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Old 03-11-2014   #1
Dayuhan
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Default Airliner missing between Malaysia and Cambodia/Vietnam, terrorism possible

Quote:
Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m. Saturday en route to Beijing. Somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam, the plane carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members lost contact with ground controllers.
http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/mystery-...#ixzz2vg6fEyRg

Still no trace of the aircraft repoprted, search in its 3rd day.

Quote:
On Monday, authorities questioned travel agents at a beach resort in Thailand about two men who boarded the plane with stolen passports.

The men had onward tickets to Europe. It's not known whether they had anything to do with the plane's disappearance. Criminals and illegal migrants regularly travel on fake or stolen documents.

Police said the travel agency was contacted by an Iranian man known only as "Mr. Ali" to book the tickets for the two men. Thailand police said it's common to use an alias when doing business there.
http://www.thespec.com/news-story/44...g-missing-jet/

Not a basis to conclude that terrorism was involved, but not a good sign either. If nothing else, knowing that people can board a flight so easily using passports reported as stolen should draw attention to the very sporadic use of the stolen document database.

Quote:
Malaysian authorities have indicated mechanical or piloting problems could be reasons for the apparent crash, the U.S. sources said.

A U.S. source said one reason Malaysian authorities are leaning away from the act of terror theory is because electronic evidence indicates the jetliner may have made a turn back towards Kuala Lumpur before it disappeared.
http://www.voanews.com/content/vietn...r/1867761.html

Obviously no conclusions can be reached; more will be known in time...
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Old 03-11-2014   #2
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An article at Forbes that doesn't add too much to the discussion, but includes the following in the comments section:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nautiflyer in the Forbes comments section


A plausible explanation…

Like many people, I’ve been following the events surrounding the loss of the Malaysian B777 with great interest.
I rarely offer any theories, conjecture, or ideas relating to aircraft accidents, mainly because there are simply too many things to consider, and often, too many unknowns. Most often I find it in very poor taste to come up with some short sighted offing before we know anything about what really happened. I very much hate to jump to conclusions.

The media the past few days has been inundated with “experts”, pundits, and just goofy conspiracy theorist coming up with all kinds of ideas all over the map. In the end, they all say they have absolutely no clue as to what could have gone wrong.
As much as I hate to speculate… I feel as a professional pilot, and Captain on the B777, I can offer a very plausible explanation based on my experience in the B777 aircraft, and in the aviation industry, to help quell unsubstantiated rumors, and just outright falsehoods being disseminated in the media.

Seems we need to have a boogeyman to fear… so the terrorism angle gets a lot of play. VERY often on our flights we get passengers with false or incorrect documents… and they are off-loaded before we leave the gate. Occasionally somebody gets by, and they are stopped at immigration at the landing airport, and are summarily sent back to where they came from. It happens.
In the Southeast Asia area, there is an enormous amount of drug trafficking, (a good portion going to China from Thailand) and the current 2 suspects seem to me to fit the bill as nothing more than “mules” running drugs and taking advantage of the 72 hour free visa option when entering China with follow on tickets to other destinations. (In this case the passengers had tickets to Amsterdam and follow-on to Copenhagen and Frankfurt). By utilizing this visa option, they are able to slip into China and “get lost”… and never utilize their “follow-on flights… it’s just a matter of getting the pay… and making their way back to Thailand (or where ever). Make sense? It happens everyday…

As for the aircraft. The B777 is a great airplane, but occasionally things go wrong! I would direct you to an event that occurred in July of 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Again, a B777-200 while boarding the final passengers, an electrical short resulted in the heating of an oxygen hose and burst into an uncontrolled fire in the cockpit. The cockpit was destroyed in a matter of minutes, though thankfully the plane being on the ground… the passengers were evacuated… and only minimal injuries where incurred.

The following link will direct you to an article on the event, with pictures and explanations…

http://avherald.com/h?article=44078aa7/0000

A sobering comment can be found at the bottom of the page as a “latest comment”.

Much has been speculated as to why no radio call was made…. with the noisy environment inside the cockpit, it’s doubtful anyone would hear an initial “pop” as they did in the Egypt Air ground incident…. so it could be assumed that there was a great possibility an intense and uncontrolled fire could have started and consumed the cockpit in a matter of seconds.

All the communication interfaces we have on the B777 are located within arms reach of us… and in an intense fire, would be completely disabled within a matter of minutes…if not seconds. (refer to the pictures in the article) Transponders (the box that sends ATC our position) would be rendered useless, thus… NO ATC could see the aircraft as it diverted or fell from altitude. ACARS (our “text message” system that we communicate to the ground with… and sends vital aircraft information to the company), would be useless and thus no messages about the aircraft system status’s would be available to transmit. And lastly, trying to make a radio call when all of a sudden the cockpit burst into flames???? Remember, it was 3 AM in the morning… probably quiet from a work standpoint… and most of the time we just fight to stay awake on these late night flights! Imagine how startled you’d be if something like this occurred? Another scenario would be that perhaps there was only one pilot in the cockpit at the time, and the other had gone to the restroom, etc.
The First Officer on the Malaysian flight was a VERY inexperienced cadet pilot….. yes, I fly with them all the time to here at XXXX, and it’s a “less than desirable” situation. But it happens all the time, and in this case, the FO only had 2700 hours…. if he was in the cockpit and something catastrophic happened… who knows the outcome?? (Just a thought)

IF… and IF… a scenario like this was to play out, it would offer a very plausible explanation as to what could have occurred, and also explain why no radio calls where made… or ACARS messages sent, or ATC radar contact, etc. It would also explain that if both pilots were subdued, or forced to evacuate the cockpit, the aircraft could have flown for any number of minutes or hours for that matter (based on the fuel available) in ANY DIFFERENT DIRECTION, until fuel starvation, or autopilot failure.

ATC in this part of the world does NOT have the capability to monitor “raw (radar) targets” with any reliability…(nor does ATC in the US for that matter) and furthermore, an aircraft, basically invisible to radar heading out into the wild blue sea would be very difficult, if ever to be found. It all depends on when the autopilot would fail.

I’m not saying this is what happened to the ill fated Malaysian aircraft, but it is a very plausible explanation, and I’m appalled that the so-called experts are scratching their collective heads and haven’t offered this as a possible explanation.
There are other possibilities…. but because of a limited history of this type problem in the past with the 777 (and other Boeing aircraft)… there is always the possibility that it could occur again… and perhaps in this case… while inflight.

The rush to jump on the terrorism band wagon I believe is ill-advised… and though it should be explored, is probably a wild goose chase based on the ever ongoing drug trade that utilizes these routes all to often…..

There are very few things in the B777 that can get you in a big heap of trouble in a hurry… the explanation and example given above is just one of very few.

I hope this adds to your insight of potential explanations…

Now… back to watching the “experts” scratch their heads….

Capt. Tom
A bit of food for thought.
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Old 03-11-2014   #3
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Capt. Tom knows what he is about.
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Old 03-11-2014   #4
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Default NYTimes Q&A.

Matthew L. Wald at the New York Times penned a Q&A related to the disappearance which went online today.

-----------------------

Q. and A. on the Disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

[…]

Q. Plane crashes most often happen on landing or takeoff, but this flight vanished almost an hour after takeoff when it was cruising. What could cause a plane to crash at that point in a flight?

A. In three crashes at sea in the last few years, the aircraft’s speed-sensing systems have malfunctioned. In two of those cases, crews failed to diagnose and cope with the problem. In the third, there was probably nothing they could have done.

[…]
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Old 03-12-2014   #5
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This morning's news (morning in my time zone)...

Report that the jet may have changed course and flew a considerable distance after the last contact, meaning search may be in the wrong place:

http://www.dw.de/malaysia-jet-search...rse/a-17488778

The two men traveling on stolen passports were both Iranian, but are not believed to have any terrorist links and appear to be illegal migrants:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26525281
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Old 03-12-2014   #6
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Default Mysterious?

I find the reporting from Malaysian authorities slightly odd or is it just me?

The civil authorities refer to the radar tracking to the east of Malaysia; which is where an international search commences.

Then the military authorities refer to the possibility the flight reversed course and flew to the west - possibly crashing into the rather busy Malacca Straits.

So why didn't the civil and military radar operators not talk to each other at the time? Starting with: 1) where is the flight, 2) have you spotted it?

A new timeline, with maps and more:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...rash-live.html
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Old 03-12-2014   #7
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A great deal seems odd in what we read about the incident, but it's hard to say whether that's due to gaps in procedure or gaps in reporting.

Whether or not the people traveling on stolen passports had anything to do with the disappearance, the incident is drawing attention to a thriving cottage industry in forged documents:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...me-gangs-world
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Old 03-12-2014   #8
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This is just an idle thought but if the plane went down in tropical forest, they would have a very, very difficult time finding it, especially if they don't have a clue where to look. And apparently they don't. The forest just swallows things up. But then the Emergency Locator Transmitter should be putting out signal. Which it isn't. This has the makings of a Twilight Zone episode.
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Old 03-12-2014   #9
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My understanding is that ELTs are not as reliable as one would expect.

The Malaysian story doesn't seem particularly consistent right now. Perhaps having an unknown radar contact flying through your airspace and doing nothing about it is something of an embarrassment that the Malaysians don't really want to talk about.
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Old 03-13-2014   #10
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This is one of the first things I've seen that actually offers a credible reason for the vanishing airliner... no, it doesn't involve aliens or trans-dimensional portals, which makes it a little less exciting than some of what's been floating around.

Quote:
"Aviation investigators and national security officials believe the plane flew for a total of five hours based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from the Boeing Co 777's engines as part of a routine maintenance and monitoring programme"
Quote:
"As part of its maintenance agreements, Malaysia Airlines transmits its engine data live to Rolls-Royce for analysis. The system compiles data from inside the 777's two Trent 800 engines and transmits snapshots of performance, as well as the altitude and speed of the jet."
Quote:
"A total flight time of five hours after departing Kuala Lumpur means the Boeing 777 could have continued for an additional distance of about 2,200 nautical miles, reaching points as far as the Indian Ocean, the border of Pakistan or even the Arabian Sea, based on the jet's cruising speed."
http://my.news.yahoo.com/lost-mh370-...052653561.html
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Old 03-13-2014   #11
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http://www.themalaymailonline.com/ma...-on-four-hours
Quote:
KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — A Malaysia Airlines spokesman today contested reports that Rolls Royce received bursts of engine information from missing flight MH370, insisting that the data link was severed the same moment the plane dropped off civilian radar.
For nearly every new piece of information so far, there is a retraction or obfuscation within hours. Right now, the facts appear to be as follows:

MH370 departed from KL at 0041 local time. Last ACARS tranmission was said to be at 0107, last radio contact was at 0121. An unknown contact was tracked until 0240. Two people on board were travelling on false passports, which apparently is not unheard of. ACARS data suggesting that the aircraft flew for several more hours are currently unsubstantiated.
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Old 03-13-2014   #12
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Could it be that the Bhumiputra administration of Malaysia is in worse shape than anyone had thought? Maybe a combination of British colonial law and order (and sahib-like appearances) and Chinese money had kept the reality of incompetence and confusion well hidden?
Just a thought.
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Old 03-13-2014   #13
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Biggus & Dayuhan:

You guys are on top of this. Have there been any reports about what kind of cargo/freight the aircraft was carrying? Another idle thought on my part.
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Old 03-13-2014   #14
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Default Is this the search area?

Quote:
At this point, it is safe to say that we know exactly one thing with any certainty as to the whereabouts of Flight 370. It is almost definitely, quite probably, without much doubt, located somewhere within this one little greenish circle..


From:http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_te...grows_map.html
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Old 03-13-2014   #15
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Default The Malaysian factor

Quote:
Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
Could it be that the Bhumiputra administration of Malaysia is in worse shape than anyone had thought? Maybe a combination of British colonial law and order (and sahib-like appearances) and Chinese money had kept the reality of incompetence and confusion well hidden?
Just a thought.
Omarali50,

A better, contemporary explanation why:
Quote:
Why Malaysia Will Say Almost Nothing About the Missing Plane
See:http://www.businessweek.com/articles...missing-flight
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Old 03-14-2014   #16
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WSJ has now issued a correction to the previous link... same link as above, but at the bottom of the page:

Quote:
U.S. investigators suspect Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 flew for hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, based on an analysis of signals sent through the plane's satellite-communication link designed to automatically transmit the status of onboard systems, according to people familiar with the matter. An earlier version of this article and an accompanying graphic incorrectly said investigators based their suspicions on signals from monitoring systems embedded in the plane's Rolls-Royce PLC engines and described that process.
There's also this:

Quote:
In a CNN appearance on Thursday, the former National Transportation Safety Board vice-chairman Bob Frances called the WSJ story “remarkable”. In an interview with the Washington Post, he said:

“Andy Pasztor is a very reputable journalist who knows his stuff in aviation as much as anyone. For him to create this article out of whole cloth for me stretches credulity … So you don’t know where to go. I would go with what Andy said because I have great faith in him and he doesn’t have any political ax to grind, as do the Malaysians.”
http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...0-media-claims

From the same link:

Quote:
the signal came not from the engines but from a “satellite-communication link designed to automatically transmit the status of some onboard systems”. The paper is standing by the substance of its story, though, and Reuters and CNN are also quoting unnamed sources as saying that “pings” continued after 1.07am, with Reuters explaining:

The ‘pings’ equated to an indication that the aircraft’s maintenance troubleshooting systems were ready to communicate with satellites if needed, but no links were opened because Malaysia Airlines and others had not subscribed to the full troubleshooting service
and this, which is interestimng:

Quote:
Two U.S. officials tell ABC News the U.S. believes that the shutdown of two communication systems happened separately on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. One source said this indicates the plane did not come out of the sky because of a catastrophic failure.

The data reporting system, they believe, was shut down 1:07 a.m. The transponder -- which transmits location and altitude -- shut down at 1:21 a.m.

This indicates it may well have been a deliberate act, ABC News aviation consultant John Nance said.
http://abcnews.go.com/International/...ry?id=22894802

That would seem to indicate either coercion or pilot complicity, but at this point there's nowhere near enough information out to support anything but speculation.

The combination of the satellite pings and the time gap between the system shutdowns suggest there's more going on than was originally told, and that the Malaysian government is either not so well informed or has been holding back information. It's interesting that this stuff is coming from the US side. It does certainly suggest that the potential search area is, as David points out, a whole lot larger than initially thought.

I have heard nothing at all about cargo.

There has been some speculation that nations in the area are hesitant to reveal military radar data as it might mean revealing information about their capacities (or lack thereof) that they would rather keep private.

I wonder if there's some reason why the transponders can be manually shut off, rather than operating automatically any time the plane is airborne. I suspect that this may change, as it seems an invitation to problems.
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Last edited by Dayuhan; 03-14-2014 at 01:43 AM.
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Old 03-14-2014   #17
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Default Visual display of data done right.

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Old 03-14-2014   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan;
I wonder if there's some reason why the transponders can be manually shut off, rather than operating automatically any time the plane is airborne. I suspect that this may change, as it seems an invitation to problems.
You have to be able to stop the transmission if the system is sending out incorrect information. And if it starts to burn you have to be able to shut off power.
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Old 03-14-2014   #19
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Since the aircraft was flying at night, is it possible that a malfunction could lead the pilots to losing their direction? I'm not familiar with the technical aspects of flying and aerial navigating. Is it also possible that a series of technical malfunctions or human error led to the sequential loss of navigation, transponder, and communication system(s) before the total loss of the aircraft (perhaps running out of fuel)? Does the 20-something minutes between the shut down of the data reporting system and the transponder preclude, say, the loss of cabin pressure and the aircraft operating on auto-pilot? And if the flight was deliberately taken off course, what destinations are in the Indian Ocean? Did they get lost? I'm also not familiar with the history of hi-jackings in this part of the world.
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Old 03-14-2014   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carl View Post
You have to be able to stop the transmission if the system is sending out incorrect information. And if it starts to burn you have to be able to shut off power.
Apparently we also need a way to track a plane even if the transponders are shut down, willingly or under coercion, by the pilot. Seems like with the technology available today that ought to be possible, but WTFDIK?
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