Guest Post: Northern Routes for MH370 Ending at Airports

by Victor Iannello

[Notice: The views expressed here are solely mine and do not represent the views of the Independent Group, Jeff Wise, or any other group or individual.]


Paths were reconstructed for MH370 using the available radar and satellite data. Paths to the north of Malaysia were studied by relaxing the constraint of matching the Burst Frequency Offset (BFO), which is appropriate if the BFO data was either corrupted or misinterpreted. The choice of paths was constrained by matching the Burst Timing Offset (BTO) data. Three airports were identified that are located near the 7th arc, as defined by the last BTO data point at 00:19 UTC: Kyzlorda, Almaty, and Kuqa Qiuci. The viability of each airport was determined based on fuel requirements. A fuel flow model was developed by reverse engineering performance data at Long Range Cruise (LRC) and Holding speeds, and then extrapolating the data to other speeds and temperatures.

The fuel flow model coupled with the path reconstruction model predicts that a flight ending at Kyzylorda is unlikely due to the high speeds and unfavorable headwinds. A flight ending at Almaty was deemed viable even when considering the uncertainty in the fuel consumption model. Alternatively, Boraldai Airport, which is close to Almaty Airport, is also viable. Finally, a flight ending at Kuqa Qiuci is considered possible, although the fuel margin is small. The paths to the airports are shown in Figure 1.

The possibility that the plane reached a runway at Yubileyniy was also considered. As Yubileyniy is 237 km (128 nm) beyond Kyzylorda, a landing there is predicted to be very unlikely.


A number of analysts have studied the Burst Timing Offset (BTO) and Burst Frequency Offset (BFO) data from flight MH370, as relayed by Inmarsat I3F1 satellite and received by the Ground Earth Station (GES) in Perth, Australia. The aircraft was a Boeing B777-200ER registered as 9M-MRO. The satellite data suggests that the aircraft flew to the South Indian Ocean (SIO) and exhausted its fuel. The constraint of matching the BFO data within any reasonable limit on error eliminates the possibility of a northern path. Performance constraints such as fuel consumption and unattended (autopilot) navigation also limit the range of possible end points for southern paths. Indeed, in the past, I have proposed two endpoints ending in the SIO. In one scenario, I assumed the flight path was uninterrupted and straight after 18:34 UTC and the aircraft was flying at air speeds close to the Long Range Cruise (LRC) condition. As one of the contributors to the Independent Group (IG) study, I predicted an end point of 37.24S, 89.56E, which is close to the prediction of other researchers such as the IG’s Richard Godfrey. In another scenario proposed in July 2014, I studied the possibility that the plane “loitered” when it was in the vicinity of the Aceh province of Sumatra, and I showed that the data allows a possible landing and takeoff at Banda Aceh Airport. For this scenario, the predicted end point in the SIO is 34.24S, 93.78E.

Since the time of these predictions, the ATSB has led an extensive underwater search using advanced deep sea techniques to first conduct a bathymetric survey of a priority zone of 200,000 km2, which was then followed by a multi-beam sonar search of this same area. To date, there has been no physical evidence of MH370 discovered even though the vicinity of the end points suggested by me and others has been searched. Additionally, no evidence has been recovered on the sea surface or washed up on shore.

There remains the possibility that MH370 did indeed fly to the SIO and due to the enormity of the range of possible end points, the wreckage of the plane has not yet been found. I do not discount this possibility, and I still have hope that the search in the SIO will be successful. However, with the lack of success to date, I believe it is important to study other possible scenarios, especially since an investigation of some of these scenarios could be conducted for a fraction of the time and cost of the underwater search in the SIO.


Figure 1. Flight paths to northern airports. (Click on image for improved resolution)


If we allow for the possibility that the BFO data is wrong, either because it has been corrupted or because we are improperly interpreting it, then it is possible to reconstruct paths to the north that match the BTO data. In general, if we assume a particular flight speed, then for each assumed flight speed, there are a pair of paths that can be reconstructed that match the BTO data. One of these paths is towards to the north and the other is towards the south. Here I am considering only the northern paths. As no wreckage from the plane has been found in countries situated to the north of Malaysia, I am particularly interested in assessing the possibility that MH370 followed a northern path and successfully landed at an airport.

In related work, I have studied how the BFO data that would be produced if MH370 had followed a northern path may imitate the BFO signature of a southern path. I have already hinted how this may have occurred. A more detailed explanation will be presented soon.

Figure 2. Airports close to the 7th arc.
Figure 2. Airports close to the 7th arc.
 Path Reconstruction Techniques

The methodology to reconstruct northern paths is similar to what has been presented by others, including the published work of Inmarsat’s Chris Ashton and the IG’s Richard Godfrey. I assume first that the primary radar data as presented in the Australian Transportation and Safety Bureau (ATSB) report is correct, and from that, the final radar position is pegged at 6.5485N, 96.3472E at a time of 18:22:17 UTC. After that time, I assume the plane continues on airway N571 on a track of 296T deg and at a ground speed of about 495 kn until it changes course at 18:34 UTC.

There are measured values of BTO at the time of each handshake between the satellite and aircraft, and these values are used to determine the range between the satellite and the aircraft. The locus of points corresponding to a particular value of BTO form an arc on the surface of the earth, and paths can be reconstructed that cross these arcs at the appropriate time by matching the satellite-aircraft range. (The exact position of the arc depends on the altitude of the aircraft. At higher altitudes, the arc is located further from the subsatellite position.) The satellite position is modeled using the PAR5  parameterization of Henrik Rydberg, which agrees well with the position and velocity vectors presented by Ashton. The earth is modeled as an oblate spheroid using WGS84.

I included meteorological data in the analysis in order to properly model the effect of temperature and wind on ground speed and fuel consumption. As some of the paths studied have considerable headwinds at the cruise altitude, wind is an important effect. The meteorological data for March 8, 2014 at 00:00 UTC was extracted from the GDAS database by Barry Martin. Data is available for atmospheric levels of 250 hPa and 350 hPa, corresponding to pressure altitudes of about 34,000 ft and 26,700 ft, respectively. The data has a spatial resolution of 1 deg in latitude and longitude.

I assume that MH370 changed its trajectory at 18:34 UTC by introducing a step change in Mach number and altitude, and I assume the plane continues at this Mach number until 00:11 UTC. Between 00:11 and 00:19, the Mach number is reduced in order to reach the last arc at 00:19 at the appropriate time. Turns are allowed only at the time of a handshake, i.e., as the plane crosses an arc, and great circle (geodesic) paths are followed between handshakes. Although it would be unlikely that MH370 turned exactly at the times of handshakes, this simplification was used in light of the limited data set that is available. With this simplification, for a given Mach number, there is a unique northern path that exactly matches the BTO data.

The paths were reconstructed by forward integrating using Euler’s method with a time step of 1 minute. During each time step, the ground speed and track angle were held constant. A finer time step of 1 second was used for the time period between 18:22 and 18:28 to find a path that matches the BTO, BFO, and radar data in this interval. The path involves a “lateral offset” maneuver to the right of airway N571 that would require active intervention of the pilot. I won’t discuss more about this here as the details don’t change the general observations regarding northern paths.

End Points Near Airports

The first step was to determine which airports are close to the 7th arc and therefore would merit closer examination as a potential landing site for MH370. A series of paths were reconstructed for constant Mach numbers between 0.6 and 0.89, corresponding to a realistic range of air speeds at an altitude of 35,000 ft. The end points for these paths were then plotted using SkyVector and airports within 10 km (5.4 nm) where identified.

The results are shown in Figure 2. There are three airports that met these criteria: Kyzylorda (M=0.863) and Almaty (M=0.734) in Kazakhstan, and Kuqa Qiuci (M=0.664) in Xinjiang, China, and all have runway lengths greater than 8,000 ft. The next step was to determine the feasibility of MH370 landing at one of these airports by analyzing the fuel requirements.

Figure 3. Predicted and tabular values of fuel flow at selected conditions.
Figure 3. Predicted and tabular values of fuel flow at selected conditions.
Fuel Flow Model

The calculation of the fuel consumed between 18:24 and 00:19 requires detailed knowledge of the performance of 9M-MRO, which is a B777-200ER equipped with two Trent 892 engines. In general, for level flight, the fuel rate is a function of the aircraft weight, Mach number, altitude, and outside air temperature (OAT). As the Mach number is defined relative to the wind, the calculation of the ground speed also needs to include the effect of winds, i.e., tailwinds increase the ground speed and headwinds and crosswinds reduce it. (The reduction in ground speed due to a headwind is much more significant than a crosswind of the same speed, although both effects were included.)  As high altitude winds are very strong for the northern paths studied, this is an important effect.

To model the fuel consumed along the northern paths, I needed to model the fuel flow as a function of the weight, altitude, Mach number, and air temperature. The detailed performance specifications of a Boeing aircraft are contained in the Performance Engineer’s Manual (PEM), but this was not available. If the PEM had been available for 9M-MRO, I could have calculated the fuel consumption from “first principles”. Instead, a fuel consumption model was developed based on two tables from a portion of the Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) that was supplied to me on a confidential basis. For this work, the two important tables from the QRH are:

  • Long Range Cruise (LRC). An aircraft following an LRC speed profile will be flying at a speed 2%-4% higher than Maximum Range Cruise (MRC) with a penalty of 1% on range, i.e., fuel efficiency. In the LRC table, fuel flow and air speed (Mach number) are provided as a function of weight and altitude.
  • Holding (flaps up). An aircraft flying at Holding speed will be maximizing its endurance by minimizing the fuel flow. As is the case for the LRC table, the fuel flow and air speed are provided as a function of weight and altitude. The Holding speed is in general significantly less than the LRC speed, and the fuel flow is at its minimum for a given weight and altitude.

In general, an aircraft will not be flying in accordance with either of these criteria, so instead I used the data in these tables to develop a generalized fuel model that could be extrapolated to other conditions.

There was one other important assumption regarding the performance of the engine that was required: the ratio of fuel flow to thrust is approximately constant when corrected for air temperature. The relationship can be expressed as:


where FF is the fuel flow in units of (lbm/hr), TSFC* is the corrected thrust specific fuel consumption (assumed to be constant) in units of (lbm/hr-lbf), D is the drag in units of (lbf), which is assumed to be equal to the engine thrust, Ts is the static temperature in units of (K), Tref = 288 K, and M is the Mach number.

In order to calculate the fuel flow, it is necessary to calculate the drag for a given set of conditions. Typically, the relationship between the lift coefficient Cl and drag coefficient Cd is presented as a “drag-polar plot” in the PEM. Lacking the PEM, I reverse-engineered this relationship using Eq 1 with the assumption that to first-order, Cd is only a function of Cl and M (neglecting the effect of Reynolds number), i.e.,


I then found an empirical relationship for Cd that produced an adequate match between the predicted fuel flow and the fuel flow values in the tables from the QRH.

Figure 3 shows the relationship between the predicted fuel flows and the values listed in the table for LRC and Holding conditions at FL350 and FL250. The RMS error is 3.2%. Another factor is the Performance Degradation Allowance (PDA) of the engine, which might increase fuel consumption by another 2%. Including uncertainty due to PDA, the model predictions are assumed to have error bounds of -3.8% / +3.2%

Fuel Consumption for Paths to Airports

Armed with a model for fuel consumption, I studied whether the model would predict whether there was adequate fuel to reach the three airports previously identified as possible landing sites for MH370. For Kyzylorda and Almaty, I assumed the flight between 18:34 and 00:19 was at 35,000 ft. For Kuqa Qiuci, I assumed the flight was at 25,000 ft as the Mach number at 35,000 ft (0.664) was below the speed for Holding and the resulting fuel consumption was high. The results are listed in the following table.

Table 1. Fuel Consumption Results


For the path to Kyzylorda at 35,000 ft, the required speed is M=0.864 and the average headwind was 23 kn at FL350 with a peak headwind of 43 kn. The fuel flow model predicts that an additional 7,503 kg of fuel would be required, or about 15.3% of the initial fuel load of 49,100 kg. This is well beyond the expected error margin of the fuel model prediction. It is therefore considered unlikely that there was sufficient fuel to reach Kyzylorda Airport.

Jeff Wise has proposed a scenario in which MH370 passed Kyzylorda and landed on a runway at Yubileyniy, which is 237 km (128 nm) beyond Kyzylorda Airport. I don’t see a way that this could have occurred unless the fuel load at takeoff was significantly different than contained in the ACARS data stream.

For the path to Almaty Airport at 35,000 ft, the required speed is M=0.735 and the average headwind is 10 kn, with a peak of 23 kn. The predicted fuel remaining at Almaty would be about 3,837 kg, or about 7.8% of the initial fuel load. Even with the uncertainties (-3.8%/+3.2%) of the fuel flow model, I predict there was sufficient fuel to reach Almaty.

For the path to Kuqa Qiuci Airport at 25,000 ft, the required speed is M=0.636 and the average headwind is 4 kn with a peak of 16 kn. The predicted fuel remaining at Kuqa Qiuci is 2,004 kg, or about 4.1% of the initial fuel load. Considering the uncertainties of the fuel flow model (-3.8%/+3.2%), it is possible that MH370 was able to reach this airport, although the fuel margin is significantly less than for Almaty.

Some Additional Comments

The three flights studied all cross into the Xinjiang province of China. The path to Kyzylorda skirts the border of China, but the paths to Almaty and Kuqa Qiuci represent significant incursions into Chinese airspace. Any theory developed around these flight paths would need to explain why China did not act to stop this incursion.

In addition to the civil runway at Almaty Airport, there is Boraldai Airport (UAAR), formerly Burundai Airport, located about 11 km (6 nm) to the west from Almaty, as shown in Figure 4. It is privately-owned by Altair Air and is the base of operations for Burundaiavia, which supplies helicopter services for civilian, transport, and military uses. The airport is primarily used for light fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters and has a runway with a length of 4,790 ft. Although this is relatively short for a B777, it is would be sufficient length to land a B777 that had little remaining fuel. A landing at this airport might raise less suspicion than at Almaty.

Figure 4. Boraldai Airport is close to Almaty Airport.

In this work, I studied potential flight paths of MH370 that terminate to the north of Malaysia. The studied was performed to assess the possibility of a successful landing in the event that the BFO data from MH370 is either corrupted or has been misinterpreted. I used the BTO data to identify the paths to the north that end at airports along the 7th arc at 00:19 UTC with the requirement that the BTO data is matched at all other handshake times. Three airports were identified that are located within the error bounds of the 7th arc. Of the three, there appears have been insufficient fuel to reach Kyzylorda Airport. On the other hand, there appears have been sufficient fuel to reach Almaty and Kuqa Qiuci Airports, although there would have been significantly less fuel margin to reach Kuqa Qiuci. Near to Almaty is a smaller airport named Boraldai that is also viable for landing. It is very unlikely that MH370 reached the runway at Yubileyniy.

Click here to download this paper as a pdf (which includes all of the links I’ve left out of this version).

130 thoughts on “Guest Post: Northern Routes for MH370 Ending at Airports”

  1. Why have not your and Jeff’s excellent hypotheses been explored by those equipped to locate the plane?
    Wouldn’t it seem if you were trying to find a missing airliner, you would explore every option?
    What is it going to take to pull some of those planes and ships fruitlessly searching, coming up with nada to travel upward in the arc? … to begin with.

  2. Is it possible that MH370 was following in SIA68’s draft to the east of Tajikstan and then made a northward turn to Yubileyniy? It would be interesting to plot SIA68’s course against the arcs.

  3. Just in case there is any supporting evidence of any contrails showing up along the northern routes ? Any abnormal contrail formations that show a path to an end point in the north ?

  4. I wonder if MH370 was following SIA68, would it be able to conserve any fuel? Maybe it could have made it all the way to Yubileyniy?

    It would be interesting to see SIA68’s known positions overlayed on the arcs.

  5. The Indian angle: all these northbound scenarios involve the 777 flying almost directly over Kolkata airport (CCU) which has a fair number of flights throughout the night. This can easily be seen from Flightstats, Flightradar 24 and other sources. It is difficult to imagine that something without a transponder could pass within primary radar range of CCU without anyone taking notice. It is true that the military airfields at Port Blair and Car Nicobar may not have had properly functioning radar on the fateful night, but those seem to be rather laid-back places as nothing is expected to happen there. Apart from CCU, there is an active IAF base with combat aircraft at Kalaikunda (approx 22.34 N, 87.21 E) about 130 km west of CCU which should have had active surveillance. If you refer to it mentions that this base actively monitors the Andaman islands. A lot of negative comments have been made about the competence of ATC and air forces of certain other countries, but India’s military is certainly not likely to make such mistakes. And since the country has a (reasonably) free press, something would have come out by now. The paths mentioned in the map provided by Victor here would have almost certainly have been detected as more than one major airport should have got it on the radar. I agree, however, that other paths through Bangladesh or Myanmar passing over a limited part of Indian territory might have escaped detection, but then would have had to fly over a long stretch of Tibet, which opens up another can of worms…..

  6. Maybe MH370 crossed back over a narrow body of land between Myanmar and Thailand missing the Anadman Islands while heading North.

  7. @Ajai Banerjee: I agree that if the plane flew north, the uninhibited incursion into Indian and Chinese airspace needs to be explained. I will say that some have proposed theories, both publicly and privately to me.

    I have attempted to present a body of work that separates the technical aspects without including speculation, which of course then contains major holes such as lack of radar detection, explanation of the BFO spoofing, and motive. The alternative is to include speculative elements in the report. The danger is that the technical elements get discounted because of the speculative elements. I have learned that it is better to keep the two separate.

  8. sorry, the link and title got lost in the previous post..

    ‘Rogue’ plane forces Indian Air Force to scramble Mirage 2000
    18th Mar, 2015

    There were some tense moments at the Joint Control and Analysis Centre (JCAC), which has to initiate action in case of a plane getting hijacked, on Tuesday after a commercial aircraft deviated from its normal flight parameters.

    Instead of following its planned flight path from Allahabad to New Delhi, the plane was found moving towards VVIP locations in Lutyen’s Delhi, including Rashtrapati Bhavan and 7 RCR. Delhi has no-fly zones over important areas.

    A communications blackout only made matters worse as no one had any clue about what was going on in the plane.

    It had lost communication with the Air Traffic Control in Palam, triggering fears that it may have been hijacked, a senior Indian Air Force officer said on Wednesday.

    The “rogue” plane had to be stopped. The JCAC, which monitors all aircraft movement, alerted the Gwalior air base about the suspicious Delhi-bound plane at 4.38 pm. Gwalior wasted no time.

    By 4.41 pm, the air force had scrambled a Mirage 2000 fighter to intercept the plane.

    A Mirage 2000 can fly from Gwalior to Delhi in less than 15 minutes, a former IAF chief said. However, shortly after it had taken off, the “rogue” plane was identified as Alliance Air flight 9062 and the pilot was asked to abort the mission.

    “The Gwalior air base launched a Mirage 2000 as per standard operating procedures in case of communications failure. The ATC was unable to establish radio contact with the plane. We don’t take such situations lightly,” the officer said.


  9. CK said: I wonder if MH370 was following SIA68, would it be able to conserve any fuel? Maybe it could have made it all the way to Yubileyniy?

    It would be interesting to see SIA68’s known positions overlayed on the arcs.

    Yes,it is possible. Last year a test was performed in Nevada using driverless trucks, with the lead truck having a human driver. The important finding was the driverless trucks consumed less fuel because as “followers” they were not battling headwinds.

  10. CK:

    “… Besides safety, the major selling point of this system is that the reduced drag saves fuel costs. Peloton says the “technology saves more than 7% [of fuel] at 65mph – 10% for the rear truck and 4.5% for the lead truck,” which is tremendous because “Long-haul fleets spend 40% of operating expenses on fuel, accounting collectively for over 10% of U.S. oil use and related carbon emissions.” These savings come primarily from reduced aerodynamic drag.” …

  11. “but the paths to Almaty and Kuqa Qiuci represent significant incursions into Chinese airspace. Any theory developed around these flight paths would need to explain why China did not act to stop this incursion.”

    And now we return to this interesting comment:

    “Does China’s MSS currently have MH370? A DoD briefing would indicate the US Gov’t think they got to it first.”

  12. In the first week after the disappearance of flight MH370 I was checking for possible deserted airstrips and found some interesting historic info on old WWII airroutes, leading into China. I was actually searching in Yunnan region when the 6th or 7th arc was first published. And quite shocked to see it ran through that particular area. At 16 March I wrote the following comment in Washington Post online:
    “Knowing the ammount of fuel on board and part of the flight track near Malaysia (accounting for 1.5 hours at least) I would think large parts of the arcs have not been in reach. Knowing the initial heading north the northerly arc would be more likely. Also when thinking of a motive/objective in case of hijack.
    There is a historic WWII air route into China known as the Hump. It used to connect Assam India with Yunnan, China. It may be coincidence but Kunming (attack on March 1st) used to be part of it. In fact there are some remote air strips from WWII period in the area which can be reached by flighing between mountain ranges. Some I could find back using google maps. Including Tengchong, Lilijang, Yunnanyizhen. Possibly when flying through Bangladesh they can be reached without getting noticed by Burmese or Chinese radar.
    Of course ther are other options, including crossing the Himalaya’s straight North, but there is a limit as to how far the plane could have flown.”

    The link below gives some images:

    Strange to see that after adding several arcs, entering China through “the Hump” would theoretically still fit to the BTO data.


  13. Amit – as you say: when it deviated from it’s normal parameters. It’s only my understanding….but that’s often the key to getting up and down these busy highways – stick to the bitumen.

  14. My take on the radar.

    I think Ajai Banerji got it right. CCU and Kalaikunda IAFB are the main radar detection worries. CCU has a fairly busy flight schedule, but there is a hole between 12:30AM and 2:30AM local time where there is no traffic at all. If I did the time zone conversion correctly, MH370 would be passing over at 1:30AM local time. My guess is the 12:30AM to 2:30AM period is nap and tea time. There would be no reason for CCU to be looking at or for anything.

    As far as Kalaikunda is concerned, they are charged with looking out for the Andaman Islands, but they cannot “see” that far with their radar, and would respond to threats as advised by Port Blair or Car Nicobar. Anonymous Indian officials have implied that it is very unlikely that Port Blair or Car Nicobar would notice anything. The are on a very low alert status. There is absolutely no threat worth looking for to the South of Kalaikunda. Their focus would be North and East. If they noticed MH370 flying essentially along the Eastern border of India they would assume it was commercial traffic headed for CCU.

    I think it is entirely possible that MH370 would go completely unnoticed by CCU and Kalaikunda, and if noticed by Kalaikunda it would likely not be challenged. There really is nothing else to be very concerned about other than what China may have in place which I know nothing about.

  15. @Dennis: Thank you for your thoughts. The hole in the traffic schedule is very useful information.

  16. This comment follows up on the comments and good work of @Phil, @DL, @Michael Helms, @el gato, and others that are asking about interactions between EK343.

    Following the great graphic produced by Phil, I constructed my own map of the paths for EK343 and MH370. For EK343, ADS-B is available until about 18:09 and then Flight Aware provides an estimate after that.

    The plot of the paths of MH370 and EK343 show a convergence around 18:25 with two adjustments to the Flight Aware estimates:
    1. The speed is held constant at about 500 kn so that EK343 and MH370 cover roughly equal distances after 18:09.
    2. The track of the estimate is slight changed.

    In a previous comment, I hypothesized that the lateral offset / climb maneuver suggested by the BTO/BFO data could have been to avoid traffic. I now think it is possible that MH370 was avoiding EK343.

    Here is the graphic:

  17. Victor, thank you for the work, and apologies for a potentially silly question, but:

    You note above that the southern route data allows for a loiter or even landing and take off at Banda Aceh. Does such a takeoff and landing fit with northern route data as well? in other words, could MH370 have flown to Banda Aceh taken on more fuel there so as to fly farther on, past Almaty to Yubileyniy or another airport?

    If not, and I understand this pushes you into hypotheticals, imaging the plane landed al Almaty, do you believe it to still be in that vicinity or was it, too, just a refilling stopover for a different final destination.

  18. Victor, thank you for your diligent work here.

    Is it possible to use your calculations to determine an arc similar to your Figure 2… but using only IGARI as the last known waypoint, i.e., disregarding the Malaysian military radar reports and Inmarsat data?

    Many fewer constraints, obviously, but understanding the maximum/probable range of the aircraft–should any of the post-IGARI data prove to be… shall we say… *problematic*– seems like a valuable exercise, given the current results in the SIO, and would certainly help provide practical context to any alternate hypotheses.

    Many thanks again.

  19. @Victor

    Many thanks for your work and the chart “Near Miss with EK343”. The chart shows a possible lateral offset maneuver at 18:25 and you think it possible MH370 was avoiding EK343.

    Could this be the reason for the re-boot fo the SATCOM?

  20. DennisW, thanks for your comments. Perhaps someone in the Indian defence establishment may have looked at the primary radar records from CCU and Kalaikunda for the concerned periods, if they were really interested. Incidentally Kalaikunda was a B-29 base of the USAAF during WW2.

  21. Update on near miss with EK343 (UAE343):

    I have received comments and additional data from @Phil, @airlandseaman, and Richard Godfrey. There is FR24 data available that continues after the FlightAware data ends. The FR24 data shows a longer path for EK343 along N571 that puts it behind MH370 by about 30 nm, and therefore less likely for a near miss.

    As I try to better understand and reconcile the data and arrive at conclusions, I have removed the link to the graphic showing a near miss. It looks less likely that a near miss occurred. I apologize for showing what should have been presented as preliminary.


  22. SIA68 was 71NM ahead of MH370 and on a different airway, north of N571, at 1802. No way they ever got close. This was investigated and dismissed a year ago.

  23. SIA68 was my first theory (actually the first theory I found plausible) until pings were presented.

    Nice to see a year after that it was good 70 miles ahead of MH370 anyway.

  24. recently both Russia and USA presented independently quite good relations with both India and China on some very important issues; but not yet Russia with USA; I think they all together had something to hide and we are facing consequence – policy of truth (and yes, I a mad little-bit, so take it easy)

  25. Have you looked at KLM 836? In the early days of looking at flights to “shadow” I thought the KLM flight was the best candidate. It would have been much easier for MH370 to let KLM 836 catch up with it, rather than trying to catch up to SI86.

  26. I have completed my study of a possible near miss between MH370 and EK343. I was particularly interested in whether MH370 might have performed a lateral offset to airway N571 combined with a climb in order to avoid EK343.

    After studying the available ADS-B data and trying to understand which data is valid and which is probably estimated (data field designations alone are not sufficient), I have come to the conclusion that at the time of the lateral offset maneuver, the distance between MH370 and EK343 could be no closer than about 27 nm, and therefore MH370 did not maneuver to avoid it. At the time of the turn to the south, MH370 would be closer to EK343, but still greater than about 10 nm.

    A graphic showing this result can be found here:

  27. Amongst these varied theories is a common thread of interest about what detected MH370, where, and when. I believe that most info gathered in the area flows through the Singapore based Changi Fusion Center.
    A clear description of its regional role and capabilities is in this document.
    I am not implying any evil doing– merely that the media doesn’t seem to be approaching the right entities. Ask, and perhaps ye shall receive.
    Jeff, I beg you to use your media contacts to request a release of more information from the Changi Fusion Center about that night.

  28. There are some that are interpreting my guest post on the feasibility that MH370 reached a northern airport as supporting Jeff’s Yubileyniy theory. On the contrary, I believe that fuel considerations rule out the possibility that MH370 overflew Kyzylorda and reached the Baikonor Cosmodrome. Jeff was generous and honest when he invited me to contribute this post in light of this conclusion.

    There are two very vocal camps expressing their views on the location of MH370:

    1) The flight ended in the SIO and other locations are not possible based on the satellite data, which is believed to be completely valid.
    2) The flight did not end in the SIO as no wreckage has been found subsea or washed ashore, and therefore the satellite data was corrupted.

    To be clear, I place myself in neither camp, and therefore I continue to be interested in both scenarios.

  29. @Victor

    The validity of the satellite data does not demand an SIO solution. There are many solutions compatible with the satellite data that do not have an SIO terminus. What leads to the SIO is the constrained AP assumption coupled with the satellite data. I have said this many times in many different ways. I don’t know how else to say it.

  30. @DennisW

    For level flight it is hard to imagine for me how you could get further north than say Christmas Island if the 00:11 UTC BFO and BTO data and their mainstream interpretation could be trusted. Can you give an example?

  31. @Niels

    Christmas island is where I have already posted a solution. That is a very long way from the SIO search area.

    BTW, every aircraft flight in history has had ups and downs and turns. So did MH370 as has been documented before and during the FMT.

  32. Dennis,

    Welcome back. It seems you were away for a while. I am not sure if you are aware of the two pieces of important information that came during your absence: release of FI report and discovery of a ‘hook’-shaped feature in IR Suomi NPP images by Bobby.

    Interpretation of this ‘hook’ as the trace of smog, combined with the initiation of the descent in attempt to land at Maimun Saleh or Aceh is consistent with BFO, absence of radar data, absence of post 18:25 communication. It was earlier discarded as a contrail on the basis of meteorological data (unless the aircraft was at 14 km altitude, which would be inconsistent with radar data, or more exactly its absence), but so far nobody suggested any other plausible explanation of this ‘effect’. A fighter jet that shut down MH370 from 14 km altitude? May be. Who knows.

    The Christmas Island hypothesis can likely be discarded if the information presented in FI is correct; in addition the path you originally proposed was not confirmed by radar data (I mean Penang – Langkawi issue), which would have time and distance implications. If you want to reincarnate Christmas Island hypothesis, you will need to answer quite many new questions and rework the original path.

    The path suggested by IG was discarded a long while ago by everybody, who has some sense of logic, even by some IG members. However, the more you criticize a groundless assumption, the more resistance you will meet from people supporting it. Why do you resume wasting your energy instead of focusing on something useful?

  33. @Dennis: When I said the satellite data indicates a flight to the SIO, I meant that very broadly, and not limited to the current search area.

  34. @DennisW, VictorI

    Ok, for me as well SIO is the IO roughly south of equator, that caused the confusion.
    For the rest: yes, good to keep the view wide, including peeping north once in a while. Regrettably, IMO most of which has been presented as facts after 17:21 should be called clues, at most.

  35. Thanks Oleks,

    I need a good slap from time to time :-).

    This endeavor sometimes lacks a sense of humor and comaraderie. You have provided it. Thx again.

  36. Dennis,

    Welcome. I value you contribution and discussions, and that is why I would like to see more productive discussions. It is sad to see that IG’s narrative has been cemented and no other opinions are tolerated within the group for a long while. It is certainly more productive to have discussions with a number of independent investigators/modelers, who are still looking for answers and open to accept new ideas.

  37. @Oleksandr: “It is sad to see that IG’s narrative has been cemented and no other opinions are tolerated within the group for a long while.”

    Are we reading the same blog? No other opinions tolerated? Don’t equate lack of agreement with a theory with untolerated opinions.

  38. Victor:

    Lack of agreement? May I continue Greg’s line:

    …and then why do you often place the note “The views expressed here are solely mine and do not represent the views of the Independent Group” on top of your posts?

    What is the view of the IG? Wasn’t it clearly expressed in the recent Mike’s statement:
    “If there is a flaw in the analysis, it is at the margin. IOW…they are looking in the right general area, but the plane could be just slightly outside the 60km^2 area…not thousands of miles away.”? [Posted April 29, 2015 at 11:28 AM]

  39. @Oleksandr: I put the disclaimer that the views expressed are solely mine because that is the truth. I am trying to prevent confusion. The views of the IG are the statements that were made that include the list of signatories. Anything else are just views of individuals, and may or may not be consistent with past IG statements.

    I don’t think I could ever get the IG as a group to agree to consider northern paths at this point, so I don’t try, at least not now with the scant evidence at hand. If the members of the IG elect to disassociate themselves from me because I am exploring scenarios that are out of step with the group consensus, I guess I will have to accept that. It is the IG’s right to make that decision.

    I think there are too many commenters here that try to convince the IG to believe in a particular theory. Post your view, debate it if you want, but don’t get bent out of shape if there is disagreement.

  40. Greg Long – Jeff’s expulsion looked like a peculiar instance of brand protection, but we now know that the IG area was always going to be covered and some.

    Oleksandr – (the bit you quoted)“If there is a flaw in the analysis, it is at the margin. IOW…they are looking in the right general area, but the plane could be just slightly outside the 60km^2 area…not thousands of miles away.”

    In other words we were wrong?? And now guestimating as to how and by how much. So much for brand protection.

    If it didn’t spiral in then the “scaffold of assumptions” is creaking.

  41. Victor:

    Re: “The views of the IG are the statements that were made that include the list of signatories. Anything else are just views of individuals.”

    A person cannot have two different opinions on the same thing at the same time. You wrote: “To be clear, I place myself in neither camp, and therefore I continue to be interested in both scenarios.” [May 4, 2015 at 9:37 AM]. On the other hand you ‘signed’ (in your terms) under the statement:
    “Continued analysis of the publicly-available information pertaining to the flight of MH370 has enabled us to improve our estimate of where the aircraft crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. Our ‘most probable’ end point is located at 37.71S 88.75E”. (

    What drives you to continue your research if you believe in the latter?

    Re “I think there are too many commenters here that try to convince the IG to believe in a particular theory. Post your view, debate it if you want, but don’t get bent out of shape if there is disagreement.”

    Now it’s my turn to ask you: “Are we reading the same blog?”
    My observation is that since the statement about “consensus” on Duncan’s site IG members became reluctant to comment on the issues and theories that do not fit the ‘narrative’. And, as someone noticed, why would they need to do so? Now IG has to defend its position.


    Re “In other words we were wrong??”.
    With regard to the area indicated by ALSM – most likely yes. The issue is not about accuracy of the data indeed, as presented by him, but in the validity of a number of assumptions.

  42. @Oleksandr: You asked, “What drives you to continue your research if you believe in the latter? [‘most probable’ end point is located at 37.71S 88.75E”]”.

    I believe it is important to keep an open mind and not steadfastly cling to one scenario to the exclusion of others. Once you do that, you lose your objectivity. I have in the past stated that the IG end point is the most likely. However, I don’t exclude the possibility that it is wrong, and as time passes with no wreckage, the probability that it is correct continues to decrease. Perhaps at this time it is not even the most likely.

    Do you deny me the right to explore more than one scenario in parallel? Why is this so hard to understand?

    Nobody that I know of in the IG is reluctant to comment on their point of view. (Who would cede their freedom of speech so willingly? I know I certainly would not.) To avoid confusion, I include disclaimers that my alternative views are mine and mine alone, which I think is the fair thing to do.

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