#MH370: Important update on sign off and search effort

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Good afternoon:

The disappearance of MH370 a little over three weeks ago, the investigation to find out what happened to it and the effort to recover the two black boxes have failed to locate any wreckage from the Boeing 777-200.

Boeing reported late last week that a reevaluation of the ping data led them to identify a new area to search in the south Indian Ocean that is northeast of the original search area and much closer to western Australia. Because the flight to and from the new search area takes less time, aircraft can now spend up to five hours searching the new area compared to only two hours in the original area.

China and Thailand also announced last week that their satellites detected the presence of many objects floating on the surface. Unfortunately, the ocean is rather like a vast garbage dump, so the presence of objects in the water is not surprising. Its presence complicates the search for MH370 because every object retrieved from the sea must be examined in a manner that reliably determines whether it came from MH370 or from some other source. In other words, the searchers need a forensic laboratory.

Moreover, they need it on-site. The mountain must come to Mohammad because the nearest laboratory is several days distant in Perth. I say “several days” because the number and varying size, weight and condition of the objects necessitates the use of a ship to transport them to Perth.

The Australians have decided to create the on-site lab on their ship, Success, where they have a helipad and a large crane. The Washington Post describes the situation,

Malaysia technically must secure the wreckage and make it available for the investigation. But Australia is handling that responsibility on Malaysia’s behalf. As a result, any ship that collects suspected plane wreckage must hand it over to Australian authorities, said Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transporation Safety Board.

“Any wreckage that is obtained, we will hold on behalf of the Malaysian investigation team and await their instructions,” Dolan said. “We’re in continual discussions with the Malaysians about the progress of the search and we will continue to discuss with them the handling of wreckage as and when it comes to hand.”

Australian authorities have not divulged details about how identification of objects retrieved by ships is being conducted to determine whether they are from the plane or are sea trash.

But an Australian government official said ships in the search area have the capability of transmitting photos of recovered debris to experts on the Australian mainland who can make detailed examinations. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak with the media.

The Australian supply ship HMAS Success is searching but is also designated as the ship that will store potential plane wreckage at sea. It has a heavy crane. How transfers of potential plane debris will happen from one ship to another and transferred to the navy base near Perth will be decided on a case by case basis, Walker said.

“They’re not going to sail into Perth every time they pick something up,” he said. That voyage takes days.

MH370 is transforming our world in potentially beneficial ways.

The most obvious benefit is cooperation between nations on a peer-to-peer basis to organize, share resources and use technologies, previously reserved for military use against each other, to find the aircraft.

The second effect that we are beginning to see is a mega increase in awareness that we humans have transformed our oceans into garbage dumps. “Out of sight, out of mind,” is a description of our failure to acknowledge and take responsibility for the garbage we generate and the duty to dispose of it beneficially.

Visit any garbage dump or landfill anywhere in the world and you will discover that corporations are not the only polluters.

Before publishing this post, I checked for the latest update on the search for MH370 and discovered that Malaysian officials announced today that the copilot did not say, “All right. Good night.”

The sign-off to the command to switch to ATC Ho Chi Minh City for the next leg of the flight to Beijing was the final radio communication with the flight.

As readers may recall, Towerflower and I disagreed about the potential significance of that sign-off because it’s not pilot-speak. With my tinfoil hat firmly in place, I said I thought it may have been a coded signal that a hijacking may have been underway, but he could not say that because the hijacker may have been holding a knife to his throat. Towerflower disagreed. She said pilots will occasionally lapse into normal-speak during late night flights when fewer aircraft are aloft. She is an air traffic controller, which I am not.

Mr Ken Stewart, who started commenting here recently, is a captain who pilots triple-7s. He said he always signs off in pilot-speak, which requires an identification of the flight and a word-by-word repetition of the command. This procedure was designed to assure that the message was received.

The sign-off occurred at 1:19 am. Two minutes later, the transponder stopped broadcasting and the aircraft turned back toward the Malay Peninsula.

The Telegraph is reporting,

Meanwhile, Geoffrey Thomas, an Australia aviation expert and the editor of Airlineratings.com has criticised the Malaysian government’s admission that the final words spoken from on board the aircraft were different to those they originally reported. He said it was “extraordinary” that it took so long for a correction to be issued.
“This just gives the families of those, the families of the victims, more evidence that things have been hidden from them if you like,” he added. “The sign off from the Malaysian pilots is still not correct because they should have said, ‘Malaysian 370 contact Ho Chi Minh centre on 1 2 0 decimal 9, goodnight.'”

Thomas is correct. A transcript of the radio communications between ATC and Malaysian 370 establishes that

01:19:24 ATC: Malaysian 370 contact Ho Chi Minh 120 decimal 9. Good night.

01:19:29 MS370: Good night Malaysian 370.

Although I knew about the plastic garbage dump in the Pacific Ocean and the oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico, I did not realize the extent of the problem until recently. Sea trash is severely hampering the search for MH370 and may ultimately make it impossible to find floating wreckage from the flight until a fishing boat snags it by accident or it starts turning up on a beach somewhere. Depending on how long it takes to find wreckage from MH370, retracing its path to find out where MH370 entered the water may not be possible.

Our oceans have become a vast garbage dump and we absolutely must change that.

You are now up to date.

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18 Responses to #MH370: Important update on sign off and search effort

  1. colin black says:

    OSCAR Pissedoverus is a khunt and a murderer as She yelled for help 3 x he echcoed her cries In cruel feindish evil mockery.

    He most likeley did even raise his voice pitch whilst shouting help again In mockery…

    Thats why he Is incoperateing the I scream like a girl defence but moraly and in reality this

    Evil Pampered Brat does not have a leg to stand on.

  2. Malisha says:

    OT, but I want to mention something about the Oscar Pistorius trial. He LOVED guns. He insists that the terrified screams that occurred, identified by the neighbors as “a woman’s blood curdling screams,” were HIS screams. He yelled “Help Help Help” after firing shots. He thought the noises he heard were “a burglar.” He claims that he was in fear for his life when he shot. He used hollow-point bullets. He had an “anger management problem” and was described by former girlfriends and other friends as having had temper tantrums and public rages. He had used his gun(s) inappropriately in the past and not been charged with crimes as a result of those infractions. He got someone else to take the blame for a prior “gun discharge” in a crowded restaurant.

    Any of this sound familiar? Screams anybody? Screams?

    • Girlp says:

      Why do these people have guns anyone that has been through anger management or has that problem should not be able to buy a gun that should be illegal and if they do buy one should spend time in jail.

    • Diamonique says:

      I’ve been following this trial, and I think he should be found guilty of murder… possibly 1st degree. But I’ve been reading that South Africa *loves* its athletes to the point that they will never find him guilty.

      Girlp, I agree with your comments 100%. This guy had been getting away with stuff and looking for real trouble for a long time. Well now he’s found it. He should never have been allowed to have all those guns in the first place, considering his past issues.

    • towerflower says:

      Z also bragged on his myspace page about others taking a fall for him and not saying anything about it.

      Fascination with guns, paranoia about crime, anger issues, stolen voices….yep sounds familiar.

  3. towerflower says:

    Yes, like I said before, in a perfect pilot/controller aviation world both the controller and the pilot use perfect, by the book, phraseology. And in this perfect world Mr. Stewart is correct, except for a couple of items. Pilots and controller phraseology does not include “niceties”. I worked at one facility that would gig you for every “have a nice day, good day, good morning, etc.” when they would do “tape talks” (pulling a random tape and evaluating your performance.) Is it harsh? Yes, I knew one controller who worked DAL191 when they left Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) he told the pilot to have a nice flight to Dallas (DFW). He received a letter of reprimand for this……the flight crashed on final into DFW. A controller looks at it as a BS letter since the controller in the tower at FLL didn’t have anything to do with the plane’s crash in DFW, but when lawyers get involved it gets nasty and they review every part of the plane’s movements and the controller’s actions from push out from the gate until the final event. But do we still say the niceties, yes, at times, and when it is slower it is when you’ll see it.

    But by the book in the US, ATC to pilot would have been:

    Malaysia Three Seventy, Contact Ho Chi Minh Center, One Two Zero point Niner.

    Pilot to ATC: Now all that is required in the US is an acknowledgement to the instruction to ensure they received them, they can use “roger, wilco, or affirmative” or any words to relay that they heard the transmission. Now if the pilot reads it back then the controller must ensure that the read back is 100% correct. So by the Pilot stating “Good night, Malaysia Three Seventy.” It would have been an acknowledgement.

    Also the US says point, not decimal. You also can’t group the numbers on frequencies ie. 120, you have to say them individually although there are a couple of examples in which you can group the numbers after you first state them individually if you think they could be misunderstood.

    Now if you really want to be totally confused you can check out our “Bible” at this link. http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/ATC.pdf
    It is the FAA order 7110.65 which governs what we say and do.

  4. lyn says:

    Fred, I am sorry these poor folk lost their lives, but isn’t it time to abandon this search ?

    • No, it’s not time to abandon the search and I doubt you would suggest that it is if someone you love was on that flight.

      You don’t abandon a search just because it’s difficult and taking awhile.

  5. bettykath says:

    Jim Stone is reporting that the IBMer managed to send a text message. He hid his phone in his behind when they were hijacked and when he sent the message he had a hood over his head (ala Abu Grabe) and had been mistreated. He also sent a picture and the metadata shows it was from Diego Garcia.

    • dianetrotter says:

      I just googled this. I had not heard anything about it before. Is it possible that CIA or some special ops are investigating this theory?

      • Trained Observer says:

        Wild-eyed fiction is always fascinating, especially when perpetrated by nutcases. Fogen ought to join up as a Jim Stone anchorman.

      • Malisha says:

        um…The Treehouse has a big write-up with 155 comments on this theory. But really, do you think a guy being held in such circumstances will take time to write a grammatically perfect paragraph to inform people of the situation? Why not cut out all unnecessary words and transmit an SOS with as much info. as possible to assist a rescue? “I hid it in my ass” is particularly suspect, in my view. Who would care how he hid it if he was able to send out a message?

    • I’m not going to get excited about this lead until it’s checked out and verified.

  6. Malisha says:

    This particular event, the missing Flight 370, has just plain boggled my mind. So much is wrong with it. So much is wrong with the thing itself, the mis-reporting of the details, the chaos, the utter chaos. I can’t find my own feelings about this event. I feel like all my reactions have been put into a blender and spun beyond recognition. A very disoriented, uncomfortable, discomforting, disorganizing feeling. Persistent, too. It feels like a sneeze that is lurking and don’t progress but stays in that “prickly pre-sneeze” status forever.

  7. colin black says:

    The seas are decimated along with the land we are rippin the lungs of the planet with deforrestation .

    Tipping point has come an gone Coprate types have never cared preserveing the planet in a pristine condition for future generations is not on there to do list.

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