FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - MH 370 KUL-PEK Missing: 8 - 14 Mar 2014 UTC - ARCHIVE WEEK #1
Old Mar 14, 14, 11:16 am
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In summary:

Well, here's what we know (or think we know):

The aircraft departed on time from KUL 00:43 local / 1643 UTC, flew about 40 minutes on its scheduled routing; at the point it was to be handed off from Malaysia to Vietnam ATC, the action was not completed and aircraft communications, including transponder, were inactivated (1722 UTC). The aircraft may have initiated a westward turn at this point.

The aircraft was reported "missing" at 1840 UTC to Malaysia Airlines by ATC.

The aircraft had significantly fewer passengers that its capacity (and fuel for Beijing and reserves would mean a substantially less than full fuel load and ), though the route was not one "stretching" the capacity of a 777-200ER by any means - passengers + fuel + usual cargo load would not be close to MTOW (maximum takeoff weight) of 656,000 lb /297,550 kg.

Average cruise is Mach 0.84 (560 mph, 905 km/h, 490 knots) at a cruise altitude of 35,000 ft (11,000 m); the aircraft, if it was the same tracked moving westward, was at 29,500 ft / FL 295.

Maximum landing weight is 470,000 lb / 213,180 kg. Range dictated by fuel and reserves was approximately 4,000 miles / 6,440 km / 3,475 nm, affected +/- by density altitude, speed and winds aloft.

Malaysian military radar tracked an aircraft that from the facts we have could have easily been the 777 proceeding westward over the Thai-Malaysian peninsula roughly at the Thai-Malay border and as far as Pulau Perak in the Andaman Sea, where the radar range terminates.

Though communications were apparently disabled, the aircraft systems automatically sent out pings "hunting" for Inmarsat satellites in preparation for sending pulses of "aircraft health" information to manufacturers (and some airlines contract to receive these as well). The actual data transmission was suppressed by disabling comm systems, but the pulses themselves were received, recorded and passed on to land sat control systems, which were released to the appropriate agencies.

These data "pings" apparently continued for approximately four hours after the aircraft's transmissions at its last known location in the Gulf of Thailand (between Kota Bharu and Cape Ca Mau).

These data "pings" would not be known by Rolls Royce, Boeing or Malaysia Airlines until they were told by whoever was handed the data from Inmarsat (those unnamed "government and aviation officials" quoted in the Wall Street Journal).

Originally Posted by reposted
14 March 2014: Inmarsat has issued the following statement regarding Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Routine, automated signals were registered on the Inmarsat network from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 during its flight from Kuala Lumpur.

This information was provided to our partner SITA, which in turn has shared it with Malaysia Airlines.

For further information, please contact Malaysia Airlines
In spite of the initial denials of the "westward track", considerable SAR assets were redeployed to the Strait of Malacca, later expanded to the Andaman Sea (and now the Bay of Bengal).

SAR efforts, now involving India, continue - so we could infer no final determination has been made about the end of the flight or resulting disposition of the aircraft and its passengers.

Intensive SAR efforts (charts and numbers upthread) have explored reports of burning aircraft seen from a China Sea oil rig, debris fields that turned out to be false leads, satellite "debris fields" from China later explained as a "mistake", presumably further interviews of villagers near Kota Bharu who claimed seeing an aircraft flying offshore, miscellaneous flotsam that turned out to be life jacket, life raft, etc. from origins that could not have been MH370 and in toto have been entirely unproductive.

Investigations are being carried out on the crew and passengers. (E.g. you can bet the Captain's simulator computers are being sorted out to see if any non-scheduled land unusual landing points were being run - and that the general public would not be informed until some point in the future when the issue is resolved as much as possible.) I may recall some mention elsewhere of FBI involvement in this.

Five passengers did not show and were not checked in; four "standby" passengers were allowed to fly. One Chinese passenger was checked in? but is alive in China.

Four passengers apparently flew with false identities. These are detailed in the wiki.

In seven days, this is still quite murky and there is no denouement in sight.

What we don't know, I think:

To what extend does Inmarsat satellites allow for triangulation or location? (It does to some extent, but if so, would the authorities disseminate this information to other than SAR so they could be prepared to deploy Delta forces, etc. as necessary? I'd surely not tip my hand to potential malefactors.)

Is the primary cause pilot involvement, or were there others with nefarious purposes among the passengers? Was the act mainly political, or was it theft (the "valuable cargo" idea)? ("Suicide by pilot" would more likely have resulted in diving the aircraft into ocean or land prominence, IMO - not an elaborate plan to fly a few more hours - and an attempt to communicate the "why" - retribution, a religious or political act, etc. as in previous "suicide pilot" acts, e.g. probable cause of Egyptair 990 - Relief First Office Gameel Al-Batouti, and definite cause of Air Botswana - Captain Chris Phatswe, both in 1999.)

There is a lot more we don't know, and we won't, for various reasons.

Officials who might know will not be releasing information that might tip off malefactors before various agencies can act. This is frustrating, but in the best interests of the passengers and crew should they still be alive, as well as their kith and kin and "international interests".

We have fourteen plus nations involved, myriad agencies and branches of government and military services, various officials who may want to avoid, or bask in, limelight, and airline officials, not to mention aircraft, engine and other equipment manufacturers. ICAO rules presumably will frame some of the interactivity and roles, but imagine trying to bring order and uniformity to a herd of hundreds of cats with different goals and motives, and you have a pretty good idea of what is occurring here, IMO. Not to mention some nations that have had antipathic relations for hundreds of years or longer (China and Vietnam, for example,) and an overlay of different territorial and Exclusive Economic Zones, and current exploration of ocean resources ranging from fishing stocks to oil (just one example, the Spratlys, claimed by what, seven nations, with Chinese gun emplacements on site).

Sure we're frustrated - but perhaps the most important virtue is patience at this point. Clamoring for more "openness" is a popular viewpoint, and another is castigating various agents in this issue. But I dare say that what we are seeing is the tip of the iceberg, the mask of officials at public briefings - honestly, not much to go on.

I continue to offer up hopes and prayers for the passengers and crew and to hold dearly in my thoughts those who are awaiting word of their friends and family. I empathize - I've been in your position - and continue to hope against hope for a happy resolution that may come sooner than later.

We'll be doing some reworked of the wiki soon - I ask for your indulgence and patience - it takes time, and a major change or item of import will go in sooner than that and be highlighted.

Last edited by JDiver; Mar 14, 14 at 5:31 pm
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