#MH370: Ocean Shield en route to resume search with Bluefin 21

May 11, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy mothers Day!

Good morning:

Reuters is reporting that the Ocean Shield is en route to a location in the Indian Ocean approximately 1,000 miles NW of Perth to resume searching for #MH370 with the Bluefin 21, the US Navy’s autonomous torpedo-shaped underwater drone equipped with side sonar to map the ocean bottom.

The new location is where searchers detected the first sequence of pings using the towed pinger locator. The sequence, which lasted about two hours, was the longest sequence detected.

This new search will build on the 121 square mile search that was centered on the second sequence of pings, which lasted about 13 minutes.

Both sequences of pings were detected April 5th.


Deconstruction of Oscar Pistorius continues in Capetown courtroom

April 14, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Good morning:

We have the first two sessions of the Pistorius trial today from Capetown, South Africa courtesy of youtube. They are 6 hours ahead of New York City, so it’s 2 pm there.

Crane and I will be watching along with you, beginning with Session 1.

Here’s Session 2.

Here is Session 3.

Here’s Pistorius’s bail affidavit that the prosecutor is using as a prior inconsistent statement under oath. The prosecutor confronts Pistorius with the affidavit every time his testimony varies from what he said in his affidavit. This is one of the most effective ways to cross examine a witness. Each inconsistency sets up the argument, was the witness lying then or is he lying now?

Oscar Pistorius trial: affidavit from bail hearing – in full

In other news today, the police have arrested 73-year-old Frasier Glenn Cross Jr. for shooting to death a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather in the parking lot at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City and one elderly woman at its assisted living center.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has announced that Cross is an alias for Frasier Glenn Miller, the former Grand Dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

He is alleged to have said to police, “Heil Hitler,” when they placed him in a patrol vehicle.

Evidently, this is the way Mr. Miller decided to celebrate the beginning of Passover.

The Jewish Community Center is a welcoming place to people of all faiths. For example, the 14-year-old boy and his grandfather were Methodists.

We will be keeping a close watch on this case. I am guessing that it may be prosecuted by the feds as a hate crime.

Mr. Miller should be having an initial appearance sometime today.

Incidentally, the Southern Poverty Law Center also lists Cliven Bundy as a right wing domestic terrorist.

Now that the batteries have expired and the black boxes have turned silent, the search for MH370 goes underwater today with the Bluefin 21 searching the ocean bottom for the wreckage.

We’ll see you in the comments and please do not forget to make a donation today if you have not already done so.

Fred


#MH370: Search update for Saturday, April 12

April 12, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Good morning:

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

Acoustic data analysis continues.

No pings from the black boxes have been detected since the towed pinger locator detected signals on Tuesday. The previously reported signals picked up by the sonar buoys have been analyzed and excluded as electronic signals from the black boxes.

The Chief Coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret’d), said an initial assessment of the possible signal detected by a RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft yesterday afternoon has been determined as not related to an aircraft underwater locator beacon.

“The Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre has analysed the acoustic data and confirmed that the signal reported in the vicinity of the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield is unlikely to be related to the aircraft black boxes,” Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret’d), said.

Here’s the media release for today.

Media Release
12 April 2014—am

Up to nine military aircraft, one civil aircraft and 14 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 41,393 square kilometres. The centre of the search areas lies approximately 2331 kilometres north west of Perth.

Today, Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield continues more focused sweeps with the Towed Pinger Locator to try and locate further signals related to the aircraft’s black boxes. The AP-3C Orions continue their acoustic search, working in conjunction with Ocean Shield. The oceanographic ship HMS Echo is also working in the area with Ocean Shield. This work continues in an effort to narrow the underwater search area for when the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is deployed. There have been no confirmed acoustic detections over the past 24 hours.

The weather forecast for today is 10 knot south easterly winds with isolated showers, sea swells up to one metre and visibility of five kilometres in showers.

Aircraft and ships reported spotting a number of objects during yesterday’s search, but only a small number were able to be recovered. None of the recovered items were confirmed to be associated with MH370.

The underwater search area is approximately 14,800 feet below the surface of the ocean and about the same size as the city of Los Angeles. That’s why they are going to continue to listen for pings until they are satisfied that the batteries have expired. The more pings they detect, the easier it will be to shrink the search area and locate the black boxes.

The Bluefin 21’s sonar can scan only about 100 meters to each side and its lights can only illuminate a few meters. The maximum depth at which it can operate is 4,500 meters and some areas of the search zone are deeper. Because of these limitations, they will continue to listen for pings until they are satisfied that they know the location of the black boxes or the batteries have died. The boxes are not going anywhere, so they are not going to risk losing or damaging the Bluefin 21 during a premature dive.

The searchers are also concerned about the firmness of the ocean bottom, which they believe to be composed of a layer of silt, approximately 75 feet deep. They fear the wreckage, including the black boxes, may have disappeared into the silt muffling and misdirecting the pings while also making it difficult to see any wreckage.

You are up to date.

Photo by Aero Icarus released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.

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Thank you,

Fred


#MH370: Sonobuoys detect possible signals from black boxes

April 10, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Good morning:

I have more good news to report in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

CNN is reporting this morning that an Australian P3 Orion has picked up signals during Thursday’s search from some of the 84 sonobuoys that were dropped into ocean in the vicinity of the location where the Ocean Shield picked up signals from the black boxes with the towed pinger locater (TPL).

Sonobuoys, which float on the surface, dangle a hydrophone (i.e., an underwater microphone) attached to a 1,000 foot cable. The sonobuoy broadcasts any radio signal picked up by the hydrophone.

Searchers are using the sonobuoys to precisely locate the black boxes on the ocean bottom, which is 14,800 feet deep.

The electronic information picked up by the sonobuoys will be evaluated Thursday night.

Depending on the results, the Ocean Shield may deploy the Bluefin 21 to find the wreckage and and photograph it.

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Fred


#MH370: Searchers detect more pings late Tuesday afternoon and evening

April 9, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Good morning:

The Ocean Shield, which is using the U.S. Navy’s towed pinger locater (TPL) to search for the black boxes that were on board Malaysia Airlines MH370, twice detected pinging signals from the flight data recorder late Tuesday afternoon and again on Tuesday night.

Zee News India is reporting:

In what is further expected to boost the chances of finding black box of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet MH370, Australian Naval ship Ocean Shield equipped with US-Navy supplied black box detector (Towed Pinger Locator) is reported to have detected two more ‘pings’.

Australian search coordinator Angus Houston told reporters that the signals detected on Tuesday afternoon and evening, were believed to “be consistent with the specification and description of a flight data recorder”.

“Ocean Shield has been able to reacquire the signals on two more occasions, late yesterday afternoon and later last night,” said Angus Houston, head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre.

“I believe we are searching in the right area,” he said.

CNN provides specific information about the pings:

The first signal, at 4:45 p.m. Perth Time on Saturday, lasted 2 hours 20 minutes.

The second, at 9:27 p.m. Saturday, lasted 13 minutes.

The third signal was picked up Tuesday at 4:27 p.m. That lasted 5 minutes 32 seconds.

The fourth, at 10:17 p.m. Tuesday, was 7 minutes long.

Unfortunately, the searchers do not yet have enough data to confidently pinpoint the location of the black boxes. They do not want to begin searching with the remotely operated sub (Bluefin 21) until they have shrunk the area to be searched as much as possible.

The Bluefin 21’s sonar can scan only about 100 meters to each side and its lights can only illuminate a few meters. The maximum depth at which it can operate is 4,500 meters and some areas of the search zone are deeper. Because of these limitations, they will continue to listen for pings until they are satisfied that they know the location of the black boxes or the batteries have died. The boxes are not going anywhere, so they are not going to risk losing or damaging the Bluefin 21 during a premature dive.

Due to the difference in time, Perth is 12 hours ahead of New York and the late news conference Tuesday evening, news of the pings was not reported until long after I posted my article yesterday in which I said no pings were found Tuesday.

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#MH370: No pings detected during Tuesday search

April 8, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Good morning:

The searchers did not detect any pings on Tuesday and that may be because the batteries on the black boxes have expired.

They will continue to listen for pings because it’s possible that the batteries might not have expired and they need the pings to triangulate the precise location of the black boxes. Otherwise, it might take a long time of hit and miss searching of the ocean bottom to locate them.

Here’s the latest report from Sky News in Australia.

Two sets of possible black box pings picked up by the Australian vessel Ocean Shield in the southern Indian Ocean – one that was held for two hours and 20 minutes, and another for 13 minutes – remain the best lead so far.

Search co-ordinator Angus Houston said no more signals had been detected since those announced on Monday.

But the former defence force chief said strenuous attempts to pick up more would continue until there was no doubt the black box beacon’s battery, now two days past its 30-day life, had run out.

Batteries often lasted several days longer than that, so there was still hope, he said.

‘Until we stop the pinger search, we will not deploy the submersible … unless we find another transmission,’ he told reporters in Perth on Tuesday.

‘If we can get more transmissions, we can get a better fix on the ocean floor, which will enable a much more narrowly focused visual search for wreckage.

‘If we go down there now and do a visual search, it will take many, many days because it’s very slow, very painstaking work to scour the ocean floor.’

He said some of the false acoustic leads that had been discounted had come from a search ship.

‘It got its own transmissions back again. Funny things happen in that environment and you can’t assume things,’ he said.

‘We think the Ocean Shield transmission is probably the most promising one and we continue to prosecute that.’

You are up to date.

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Fred


#MH370: “We are very close to where we need to be” Updated below

April 7, 2014
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

We are very close to where we need to be

Monday, April 7, 2014

Good morning:

Angus Houston, the head of the joint agency coordinating the search in the southern Indian Ocean said today, “We are very close to where we need to be.”

CBS is reporting encouraging news this morning regarding signals picked up by the Ocean Shield:

The Australian navy’s Ocean Shield, which is carrying high-tech sound detectors from the U.S. Navy, picked up two separate signals within a remote patch of the Indian Ocean far off the west Australian coast that search crews have been crisscrossing for weeks. The first signal lasted two hours and 20 minutes before it was lost. The ship then turned around and picked up a signal again – this time recording two distinct “pinger returns” that lasted 13 minutes, Houston said.

“Significantly, this would be consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder,” Houston said.

He said the position of the noise needs to be further refined, and then an underwater autonomous vehicle can be sent in to investigate.

The ocean is approximately 14,800 feet deep in the area where the two distinct pinger sounds were detected. That is within the range that the remotely operated sub can function.

While urging caution, Houston said,

“We’ve got a visual indication on a screen, and we’ve also got an audible signal. And the audible signal sounds to me just like an emergency locator beacon,” he said.

“We are encouraged that we are very close to where we need to be.”

This location is 600 kilometers northeast of the location where the Haixun 01 detected signals on Friday and Saturday.

Because the two locations are so far apart, there is little likelihood that the sounds detected came from the same source. Many people believe the Ocean Shield is more likely to have detected the black boxes than the Haixun 01 because it’s towing a sensitive pinger locater that is attached to a cable that can reach a depth of 20,000 feet, whereas, the Haixun 01 is using a surface sound detector that was designed for divers to locate items of interest at depths up to 600 feet. It was not designed for the purpose that it is being used and may not be providing accurate and reliable information, according to the manufacturer.

The next step will be an attempt to verify that the signals came from the two black boxes. That will involve multiple efforts to drag the pinger locater through the area of interest in order to identify a specific location on the ocean bottom to search.

Then send the sub to take a look.

UPDATE: The LA Times is reporting:

Cmdr. William Marks of U.S. 7th Fleet, who is aboard the Ocean Shield, said the towed pinger locator was only about 985 feet deep when it began detecting the pings at one-second intervals. “We were not overly optimistic,” he told CNN by satellite phone from the ship.

But after lowering the towed pinger locator to nearly 4,600 feet, the crew was able to get hold of the signal for more than two hours.

Marks noted that if the signal was coming from a black box, the signal should get stronger and then fade as the locator passed over the site. “That’s what happened,” Marks said, describing searchers as “cautiously optimistic.”
Crews then did a course change and passed back over the area, lowering the towed pinger locator to about 9,850 feet, which Marks called the “optimal depth.” Crews were able to pick up a signal for about 15 minutes, he said.

According to Houston, the area where the signals were detected has a depth of about 14,800 feet — the maximum depth the underwater vehicle can operate in. He cautioned that “in very deep oceanic water, nothing happens fast” and that it could take “some days” to establish whether this is connected with Flight 370.

Photo by Aero Icarus released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.
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Fred


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