#MH370: “We are very close to where we need to be” Updated below

April 7, 2014
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

We are very close to where we need to be

Monday, April 7, 2014

Good morning:

Angus Houston, the head of the joint agency coordinating the search in the southern Indian Ocean said today, “We are very close to where we need to be.”

CBS is reporting encouraging news this morning regarding signals picked up by the Ocean Shield:

The Australian navy’s Ocean Shield, which is carrying high-tech sound detectors from the U.S. Navy, picked up two separate signals within a remote patch of the Indian Ocean far off the west Australian coast that search crews have been crisscrossing for weeks. The first signal lasted two hours and 20 minutes before it was lost. The ship then turned around and picked up a signal again – this time recording two distinct “pinger returns” that lasted 13 minutes, Houston said.

“Significantly, this would be consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder,” Houston said.

He said the position of the noise needs to be further refined, and then an underwater autonomous vehicle can be sent in to investigate.

The ocean is approximately 14,800 feet deep in the area where the two distinct pinger sounds were detected. That is within the range that the remotely operated sub can function.

While urging caution, Houston said,

“We’ve got a visual indication on a screen, and we’ve also got an audible signal. And the audible signal sounds to me just like an emergency locator beacon,” he said.

“We are encouraged that we are very close to where we need to be.”

This location is 600 kilometers northeast of the location where the Haixun 01 detected signals on Friday and Saturday.

Because the two locations are so far apart, there is little likelihood that the sounds detected came from the same source. Many people believe the Ocean Shield is more likely to have detected the black boxes than the Haixun 01 because it’s towing a sensitive pinger locater that is attached to a cable that can reach a depth of 20,000 feet, whereas, the Haixun 01 is using a surface sound detector that was designed for divers to locate items of interest at depths up to 600 feet. It was not designed for the purpose that it is being used and may not be providing accurate and reliable information, according to the manufacturer.

The next step will be an attempt to verify that the signals came from the two black boxes. That will involve multiple efforts to drag the pinger locater through the area of interest in order to identify a specific location on the ocean bottom to search.

Then send the sub to take a look.

UPDATE: The LA Times is reporting:

Cmdr. William Marks of U.S. 7th Fleet, who is aboard the Ocean Shield, said the towed pinger locator was only about 985 feet deep when it began detecting the pings at one-second intervals. “We were not overly optimistic,” he told CNN by satellite phone from the ship.

But after lowering the towed pinger locator to nearly 4,600 feet, the crew was able to get hold of the signal for more than two hours.

Marks noted that if the signal was coming from a black box, the signal should get stronger and then fade as the locator passed over the site. “That’s what happened,” Marks said, describing searchers as “cautiously optimistic.”
Crews then did a course change and passed back over the area, lowering the towed pinger locator to about 9,850 feet, which Marks called the “optimal depth.” Crews were able to pick up a signal for about 15 minutes, he said.

According to Houston, the area where the signals were detected has a depth of about 14,800 feet — the maximum depth the underwater vehicle can operate in. He cautioned that “in very deep oceanic water, nothing happens fast” and that it could take “some days” to establish whether this is connected with Flight 370.

Photo by Aero Icarus released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.
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Fred


#MH370 Update: More underwater pings detected during Sunday search

April 6, 2014
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

Have the searchers located the black boxes?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Good morning:

I have two new facts to report about the search for MH370.

(1) Angus Houston, the chief coordinator for the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Centre has confirmed that another vessel detected pings underwater during the Sunday search. Astro Awani reports:

PERTH: Another pulse signal was detected in the southern Indian Ocean today by Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Ocean Shield while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370.

Earlier a Chinese ship, Haixun 01, detected two short pulse signals also known as acoustic signal 36 hours ago on Friday and in the afternoon on Saturday.

[The two locations where the Chinese ship detected the pings are 1.2 miles apart]

Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) chief coordinator, Angus Houston said up till now there was no verification whether to discount or to confirm the finding as the investigation was ongoing.

“HMS Echo is on its way to the Haixun 01 ship area while Ocean Shield is investigating the signal using underwater equipment,” he told a press conference here today.

He said the location between Haixun 01 and Ocean Shield is about 300 nautical miles.

Houston described the Ocean Shield as the best ship for the task as it was equipped with towed pinger and remotely operated underwater vehicle.

He, however, cautioned the verification of the signals could take several days and pointed out that search could be painstaking as the depth of the ocean in the area was about 4.5 km as well as other challenges.

(2) Malaysian officials are claiming that the flight skirted the limits of radar detection before turning south into the Indian Ocean. Astro Awani reports:

KUALA LUMPUR: The missing MH370 is believed to have flown around the Indonesia airspace on its way to the southern Indian Ocean, a senior Malaysian government official told CNN, Sunday.

The plane is believed to have skirted the Indonesian airspace to avoid radar detection, CNN reported.

This conclusion was drawn after looking at radar data from neighbouring countries, the official was quoted.

You are up to date.

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Fred


#MH370: Chinese ship detects possible signal from black box

April 5, 2014
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

Have the searchers located the black boxes?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Good morning:

I have an exciting development to report.

Al Arabiya News is reporting:

As the search for missing Malaysian Flight MH370’s black box carries on, China’s official news agency said Saturday a Chinese ship, part of the multinational search effort looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, has detected a “pulse signal” in southern Indian Ocean waters.

A black box detector deployed by the vessel, Haixun 01, picked up a signal at 37.5Hz per second Saturday at around 25 degrees south latitude and 101 degrees east longitude, the Associated Press reported the agency as saying.

However, the ship’s team could not establish whether that the signal was related to the missing jet.

This is the black box frequency and the location is 956 nautical miles (1,100 miles) northwest of Perth (heading 129.16). The depth of the ocean is 15,509 feet.

We will have to wait and see if this can be verified.

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Fred


#MH370: Search moves underwater

April 3, 2014
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

The search for MH370 is moving underwater

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Good morning:

The search for #MH370 is moving underwater 26 days after the Boeing 777-200 disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and a crew of 12. Searchers are running out of time as batteries on the black boxes approach their 30 day expiration and vast amounts of sea trash and inclement weather continue to prevent identification of debris from the crash.

The Wall Street Journal reports,

This week, the search was joined by a U.K. military submarine equipped to detect signals from the flight-data and cockpit-voice recorders, whose beacons could run out of power as soon as this weekend. The HMS Tireless bolsters the capabilities of the multinational team, which has been relying on a combination of satellite images, radar data and crews scanning through aircraft windows to search an area the size of Italy for floating debris.

The nuclear-powered submarine, built for the Royal Navy as a Cold War attack vehicle, has equipment on board that may help it to pinpoint signals from Flight 370’s recorders. It could also be used to search for aircraft wreckage along the largely undisturbed seabed, a spokeswoman for the U.K.’s defense ministry said.

The HMS Tireless will be joined by Ocean Shield, an Australian navy ship that will be towing a U.S. Navy black-box locator. The device is called a Towed Pinger Locator (TPL). It’s a passive listening device that can detect signals up to 2 miles away while operating down to a maximum depth of 20,000 feet.

Eight aircraft and nine ships are participating in the Thursday search. No discoveries have been reported.

Meanwhile, the FBI has completed its investigation of the pilot’s flight-simulator hard drive and concluded that it found nothing suspicious.

You are up to date.

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Thank you,

Fred


#MH370: Important update on sign off and search effort

April 1, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Good afternoon:

The disappearance of MH370 a little over three weeks ago, the investigation to find out what happened to it and the effort to recover the two black boxes have failed to locate any wreckage from the Boeing 777-200.

Boeing reported late last week that a reevaluation of the ping data led them to identify a new area to search in the south Indian Ocean that is northeast of the original search area and much closer to western Australia. Because the flight to and from the new search area takes less time, aircraft can now spend up to five hours searching the new area compared to only two hours in the original area.

China and Thailand also announced last week that their satellites detected the presence of many objects floating on the surface. Unfortunately, the ocean is rather like a vast garbage dump, so the presence of objects in the water is not surprising. Its presence complicates the search for MH370 because every object retrieved from the sea must be examined in a manner that reliably determines whether it came from MH370 or from some other source. In other words, the searchers need a forensic laboratory.

Moreover, they need it on-site. The mountain must come to Mohammad because the nearest laboratory is several days distant in Perth. I say “several days” because the number and varying size, weight and condition of the objects necessitates the use of a ship to transport them to Perth.

The Australians have decided to create the on-site lab on their ship, Success, where they have a helipad and a large crane. The Washington Post describes the situation,

Malaysia technically must secure the wreckage and make it available for the investigation. But Australia is handling that responsibility on Malaysia’s behalf. As a result, any ship that collects suspected plane wreckage must hand it over to Australian authorities, said Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transporation Safety Board.

“Any wreckage that is obtained, we will hold on behalf of the Malaysian investigation team and await their instructions,” Dolan said. “We’re in continual discussions with the Malaysians about the progress of the search and we will continue to discuss with them the handling of wreckage as and when it comes to hand.”

Australian authorities have not divulged details about how identification of objects retrieved by ships is being conducted to determine whether they are from the plane or are sea trash.

But an Australian government official said ships in the search area have the capability of transmitting photos of recovered debris to experts on the Australian mainland who can make detailed examinations. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak with the media.

The Australian supply ship HMAS Success is searching but is also designated as the ship that will store potential plane wreckage at sea. It has a heavy crane. How transfers of potential plane debris will happen from one ship to another and transferred to the navy base near Perth will be decided on a case by case basis, Walker said.

“They’re not going to sail into Perth every time they pick something up,” he said. That voyage takes days.

MH370 is transforming our world in potentially beneficial ways.

The most obvious benefit is cooperation between nations on a peer-to-peer basis to organize, share resources and use technologies, previously reserved for military use against each other, to find the aircraft.

The second effect that we are beginning to see is a mega increase in awareness that we humans have transformed our oceans into garbage dumps. “Out of sight, out of mind,” is a description of our failure to acknowledge and take responsibility for the garbage we generate and the duty to dispose of it beneficially.

Visit any garbage dump or landfill anywhere in the world and you will discover that corporations are not the only polluters.

Before publishing this post, I checked for the latest update on the search for MH370 and discovered that Malaysian officials announced today that the copilot did not say, “All right. Good night.”

The sign-off to the command to switch to ATC Ho Chi Minh City for the next leg of the flight to Beijing was the final radio communication with the flight.

As readers may recall, Towerflower and I disagreed about the potential significance of that sign-off because it’s not pilot-speak. With my tinfoil hat firmly in place, I said I thought it may have been a coded signal that a hijacking may have been underway, but he could not say that because the hijacker may have been holding a knife to his throat. Towerflower disagreed. She said pilots will occasionally lapse into normal-speak during late night flights when fewer aircraft are aloft. She is an air traffic controller, which I am not.

Mr Ken Stewart, who started commenting here recently, is a captain who pilots triple-7s. He said he always signs off in pilot-speak, which requires an identification of the flight and a word-by-word repetition of the command. This procedure was designed to assure that the message was received.

The sign-off occurred at 1:19 am. Two minutes later, the transponder stopped broadcasting and the aircraft turned back toward the Malay Peninsula.

The Telegraph is reporting,

Meanwhile, Geoffrey Thomas, an Australia aviation expert and the editor of Airlineratings.com has criticised the Malaysian government’s admission that the final words spoken from on board the aircraft were different to those they originally reported. He said it was “extraordinary” that it took so long for a correction to be issued.
“This just gives the families of those, the families of the victims, more evidence that things have been hidden from them if you like,” he added. “The sign off from the Malaysian pilots is still not correct because they should have said, ‘Malaysian 370 contact Ho Chi Minh centre on 1 2 0 decimal 9, goodnight.'”

Thomas is correct. A transcript of the radio communications between ATC and Malaysian 370 establishes that

01:19:24 ATC: Malaysian 370 contact Ho Chi Minh 120 decimal 9. Good night.

01:19:29 MS370: Good night Malaysian 370.

Although I knew about the plastic garbage dump in the Pacific Ocean and the oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico, I did not realize the extent of the problem until recently. Sea trash is severely hampering the search for MH370 and may ultimately make it impossible to find floating wreckage from the flight until a fishing boat snags it by accident or it starts turning up on a beach somewhere. Depending on how long it takes to find wreckage from MH370, retracing its path to find out where MH370 entered the water may not be possible.

Our oceans have become a vast garbage dump and we absolutely must change that.

You are now up to date.

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Open Thread 3/26/2014

March 26, 2014

posted by Crane-Station

Good evening! Fred and I are sharing a computer currently. We believe we have worked out a truce, as well as a schedule, so that we can both post without killing each other. I will be posting again on Friday. In the upcoming weeks, I am hoping to post some historical essays from the 1930s and 1940s, as my parents are kind enough to share them. I will also address other topics.

Here are some things we have been discussing, at this site:

1. Today I did see one article from Byron Williams at Huffington Post, titled, There Is No Comparison Between Zimmerman and Alexander. I found it unusual that after a couple of hours, there were no comments. That may have changed by now, but I am wondering if this is an indication that internet traffic overall is lower than it has been, or if people are kind of avoiding the topic of Zimmerman, at this point.

There is no comparison between Alexander and Zimmerman for many reasons. State prosecutor Angela Corey has demonstrated competence in little more than getting a conviction in the Dunn case, but not exactly a conviction for killing, but rather for Dunn’s firing at but not killing, three of four teenagers. Corey will re-try Marissa Alexander, and go for 60 years this time around. She also claims that she will retry Dunn, and what is interesting at this point is, it does not look like there will be a continuance. The trial is scheduled for May.

2. #MH370

27th March, 2014: 10.45am (AEDT)

Search and recovery operation for Malaysia Airlines aircraft: Update 21
*All times are expressed in Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time (AEDT). Please note all times are
approximate.

Today’s search and recovery operation in the Australian Search and Rescue Region for Malaysia
Airlines flight MH370 is now underway.

Search activities today will involve a total of 11 aircraft and five ships.

Today’s search is split into two areas within the same proximity covering a cumulative 78,000 square
kilometres.

Two Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orions, a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76, a Japanese Gulfstream jet, a
US Navy P-8 Poseidon and a Japanese P-3 Orion will fly sorties throughout the day

Media Release

3. Craig Michael Wood, charged with kidnapping and murder of Hailey Owens in Springfield, Missouri, appeared in court for the first time today.
Accused murderer Craig Wood appears in courtroom for first time

4. Kendrick Johnson. We believe that Kendrick Johnson was most likely murdered. There appear to be no additional articles addressing an email confession, but we will continue to watch.

This is an open thread, please join and share thoughts, videos, music…whatever is on your mind. Here are a couple of videos, if you care to watch. The hat tip for the first goes to yellowsnapdragon at Firedoglake, who shared it yesterday. It is Ode to Joy, a flash mob, in Odessa:

Published on Mar 24, 2014
Flash mob: Odessa Musicians for Peace and Brotherhood.
Флэшмоб: Одесские Музыканты за Мир и Братство.

(Official Video). Saturday, March 22, 2014, 10:29 am. Odessa Fish Market (‘Privoz’). Members of the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra and Odessa Opera Chorus, Hobart Earle, conductor, perform music from Beethoven’s 9th symphony.

After the devastation of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku The Inoue Brothers travelled to the region to start a project with some of the affected local artisans. The result of this collaboration is their “Made in Tohoku” collection.
Credits
A FILM BY The Inoue Brothers – theinouebrothers.net
DIRECTED BY Joppe Rog – jopperog.com
SECOND CAMERA BY Lennert Rog – lennertrog.com
MUSIC BY Sorenious Bonk – soreniousbonk.co.uk
PRODUCTION Present Plus – presentplus.com/


#MH370: The Doppler Effect, the Undisputed Facts and a Theory

March 25, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

Have remains of MH 370 been found west of Australia?

Good afternoon:

AMSA cancelled search operations today due to bad weather. They plan to resume the search tomorrow.

The cancelled search provides us with an opportunity to consider the doppler effect and why it establishes that MH370 flew south into the southern Indian Ocean as well to review the undisputed facts in an effort to propose a viable theory (i.e., evidence based) that explains what happened to MH370.

The Doppler Effect

The Doppler Effect is the difference you hear in the sound of a siren on an approaching vehicle compared to the sound you hear as the vehicle passes you and recedes in the distance. The siren continuously sounds the same to the driver and anyone in the vehicle, but it gets louder and higher as the vehicle approaches you and softer and lower as it recedes from you. The only time the siren sounds the same to you as it does to the people in the vehicle is when the vehicle reaches you.

Wikipedia describes the effect withe this analogy:

An analogy would be a pitcher throwing one ball every second in a person’s direction (a frequency of 1 ball per second). Assuming that the balls travel at a constant velocity and the pitcher is stationary, the man will catch one ball every second. However, if the pitcher is jogging towards the man, he will catch balls more frequently because the balls will be less spaced out (the frequency increases). The inverse is true if the pitcher is moving away from the man; he will catch balls less frequently because of the pitcher’s backward motion (the frequency decreases). If the pitcher were to move at an angle but with the same speed, the variation of the frequency at which the receiver would catch the ball would be less as the distance between the two would change more slowly.

From the point of view of the pitcher, the frequency remains constant (whether he’s throwing balls or transmitting microwaves). Since with electromagnetic radiation like microwaves frequency is inversely proportional to wavelength, the wavelength of the waves is also affected. Thus, the relative difference in velocity between a source and an observer is what gives rise to the doppler effect.

Inmarsat was able to use the doppler effect to figure out whether MH370 took the northern or southern route by measuring the frequency of the 8 or 9 pinging radio waves. Relative to the position of the satellite in space, they could determine if MH370 was getting closer to the satellite or farther away. Then they verified their theory by using the satellite to determine if other known flights were approaching or receding from the satellite.

Pending an independent review of the data that validates Inmarsat’s conclusions, I will conclude that MH370 took the southern route into the south Indian Ocean.

Nevertheless, I still find it difficult to believe that someone intentionally decided to kill 238 people on the aircraft and then commit suicide by flying MH370 into the southern Indian Ocean until it ran out of gas and plunged into the sea.

Undisputed Facts

Let’s take a look at the undisputed facts:

1. MH270 departed Kuala Lumpur for Beijing at 12:41 am on Saturday, March 8 with 227 passengers and a crew of 12.

2. MH370 confirms reaching cruising altitude of 35,000 feet at 1:01 am.

3. Last ACARS data transmission received at 1:07 am; MH370 reconfirms altitude of 35,000 feet (the ACARS system was disabled sometime after 1:07 am and the next scheduled transmission at 1:37 am). To disable ACARS, a person would have to access the electrical bay beneath the floor behind the cockpit and disconnect the circuit breakers. Access to the electrical bay is through a trap door in the floor that is concealed by a carpet that must be pulled back to reveal the door. A special tool is required to open the door. Although disabled, the system continues to periodically ping the communication satellite approximately once per hour. Inmarsat, which operates the satellite, used the pings to calculate the location of MH370 and its direction of flight.

4. ATC Kuala Lumpur contacts MH370 at 1:19 am and instructs the pilots to contact ATC Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam for the next leg of the flight. The copilot responds, “All right. Good night.” That is a possibly significant variation in routine, which is to respond, “Roger and out.” Some people, including myself have speculated that the response was a veiled warning that something was amiss. MH370 did not contact ATC Ho Chi Minh City.

5. The transponder was turned off 2 minutes later at 1:21 am.

6. Shortly afterwards the aircraft climbed to 45,000 feet and turned sharply to head back across the Malaysian peninsula. It later traveled some distance at 23,000 feet and even dipped down to 5,000 feet.

7. At 1:30 am a pilot on another flight attempted to contact MH370 but only heard mumbling and static.

8. The expected half-hourly ACARS data transmission at 1:37 am did not happen.

9. At 2:11 am the first of seven automated hourly pings received by the Inmarsat satellite.

10. At 2:15 am the Malaysian military lost radar contact with MH370, which was 200 miles northwest of Penang.

11. At 8:11 am, the Inmarsat satellite received the last ping from MH370.

12. Neither the crew nor the aircraft’s onboard communication systems relayed a distress signal, indications of bad weather, or technical problems before the aircraft vanished from radar screens.

A New Theory

I now suspect there was an attempted hijacking and a struggle in the cockpit that ended with the deaths of everyone on board probably due to a decompression of the aircraft.

Tell us what you think.


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