponder position, last radio call, first non responsive attempt to contact the aircraft and a possible catastrophic failure at FL350, the search area for the aircraft is large. Worse still, worst case, lest I suggest it, a hijacking attempt, initiated by killing the radio and transponder, diverting the aircraft, then something going wrong ending in a detonation that again lead to catastrophic failure, the search area could be at least 1,000,000 sq. miles.

At 450kts in the wrong direction, it doesn't take long to rack up some miles away from the original flight plan.

I have done SAR with the Civil Air Patrol in the US. I've seen wreckage and how hard it is to spot, flying almost right over the top of it. Possibly easier at sea, but I know how fatigue affects you sitting in the back staring out into a bland mass hour after hour.

At what point does such an operation scale down? I remember the Fossett search. The biggest US air search of all time. Two dozen planes over a relatively small area compared to MH370, and also at a more fine grained altitude. True, one would think it should be a lot easier the remains of a 777 at sea than a single engine plane in the mountains, but the fatigue of the search crews might be similar. At what point does the scale step down? After a week? Or, because of the need to find an answer, do we just keep going?

I am thinking the latter. We all want the black box for closure. But maybe SAR teams can chip in on the protocol. Or is this such an exceptional occurrence that it can't be answered?
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