Malaysia Airlines loses contact with Flight - 239 pax/crew

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Devil's Advocate

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Thanks for the updates Jis. I feel like I'm starting to get mystery fatigue from all the premature discoveries that seem to end up going nowhere. For the most part this tragedy has felt rather distant to me, almost like watching a movie or a documentary of a long passed event. Although I've visited Southeast Asia several times and traveled on the 777-200 more times than I can remember it's never been to Malaysia itself or on Malaysian Airlines. But there have been a couple moments when the story felt a bit closer to home. On my first flight after the plane went missing I remember having an odd moment when seeing hundreds of video screens all displaying the latest updates on the missing aircraft while flying. There was another time when I followed a link and found myself visiting the youtube channel of the missing captain. It wasn't any different than hundreds of other channels I've visited over the years. Here was the captain talking about random everyday topics just like any other uploaded. He wasn't ranting about anything or showing any anger or disdain. He was just living his life and making his way through the information age just like any of us. It was interesting and surreal to see him in that context, rather than the nutty flight simulating jihadist that the media had been teasing us with.
 
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jis

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Read Reply 26 (from Pihero) in this airliners.net thread to get a good description of how one goes about narrowing the area of possibilities using all 7 ping point + last known position and a few assumptions. I alluded to this in my earlier post on this subject above.

Also note that the statement made in Reply 9 summary that all 7 pings are not needed is just plain wrong, and arises due to the author's lack of understanding of the mathematics involved. BTW this thread is actually part 42, not part 41 as stated in the first post in the thread. The thread title is right and the first article is wrong.
 

jis

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Just-Thinking-51

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Time for a US Navy Aircraft Carrier group. That area is far from land and we need a mobile air base there. The carrier group includes all sort of ship with a underwater search ability. A submarine hunter should have no problems finding a pinging black box.

As for the local government refusing to search that far south. Well that like admitting it was the pilot that was at fault, better to think north.

It's the blame game.
 
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Paulus

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Time for a US Navy Aircraft Carrier group. That area is far from land and we need a mobile air base there. The carrier group includes all sort of ship with a underwater search ability. A submarine hunter should have no problems finding a pinging black box.

As for the local government refusing to search that far south. Well that like admitting it was the pilot that was at fault, better to think north.

It's the blame game.
Sadly, the S-3 is no more.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Time for a US Navy Aircraft Carrier group. That area is far from land and we need a mobile air base there. The carrier group includes all sort of ship with a underwater search ability. A submarine hunter should have no problems finding a pinging black box. As for the local government refusing to search that far south. Well that like admitting it was the pilot that was at fault, better to think north. It's the blame game.
No need to bring a shock and awe fleet to a search and rescue situation.
 
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X

X

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Now it is coming out that Inmersat had predicted within two days of the crash that it is most likely somewhere in the South Indian Ocean. See:

http://gma.yahoo.com/satellite-company-says-predicted-missing-planes-location-10-224715287--abc-news-topstories.html

The best projected path calculations diagram I have seen so far is this one:

BjJXSqzCAAAi3vt.png


I can't find a good online article to provide an URL for, but it is becoming clear that the last location being in Southern Indian Ocean as opposed to somewhere in China/Kazakstan is supported by the satellite ping sequence. It is not merely based on the assumption that any plane flying through Indian, Pakistani and Chinese airspace would have been detected. I read the analysis in an article and it is pretty convincing, and is apparently the reason that Inmarsat has been convinced since day 2 after the crash that the plane is in south Indian Ocean. That advice was apparently ignored by the Malaysian authorities back then.

Apparently it is the US NTSB and the Australians that started working based on that information on their own independent of the Malaysians, and when the Malaysians would not budge someone started strategic leaks about the satellite pings. And as we know, what followed, followed. Pretty strange if you think about it.

Of course all this does not mean that anything will be found soon. That is an entirely different kettle of fish given the high winds a strong ocean currents in that area of the Indian Ocean. Normal folks apparently try to avoid that area like the plague, if they can help it.

Here is a nice chart of the ocean currents, with the search area roughly marked in pink:

:

cJqPJP9.jpg


The currents are important since if they do find floating debris associated unequivocally with the aircraft in question then they will need the current information to compute back to the location of crash from the location of debris, so as to know where to look at the bottom of the sea 2 to 3 miles down for the rest of it.

The computations of where it could have come down to be more precise would have to take both fuel and wind direction and speed at the altitude flown. The wind direction at various altitudes are roughly known at that time, but altitude flown is not so at best the computations would be a rough estimate properly fit with the intercepts with the distance from satellite rings, based on ping times, constrained by the ground speed range of the plane. It is a fascinating curve fitting problem, if you think about it.

Also BTW it is not just current, but surface winds that would have an impact on where the floating debris lands up. So just using ocean current info for the computation is not enough, and might lead one widely astray.

Of course until they find something, anything, all the analysis of ocean currents and surface winds in the area is somewhat moot..
INMARSAT must have changed their minds, as you say, 'they were convinced it was in the South Indian Ocean.'

Chris McLaughlin, Senior VP, yesterday in an interview on Fox TV News said (about 5:45 in the video link below) they came up with a suggested arc to the north and south where authorities may want to start looking.

http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/03/21/satellite-company-inmarsat-says-its-data-could-help-find-malaysia-airliner
 

jis

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Actually what he said is not inconsistent with the further conclusions that were drawn regarding the final location. It is not clear to me whether that work was entirely done by Inmarsat or it was NTSB that did further refinement on an initial draft done by Inmarsat. If you look at the article that I gave a reference to, it says:

Inmarsat, the maker of satellites, told ABC News that they had an "initial idea" on March 9 and by March 10 were "fairly certain" that the search parties should look in the south Indian Ocean for the vanished plane.
So notwithstanding what was said at the FOX interview, ABC news had been told as mentioned above. Which leads me to the following speculation....

Unfortunately, at FOX he was not asked the next obvious question which should have been asked, about the possible flight paths that are consistent with all the pings and the arcs defined by each. That is the analysis that slightly favors the southern location apparently. He was not asked and he did not volunteer anything that he was not asked. Indeed he was very very careful in answering the questions. he avoided speculations almost completely, and he did not volunteer an iota of additional info beyond what was asked. I wish Kelly had asked the question about flight paths consistent with all pings. As you know the arcs defined are not flight paths. They just define a set of points from where the last ping could have been received.

Hope that clarifies more than it confuses.

Anyway, as it appears the focus on the southern trajectory has been growing for almost a week now, even before the Malaysians were apparently fully on board. The events as we see them dows not suggest any change of mind on part of Inmarsat at least to me.
 
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jis

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Time for a US Navy Aircraft Carrier group. That area is far from land and we need a mobile air base there. The carrier group includes all sort of ship with a underwater search ability. A submarine hunter should have no problems finding a pinging black box.
Seems like an ideal task for SSN-23 Jimmy Carter, with its MMP to launch ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles). It is the only Seawolf Class submarine equipped to do so.
 

NW cannonball

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Time for a US Navy Aircraft Carrier group. That area is far from land and we need a mobile air base there. The carrier group includes all sort of ship with a underwater search ability. A submarine hunter should have no problems finding a pinging black box.
Seems like an ideal task for SSN-23 Jimmy Carter, with its MMP to launch ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles). It is the only Seawolf Class submarine equipped to do so.
Uh-uh. Carrier strike group costs -- dunno? how many? million USD/day.

Yah, the carrier has more ASW planes and helos than already committed to the search, but without some localization, it would be looking for the same spit in the ocean as the rest of the international search effort.

Military submarines -- probably have real good ability to find sonar pings like from the black boxes - but have same problem with enormous search space -

There could be USNAVY submarines searching already -- but if there are they will never disclose where they are or any of their capabilities.

A submarine hunter should have no problems finding a pinging black box.
Look at the range of the "submarine hunter". Enough to make the flotilla relatively safe.

Then look at the size of the search area. OMG.

Needle in haystack, spit in the ocean.

Consider how long it took to recover the AirFrance crash boxes after the crash. And consider the really really strong winds and currents in the southern ocean.

If a person I've met who works on SSN-23 is on the job, I know they will do their best -- but success is not likely on this search.
 
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Anderson

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Well, and it's not like plopping a carrier group in the South Indian Ocean has any incidental benefits for national security. If it were in the Western Pacific or Arabian Sea (or the Arctic) you could make a case...but that's too far from anywhere.

I've seen some theories running from plausible to outlandish to "unlikely but sure interesting to ponder", but I get a feeling this isn't going to end in any resolution for quite a while.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Give a Aircraft Carrier Group something to do. Other than haphazard sailing around the ocean. Waste fuel, putting hours on airframes. Hunting for a ping, aircraft debris is better than going in circles in a ocean doing nothing.

The issue is now land based aircraft can only stay on station for a few hours before return home. The search arc is so far from land.
 

jis

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The issue is now land based aircraft can only stay on station for a few hours before return home. The search arc is so far from land.
Yep. It is roughly 4 hours out, four hours back, and about 2 hours at station doing the actual search. This is what the Aussies at Perth said yesterday.
BTW, it is safe to say that most of the aircraft is way deep down and not on the surface. That is why eventually, if one is to find it, very sophisticated underwater equipment able to operate at the depth of 2 to 3 miles will be needed.
 
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afigg

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Give a Aircraft Carrier Group something to do. Other than haphazard sailing around the ocean. Waste fuel, putting hours on airframes. Hunting for a ping, aircraft debris is better than going in circles in a ocean doing nothing.

The issue is now land based aircraft can only stay on station for a few hours before return home. The search arc is so far from land.
Boy, people in the US are really not paying much attention to what else is going on in the world right now beyond the missing airliner. After annexing Crimea, Russian troops are reportedly continuing to build up on the Ukrainian border and there is real concern that Russia & Putin will move into eastern Ukraine. The Syrian civil war continues and has been spilling over into Iraq. Libya is in chaos and the flow of oil from Libya has fallen off again. Pakistan is getting increasingly unstable. Russia may break away from the sanctions on Iran and enable Iran to back out of the tenative agreements with the West over its nuclear program. North Korea spent the week shooting off a bunch of missiles to get attention, but then again that SOP for North Korea.
In the current global circumstances, the US administration and military is not likely to want to tie up a major strategic asset, a carrier battle group, way off in the southern Indian ocean where it can't respond if one of the crisis areas spins out of control. I suspect that is a factor in why the US asked the Australians to take the lead on the search with their naval and air assets rather than commit a number of ships from the 7th fleet.

Meanwhile, the last I checked, CNN is still doing its wall to wall coverage on the missing airliner with almost no new data to report. At this point, I think the odds are increasing that we will not find the 777 wreckage for decades. The search area is still too big. If debris that is confirmed to be from MH 370 is not found soon, we won't know where to look within any manageable sized area. Then the wreckage could sit there until a future time where technology advances to where the wreckage might be found during detailed ocean floor mapping surveys.
 

RRUserious

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This is gonna be worse than AF447. Took roughly 2 years to find the wreckage with a much more precise record of where it crashed. This could be many more years than that. Or never.
 

Paulus

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Flight is confirmed lost in the southern Indian Ocean based on satellite tracking data. No positive ID of wreckage yet.
 

Devil's Advocate

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How can you have confirmation without positive ID?

This whole sordid story has been full of false positives that weren't worth the tissue paper they were smeared on.
 

Paulus

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How can you have confirmation without positive ID?

This whole sordid story has been full of false positives that weren't worth the tissue paper they were smeared on.
Last position was in the middle of the ocean with no possible landing strips within range.
 

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Pilot suicide?
Not consistent with other examples of pilot suicide. It will be years, however, before we know what happened and we may simply never know.
You care to list some examples of what you think this is event is consistent with? So far as I can tell pilot suicide makes about as much sense as anything at this point, despite your flippant and unsubstantiated reply to the contrary.
 

Paulus

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Pilot suicide?
Not consistent with other examples of pilot suicide. It will be years, however, before we know what happened and we may simply never know.
You care to list some examples of what you think this is event is consistent with? So far as I can tell pilot suicide makes about as much sense as anything at this point, despite your flippant and unsubstantiated reply to the contrary.
Hardly flippant or unsubstantiated. EgyptAir Flight 990, Japan Airlines Flight 350, LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470, Royal Air Maroc Flight 630, and SilkAir Flight 185 were all sudden and deliberate actions to destroy the airplane as quickly as possible. Additionally, the other members of the flight crew generally are not on board with the suicide plans (and we know for a fact that they fought it on EgyptAir 990 and Japan Airlines 350) which makes "Fly until fuel exhaustion in the middle of the ocean" rather unlikely as a means of suicide.

The A-10 suicide back in 1997 does bear rather a lot of similarities with this actually, transponder off, couldn't find for weeks, suicide crash near fuel exhaustion way off course, but that was a single seat flight. I suspect that there's probably a few other single seat suicides that took place in a similar fashion, but I'm not aware of any airliners that went down that way.
 

XHRTSP

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It only has to be consistent with the evidence available to be plausible, not necessarily consistent with precedent.
 
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