Airline industry — Flight MH370

Written by  //  December 15, 2014  //  Aviation & Aerospace  //  No comments

15 December
Malaysia Airlines logoMH370: First images of what search vessels have found of lost Malaysia Airlines flight Nothing!
THE search for MH370 is in a part of the world that has never been explored in detail before.
Because of the lack of information about the southern Indian Ocean seabed, search co-ordinators have spent months mapping the floor using bathymetry survey vessels.
To date the vessels have mapped an area of 200,000 square kilometres, which is nearly equivalent to the size of Victoria.
A multibeam sonar is used to gather detailed high resolution data that is then used to guide the underwater search for debris from the Boeing 777.
Today the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released a computer animated “flythrough” showing a visualisation of some of the sea floor terrain in the search area.
29 May
MISSING MALAYSIAN PLANE NOT WHERE ‘PINGS’ WERE HEARD (Reuters)
• The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the agency in charge of the search for Malaysian Airlines’ missing flight MH370 jetliner, announced on May 29th “the search in the vicinity of the acoustic detections can be considered complete” & that in its professional opinion “the 850 sq. km. area can be discounted as the final resting place of MH370.” Nevertheless, the Bureau’s Deputy Chief Martin Dolan said he remains “confident” its final resting place is in the Indian Ocean, as did Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister cum Transport Minister who told Parliament “We are still very confident that the resting place of the aircraft is in the Southern (Indian) Ocean, and along the seventh ping line” (identified by the UK company Inmarsat Plc). When this prompted Michael Dean, the US Navy’s Deputy Director of Ocean Engineering, to tell CNN authorities now almost universally believe the pings didn’t come from the plane’s onboard data recorders, he was immediately shot down by a US Navy spokesman saying “Mr. Dean’s comments today were speculative & premature.”
Our friend Nick of Nick’s Gleanings comments: It is hard not to believe that the US Navy, & possibly others, know more than it/they have let on.
25 April
Gareth Evans: MH370’s Beacon of Hope
(Project Syndicate) But, whatever the past frustrations, and possibly even bigger disappointments yet to come, the bigger and much more significant story of the search for MH370 is what has gone right. Simply put, it has been a magnificent demonstration of how response to human tragedy can unite rather than divide, reinforcing the impulse to cooperate rather than confront.
And it has testified to the good sense of those who have been arguing for years, in a variety of Asian and wider global contexts, that maritime search, rescue, and disaster relief is an ideal place to start in creating confidence building mechanisms aimed at laying the foundations for conflict prevention and resolution.
The search has involved unprecedented international cooperation, first in the South China Sea and then in the Indian Ocean, from a total of 26 countries.
15 April
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 update: Search area too deep for Bluefin-21 submarine
Day one of the deep-sea search, using the autonomous underwater vehicle Bluefin-21, was cut abruptly short
(Salon) The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 hit another hurdle on Monday. The unexpected depth of the search area caused the autonomous underwater vehicle to turn back after only six hours of scanning the ocean floor.
Previously, searchers had been using a “pinger” detector towed by the Australian ship Ocean Shield to pick up potential signals from the plane’s black box. The black box has two recorders, each equipped with a beacon that activates upon contact with water and gives off a “ping” at 37.5 kilohertz. Four “pings” consistent with a black box recorder were detected a week ago.
Yet after a week of silence from what officials were “confident” was the black box, investigators worried that the beacons’ battery-life of 30 days had run out. Thus with the information they had from the previous four pings, the deep-ocean search for wreckage from the missing plane commenced.
8 April
The depth of the problem
Excellent graphic that vividly illustrates the scale of the challenge of finding the black box.
15,000 feet – just shy of three miles down. This is around the depth that the signal was detected, and the maximum known depth of the ocean floor below the Ocean Shield
More Signals Consistent With A Plane’s Black Box Detected
PERTH, Australia (AP) — A ship searching for the missing Malaysian jet has detected two more underwater signals, raising hopes the wreckage of the plane will soon be found, the Australian official in charge of the search said Wednesday.
Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search for the missing plane in the southern Indian Ocean, said that the Australian navy’s Ocean Shield picked up the two signals in a sweep on Tuesday, and that analysis of two sounds detected in the same area last week showed they were consistent with a plane’s black boxes.
“I’m now optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft, in the not too distant future — but we haven’t found it yet, because this is a very challenging business,” Houston said at a news conference in Perth, the hub for the search operation.
6 April
Australia says new ‘pings’ best lead yet in Malaysia jet search
(Reuters) – An Australian ship searching for a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner has picked up signals consistent with the beacons from aircraft black box recorders, in what search officials said on Monday was the most promising lead yet in the month-long hunt.
The U.S. Navy “towed pinger locator” connected to the Australian ship Ocean Shield picked up the signals in an area some 1,680 km (1,040 miles) northwest of Perth, which analysis of sporadic satellite data has determined as the most likely place Boeing 777 went down.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: signals ‘important lead’
More electronic pulses picked up not far from previous signal
(AP via CBC) Three separate but fleeting sounds from deep in the Indian Ocean offered new hope Sunday in the hunt for the missing Malaysian airliner, as officials rushed to determine whether they were signals from the plane’s black boxes before their beacons fall silent.
5 April
Searchers seek confirmation of ‘pings’ heard in Malaysia plane hunt
(Reuters) – International search planes and ships are heading to an area where a Chinese ship twice heard what could be signals from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’s black box locators, Australian search authorities said on Sunday.
Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the head of the Australian agency coordinating the operation, told a media conference in Perth that two reported acoustic detections from the Haixun 01 were a good lead but there remained no certainty that they had come from the missing plane.
29 March
Make way for the conspiracy theories writ large
Disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370: The Trillion Dollar Question to the U.S. and Its Intelligence Services
Malaysian media should pose critical questions to the US and its Intelligence Services and not to the Malaysian Government
28 March
Geopolitical games handicap Malaysia jet hunt
(Reuters) – The search for flight MH370, the Malaysian jetliner that vanished over the South China Sea on March 8, has involved more than two dozen countries and 60 aircraft and ships but been bedeviled by regional rivalries.
… China has showcased its growing military clout and reach, while some involved in the operation say other countries have dragged their feet on disclosing details that might give away sensitive defense data. That has highlighted growing tensions in a region where the rise of China is fuelling an arms race, and where several countries including China, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are engaged in territorial disputes, with the control of shipping lanes, fishing and potential hydrocarbon reserves at stake.
As mystery deepened over the fate of the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers and crew, most of them Chinese, it became clear that highly classified military technology might hold the key.
A reluctance to share sensitive data appeared to harden as the search area widened.
With the United States playing a relatively muted role in the sort of exercise that until recently it would have dominated, experts and officials say there was no real central coordination until the search for the plane was confined to the southern Indian Ocean, when Australia largely took charge.
27 March
Air Crew Spots Objects in New Flight 370 Search Zone
(WSJ) Authorities calculate that they have nine days or fewer left to find the flight’s so-called black box flight recorders before the battery in its underwater locator beacon is expected to expire. After that point, they say, finding the recorders will become immensely more difficult and could mark a turning point in the search effort. (AP via HuffPost) New Malaysia Plane Search Area Turns Up Objects
24 March
Malaysia says missing plane crashed in Indian Ocean
(Reuters) Analysis of satellite information from British company Inmarsat had shown that the Boeing 777’s last position was in the Indian Ocean west of Perth, Australia, Najib said in a statement.
Earlier on Monday, Xinhua news agency said a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft spotted two “relatively big” floating objects and several smaller white ones dispersed over several kilometers.
In a further sign the search was bearing fruit, the U.S. Navy was flying in its high-tech black box detector to the area.
The so-called black boxes – the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder – record what happens on board planes in flight. At crash sites, finding the black boxes soon is crucial because the locator beacons they carry fade out after 30 days.
23 March
French satellite image also shows possible plane debris
(Reuters) – French satellite images show “floating debris” in the southern Indian Ocean, Paris said on Sunday, which together with Chinese and Australian images of suspicious objects in the same wide area have focused the search for a missing Malaysian jetliner in remote seas off Australia.
The new lead came as the international search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 entered its third week, with still no confirmed trace of the Boeing 777
And another fantastic conspiracy theory hits the ether The disappearance of four members of a patent semiconductor traveling on Malaysia Airlines MH370 makes the famous billionaire Jacob Rothschild at the sole owner of the important patent
21 March
Australia says suspected plane debris may have sunk
(Reuters) – The international team hunting Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the remote southern Indian Ocean failed to turn up anything on Friday, and Australia’s deputy prime minister said the suspected debris may have sunk. … But the search was continuing and Australian, New Zealand and U.S. aircraft would be joined by Chinese and Japanese planes over the weekend.
20 March
Australian government map of the area being searched for wreckage from flight MH370Possible Debris Near Australia Is ‘Best Lead’ Yet In Search For Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
(CBSNewYork/AP) – In what officials called the “best lead” of the nearly two-week-old aviation mystery, a satellite detected two objects floating about 1,000 miles off the coast of Australia and halfway to the desolate islands of the Antarctic.
Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, told parliament on Thursday that the “new and credible information” had emerged from expert analysis of satellite imagery. His announcement came 12 days after Beijing-bound MH370 went missing on 8 March … Abbott cautioned against drawing premature conclusions. “We must keep in mind the task of locating these objects will be extremely difficult and it may turn out that they are not related to the search for flight MH370.
Why death from hypoxia is the most likely scenario for MH370
(Globe & Mail) The last phase of flight MH370, when the jet with 239 people on board apparently flew for some seven-plus hours until it ran out of fuel, is consistent with the possibility the aircraft flew on autopilot with everyone on board dead or incapacitated.
19 March
CNN has been much mocked for its non-stop and often nonsensical coverage of the disappearance of Flight 370. Here is their latest entry:
CNN’s Don Lemon: ‘Is It Preposterous’ to Think a Black Hole Caused Flight 370 to Go Missing?
CNN’s Don Lemon has been entertaining all sorts of theories about the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, including the chance something “supernatural” happened, but on Wednesday night, he actually asked panelists about the possibility a black hole was involved.Lemon brought this up along with other “conspiracy theories” people have been floating on Twitter, including people noting the eerie parallels to Lost and The Twilight Zone, and wondered, “is it preposterous” to consider a black hole as a possibility? Mary Schiavo, a former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation, said, “A small black hole would suck in our entire universe, so we know it’s not that.”
18 March
Malaysia-Airlines-Boeing-777-200_PlanespottersNet_292841 A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet
(Wired) Take a look at this airport on Google Earth. The pilot did all the right things. He was confronted by some major event onboard that made him make an immediate turn to the closest, safest airport.
Get on Google Earth and type in Pulau Langkawi and then look at it in relation to the radar track heading. Two plus two equals four. For me, that is the simple explanation why it turned and headed in that direction. Smart pilot. He just didn’t have the time. Not everyone agree with this analysis See Jeff Wise on Slate A “Startlingly Simple Theory” About the Missing Airliner is Sweeping the Internet. It’s Wrong.
17 March
This is the most incredible conspiracy theory so far.
Analyst: Stealth Technology Seizure Behind MH370 Disappearance Mile-high heist?
(VR) — Malaysian Airlines flight 370 was deliberately targeted for hijacking, according to Captain Field McConnell, a retired Delta Airlines pilot and a retired United States Air Force F4 and F16 fighter pilot.
Capt. McConnell cites industrial espionage for a cutting edge military technology as the reason behind the airliner’s disappearance. “There were 20 Chinese software engineers in the aircraft, riding as passengers, and they were working for Freescale Technology in Austin, Texas, and they had the intellectual property of an open patent. In other word[s], a patent had been applied for, but yet — not yet granted. And the ownership of that patent was 20%, 20%, 20%, 20% and 20% for the U.S. Corporation named Freescale. And until that patent is granted, there is no ownership,” McConnell said.
“The technology they were working on was a way to make stealthy a non-stealth aircraft. In other words, they could take an aircraft that does not have a stealth capability” and make it stealth, McConnell said.
Stealth technologies such as this are found in the B-2 Bomber and the F 1-17, which is no longer deployed, according to McConnell. But the technology is breakthrough in that “going one step further, rather than building an aircraft from the ground up, they can take, for instance a B-52, which was built in 1962 and with electronic technology developed by Freescale, they can increase the stealth or actually they had be reducing the radar signature and they would be increasing the stealthniness of an otherwise very un-stealthy aircraft like a lumbering B-52,” McConnell said.
This group of 20 engineers, McConnell thinks, would be able to set up the technology. The retired Air Force captain said “but also keep in mind, we are not talking about rogue terrorists like Osama bin Laden, we are talking about rogue nations. And I will just give you four nations that are probably wrestling over these technologies for military advantage: Those being China, Russia, the United States and a British corporation called Serco,” McConnell said.
Why Didn’t the Missing Airliner’s Passengers Phone for Help?
16 March
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Satellite ‘handshake’ may point to plane
(CBC) Finding a missing Malaysia Airlines plane may hinge on whether searchers can narrow down where they need to look using satellite data that is inexact and has never been used for that purpose before, search and rescue experts say
New details on missing plane emerge shifting investigation’s direction
(PBS Newshour) There’s a lot of questions that have come out about the Malaysians – why they haven’t been sharing more information sooner. Why it took it more than a week for them to come out and make the declaration that they did the other day about the transponders and about how they thought that this was foul play. And sort of as the American look at this they think ‘well, we have a lot of expertise in this and we could really help.’ But the Malaysians don’t want to look like they can’t do it on their own and they don’t want us to come in and do it for them. So the U.S. kind of stands on the outside, like many of us, and looks in and sort of theorizes what happened. But they don’t seem to know much more than any of us do.
malaysia-airlines-flight-mh370-crash-mapUpdate: 25 countries involved in search
(CBC) Given the expanse of land and water that might need to be searched, the wreckage of the plane might take months — or longer — to find, or might never be located. Establishing what happened with any degree of certainty will likely need key information, including cockpit voice recordings, from the plane’s flight data recorders. The search area now includes 11 countries the plane might have flown over, [and] the number of countries involved in the operation had increased from 14 to 25.
15 March
Jeff Wise: Missing Airliner May Have Reached Central Asia. Could the Passengers Still Be Alive?
(Slate) Early this morning BBC reporter Jonah Fisher tweeted, “Being briefed by Malaysia officials they believe most likely location for MH370 is on land somewhere near Chinese/Kyrgyz border.” … The motives and intentions of whoever took MH370 remain as murky as ever, but possibilities include a hostage scenario, the repurposing of the aircraft as an enormous flying bomb, or some combination of these and other outcomes. Why I Think It’s Very Possible That the Missing Airliner Is in Central Asia
Malaysian PM says lost airliner was diverted deliberately
(Reuters) A week after the disappearance of flight MH370, Najib said its last transmission of satellite data came nearly seven hours after it disappeared from radar screens.
But the new satellite data gave no precise location, and the plane’s altered course could have taken it anywhere from central Asia to the southern Indian Ocean, he said.
Minutes after the Malaysian leader outlined investigators’ latest findings, police began searching the house of the aircraft’s 53-year-old captain for any evidence that he could have been involved in foul play.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 hijacked, official says
No motive established or demands made
(AP via CBC) Investigators have concluded that one or more people with significant flying experience hijacked the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, switched off communication devices and steered it off-course, a Malaysian government official involved in the investigation said Saturday.
14 March
(AP via CBC) Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 search marked by ‘confusion’ — Search for missing Boeing 777 widened to an area near the Andaman Sea
The $100,000 Device That Could Have Solved Missing Plane Mystery
Only once the wreckage is found, and the black box flight recorders are recovered, will we know what happened to Flight MH370. But there’s no good reason why this information has to be locked into boxes that go down with the plane. Indeed, the technology needed to stream crucial flight data to the ground is already on the market. It’s made by a Canadian company called FLYHT, and can be fitted to an airliner for less than $100,000. [CBC Malaysian Airlines: Is it time to improve the black box on airplanes?]
Jeff Wise: If the Missing Plane Isn’t in the Indian Ocean, Where Could It Be Now?
(Slate) Where might he have gone? The possibilities are vast. … As I reported earlier, though the 777 is a very large plane and usually lands at large, well-developed airports, it is actually capable of landing in much more primitive conditions, including a runway of hard dirt, a highway, or even (under the right conditions, and in the hands of a very skilled pilot) a paved strip of barely 3,000 feet in length. … If the plane were able to refuel and take off again—not likely, but not impossible, either—it could literally be anywhere in the world right now. How the Malaysia Airlines Plane Could Have Landed in the Stone Age
How the theory of the stolen jetliner got less crazy by the day
(Globe & Mail) The moment when the crazy theory started to tingle was when Malaysian officials divulged that military radar (not the civilian version that normally tracks commercial flights) had picked up an unidentified plane on a trajectory that would suggest MH370 had turned around and flown back west across the Malaysian peninsula before disappearing over the Strait of Malacca. … Odd details kept coming in. Family said they could still make the passengers’ phones ring. The engines had continued to transmit data for hours after vanishing.
One of the best summaries to date: Jeff Wise: How to Disappear a Jetliner — What has happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is unlike anything we’ve known before.
(Slate) As the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 stretches on with still virtually no reliable clues to work with, what began as a bizarre incident is beginning to look even stranger still. Commercial airliners have gone missing before, but only until their wreckage was found. MH370 seems literally to have vanished into thin air. But how could that happen? And what does it mean for a plane to disappear, anyway?
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 radar evidence suggests ‘sabotage’
(Thomson Reuters via CBC) ‘We are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards,’ senior Malaysian police official says
Why Malaysia Airlines 370 Remains So Profoundly Mysterious, and Why a Better Black Box Wouldn’t Help
(The Atlantic) The absence of data about this flight is itself a significant data point.
U.S. Investigators Suspect Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane Flew On for Hours
(WSJ) U.S. investigators suspect that Flight 370 stayed in the air for up to four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, according to two people familiar with the details, raising the possibility that the plane could have flown on for hundreds of additional miles under conditions that remain murky.
Throughout the roughly four hours after the jet dropped from civilian radar screens, these people said, the link operated in a kind of standby mode and sought to establish contact with a satellite or satellites. These transmissions did not include data, they said, but the periodic contacts indicate to investigators that the plane was still intact and believed to be flying. Investigators are trying to determine, among other things, whether the plane may have landed in an unknown location at some point during the period under scrutiny, these people said.
As authorities scramble to analyze and understand all of the transmissions from the missing 777, the situation continues to change rapidly.
13 March
Total Absence of Information About Malaysia Flight Not Hindering Twenty-Four-Hour Coverage, Cable Networks Say (The New Yorker)
Roger Cohen takes on the incessant, mindless, cable news coverage: Story of the Century
The hunt for MH370: which theories are plausible, and which don’t add up?
In the absence of hard facts, speculation about what really happened on Flight 370 has been rampant. But do any of these explanations hold up? [The Guardian takes] a look at the competing theories (20 March)
Rothschild Inherits a Semiconductor Patent For Freescale Semiconductors one of the wilder conspiracy theories
Using social media to scour the ‘haystack’
More than 3 million people join search for Flight 370 from home.
(PBS Newshour) The overflow of information generated during a crisis like the Malaysian airliner gone missing can be just as paralyzing as the absence of information for those officials charged with searching. A crowdsourced search for Flight 370 harnesses the energy and time of the more than 3 million people who have volunteered to scour satellite imagery. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports.
12 March
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: What we know and don’t know
(CNN) As the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet entered a fifth day Wednesday, investigators remained uncertain about its whereabouts.
Here’s a summary of what we know and what we don’t know about Flight 370, which was carrying 239 people when it disappeared from radar screens over Southeast Asia.
What we know: The Boeing 777-200ER took off from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, at 12:41 a.m. Saturday (12:41 p.m. Friday ET). It was scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. the same day, after a roughly 2,700-mile (4,350-kilometer) journey. But around 1:30 a.m., air traffic controllers in Subang, outside Kuala Lumpur, lost contact with the plane over the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam.
What we don’t know: What happened next. The pilots did not indicate any problem to the tower, and no distress signal was issued. Malaysian military officials cite radar data as suggesting the plane might have changed course. But the pilots didn’t tell air traffic control that they were doing so.

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