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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

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Malaysian Airlines MH370 contact lost

Old 11th Mar 2014, 18:31
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CNN have totally bought into the new theory that the plane was tracked on radar into the Straits of Malacca and that it was last radar-fixed at some as yet undisclosed location roughly 100-200 miles northwest of KL.

This certainly points to one of two scenarios being more likely than others:

1. The pilot, having lost much of his guidance, was attempting to make a visual return to KL. One must then ask if moonset and local weather (something we left behind when it was assumed that the search would be much further north) played any role. METARS for relevant stations might be useful now.

2. Hostile elements, either terrorists or misguided pilot(s) were in control of the aircraft and the postulated track would suggest a terror attack planned at KL which after all has some of world's tallest buildings. One might then ask why anyone would plan such a thing especially at night (it would be approximately 0330h to 0400h local time if any terrorists managed to execute such a plan.

As either of these seem somewhat difficult to believe, we might then consider a third option, terrorist hi-jack with known landing point in Sumatra, explaining the low-altitude flight path in an attempt to evade primary radar. This even keeps alive the possibility that this plan has been successfully executed but in which case, why no announcement or demands?

Most likely outcome, but not by much, is that crippled aircraft made desperate but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to return to KL and that evidence of this will eventually be found.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 18:31
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Originally Posted by andrasz
hamster3null

I gave full benefit of doubt to Malaysian statements up till now, but given the initial report of radar contact having been lost at 2:40 (later modified to 1:22, explaining that 2:40 was when the information was received from ATC) and the slip of tongue by the Air Force chief on the press conference of the 9th hinting at a possible return makes me suspect all this information was known very soon after the event, maybe not with the degree of certainty as it was announced today, but with a good degree of probability. There have been unexplained reports of the Straits of Malacca being searched since two days.
I'm aware of the 2:40 curiosity, but I'm inclined to think that it's purely a coincidence.

Consider that the original statement about the plane being lost at 2:40 was made by the airline (that is, civilians). After that, the search continued in the Gulf for a while; my timeline may be off but I think that the first mention of Malacca Straits happened at least 36 hours after the plane went missing. The plane took off at 16:41 UTC on 3/7. The earliest statement about "turning back" I could find was made by Malaysia's air force chief at 06:00 UTC on 3/9.

Militaries aren't usually big on sharing info with civilians, and it takes an established protocol or an explicit authorization from high command to release stuff like that. It's pretty unlikely that someone would pass the information about last known military contact to the airline within a few hours after disappearance, in the middle of the night. And even if that did happen, it's downright incredible that Malaysia would then waste time and effort on searching the Gulf.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 18:31
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Andrasz

Logically, I would have thought an identified target that sudden stopped squawking would be cause for concern, even if only because it would be highly unusual for a commercial airliner to do that and should set a few alarm bells ringing, especially in a post 9/11 world.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 18:37
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Military outfits are almost entirely monday-friday 9-5 operations, it would take a stuka attack from something very fast moving, heading directly for a military base or major population centre to sound any alarm bells in the mind of the poor guy on duty at O-silly-hundred-hours observing for credible threats.

So your saying that, if a plane took off from the UK in the night then halfway out over the sea stopped communicating and transponder stopped working on SSR, then turned back toward the UK and over flew the UK for 1 hour still with no communications, that there would not be military response ?

i am afraid i cannot see that at all, and i find it really hard to believe that is the case here
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 18:37
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Logically, I would have thought an identified target that sudden stopped squawking would be cause for concern, even if only because it would be highly unusual for a commercial airliner to do that and should set a few alarm bells ringing, especially in a post 9/11 world.
If the radar operator had already marked the contact as COMAIR, while it was squawking valid Mode 3, it might have (depending upon autotrack functions used or not used) retained that track classification with nary a peep out of the radar operator who, not being ATC, may not instinctively know where a given COMAIR is headed to on a given evening.

Do you put your sharpest people on watch at zero dark thirty?
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 18:39
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Clarifications

The not so good:

Fernanset - that was an unmeasured response, perhaps you should too. Execs comment didn't suggest any aircraft, just this particular one and many of the senior LAMEs at MAS could tell the life story of their aircraft. The 777 has been a pretty well maintained fleet and I'd see no reason to doubt their judgement even in spite of the element of human error.

Physicus - it's RMAF Butterworth and has been for sometime, you're living in the 80's.

Slats11 - Meals, a bit too early still, people might have got a drink and peanuts if they were lucky. Skyshow, yes so they would have been able to watch position unless... IFE, yes would have been on after 10'000 so if not sleeping many would be watching. Phones, seriously from my experience there is no reception above 8000', momentary at best. Someone way back mentioned something about EPC (?) maybe that works but how many actually do it. As a digression one MAS 777 was a test aircraft for inflight GSM services (relayed through SATCOM). System was active in cruise, you could switch your phone on and make calls and sms only; the aircraft was it's own cell (charges were high of course). Success had a lot to do with your telco, mine didn't work, but for others it did.

The good:

V1...ooops - your ELT stuff is more or less correct. The tubular model is a Rescue406 and it floats like a buoy - in fact saltwater makes the battery cell work (if you use it on land you have to stick it in water or better yet urine), but there is nothing automatic with it other than in liquid it works and out it doesn't. The boxy unit quite often is an ADT406, it can be automatic (G switch) if armed but otherwise it's off and it can float if it's floatation collar is attached. But if they go to the bottom of the ocean they're not much use.

I was under the impression that all transport category aircraft had to carry an ELT and haven't flown a bird yet that doesn't have one "built-in" in addition to the portables stowed in the cabin (the built in one of course being armed at all times except in the hangar), at least on Boeing aircraft. For those wondering, the missing aircraft contains 1 fixed, 1 portable and 2 slide raft ELTs. The fixed one as per V1s description, the portable on it's own battery and the raft only when deployed in water (spose you could cut it out and drop it in water if you're the boy scout type). Only one unit is G-switched, the rest require human operation.

The Shadow - as someone said to me, plausible. However I would add that in my experience with unusual events affecting the airframe that post repair, said problem area is subjected to more routine inspections than normally required and that is Boeings recommendation. Eg hard-landing gear repairs every so many cycles, tail strike repairs every so many hours, etc. I rather doubt it would be fix it once and forget about it, monitoring would be required much like warped fan blades. I'm not an aerodynamicist, just a pilot, so won't tackle you on the theory, but as crew we get some stuffed up situations in the sim like runaway controls and while that can't mimic surface loss and the rolling moments could be significant, the outer 1/4 of the wing isn't contributing the majority of the lift so managable springs to mind in the best of situations. Regards to major repairs, much much earlier a MAS 777 tail striked in ZRH and it was "pretty" bad, whole tail redone, that aircraft is still flying.

Fly26 - the area you're referring to, it's pretty rugged for the most part and semi-mountainous depending where exactly. Nuri's and light aircraft have disappeared in there for ages and that makes sense due to their size but if a 777 went in with 30,000+kg of fuel onboard I think the haze problems here would be a whole lot worse.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 18:43
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Airliner flies along. Suddenly transponder is switched off/fails at time x, likely causes .. Interference//tech issue//sudden destruction of aircraft, allied with comms possibilities as follows..

A/Radio transmission from flight ends abruptly. Likely cause..explosion/or/explosive decompression. Sudden destruction.
B/No radio calls from crew. Likely cause..Crew wouldn't have Known the transponder had failed and continued.
C/ATC tried to contact the crew in range and there was no response. Likely causes...destruction at x/or/interference at x/or/radios made u/s by same tech issue as transponder eg. Fire//electrical problem.

Mu!tiple eyewitnesses report an unusual large aircraft flying fast and low. Coupled with there being no evidence of sudden destruction, either in the form of debris, infrared flash monitoring, seismic registration or eyewiynesses in a very densely populated area points to either interference or tech issue, fire or electrical. As the eyewitnesses have mentioned that the aircraft was carrying lights, it couldn't have been a total Electrical failure. (If this large aircraft flying in an unusual direction at an unusual altitude on the very night this 777 goes missing is indeed the 777) . if it wasn't a total electrical failure then it would have been almost certainly possible to get either the transponder or com1 or acars or HF going.

Which points to two things. If it was a fire, it was now under control or it would have Been out of control by this time, but wasn't, or the bits would have been found by now. The witnesses specifically mention white light, not fire. If the fire had been contained I daresay the pilots would have landed it asap.

So it wasn't a fire.

Which leaves us with the last cause... Interference. If the aircraft was seized the scenario would fit the facts..seizer/s turned off the transponder, prevented the Crew from transmitting, and forced them to fly somewhere else, or flew themselves, deviating from the flight plan. Where they were seen by eyewitnesses. Or painted by primary radar.

We know two things by deduction..the aircraft was unlawfully taken control of and By now the aircraft is either crashed or landed safely somewhere in the hands of the criminal/s.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 18:43
  #1868 (permalink)  
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[QUOTE=Lonewolf_50;8366717In defense of the Malaysian authorities: it may have taken some analysis by the best radar operators and analysts -- who'd not be on the night shift, but on the day shift -- of radar the tapes/data from the night shift to arrive at the conclusion that the radar contact being tracked was indeed the airliner they had been looking for. Such analysis takes time.[/QUOTE]

I am reminded of a similar disappearance nearly 30 years ago. A light aircraft disappeared overland in UK. Our local military suitably qualified SATCO was called upon to examine the radar tapes to determine the probably location of the crash site.

This examination was at least full day after the accident and he was successful. LW is therefore probably quite right.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 18:52
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Originally Posted by Livesinafield
So your saying that, if a plane took off from the UK in the night then halfway out over the sea stopped communicating and transponder stopped working on SSR, then turned back toward the UK and over flew the UK for 1 hour still with no communications, that there would not be military response ?

i am afraid i cannot see that at all, and i find it really hard to believe that is the case here
The way things are done in post-9/11 UK are not necessarily the same way they are done in Malaysia.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 18:55
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The assumption that something catastrophic happened in short time is not the only possibility. Probability for all chains of events leading to accident are low. One of those has sill happened and probable there are several things that had not gone right.


There was a hint that the plane might turn back. For me it sounds that they have consulted for problems and might have told that they will turn back if they can't solve the problems soon. For that reason the radio might have been in a “wrong” channel and the crew concentrated to “secondary” issues.


Then the situation might be turned rapidly from bad to worse and they have lost the transponder and some other systems. For mixed reasons they have found themselves in a situation where there is no time to establish communication and all the effort is needed to avoid the instant catastrophe. They also knows that the others can not detect them. So the diverted the region where is usually no traffic.


They also might have concluded that the emergency landing can be needed in a with a very short warning time if situation gets even worse. So they prepared to emergency landing by flying low. Then also the primary radars lost them, including military ones.


It could explain the confusion also in the ground. Primary radars detected the plane later but what a plane? They realized the detections only later when the plane was not found. At that time the “search train” was in the wrong rails and time has been lost.


Where the plane is? No idea. Lets hope not too far in the ocean.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 18:59
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In a flight with 200+ pax, what are the odds of someone leaving their 4G mobile phones on, having forgotten to put on airplane mode?

If the craft was traversing Peninsular Malaysia at low alt, with the mobile on autoroam and the switching between the many local telcos, there should be a traceable gprs footprint.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 19:09
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Presumably the aircraft might have come within detection of the military radars of other countries - Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia? Does anyone know what their coverage is? Unless the plane headed out into oceanic airspace, it must surely have been picked up on land-based radars as it went over land?
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 19:10
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I am asking if it is possible for a satellite station to know an aircraft is "live" even though no data stream is received.

That is, does the system log on then log off, regardless of systems data?
The satellite has internal session management logging what is attached, recently attached and due to expire due to no transmission for a certain period but this info is not generally sent back to a ground station, only data destined for an earth based recipient is sent back down because bandwidth is too expensive. Session length depends on the provider. 2 hrs is the norm, upto 24 hrs with some operators.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 19:11
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Congratulations to those who said cross-border issues.

Legal limbo hampers probe into missing MAS plane
- Reuters March 11, 2014

Investigators trying to solve the disappearance without trace of a Malaysia Airlines plane face an extremely rare challenge that could hinder their efforts: they lack the powers of a formal air safety investigation.

Four days after flight MH370 went missing in mid-air with 239 people on board, no nation has stepped forward to initiate and lead an official probe, leaving a formal leadership vacuum that industry experts say appears unprecedented.

Malaysian officials are conducting their own informal investigations, in cooperation with other governments and foreign agencies, but they lack the legal powers that would come with a formal international probe under UN-sanctioned rules.

Those powers include the legal rights to take testimony from all witnesses and other parties, the right to have exclusive control over the release of information and the ability to centralise a vast amount of fragmentary evidence.

A senior official familiar with the preliminary Malaysian probe said Malaysian authorities could not yet convene a formal investigation due to a lack of evidence on where – namely, in which national jurisdiction – the Boeing 777-200ER jet crashed.

He said this was not hampering their work, that preliminary investigations had begun and that they were working with their neighbours, US officials and the jet's maker, Boeing.

The Malaysians have begun collecting information from neighbouring countries without any problems, including air-traffic control communications and radar data, he said. "There have been no issues in getting that information."

But Southeast Asian waters are rife with territorial disputes, and any decision by Malaysia to unilaterally open a formal investigation under UN rules could be seen as a subtle assertion of sovereignty if the crash site turns out to be inside another country's territory.

Without a formal investigative process being convened quickly under rules set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN agency, there is a risk that crucial early detective work could be hampered, and potential clues and records lost, air accident experts said.
Full article - http://my.news.yahoo.com/legal-limbo...142134965.html

Last edited by Chill; 12th Mar 2014 at 08:30. Reason: Shortened and added link instead.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 19:12
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Crew experience levels

Lots of talk of the FO having 2700hrs. But how many of those are on the 777? I've read reports he started on the 737, and at age 27 I'm guessing he's a fairly new convertee onto the 777. Senior training captain in the left hand seat, would support the theory this may have been a training flight?
First officer on missing jet was transitioning to 777-200s - CNN.com
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 19:29
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2 questions are nagging at me and I hope someone can answer them please. I'm pretty sure they haven't already been asked but if they have I apologise now!

1. We've seen images & diagrams of how far the plane could have gone based on the likely fuel-load but could it get to those places without being spotted on any radar?

2. Now, I feel really awful thinking this, but has/will the pilot's home sim setup be scrutinised? By all accounts he is a great guy and a good pilot so was his home sim there to increase his skills/for his pleasure or to work out how to fly MH370 to point X without being noticed...?
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 19:40
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SIMPLE QUESTION

IF you really know things, some foreign (not USA) carriers DO allow visitors to the cockpit in flight.

DOES anyone really KNOW The MALAYSIAN rules regarding cockpit visitors and smoking?

And to tell you the truth, if USA airlines allowed visitors to the cockpit, I would authorize it as captain. When I was 8 years old (prehistory) I rode in the cockpit of a convair 240 airliner (UAL) and loved it. And the guys didn't mind me being there.

SO, if someone actually KNOWS, please let us KNOW.
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 19:54
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This has just appeared in New Scientist

( Mods feel free to delete if this is a repeat)

Malaysian plane sent out engine data before vanishing - tech - 11 March 2014 - New Scientist
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 19:59
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Decompression drill for my airbus is:
Alt Selector Knob. Turn left and pull
Hdg Selector Knob. Turn left and pull

That could explain the 90 degree left turn (in hdg, hence the drift) and the descent.
Oxy mask failure gives a time of useful consciousness of 1 min or less.
I`ve had flights in parts of Europe where acars has "lost signal"
The only flaw in my theory is the transponder but lets suppose the PNF selected 7800 instead of 7700 in his haste.
Just a thought....
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Old 11th Mar 2014, 20:00
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Originally Posted by Unixman
This has just appeared in New Scientist

( Mods feel free to delete if this is a repeat)

Malaysian plane sent out engine data before vanishing - tech - 11 March 2014 - New Scientist
But it's not exactly unexpected...'before vanishing' yeah, but not just before. For all we have been told the plane was performing normally until it suddenly disappeared. These were regular, not at the time of the disappearance, weren't they?
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