Author Topic: MH370 missing  (Read 67847 times)

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #25 on: 11 March, 2014, 10:24:56 am »
Pretty far fetched I know but one other possibility is it could be a death-faking exercise. Parachutes might have been involved and they're letting the world think it's crashed.
There was that bloke that got "lost" in a canoe and turned up in south America and was then found to have massive debts or something. Could be like that but on a mass scale.


In the panoply of far-fetched theories and cunning plans, this is the best I've heard so far! Departing an airliner in flight with the intention of descending by parachute is all but impossible, unless you're a Hollywood film director. 10/10 for imagination, Ben, but Nil Points for practicability.

Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #26 on: 11 March, 2014, 10:29:34 am »
And good luck with nobody noticing the special suit and parachute in your hand luggage ....
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #27 on: 11 March, 2014, 10:38:04 am »
Massive, system electrical failure.

No power --> no signals

No power --> no control

Plane glides down to the sea, cause the pilots are doing their best with what control they have. Doesn't hit very hard, so not a major breakup, no oil slick to speak of, comparatively little debris. However I'd expect some sort of EPRIB system to be activated - seems odd that nothing has been detected.
Extremely unlikely. While nothing is impossible, the design of modern aircraft systems includes remarkable levels of redundancy. The 777 is 'fly-by-wire', but that doesn't mean that without electrical systems it can't fly. It has a degree of mechanical back-up which affords a fairly basic level of control. Even if all generation capability was lost (engine driven generators, hydraulic-driven generators, ram-air generators* - highly unlikely, but possible) the aircraft batteries will give sufficient power for about 30 minutes of radio and flight control use.

Right now, it seems they've decided they may have been looking in the wrong place. I've no idea why they've come to that conclusion; I thought they had radar and comms up to not far short of where and when it is believed to have disappeared. However, I'm pretty sure it won't be long before they find it one way or another. Once they do, the business of finding out what happened will begin in earnest.



*I'm not a Boeing man these days, and I've never flown the 777, but the aeroplane will have some or all of these, and more than one of most of them.

Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #28 on: 11 March, 2014, 10:46:53 am »
I actually meant the sort of electrical failure that destroys all electrical equipment. Burns out wiring, explodes batteries and fries silicon.

Modern aircraft aren't vulnerable to lightning strikes in that way, so it seems incredibly unlikely. But then so does the sudden disappearance of a modern aircraft, without distress signal or something.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #29 on: 11 March, 2014, 10:56:48 am »
Yes, whatever it was was a catastrophic event, which could be natural or man-made. I'm not aware that any significant weather was reported in the vicinity, so the natural causes seem unlikely. But who knows? It's not easy to hide a 200ft long and wide, 300-tonne aircraft, but did anyone check the hangars at KL?

Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #30 on: 11 March, 2014, 11:00:54 am »
Yes, whatever it was was a catastrophic event, which could be natural or man-made.
I can think of two airliners that have been shot down by missile. So it's happened before.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #31 on: 11 March, 2014, 11:12:44 am »
Unlikely with MH370 though at cruise altitude and not near a conflict zone so an accidental missile incident is unlikely. It would have to be a missile launched from a military plane or ship, your not going to get it with a shoulder launched SAM.
It could have been very unlucky and been hit by an ICBM type missile on it way down after test firing. A North Korean one went quite close to a Chinese airliner. However that kind of missile launch would have shown up on military radar.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Pancho

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Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #32 on: 11 March, 2014, 12:17:43 pm »
Meteor strike?

Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #33 on: 11 March, 2014, 01:09:50 pm »
How long before we get the "abducted by aliens" theory?  :)

Flight 714?  The plane was taken over and made a steep dive to get below radar cover.  It was then landed on an uninhabited island using an impromptu landing strip.  It effectively disappeared due to the disabling and replacement of the pilots before they could put out any communication.   OK, not exactly abducted by aliens but they were involved.

Anyway, I expect to meet my cousin this weekend and he will have some take on it I am sure.  (ex cold war combat squadron leader, ex civil airline pilot, ex aircraft security consultant.)  Me? What do I know?


Move Faster and Bake Things

Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #34 on: 11 March, 2014, 02:03:32 pm »
...

Right now, it seems they've decided they may have been looking in the wrong place. I've no idea why they've come to that conclusion; I thought they had radar and comms up to not far short of where and when it is believed to have disappeared. However, I'm pretty sure it won't be long before they find it one way or another. Once they do, the business of finding out what happened will begin in earnest.


If what the Malaysian military are saying is correct, it's no wonder that searching the Gulf of Thailand hasn't worked. This is getting stranger by the day...

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/11/uk-malaysiaairlines-flight-idUKBREA2701C20140311

Quote
(Reuters) - Malaysia's military believes a jetliner missing for almost four days turned and flew hundreds of kilometres to the west after it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country's east coast, a senior officer told Reuters on Tuesday.

In one of the most baffling mysteries in recent aviation history, a massive search operation for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER has so far found no trace of the aircraft or the 239 passengers and crew.

Malaysian authorities have previously said flight MH370 disappeared about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for the Chinese capital Beijing.

"It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait," the senior military officer, who has been briefed on investigations, told Reuters.

That would appear to rule out sudden catastrophic mechanical failure, as it would mean the plane flew around 500 km (350 miles) at least after its last contact with air traffic control, although its transponder and other tracking systems were off.

A non-military source familiar with the investigations said the report was one of several theories and was being checked.

"He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." ~ Freidrich Neitzsche

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #35 on: 11 March, 2014, 02:05:14 pm »
There are now suggestions that the aircraft switched off all transmitters and descended below radar cover while turning back toward Malaysia. While the illegal passport holders have been largely exonerated of any terrorist connection, this profile (if verified) strongly suggests a hijack. However, it's not possible (in my aircraft at least) to entirely disable its data links with the ground, so there are still many, many questions.

Edit: x-post with Spesh

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #36 on: 11 March, 2014, 02:06:50 pm »
I was going to ask that: Surely there is no way to manually override every transmitter?  That would be a crazy bit of design fail.
Getting there...

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #37 on: 11 March, 2014, 02:13:57 pm »
There are a number of pilot-controlled transmitters - 2 or 3 VHF radios, 2 HF radios, 2 Satcom radios, a transponder with 2 transmitters. All of these can be turned off from the flight deck. However, the aircraft will have a number of other automated engineering datalinks with the ground which generally can't be turned off, and may have also had ADS (Automated Dependent Surveillance) which is a direct datalink to ATC available in many parts of the world. There may also have been cabin telephone/cellphone/Internet systems which aren't directly controlled from the flight deck, but may be turned off elsewhere in the aircraft. That's an awful lot of communications to neutralise!

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #38 on: 11 March, 2014, 02:17:37 pm »
That is a lot of data transmission.

I'm curious about the lack of radar record.  It's a contested bit of sea, so I'd imagine that there are several military systems covering the area.  And, if it crossed the country again, how come that was not picked up?  I can imagine it might be missed by civilian radar, but a large area of the country not covered by military radar seems suspicious.
Getting there...

Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #39 on: 11 March, 2014, 02:21:34 pm »
There are a number of pilot-controlled transmitters - 2 or 3 VHF radios, 2 HF radios, 2 Satcom radios, a transponder with 2 transmitters. All of these can be turned off from the flight deck. However, the aircraft will have a number of other automated engineering datalinks with the ground which generally can't be turned off, and may have also had ADS (Automated Dependent Surveillance) which is a direct datalink to ATC available in many parts of the world. There may also have been cabin telephone/cellphone/Internet systems which aren't directly controlled from the flight deck, but may be turned off elsewhere in the aircraft. That's an awful lot of communications to neutralise!

There's the rub, because the ACARS transmissions apparently stopped after the aircraft disappeared from ATC radar, which is why everyone thought that there had been a catastrophic failure over the Gulf of Thailand (contrast with the Air France incident, where ACARS was still transmitting during the plane's post-stall descent).

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/10/uk-malaysia-airlines-idUKBREA291E920140310
"He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." ~ Freidrich Neitzsche

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #40 on: 11 March, 2014, 02:25:24 pm »
I've done a fair bit of military flying over Malaysia, though not for 20 years or so. Back then, military radar was pretty sparse - and almost none of it was directed inland. Unlike UK (at the time), there was no military ATC radar as far as I remember, just some air-defence radars pointing offshore and local radars at the few military airfields. Area radar services (civilian ATC) weren't comprehensive. But I'm sure much has changed since the '90s, and datalinking has removed much of the necessity and demand for complex and expensive radar systems in remote areas. Ironically, it may now be easier to disappear than it used to be, if you can actually find a way to disable all datalinks!

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #41 on: 11 March, 2014, 02:31:59 pm »
I would have thought there was at least coastal radar checking for incursions.  Maybe I'm overoptimistic.

Diabling datalinks would imply a more complex incident, involving people not on the plane as well.
Getting there...

Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #42 on: 11 March, 2014, 03:38:37 pm »
Don't forget that as well as disabling the aircrafts comm systems you need something to knock out all the passenger mobile devices as well whatever their generation or frequency. Maybe doable with the right kit? Anyone qualified to comment? 
“There is no point in using the word 'impossible' to describe something that has clearly happened.”
― Douglas Adams

Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #43 on: 11 March, 2014, 03:42:08 pm »
No you only have to knock out the aircraft comms. There are no cell towers 30,000 feet up over the ocean. Passenger phones, tablets smartphones etc piggy back on the aircraft comms.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #44 on: 11 March, 2014, 03:44:25 pm »
except when you're flying back over Malaysia having reversed course.
“There is no point in using the word 'impossible' to describe something that has clearly happened.”
― Douglas Adams

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #45 on: 11 March, 2014, 03:46:59 pm »
Don't forget that as well as disabling the aircrafts comm systems you need something to knock out all the passenger mobile devices as well whatever their generation or frequency. Maybe doable with the right kit? Anyone qualified to comment? 

In the old analogue days (9/11 was still in that period), it was possible to use a cellphone in the air up to about 2-3000ft. Not in the digital age, unless the aircraft carries its own satcom-linked cell. Digital cellphones moving at 180mph+ seem to confuse the system, and, before the days of onboard cells and internet, I could only get a digital phone connection on the ground (by accident, of course!).

Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #46 on: 11 March, 2014, 03:56:40 pm »
Its the hand off between cell towers that gets confused. It wasn't designed for something travelling that fast. Plus from height the signal is received almost simultaneously at several towers at once so the cell phone network doesn't know which cell to use for the call.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #47 on: 11 March, 2014, 04:01:52 pm »
How mobile comms on aircraft work from an EEC document:

Facts about Mobile Communications On-board Aircraft (MCA) technology

Although still in its infancy, MCA is a growing industry, with data traffic increasing by over 300% between 2011 & 2012.

MCA is identical to normal mobile roaming in that passengers are billed through their service provider. The tariffs applied usually correspond to "Roaming: rest of the world" prices. Wi-Fi is also used for MCA but is not subject to specific rules because its low power does not pose interference risk with ground-based radio services.

MCA does not cover the communication between the aircraft and the ground which is currently provided by satellite-based systems. New satellites should allow ten times greater capacity than what is available today.

Some European stakeholders are working on introducing a new "Direct air to ground" (DA2G) broadband technology, which would bypass satellites.

How do MCA systems work?

The signal is received by an antenna on board the aircraft and sent to the ground network via a satellite connection. The signal is limited in power to ensure it does not interference with other communications.

The system is based on three main parts: the mobile terminals, the Network Control Unit, and the aircraft base station.

    ·Mobile terminals on aircraft: passengers increasingly wish to use their 3G or 4G mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.) on board aircraft to transfer data; the amount of data transferred on board already exceeds voice data.

    ·the Network Control Unit (NCU): is mounted on board the aircraft and is a kind of jammer which prevents mobile terminals connecting to, and interfering with ground-based systems, and ensure they connect only to an Aircraft Base Station (see below)

    ·Aircraft Base Station: the antenna to which mobile terminals connect; it takes the form of a cable running along the ceiling of the cabin.


I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Panoramix

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Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #48 on: 11 March, 2014, 05:27:49 pm »
How long before we get the "abducted by aliens" theory?  :)

Flight 714?  The plane was taken over and made a steep dive to get below radar cover.  It was then landed on an uninhabited island using an impromptu landing strip.  It effectively disappeared due to the disabling and replacement of the pilots before they could put out any communication.   OK, not exactly abducted by aliens but they were involved.


That's my preferred theory so far!
Chief cat entertainer.

Regulator

  • That's Councillor Regulator to you...
Re: MH370 missing
« Reply #49 on: 11 March, 2014, 05:50:04 pm »
The bit about passports is a little close to home...

Mr R got back a a week in Lanzarote on Sunday.  He'd been out there with his sister and a friend, Kim.  Mr R and Kim were flying back to Manchester - his sister was flying back to Bristol.

His sister's flight left earlier than his.  It wasn't until he tried to check in about half an hour after she had that he realised she had his passport and he had hers.  Somehow, despite the very obvious differences and the fact they don't look alike, she'd managed to check in with his passport and get through security.

He had to phone her to come and meet him at security to swap passports.
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