March 15, 2014

Flight MH370 Mystery Still A Mystery

From the UK Guardian:
Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may have been deliberately flown west towards the Andaman Islands after it last made contact with air traffic control nearly one week ago, military radar-trafficking evidence now suggests, in a twist that Malay officials have said supports theories the plane might have been hijacked or sabotaged.

Sources told Reuters that the flight path of an unidentified aircraft, which investigators believe was MH370, followed a route with specific navigational waypoints, suggesting someone with aviation training was at the helm.

Separately the Wall Street Journal reported that the missing jet had transmitted its location repeatedly to satellites in the five hours after its last contact with air traffic control before abruptly shutting off, according to US military and industrial sources. It said it did not know the flight path to this point but noted that the US had moved surveillance planes into an area of the Indian Ocean 1,000 miles (1,600km) west of the Malayasian peninsula.

There are theories/rumors/speculations by the truckload showing up on the Professional Pilots Rumor Network, 200 pages of them. Here's a sample:
Sensitive cargo? Where's the manifest?
Okay, due to the lack of a publicly released cargo manifest...

If the flight was carrying a consigned gold cargo:
50pax * (75kg + 23kg) = 4900kg
Gold is approx US$13xx/oz,
4900kg = 172842oz, therefore,
172842 * 1300 = US$224.7mil

One could agree that this could provide ample motivation, and enough to buy inside help and some media whitewashing too. Valuable or sensitive cargo needs to be ruled out publicly. The aforementioned figures are for example only, and intended just to highlight the scope of wealth that can be transported on such an aircraft.
Apparently the flight was short of full capacity by 50 passengers, allowing for an increase in the amount of cargo transported. The above pilot speculates based on the fact that the cargo manifest has yet to be released.

Or this one:
"Only the Indian Ocean (64E) INMARSAT was involved in the last ping(s) and so they have ruled out areas (on the 40 degree circle) that overlap with coverage by POR in the Pacific and AOR-E over the Atlantic to the West."

I'm intrigued by the gap between the northern and southern corridors. The coverage maps clearly show this gap exists due to the overlap with POR. However the area of the gap would be at the very edge of coverage with POR, with the satellite very close to the horizon. It is not inconceivable transmissions in this region would only be picked up by IOR. In particular a ditched aircraft in the water may well have difficulty transmitting to a satellite close to the horizon.

From what I see there is a distinct case to make for joining the northern and southern arcs which would once again raise the possibility of the plane being in the South China Sea area. It may have flown a tortuous route to get back to the area it first started - but thats no more unlikely then it ending up over China.

So are the Malaysian SAR authorities being too quick to cease the search to the East of Malaysia?

NB I would love to see similar 'corridors' for the various pings between 1.30-8.11am. This would help rule in/out various flight paths being speculated.
And there's charts of radar coverage to show where the aircraft could have avoided detection:

SITA ACARS ground station coverage:

ARINC ACARS ground station coverage:

And of course there's also this on a "rumor" network:
"As a Professional Pilots forum, these fanciful posts are embarassing. Heists, gold bullion, conspiracies. If you haven't anything sensible to post may I request you desist or join a different forum for fictional creative writing. 200 pages of posts, mostly drivel. Thanks to those few who have the expertise to elaborate on the facts."
Whatever the truth is, obviously it does not bode well for the passengers and crew.


Steve: The Lightning Man said...

I've been saying for a week that it was stolen when nothing turned up. Too many things didn't make sense. I posted about it myself on Wednesday.

LL said...

The passengers are all playing harps.

Doom said...

Oh, I think, if all the data was collected, they would know where and what. Assuming they don't know all that already, which I suspect. The various interests aren't interested in giving out what they have. The muslim country of origin, for one of two, or both reasons. Either they knew ahead of time, or want to cover up that it is terrorism. China wants it covered up for "face" and internal and security reasons. And, of course, this Admin refuses to believe there is such a thing as terrorism, with the media onboard singing Kumbaya and "freedom fighting". Might never know.

Not mine, can't care in the offered scenario.

Miket52 said...

As soon as the Ukraine thing is under control and no longer main fodder for the idiot press, Putin will give the plane back.....

sig94 said...

Now we hear that the pilot's family took off for parts unknown the day before this happened...

Kid said...

MH370 lands in Crimea. :)