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Andrew Godden

Malaysia Airlines 777-200ER Missing In Flight

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Any air crash is a horrible thing to hear about, I feel for all the everyone involved. I hope they find something to give some sort of closure to all those families.   

 

Well said Brett.  Hear hear...as we say in the UK.

 

I find it hard to believe that the aircraft disintegrated in mid flight, generally if this happens there is a lot of debris, some of which will undoubtedly float.  None has been found. For no debris to be found the aircraft would have had to been intact when it hit the sea, and to have not hit it hard enough to break up. That suggests a ditching to me.  However a controlled ditching would have given enough time for the crew to make a distress call, so that doesn't add up.

 

Even if they were looking in the wrong area and the plane had crashed, something surely would have been washed up somewhere or someone would have seen or heard something and had time to come forward by now.

 

Its a strange one.

 

The BBC said tonight that the plane may have turned back before it disappeared, If this did happen, why did it happen without a radio call to say why? Again the mystery deepens. As for a hijack, that is not an easy thing to pull off these days.  Travelling on a stolen passport is one thing, getting a weapon aboard is a much harder thing to do these days, although it may account for the lack of radio contact with the plane.

 

The only thing I can think of is some sort of sudden and catastrophic electrical failure that rendered the aircraft's radios unusable. That seems very unlikely and still doesn't account for the lack of any evidence of the aircraft.  It's a mystery alright.

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There's a fairly recent report of a debris field, with a Vietnamese military search vessel enroute there. It was first reported by an airliner that described it as a large debris field. Two commercial ships have been diverted there - one reports nothing, the other reports finding something - kind of indefinite. It's almost daylight there and the military search unit is pretty close. We may know something soon.

 

This position is well NE of the loss of signal location.

 

John

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To further partially add to the possible nefarious theories, Malaysian authorities have confirmed five passengers checked-in but then failed to board the flight.  This is not uncommon, but less likely on an international.flight.  They say, IAW standard procedure, Malaysia Airlines removed the checked baggage when the passengers failed to board.

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Pax with checked bags who miss boarding are usually those who arrived at the airport, checked their bags curbside or at the ticket counters but then were detained before reaching the gate. Sometimes it's a matter of being delayed in the security screening or maybe getting distracted and losing track of time in a bar, restaurant or shop on the way to the gate. Strange as it seems, I understand it happens fairly often.

 

Pursuant to the stolen passports, it's reported that "Mr. Ali", the Iranian who purchased the tickets (in Thailand) did not specify a flight, an airline or any specific routing for his clients, just wanted cheap tickets to Europe. That, in my opinion, slightly lessens the possibility that they were involved. Usually in a hijacking or a bombing, the perpetrator(s) have some passing interest in the airline, route or schedule. Those two were obviously up to no good but it may not have had anything to do with the loss of the aircraft - or maybe it did.

 

John

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There's a fairly recent report of a debris field, with a Vietnamese military search vessel enroute there. It was first reported by an airliner that described it as a large debris field. Two commercial ships have been diverted there - one reports nothing, the other reports finding something - kind of indefinite. It's almost daylight there and the military search unit is pretty close. We may know something soon.

This position is well NE of the loss of signal location.

John

Sadly that reported debris field couldn't be located by the dispatched border control vessel according to AVHerald.com

 

http://www.avherald.com/h?article=4710c69b&opt=0

 

To bad, because judging by the image provided on that site it did look interesting...

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There's a fairly recent report of a debris field, with a Vietnamese military search vessel enroute there. It was first reported by an airliner that described it as a large debris field. Two commercial ships have been diverted there - one reports nothing, the other reports finding something - kind of indefinite. It's almost daylight there and the military search unit is pretty close. We may know something soon.

This position is well NE of the loss of signal location.

John

Sadly that reported debris field couldn't be located by the dispatched border control vessel according to AVHerald.com

 

http://www.avherald.com/h?article=4710c69b&opt=0

 

To bad, because judging by the image provided on that site it did look interesting...

 

 

Micke,

 

The second image from the report, single white rectangular object with a hole in the centre, is from a couple of days ago.  It was confirmed then as not being from a 777-200ER.  The grouping of the photos suggests they are all from the alleged debris field siting.

 

I guess even the AVHerald can be guilty of some misleading reporting.  Still the mystery continues.

 

Cheers

Andrew

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being an ex pro I dont like to get involved in any discussions without anything concrete to go on, however I am leaning towards some kind of catastrophic breakup. When I had my own a/c the engineer that used to do the odd bit of work on it for me was the head "skin" man at BA  at thiefrow , he in the past had shown me the results of some not too heavy landings by 767 and 777 , and the way the fuselage bent and remained rippled was quite alarming. this was a reasonably frequent occurence especially with the 777 and his job on these occasions was to rivet a huge doubler on to the top of the fuselage so that the crew could fly it out to Seattle, on some occasions even flying there unpressurised !!!  Pressurisation on these large planes is obligatory especially when loaded to add stiffness. It is not beyond the realms of possibilty that this plane may have had a repair at some time and that may have failed or it may have failed naturally through some kind of fatigue, whatever , for the crew not to get out a mayday it must have been instantaneous. Hopefully they didnt have a lot of time to dwell on things.

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Now the Malaysian authorities are saying that primary radar (military) tracks have it turning west and overflying the Malay peninsula and reaching the Straight of Malacca, all at a lower altitude. There is also a report from a Chinese source quoting USAF forces in Utapao Thailand saying they heard a Mayday transmission from the flight that the "cabin was disintegrating" and they needed to make a forced landing.

 

It's obvious that the authorities in Malaysia have been picking and choosing what they release publicly but the guys at Pprune have been wondering for days why there has been a parallel search effort in the Straights of Malacca when the last reported position was in the Gulf of Thailand and headed in almost the exact opposite direction. It seems the tiny sniff of "may have turned back" has now developed into a primary radar track from the military radar that leads them to believe the AC did in fact turn west and flew at a lower altitude for at least another hour.

 

In defense of the Malaysians, it may have been necessary to get the radar tapes and have them reviewed by expert analysts. It's been pointed out that the A Team may not have been on duty in the middle of the night on a Friday evening or may not have been especially alert. They may not have realized immediately that anything significant had been captured. Nonetheless, they've been looking in the Straight of Malacca for at least two days, so someone had a sniff at least that far back.

 

Continuing to speculate - the lower altitude might indicate a descent due to loss of cabin pressure. The most puzzling thing is the loss of all forms of communication. Transponder and ACARS are more or less automatic and nothing was received from them. Discounting the USAF Utapao story (only one source, foreign, suspect) there was no voice contact either.

 

Still a pretty strange sequence of events - still no sign of wreckage.

 

John

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There's a fairly recent report of a debris field, with a Vietnamese military search vessel enroute there. It was first reported by an airliner that described it as a large debris field. Two commercial ships have been diverted there - one reports nothing, the other reports finding something - kind of indefinite. It's almost daylight there and the military search unit is pretty close. We may know something soon.

This position is well NE of the loss of signal location.

John

Sadly that reported debris field couldn't be located by the dispatched border control vessel according to AVHerald.com

 

http://www.avherald.com/h?article=4710c69b&opt=0

 

To bad, because judging by the image provided on that site it did look interesting...

 

 

Micke,

 

The second image from the report, single white rectangular object with a hole in the centre, is from a couple of days ago.  It was confirmed then as not being from a 777-200ER.  The grouping of the photos suggests they are all from the alleged debris field siting.

 

I guess even the AVHerald can be guilty of some misleading reporting.  Still the mystery continues.

 

Cheers

Andrew

 

I guess AVherald reports things as they appear, and the text above it does say it's unrelated to the flight...

 

Besides it was the first image I found interesting. That big bit in the top does have a Tail fin/wing tip look to it...

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....and the way the fuselage bent and remained rippled was quite alarming. this was a reasonably frequent occurence especially with the 777 and his job on these occasions was to rivet a huge doubler on to the top of the fuselage so that the crew could fly it out to Seattle, on some occasions even flying there unpressurised !!! 

 

Wasn't there an event with a Japanese or possibly Korean 747 way back where the whole tail fell off in flight due to a dodgy repair after a tail-strike? Once the pressure inside the cabin started raising the repair simply failed, and the plane disintegrated in mid-air...

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Yes, it was a JAL 747. The botched repair was to the aft pressure bulkhead, which failed a fairly long time after the repair, at altitude. The vented cabin air destroyed the rudder and they flew around with marginal control for about an hour before hitting a mountain. If I recall correctly, there was one survivor, a young girl.

 

The Malaysian AC has had a repair to a wing tip, damaged/torn off in a ground collision some time ago. That repair would have been nowhere near the pressure-retaining part of the AC. It's just hard to understand how some kind of structural failure could also take out all comms, including the automatic ones. The electrical system of the triple-7 has redundancies stacked on redundancies and it's difficult to come up with a scenario that takes out all of that and still has the thing flying.

 

The AC has moderate total time and only about 7-8,000 pressurization cycles.

 

John

 

EDIT: I just looked up the JAL crash - JAL 123, August 1985. There were four survivors, not one.

 

JDA

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Just to stray into the speculation on dodgy repairs.

 

When I worked for Qantas, we purchased three ex Malaysia Airlines 747s in the early 2000s.  Two of the three where subsequently found to have some very suspect repairs, including grinding in the area of bulkheads where it was an absolute DO NOT GRIND HERE location.

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I'm thinking that there sure is a lot of 'debris' floating around our oceans. :huh:

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Wow, I firured there was some garbage in the oceans but I didn't know in was that crazy. What a bunch of pigs we all are, I don't mean us guys though. :D

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You always know where there is a landfill site as you invariably see a bunch of seagulls flying above it.  Now i understand where they go when they head out to sea!

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Believe me I've seen some very strange things floating around in the sea, probably the oddest being a complete dead camel several hundred miles from the nearest land! It was in a bit of a state having been nibbled by fish and sea birds but it was off the coast of Oman. On another occasion whilst surfing in Cornwall I got hit in the face by an object which turned out to be a complete packet of fish fingers! However the most remarkable sight was off the coast of Africa near Lagos when we came upon a debris field of basicly human rubbish. It was like a floating landfill site and was about the size of 2 football fields, everything was there including a couple of bodies! It was the washout from the River Niger and the detritus had just all moved together in this vast pile of pollution. 

By Maritime Law ships are not supposed to dump their rubbish within the territorial waters of any soveriegn state, however many completely ignore this ruling and this adds to the problem. 

In areas such as the Mallacca straits and the other pinchpoints in the area, water flow is pretty fierce as there are a lot of strong currents there. Any debris from the aircraft could now be anywhere.

 

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Regards JAL123, there was apparently nearly 100 survivors just after the crash, but due to the Japanese authorities not allowing a USAF 'copter to help that night, only 4 survived the night

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There you go - "face" again. It's VERY important in that part of the world and someone in authority in Japan probably figured it would be a loss of face if they gave the impression they couldn't handle it by themselves without help from the round-eyes.

 

John

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The latest is that all Triple 7s have the capability to automatically transmit maintenance data, engine data and all kinds of things but the airline must “subscribe” to the service that receives and handles all that – kind of like cell phone service. You have to be subscribed and paying a bill in order for the system that receives and processes the messages to work. The key point is that the system aboard the AC, if powered, will try to establish contact every half hour. It will not receive an acknowledgement and therefore will not transmit anything else, but it transmits every half hour if powered.

 

In this case, the airline is not subscribed but the system aboard the airplane tries every half hour to establish communications, automatically. It's called a RTS (Ready To Send) signal and it essentially says “I'm so and so and I'm ready to send a message – is anyone listening?”, though of course it's not really in readable text like that - just machine talk. That's a pretty common scheme for all kinds of communications protocols. If it gets a correct acknowledgment (a CTS or Clear To Send signal), it sends the data. If not it resets the timer, goes back to sleep for another half-hour and tries again later. This happens any time the AC systems are powered up.

 

The services that receive these things did not take note of this particular airplane because, MA not being “subscribed”, the potential receivers were not programmed to listen for or respond to this particular airline's aircraft.

 

However, it seems that some US spy satellite(s) that routinely listen in on Angela Merkel's cell phone conversations, Putin's iPod, Julian Assange's wireless connection, Andrew Snowden's text messages, Kim Jong Un's X-Box activities, call-in orders to all the stores in the Dominoe's pizza chain and all kinds of other things, captured the RTS signals from this particular airplane at half hour intervals, indicating that it was alive and transmitting for about 4-1/2 hours after the loss of communications with ATC.

 

There's some conflicting information out there whether they got (or could work out) any position information, but at very least they seem to be saying that the AC was alive and flying for quite a while after it quit talking to ATC.

 

The US has sent a destroyer (USS Kidd) and a brand new P-8 patrol plane over to search out into the Andaman Sea and even into the Indian Ocean, WAY west of where they have been looking.

 

The P-8 is the new 737-based replacement for the old P-3 Orion turboprop marine reconnaissance planes. I believe the first P-8s just went operational late in 2013.

 

John

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This just gets strangerand stranger. The aircraft was powered by Rolls Royce engines. All RR engines send data on their status from wherever they are in the world bsck to RR in the UK. This data kept comming for 5 hours after the aircraft dropped off rhe radar. To do this they had to be running.

so why go under the radar and keep flying for 5 hours, with no distress call? And not from either of the flight crew !

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...so why go under the radar and keep flying for 5 hours, with no distress call? And not from either of the flight crew...

 

Lets try these scenarios...

 

Suicidal pilot: Kills or incapacitates his partner, turns off transponder and as much other RF related gear as he can and turns toward deep water, not wishing to have the AC easily found, revealing his crime and resultant loss of face, which is extremely important in Asian cultures. Additionally, covering his guilt may be to assure his life insurance beneficiary(s), whoever they may be, are paid.

 

Terrorism Hijack - WMD intent, ala 9/11: Persons unknown with some knowledge of commecial aviation and of the 777 take over the aircraft. With or without the assistance of the pilots, they try to mask the AC's further course from ATC and turn toward some place they hope to attack using the hijacked AC as a weapon. At some time and place unknown, control is lost and the AC crashes without further communication, ala Flight 93 in Pennsylvania on 9/11.

 

Terrorism Hijack - Further use intent: Persons unknown with some knowledge of commecial aviation and of the 777 take over the aircraft. With or without the assistance of the pilots, they try to mask the AC's further course from ATC and turn toward some place they believe they can land and hide the aircraft for use in a future terror attack somewhere.

 

Terrorism Hijack - Vanishing intent: Persons unknown with some knowledge of commecial aviation and of the 777 take over the aircraft. With or without the assistance of the pilots, they try to mask the AC's further course from ATC and turn toward some place where the AC can be crashed and never found. The confusion over hijack/technical failure/government foul-up/accidental military action/conspiracy will have the AC manufacturer(s), airlines, regulatory bodies and governments thrashing for years to explain and assure no repeat in the future.

 

Commercial Hijack - Valuable cargo: Something of very high value is in the cargo, e.g. banknotes, bullion, etc. Persons unknown with some knowledge of commecial aviation and of the 777 take over the aircraft. With or without the assistance of the pilots, they try to mask the AC's further course from ATC and turn toward some place where the AC can be landed or ditched in a secret location where recovery can be easily accomplished.

 

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

 

The more I find out about the details of this, the more I am lead to believe that this was no accident, i.e. that the AC was hijacked either by a rogue crew member or hijacker(s) amongst the pax.

 

There is so much pointing toward deliberate operation of the aircraft after loss of communications that any accident scenario to explain it becomes implausibly convoluted. Occam's Razor is increasingly suggesting deliberate action to commandeer the aircraft and divert it to somewhere unknown to the authorities.

 

I don't believe the US sent the USS Kidd and one or more P-8s to the Indian Ocean on a whim. I believe the US government knows a lot more than they are talking about publicly, probably through satellite data.

 

John

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The latest from the Associated Press;

 

AP Top News at 12:22 a.m. EDT

Malaysian: Investigators conclude flight hijacked
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - 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. No motive has been established and no demands have been made known, and it is not yet clear where the plane was taken, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media. The official said that hijacking was no longer a theory.


Missing jet: Piracy would require special skills
To steal Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 out of midair would require a pilot who knew how to elude detection by both civilian and military radar. It would take a runway at least a mile long to land the wide-body jet, possibly in the dark, and a hangar big enough to hide it. All without being seen. Improbable but not impossible, experts say.

 

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