The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 : Updates
Thank you for reading my book. I hope you found the information in it useful.
Updates will be collected here as they happen.
31 July 2015
Debris believed to be from 9M-MRO has been discovered on the island of La Reunion.
Fear of Landing – Straight-Talk about Malaysia Airlines flight 370 and the flaperon
12 July 2015
The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is now available as a free book. I considered a further update but there has been so little new information and I’m loathe to attempt to write the detail of the search so far, as it is not a subject I have a background in.
I am discussing the possibility of a new book with more technical detail for those readers who wish to know more.
27 February 2015
New York Magazine posted an article by Jeff Wise giving an alternate explanation for the location of MH370: How Crazy Am I to Think I Know Where MH370 Is? — NYMag
I analysed the details of his theory and found it to have some pretty serious holes: Fear of Landing – Pretty Crazy Actually: Debunking the Latest MH370 Solution
26 June 2014
Today an updated version of the book was published to the publication sites for The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Version 1.1 has had a general edit to clean up textual errors and for better flow in addition to the following major changes:
- Minor revision to initial information offered by the Malaysian Government and military statements regarding primary radar sighting
- Expected changes to “black box” technology including the Inmarsat free global airline tracking service
- New section under theories available in draft format online for easy reference: Remote Control Boeing
- Updated with current details of the situation and future plans
Not included in this update is today’s release by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau:
News: MH370: New high priority search area announced
This announcement includes a detailed ATSB report, MH370 – Definition of Underwater Search Areas, which discusses details of the flight and the satellite data being used to recreate the flight path of Malaysia Airlines flight 370.
14 June 2014
The updated release of the book is almost done but if you can’t wait, here’s the new theory to be included: Remote Control Boeing.
29 May 2014
The pings heard were probably not from the aircraft. The search area has been expanded to a much larger section of the Indian Ocean.
Missing Malaysian Jet Believed to Be Beyond Area of Search – NYTimes.com
The search area in the Indian Ocean that recovery teams have been scouring for more than a month is probably not the final resting place of a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner, the Australian task force in charge of the operation said Thursday.
27 May 2014
The Malaysian government have released the Inmarsat satellite date from Malaysian Airlines flight 370.
Here is a copy of the pdf file on the Malaysian server: “MH270 Data Communications Logs”
20 May 2014
www.smh.com.au – Missing flight MH370 allowed to vanish, minister claims on Four Corners
Malaysia’s Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, under scrutiny over the way the country handled the matter, told ABC1’s Four Corners that military planes were not sent to check on an unidentified plane which appeared on their radar.
The Malaysian Civil Aviation Authority called the military asking them to keep an eye on the plane but the military allowed the plane to just disappear after deciding it was not hostile.
MH370 flew almost directly over the Malaysian military air base located on the island of Penang but that it appeared nothing was done.
“It was commercial, it was in our air space, we were not at war with anybody,” Mr Hussein said.
When questioned further about the lack of military intervention he said: “If we are going to send it [jets] up, are you going to say we were going to shoot it down?”
12 May 2014
Inmarsat to provide free global airline tracking service – Inmarsat
In advance of the conference on aircraft tracking being hosted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal on Monday 12th May, Inmarsat, the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications safety services, today confirmed that it has proposed to ICAO a free global airline tracking service over the Inmarsat network, as part of the anticipated adoption of further aviation safety service measures by the world’s airlines following the loss of flight MH370. This service is being offered to all 11,000 commercial passenger aircraft, which are already equipped with an Inmarsat satellite connection, virtually 100 per cent of the world’s long haul commercial fleet.
06 May 2014
EASA publishes new proposals for flight recorders and locating devices | EASA
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) today announced new proposals for flight recorders and underwater locating devices which aim at facilitating the recovery of an aircraft and of its flight recorders in the unfortunate eventuality of an accident.
The new EASA requirements include the extension of the transmission time of underwater locating devices (ULD) fitted on flight recorders from 30 days to 90 days. EASA also proposes to equip large aeroplanes overflying oceans with a new type of ULD that have longer locating range than the current flight recorders ULDs. Alternatively, aircraft may be equipped with a means to determine the location of an accident within 6 Nautical Miles accuracy. In addition, the minimum recording duration of Cockpit Voice Recorders installed on new large aeroplanes should be increased to 20 hours from two 2 hours today.
Patrick Ky, EASA Executive Director said: “The tragic flight of Malaysia Airlines MH370 demonstrates that safety can never be taken for granted. The proposed changes are expected to increase safety by facilitating the recovery of information by safety investigation authorities”.
These new requirements are included in an EASA Opinion and, when adopted by the European Commission, will apply to the operation of aeroplanes and helicopters registered in an EASA Member State.
01 May 2014
Here is the full list of documents released on the 1st of May by the Malaysian investigation team:
- ATC Delivery
- KL Ground
- KL Tower
- KL Approach
- KL Radar
- Actions taken between 0138 and 0614
- Cargo Manifest and Airway Bill
- Preliminary Report
- Seating plan
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I just read your MH370 book and want to congratulate you on your approach and thoroughness. I am however a bit surprised at the omission of what seems to me (as a retired Boeing 747-400 captain) the simplest scenario, which is an electrical fire in the cockpit followed by a de-pressurisation.
I can readily envisage the following as a sequence of events.
Stage 1: Electrical fire starts generating smoke in the cockpit just as MH370 passes the FIR boundary. Smoke builds fast, and both pilots start donning oxygen masks. Electrical fires can be hard to detect initially and may or may not produce other symptoms – see the Swissair MD11 in 1998 for example.
I’ll preface the following with the caution that they are based on my experience of the B747-400 and B757, so may be inappropriate for this particular MH B777.
I don’t know how many commentators have actually put on an oxygen mask in a cockpit at night but it is not necessarily easy. Although the masks are designed to be put on quickly it is easy to screw up if not done quite deliberately. The harness that goes over the back of your head inflates as the mask is removed from its housing, but deflates when the right squeeze lever is released. If done in a hurry it is easy to end up with the mask out of its housing but un-inflated, so it needs to be held onto your face while you try to remember how to re-inflate it. That might take you out of the loop for doing anything else at all especially in a smoky environment.
In thick smoke not only will visibility rapidly decrease but your eyes will start to water. The pilots will then have only a short time to find and put on the smoke goggles, which it is unlikely that either of them will have practised. For the F/O, having only recently converted to the B777 this could be extremely challenging in a dark cockpit that is filling with smoke, undoubtedly causing a rapid adrenalin rush and extreme anxiety. The goggles may not seal properly over the mask and harness necessitating yet more wrestling and fumbling with equipment in a worsening situation.
With a mask and goggles on communication is seriously affected straight away: the mask microphone automatically becomes active. It will not be high quality voice and probably will amplify the breath noises significantly and facial expressions and other aspects of human communication are hindered. Depending on MH specific procedures, the pilots may or may not have been using intercom and headsets: these are frequently knocked off when putting the O2 mask and goggles on and may have to be retrieved, making communication even more problematic. The relative stiffness of the O2 mask connection also immediately restricts head movement compared to normal. These factors can often be observed even in the safe environment of a flight simulator where the real world signs of danger are absent and the situation has been anticipated.
So it is very easy to envisage that there could be confusion and a lack of coordination in the first few moments after smoke arrives, with every second of delay increasing the situation’s severity.
Stage 2 – the initial turn.
I can also envisage in this situation that one pilot (most likely the Captain) would register that an extremely critical situation had developed. Getting down on the ground as soon as possible would be a high priority resulting in a heading selection to start a turn-back, but not necessarily completing the action to a specific predetermined heading value. The thinking might well be “The aircraft will take time to turn, I’ll come back to it” – but then not having the ability to do so.
Stage 3 – loss of all communication.
I can also envisage that given the fact that as they had just signed off from one ATC unit but not yet established contact with the next, a radio call might not be the highest priority, especially if the intention was to return to Malaysian airspace. However setting the transponder to the emergency 7700 might be.
The B777 transponder control (at least in early models) is located on the aft aisle stand beside the F/O’s seat. Two rotary knobs select the values. The right hand of these knobs selects the second pair of digits, which would go to “00”. In a dark, smoke-filled cockpit, wearing goggles and an oxygen mask, it could be quite difficult to identify these knobs in a hurry, as the unit is not in either pilot’s primary field of view. Having made the first selection, in the developing crisis the pilot involved might well have been diverted to other aspects so not giving full attention to finishing the selection of the second set of digits – the “77” is the part that stick in the mind.
Most people turn knobs anticlockwise to reach zero. Immediately to the right of the second selector knob is the transponder mode selector. Turning this knob anticlockwise to its limit, instead of the right hand rotary knob, would select the transponder to Standby, rendering the transponder inactive.
So it is quite conceivable to me that in the circumstances I’ve described one pilot could inadvertently turn the transponder OFF while attempting to set the last digits of the 7700 emergency code, and that would not be noticed by the other pilot.
Stage 4 – depressurisation and loss of consciousness
If the postulated electrical fire had even some of the characteristics of that which occurred on the EgyptAir B777 Flight MS667 in July 2011, we can see the possibility of skin penetration leading to a rapid depressurisation. If the circumstances were almost identical (which is possible but not likely) the crew oxygen would also be depleted very fast. Skin penetration would not necessarily result in catastrophic structural failure, there are plenty of examples of aircraft continuing to fly with holes in them like the QANTAS B747 VH-OJK in July 2008.
If the pilots’ masks were not adequately in place because of the issues mentioned earlier, it might be that they would become incapacitated more rapidly than normally expected because of smoke effects as well.
Depressurisation at FL350 could conceivably result in oxygen starvation of the fire which started the problem, it becoming self-extinguished after the crew and passengers become unconscious. The autopilot remains engaged on the last selected heading until fuel starvation occurs and the aircraft crashes, as per Helios and others.
This seems to me to be the simplest scenario to produce the actual MH370 flight path. Pilots were simply overcome by abnormal events occurring, for which each element has ready precedents. What do you think?
PS I have some illustrations of the B777 units but can’t see how to upload them
Egypt Air: http://www.civilaviation.gov.eg/accident/Reports/B777_SU-GBP_cockpit_fire_accident%20final%20Report%20responding%20to%20boeing%20comments%2019-09-2012a.pdf
Swissair MD11 1998 http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/aviation/1998/a98h0003/a98h0003.pdf