#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.

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

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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.


#MH370: Malaysian PM Razak announces plane crashed in South Indian Ocean

March 24, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

Have remains of MH 370 been found west of Australia?

Good morning:

The New York Times is reporting that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has announced:

It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile, AMSA is reporting,

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority can advise objects have been located by a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion.

HMAS Success is on scene and is attempting to locate the objects in the search for missing Malaysia Aircraft flight MH370.

The objects were spotted in the search area about 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth by the RAAF Orion about 2.45pm (AEDT).

The crew on board the Orion reported seeing two objects – the first a grey or green circular object and the second an orange rectangular object.

The objects identified by the RAAF Orion are separate to the objects reported by the Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 to AMSA earlier today.

The objects reported by the Chinese were also within today’s search area.

The US Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft sought to relocate the objects reported by the Chinese aircraft but were unable to do so.

The US Navy P8 is remains in the search area, while a second RAAF P3 and a Japanese P3 are en route to their assigned search areas.

Evidently, the Prime Minister is relying on some additional evidence that he has not been disclosed because the satellite photos and the search in the south Indian Ocean has not produced a definitive identification of any object as part of Flight MH370.

You may wish to download and watch John Young’s debriefing regarding Monday’s search (Day 7). He is the General Manager of AMSA’s Emergency Response Division.

You are up to date.

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


#MH370: Sunday update includes mystery phone call

March 23, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

Have remains of MH 370 been found west of Australia?

Good morning:

Sunday update:

Eight aircraft searched over 22,800 square miles.

They didn’t find anything.

Nada.

Zippo.

Searchers on a commercial jet that has been participating in the search on Saturday reported seeing a wooden pallet in the ocean surrounded by straps. Unfortunately, they were unable to photograph it. A P3 Orion search plane attempted to verify the sighting but only found seaweed.

The Norwegian merchant ship is abandoning the search to avoid tropical cyclone Gillian which is moving into the area. It’s a Category 1 storm.

You’re up to date on the visual search.

Two intriguing new developments:

(1) France has reported that one of their satellites has spotted a large floating object near the search area, but we haven’t seen the image and don’t know when the photograph was taken or exactly where the object is located.

(2) A mysterious unidentified woman called the pilot while he was in the cockpit just before the flight departed. They had a two-minute conversation. She used a fake identity when she purchased the mobile phone that she used to call him. Investigators were able to determine that because people are required by law to provide ID when they purchase a SIM card.

In this case the SIM card used to call Captain Shah’s phone was traced to a shop in Kuala Lumpur and had been purchased recently by a woman using a false identity.

The practice is common amongst terror groups and every other person who spoke to Captain Shah before the flight has since been interviewed.

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


#MH370: China satellite spots floating object in south Indian Ocean 72×43 feet

March 22, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Good morning:

The Lexington-Herald Leader is reporting this morning,

China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said on its website that a Chinese satellite took an image of an object 22 meters (72 feet) by 13 meters (43 feet) around noon Tuesday.

The image location was about 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of where an Australian satellite viewed two objects two days earlier. The larger object was about as long as the one the Chinese satellite detected.

“The news that I just received is that the Chinese ambassador received a satellite image of a floating object in the southern corridor and they will be sending ships to verify,” Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters Saturday.

The Saturday search did not turn up anything.

A cyclone, Gillian, is moving into the area.


MH370 may have been located in ocean 1500 miles WSW of Perth

March 20, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Good morning:

New Development:

Satellite images from March 16 show 2 objects floating in the ocean approximately 1500 miles WSW of Perth, Australia. The largest object is about 80 feet long and might be part of a wing. Two reconnaissance aircraft, including the P-8A, went to the area but were unable to locate the floating objects and had to return to Perth. Poor visibility, bad weather and the onset of darkness made it difficult to see anything.

The good news is they spotted something with radar.

USA Today is reporting,

The objects, found in satellite imagery, are “of reasonable size and probably awash with water,” John Young, general manager of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, said at a press conference in Canberra, Australia’s capital, on Thursday.

/snip/

Earlier, the crew of the Poseidon told ABC News that their aircraft was getting radar hits of “significant size” in water’s beneath the surface near the objects but that it was too early to tell if these hits were related to debris from the missing plane.

“This is a lead, this is probably the best lead we have right now, but we have to find them, see them, assess them,” Young said of the objects.

A Norwegian merchant ship has reached the area and is searching it.

Given the currents in the area, the objects in the satellite image will have drifted to a new location.

The Guardian reports:

Prof Alexander Babanin, director of the Centre for Ocean Engineering, Science and Technology at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, said that the search was taking place in an area of deep ocean and strong currents, where waves can reach up to six metres in stormy weather.

He noted that floating debris could have been carried 100km away from their position in the satellite photographs, an estimate based on looking at average conditions.

Fragments could be spread over 50km or so, and material suspended beneath the surface could be carried perhaps even further, because ocean currents can be stronger than wave-induced currents, he said.

/snip/

Charitha Pattiaratchi, a professor of oceanography at the University of Western Australia, told Reuters that the search area covered an ocean ridge known as Naturalist Plateau, a large sea shelf about 3,500 metres (9,800ft) deep. The plateau is about 250km (150 miles) wide by 400km (250 miles) long, and the area around it is close to 5,000 metres (16,400 feet) deep.

“Whichever way you go, it’s deep,” he said


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