Mar 19, 2014

The search for flight MH370: what role Australia will now take

Crikey's aviation expert looks at the key developments on day 12 of the events that began as a routine red eye Malaysia Airlines flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing ...

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

On a day when Courtney Love found missing flight MH370 and posted the proof on her Facebook page, the near-certain tragic loss of 239 lives in the world’s most mysterious airliner disappearance risks being sunk in a sea of ridicule and supposition. But a major part of the search is now being run from Australia.


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8 thoughts on “The search for flight MH370: what role Australia will now take

  1. Scott Henderson

    Again – great reporting!

    Couple of comments (also made via twitter). They wouldn’t need military sat data to determine these probable tracks. The intermediate ping arcs would only give a few solutions assuming a straight track and constant speed from known start point.

    Also if someone overlaid the final ping arc, I think you would find these tracks assume ‘worst case’ extra fly and glide time – hence the extension of the search area to the north. East extension obviously for wind/current.

  2. Salamander

    Where does the evidence about the aircraft heading for these way points come from?

    Is it merely an inference from the primary radar tracking data of the turn-back flight path?

    On the other hand, if they have evidence that the western way points were pre-programmed, this must have come from an ACAR transmission before it was disabled.

    This would mean the new flight path was programmed before 1.07 am, ie before the apparently normal voice sign-off at 1.19.

    Also, if a “new” return-west flight path was transmitted, why would this not have raised alarm bells or a query at the time it was received?

  3. Scott Henderson

    @salamander. They (NTSB etc.) have 7 pairs of distance arcs from the satellite MH370 pinged, although only one pair have been published. Each one is one hour apart. If the start point (based on last radar contact) is assumed, and a constant speed, constant track is assumed their will only be a finite number of possible track solutions.

    Other solutions will exist – but they will include variable tracks with variable speeds. These tracks merely represent highest probability against the sat ping data.

  4. j.oneill

    I suggest they focus their search inside a large hangar on Diego Garcia.

  5. Salamander

    Thanks Scott. However I am not referring to the pings or to the extrapolated arcs for SAR, but to the navigational way points Vampi, Gival and Igrex marking aviation corridors that some commenters have suggested were pre-programmed into the FMS either before of after takeoff.

    But from further reading it appears that the notion of pre-programming these waypoints was merely an hypothesis put forward to possibly account fot the path actually tracked on the military radar.

  6. Scott Henderson

    Sorry @salamander only half read your comment. PPRuNe suggesting last 30min ACARS reports normally include next two waypoints, and in this case alternate plan must have been executed prior to 1:07 transmission. Speculated alternate plan had same common next waypoint but one after was the one across the peninsula (VAMPI?).

    So yes it would seem Malaysia may have had this info for some time.

  7. ShitsGottaStop

    j.oneill @ #5
    If it hasn’t already been re-painted and flown elsewhere…
    And why isn’t the Diego Garcia option being seriously reviewed, or talked about by many? Only ‘fringe’ conspiracy sites and some less-than-dubious ‘news’ sites are mentioning it, even though it is one of the more likely destinations, if we are to assume that the aircraft was not crashed/ditched.
    But what of the passengers and crew? Being put to work in copra plantations?

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