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Malaysia Airliner Disappearance

Bad weather hampers search for possible debris

AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority)  says search operations have been suspended until further notice because of two-metre high waves and four-metre swell caused by 80kph gale-force winds.

HMAS Success has left the zone due to rough seas and is travelling to an area south until conditions improve.

AirDet said:
Does anyone know if 407 sent an aircraft? CTV just showed a video of the search and there were 2 Canadians wearing 407 Sqn patches and it was inside an Orion/Aurora.

Canadian pilot helps in search for lost Malaysian Airlines jetliner

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/canadian-pilot-helps-in-search-for-lost-malaysian-airlines-jetliner-1.1748824#ixzz2xCswH0Fy

Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Straits Times is a (Reuters) report that touches on how security issues may be hampering the search:


Geopolitical games handicap Malaysia jet hunt

Published on Mar 28, 2014

(REUTERS) - The search for flight MH370, the Malaysian Airlines jetliner that vanished over the South China Sea on March 8, has involved more than two dozen countries and 60 aircraft and ships but been bedevilled by regional rivalries.

While Malaysia has been accused of a muddled response and poor communications, China has showcased its growing military clout and reach, while some involved in the operation say other countries have dragged their feet on disclosing details that might give away sensitive defence data.

Several countries in the region, including China, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, are engaged in a series of territorial disputes in the South China Seas, with control of shipping lanes, fishing and potential hydrocarbon reserves at stake.

With the United States playing a relatively muted role in the sort of exercise that until recently it would have dominated, experts and officials say there was no real central coordination until the search for the plane was confined to the southern Indian Ocean, when Australia largely took charge.

Part of the problem is that Asia has no NATO-style regional defence structure, though several countries have formal alliances with the United States. Commonwealth members Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia also have an arrangement with Britain to discuss defence matters in times of crisis.

"There is ... a pressing need for regional security structures to take a few leaps forward," said air Vice Marshal Michael Harwood, a retired RAF pilot and former British defence attache in Washington DC.

The risk, he said, was that the search instead became seen a national "test of manhood" and driver of rivalry. Already, several governments have been openly competing in announcing findings and satellite images.

The jet, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, was last officially detected hundreds of miles off course on the wrong side of the Malaysian peninsula.

As mystery deepened over the fate of the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers and crew, most of them Chinese, it became clear that highly classified military technology might hold the key.

But the investigation became deadlocked over the reluctance of others to share sensitive data, a reticence that appeared to harden as the search area widened.

"This is turning into a spy novel," said an envoy from a Southeast Asian country, noting it was turning attention to areas and techniques few countries liked to publicly discuss.

With five Chinese ships heading to a new search area in the Indian Ocean on Friday, experts say China is revealing military capabilities it lacked just a handful of years ago.

Chinese officials have also spoken of the growing number of satellites it has put to the task, a sensitive topic nations rarely disclose.

"A decade ago, China wouldn't even have been in this game at all," says Christopher Harmer, a former US naval aviator and search-and-rescue pilot, now senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington DC. "It really shows how far they have come, much, much faster than most people expected." Ultimately, the only country with the technical resources to recover the plane - or at least its black box recorder, which could lie in water several miles deep - may be the United States. Its deep-sea vehicles ultimately hauled up the wreckage of Air France 447 after its 2009 crash into a remote region of the South Atlantic.

So far, Washington has sent two Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft to the southern Indian Ocean search as well as an underwater drone and its Towed Pinger Locator, specifically designed to detect the signals from black boxes.

The locator will be fitted to an Australian ship.

While Kuala Lumpur has been forced to reveal some of the limits and ranges of its air defences, the reluctance of Malaysia's neighbours to release sensitive radar data may have obstructed the investigation for days.

At an ambassadorial meeting in the ad hoc crisis centre at an airport hotel on March 16, Malaysia formally appealed to countries on the jet's possible path for help, but in part met with polite stonewalling, two people close to the talks said.

Some countries asked Malaysia to put its request in writing, triggering a flurry of diplomatic notes and high-level contacts.

"It became a game of poker in which Malaysia handed out the cards at the table but couldn't force others to show their hand," a person from another country involved in the talks said.

It was not until a week later that Malaysia announced a list of nations that had checked their archives.

Beijing, meanwhile, was dramatically upping its game.

Its ability to deploy forces deep into the southern hemisphere is particularly striking. Beijing has sent several deployments into southern waters in recent months, including warship visits to New Zealand and South America, while its icebreaker "Snow Dragon" helped rescue personnel from a trapped Russian icebreaker in the Antarctic late last year.

"China are deploying because that's what great powers do, and there must be a political expectation for them to (do so),"said one former Western military officer. "How well they do it, only the USA will currently know (through surveillance and signals intelligence), and time will tell." As in the northern Indian Ocean, where Chinese forces operate alongside other nations to combat Somali piracy, current and former officials say all sides are almost certainly quietly spying on and monitoring each other at the same time.

Military secrets, meanwhile, remain the last thing on the minds of those still hoping for news of missing relatives. "I don't care about the secrets. I just want my son to return," Liu Guiqiu, mother of missing passenger Li Le, told China Central Television.
The search area has narrowed considerably.I hope the article is correct because the families need closure and the industry needs answers.


The team of international investigators hunting for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 has "unquestionably" located the missing jetliner and could soon have high resolution images of the wreck site, an expert in deep sea recoveries of ships and planes told FoxNews.com.

There is virtually no chance that the pings picked up by ships towing sophisticated listening devices could be anything other than signals emitted by the plane's flight data recorder, or "black box," David Mearns, of Blue Water Recoveries, a United Kingdom-based company that holds the Guinness World Record for the deepest ocean recovery and has assisted searches for sunken planes.
cupper said:
One question I have is how much more would it add to the cost of a commercial aircraft to add a transponder system located in an inaccessible section if the aircraft, with an independent power source (and / or backup) that would continually broadcast GPS location info via satellite to ground stations?

Bumping for an interesting development on how something like this can be prevented in the future:

U.N. Agency Sets New Standards For Tracking Aircraft In Flight


The United Nations' aviation organization is endorsing a new standard meant to keep air traffic authorities and airlines from losing track of a jetliner, such as Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

That plane disappeared into the Indian Ocean almost a year ago with 239 people on board.

Under the new policy, commercial airliners would be required to transmit their location every 15 minutes and every minute if in distress.

Air safety investigator Anthony Brickhouse says whenever there's a horrifying air transport tragedy, the hope is that from the wreckage and the flight recorders, you can piece together what happened and learn from it.

"And you can't learn unless you find the plane or if you have data from the plane, so right now we really can't learn anything from this event because we don't have any evidence yet, and that's the problem," says Brickhouse, an associate professor of safety science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

For many, it is still hard to fathom how, in this day and age, a Boeing 777 could just vanish without a trace, as MH370 did on March 8, 2014.

So in response to that event and another Malaysia Airlines tragedy last year, the U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization called only its second ever high level safety conference.

Aviation regulators, safety advocates and airline executives from around the world attending the summit in Montreal this week agreed to establish new flight tracking protocols.

"And we've developed very quickly a standard, which calls for an aircraft to be tracked within 15 minutes, no matter where it is around the world, whether it's in radar coverage or not," says Nancy Graham, director of ICAO's Air Navigation Bureau.

She says planes will be required to check in every 15 minutes during normal operations and there's an additional standard for planes in distress.

"If it gets into trouble, if it goes beyond its flight plan or a very quick descent or something that's in trouble, it will begin to broadcast once every minute, which allows us to locate the aircraft in the event that it goes down within six nautical miles."

Graham says if such a global flight tracking standard had been in place, "We hope that would have enabled us to find [MH370] within six nautical miles or one minute, navigationally. So that's exactly the point; it would have been able to give us a better sense of the location very quickly," Graham added, "and then not having the families be in such pain waiting to find out exactly what happened."

The member states participating in the aviation safety summit agreed to enact this new tracking standard with a target date for implementation of November 2016.

But the measure still needs formal United Nations approval. In the meantime, airlines voluntarily agree to begin implementing the technologies needed for such flight tracking. Most modern-day aircraft already have the capabilities, but the airline industry stops short of fully committing to meeting that target date for implementation.

"Certainly, the industry is not, sort of, sitting back and waiting," says Tony Tyler, director general of the International Air Transport Association. "A number of airlines are and are planning to improve and work to new ways of tracking their aircraft in flight."

Some safety advocates, including Malaysia's government and the National Transportation Safety Board here in the U.S., want a stricter plane tracking standard and are calling for real-time, minute-by-minute flight tracking.

"The ultimate way to do this would be not to just do it every 15 minutes, but to sample every minute, so you are constantly, basically real-time tracking an aircraft," says air safety investigator Brickhouse.

But he adds this is a good first step. "I know that 15 minutes doesn't seem like a lot," he says. "But compared to what we have now, where planes can be out of radar contact for hours, I think the 15 minutes is a good start."

Even 15 minutes reduces the search area exponentially. Assuming a cruising speed of 580 mph (listed for a 777), the search area would be approximately 68,000 square miles (a circle of 145 miles). If you extend that out to an hour of flying time, the search area goes to over 1,000,000 square miles. A little more than 3 hours you hit 10,000,000 square miles.

First Air which services the Canadian Arctic regions has a system which allows it to track its aircraft in real time.

cupper said:
Even 15 minutes reduces the search area exponentially. Assuming a cruising speed of 580 mph (listed for a 777), the search area would be approximately 68,000 square miles (a circle of 145 miles). If you extend that out to an hour of flying time, the search area goes to over 1,000,000 square miles. A little more than 3 hours you hit 10,000,000 square miles.

Hypothesizing here:  the problem is that if you have a pilot who has a screw loose (such as might have happened in this case), and they stop making that 15 minute periodic call-in, then what?  You also need a policy that would initiate some kind of action such as launching search aircraft.  By the time you have a search aircraft on scene, it would still be an incredibly large search area to deal with.  Also, for flights that transit outside of radar coverage, who is to say that the position reported isn't fudged?  The pilot could report a position on a track headed east, while the aircraft is actually heading in the opposite direction.  By the time they run out of fuel (or the ground realizes that someone should have gained radar coverage on them again), you're no further ahead in terms of a search area.

I'm afraid the only way to get around it is to take the position reporting completely out of the crew's hands, and hand it off to an automated system that calls in the position over satellite comms periodically.  Putting the circuit breaker on said system out of the reach of the flight crew would be a good idea too.  It's more expensive to run, but there aren't many things that can go wrong.
My understanding is that the system is to be an automated tracking system, not the crew calling in every 15 minutes, or in an emergency every minute.

Current systems ping every hour, which is what they were able to use to determine the approximate direction that Flight 370 flew after going off radar.
If the airline is willing to pay the tracking is done on a more frequent basis.  It costs though so many don't pay for the option.  Air France into the Atlantic is a good example.  They wouldn't pay for the service either.
cupper said:
My understanding is that the system is to be an automated tracking system, not the crew calling in every 15 minutes, or in an emergency every minute.

The article doesn't say that, though - it doesn't mention anything about it being automated.  The second link you provided about the tracking system First Air uses, refers to an automated system that has "triggers" that tell it to start reporting information back to the mother ship.  Perhaps they intend to change the triggers to make it report every 15 minutes, regardless.  That's going to get costly, with the system using the Iridium network of satellites.

Current systems ping every hour, which is what they were able to use to determine the approximate direction that Flight 370 flew after going off radar.

What you're referring to, with the pinging every hour thing, is actually Inmarsat.  There's a system called ACARS that can pass information to and from the aircraft.  ACARS can use VHF/HF radios, but a particular flavour of ACARS can use Inmarsat.  According to news reports, the ACARS system got turned off so that no data would be passed.  However, the Inmarsat system is still aboard the aircraft and turned on, and "pings" the satellites periodically as a type of comms check.  It's akin to having your cellphone turned on, but not having an active plan with the cellphone carrier.  Even though you can't make calls, there's still communication going on between your phone and the cell tower that allow your phone to register on the network, and allow you to see 5 bars or whatever of signal strength.  Every time the aircraft pinged the Inmarsat satellite, it gave away its rough position using the time/distance relationship between the aircraft and the satellite.  It was a pretty ingenious way to develop a probable track for the aircraft.
An interesting find on Reunion Island off Madagascar.



Major update:


Malaysia confirms debris found in Reunion is from Flight MH370

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed on Thursday that a Boeing 777 wing segment discovered in the Indian Ocean island of Reunion is from the missing Flight MH370, the first real breakthrough in the search for the plane that disappeared 17 months ago.

"Today, 515 days since the plane disappeared, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370," Najib said in a televised statement.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared in March last year enroute from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board.

Until another source confirms it, i won't believe it's 100%, right now my trust in anything the Malaysian government says is zip. They are looking for distractions from the 1mnD scandal.
Unless anyone else is claiming ownership of a 777's inboard flaperon with a year+'s growth of barnacles on it (and no French or US/Boeing) denial, I'm willing to go along with it.
I believe it part of it, but would rather hear it from the French. With the Malay PM claiming the 2.6b ringett is a merely a donation, I would not believe them if the said the sun is coming up in the east. Also would not be the first time they have made dishonest claims on this particular file.
In that regard, we are of the same mind.  That's why my belief is primarily based on no denial of the fact by French (or US/Boeing) authorities.  I did wonder for a short pause why there wasn't a joint statement, but perhaps the French believed it was overall more appropriate to let the Malaysian PM make the announcement?

Possible, but it seems the Malays are starting to annoy the other adults by withholding various bits of information. Basically the Malaysian government has been operating on cronyism, corruption, incompetence and race based hiring over competency. All fine in dandy when you keep it at home, but these incidents have shown to the rest of the countries how incompetent they are and they want to try to cover it up, but are even incompetent at that. 
If the French investigators come up with a different conclusion on the wing part, it's only going to lower the Malaysian PM's credibility.


Malaysia seeks help, France widens search for missing plane
Thu Aug 6, 2015 11:08pm EDT

By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Kuala Lumpur has asked for more help in the search for a Malaysia Airlines plane missing for more than a year, with France to send planes, boats and helicopters to scour the coast of a remote Indian Ocean island where debris washed up.

Investigators on the French-governed island of Reunion have collected a piece of wing that Malaysia has said came from MH370, the first real clue in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.

MH370, a Boeing BA.N 777, disappeared in March last year en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board, most of them Chinese.

S.M.A. said:
If the French investigators come up with a different conclusion on the wing part, it's only going to lower the Malaysian PM's credibility.


The PM's credibility is already at low tide as he is under investigation for corruption.Corruption in asia ?