That blog was published on 8th June and has generated quite a few comments, none of which have disagreed with the calculation. I can assure you that if anyone had tried to disprove my work, I would have published their comments(provided they were polite). I find it hard to understand how I, with my 14 inch laptop, can see what the JACC et al can't and am prepared to be wrong.
At that time I suspected the radar information and set out to prove that it was wrong.
What happened within the first hour after disappearance is vitally important because it affects the fuel burn and range calculations.
The original underwater search was 1000 KM west of Learmonth and I can only assume that it was based on fuel burn calculated from a faulty radar track. We now know what a debacle that was and the 37khz fiasco which I believe was Ocean Shield and Haixun1 hearing each other’s test transmissions. What the authorities haven’t told us is why they’re now searching a couple of thousand kms south west. That’s a huge distance and a huge error so we know that the authorities can drop clangers. The only reason for the shift that I can see is that they no no longer believe the zigzag track.
What I know of corporate structures is the steam roller effect of decision making. Once a decision is made, the course of action develops a momentum which facts rarely alter. Military organizations are worse because of the vertical information chain and arguing with a senior officer can put you behind bars. Loss of employment in the civil world is sufficient reason to keep quiet even if glaring errors present themselves.
At the time of my first calculation, I believed the satellite information was probably correct and it was only the radar which was wrong. I based my sums on the first ping arc of 1829Z from Duncan Steel’s BTO calculations and the first ATSB report gave that time as 1828, so for the sake of a minute I didn’t bother to re-calculate.
(all images need right clicking for full image)
From ATSB report 26th May;
For this one and to be more accurate than the ATSB (sarcasm), I’ve started at BITOD. There is so much debate as to what happened after IGARI that I’ve kept it simple and used the information from the original Malaysian Government Preliminary Report.
Because I know nothing about satellite science and couldn’t be bothered to learn, I previously restricted my comments to the area I was familiar with. Since then there have been too many errors and anomalies for me to ignore.
The first error of course was the three minutes. What concerned me next was the over simplification and dumbing down by the ATSB.
The first image below is from the 26th June ATSB report. The second from Miteq, the company subcontracted by Inmarsat to build their EAFC system. Not as simple as ATSB would have us believe is it?
I’ve been definitively told by an “expert” that there was no error. He doesn’t have raw data so how can he possibly know ?
I consider the 1st Arc to be very significant because the time and position of that arc are relative to the accuracy of the rest. I am aware that Malaysian have flown other aircraft as a verifier of BTO/BFO but I wanted to know if 9M’s specific system had been measured against the known track after it departed Kuala Lumpur. The ATSB have answered above and specified an error of plus or minus 10kms which I’ve included in my calculation.
As with my previous calculation, I’m not confident using Google Earth as a navigation tool. I emailed Earth support asking for accuracy guidelines and received no reply. The ATSB are OK with it because all their maps are Google Earth but (more sarcasm) I’d like to think they're also using specific aviation tools.
We don’t know how the aircraft hit the water either in the SIO or the S.China Sea but it’s possible that impact was insufficient to activate the ELT which to my understanding requires an impact of at least 15g. There have been simulated uncontrolled descents which produced phugoid oscillations ( a new word every day ). What we don’t know is at what part of an oscillation the plane hit the water. A debris field is contingent on exactly that and because AF447 dropped tail first from a great height doesn’t mean that MH370 did the same. It may have been on the surface mostly intact and awash just long enough to transmit handshakes and then submerged. Asiana 214 is an example of the toughness of B777 airframes.
I believe it possible that 9M came down in the South China Sea and remained floating for long enough to transmit the sat pings. Salt water spray and partial intermittent submersion may have created misleading BTO/BFO effects.
The Seventh arc is in the South China Sea and I believe that’s the only arc which is reliable. Incidentally the Seventh was the first published, we didn’t even know about the others.
Notice how the red lines exclude South China Sea. Why? Because they thought they knew the last radar contact and somebody decided that it didn’t fit. The same applies to the sharp left turn into the Indian Ocean. It’s the only way they could reconcile radar with ping arcs. There is absolutely no explanation for that turn except that it joins dubious radar to unreliable ping arcs.
There is so much rumour and misinformation on the web that I’ve tried to get as close to source as possible and to quote the source, so although there have been various reports from Vietnam, I’ve not seen anything official. It would have been very helpful if Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia had issued official communiqués specifying what they knew. Instead we have verbal quotes which were later denied as misquotes.
Without specific met info at various levels I can’t calculate IAS but the TAS is in my opinion way too fast for a B777 or even a B747-400. Never mind the zigzag, that track is the shortest possible between BITOD and the now 1825z ping arc. I’ve even allowed for ATSB’s +or – 10km and still come up with a TAS of 519kts. That is the minimum distance possible and I've given benefit of doubt by using minus 10km error factor. Plus 10km however would make speed even faster and more impossible.
If the first arc is wrong, the others including the 7th are in doubt. Those arcs are the only indication we have that 9m even went west, the radar is certainly unreliable and hearsay from Thailand or Vietnam is not good enough for me. If it wasn’t seen on radar and the BTO/BFO is wrong, what does that leave us with? The last known position, BITOD.
I could be wrong and the SIO might be the crash site but not a scrap of debris and dubious ping arcs suggest otherwise.
Malaysia has received enormous criticism and certainly some of their actions deserve it. MAS ops misleading ATC into thinking it was over Cambodia and then making only two attempts to contact the plane on sat phone was a massive error. Initially they did do the sensible thing and started searching 9m’s last known position in the South China Sea although with a huge delay.
At FL350 the top of descent rule of thumb is x3 = 105 nm search radius from BITOD. It wasn’t done. According to press reports the search shifted to the Straits of Malacca after only three days. As much as I dislike relying on press reports, there is nothing in the Preliminary Report to specify when the search was moved.
Since then Malaysia have watched Australia screw about in the Indian Ocean and left the South China Sea unsearched. It’s full of debris and every single piece should have been collected and returned to a hangar for inspection by Boeing.
By not conducting a thorough surface search at the appropriate time, the only way they’ll find it is by submarine ROV but certainly cheaper and easier than SIO because of the shallower water.
I believe interference from Australia, Britain and the USA have pressured Malaysia into abandoning common sense and not looking where most aviation accidents happen, within 100nms of last known position. (correct me if wrong but I can't think of a single instance of an aircraft dropping off radar & NOT being found within 100 nms of that point)
What facts do we have to indicate it might be in the South China Sea? Nothing official that’s for sure but we do have the U Tapau mayday. Could cabin disintegration make it to SIO? I think not and why was this later retracted ? Why are US FOI requests denied for reasons of US national security?
The South China Sea is the elephant in the room we dare not talk about. If I suggested this on PPRuNe I’d be shouted down and deleted by people so arrogantly certain of facts they have no access to.
I think it’s incumbent on Malaysia to search the area of last known position if only to prove that it’s not there. Let Australia continue looking in the SIO.
Until now I’ve been reluctant to propose a specific course of action but the overwhelming cock-ups from the authorities have led me to believe that given their budget and resources, I’d have a better chance of finding it myself.
First we had the pilot suicide theory and by carefully selecting a few pilots and feeding them bullshit radar and a few pings they were convinced to buy that one. Now we have the hijack theory and pilots still swallowing the same crap fed by politically motivated authorities and a less than impartial press.
This is an amazing hijacker, he knows B777 systems inside out, also knows specific ATC and radar coverage, can fly a plane while downstairs pulling cb’s and being such a genius, then flies into the SIO with the intention of…….??? Tim Clark believes such a person or even team exists. I don't.
At the outset the press and internet community were led in every direction except the most logical place. The South China Sea is off limits, the question is why.
The discrepancy of the 1822 position can be clearly seen.
The photo from the Beijing Lido shows abeam MEKAR at 1822 and also the 295R 200nms and yet my plotting shows how far apart the two points are. It's been suggested that the photo shown was a representation of radar and not an actual screenshot of the military picture. It's also been suggested that the photo was civil SSR and not military PSR. The other photo from the same briefing shows a diagrammatic representation so those suggestions seem to be correct. My own experience suggests it is a civil set-up
(on which primary can be selected.
Now the most important part. Can we safely assume that the only radar target they had was the track between the two radials 295R200 and 279R89 ?
I intend to further check my own work for errors and inaccuracies and still have a few more more bearings to double check and will confirm asap.
From the photo we can now see that it was actually 295RADIAL200. I also went on a wild goose chase looking for that 7215 "squawk" only to discover that it was a typo in the transcript which should have been time 0215. And there we have another discrepancy; 0215 or 0222 ?
For the technically minded it may appear a stupid question BUT the Prelim report specifically states; "after ACARS stopped transmitting" and that was at 1707. If the 7 pings came from the active satcom system then how can ATSB quote 10km accuracy from ACARS ? Two different systems, like comparing apples and oranges. I look forward to an explanation for that.
Based on realistic speed, I believe the 1st arc to be at least 30nms in error and it doesn't require much calculation to see how that error factor will compound over 7 arcs.
*Note: there may be inaccuracies of a couple of miles as the report didn't give specific Lat/Lon.