Featuring Towerflower about what happened to #MH370

March 21, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

Good morning:

It’s now 10:24 am EDT.

10:24 pm in Kuala Lumpur and Perth.

The searchers did not find anything during their daylight search and there is a possibility that the 79-foot-long object spotted by the satellite may have sunk out of sight.

Another possibility is the unidentified object may have been a shipping container that fell off a ship during a storm. I regard this possibility to be unlikely because containers are not that big.

Nevertheless, I’ve read estimates that as many as 10,000 shipping containers are lost every year. I would not be surprised to discover that a significant percentage of them were stolen and reported as lost at sea.

Yet another possibility is currents have carried the object beyond the area searched by the planes and the Norwegian container ship.

Bad weather and poor visibility have complicated the search so it’s possible that the object is still on the surface and will be found after the weather clears.

Patience, cooperation and perseverance are required.

Wouldn’t hurt to pray either.

We are fortunate to have someone in our group who is an expert regarding aviation and air traffic control (ATC). Towerflower has been an air traffic controller for many years starting in the military and later as a civilian.

Here is Towerflower’s take on what happened to MH 370.

Air Traffic Control uses two different types of radar. One is used in Terminal environments (basically located near airports) in which they control airspace from basically 18,000′ and below. They utilize both primary and secondary radar. Primary radar is just a slash (-) that shows up on radar. The STARS system that the US uses in most of their terminal facilities gives you the ability to tag a primary target–meaning we can have the computer track the slash and input the callsign, destination, an assigned altitude, and type aircraft. The computer systems will figure out the airspeed and will display that with the target, the only thing we cannot receive or know for sure is the actual altitude of the plane but if I assigned 8,000′ ft to it I can put in A080 as a reminder to me that was he assigned altitude.

Centers operate airspace typically 18,000′ and above and to operate in this airspace it requires an operational transponder, why? Because their system only follows secondary targets that they get from an operating transponder. Shut off or have a transponder go bad for whatever issue and the airplane will go into what we call “coast” It will track for a couple of sweeps and display CST (coast) and it will no longer display altitude and it will drop off the controller’s screen. Since you like 911 conspiracies, think of what the hijackers did, they shut off the transponders to make them invisible to the centers but the terminal facilities can and did still track them.

There is no radar over large expanses of open water, like the oceans. Controlling aircraft there is done by time. So much time has to pass before another aircraft is allowed to occupy the same intersection at the same altitude. Aircraft will give position reports as they pass by these intersections so that the times can always be updated and since there is no VHF radio coverage over the ocean it is done via the ACARS system and HF. A long range radar system will go out 200 miles but typical terminal facilities have shorter ranges. Radar coverage will “weaken” when you get to it’s limits, you might no longer pick them up at lower altitudes regardless whether they have a working transponder or not. There can also be “blind spots” caused by large buildings (as in height) and the terrain…..meaning mountains.

GPS in the aviation community is currently only used for navigation purposes and not radar tracking. The FAA and NASA are currently trying to develop the next satellite based system using real time tracking of planes using GPS, it is called NexGen and it is still many years from being implemented and does not exist yet, so in other words Satellites do not track airplanes for controllers.

As a controller, I can say it is quite possible for a terminal controller to ignore a primary target going across their screen if they didn’t have any planes near it for it to be a factor for their concern (calling traffic). Military units would track any unknown target, especially if ATC doesn’t call them to let them known of an aircraft with a malfunctioning transponder, coming into their airspace and that would cause many nations along the northern route to scramble their jets to investigate, there is no way China nor India would just let a jet come into their country’s airspace without sounding an alarm.

As a controller, my theory has been, that the jet suffered some sort of decompression or most likely smoke in the aircraft. Smoke from an electrical fire makes more sense since there were a series of failures to the avionics and radios. The pilot quickly programmed in a new heading to the closest airport that could handle their jet. Oxygen would not be turned on since oxygen and fire don’t mix well. With all the toxic types of materials on an airplane people would be quickly overcome by the fumes and pass out and die. I have heard that pilots have smoke hoods but that gives you only a couple of minutes. An airplane at 35,000′ getting down to the surface takes longer than a few minutes. With the pilots and everyone else overcome by fumes the airplane would continue on it’s last programmed heading and continue until it ran out of gas and went into the ocean. It is also possible for there to be a smoldering type of problem which would produce the smoke but not the increasing flames of a spreading fire.

Let us know what you think happened to #MH370.


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