back to article New MH370 handshake and wing debris analysis suggests rapid descent

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has published a new report (PDF) on the likely fate flight MH 370, the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 missing since March 8th, 2014. The new analysis considers three things: the last handshake between the plane and Satcom satellites; the condition of debris from the plane, and; …

  1. Pete4000uk

    Sad part is

    Most of the bodies will never be recovered.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Sad part is

      That would be "none"

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Conspiracy ..

    From the earlier debris we already know the plane did NOT crash land on the water; as this would have caused the parts found to be mangled/fractured. All the parts found so far seem to be fairly intact, and also given the fact that NO other floating debris has been found we may fairly safely conclude the plane landed at the water SOFTLY in a guided manner, but apparently with retracted flags.

    This all is fairly consistent with the theory that the plane has been landed on the water deliberately to make it disappear completely without leaving any traces. Detracted flaps would increase the chance of them being ripped off during a landing, so keeping them retracted is consistent with that. The goal obviously was not to survive but to make the plane vanish. Also keep in mind the 777 can be remote controlled and that several islanders on the Maldives have reported a big unusual plane sighting at a consistent time.

    1. Winkypop Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Conspiracy ..

      I must have left my VR conspiracy goggles at home.

      Are people still doing conspiracy theories on this one?

      1. JimC

        Re: doing Conspiracy theories...

        And will be indefinitely. Got to think there must be better things to spend money on than this needle hunt.

        1. Anna Logg

          Re: doing Conspiracy theories...

          Indeed, given that after over a year and millions of bucks spent they haven't found the haystack, let alone the needle.

          1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

            Re: doing Conspiracy theories...

            I think they have identified the haystack. It is large and very wet.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Conspiracy ..

      I didn't know planes had retractable flags.

      Serious point though, why is this data only coming out now when they've had it since the plane dissappeared?

      1. Richard Jones 1
        Unhappy

        Re: Conspiracy ..

        With more time and probably more thought, those with the required mathematical skills have realised that the data was capable of even more in depth analysis. Every event has its own unique signature. Sometimes it takes a great deal of time to decipher the more archane aspects of the item. How many here would be able to put their hands on all the skills required? It is one thing to read the work of others and superficially accept or follow the text. It is quite another to be able to generate the original ideas that allowed the analysis to be developed.

        Whatever is said and done, the dead are still dead and will not be recovered. No analysis can change that. The burning, unanswered question that remains is why did it happen at all?

        1. druck Silver badge

          Re: Conspiracy ..

          Another reason for the further analysis of the signals only coming out now, is that they have been monitoring the signals from other aircraft flying in that region for several years to correlate the pings against the known positions and flight profiles of those aircraft.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Conspiracy ..

        "I didn't know planes had retractable flags."

        Let alone detractable ones.

        1. A. Coatsworth
          Unhappy

          Re: Conspiracy ..

          If it wasn't for the fact that 240 persons are missing, and almost certainly dead, conspiracy theories (not only about the plane, but in general) make a very entertaining read.

          In particular the theory that the plane was hijacked by Russians and stored in the Baikonur Cosmodrome is an awesome piece of fantasy writing.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: Conspiracy ..

            Space Aliens!

            More Undocumented Immigration

            Those who believe in one theory usually believe in others. The theories typically view large organizations as tightly united in secret evil, as unitary globs of malevolence, a bit like the evil spirits of primitive societies, and able to keep dark secrets even though though large numbers, often of ordinary employees, would have to know of the plot. For example, one version of the attack on the Pentagon holds that a missile (type unspecified) was fired by a Navy ship (ship unspecified). This means that the entire crew, several hundred ordinary sailors–not CIA operatives or Thirty-Third Degree Masons–as well as higher-ups would quickly know that they had just blown up the Pentagon. Yet it never leaked out.

            This is true of almost all conspiracy theories: We must regard substantial populations of unruly individuals, all thinking different things, liberals, conservatives, rebels, herd-followers, Christians, Jews, agnostics, atheists, moral, immoral, amoral, thoughtful, thoughtless, sophisticated, or rubes–as reliably being willing to hush up such things as mass murder. This is the stuff of dreams.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Conspiracy ..

              "This is true of almost all conspiracy theories: We must regard substantial populations of unruly individuals, all thinking different things, liberals, conservatives, rebels, herd-followers, Christians, Jews, agnostics, atheists, moral, immoral, amoral, thoughtful, thoughtless, sophisticated, or rubes–as reliably being willing to hush up such things as mass murder. This is the stuff of dreams."

              Yeah, it's all CIA mind control orchestrated by Majestik 12 and involves large doses of LSD :-)

    3. the spectacularly refined chap

      Re: Conspiracy ..

      It never ceases to amaze me how one dumb twat on the Internet can read a few articles, have little enough background in the area even to get the usage of basic terms right, and still arrive the truth that has up until that point eluded an entire team of experts burdened by actually looking at evidence, spending years and millions on the problem, and performing tests on the hypotheses they come up with.

    4. 's water music Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Conspiracy ..

      down voted for use of Detracted as an antonym for Retracted

    5. SyGun

      No Soft Ditching

      That is simply incorrect. There are to date, 22 pieces of Boeing 777 debris recovered from Eastern Africa or Madagascar, some with clear characteristics of Malaysian airlines. Four were positively identified as coming from MH370 by their serial part numbers.

      With EXCEPTION of the Flaperon & outboard Flap, all other pieces show evidence of violent tearing fractures.

      MH370 neither had a soft ditching nor did it impact with the sea. It broke up in a dive which satellite data confirm reached a rate of 20,000 feet per minute.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: No Soft Ditching

        Actually an amazing streak of "luck" that the satellite handshake happened during the descent phase.

        Oh no, what's that noise? Here come conspirationeers!

        (Of course, I like a good conspiracy theory because let's face it - there are really are big, fat conspiracies. But they are hidden in plain sight and pulled off leisurly, not engineered by extreme cunning at enormous risk and with hundreds of people having to clam up.)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No Soft Ditching

          It wasn't luck that the last ping was during the descent. The last ping was emitted as the system was rebooting. The theory is that when the fuel ran out it interrupted the power supply (as the engines generate the power). The plane then began its nosedive. The change in attitude moved the fuel, so at least one of the engines restarted enough to generate power, and the system began its reboot process.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: No Soft Ditching

            "The change in attitude moved the fuel, so at least one of the engines restarted enough to generate power,"

            Engines won't restart without manual intervention, but there's no need for that. Power would be restored when the RAT popped out after the engines flamed out and the APU started up - and because one would flame out slightly before the other that'd explain the dive initiation (asymetric thrust, uncorrected)

            1. lee7

              Re: No Soft Ditching

              Has nobody else noticed that the fuel moved, causing a nose-down attitude, after the engines had stopped because ... they were out of fuel.

              I smell a conspiracy. (of dunces)

        2. SyGun

          Re: No Soft Ditching

          Your comment: "Actually an amazing streak of "luck" that the satellite handshake happened during the descent phase," reveals you don't know very much.

          The 00:19 UTC SDU log on request signal was initiated by an automatic APU start after both engines had flamed out. The signal was not a streak of luck at all.

    6. Mooseman Bronze badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Conspiracy ..

      "the plane landed at the water SOFTLY in a guided manner, but apparently with retracted flags"

      Feel free to look up what flaps actually do. Good luck with trying to land a large airliner slowly with flaps retracted.

      Oh you missed a bit of the conspiracy theory, it was all apparently by the Rothschilds to boost their secret 12 trillion dollar value by a few millions.

    7. RPF

      Re: Conspiracy ..

      What a fruit-cake you are. Radio-controlled ffs......

    8. This post has been deleted by its author

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Conspiracy ..

      "From the earlier debris we already know the plane did NOT crash land on the water; as this would have caused the parts found to be mangled/fractured"

      Erm, but the parts found so far were small bits that were mostly mangled / fractured.

      "may fairly safely conclude the plane landed at the water SOFTLY in a guided manner, but apparently with retracted flag"

      Nope. These 2 things are mutually exclusive. And landing a large jet into water even in a controlled manner is in no way a "soft" landing.

      "The goal obviously was not to survive but to make the plane vanish"

      Because landing a commercial airliner on 1+ mile deep water in a "controlled" way is going to make a difference. Oh, wait. No it isn't.

      "Also keep in mind the 777 can be remote controlled "

      Do tell us more? Are you maybe confusing a commercial passenger jet with a model aircraft?

      "several islanders on the Maldives have reported a big unusual plane sighting at a consistent time."

      Again - do tell us more. Especially how MH370 could be in sight of the Maldives seeing at that's nearer India than Australia... Maybe "they" had a second plane broadcasting a fake satellite signal?!

      1. SyGun

        Re: Conspiracy ..

        Guess what? the Flaperon and the flap from Tanzania were not mangled or crushed. I am sure you can explain this?? You can, can't you??

    10. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Conspiracy ..

      "the 777 can be remote controlled"

      It was the man in the black suit and dark glasses on the grassy knoll with an X-Box controller plugged into a mobile phone.

  3. tony trolle
    Holmes

    Conspiracy or Cover up

    Neil Gordon said this and look "up north" thing about two months ago

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Conspiracy or Cover up

      But the North Pole is a big hole into Inner Earth, how will you find anything there?

  4. ianmcca

    better things to spend money on than this needle hunt??

    Well, apart from world peace and curing cancer etc, I don't think so. Yes, it is sort of amazing that the airline industry and governments are prepared to spend money on chucking bits of plane into the sea to find out where they come ashore, but the incredible safety of commercial air traffic has been achieved by obssessive seach for the explanation behind crashes and by obsessive logging of data about equipment and flights. (Who for instance outside the industry would have guessed that satellite handshakes were logged in enough detail to work out the speed of the plane two years later, based on doppler shift!)

    So I am pleased the hunt for the plane continues, because while the crash is unexplained there is nothing we can do to stop it happening again, and I might be on the one that crashes the next time.

  5. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "... replica plane parts having been set adrift.."

    I'd expect 'drifting on ocean currents' to be an example of a Chaotic system. If so, then you could drop two identical items into the ocean only a meter (or seconds if moving) apart, and those two items would end up very widely separated.

    It's called 'Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions'.

    I highly recommend James Gleick's book 'Chaos - the making of a new science'. The concepts are 'life changing' if you're unaware of the real world implications of this very subtle topic. Literally, the real world makes more sense after reading the book.

    Presumably the boffins working on this already know this, and will apply the correct analysis to draw out the correct conclusions.

    1. Francis Vaughan

      Re: "... replica plane parts having been set adrift.."

      If you read the report they are taking such elements into account. Rather than trying to work out where the bits individually went, they use ensemble simulations that are showing where the bit can't reasonably have started. No debris found on the Oz coast - eliminates a whole set of possible starting positions. And so on. It looks very much as if they need to start looking north of the area they searched, not by much but some.

      Overall I'm impressed (and a teeny bit proud) at very solid work done.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I reckon

    This one was due to (non-rapid) decompression. Like the Helios air crash.

    I also reckon the Egyptair crash was due to a Li-Ion battery fire.

    You read it here first!

  7. JaitcH
    Meh

    Having Sailed on the Met Office Weathership Service ...

    many, many, years ago I was on the dock in Greenock, Scotland, when the ship that participated in the recovery of a flight of the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) (an inactive US Department of Defense Unified Command) returned.

    It was a mess. Most of the bodies had detached heads. The only complete bodies were that of the cabin crew who were seated facing towards the rear of the aircraft.

    Beats me why aircraft seats are facing forwards.

    1. Fizzle
      Facepalm

      Re: Having Sailed on the Met Office Weathership Service ...

      A dead body is a dead body, decapitated or not so what difference in facing forwards or backwards in those circumstances?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A dead body is a dead body...

        Your chances of not being a dead body improve if your head is attached.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A dead body is a dead body...

          I think ISIS knows something about that.

  8. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    Any change in policy?

    So in light of the mass confusion over where MH370 went down, has there been any change in policy - either with the airlines themselves, or with government aviation authorities - to require airplanes to use some sort of GPS that sends their coords to a ground-based logging system somewhere? I mean, some trucking/freight companies here in the US track their trucks via GPS 24 hours a day, know exactly where the truck has been, how fast it's been going, etc, etc. And this is for a $75,000 truck carrying $20,000 worth of freight from China.

    When MH370 went down, I was surprised that they couldn't pinpoint the path their multimillion dollar airplane full of people had taken - I thought for sure they'd be tracking such things. Is there a reason, other than normal corporate cheapskateness, that they don't track airplanes?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Any change in policy?

      Not much to do with cheapskateness than with long roll-out times for relevant standards and appropriately certified gear.

      ACARS exists and has been used in this precise case. I understand the main unit was switched off (burnt out? sabotaged?). A secondary unit was on but was just doing "pings". These pings are the signals we are talking about here.

      I am not sure whether ACARS would carry on-board GPS information but it definitely carries telemetry.

      There is also FAMS which is coming online.

      1. Jos V

        Re: Any change in policy?

        D.A.M. Late to answer, but first of all, ACARS is mandatory over north Atlantic routes, but not on Asian routes. I don't know the reason for that, but I can well see that change in the aftermath.

        In case of the B777, this is trivial to do, and in case of electrical problems/fires/etc., the procedures might call to turn them off.

        Regardless of doing this, as you mentioned, there is a second terminal that will keep on pinging the satellites.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Any change in policy?

      "Is there a reason, other than normal corporate cheapskateness, that they don't track airplanes?"

      Nope. MAS switched off the tracking specifically because "it cost too much" - remember they were in dire financial straits and had had a number of safety incidents, including a serious fire started by a cigarette in a non-smoking area of a heavy maintenance hangar.

      A major incident was only a matter of time. Getting shot down a few months later was "merely" bad luck.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019