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.


Could Uighur separatists have hijacked MH 370?

March 18, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Good morning:

Keeping in mind that no wreckage has been found and we do not know who commandeered Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 or why they did it, I ask the following question:

Could Uighur separatists have hijacked the flight?

In my last post, we took a look at radar coverage along the northern corridor to determine whether it is as impenetrable as many officials and experts claim. We discovered that in some places, it’s operated during the day on an as-needed basis and turned off at night.

Why?

Because it’s too expensive to operate.

We also are discovering that the Southeast Asian nations are reluctant to admit the limitations and weaknesses of their respective radar systems. While understandable, this reluctance constitutes a barrier to solving the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370.

CNN is reporting today,

Jeffrey Beatty, a security consultant and former FBI special agent, says someone could have planned a route that avoided radar detection.

“It certainly is possible to fly through the mountains in that part of the world and not be visible on radar. Also, an experienced pilot, anyone who wanted to go in that direction, could certainly plot out all the known radar locations, and you can easily determine, where are the radar blind spots?” he said. “It’s the type of things the Americans did when they went into Pakistan to go after Osama bin Laden.”

In fairness, CNN notes in the same article,

U.S. officials have said they don’t think it’s likely the plane flew north over land as it veered off course. If it had, they’ve said, radar somewhere would have detected it. Landing the plane somewhere also seems unlikely, since that would require a large runway, refueling capability and the ability to fix the plane, the officials have said.

The northern corridor crosses the highest and most rugged terrain in the world, the Himalayas, a place where radar would not function very well.

Assuming for the sake of argument, that the last recorded ping from MH 370 originated along the northern corridor, the 777-200 ER could have reached Central Asia in the vicinity of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The latter three of those nations border the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in China, which is just to the east.

Who are the Uighur?

Russia Today reports:

The Uighur are a Turkic ethnic group living primarily in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in China, where they are officially recognized as one of the ethnic minorities. In 2009 violent riots broke out in the region’s capitol Ürümqi that mainly targeted Han (ethnic Chinese) people. Over 1,000 Uighurs were arrested and detained during the riots, over 400 individuals faced criminal charges. Nine were executed in November 2009.

On March 1st, just a little over two weeks ago, a group of assailants wielding knives killed 29 people at a train station in the south-western Chinese city of Kunming.

Daniel Politi reported in Slate on March 2, 2014:

The bizarre mass stabbing that killed at least 29 people and wounded 143 at a train station in southern China was the work of separatists from the far west of the country, according to authorities. Police fatally shot four of the estimated 10 masked assailants, bringing the total death toll to 33, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Although the identities of the attackers are still unknown, Xinhua publishes a separate story noting that “evidence at the crime scene showed that the Kunming Railway Station terrorist attack was orchestrated by Xinjiang separatist force.” The far western region of Xinjiag is where members of the Muslim Uighur community have launched a rebellion against Beijing.

/snip/

How did 10 people manage to kill and injure so many people in such a short period of time? It seems speed, big knives, and aiming for the heads all played a role, according to witnesses who talked to Reuters. “I was terrified … they attacked us like crazy swordsmen, and mostly they went for the head and the shoulders, those parts of the body to kill,” one injured 20-year-old said.

The Uighur separatists have not claimed responsibility for the attack.

China has good reason to be concerned about the Uighur separatists.

153 of the 239 people on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 were Chinese nationals. Whether the flight was hijacked to acquire the aircraft for use at a later time, in which case I would be looking for it in Xinjiang in the northern corridor, or if it were hijacked as part of a suicide mission, in which case I would be looking for it in the southern corridor, I would be focusing on the Uighur separatists as the group most likely responsible.

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Are impenetrable radar defenses in SE and Central Asia vulnerable?

March 16, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Good afternoon:

Many people are wondering today why the Malaysia Air Force did not notice Flight MH 370 flying W/B across the Malaysia Peninsula heading toward the Straits of Malacca early Saturday morning.

The answer is that the supposedly impenetrable air defense system in southeast Asia could more accurately be described as a sieve without anyone paying attention and that’s during the day. At night it isn’t even turned on.

As the Crane-Station just said,

Imagine a scene opening on a bunch of guys sitting around a table playing poker, tossing down shots and smoking cigars. You can hear bed springs complaining as two people are screwing in a back room. No one is showing any interest in a radar screen with an unidentified blip slowly crawling across it

Oh, hell no!

Walmart has better security.

Peter Apps and Frank Jack Daniel of Reuters are reporting today,

Air traffic systems rely almost entirely on on-board transponders to detect and monitor aircraft. In this case, those systems appear to have been deactivated around the time the aircraft crossed from Malaysian to Vietnamese responsibility.

At the very least, the incident looks set to spark calls to make it impossible for those on board an aircraft to turn off its transponders and disappear.

Military systems, meanwhile, are often limited in their own coverage or just ignore aircraft they believe are on regular commercial flights. In some cases, they are simply switched off except during training and when a threat is expected.

That, one senior Indian official said, might explain why the Boeing 777 was not detected by installations on India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an archipelago which its planes were searching on Friday and Saturday, or elsewhere.

“We have many radar systems operating in this area, but nothing was picked up,” Rear Admiral Sudhir Pillai, chief of staff of India’s Andamans and Nicobar Command, told Reuters. “It’s possible that the military radars were switched off as we operate on an ‘as required’ basis.”

Separately, a defence source said that India did not keep its radar facilities operational at all times because of cost. Asked what the reason was, the source said: “Too expensive.”

The person who hijacked MH 370 had figured out how to exploit radar vulnerabilities. We do not know why, but there is no question that whomever pulled off this sky jacking is a brilliant, fearless and ruthless person who knew how to fly a 777-200 ER, disable communication equipment and weave his way through radar defenses.

I do not believe that person went to all of this trouble just to commit suicide in the Indian Ocean.

I believe the only reason that the southern route to extinction is being pushed as the most likely scenario by the so-called experts is that a bunch of countries with egg on their faces do not want to admit that they were asleep at the wheel.

I fear this is not going to end well.

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Situation is desperate. Donations are lagging. We work hard to keep you informed by filling in the blanks between the lines. After 30 years in the trenches, I am familiar with all of the rules and strategies prosecutors and defense counsel utilize. Experience counts and most of my predictions have been accurate.

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Was Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 hijacked and hidden?

March 14, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

Good afternoon:

For the following reasons, I suspect some persons unknown hijacked MH 370 with the intent of flying the aircraft to a specific destination.

(1) The 14-minute Gap.

CNN reported last night:

An ABC News report added another twist to the mystery Thursday evening. Citing two unnamed U.S. officials, the network said two separate communications systems on the missing aircraft were shut down separately, 14 minutes apart.

The officials told ABC they believe the plane’s data reporting system was shut down at 1:07 a.m. Saturday, while the transponder transmitting location and altitude was shut down at 1:21 a.m.

/snip/

If the plane had disintegrated during flight or had suffered some other catastrophic failure, all signals — the pings to the satellite, the data messages and the transponder — would be expected to stop at the same time.

Now, experts are speculating that a pilot or passengers with technical expertise may have switched off the transponder in the hope of flying undetected.

/snip/

“This is beginning to come together to say that …this had to have been some sort of deliberate act,” ABC aviation analyst John Nance told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Note from the video that someone familiar with the inside of the Boeing 777-200 would have to have been involved in order to know how to turn off the data reporting system. Curiously, it was turned off before the transponder.

(2) The Emergency Locator Transmitters did not send out an emergency signal.

In the same report, CNN also said,

And there’s another confusing twist. An emergency beacon that would have sent data if the plane was about to impact the ocean apparently did not go off, the official said. The beacons, known as Emergency Locator Transmitters, activate automatically upon immersion in fresh or salt water, but must remain on the surface for a distress signal to transmit.

The failure of the beacon to activate could mean that the plane didn’t crash, that the transmitter malfunctioned, or that it’s underwater somewhere.

(3) The route the aircraft followed.

The Independent reports this morning that two unidentified sources familiar with the investigation provided fresh details on the direction in which the unidentified aircraft was heading.

The sources said it was following aviation corridors identified on maps used by pilots as N571 and P628. These are routes taken by commercial planes flying from Southeast Asia to the Middle East or Europe.

The first two sources said MH370’s last confirmed position was at 35,000 feet about 90 miles (144 km) off the east coast of Malaysia at 1.21am, heading towards Vietnam, near a navigational waypoint called “Igari”.

From there, the plot indicates the plane flew towards a waypoint known as “Gival”, south of the Thai island of Phuket, and was last plotted heading northwest towards another waypoint called “Igrex”, on route P628.

This would take it over the Andaman Islands, which carriers use to fly towards Europe.

The time was then 2.15 am – the same time given by the air force chief on Wednesday.

(4) Radar capability along the route taken by the aircraft is limited.

The Independent reports:

A fourth source familiar with the investigation told Reuters this position marks the limit of Malaysia’s military radar in that region.

ABC News is reporting:

Hishammuddin said Malaysia was asking for radar data from India and other neighboring countries to see if they could trace the plane flying northwest. There was no word Friday that any other country had such details on the plane, and they may not exist.

In Thailand, secondary radar, which requires a signal from aircraft, runs 24 hours a day, but primary surveillance radar, which requires no signal, ordinarily shuts down at night at some locations, said a Royal Thai Air Force officer who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to talk to the media on the issue.

Air Marshal Vinod Patni, a retired Indian air force officer and a defense expert, said radar facilities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands area don’t work around the clock, either.

(5) The Andaman Islands were not the final destination

CNN reports:

Denis Giles, editor of the Andaman Chronicle newspaper, says there’s just nowhere to land such a big plane in his archipelago without attracting notice.

Indian authorities own the only four airstrips in the region, he said.

“There is no chance, no such chance, that any aircraft of this size can come towards Andaman and Nicobar islands and land,” he said.

(6) No indication that the pilot hijacked the flight

CBS News reports that the pilot and copilot are “humble and safety conscious.”

Based on the story, I am not persuaded that the copilot can be ruled out as a potential hijacker.

Conclusion

The circumstantial evidence indicates that more than one person hijacked MH 370. At least one of them would have to have known how to fly the Boeing 777-200, turn off the the plane’s data reporting system at 1:07 am and the transponder at 1:21 am and take advantage of regional radar vulnerabilities.

Other individuals would have to have controlled the passengers or executed them to prevent someone from using their cell phone.

I do not believe the airplane was hijacked just to crash it because there would be no point to continue flying it for four hours.

CNN reports:

James Kallstrom, a former FBI assistant director, said it’s possible the plane could have landed, though he added that more information is needed to reach a definitive conclusion. He referred to the vast search area.
“You draw that arc and you look at countries like Pakistan, you know, and you get into your Superman novels and you see the plane landing somewhere and (people) repurposing it for some dastardly deed down the road,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday.

“I mean, that’s not beyond the realm of realism. I mean, that could happen.”

I fear the worst for the passengers.

My conclusion is just a theory, of course, and we will have to wait and see what happens.

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What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370?

March 13, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Good afternoon:

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370 departed Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 am, Saturday morning with 239 people on board (227 passengers and a crew of 12). The destination was Beijing, China where it was scheduled to arrive at 6:30 am.

It never reached Beijing and despite an impressive array of radio communication devices, radar, satellites GPS trackers, and a multi-national search and rescue operation no one knows where it is or what happened to it.

The aircraft was a Boeing 777-200 ER, which is one of the safest airplanes ever made and Malaysia Airlines has an excellent safety record.

The last communication with the plane occurred at 1:27 am when air traffic control at Subang, which is near Kuala Lumpur, lost contact with the transponder on the aircraft. The transponder continuously transmits a radio signal that identifies the flight, altitude and speed of the aircraft.

The aircraft was on its flight path over the South China Sea at 35,000 feet with no indication of any problems. Air traffic control Subang had just advised the pilot to switch to air traffic control Ho Chi Minh City. The pilot responded, “Roger that. Good night.”

The aircraft is a modern technological marvel with backup electrical and mechanical systems. For example, it has two transponders in case one fails and batteries to back-up batteries. It’s extremely unlikely that both transponders failed

CNN is reporting today,

A senior Malaysian air force official said Tuesday the flight was hundreds of miles off course and traveling in the opposite direction from its original destination. It was last tracked over over Pulau Perak, a tiny island in the Strait of Malacca at about 2:40 a.m., over an hour after air traffic controllers in Subang lost contact with the aircraft.
At the news briefing Wednesday, however, Gen. Rodzali Daud, head of the Malaysian Air Force, and other officials said it wasn’t yet clear whether the object that showed up on military radar flying over the sea northwest of the Malaysian coast early Saturday was the missing plane.

Adding to the puzzle, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the plane may have continued flying for four hours after its last reported contact. The newspaper attributed the information to two unidentified sources who were citing data automatically transmitted to the ground from the aircraft’s Rolls-Royce-manufactured engines. A senior aviation source with detailed knowledge of the matter told CNN’s Richard Quest on Thursday the Wall Street Journal account was incorrect.

Note: The CNN link has excellent maps.

CBS News reported 15 minutes ago that Malaysia has expanded the search westward into the Indian Ocean. In addition,

In the latest in a series of false leads in the hunt, search planes were sent Thursday to search an area off the southern tip of Vietnam where Chinese satellite images published on a Chinese government website reportedly showed three suspected floating objects.

They saw only ocean.

“There is nothing. We went there, there is nothing,” said acting Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

Compounding the frustration, he later said the Chinese Embassy had notified the government that the images were released by mistake and did not show any debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Flight MH 370, Where are you?

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This is our 930th post and donations are lagging. We work hard to keep you informed by filling in the blanks between the lines. After 30 years in the trenches, I am familiar with all of the rules and strategies prosecutors and defense counsel utilize. Experience counts and most of my predictions have been accurate.

Adjusting and fine tuning to dial in the white fear and racist corruption frequencies in the Florida courts took some doing, but I am on track now.

If you appreciate what we do, please make a donation.

We cannot pay our bills without your support.

Fred


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