Here is the #MH370 situation update. I will try to update this article as conditions change.
Let us first start with the basics. The statistics as initially reported are incorrect. Here are the stats for the flight.
The ADS-B transponder of an aircraft is transmitting data twice per second. FR24 saves data every 10-60 seconds depending on altitude. Data is normally saved once per 60 seconds. By analyzing all our databases and logs, we have managed to recover about 2 signals per minute for the last 10 minutes.
Time of departure: 16:41+-
Time UTC: 17:21
Speed: 471 knots
This is less than one hour of flight, which is contrary to the reported duration of around 2 hours. This flight only lasted 38-40 minutes on radar. Coincidence: Pan Am Flight 103 was in the air 38 minutes.
Between 17:19 and 17:20 the aircraft was changing heading from 25 to 40 degrees, which is completely according to flight plan. Previous flights of MH370 on both 4 March and 8 March did the same at the same position. The last 2 signals are both showing that the aircraft is heading in direction 40 degrees.
We have heard reports in media that MH370 may have turned around. I have not seen this in the evidence from the tracking database. This could have happened if the aircraft suddenly lost altitude, as FR24 database coverage in that area is limited to about 29,000 feet.
There were no emergency squawk alerts for flight MH370 before coverage was lost of the aircraft. Playback for flight MH370 is available on the following page.
There is a clock rolling on the left legend under search
You should pay attention to the following aircraft:
|MAS 370||This is Malaysian Air 370||Departed at 16:41|| You can find the airport from which he departed on the left
mid portion of the screen under the word Malaysia.
|KAL 672||Korean Airlines Flt 872||Departed at 16:14|| This aircraft is flying north our of Kuala Lumpur. Very erratic flight.
It disappears then reappears at the moment MAS 370 Disappears
|UAE 419||United Arab Emirates Flt 419|| Overflies Brunei
| This aircraft enters from the middle right-hand of the screen.
It flies across the Ocean toward Bangkok. However previous flights
are in a substantially different flight path from Sydney to Bangkok.
This aircraft disappears and then reappears after FLT370 disappears.
It is apparent that a huge radar "blind spot" that did not previously exist has occurred in the area. This Radar interference caused several aircraft to leave the radar screen in a 1 hour period -- only one did not return on radar.
We are evaluating this information. There are several scenarios. Pandora, by Grumman Northrop Technologies can interfere with long distance tracking of aircraft, thus creating large areas where the transponders are unable to effectively communicate, and radar signals are blocked. The larger version of Pandora (APR 39B(V)) is found on AWACS Aircraft and other aircraft available to many governments.
Some of the possible causes for the plane disappearing include:
A CATASTROPHIC STRUCTURAL/MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL FAILURE
Most aircraft are made of aluminum, which is susceptible to corrosion over time, especially in areas of high humidity. Given the plane's long history and impressive safety record, experts suggest that a failure of the air frame, or the plane's Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines, is unlikely.
More of a threat to the plane's integrity is the constant pressurization and depressurization of the cabin for takeoff and landing. In April 2011, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff from Phoenix after the plane's fuselage ruptured, causing a 5-foot tear. The plane, with 118 people on board, landed safely. But such a rupture is less likely in this case. Airlines fly the 777 on longer distances, with many fewer takeoffs and landings, putting less stress on the air frame.
Taking into account the possibility of a massive electrical failure, one would think that it would have taken the Auto Pilot offline also causing uncontrollable flight and a dive or stalling attitude. This is negated by the report of Radar Contact 1 hour later over Malaysia heading WNW.
"It's not like this was Southwest Airlines doing 10 flights a day," Hamilton said. "There's nothing to suggest there would be any fatigue issues."
Cargo Fire (Updated 3/21)
The aircraft would have had to land immediately as per emergency procedures. In addition the Pilots would have had time to communicate with the ground. There again. Absent of debris filed, not likely. Even with a water landing. Those large engines would have ripped the wings off upon landing and probably would have cracked the fuselage providing a debris field from both cargo and passenger cabin.
Planes are designed to fly through most severe storms. However, in June 2009, an Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed during a bad storm over the Atlantic Ocean. Ice built up on the Airbus A330's airspeed indicators, giving false readings. That, and bad decisions by the pilots, led the plane into a stall causing it to plummet into the sea. All 228 passengers and crew aboard died. The pilots never radioed for help.
In the case of Saturday's Malaysia Airlines flight, all indications show that there were clear skies.
Curtis said that the pilots could have taken the plane off autopilot and somehow gone off course and didn't realize it until it was too late. The plane could have flown for another five or six hours from its point of last contact, putting it up to 3,000 miles away. LOSS OF OXYGEN IS ANOTHER CAUSE OF A PILOT BEING DISORIENTED. THIS IS CALLED HYPOXIA. This is unlikely But it's too early to eliminate it as a possibility.
FAILURE OF BOTH ENGINES
In January 2008, a British Airways 777 crashed about 1,000 feet short of the runway at London's Heathrow Airport. As the plane was coming in to land, the engines lost thrust because of ice buildup in the fuel system. There were no fatalities.
Loss of both engines is possible in this case, but Hamilton said the plane could glide for up to 20 minutes, giving pilots plenty of time to make an emergency call. When a US Airways A320 lost both of its engines in January 2009 after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York, it was at a much lower elevation. But Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger still had plenty of communications with air traffic controllers before ending the six-minute flight in the Hudson River. Even with engine loss, there would have been communications. Unlikely scenario.
Several planes have been brought down, including Pan Am Flight 103 between London and New York in December 1988. There was also an Air India flight in June 1985 between Montreal and London, and a plane in September 1989 flown by French airline Union des Transports Aériens which blew up over the Sahara. Good possibility given the circumstances, however no debris field tends to negate this for now.
A traditional hijacking seems unlikely given that a plane's captors typically land at an airport and have some type of demand. But a 9/11-type hijacking is possible, with terrorists forcing the plane into the ocean. In today's climate, there are other possibilities that include hostage-taking for political motives.
The South China Sea is a muck with terrorists and struggling nations. The Radar abnormalities could indicate some advanced operation to take an aircraft from under the nose of controllers. In addition to this, it is a possibility that the aircraft was commandeered for use as a negotiating tool or warning.
There were two large jet crashes in the late 1990s -- a Silk Air flight and an Egypt Air flight -- that are believed to have been caused by pilots deliberately crashing the planes. Government crash investigators never formally declared the crashes suicides, but both are widely acknowledged by crash experts to have been caused by deliberate pilot actions.
There have been incidents when a country's military unintentionally shot down civilian aircraft. In July 1988, the United States Navy missile cruiser USS Vincennes accidently shot down an Iran Air flight, killing all 290 passengers and crew. In September 1983, a Korean Air Lines flight was shot down by a Russian fighter jet. Note: Vietnam had just taken delivery of an advanced Russian Black Hole Submarine with Ground to Air missile capability. Normal procedures for the acquisition of such a vessel include a series of training and certification runs.
The zone where Flight 370 was shot down was shallow enough to allow a safety net for secret training exercises. Relatively few aircraft fly the route at the time of the loss of Flt 370. Considering that fact, it would be fruitless to trust in any investigation information coming from Vietnam officials. Again- No Debris Filed, probability of accidental shoot down, unlikely.
This differs substantially from any of the previous possible causes. Reasons for an intentional take-down could include intimidating a particular entity to align or fall behind certain politics of a civil or governmental/semi-governmental entity. Powerful organizations exist that will not hesitate at intimidating or assassinating at will. This would include hijacking or commendering the aircraft
It is my opinion, that there are far too many irregularities involved in this incident for it to be a simple aviation accident. Absent a debris field, the most likely scenario, in my opinion, is a commandeering. Toward what end remains to be seen.