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JDiver Mar 7, 14 4:19 pm

MH370 KUL-PEK Missing 8 Mar 2014: Search & Recovery [PLEASE SEE WIKI]
Malaysia Airlines 370 FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Note: Viewers and members are global, so we are using UTC / GMT / Zulu time. Malaysia time is MYT, UTC/GMT +8 hours. A closer up map of the areas's time zones can be seen here. The use of various time zones has caused confusion in media and timing of events. The FAQ has been generated form some of the most common questions asked by members in this long thread.

Q. What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? What is the timeline for its disappearance?

Friday 07 March 2014 16:41 UTC (08 March 2014 at 00:41 Malaysia time: Flight MH370 / codeshare as CZ748, a Boeing 777-2H6ER, departed Kuala Lumpur (KUL) on Sat., en route to Beijing (PEK), where it was due to arrive 07 Mar 22:30 UTC (08 Mar at 06:30 local time). Route is approximately 2,375 nm / 2,733 mi / 4,399 km (per Great Circle Mapper), average speed is 500 MPH / 805 kph, duration normally ~6 hrs.

● 1707 UTC (01:07 Malaysia) Last ACARS aircraft information data received from MH370.

● 1719 UTC (01:19 Malaysia) final voice contact. MH370 departs Malaysia Subang ATC with the words "Good night, Malaysia three seven zero" - and not the "All right, good night" originally released by the Malaysian authorities - who are now saying they will investigate further who said that, after initially attributing the incorrect version to First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid.
Aircraft was to check in with Ho Chi Minh ATC Center ~1722 UTC (01:22 Malaysia time) and to check in and be given new transponder codes — failed to do so, transponder ceased transmitting.
● 1722 UTC (01:22 Malaysia) Aircraft at 35,000 ft MSL / 10,668 meters, on course for PEK between Kota Bharu (Malaysia) and Cape Ca Mau (Vietnam); initiates westward turn (last Subang primary radar indications). No contact indicating reason or trouble; no contact, no transponder, no active transmissions at this time.

● 1815 UTC (02:15 Malaysia) Recorded military radar data shows last radar contact showing aircraft departing westward over Pulau Perak island. This information was leaked by two RMAF officers, later contradicted in no uncertain terms by the Chief of the Air Force, and then again retracted when the radar data were retrieved and analyzed; by this time, the search had already encompassed the Straits of Malacca.

● 1840 UTC (02:40 Malaysia) Aircraft officially reported to Malaysia Airlines as missing by air traffic control.

● Weather conditions were good, and are not considered a factor; moonset was at approximately 00:40 MYT that night (07 Mar - 16:40 GMT). This post reports warm water conditions and low wave heights at the time of disappearance.

● Further Malaysian military radar information seems to show the aircraft turning to a westward direction, making some altitude changes, crossing the Thai / Malay peninsula and proceeding northwestward over Penang and Pulau Perak, a small island in the Straits of Malacca at approximately 29,500 ft / 8,992 m.

● Though communications were shut down by people in the cockpit, the aircraft continued to intermittently "handshake" with Inmarsat satellite(s) in a ready condition to transmit ACARS data for roughly seven hours, allowing ground computers to record these data; these were eventually discovered by aviation technicians and released to authorities including USA and Malaysia.

● The available signals information indicates the aircraft flew on for seven hours, the limit of its fuel allocation. Other nations within that range, including Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Thailand et al were consulted and radar data was investigated; no overflight by MH370 was revealed.

● New mathematical models developed by Inmarsat, SITA AIRCOM (data link provider) and UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) reveal the last ping, received at 0811 the day of flight. The new maths also are claimed to reveal the direction and distance data from hourly "pings" and show the aircraft's last "piing" was in the southern Indian Ocean far from any land or runway and that the aircraft must have crashed into the sea due to fuel starvation afterwards. (These data were reviewed once more and the search pattern moved slightly north and east on the new assumption the aircraft was traveling faster than previously believed, also reducing possible range.)

● Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and others have stated the diversion considered a deliberate act by someone onboard. <link to BBC video>

● Search operations expanded from the Gulf of Thailand, South China Sea, Straits of Malacca (now presumably discontinued or reduced) to the Andaman Sea and farther to the Bay of Bengal and the broader Indian Ocean, involving as many as twenty six nations' search assets, including satellites, surface ships and various kinds of aircraft.

● Search and Recovery operations are now ~1,150 mi / 1,850 km west of Perth, Australia, with P-3 Orions (New Zealand 1, Australia 3, Japan 2, one en route from Korea), P-8 Poseidon (US, 1), Ilyushin IL-76 (China, 2), C-130H (Korea) and five civil long range aircraft . The Australian supply vessel HMS Success is on site, as well s Chinese Maritime Patrol vessel Haixun 01, and PLAN vessel Jinggangshan (carrying two helicopters), with Chinese polar research vessel Xuě Lóng (Snow Dragon) and more warships, to be joined by a commercial vessel and two patrol vessels also from China. The USS Echo research vessel is en route as well.

● To date (28 Mar 0417 UTC), all reports of cell phone calls, aircraft to aircraft transmissions, reported debris fields, sightings, items found ranging from life rafts to life jackets have all proven to be false or not from MH370. New Chinese, US and French satellite findings are being checked for origins.

● All MH aircraft are equipped with ACARS transmitting monitoring data automatically; no distress call or information was transmitted or relayed, nor is it known if local radar facilities are capable of receiving ACARS data. The airline chose not to install the Swift upgrade from Inmarsat that would allow continuous aircraft data transmission (which AF447 had, enabling a much shorter time to find the crash site) and chose to download such data to a USB thumb drive after each flight was on the ground; the cost would have been just over USD $10.00 a flight had they chosen to purchase the system.

● The aircraft was equipped with ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast). Barring failure of the ADS-B transponder, the track of the aircraft may be the most accurate track we have access to. However, cannot track ADS-B broadcasts below 30,000 feet in the Gulf of Thailand, so if the plane had some type of issue forcing a rapid descent, this would not be noted in their system. (It has not been reported whether the Malaysian or Vietnamese ATC organizations have the capability to receive ADS-B broadcasts. There may be some discrepancies in the last reported positions of radar contact and the ADS-B flight track.)

Q. What about the Boeing 777; is it safe? What about this particular Boeing 777?

The Boeing 777 series aircraft are operated by a Captain and First Officer; very longhaul flights may carry relief pilots as well. There is no flight engineer on this aircraft type.

The Boeing 777 and Malaysia Airlines are considered to have good safety records. The aircraft in question is the Boeing 777-200ER (Extended range).

In its history, the 777 aircraft type has been involved in three other hull-losses: (1) OZ214 is unofficially but widely considered pilot error; (2) BA38 experienced fuel starvation due to engine ice forming and blocking the fuel lines, forcing a short landing (Fuel/Oil Heat Exchangers mere modified to prevent reoccurrence); (3) MS667 while parked at gate in CAI, fire in cockpit prior to door-close. Another report relating to a fire incident involving a UA 777 at Heathrow is available here which involves the Main Equipment Centre.

The missing aircraft (registration 9M-MRO, s/n 28420, line #404) had accumulated 53,465 flight hours in 7,525 flight cycles since delivery to MH in May 2002. Maintenance last undergone ~23 Feb 2014. 9M-MRO was involved in an incident in Shanghai Pudong International Airport on 09 August 2012, when the tip of its wing collided with a China Eastern Airlines Airbus A340-600 in a "wing clip" incident; the wing was subsequently repaired.

All MH aircraft are equipped with ACARS transmitting monitoring data automatically. Apparently, MH also has a contract with aero engine manufacturer Rolls Royce to receive regular reports from engines running for analyses. Monitoring and reporting is explained in this post.

MH aircraft were not been fitted with the "Swift" Inmarsat upgrade, which would have transmitted aircraft data and "health" information in real time, preferring to save money and download the data at the end of a flight into a thumb (USB) drive. AF447 was easier to find because it was upgraded with Swift, which has been said to cost USD $10.90 per aircraft flight.

Q. What is "ACARS" and how does it work?

A. ACARS means Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System; it is a digital datalink communication system between aircraft and ground base computers (using radio or satellite links) using short bursts of Telex protocol information, which may include "aircraft health" information (such as engine data reported to the engine manufacturer). It will eventually be replaced by Aeronautical Telecommunications Network (ATN) and Internet Protocol. (Prior to datalink use everything was communicated using HF (High Frequency) and VHF (Very HF) radio - which may not be useful at all times).

In this instance, ACARS transmitted various aircraft condition data until the time of "last reported position", and then it appears ACARS was off, the system still is in a standby mode that still allows"handshake" signals that essentially could be "translated" as "I'm here when you're ready". Those can be tracked, but if received by one satellite, the location data is very limited; two is better, and with three one could theoretically triangulate a fairly exact position.

In this instance, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday MH370's signals continued for about seven hours (until 8:11 AM local time, 00:11 UTC or "Zulu" time).

Q. How was ACARS data ultimately used to determine the presumed point of aircraft impact with the ocean?

Inmarsat (satellite provider), SITA AIRCOM (data link provider) and UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) developed some new algorithms using other aircraft's flights information and Doppler effects on the signal to determine positional information from the MH370 ACARS "pings". They have stated this information leads them to conclude the aircraft went down some time after the last ping was received and the aircraft ran out of fuel. Link to BBC article.

Q. What is the "black box", how long does it remain on and is it separately powered?

A. The "black box" consists of two bright orange (for easier finding) "boxes": the CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder), which records the last two hours of cockpit sounds; the FDR (Flight Data Recorder) records certain flight data for a period of 25 hours (minima). The entire device is powered by a separate battery and it remains powered for nearly a month. It is generally located in the tail area of the aircraft for protection and can not be turned off with normal means.

The "black box" must be able to survive 3,400 Gs (3,400 times the force of gravity), acceleration, and survive temperatures of 2,000 F / 1,093 C for one hour and pressures to 20,000 ft / 6,096 m of saltwater (there are a few locations deeper than that). The beacon signal is emitted once per second; the signals may become weaker if it falls into topographical features like underwater canyons. The U S Navy has sent a "Towed Pinger Locator" to the region in an attempt to find the "black box" whilst it is still capable of pining (~30 days).

The TPL-25 Towed Pinger Locator must be towed at about 3 knots, and is able to detect sounds within a one-mile radius; it is capable of searching about 150 mi sq miles a day.

The MH370 "black box" is presumed to lie in up to ~3,500 meters / ~11,500 feet. The "black box" for Air France 447 was found in approximately 13,000 ft / 3,800 m of water after nearly two years - it took a marine research vessel Île de Sein and its Remotely Operated Vehicle, Remora 6000. SA 295's was retrieved from 4,900 m / 16,100 ft. The US already has a Bluefin 21 autonomous underwater vehicle en route.

"The Bluefin-21 uses sonar technology to search across a preprogrammed area of water, but is only capable of mapping about 40 square miles of ocean floor a day with a high degree of accuracy." - WSJ

This means the search area must be narrowed down considerably for the tools to be useful. 29 March the search area was about the same as the surface area of the U. K.

Q. What is "radar" and how does it work?

A. "RADAR is short for Radio Detection and Ranging. Two kinds of "radar" come into play here (aircraft have radar to show weather and ground features, but it's not germane here).

Primary radar is basically a transmitted electronic burst that is reflected by dense objects. The reflection is translated into a "blip" that is displayed on a screen that shows direction distance and in most instances altitude. The radar sets in this instance have a range of approximately 120 mi / 193 km (depending on weather, size and shape of aircraft, etc.) Primary radar is "noncooperative" - the radar will show all aircraft, but has no identification feature to discern which individual aircraft is being "painted" if no further information is known.

Though probably all the countries MH370 is assumed to have overflown have military / air defence radars, it's hard to know if they were on and monitored, full capabilities, etc. at least in part because most nations are reluctant to discuss military matters this openly. We are fairly certain the Malaysian military primary radar systems recorded the data and those data were retrieved at a later time than the flight transit was recorded. This delayed search operations in the Strait of Malacca and Andaman Sea.

Secondary radar is a "cooperative" system. A pulse is sent from a secondary antenna to the aircraft and gets the aircraft's transponder to reply with coded information, set by the pilots, that identify the specific aircraft to ground controllers. Secondary radar was turned off at the time the aircraft went "missing" between Kota Baru in Malaysia and Cape Ca Mau in Vietnam.

Q. What is a "transponder", then? And why can pilots turn it off?

A transponder is basically a radio, previously called "Identification Friend or Foe " and "Selective Identification Feature" used by the military to receive a "code" that identified "friendly" aircraft - and by airlines / air traffic control to identify specific aircraft. The transponder can be set to "squawk" (broadcast) specific codes (or to respond to ground "interrogation" activating signals) to the ground or to airborne receivers. Pilots need to be able to change codes and even to turn off a transponder on the ground or during specific flight conditions.

Q. If the pilots were incapacitated and the autopilot were engaged, would the plane have just flown on forever on its previous heading?

This has happened previously. E.g. Helios Airways Flight 522 and
US coach Bo Rein (10 Jan 1980), LearJet 24B N234CM 16 Dec 16, 1988 (US - Mexico), and 4 Sep 4, 2000 Beechcraft 200 Super King Air out of Perth. These aircraft flew, with apparently incapacitated crew (in Helos' case a flight attendant attempted to fly the aircraft) until they exhausted fuel supplies and ceased flying. See this post to learn more about hypoxia (oxygen deficiency); a human can not survive prolonged oxygen deprivation to the brain.

Also see here for how pilots discern loss of cabin pressure and how they handle it. (Pilots have separately provided oxygen tanks in the cockpit, passengers use a limited supply of oxygen from oxygen generators; the passenger supply may last as long as 15 minutes, and crew have separate, small "walk-around" tanks). One professional pilot has theorized fire, smoke inhalation and hypoxia disabled the crew and the aircraft may have flown on using automatic flight controls <link>.

Q. What about passengers' cell phones? Could they have called anyone?

A. GSM service cellular phones generally have a range of 22 mi / 35 km from a cellular telephone service tower. If the aircraft had passed close to a tower (usually on the ground, not at sea) signals could have been received and sent to the phone's home network. At this time we have no information that has occurred.

Q. Some commentators have said the aircraft's systems were "pre-programmed" to turn off course from Beijing at the last point of contact. What does that mean?

Not much. Though an aircraft's Flight Management Systems (FMS), which include the Flight Management Computer, are generally programmed by flight personnel on the ground, qualified pilots can change the programming using the CDU (Control Display Unit) for various reasons, disconnect the system from aircraft control inputs and "hand-fly" for various reasons. Link to more information on the FMS.

Q. Are there runways within the aircraft's range they could have used?

Sure; there are plenty of runways that could be used by a 777, but where an airport with 777-usable runways exists there is usually airport control, security and maybe nearby air defence radar. Member Nrg8000 has nonetheless gathered data and generated a map:
Click the map to view a larger version.
Red dots are runways over 5,000 feet.
Purple dots are between 2500 and 5,000 feet, Blue dots LESS.

Q. Did the pilots use terrain following to mask the aircraft from radar?

Highly unlikely. A one-time Air Force member and pilot members have told us that, even with extensive training, special terrain-following radar and mapping, night goggles etc. this kind of flying is very tricky. The Air Force has lost aircraft and crews. Without extensive training, knowledge and experience, it would be suicidal. Also note much terrain masking is flown at or below 500 (five hundred) feet above the terrain.

Q. Could the pilots have "shadowed" the SQ flight to hide its radar reflection?

Very unlikely. Military pilots trained in formation flying with midnight vision equipment and extensive formation flying training and experience in much more agile and maneuverable aircraft would be challenged; airline pilots without any of these would be courting a speedy death.

Q. What about satellites - and the "pings"?

According to a member with communications background, most reconnaissance satellites either pass overhead during their orbits, or are stationed over a specified location; the simultaneous intersection of an orbiting satellite and a flying aircraft is statistically nil unless foreknowledge and a high need to do this are present. The "parking" of a surveillance satellite over the Gulf of Thailand for strategic military purposes at the time of MH370's disappearance is unlikely. There is a finite number of very expensive surveillance satellites, their fuel for shifting orbit or position is limited and only used for high priority reasons.

The so-called pings between the Inmarsat satellite and MH370's ACARS system (which was turned off, but still in a "ready" or "standby" mode, awaiting activation, were hourly attempts by the satellite to "ping" and alert ACARS systems in the broad reception area the satellite was within range and ready to receive data. The aircraft's system seems to have replied with a ping of its own acknowledging it had received the incoming electronic "handshake" attempt. (See "ACARS" listings above.)

If three satellites had received the acknowledgement ping, triangulation would have been possible. A single satellite receiving those, as occurred, presents very limited ranging options - resulting in the infamous arcs delineating possible aircraft routines.

Two useful guides supplied by a member downstream:
"Pings" location probability, single satellite (member dtc)

Also see this video of the recent Australian Maritime Safety Authority press conference:

Q. What about the aircraft's range, speed and altitude? What do we know about those?

These depend on a number of factors including aircraft weight, fuel loaded, density altitude, etc. The best non-technical explanation may be the one posted by member CaptainMiles here:

Q. What about the 50 "blocked seats"? Doesn't that imply special cargo arrangements?

There has been no evidence of any blocked seats. The flight appears to have been undersold. Five booked passengers did not check in, four standby passengers were accommodated. The only unusual cargo were NiMH batteries that were, according to MH, packed and prepared safely.

Q. How many crew and passengers was MH370 carrying? Who were they?

Flight was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew from 14 different nationalities:
  • 153 Chinese people
  • 38 Malaysian people
  • 7 Indonesian people
  • 6 Australian people
  • 5 Indian people
  • 4 French people
  • 3 American people
  • 2 people each from New Zealand, Ukraine and Canada
  • One person each from Russia, Taiwan, Netherlands

  • Twenty employees of Austin, Texas technology company Freescale Semiconductor (12 Malysian and 8 Chinese) were going to attend a meeting
  • Nine pensioners returning home from a trip to Nepal
  • Two men - one confirmed as Iranian - travelling under stolen Italian and Austrian passports
  • 24 renown Chinese calligraphy artists and five staff (79-year-old Lou Baotang was particularly renowned)
  • Malaysian Mohd Sofuan Ibrahim was flying to Beijing to his new job at Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry there.
  • Norli Akmar Hamid, 33, and her husband Razahan Zamani, 24, from Malaysia were on a long-delayed honeymoon trip to Beijing. A relative told Malaysian state news agency BERNAMA that the couple planned the holiday after Ms Norli suffered a miscarriage.
  • IBM executive Philip Wood, 50, from Texas, traveling briefly to Beijing prior to beginning his new job in Malaysia
  • Mechanical engineer Paul Weeks of New Zealand moved to Perth, Australia after the Christchurch earthquakes. He gave his watch and wedding ring to his wife, Danica Weeks, for safekeeping and told her "If something should happen to me then the wedding ring should go to the first son that gets married and the watch to the second."
  • Ding Lijun, a Chinese construction worker, was making his first trip home to Beijing since leaving to work in Malaysia.
See official passenger manifest at airline website (PDF).

Q. What about the stolen passports issue and the two Iranians using them?

Two passengers listed on the manifest as Austrian and Italian, were apparently traveling on stolen passports. The true passport holders were not on the flight, are alive and well, and reported their passports stolen in Thailand within the last year or two, confirmed by their respective countries and Interpol. The true identities of these two passengers have been reported as 19 year old Iranian, Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad (no known terrorist connections), and the other 29 year old Iranian national Delavar Syed Mohammad Reza.

Both tickets were purchased one day before the flight as China Southern Airlines codeshares through a travel agent in Pattaya, Thailand. The tickets were numbered sequentially, but this would not be uncommon with codeshares and/or tickets issued by a travel agent. Neither required a Chinese visa as both were supposed to be transiting at Beijing and then Amsterdam, with Mehrdad ticketed KUL-PEK-AMS-FRA, and Reza flying KUL-PEK-AMS-CPH - EU passport holders can get a 72 hour Transit Without Visa permission on arrival at PEK.

A third passenger, listed on the manifest as Zhao Qiwei, appeared to be traveling on a forged Chinese passport. The holder of the genuine passport still has possession of the passport, has reportedly never traveled abroad, and is still at home in mainland China.

Q. Who were the crew of MH370? Did their backgrounds demonstrate obvious reasons for taking the aircraft

The 777 normally has two cockpit crew (Captain and First Officer); the two for this flight had not requested to be assigned together to MH370, according to Malaysia Airlines sources. NEW link to BBC "Who are the pilots of flight MH370?"

Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a native of Penang and age 53, father of three grown children (his daughter Aishah lives in Melbourne, Australia) and a grandfather. He and his wife share an apartment in a gated community and a second home, which both were residing up to the day of the flight.

Capt. Zaharie joined Malysia Airlines in 1981 and had flown 18,365 hours, a very seasoned pilot. He was an avid pilot and taught others with his detailed cockpit simulator system (computer, three flat screens, control wheel with console and rudders, photos of instrument panels, - perhaps $5-10,000 of gear, not the $2 million quoted in some media) in his family's apartment, and was certified by Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation as a Simulator Test Examiner. He built and flew remotely controlled model airplanes; flying was his passion. He also was an avid chef who enjoyed cooking Penangite dishes, and has posted videos online showing people how to carry out home and appliance repairs (e.g. how to make air conditioners more efficient, waterproof window panes and repair a refrigerator icemaker). He also enjoyed twisting balloons into animal shapes.

He was active on social media sites (including aircraft sim and aircrew communities). Zaharie, a Muslim, was a subscriber to atheist Richard Dawkins's Foundation for Reason and Science site and English comedian Edward John "Eddie" Izzard; he was an avid supporter of the Democratic Action Party, and he volunteered his time with assistance to poor people and with Orang Alsi (traditional peoples) in remote native villages. His postings on social media lean toward a lack of sympathy for terrorists; he expressed his personal condolences to the victims of the Boston Marathon terror attack.

First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, 2,763 flight hours. has worked with MH seven years. He attended Langkawi Pilot School met his fiancée, Air Asia pilot Capt. Nadira Ramli, 26, who is also the daughter of a Malaysian Airlines pilot; they have known each other nine years and were to be married. He had recently graduated to the cockpit of a Boeing 777 and was becoming fully qualified as a 777 First Officer. Fariq is one of five children of Abdul Hamid Mad Daud, deputy director in Selangor's civil service.

Q. Were any of the crew known to be involved in radical religious, political or other suspect activity?

Not at this time.

Capt. Zaharie was active in the Democratic Action Party of Malaysia, one of three opposition parties forming the Pakatan Rakyat or PK, or People’s Justice Party, coalition. Anwar Ibrahim, the nominal head of the coalition PK was sentenced to five years in jail on gay sex charges on March 7, provoking widescale condemnation across the country. Zaharie attended Mr. Ibrahim's trial; some media sources questioned whether Capt. Zaharie may have "radical" beliefs and have acted out as an anti-government protest, but to date no political message from either pilot has been made available if there was one.

Wikipedia: The Democratic Action Party, or DAP (Malay: Parti Tindakan Demokratik, Chinese: 民主行动党, Tamil: ஜனநாயக செயல் கட்சி), Jawi: حزب العمل الديمقراطي is a secular, multi-racial, social democratic Malaysian political party.

DAP is one of the three main opposition parties in Malaysia, along with the PKR and PAS, that are seen as electable alternatives to the Barisan Nasional coalition of parties. It is one of the component parties of Pakatan Rakyat (or known as People's Alliance). PK's leader has recently been sentenced for gay sex in a sentence many believe was politically motivated.

The party's vision is to establish a peaceful and prosperous social democracy that can unite its disparate races and diverse religions and cultures based on a Malaysian Malaysia concept of forging a Malaysian race grounded on universal moral values, offering equal access and opportunity, upholding democratic governance and the rule of law, creating wealth and distributing it equitably, and fighting corruption.
Further, the police have taken the simulator into custody for examination by experts; one official said the simulator programs seemed quite normal. Another source said they had found no links to any militant group and Zaharie. The US FBI is investigating data deleted from the hard drive o/a 7 Feb 2014.

As to First Officer Fariq, articles and photos from 2011 surfaced earlier this week from South African Jonti Roos, who flew with him on a short hop from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur, allege Hamid and his pilot invited Ms. Roos and another South African woman to enjoy the cockpit with them - from before takeoff through landing - taking photos and asking them to stay in Kuala Lumpur so they could go out with them. Malaysian Airlines has stated this is a serious breach of MH rules and passengers are not allowed on the flight deck.

FO Farig has been identified as the speaker of MH370s final broadcast communication, to Subang Center: “All right, good night".

Imam Ahmad Sharafi Ali Asrah said he was a "good boy" and mild-mannered who attended occasional Islamic courses and occasionally played a form of indoor football soccer (futsal) with neighborhood children, even buying them sports shirts.

Police sources are said to be looking into the personal, political and religious backgrounds of both pilots, crew and even ground support staff. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is participating and is said to have not found any terrorist links from anyone so far.
Note: This information has been sourced from public media and social media sites and verified, but does not claim to be comprehensive nor to guarantee ultimate accuracy.


Resources posted are generally reliable and offer free access (you may be required to watch an advertisement).


BBC video: How ATC, transponders, "black boxes" and ACARS engine "health" data work.

YouTube Video Press Conference 15 Mar Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announces latest findings at

BBC video: David Gleave, an aviation safety investigator from Loughborough University, said whoever did this would need considerable knowledge and expertise.


BBC online MH370 articles: Tabbed articles include:
  • Latest News
  • What we know (including Who was on board? When was the last contact made? Where did the jet disappear? Theories, etc.)
  • How planes are tracked.
  • Air mysteries (Flight MH370: 10 other mysterious aviation disasters)
  • Passengers' stories
The Aviation Herald offers a succinct summary of information about the disappearance of HM370

Nrg800 map showing possible runways within range, arc of ping transmission and range limit from last radio contact.
Note: Inmarsat and UK AAIB mathematically deduced the 777 flew to the southern reach of the arc.


Link to last known position and passenger composition graphic (Malaysian Insider)

Link to map of last reported location - FlightRadar24

Link to PBS Malaysia area radar coverage map
(post #2140)

Link to chart of South China Sea Wave Height/Direction for 13 Mar

Link to Indian Ocean Wave Height/Direction chart

Link to airspace control boundary map
(post #2006)

NOTE: Facts stated here are to the best of our knowledge and reliant on the accuracy of outside sources. Opinions are those of the FAQ writers and do not reflect any official position of FlyerTalk or Internet Brands.

alanR Mar 22, 14 4:03 am

Last few minutes at the daily press conference - announcement that China has satellite images of a large piece of debris 30m x 22m in the southern corridor. China will release more information "in 2 hours".

holmedown Mar 22, 14 4:14 am

on BBC

22 March 2014 Last updated at 10:11 China checks new 'debris' images
China is investigating new satellite images of debris in the southern Indian Ocean, potentially from missing flight MH370, Malaysian officials say.

Malaysia's acting transport minister read out the news as he was handed it during at his daily briefing, saying the debris was 30m by 22m.

He said the Chinese government would give more details on Saturday.

Pook Mar 22, 14 4:21 am

Originally Posted by holmedown (Post 22567668)
on BBC

22 March 2014 Last updated at 10:11 China checks new 'debris' images
China is investigating new satellite images of debris in the southern Indian Ocean, potentially from missing flight MH370, Malaysian officials say.

Malaysia's acting transport minister read out the news as he was handed it during at his daily briefing, saying the debris was 30m by 22m.

He said the Chinese government would give more details on Saturday.

30m by 22m - is that too big to be a part of a 777?

JonV Mar 22, 14 4:22 am

Yes it is. By quite a bit.

EDIT: Conceivably you could describe a 30m long piece of the tail that way, if both horizontal stabilizers were still intact, since the span of the stabilizers is 21.5m. But wouldn't they just describe that as a "30m long" piece?

alanR Mar 22, 14 4:35 am

Originally Posted by Pook (Post 22567683)
30m by 22m - is that too big to be a part of a 777?

Translation error - 13m x 22m

JonV Mar 22, 14 4:37 am

Reuters has a shot of the actual note handed to the acting transport minister:


RadioGirl Mar 22, 14 4:41 am

Originally Posted by Pook (Post 22567683)
30m by 22m - is that too big to be a part of a 777?

Yes. I'm having deja vu; we did all this on 13 March, 9 days ago. Why would China suggest something this big could be debris from MH370? (Edit: 13 x 22m may be more reasonable.)

Here is a post from 13 March; others in the same part of the thread:

Originally Posted by djrez4 (Post 22510943)
Looking at diagrams of B777 dimensions, I can't see a part of the plane that would be 22mx24m.
... images deleted in this quote but go to original post to see them...

NewbieRunner Mar 22, 14 4:51 am

Originally Posted by alanR (Post 22567715)
Translation error - 13m x 22m

BBC website
linked above now says '22.5m by 13m'.

JALPak Mar 22, 14 5:02 am

CCTV Twitter account has posted a pic of the new satellite image

valley Mar 22, 14 5:19 am

Chinese satellite image was taken on last Tuesday
According to WSJ's article, the image was taken on March 18th

greg5 Mar 22, 14 5:22 am

I did a bit of a Google search to see if I could come up with any information on the Chinese satellite that is providing these images and pretty much turned up nothing.

Does anyone know any info about this satellite? For example, what is the pixel resolution? What are the bands that are used? I would expect some sort of near infrared band being used in this case, as anything that's not water should be relatively easy to identify as being a foreign object.

Apologies, if this information has already found its way into the thread and I've missed it.

valley Mar 22, 14 5:29 am

Originally Posted by greg5 (Post 22567817)
I did a bit of a Google search to see if I could come up with any information on the Chinese satellite that is providing these images and pretty much turned up nothing.

Does anyone know any info about this satellite? For example, what is the pixel resolution? What are the bands that are used? I would expect some sort of near infrared band being used in this case, as anything that's not water should be relatively easy to identify as being a foreign object.

Apologies, if this information has already found its way into the thread and I've missed it.

NewbieRunner Mar 22, 14 5:31 am

China's Xinhua state news agency said the latest satellite image (taken by the Gaofen-1 high-resolution optical Earth observation satellite of China's National Space Administration) was of objects about 120km from the area planes and vessels had been searching for debris in the southern Indian Ocean.

NewbieRunner Mar 22, 14 5:37 am

Originally Posted by valley (Post 22567832)

Or try (in German)

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