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C.W. Herndon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #45 on: March 18, 2014, 08:17:06 AM »

Here is another interesting theory about what might have happened to Flight 370.
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #46 on: March 18, 2014, 02:01:45 PM »

Here is another interesting theory about what might have happened to Flight 370.

This is, after all, the same method used by the US Coast Guard when tailing a drug-running aircraft:
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #47 on: March 18, 2014, 02:15:52 PM »

And that's about the shortest route to any point in Iran that they could hope for. Amazing.

It would also explain why MH370 descended to FL295 over the Strait of Malacca: SQ68 had leveled off at FL300 (see SQ68 Track Log below).
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« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 02:28:27 PM by Tim Mellon »
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George Lam

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #48 on: March 18, 2014, 04:06:22 PM »

...The amount of planning and secrecy if something like this "shadow" theory is actually what went down.  It is one of the more interesting and clever theories, I'll give it that.  Based on what info we have at the moment, I would put it up as one of the more plausible theories.  But still, it would have had to descend over its landing destination.  Wouldn't that be picked up on radar?  Unless the observing participants ignored it.

Still waiting... geez 10 days and I am really anxious to know the details.  Yet we've waited patiently 77 years for Amelia's story to unfold.
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Dave McDaniel

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #49 on: March 18, 2014, 04:41:56 PM »

Here is another interesting theory about what might have happened to Flight 370.
I would consider Mr. Ledgerwood's theory a very valid one if I were trying to conceal my position. It's a tactic that has been in use since WWI when submarines used it to infiltrate convoys and harbors. He's (Mr. Ledgerwood) is not thinking outside the box per se. But he's headed in the right direction and that's good. I would be very surprised if the powers that be weren't doing the same giving what the implications are IF it was an inflight take-over. Notice I didn't use the term "hijack".
 But before we go there, Crew incapacitation due to a pressurization problem coupled with a incomplete flight plan entered into the Flight Management System (FMS) would explain the course reversal and loss of communication. Most airlines use "canned flight plans" and the updating of the FMS database is a maintenance function not a pilot function. However, the pilots would be responsible for ensuring that the proper routing, including Lat/Lon's for each waypoint, were entered correctly off of the appropriate Nav chart. This is normally done well before the "Before Engine Start Checklist" is run. But checklist do get interrupted sometimes and items do get missed, or items get deferred until they are completed. In the latter, a prudent flight crew would either put the checklist on hold until the item was accomplished or the entire checklist would be re-read from the start. More than once I have called for a checklist (and there are many) to be re-run because I or the First Officer weren't sure or couldn't remember if an item was accomplished. Or if the checklist was even completed! These things happen when there are distractions or after a long day or late at night. Cockpit Vigilance and redundancy are what keep these errors to a minimum. But, say the crew got interrupted for some reason and the flight plan was only entered to the last known fix and the preceding flights flight plan was still loaded in the FMS. It would go to the next way-point, wherever that might be, even if the correct destination was entered. At this point in time we can't know what was actually programed into the FMS but I would look at where the aircraft had been previous to this flight. The first thing we were taught in the military when programing the Doppler or INS navigation systems was "BS in BS out." ...Occam's Razor.

 If you disregard every thing I said above, then the alternatives to that can't be good. Either we have a fleet of 777's operating world wide with a major problem that has just now presented it self (all the more important that we find it) or it was stolen for some purpose that will no doubt come to be known probably sooner than later.                     

 So let's take Mr. Ledgerwood's train of thought a little further and ask the question "How would you steal a modern airliner in todays world"? Well, it wouldn't be easy. It would take both a flight crew with intimate knowledge of the aircraft that went beyond what is taught in the typical systems curriculum at the "school house" and a ground crew. Not to mention a destination with the right real estate and support for such a mission. I say "Mission" because it would have to be conceived as one. It would take more than just a rogue flight crew to accomplish this. Pretty obvious! Whoever planed this most likely had a military background or had access to this type of training. Sometimes The Freedom of Information Act can shoot us in the foot. Sometimes documents are declassified that shouldn't be, sometimes training material is not even considered Confidential when IMO it should be classified much higher in this day and age.
 So I'm not going to divulge any information that might aid someone with bad intensions but I will point out some things that I see as being maybe not so obvious or parallels some of the training I have received.
 First, I'm sure that Woody and possibly Ric would know what I mean by the term "reverse planning sequence" and what detailed planning that entails and the protocols that are followed. If this is in fact a covert operation by the bad guys they seemed to have followed the plan to perfection. It has all the ear-marks. Perfect timing, coordination, logistics and the means both financially and personnel wise. Follow the money. Don't expect to get any (correct) information from anyone directly involved with the mission. Compartmentalization.
 Second, Electronic Countermeasures. What! on an airliner? Yes, of sorts. ACARS. The airlines are very protective of this system. They use it for a lot of things. If a crew wants a personal conversation with the Chief Pilot just try resetting the ACARS clock to match your "out" time to your scheduled departure time because the cabin crew didn't get the door closed on time, that's a perfect way to do it. Pulling the power circuit breaker will probably get the flight crew time on the beach or worse. They are that protective of it for obvious reasons. They don't teach pilots how to disable it or tamper with it in anyway. Other than how to use the control head an navigate the various menu's it's not a subject that is discussed other than it has it's own separate transceiver, usually the #3 VHF radio in the aircraft I have flown. Only someone with specific maintenance knowledge would know how totally disable it. This is the unit responsible for the "pings" sent to the satellites so prevalent in the media. So how can it be used as a electronic countermeasure? Read on.
 Third, Flight profile. Mr. Ledgerwood's theory is a good one if you are trying to evade radar interception. Other things to consider if you are trying to avoid detection is to turn off all but passive systems on the aircraft. This would include all radios, Radar and the FMS because it uses GPS for navigation. What better way to navigate over a ocean on a dark night than flying formation with another aircraft going your way? I bet even I could do that.
 Fourth, Deception. The perpetrators know where they are, where they are going and you don't. Big sky. Big ocean. Little airplane, in perspective. They have you so confused at this point you don't even know what ocean to search in. Or more correctly, which continent. Everyone is searching in a radius of what they think is the maximum range of what the fuel load would support. Logical. Not if you are trying to extend your fuel to the max limit. Shutting down one engine will extend the range by a good percentage. All one would have to do is consult the "driftdown" charts for the aircraft weight and outside air temp and descend to the best single engine cruise altitude for that segment of the flight. Good weather, no ice and they can start it up whenever they need it. They would pay a  price in speed and the engine would most likely be run at max continuous power to hold that altitude but as fuel burned off they would have the option of either maintaining that altitude and pulling the power back or climbing higher for a better fuel burn and a higher Mach number. So now all they have to do is convince the SAR folks that they ran out of fuel about the time they thought they would. Easy enough, disable the ACARS completely via the transmitter itself at the approximate time that fuel exhaustion was expected. No more "pings" and the aircraft is considered down well short of where it actually is. If they are smart enough to get this far, they had this figured out long before their mission got underway. I really hope I'm wrong about all of this. 

 In either of these scenarios, it's a tragedy. My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of those souls lost. God's speed to the SAR teams and those in the investigative communities that are trying to find a answer.

LTM,
Dave   
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #50 on: March 18, 2014, 04:49:59 PM »

But still, it would have had to descend over its landing destination.  Wouldn't that be picked up on radar?  Unless the observing participants ignored it.


Or were expecting the arrival, with open arms....
Tim
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #51 on: March 18, 2014, 05:32:26 PM »

My guess is that it wasn't really that difficult to reprogram the FMS:

Step 1 - Before IGARI, enter the next waypoint as VAMPI;

Step 2 - on the way to VAMPI, enter the rest of the route, viz. VAMPI N571 LAGOG N877 PRA A325 KE P757 PG UL124 PEKES UL125 TBZ UR660 DASIS. That will get you to the far end of Iran. Drop out anytime before that point, if you want.

This route is probably a canned route for most airlines flying from South Asia to Europe, or could have been produced by Jepesen or Universal as the most efficient route for that day. All I did was back-plan it from the actual flight path flown by SQ68 on that night. The perpetrators might have had someone in Singapore listening to Clearance Delivery and then passing on the clearance by phone.

Entering this data on my Honeywell GNS-XLS would take no more than three minutes.
Tim
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« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 05:38:58 PM by Tim Mellon »
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Jeffrey Pearce

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #52 on: March 18, 2014, 05:44:44 PM »

What is the time of day of the last heard transmission-I don't mean voice-that is identified as coming from the missing plane? What is known or can be estimated about the time of day when the plane landed. This assumes that it did land.

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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #53 on: March 18, 2014, 07:30:41 PM »

What is the time of day of the last heard transmission-I don't mean voice-that is identified as coming from the missing plane? What is known or can be estimated about the time of day when the plane landed. This assumes that it did land.

Aircraft took off at roughly 12:30 AM (1630Z), flew for roughly 7.5 hours Westward. That would mean landing 8 AM Kuala Lumpur time  (0000Z), or if in Iran 3:30 AM. Middle of the night.
Tim
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George Lam

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #54 on: March 18, 2014, 07:43:48 PM »

I don't recall reading anywhere that the plane flew the entire 7.5 hours westward.  The only data suggesting a possible 8:11am location (Kuala Lumpur time) that has been released to the public lies somewhere on those red semi-circles within the 40 degree angle from which the satellite read the returning ping of the 777. 

That's where the Ledgerwood "shadow" theory and the released data conflict.  I'm still open to all possibilities. 
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #55 on: March 18, 2014, 07:54:16 PM »

I don't recall reading anywhere that the plane flew the entire 7.5 hours westward.  The only data suggesting a possible 8:11am location (Kuala Lumpur time) that has been released to the public lies somewhere on those red semi-circles within the 40 degree angle from which the satellite read the returning ping of the 777. 

That's where the Ledgerwood "shadow" theory and the released data conflict.  I'm still open to all possibilities.

You should note, Greg, that DASIS intersection (on the route I described) is very close to the 40o circle from the satellite. The red band ends East of there, but only due to the estimate of the fuel quantities uplifted by MH370.

Direct route between VAMPI and DASIS is 3483.2 nautical miles, approximately 7 hours at 500 knots. Add the hour getting to VAMPI, and you're at 8 hours. If MH370 broke off before DASIS you would have to adjust downwards. I would assume these folks took off with enough fuel to get to where they wanted to go.

Roughly the last two hours of that flight would have been over Iranian territory. No doubt there are quite a few secluded airfields (i.e. military) available for their landing.
Tim
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« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 08:09:04 PM by Tim Mellon »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #56 on: March 18, 2014, 08:20:32 PM »

Why Iran? How crazy would Iran have to be to use the airplane as a weapon against Israel or the U.S.?
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Tim Mellon

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #57 on: March 18, 2014, 08:48:58 PM »

Why Iran? How crazy would Iran have to be to use the airplane as a weapon against Israel or the U.S.?

Well, Ric, the U.S. is only the Great Satan.

Iran has repeatedly vowed to vaporize the State of Israel.

To answer your question: Extremely.
Tim
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John Ousterhout

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #58 on: March 18, 2014, 09:20:06 PM »

Why steal a dinky 777 when Iran already has big 747's, as well as  (Tupolev's and Airbuses?  If Iran wanted to fill an airliner with explosives and fly it into Israel, they've already got some.
Cheers,
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manjeet aujla

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Re: Malaysian Flight 370
« Reply #59 on: March 18, 2014, 09:59:01 PM »

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