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Author Topic: Malaysian Flight 370  (Read 389180 times)

JNev

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #75 on: March 19, 2014, 08:13:45 AM »

All the news sources citing expert and professional analysis I've read through say the return signal from the plane only lies somewhere on those red lines, not the entire circle representing the 40 degree inclination from the satellite.  I'm sure there is an uncertainty factor, maybe 5 degrees, maybe less, but there is no mention of this tolerance.

I'm curious how they narrowed down the signal to only those two red segments of the circle.
It is my understanding the line was determined by how long the signal took to travel, and they determined the distance the signal could cover in that time and calculated the circle that the distance crossed the earth. The satellite wasn't intended to locate the plane or any angle of the plane.
They eliminated the west half of the circle because it was out of range and part of the center of the east side of the circle because it was covered by radar.

Does crossing that line at the time it did still give the plane enough fuel to reach Iran?
The line on the map posted stops before it gets to Iran and they said the west half of the circle is out of range. I think the "range" is by time. In other words it couldn't get there in that time but does it still have enough fuel to reach Iran if it crosses that line at that time?

If I understand it the INMARSAT pings were hourly but we've only seen the arc for the final ping at 8:11. If there is similar data for previous pings, that data would provide valuable clues about the course of the plane. So, has it been stated that there is no previous satellite ping data for the plane, or is this data being withheld for some reason?

Good point, Steve.

If I had to guess I'd say we've seen nothing like the full data yet, and probably never will.  But I'd also bet someone is gathering it, and at least two strong candidates exist for having that capability (and motive) - US (as in "U.S.") and likely Israel, who have a knack for gaining such information.  I would also bet India knows more than is being broadcast.

Every tidbit that can be gleaned is no doubt going onto someone's 'spreadsheet' and better than even somebody already has strong notions of where this bird went to earth.  Us mere mortals probably won't know until it's either in the hunter's sack, or launched for some bad purpose (which I doubt will succeed).

Further thoughts on this thing -

IF this plane is intended for bad use, it unfortunately does not have to consummate that plan for the perpetrators to have succeeded in large fashion already: they've proven they can steal a plane and muscle it through the aviation web, albeit in an aviation backwater of course, at least compared to western standards.   They've also managed to get major attention from authorities in every nation worth considering - publicly tying up resources and raising awareness about the limitations of governments in protecting and controlling all things important. 

All that while ripping off capitalist enterprise and digging spurs into the mindset on transportation safety, not a bad day if one is a bad guy.  "It can happen to you" is possibly the intended message in some master-mind's head, no matter how this goes next.

It seems aimed at the human propensity for clining to near-superstition, although there can be practical concerns, no doubt.  Think of it - odd similarity perhaps to the Earhart loss in a peculiar way - what was the public sentiment about long-range landplane flight over water for years after the Earhart loss?  Was she really such an abberant footnote, or did she imprint a particular notion on the public's mind about core aviation capabilities?  In her time, convention held that safety was realized in the form of lumbering seaplanes plying those routes and I will suggest that were it not for the realities of WWII, landplane sea crossings might not have become so common so quickly in the next decade. 

But did the Earhart loss have anything to do with that mindset?  Not sure that's clear - WWII overrode many things.  And it's hard for me to fear Flight 370's fate - as a Delta frequent flyer seldom going further east than Tel Aviv, I don't relate that well to whatever risk may lie in flying on the carrier of an emerging nation in a relative backwater.  I just sent my son to Germany yesterday on a Delta flight, a nice 767, and with nary a perilous thought.  But had someone suggested to me in say, August of 1937, that I board a twin-engined landplane to fly over the ocean, I don't know... and were I invited to fly from Malaysia to China aboard the former country's flag carrier right now... hmmm.  I guess that's what landed this string where it is.

And I guess I'd want to know finally who had analyzed all the data that must be 'out there' to the satisfaction of those who can best guarantee improvements to the system - and my safety.  I'd bet it is being gathered and will eventually sift-down into some good intelligence that gets laid before us in some form.
- Jeff Neville

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« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 08:20:24 AM by Jeffrey Neville »
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #76 on: March 19, 2014, 08:41:17 AM »

Good point about the trip up to 40,000 ft + and the possible attempt to render the passengers
Unconscious, permanently or temporarily Jeff. That would explain why the 35+ business class satellite phones were not used to report the strange/missing flight path displayed on the in-flight tracking mode on the passengers screens. I think it was mentioned in the show that Ric appeared in regarding the handling characteristics of the plane at such an extreme altitude at that all up weight, plus or minus 10 Knots was mentioned being the difference of being in control or in a lot of trouble.

Jeff, a few points:

1. The Service Ceiling of the B777-200ER is 43,100 feet; the aircraft is fully controllable within a range of speed up to that altitude, the range depending on its gross weight.

2. If the cockpit crew turned off the transponder, I'm sure they also had the foresight to turn off the in-flight following mode on the TVs.

3. As the aircraft was over water at the time of the diversion (near IGARI intersection), I doubt there was any cell coverage at all, being over 100 NM from land. Even passing Westward over the Isthmus near the Thai boarder, the aircraft would have been in cell range for only a very short period, because the land there is very narrow. And many cell phones couldn't communicate anyway due to the altitude.

4. An excursion up to 40,000 feet would hardly affect cabin pressure at all, as the aircraft can maintain an eight inch differential compared to ambient pressure all the way up to its Service Ceiling. Maybe the pilot jockeyed the plane so as to force passengers to remain seated and belted due to induced "turbulance".
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« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 08:52:07 AM by Tim Mellon »
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #77 on: March 19, 2014, 08:49:40 AM »

If I understand it the INMARSAT pings were hourly but we've only seen the arc for the final ping at 8:11. If there is similar data for previous pings, that data would provide valuable clues about the course of the plane. So, has it been stated that there is no previous satellite ping data for the plane, or is this data being withheld for some reason?

Steve, do you think, maybe, that if those intermediate pings showed a steeper angle because the aircraft was on the same route as the Singapore Airline Flight 68, and that it implied that the aircraft was flying over India and Pakistan, that those countries would be a tad unhappy that a rogue could be passing overhead, but there was no way to detect its position in order to remove it as a threat?
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #78 on: March 19, 2014, 08:59:11 AM »

And the 227 passengers, are they temporarily or permanently incapacitated? No communication from them at all via their mobile phones.

this and the plane's navigation systems got me thinking. Your phone can be tracked via gps as long as it is on. if the pilots were using their planes navigation systems would that not also have a similar GPS link?

GPS signals are one-way, inbound to a cellphone receiver. The position of the receiver is calculated by the receiver and then retransmitted on another frequency, usually to a cell tower. If there are no cell towers, then the signal disappears into the ether.

The aircraft GPS does not re-transmit the position if the ACARS is rendered inoperative. The calculated position is used only to navigate the aircraft using the auto-pilot.
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« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 09:24:18 AM by Tim Mellon »
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #79 on: March 19, 2014, 09:21:10 AM »


IF this plane is intended for bad use, it unfortunately does not have to consummate that plan for the perpetrators to have succeeded in large fashion already: they've proven they can steal a plane and muscle it through the aviation web, albeit in an aviation backwater of course, at least compared to western standards.   They've also managed to get major attention from authorities in every nation worth considering - publicly tying up resources and raising awareness about the limitations of governments in protecting and controlling all things important. 

Jeff, this snapshot taken moments ago. Doesn't really look like an "aviation backwater" to me, even by Western standards.
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JNev

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #80 on: March 19, 2014, 10:12:50 AM »

Good point about the trip up to 40,000 ft + and the possible attempt to render the passengers
Unconscious, permanently or temporarily Jeff. That would explain why the 35+ business class satellite phones were not used to report the strange/missing flight path displayed on the in-flight tracking mode on the passengers screens. I think it was mentioned in the show that Ric appeared in regarding the handling characteristics of the plane at such an extreme altitude at that all up weight, plus or minus 10 Knots was mentioned being the difference of being in control or in a lot of trouble.

Jeff, a few points:

1. The Service Ceiling of the B777-200ER is 43,100 feet; the aircraft is fully controllable within a range of speed up to that altitude, the range depending on its gross weight.

2. If the cockpit crew turned off the transponder, I'm sure they also had the foresight to turn off the in-flight following mode on the TVs.

3. As the aircraft was over water at the time of the diversion (near IGARI intersection), I doubt there was any cell coverage at all, being over 100 NM from land. Even passing Westward over the Isthmus near the Thai boarder, the aircraft would have been in cell range for only a very short period, because the land there is very narrow. And many cell phones couldn't communicate anyway due to the altitude.

4. An excursion up to 40,000 feet would hardly affect cabin pressure at all, as the aircraft can maintain an eight inch differential compared to ambient pressure all the way up to its Service Ceiling. Maybe the pilot jockeyed the plane so as to force passengers to remain seated and belted due to induced "turbulance".

Service ceiling these days is typically more dictated by the cabin limits (assumes rotor burst / catastrophic decompression) and recovery time through emergency descent; it is the airplane's ability to reach 20K (give or take) within a time limit and an assumed rate of leakage (rapid / nearly instant in this scenario) that constrains altitude, not generally handling qualities as in the old days.  This became most pronounced recently by the 787 effort - Boeing did not get the altitude they wanted by a longshot because of emergency descent time constraints.

What we are talking about (hypothetically) is an induced event - which could be made to happen slowly, not necessarily rapidly.  While the cabin 'can' maintain altitude as you point out, we're really talking about 'making' it do 'otherwise', i.e. creeping it up to a high enough figure (high cabin altitude / low pressure) such that its 'lights out' for the oblivious passengers.

As to effects 'up to' 40K, they are adequate to do this; anything above 40K just adds assurance of 'lights out'.  It is an extreme.  For some reason I thought there was an excursion to as high as 45K on that flight but maybe I misread or misheard, there's been so much floating around it is hard to say.  Had the flight done so, I was simply conjecturing this as a reason - a way for an evil-bent pilot to ensure his cattle were sleeping in the back.

Cabin entertainment stuff fails all the time so no big deal to kick that off; it typically feeds off an ARINC bus from the avionics, so if transponder ADS-B Out stuff is disabled, so likely is the moving map in the cabin (or so the crew can make it be, easily enough, by as you point out, simply disabling the cabin stuff).

Cellular 'out of range' is a good thought, hard to say for how long though.  Maybe there were accomplices who went through the cabin like train robbers, taking cell phones up...

Don't know.  Just an interesting schmorgasboard of possibilities and some very eery pointers in the bag already.  Everything I say is conjecture, of course - I don't have hard answers.  Maybe it is even wrong to go there - it is speculation and as a hard rule we don't do that where 'accidents' are concerned, but this doesn't smell like an accident, so far...
- Jeff Neville

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JNev

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #81 on: March 19, 2014, 10:15:18 AM »

If I understand it the INMARSAT pings were hourly but we've only seen the arc for the final ping at 8:11. If there is similar data for previous pings, that data would provide valuable clues about the course of the plane. So, has it been stated that there is no previous satellite ping data for the plane, or is this data being withheld for some reason?

Steve, do you think, maybe, that if those intermediate pings showed a steeper angle because the aircraft was on the same route as the Singapore Airline Flight 68, and that it implied that the aircraft was flying over India and Pakistan, that those countries would be a tad unhappy that a rogue could be passing overhead, but there was no way to detect its position in order to remove it as a threat?

Not to answer for Steve, but I doubt they'd of noticed this real-time.  By the time alerted to possibility and perhaps found it, hours or days too late to act.

Then 'what to do' about sharing 'what they know' - all tend toward paranoia about tipping hand on capabilities (or lack of).
- Jeff Neville

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JNev

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #82 on: March 19, 2014, 10:21:40 AM »


IF this plane is intended for bad use, it unfortunately does not have to consummate that plan for the perpetrators to have succeeded in large fashion already: they've proven they can steal a plane and muscle it through the aviation web, albeit in an aviation backwater of course, at least compared to western standards.   They've also managed to get major attention from authorities in every nation worth considering - publicly tying up resources and raising awareness about the limitations of governments in protecting and controlling all things important. 

Jeff, this snapshot taken moments ago. Doesn't really look like an "aviation backwater" to me, even by Western standards.

In terms of 'traffic', I agree.  In terms of sophistication and alliance between parties to understand deviant behavior, I disagree.  That part of the world is relatively asleep at night compared to the north Atlantic corridor, Pacific rim, north America and the EU. 

So when I speak of 'aviation backwater' I mean in full context, not just 'how much traffic / how much aviation', but 'how sophisticated and able the entire aviation complex is'.  If you doubt me, just listen to the news emerging daily as a stage of clowns awkwardly releases odd tidbits of information and revises and revisits - it is taking a long time for them to get even the basic story straight.  I suggest that is because it was relatively easy to catch that part of the world with its aviation britches down, compared to some other places.

Try this stunt over the north Atlantic... you couldn't make a 172 disappear so easily.
- Jeff Neville

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manjeet aujla

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #83 on: March 19, 2014, 01:00:19 PM »

Jeff, it has been about 25 years since I was briefly doing comm, nav and surveillance (cns)systems for oceanic flights over the north atlantic at the start of my engineering career... but back then, on planes flying to Europe, there was limited or practically no CNS once you were a bit away from the boston area, until one got into range to ireland. So planes had to be spread out, as ATC was not sure exactly where they were over the north atlantic.

Now there is widespread GPS (for nav and surv), ACARS (both of which can be shut off) and Inmarsat are still there.  I am not upto what other comm they have now - definately sat I think. But I think all these can be shutoff by a hijacker, like on this ML flight (except Inmarsat). That leaves primary surv via sats only if plane is hijacked.  And I am not upto how widespread their use is by ATC ( the FAA was  v. very conservative to change). Even with that, a rogue pilot is the biggest nightmare, and practically unstoppable.
 That makes this thing so scary.

We are prolly the only ones who may have sat surveillance over the south indian ocean area ... and the malaysians still have not asked formally for our assistance. And these are the same guys who knew the same day that it had shown up on their mil radar, and let the search continue in the wrong place for the next 5-6 days. Unbelievable. That would never happen here.

The Inmarsat data is the most important and reliable, imo. With the several pings they have, including the final one at 8:11,they should be able to plot the likely course(s), with flight speed, concentric ping radii circles, fuel etc. calculations and search within likely areas. 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #84 on: March 19, 2014, 01:09:42 PM »

Out of curiosity, what would happen if the plane landed but the engines were left running so that "pings" continued?  Would that create the illusion that the plane was still in flight, leading searchers off on a wild goos chase?
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #85 on: March 19, 2014, 01:27:43 PM »

Out of curiosity, what would happen if the plane landed but the engines were left running so that "pings" continued?  Would that create the illusion that the plane was still in flight, leading searchers off on a wild goos chase?

I think the APU would be sufficient to power the necessary busses, almost indefinitely. But at what point, considering the initial fuel load, does this ruse become absurd? Especially if the angle measured by Inmarsat remains constant over time.
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #86 on: March 19, 2014, 01:39:00 PM »

I am not upto what other comm they have now - definately sat I think.

CPDLC is now widely in use over the North Atlantic and parts of Northern Europe. No doubt it will be obligatory in the not-to-distant future for all aircraft flying in RVSM airspace.

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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #87 on: March 19, 2014, 01:41:45 PM »


The Inmarsat data is the most important and reliable, imo. With the several pings they have, including the final one at 8:11,they should be able to plot the likely course(s), with flight speed, concentric ping radii circles, fuel etc. calculations and search within likely areas.

You'd think. But who's going to tell India that they muffed it?
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #88 on: March 19, 2014, 01:47:27 PM »

But at what point, considering the initial fuel load, does this ruse become absurd? Especially if the angle measured by Inmarsat remains constant over time.

You cut it off at the time of fuel exhaustion if the plane had remained in flight. If I understand it correctly, a constant angle measured by Inmarsat would not necessarily indicate that the plane was in a stationary position.
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manjeet aujla

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #89 on: March 19, 2014, 01:48:59 PM »

If they landed and let the pings continue, the arc of possible locations would be constant. In other words, there would be only one arc.

Then, one could conclude that a) they had landed somewhere on the arc, and if the pings were all constant from the first one, one could figure out where they were by how long they had flown. So not a good option for the hijackers. But b) if they had planned this to the nth degree, the hijackers could calculate the 'arc' to where they were headed, and fly along it to their destination. That way they would give the searchers the illusion that they had landed, while they had actually gone far away, along the arc. And with a simple onboard GPS, this flying along an arc would be easy to do, all else being taken care of for eg. evading radar.
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