MH370 hundreds of miles off course?

While search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 continues, CNN reports, that the flight may have been hundreds of miles off course, traveling westwards in the opposite direction from its original destination.

According to a Malaysian Air Force official, who wants to remain anonymous, the plane’s transponder apparently stopped working at about the time flight controllers lost contact with it, near the coast of Vietnam. The Malaysian Air Force lost track of the plane over Pulau Perak, a tiny island in the Strait of Malacca – many hundreds of miles from the usual flight path for aircraft traveling between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, the official said.

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Today, 4 days after flight MH370 went missing, the search and rescue teams (SAR) have expanded the scope beyond the flight path to the West Peninsular of Malaysia at the Straits of Malacca. The authorities are looking at a possibility of an attempt made by MH370 to turn back to Subang. All angles are being looked at.

The mission is aided by various countries namely Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines and the United States of America. The assets deployed to cover the search and rescue is extensive. In total there are nine aircraft and 24 vessels deployed on this mission.

Apart from the search in the sea, search on land in between these areas is also conducted.

2 Responses

  1. Nalliah Thayabharan says:

    Whatever happened to the Flight MH370, it occurred quickly. The problem had to be big enough. There could have possibly been a cockpit fire that simply burned the
    plane in the air and also cut off radar and all other communications.
    The Boeing 777, registration 9M-MRO, was delivered new to Malaysia Airlines
    on May 31, 2002. The tip of the wing of the same aircraft broke off
    Aug. 9, 2012, as it was taxiing at Pudong International Airport outside
    Shanghai. The wingtip collided with the tail of a China Eastern Airlines
    A340 plane. The aircraft was powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892
    engines. Almost 12 years old Boeing 777 had accumulated over 20,000 hours and 3,000 cycles in service.

    The stolen passports are not necessarily related to the disappearance of
    the plane since passengers use false identities for illegal

    The disaster is most similar to the mysterious disappearance of Air France Flight
    447, which killed all 228 people on board. Investigations were unable
    to conclusively come up with a reason for the crash of the Airbus A330
    until the plane’s black boxes – its flight and voice data recorders –
    were recovered from the bottom of the ocean two years later.

    Air France flight Flight 447 provided a cautionary tale against
    premature speculation. The accident was initially blamed by the airline
    on a thunderstorm. Later, investigators pinpointed ice that caused
    faulty speed sensor readings on the plane. But data recovered after a
    two-year search led authorities to conclude that pilot error had also
    played a part – the crew’s handling of the plane after the auto-pilot
    was disengaged put it into a stall from which it could not recover.

    Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370′s disappearance marks the fourth hull loss of a Boeing 777
    – the previous being Asiana Airlines Flight 214 with three fatalities.
    In 2005, during a flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur the crew received a
    “stall warning” forcing the pilot to turn back. On Jul 29, 2011 an
    Egyptair flight MS-667 – Boeing 777-200, registration SU-GBP was
    preparing for departure from Cairo (Egypt) to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) at
    gate F7 with 291 passengers already boarded waiting for a delayed last
    passenger until doors could be closed .when a fire erupted in the
    cockpit causing smoke to also enter the cabin. Emergency exits were not
    opened, all passengers vacated the aircraft through the smoke and the
    main doors.What a lucky set of crew and passengers. Imagine the horror
    had they been airborne.The aircraft was subsequently written off as
    beyond economical repair.

    The more worrying part of the report on the Egypt Air fire was that the
    investigation discovered the suspect wiring and it’s brackets did not
    comply with the Boeing blueprints and a very large batch of 777s had
    been delivered with the same fault.

    If such a fire occurred at FL 350 (35,000 ft), on an aircraft flying
    850 km/h (475 knots), it is plausible to assume it would be
    catastrophic. For context, the strongest Category 5 hurricanes ever
    recorded had sustained winds of only’ 340 km/h, strong enough to destroy
    many buildings that are not made of steel-reinforced concrete.

    If such a quick and devastating cockpit fire occurred aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, it could be consistent with some of the known facts:

    * communications being cut abruptly (pilots struggling to extinguish it, speed of fire, electronics destroyed)

    * no mayday signals sent (no time before cockpit uninhabitable due to smoke and fire, and/or instruments destroyed),

    * the transponder going down,

    * no calls from passengers (too high for cell-phone contact, no time, panic)

    * perhaps the “mumbling” when another pilot radioed (e.g. if static or 500 mph wind sounded like mumbling),

    * perhaps a change of course and/or altitude (if the plane continued to
    fly for some time, even with the cockpit electronics destroyed due to a
    growing fire),

    * perhaps the plane suddenly disappearing once the fire reached some
    critical point (e.g. perhaps igniting fuel tanks or cabin oxygen tanks,
    or the nose-cone/windshield being breached and a catastrophic rush of
    air ripping through the plane, etc.), and

    * possibly (though less likely) the fire even reaching temperatures above 1,100 C, thereby damaging the flight data recorder.

    Evidently the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System –
    ACARS went inoperative few minutes before the last communications with
    the pilot. Disabling the ACARS is not easy,. Most probably an electrical
    problem or an electrical fire cause the shutdown of the ACARS than a
    manual shutdown and the pilots probably were not even aware ACARS was
    not transmitting. Things could have been in the process of going wrong,
    unknown to the pilots. The loss of transponders and communications were
    most probably caused by an electrical fire. In the case of an electrical
    fire, the first response is to pull the main busses and restore
    circuits one by one until the bad one is isolated. If pilots pulled the
    busses, the plane would go silent. It was probably a very serious fire
    and the pilots were occupied with controlling the plane and trying to
    fight the cockpit fire. Aviate, navigate, and lastly, communicate is the
    only way in such situations. Probably the pilot was turning towards the
    closest airpot – Langkawi, a 13,000-ft airstrip with an approach
    over water and no obstacles. The did not turn towards Kuala Lampur most
    probably due to the fact that he had 8,000-foot ridges to cross. The
    pilot obviously knew the terrain was friendlier towards Langkawi, which
    also was closest airport.

    There are two types of fires. An electrical fire might not be as fast
    and furious, and there may or may not be incapacitating smoke. However
    there is the possibility, given the timeline, that there was an overheat
    on one of the front landing gear tires, it blew on takeoff and started
    slowly burning due to under inflated tires, especially with heavy plane
    and long-run takeoff. A front landing gear tire fire would produce
    horrific, incapacitating smoke. On departing Kuala Lumpur, Flight 370
    would have had fuel for 8 hours of flying. The flight burned almost 25%
    in the first hour with takeoff and the climb to cruise. So when the turn
    was made the flight would have had more than 6 hours worth of fuel. The
    pilots were overcome by smoke and the plane continued on the heading,
    probably on George (autopilot), until it ran out of fuel and it crashed.
    This correlates nicely with the Inmarsat data pings being received
    until fuel exhaustion. The flight continued until time to fuel
    exhaustion confirms that the pilots were incapacitated and the flight
    continued on deep into the South Indian Ocean.

    Much of the wreckage may be at the bottom of the South Indian Ocean. The
    size of the debris field will be one of the first indicators of what
    happened. A smaller field would indicate the plane probably fell
    intact, breaking up upon impact with the water. Discovering the debris
    can take days. If it is due to a deadly mechanical breakdown then
    Malaysia Airlines should take the blame

  1. March 23, 2014

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