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The Clattering Train

March 18th, 2014 - 4:00 pm

Did the MH370 keep flying with dead men aboard? That suggestion was occasioned by a report in the Telegraph:

The global hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight has shifted to a tiny island in the Maldives, where residents spotted a “low flying jumbo jet” hours after the aircraft disappeared.

Several witnesses in Dhaalu Atoll saw a plane heading south that bore the red stripe and white background of Malaysia Airlines planes.

The sightings, reported by a local news outlet, would have occurred more than seven hours after the plane, carrying 12 crew and 227 mainly Chinese passengers, lost contact with air traffic control and took its sudden westward turn during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the early hours of Saturday March 8.

“I’ve never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We’ve seen seaplanes, but I’m sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly,” said an witness.

Chris Goodfellow, writing in Wired, believes that there was an onboard fire that overcame the crew. But the plane continued on. “What I think happened is the flight crew was overcome by smoke and the plane continued on the heading, probably on George (autopilot), until it ran out of fuel or the fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. You will find it along that route — looking elsewhere is pointless.”

Goodfellow thinks it was headed for Langkawi. That is at odds with the turn to the northeast and then to the northwest. But here’s another idea. Suppose it just kept going from Igari to Vampi.

Track

Track

The bearing from Igari to Vampi is 263. The bearing from Vampi to Atisa, the waypoint near the Dhaalu Atoll, is 265. You can see how close they are in the graphic below.  It’s a straight line from Igari to Vampi to Itasi. It would take 7 hours to go from Vampi to Itasi at 200 knots.

Click for larger view

Click for larger view

There are several problems with this theory. It assumes the Maldives sighting is correct. It assumes the given radar data is wrong. It assumes the 777 had the range to go 1450 nm at 200 knots.  It may be possible that the Malaysian Air Force radar data is wrong. But what about Inmarsat? It would have had to be on the 50 degree arc instead of the 40 degree arc as assumed. Could this have been an error in measurement?

Last Ping

Last Ping

 

 


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Top Rated Comments   
Ace at AoSHQ is skeptical.

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/347968.php

"Here's why I think they're overreading this a little. First, the timeline:

1:07 am: Last ACARS transmission

1:19 am: "All right, good night" signoff

1:37 am: Scheduled ACARS transmission that never came, because ACARS had been disabled

My problem is that they are saying the turn began at 1:07am. We've seen mistakes made before with timing, based on ACARS -- the Malaysians claimed that ACARS was turned off before the signoff, when they really meant it was turned off sometime after 1:07am. "After 1:07am" quickly became at 1:07 am.

I am guessing that the ACARS transmission itself contained the flightpath changed. And that would have come in at 1:07 am, right? 12 minutes before the 1:19 am signoff.

But just because the flightpath change is programmed into ACARS doesn't necessarily mean the jet began to execute the turn yet.

Megyn Kelly was trying to get people to be firm on this point on her show, and people seemed to be saying "probably" or "maybe" as to whether they knew the plane was already turning at 1:19 am, as opposed to programmed to turn."

Ask yourself, would you want to try and program the waypoint for a diversionary airport during a real emergency or before the emergency? Simple planning would be to insert the waypoint before you might need it.


17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Simultaneous with the discussion of Goodfellow's piece here, we have been having one on my email list. It is ongoing. However, one of the more perceptive of my friends brought this up:

>>>Malaysia Airlines Flight Vanishes, Three Americans on Board - ABC News

from the link:

"A Malaysia Airlines flight with 227 passengers on board - including two adult Americans and an infant - has gone missing and a search and rescue team has been deployed to locate the aircraft, a spokeswoman has confirmed to ABC News."

When, in the history of our news broadcasting, can you remember a time when we didn't hear the names and life-stories of people ( Americans ) involved in this kind of tragedy?

When before can you remember their homes not being covered with photographers and someone asking to speak to the relatives of those involved?

Something is fishy to me about the lack of interest by the media in those three Americans on board. I have to wonder if they were spies, famous, whatever.<<<

My response after quoting the appropriate passage from Arthur Conan Doyle's "Silver Blaze":

The only thing that would keep our state controlled media from broadcasting the crying and mourning relatives wall to wall would be if they were told not to. Violating the privacy of the suffering is the meat and potatoes of American "journalism".

It is the break in the pattern that stands out. I have been buried in the technical details and totally missed the misdirection. Well played.


While I don't think any of us expected to get the unvarnished truth in any statements from the Malaysians or the US Government, this is an indication of some crude and blatant manipulation of data.

Subotai Bahadur
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(show less)
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment

The plane crash-landed in the remote vastness of Yunnan Province. Among the surviving passengers is a strange young man who designs radio-controlled model airplanes. He is currently supervising an effort undertaken with his fellow survivors to construct a flyable aircraft from the wreckage of the jetliner. They will call it the Phoenix.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (59)
All Comments   (59)
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Perhaps there was a fire and the pilot took the plane up to 45000 feet in the hopes that the thin air might oxygen-starve the fire.

I don't know if that would work or not, or whether a pilot would know if that would work or not, but it strikes me as something a pilot might plausibly pull out of the air as a Hail Mary if he were desperate and out of ideas.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gallus,
Wrt the Singapore intercept:
He would have had to be stooging around in an area outside of primary radar coverage. Do we know if there's such an airspace where he'd have made his intercept?
How close does he have to fly to register as one return? Is formation flying in a heavy tiring and can he expect to maintain the proper distance long enough before he gets sloppy? However long that is.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think the plan was to intercept SIA68 from the begining. The expected flight track would be known and the abrupt turn to the west would cross that track ahead of 68. My understanding of the ADS-B receiver is that it has a range of over 200 miles, so SIA68 would have been within range for the period of time that Ledgerwood describes. So I don't think he was stooging and waiting for someone to come along. The crossing allows a bit of cushion (design margin) for finding the target since MH370 could make the intercept turn to the northeast anywhere in say a 100 mile coridor of airspace. The fact they overflew Langkawi and tracked to published waypoints would just add to the ambiguity and confusion to any radar observer watching in real time.

As to how loose or tight the formation needs to be, I don't know. Probably have to be somewhat loose. I don't believe too many pilots could maintain the concentration levels of very tight formation (e.g. Blue Angels diamond) for very long. I would defer that to someone who has flight experience in doing that.

17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well if all this is true, it's certainly unequivocal. Sean Hannity's interview with LtGen McInerney:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWiVkShm8cw

Says that Boeing's data has the aircraft landing in western Pakistan, and that it is corroborated by other sources he'd rather not talk about. Says the U.S. has blanket sensor coverage of the area.

So does anybody know if this guy is normally on the level?
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Heres a lot of research on the guy from a left-wing site, that actually gives him a lot of credibility, in my view, based on his background and public opinions. He would be likely to be well-sourced on current non-public intel and capability on assets, IMHO.

http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/McInerney_Thomas
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Shep Smith on Fox News just reported that the Maldives lead has been debunked. (I guess time zones DO count.)

Maldives yesterday.
Roaring Forties southwest of Perth today.

What will be tomorrow's flavor of the day?
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another long shot attempt.

Australia is going to search the furthest extent of the southern ping-arc, southwest of Perth.'

Talk about a tough job, looking for floating wreckage in the Roaring Forties.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-18/australia-takes-charge-of-multinational-search/5328904

Australia will lead a new search for the wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in an area 3,000 kilometres south-west of Perth, authorities announced today.

An unprecedented search operation has failed to find any trace of the plane, which went missing 11 days ago with 239 passengers on board.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) says the search zone covers 600,000 square kilometres of ocean and has been plotted using data based on the last satellite relay signals sent by the plane.

Ships and aircraft from Australia, New Zealand and the United States will take part in the search, which represents a narrowing down of the previous Indian Ocean search area.

The same information has provided a mirror image of an area the same distance from the equator in the northern hemisphere.

The southern search includes four Orion search planes from the RAAF, one New Zealand Orion, and a Poseidon operated by the US.

AMSA's emergency response general manager John Young said the search would be difficult because of the remoteness of the search area, warning it could take weeks.

"AMSA has defined a possible search area with information available to us from a range of sources both nationally and internationally," he said.

"This search will be difficult. The sheer size of the search area poses a huge challenge - the search area is more than 600,000 square kilometres."

17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I took another look at Keith Ledgerwood's article and I think it makes the most sense of the many conjectures out there. If you forget about the waypoints, it fits the profile of an intercept with SIA68. Ledgerwood notes on 3.17.14 that you could use a low cost ADS-B receiver with an iPad to track SIA68 without having the MH370 TCAS on.

The track makes some sense that MH370 crosses SIA68's expected flight path, waits untill SIA68 is at their 6 o'clock position, and initiates the turn to the northeast. That brings them in astern of SIA68 and below. The strobes on the SIA flight would easily be visible at theat distance. MH370 accelerates and climbs into close formation where it remains until breaking off over northern India. MH370 would be back at a fuel efficient altitude without having expended too much fuel during the diversion and intercept phase. The "red arc" satellite projection puts it over the Tarim Basin where you could do a descent without worrying too much about terrain.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lt Gen McInerney said on FNC that his military contacts tell him MH370 is on the ground in Pakistan.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
--i saw that too --a gut punch if true --it would mean the state of Pakistan in some iteration is a co-conspirator, which means our army in Afghanistan is now in actual, not potential, tremendous danger.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Naw, why would our good friends, the Pakis, lie to us? It wasn't as if they had hidden terrorists, say someone like Osama Bin Laden for years or anything.....
Oh, wait.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thailand's military says its radar detected a plane that may have been Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 just minutes after the missing jetliner's communications went down, and that it didn't share the information earlier because it wasn't specifically asked for it.

Thai air force spokesman Montol Suchookorn said Tuesday the plane followed a twisting flight path to the Strait of Malacca, which is where Malaysian radar tracked Flight 370 early 8 March.

But Montol said the Thai military wasn't sure whether it detected the same plane.
http://www.firstpost.com/world/live-did-missing-malaysian-plane-fly-into-southern-indian-ocean-1424627.html
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished nearly two weeks ago was already 12 minutes into its diverted course when the plane's co-pilot calmly told air traffic controllers that things were "all right," former FAA spokesman Scott Brenner said Tuesday on "The Kelly File."

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/03/18/malaysia-airlines-search-cockpit-checked-in-12-minutes-after-course-was/
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ace at AoSHQ is skeptical.

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/347968.php

"Here's why I think they're overreading this a little. First, the timeline:

1:07 am: Last ACARS transmission

1:19 am: "All right, good night" signoff

1:37 am: Scheduled ACARS transmission that never came, because ACARS had been disabled

My problem is that they are saying the turn began at 1:07am. We've seen mistakes made before with timing, based on ACARS -- the Malaysians claimed that ACARS was turned off before the signoff, when they really meant it was turned off sometime after 1:07am. "After 1:07am" quickly became at 1:07 am.

I am guessing that the ACARS transmission itself contained the flightpath changed. And that would have come in at 1:07 am, right? 12 minutes before the 1:19 am signoff.

But just because the flightpath change is programmed into ACARS doesn't necessarily mean the jet began to execute the turn yet.

Megyn Kelly was trying to get people to be firm on this point on her show, and people seemed to be saying "probably" or "maybe" as to whether they knew the plane was already turning at 1:19 am, as opposed to programmed to turn."

Ask yourself, would you want to try and program the waypoint for a diversionary airport during a real emergency or before the emergency? Simple planning would be to insert the waypoint before you might need it.


17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment

So we're back to the pilot-hijacker theory. If that was the sequence, and if it really was the assigned flight crew that was in communication with ATC, then at least one of the pilots had to be in on it, if not both.

It wasn't an in-flight emergency, because they programmed in the flight path change and didn't give any indication of an emergency during routine ATC communications.

It's possible that the flight crew was under duress of some kind, but it seems unlikely that it was the result of an assault on the cockpit during the flight. They would have arranged an alarm if that had been the situation.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Many years ago, I was on a flight in a Singapore Airlines 747 from Singapore to Johannesburg, South Africa to visit my wife-to-be. The plane dumped my off at the Port Louis airport on the Mauritius (an island nation in the middle of the Indian Ocean) where I had to wait for my connecting flight. This airport was so third world that chickens were wandering in and out of the passenger waiting room (true story, no exaggeration).

During the many hours waiting for my connecting flight, I noticed a very odd thing: A US Navy P-3 Orion landed and parked not too far the passenger area.

What was a P-3 Orion doing in the southern Indian Ocean? As far as I knew, the Mauritius had no mutual defense arrangement with the United States.

The officials at the airport were behaving rather oddly and something definitely strange was going on.

Eventually, my connecting flight arrived and flew me to Johannesburg. At Jan Smuts airport, I was greeted by my future wife and in-laws. They were oddly relieved that I had survived the flight. Apparently the flight immediately behind mine was a South African Airlines 747 flying from Taiwan to Johannesburg also via the Mauritius. That 747 was named the "Helderberg" (South African Airways Flight 295). Like MH370, the Helderberg had dropped out of the sky for mysterious reasons.

As luck would have it, there had been one America on board the Helderberg. My in-laws knew that I was on a different flight but my flight was so close that there was concern that I had somehow transferred to the Helderberg and become that unlucky American.

The circumstances of the Helderberg are interesting and very similar to MH370, refer to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_Airways_Flight_295#History_of_the_flight

A salvage operation similar to the one that first explored the wreck of the Titanic found the wreck of the Helderberg on the ocean floor. The voice recorder black box was recovered and apparently a fire had broken out in the cargo hold of the Helderberg.

Years later, the gossip floating around Johannesburg was the Helderberg had been transporting munitions from Taiwan to South Africa. This was done in a commercial transport plane to circumvent the international arms embargo that was then in effect against South Africa.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
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