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Malaysian 777 missing in action

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Member
Registered: Jul 2009
Posts: 148
Location: Loomis California (near Sacramento)
This topic is far afield from the purpose of this board, but I find the comments here (generally) VERY interesting and informative.

I hope that you will stick with me as I explain just why this particular topic is of concern to me.

As some of you know, I'm a retired UAL pilot. Way back in the past I was in a "line of flying" (pairing of trips to be flown) that included UAL 811. I'd been flying that trip quite a bit, and so was very interested in following the investigation after the cargo door came off.

There was a very good Television show about it on which the family of one of those lost was interviewed. (There have been several others, but that is the only one which FULLY brought out how the investigation was conducted.

Just reading the accident reports doen not give an insight into how difficult it was to get the FAA, Boeing, and United to get to the truth.

I bring this up as the similarity to what is going on with this investigation bothers me quite a lot.

In the 811 incident the blaim was initially placed mostly on the ground crew accused of not closing the door properly.

In this case the crew is being looked at closely as perhaps being responsible.

In both cases there was an AD issued, and in the case of 811 not complied with.
In this one Boeing is saying that the AD does not apply as the antenna in question was not installed. (I don't know anything about the 777, but reports now say that the airplane was "pinging" a satellite, (perhaps a second satcom antenna?)

My concern is that there are airplanes flying around that ARE subject to this AD (even if this particular one was not one of them), with a KNOWN potential for a depressurazation, as was the case with 811.

Given the lengths that were taken with 811 to not acknowledge the true cause of the accident, I can't help but feel that the FAA, and Boeing (and others) could be hoping that this airplane is never found. It COULD cause the same embarresmsnt and financial problems for them that the recovered cargo door off 811 did!

jj
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
_______________
Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Member
Registered: Aug 2009
Posts: 49
Location: Hong Kong
I haven't read all the posts here, but I just want to say that I think this is some kind of major failure in the MEC.

Despite all the redundancy, almost all major systems have to meet in the MEC and the flight deck. Something could have happened, whether explosion, flooding (from potable water tanks), crew oxygen bottle failure or other severe physical impact, which destroyed all the electric buses. It would explain most of the (credible) information released so far. If you know of the UA232 Sioux City accident, think of three independent hydraulic systems taken out by one single failure of the #2 engine (because all three systems had hydraulic lines routed close to each other)

A short circuit of some sort has happened to a United 777 in LHR, during pushback - it was quite serious, but luckily they were on the ground.

No matter how many electric power sources you have for redundancy, if the system itself is burned, it will not matter. On a 777, as far as I am informed, only the standby compass, one spoiler on each wing and limited horizontal stab trim is left. No lights, warnings, screens, speed - not even altitude is available! And then in the middle of the night. Maybe it is time to bring back the good old pressure altimeter, air speed indicator and an artificial horizon driven by something other than the electric buses?

If major electrical failure is really the case, the aircraft could have been flying for hours. Each engine can suction feed with the engine driven fuel pump, and each engine has a little generator independent of the normal and standby generator, driving the FADEC directly. If each engine has it's own little Inmarsat transmitter, then that explains why that is the only signal left, after all other coms stopped working. Over the days, "stopped transmitting" has been changed by the authorities and general public opinion to "was switched off", despite no evidence yet why the systems stopped working. People want to believe that the aircraft has been hidden on an exotic island and everyone is safe (but hijacked/kidnapped) - I hope it is true, though I find it less plausible.

Without electric buses, the engines would not be able to be cut off, as both fuel control switches and fire switches need electricity to work. If no rudder or aileron is available, engines running on the last thrust setting until the failure was encountered - can you imagine what will happen when the first engine flames out? It won't be pretty, but it has to end somehow. You won't even know when it happens, as there isn't even any fuel quantity indication.

Whatever failure it was could have been a failure which also ruptured the cabin to an extent where they also suffered decompression, though it doesn't change much whether they depressurised or not. If it was an oxygen bottle failure, that could have taken away the oxygen for the crew as well. Bummer.

As long as the aircraft is in trim and the engines keep going, it could have been flying by itself for hours. Even the pressurisation system could have been working, high flow and the pressure relief valves keeping just over 9 PSI diff.

I hope I am proved wrong, because if not, this will be a huge blow to 777 operators, and Boeing in particular.
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 772
Location: Sydney, Australia
Although;

Comms didn't stop working - someone logged out of ACARS prior to the transponder signal disappearing, which is a deliberate action, not a failure.

The disappearance occurred at precisely the point of handover between two countries.

The aircraft appears to have followed a route between IFR waypoints to the west unrelated to it's original route - these are FIR boundaries and not airways, so extremely unlikely not to be a deliberate action especially if you want to avoid 'transiting' airspace, and it requires FMC entry.

The aircraft seems to have been travelling at FL295 - an interesting choice as it sits between FL300 and FL290, avoiding other traffic.

There were no comms - zero - from the aircraft. No ELT (not even a portable one from the cabin).
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Member
Registered: Aug 2009
Posts: 49
Location: Hong Kong
FL295 ... that is taken from primary radar?

In that case, remember that primary radar sees true altitude, whereas FL are pressure altitude.

It is normal to log out of ACARS from "Lumpur" before you go to Vietnam.

I am not saying it couldn't be terrorism or an illegal act, just that there could be other explanations than some illegal act.

The aircraft should have - probably 2 - Rescue 406 beacons or similar. If the crew had thought about it, they could have activated them even inside the aircraft. Either they didn't think about it, weren't able to, didn't think it was necessary or were otherwise prevented from activating them.

Depending on the generation of Rescue 406, they would have to be put in a bag of water, or salt water, to activate. They should easily have been able to see a COSPAT SARSAT enabled satellite, and it only takes a window of a few seconds to get the message through.

A lot of strange things about MH370. Scary.
Member
Registered: Aug 2009
Posts: 49
Location: Hong Kong
Will wrote
Hoppie, there are conflicting reports going on. I'm hearing (1) that ACARS was turned off, and (2) the engines kept "pinging" satellites every half-hour for several hours. Can both of those be true at the same time? Can the engines somehow ping or transmit independently of ACARS?


This single piece of information is essential to know, and I wish I did. I have heard colleges say it must go via the onboard SATCOM, others say it has its own, but that has been guesses only.

I find it possible that the RR Trent 892 engine has it's own satellite transmitter and hence could function as long as the engine(s) is/are running.
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 503
Location: Mumbai, India
http://tmfassociates.com/blog/2014/03/

interesting read.....
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 29
another theory. Possible or to far fetched?

http://keithledgerwood.tumblr.com/post/79838944823/did-malaysian-airlines-370-disappear-using-sia68-sq68

I thought it might be possible. The captain was able to train this on his sim. However there still needs to be a motive.
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Arnout KATL
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
It is unlikely that there is independent Inmarsat on an engine. The cost is prohibitive and the weight impossible, let alone the bathtub-sized antenna fairing. However it is not impossible to put up Iridium. Even this I doubt, it is against common practice. Everything is relayed through one CMU that selects the cheapest radio (data plan is everything!). The rumours have it that the system worked but that Malaysian didn't have a monthly plan so they did not receive their data (cost versus utility decision). But the machine sends it. It is just the comms company not relaying.


Hoppie
« Last edit by Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers on Tue, 18 Mar 2014 10:01:38 +0000. »
Member
Registered: May 2010
Posts: 843
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
_______________
Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 237
Location: Chicago, IL
What is hilarious/sad in making the Captain's home sim an item of suspicion is 3-fold for me:

1. If he wanted to do "bad things" in the sim to practice for a real commandeering of his own plane, why would he happily post photos of his home cockpit in various forums?

2. You don't need a home cockpit to go through commandeering scenarios - any laptop running FSX or X-Plane and a 777 add-on could let you practice that just as well. Having 3 big screens, a yoke, and throttles adds nothing in that regard.

3. In any case, any 777 add-on for FSX or X-Plane would not include the level of detail needed to pull CBs to off-line ACARS from the EE bay, etc.

I get that all avenues should be explored, but this one is just silly and appeals to the ignorance of the public. Why would a 777 captain have a home sim? Because he loves the hobby and flying. He also had model planes and helicopters and posted videos showing how to repair things around the house and of him cooking. Seems like a cool person to me. Another point that U.S. pilots have brought up is that if a 777 captain wanted to get some "real flying" in he could get a Piper Cub and get his fix that way. Unfortunately, while many U.S., Canadian, Australian, and European pilots can do this to some degree, in certain countries General Aviation is very limited or non-existent. Flight simming and models is the only option.

- Stekeller
KORD
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 479
Location: EFTO
Here's a reasonable interim summary of what is known and has been guessed so far.

Martin
Member
Registered: Apr 2013
Posts: 72
Location: YBBN
I agree stkeller..

my first thought on seeing the tribute the Captains friends posted regarding his home sim and model helos was - `that's the kind of guy you want up front when things go wrong - someone who is really passionate about his flying to the extent that he even finds ways to fly when he's not at work'

Maybe the true story will turn out to be very different. Sadly, at the moment it seems equally plausible that little green men took it.

I also hope it does not get people (i.e Authorities) thinking that high end sims in the hands of `civilians' is a bad thing. Bad enough that kids can no longer jump seat in airliners - how are we supposed to get the next generation of pilots interested???

Scud.
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
_______________
Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 503
Location: Mumbai, India
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 503
Location: Mumbai, India
http://video.foxnews.com/v/3359318380001/malaysia-airlines-jet-held-by-terrorists-in-pakistan/#sp=show-clips


and some common sense on flight sims

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/18/world/asia/mh370-pilot-flight-simulator/index.html?hpt=hp_t1
« Last edit by farrokh747 on Wed, 19 Mar 2014 11:37:16 +0000. »
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
The daughter of one of the crew has published in a local newspaper an open letter asking for respectfully treating the families of the flight crew, including the pilots:

http://www.nst.com.my/latest/font-color-red-missing-mh370-font-touching-letter-from-a-mas-pilot-s-daughter-1.518063?cache=03D163D03edding-pred-1.1176%2F%3FpFpentwage63Dp%3A%2Fhe3D03Dn63Frea-rti3D19.3D163D03edding-pred-1.1176%2F%3FpFpentwage63Dp%3A%2Fhe3D03Dn63Frea-rti3D19.111w5ii%2Fed-1.1#.Uysb-OUnCGY.email

I don't get why there has been so much suspicion regarding the crew. Perhaps it's just that the authorities didn't make it clear that the crew were not actually suspects...or maybe they are until they are somehow proven innocent?
_______________
Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 958
Location: Chicago
I feel bad for the pilots. Two explanations come to mind. First, it's human nature to look for someone to blame. And second, the news media keep reporting that someone with "technical knowledge" of the 777 had to have been involved. That leads to speculation about the pilots, because they are close to the epicenter, and no more likely individuals have yet been located. But as I said, I feel bad for them and their families. Suspicion without evidence doesn't feel fair.
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Will /Chicago /USA
Member
Registered: Jun 2009
Posts: 87
Location: KMEM
Will wrote
Suspicion without evidence doesn't feel fair.


Why should that be in the way of a good story (at least in the minds of the worthless newsies)?
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 241
Hi all,

Sadly, Malaysian Prime Minister just announced that flight MH370 crashed into south indian ocean, leaving no survivors...
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Pierre, LFPG
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 958
Location: Chicago
I heard that he also announced this news to the relatives of the passengers, which means he's got to be pretty certain. It would be good to see him building a case for coming to this conclusion... I'm sure many people would like to know where he gets his certainty. I hope that part of the story comes out quickly. If he keeps his evidence to himself, that will just make people more anxious.
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Will /Chicago /USA
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
Press conference Tuesday, Malaysian time. Apparently they have puzzled so much satellite data together, using analysis of Doppler shift and such, that the last received transmissions cannot come from any other area than the Southern Indian ocean. Given the fuel aboard and the absolute lack of landing sites there, this means it must have ended there.

R.I.P.
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 958
Location: Chicago
Yes, just saw that. Sad indeed.
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Will /Chicago /USA
Member
Registered: Jan 2011
Posts: 6
It is the confirmation of what we already suspected for some days. Nevertheless I hope that the Prime Minister has actual evidence and not only tells again what he has picked up from hearsay.

Hopefully they will find the black boxes and data explaining what happened to MH370.

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