Archive for April 7th, 2014

Timeline of Flight MH370

Timeline of Flight MH370

The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has entered its fourth week, with the plane believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, thousands of miles from its original flight path.

Just as the batteries on the locator beacons on the aircraft’s “black boxes” are nearing their limits, the searchers have detected signals they believe are “consistent” with the flight recorders.

Australian authorities said the signals may represent the best lead yet after the international investigation into the ill-fated carrier was initially stymied by several false leads.

Many questions about the fate of MH370, which left Kuala Lumpur en route to Beiing on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew, remain unanswered, including why the flight diverted from its planned route and what exactly caused it to crash.

The lack of information has taken a toll on the families of those on board the flight who until the announcement had been clinging on to hope their relatives may still be alive.

Here is a chronology of the latest developments: Read the rest of this entry »


MH370: Is it the pinger? 4 reasons to believe; 6 reasons to doubt

By Mike M. Ahlers, CNN
April 7, 2014

(CNN) — After weeks of fruitless searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, it sounds like a promising sign.

When a Chinese patrol ship picked up two pulses in the southern Indian Ocean, the head of the Australian agency coordinating search efforts called it “an important and encouraging lead.”

Investigators hope the audio signals are locator beacons from the plane’s data recorders, but they’re not sure yet.

Is it the discovery we’ve all been waiting for? Could those be Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s pingers?

Here are four reasons to believe and six reasons to doubt:


1) The frequency doesn’t occur in nature.

The Chinese Haixun 01 patrol ship detected pulses at a frequency of 37.5 kHz, the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency reported. That’s the same frequency of black box pingers — and that frequency is no accident. The pingers were designed to have that frequency because it does not occur in nature.

2) There were two separate events.

The Haixun 01 reported two pulses within 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) of each other. Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, head of the Joint Agency Coordination Center, described them as “fleeting, fleeting acoustic events.” One was described as being 90 seconds long; no time was given for the other, but it was evidently shorter. Read the rest of this entry »


The Worst Place in the World for MH370 to Go Missing

Clive Irving
The Daily Beast
5.4. 2014

Hope to find MH 370 was virtually destroyed by a month of bungled searching. The only saving grace was one lonely satellite company’s brilliance.

It’s now a month since Malaysian Flight MH370 became modern aviation’s greatest mystery. Certain things are clear and many of them are disturbing.

First, the oversight of commercial air space in this part of Asia is chaotic. Jealously preserved divisions of power within each state made it impossible to achieve the kind of open, rapid and efficient exchange of information between the states themselves that is essential in an emergency. As s result, too much time has been spent chasing false leads, some of them dubiously motivated, and assessing data that turned out to be badly flawed.

As long as any physical evidence remains out of reach this is not only the most demanding sea search for an airplane ever undertaken, it’s a virtually impossible forensic challenge.

The initial failure to report radar sightings of what was probably Flight MH370 had costly consequences in a time-critical situation. Days were wasted searching the South China Sea, not the Indian Ocean.

It took at least a week to produce anything resembling a reliable time line of the Boeing 777’s course after the last contact between it and controllers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Flight MH370: ‘Hunt for black box may be in the wrong area’

Mark Townsend
The Observer
5 April 2014

With the batteries powering the black box from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 expected to expire as early as Monday, experts have warned that the international hunt for the aircraft’s wreckage may be looking in the wrong area.

The flight recorders of the Boeing 777 emit a ping that can be detected by sonar equipment, but the devices have a battery life of around 30 days, which means ships hoping to locate the signal are rapidly running out of time.

Finding the data recorders after that remains possible, but experts say it will become significantly more challenging if the signal beacons stop working.

Underwater attempts to pinpoint the ping continued, four weeks to the day after the airliner vanished, with the Australian navy’s Ocean Shield and Britain’s HMS Echo trawling an identified area using sophisticated underwater detection equipment.

However, some experts warn that they could be scouring the wrong stretch of remote Indian ocean. Aviation expert and former RAF Hercules pilot David Learmount said the failure to locate any floating wreckage meant that the search effort was effectively still working blind. Read the rest of this entry »


The Hunt For MH370 Narrows On Two Possible Locations After Searchers Detect Potential ‘Pings’

By Dennis Lynch
International Business Times
April 06 2014

Almost a month after Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 went missing over the Gulf of Thailand, searchers are focusing on two areas in the Indian Ocean where they detected possible signals consistent with MH370’s black-box pinger.

The signals were detected by the Australian ship HMS Ocean Shield and the Chinese ship Haixun 01 about 300 nautical miles away from each other.

Searchers are hastening to detect pinger signals because MH370’s black-box pinger battery could expire during the next two weeks. The pinger battery lasts from 30 to 45 days, with April 22 being the latest to find a signal. A confirmed signal would greatly narrow the search area, which is now the size of England.

The Chinese vessel Haixun 01 has reported two signals at the 37.5 kHz frequency. These signals were detected about a mile away from one another with equipment used just below the surface of the water. While not confirmed, the Haixun 01 signals are promising for their consistency, and one signal lasted 90 seconds. Read the rest of this entry »

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