How the MH370 Flaperon Floated — UPDATED

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Fig. 1: A population of Lepas goose barnacles growing on a skiff carried out to sea by the 2011 Tohoku tsunami.

Goose barnacles of the genus Lepas live exclusively on debris floating in the open ocean. Like other barnacles, their larvae spend the early part of their life swimming freely and then, in a final larval phase called the cyprid stage, search out a floating object on which to settle. Once they find a suitable object, says marine biologist Hank Carson, “cyprids in general do do a fair bit of exploration for that cementation spot” upon it, and with good reason: they’ll spend the rest of their life there. Among the criteria they assess is how crowded a spot is, what the underlying substrate consists of, and how deep it is. Once satisfied, they glue their heads in place.

In general Lepas barnacles like to spread out, and prefer a spot in the shade; they grow best away from the top of the water column. The reason is that close to the waterline, the rising and falling of waves periodically exposes the animals to the air, which interferes with their feeding. It’s unhealthy for them in other ways, too. “The uppermost centimeters of water are normally a quite harsh environment with strongly changing ecological parameters, like water temperature, salinity (heavy rains or intense evaporation in tropical areas). Moreover they are subjected to intensive UV radiation,” says Hans-Georg Herbig of the Institut für Geologie und Mineralogie in Cologne, Germany. “From several organism groups it is known that they avoid the uppermost centimeters of the water column.”

Given a healthful environment, Lepas barnacles are notoriously fast-growing. The animals evolved to live on floating organic debris which after a time will break apart and sink, so time is of the essence. Whereas a species of goose barnacle that lives attached to a rock might take five years to reach sexual maturity,1 Lepas can do it in mere weeks. Japanese researcher Yoichi Yusa and his colleagues raised L. anserifera barnacles on tethered debris in a bay in Japan and found that “individuals on the average grew from 3 mm to more than 12 mm in capitulum length within 15 days and some were brooding.” Thus, in less than a month after settling onto a piece of debris, Lepas can begin producing new generations to further their colonization.2

As a result Lepas-settled flotsam can become extremely crowded in short order, with individuals crammed onto every available surface right up to the uppermost limit of what they can survive. Pictured above in Figure 1 is a Japanese skiff that was swept to sea after the Tohoku tsunami in March, 2011, and made landfall on a beach in Washington state in June of the following year, meaning that it floated capsized for about 15 months. If you think it’s remarkable that the barnacles could have grown so huge in so little time, think again. “They grow really fast,” says Cynthia Venn, a professor of oceanography and geology at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania. “That boat could get covered like that in six months, even.”

Venn has studied the genus Lepas intensively for more than twenty years. For ten of them, she collected specimens from NOAA’s Tropical Ocean and Atmosphere array of research buoys dotted across the central Pacific Ocean, carefully preserving material that the maintenance crews considered pesky marine fouling. “It was basically a 3-D time series of barnacle settlement,” she says. “I couldn’t find anyone to take the project so I just did it myself. I was able to go two cruises, for the rest I sent my studentsand they then shipped the barnacles back to me so I could work on them. I’ve got hundreds of thousands of barnacles in my garage.”

Looking at the skiff more closely, we see that the upper part of the hull is ringed with a very well-defined boundary below which the Lepas are cheek-by-jowl (orange line in Fig. 2, below). Above that lies an intermediary zone, extending to the waterline (green line), where algae predominate. While some barnacles are visible, they are small and few in number. “They get a better shot at what they’re going to eat if they’re a little bit below that,” says Venn. “I don’t know if it’s too much UV or just they don’t like the temperature changes, or what.”

waterline and Lepas line
Fig. 2: A close-up view of the skiff in Figure 1, showing the waterline (green) and “Lepas line” (orange)


A Lepas line is also easily seen in the picture below (Figure 3), which shows meteorological research buoys before (“a”) and after (“b”) a 26-month deployment in the North Pacific. “The waterline is at the center (max diameter) of the buoy, where there is a seam in the hull,” says Jim Thomson, a scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who studies the buoys.3 “The barnacles appear to start about 10 cm below that line.”

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Figure 3: A deep-ocean buoy before and after 26 months in the North Pacific.


Here’s another piece of tsunami debris, this one a refrigerator that made landfall in Hawaii in October, 2012, meaning that it was in the water for just over a year and a half. Both the Lepas line and the algae zone are clearly visible. The waterline, Venn says, would lie about where the green algae shades into black:

Fig. 4: A Japanese refrigerator that washed up in Hawaii after the tsunami.


You may have noticed that while the hard part, called the capitulum, is of similar sizes in all these pictures, the fleshy, goose-neck part (called the peduncle) is dramatically smaller on the Hawaii debris. Like other fleshy appendages, peduncles can change in size fairly dramatically, especially when they’ve been pulled from the sea. “How long they are kind of depends on how long they’ve had to dry out,” says Venn. So when scientists talk about the growth rate of barnacles, they usually talk about the length of the capitulum.

How Composite Objects Float

According to reader Gavin Grimmer, The upper and lower surfaces of 777 flaperon are “made of  honeycombed composite – presumably carbon fiber” while “the leading edge is mainly made from high tensile aluminum (2024-T3) apart from the fibreglass doubler.”4 As a general rule, things made of composite material exhibit excellent buoyancy. The honeycomb materials which makes up most of the volume of the composite skin weighs only about 5 percent as much as water.5 Composite aircraft parts, therefore, tend to float fairly high in the water, like this:

Fig. 5: The vertical stabilizer of Air France 447.


Mike Exner, one of the leading members of the Independent Group, conducted his own study of how the flaperon must have floated, building a model out of plastic poster board. After the interior compartment was flooded it settled into the water like this:

Mike Exner flotation test
Fig. 6: Mike Exner’s model of the Reunion flaperon.


Another example of a composite floating object is this motor boat, which  capsized in a storm off the northwestern coast of Australia and then was carried for eight months by waves and currents across the Indian Ocean to the island of Mayotte, near Madagascar — a very similar route that the MH370 presumably took on its journey from the 7th arc. Though the resolution is too low to discern the Lepas line from the algae zone, you can clearly see which part was above the water and which part was below:

Fig. 7: An Australian motorboat that journeyed upside-down across the Indian Ocean.


Now let’s turn our attention to the 777 flaperon that washed up on a rocky beach on Reunion Island. More than two months later, the French authorities still haven’t released a report detailing what they’ve learned about the piece, which now resides at a facility near Toulouse. Fortunately journalists took photographs of the flaperon from every angle shortly after it was discovered so that just by gathering publicly available images from the web we can assess the whole surface.

As a general observation, we should note that the general shape of the flaperon is plank-like: rectangular when seen from above, with an airfoil cross section. In referring to the part, I will use the nomenclature shown in Fig. 8, below.

Figure 8. The parts of the flaperon.

Note that the geometry of the piece is essentially planar, by which I mean that the faces do not bulge outwards. As a result, if one point on the edge of an end-cap is underwater, and the corresponding point on the edge of the far end-cap is under water, then the surface between them will be immersed, too. (You can get a sense of this “flatness” in Figures 10 and 14, below.)

To begin with, let’s look at the outboard end cap. Barnacles, either individual or in clumps, are circled in green. I have not necessarily circled all of them, but at least those necessary to show the range of distribution. (To see the full-resolution version of this and all subsequent images, click on the link in the caption.)

Outboard end cap
Fig. 9. The outboard end cap. For full resolution image, click here.


Given that the end-cap is rimmed in barnacles, it must have all floated below the waterline. One could argue that a small portion of the strip marked with the red line could emerge from the water, but to my eye it lies between the outer edges of the barnacle clusters marked “A” and “B,” which would not grow up out of the water.

Moving on to the leading edge, we see in Figure 10 (below) that there is a substantial accumulation of barnacles on the outboard end of it, as well as some growth on the inboard side. Though there is little or no growth between these areas, that portion must have been submerged by virtue of lying between those two submerged areas:

Outboard leading edge marked up copy
Fig. 10. The outboard end of the leading edge. For full resolution image, click here.


This view offers more detail of the inboard end of the leading edge. Growth is quite heavy, though only the tips of barnacle clusters extend outward beyond the plane of the leading edge:

Leading edge inboard marked up copy
Fig. 11. The inboard end of the leading edge. For full resolution image, click here.


It’s fairly self-evident that the top surface was immersed:

APTOPIX Missing Malaysia Plane
Fig. 12. The top surface. For full resolution image, click here.


As well as the trailing edge, where the flaperon was evidently severed along the line of a transverse spar. Here we see the top edge, along with some of the bottom:

Malaysia Confirms Debris Is From Malaysia Flight MH370
Fig. 13. The trailing edge. For full resolution image, click here.


Here’s the rest of the bottom part of the trailing edge:

Aft bottom edge copy
Fig. 14. Another view of the trailing edge. For full resolution image, click here.


Now let’s look at the inboard end cap.

French gendarmes and police inspect a large piece of plane debris which was found on the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion
Fig. 15. The inboard end cap. For full resolution image, click here.


Onward to the object’s final face, the bottom surface. It does not exhibit the same degree of encrustation as we see on the top side. In Figure 16, below, we see the underside of the flaperon with the trailing edge at top. We’ve already noted the presence of barnacles on the bottom of the trailing edge and the bottom of the inboard end cap. We haven’t seen as much yet of the bottom of the outboard end cap, so I’ll focus on that area in this image:

MH370 search: Debris found on Reunion being sent to France
Fig. 16. Bottom surface, outboard end. For full resolution image, click here.


Barnacle growth is much less profuse on the bottom than it is on the trailing edge, but there are enough individuals present on this portion to suggest that the entire bottom edge of the outboard end cap must have been submerged. So, therefore, must have the entire underside. Note that the numbers “1,” “2,” and “3” correspond to the clusters of barnacles marked likewise in Figure 9.

How did the Reunion flaperon float?

The contrast between the Reunion flaperon and other floating debris we’ve looked at is quiet stark. The piece that came off MH370 does not have a Lepas line. There is no significant area that could have protruded above the waterline. The entire surface resembles the deeply submerged areas seen on the other flotsam.

This fact evidently did not escape the French investigators who took custody of the piece. On August 21, the French news outlet La Depeche reported in August that “According to a Toulouse aeronautics expert who requested anonymity, the element of the wing would not have floated for several months at the water’s surface but would have drifted underwater a few meters deep.” Similarly, an article that ran in Le Monde on September 3, 2015, stated that “Les études de flottabilité du flaperon ont quant à elles confirmé que le débris flottait légèrement en dessous de la surface de la mer.”: “Studies of the flaperon’s flotation have… confirmed that the debris floated slightly below the surface of the ocean.”

This seems a reasonable assessment to Venn, based on the distribution of barnacles visible in photographs of the flaperon. “I think it was probably floating just barely subsurface,” she says.

This presents something of a paradox. “It is very hard to build something that will float slightly below the surface,” wrote David Griffin, an oceanographer with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), in an email. “The probability that an aircraft part does this is miniscule. The only way it can do this is if some of the object breaks the surface. If it does not break the surface AT ALL it must sink.”

One could just about imagine that, by sheer good luck, the flaperon might have wound up taking just enough water to give it an overall density almost exactly that of seawater, so that it floated with perhaps a minuscule portion above the water. But such a situation would not be stable. Objects floating with only very slightly positive buoyancy can be pushed below the surface by the action of large waves, says Sean Kery, a hydronamicist at CSC Defense Group who has extensive experience modeling the impact of waves on floating objects. If storm waves push down an object being held afloat by open air pockets, the increase in depth would cause those pockets to shrink, reducing their buoyancy and causing the object to sink further, a phenomenon well-known by recreational scuba divers, who must learn to keep inflating their BCDs as they descend. Of course, without an active compensation system like a BCD a flaperon that was neutrally buoyant at the surface would become negatively buoyant below it.

What’s more, even if an object did manage to float just barely touching the surface, it would eventually sink lower as marine life accumulated. “Things never stay statically neutral,” says oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer. “It’s a dynamic situation. It has to do with infiltration of water, it has to do with the weight of barnacles growing on it.”

Thus, the distribution of barnacles on the Reunion flaperon is difficult to understand. Because they are found all over its surface, the flaperon must have settled into the ocean with a buoyancy exactly identical to that of seawater. And somehow it remained there, floating in a stable manner. Yet this is close to physically impossible.

How could the flaperon have remained underwater?

Given the seeming impossibility of the flaperon floating free across the ocean while submerged, is there another way it might have arrived in its current barnacle-encrusted condition? Since the piece must have been completely underwater, it might have become colonized on the sea bottom. That explanation, however, is problematic. The 7th arc passes through an area of the southern Indian Ocean that is thousands of feet deep. In order to have become colonized by Lepas on the seabed, it would have had to have floated thousands of miles to shallower water, sunk, then refloated to the surface and almost immediately been washed ashore. Also, while Venn says that while she has collected specimens from as deep as 100 meters, “that was not on the bottom or anywhere close to the bottom. It was simply 100 meters below the surface where the ocean was probably more than 5000 meters deep. I have never heard of Lepas colonizing anything on the sea bottom.”

Another possibility is that the flaperon was positively bouyant but remained beneath the ocean surface because it was tethered to the seabed. As it happens, in the past researchers have successfully managed to raise Lepas on substrates anchored offshore. In Yoichi Yusa’s experiment noted above, he collected Lepas specimens growing on pieces of driftwood and floating plastic and attached them to tethers in a bay in Japan. There he monitored their progress as they grew over the next month and a half.

The view of the flaperon seen in Figure 17, below, might provide evidence of how the tethering was accomplished. On the inboard edge of the upper face one can observe a peculiar strip where the surface appears considerably less weathered than the surrounding area:

APTOPIX Missing Malaysia Plane
Fig. 17: A mysteriously clean rectangle


When this was first pointed out to me I  figured it had to do with the missing piece of rubber gasket along the inboard edge of the top surface, which might have been knocked off by contact with a reef. But now that I look closer I see that it isn’t actually that. I’ve marked the “white area” on a photo of a new flaperon below (image reversed to make a left flaperon look like a right one):

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Fig. 18: The location of the mysteriously clean rectangle depicted on an intact flaperon.


It seems that something was clamped to the “lighter patch” that isn’t normally attached to a flaperon, and which was detached after the part spent some time in the ocean. Since it’s hard to imagine this happening without human agency, perhaps it was part of a tethering/untethering operation. Perhaps an anchor line was attached there.

Duration of immersion

Up until now, it has been assumed that the flaperon was deposited somewhere along the 7th arc soon when MH370 impacted the southern Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014. If it was actively tethered to the seabed, obviously, this timeline is no longer relevant. Instead, we can turn to the barnacles to provide some indication of the likely duration of the flaperon’s immersion.

“Assuming they have enough food, and the temperature is good, barnacles will follow a steady growth progression,” Venn says.

The clock starts running the moment the flaperon hits the water: So long as the water is warm enough, Lepas will begin to colonize an object almost immediately. (Yachtsman who make long oceanic passages report that after spending a few weeks heeled over on a single tack a section of hull that is normally high and dry can pick up a colony of Lepas; Venn says she has seen cyprids attach to material as ephemeral as floating paper bags.) While the precise growth rate depends on water temperature and food availability, a rough notion of these parameters is enough to yield a ball-park figure for how long immersion has continued. Earlier this year, Venn co-authored a paper in which she and her colleagues ascertained that a human body found floating off the cost of Italy must have been in the water at least 65 to 90 days, based on the size of the Lepas barnacles growing on its clothes.6

We can do something similar for the barnacles on the flaperon, using the Mayotte boat as a reference. Since both traveled through a similar stretch of the southern Indian Ocean, their growth rates should be in the same ball park.

By comparing features on the flaperon to reference objects of a known size (e.g., the rear door of a Gendarmerie Land Rover Defender in Figure 16) we can estimate the capitulum lengths of the largest barnicles on the flaperon. They turn out to be approximately 2.3 cm.

Applying the same technique to the Mayotte barnacles yields capitulum lengths of about 3.5 cm.

Yusa’s paper on Lepas growth rates states that “Individuals <5 mm long (mean ± SE = 3.09 ± 0.19 mm) grew rapidly, reaching 12.45 ± 0.54 mm on day 15 (Fig. 2). After that, their growth slowed and finally reached 16.26 ± 0.49 mm on day 42.”

The Lepas anserifera that Yusa studied are somewhat smaller than the Lepas anatifera that predominate on the flaperon, but if we use Yusa’s growth rate as a conservative lower bound, and suppose that the largest flaperon barnacles were 16.3 mm at day 42 and grew at 0.1 mm/day thereafter, that means it would take them another 67 days to reach 2.3 cm, for a total growth time of 109 days, or about four months.

If they proceeded to grow at 0.1 mm for the following four months, that would take them to 3.5 cm, which is what the Mayotte barnacles achieved.

Interestingly, when I asked Yusa via email how long it seemed to him that the colony had been growing on the Reunion Island flaperon, based on photographs I sent, Yusa answered: “I would guess that they had been there for a short time (between 2 weeks and a few months).”

Venn’s seat-of-the-pants estimate was “less than six months.”


Photographs of barnacles living on the MH370 flaperon discovered on Reunion Island, combined with expert insight into the lifecycle and habit preferences of the genus Lepas, suggest that the object did not float there from the plane’s presumed impact point, but spent approximately four months tethered below the surface.

UPDATE 10/10/15: Could the distribution of barnacles be explained by continual flipping?

Since I posted this piece yesterday evening, a number of people have suggested that perhaps the flaperon flipped over every few hours, allowing barnacles to survive on both sides. Such a scenario might also explain why the density of Lepas is rather low compared to that seen on other objects. It faces two difficulties, however.

First, the flaperon is broad and flat, and once its inner cavities were filled with water it would weigh thousands of pounds. With only a few inches of freeboard in even the most optimistic scenarios, it would be very resistant to being flipped — much more so than, say, the fridge, which nonetheless clearly floated in a stable manner. Even if it were fairly easy to invert, high waves and wind would be required to do so, which would mean that flaperon would have had to have spent a year or more in constant storm conditions. Yet tranquil conditions are actually more normal. “Calm seas are actually pretty common in the stable high pressure cells that more-or-less permanently inhabit the center of ocean basins,” says Hank Carson, who has traveled across the Pacific gathering floating debris. It’s hard to envisage anyhing flipping over a day like this.

Second, the reason that the Lepas line exists is that these animals don’t like to be exposed, even for a few seconds. They can survive close to the waterline, where they are risk being exposed and immersed with every wave cycle, but only a few small outliers attempt it. They are simply not adapted to frequent long-duration exposure, like their relatives who live attached to rocks in the intertidal zone. “I do not think they can survive more than one day above the water,” Yoichi Yusa told me, while Venn says she has seen them live as long as three days. Apart from the physiological stress of being exposed to what to them is a toxic environment, the animals would spend half their time unable to feed. So even if we imagine the essentially impossible scenario in which the flaperon keeps flipping back and forth every few hours, we would not expect to see dense aggregations of mature individuals.

The implications of low settlement density

While we can learn a lot about how long an object has been afloat by the length of Lepas capitula, it’s harder to draw conclusions based on the density with which they settle. Barnacles do not land randomly, like plant seeds, but actively sniff out an object’s surface in the cyprid stage before settling down in the spot they like best. While they prefer living in the shade, they even more prefer cracks and crevices, and dislike a smooth surface. You can see several places on the top of the flaperon where they’ve preferentially settled down into dings and divots. Most of the broad expanse of the upper and lower surfaces they have avoided, most likely because it’s just too smooth and exposed. They especially seem to like the exposed broken honeycomb on the trailing edge, which presumably offers a nice rough surface for holding fast to. Here they are living in quite high density, with some actually growing on top of one another:

(150806) -- THE REUNION ISLAND, Aug. 6, 2015 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on Jul.29, 2015, shows shells growing on a piece of debris on Reunion Island. Verification had confirmed that the debris discovered on Reunion Island belongs to missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced early Thursday. (Xinhua/Romain Latournerie) (jmmn)

By way of comparison, here’s a shot of the barnacles on the Mayotte motorboat. Their distribution is much more uniform on every surface — here Lepas seem to like everything equally well:


Therefore, I wouldn’t necessarily say that Lepas density on the flaperon is low, but rather that the suitability of the substrate is very heterogeneous.

328 thoughts on “How the MH370 Flaperon Floated — UPDATED”

  1. @Curveball, the scenario you desribe would require spoofing, which in turn would require super-sophisticate hijackers with presumably some motive.

  2. @CurveBall

    “a) There are really no places to fly without being detected by many land radars unless the plane stayed over the water and landed in CI (or Cocos)…which we know it didn’t.”

    well I suppose they failed on approach for some reason, technical problems/cockpit conflict/tiredness etc. so they ditched

    “b) And if it crashed (even a soft crash), the lack of debris in a much smaller area with much higher boating traffic and much nearer land (as compared with the direct southern route to SIO) keep the probability level very low.”

    nah, ocean currents would actually take debris to area around …Reunion

    “c) Why? What would be the motivation to go this route in the first place? Asylum? Hostage negotiation? It’s difficult to see why someone would fly in this direction.”

    there is an airport, a lot easier to find motivation for landing than for ditching in the middle of nowhere

    “So…am I crazy? Does this all sound reasonable? Or is it just another crazy theory? If so, why?”

    the problem with all those theories is that people suppose hijacker(s) had the goal to hide the plane while in reality disapperance could be just a mishap

  3. Falken,

    Re: “…the pilots CAN predict them due to first unanswered satphone ring into cockpit…”

    1. There was a second call 23:15, which would be impossible to predict.
    2. It would be necessary to perform real-time calculations after the first call to adjust path accordingly, and re-enter it.
    3. The whole idea would be unreliable due to a-priory unknown number of calls.

  4. StevanG,

    I sincerely hoped you or Dennis would find more or less plausible/reasonable explanations for a number of things you failed to explain before. Instead both of you stuck in a circular logic. Yours “I refuse to believe [in some things]” and “I believe [in some other things]” have no value. Can you please understand that it is not about in what you believe; it is all about how to explain certain things in a reasonable way.

  5. We have tried but you are somehow always straying off topic.

    We think it’s reasonable the plane was directed towards an airport, if you think it’s unreasonable then we can’t do anything about it.

  6. StevanG,

    “We think it’s reasonable the plane was directed towards an airport, if you think it’s unreasonable then we can’t do anything about it”.

    If you think I think it is unreasonable the plane was directed towards some airport, then you are wrong. But if you think I think it is unreasonable the plane was directed towards the CI airport as the only possible destination, then you are right – I think it is unreasonable. Especially taking into account that your path does not comply with the BTO and BFO data, while your scenario is lacking in a plausible motive and it contains a number of inconsistencies you failed to explain. Am I clear?

  7. Curveball – it draws me back again to the thing that has always had me going the opposite way to most of the crunchers, and with apologies to Oleksandr: gut feeling. As you point out, the plane was bearing right towards the satellite, and had gone to considerable trouble to do this, with no live satcom, then voila – it comes back on. In an instant it is then heading away from the satellite – according to the ping times. The best way to fool the satellite was to fly towards it – to deceive someone you have to get their attention first. We have no proof of a final major turn as yet, we only have some numbers. Some of the esteemed contributors here actually helped design this stuff and won’t hear of any hanky-panky but it’s looking more and more likely. Serious crunchers are free to disregard my intuition but I’m not the one with the problem. There is still no plane, just a wide range of possibilities as to what happened and where.

  8. Well, we are still wondering what is happening with the flaperon. There is a very interesting comment dated 7th Oct on the MH370 France facebook page
    indicating that the French judge’s trip to Malaysia has been cancelled. I’ve only used Google to translate this and that may well be inaccurate and/or the information wrong. Even if the trip is cancelled, surely by now extensive testing on the flaperon must have taken place. Anyone know more?

  9. Matty-Perth writes:

    “In an instant it is then heading away from the satellite – according to the ping times.”

    No. The closest approach to the satellite happened at 19:41 – more than an hour after the SATCOM “comes back on.” The “ping time” at 20:41, more than two hours later, also corresponds to a distance closer to the satellite than the time that the SATCOM came back on.

    “The best way to fool the satellite was to fly towards it …” Could you explain what it means to “fool a satellite” and how “flying toward it” accomplishes that objective?

  10. sk999 – by “fool a satellite” I mean the people working off it. By flying towards it there was an unambiguous picture forming.

  11. Matty-Perth,

    “by “fool a satellite” I mean the people working off it.”

    Well, OK – you could have said that outright – but then,

    “By flying towards it there was an unambiguous picture forming.”

    Sorry, but I have not a clue what you mean. The BTOs and BFOs are straightforward to calculate and have no ambiguity with respect to the direction of travel of the aircraft with respect to the satellite.

  12. sk999 – ok, fill me in then. What if the plane kept going east, headed out into the pacific then put in a turn? Does it get harder or easier for the folks at Inmarsat? The whole rationale to a spoof is to create a stark impression that the plane took a course to oblivion, I’m assuming anyway.

  13. Matty-Perth,

    Why don’t you first fill us in as to what you meant by:

    “By flying towards it there was an unambiguous picture forming.”

    Still waiting.

  14. When looking at the ISAT data after radar contact was lost near the FMT there are 3 three basic interpretations discussed.

    – the present one on the table, a airliner flown with mostly constant heading, speed and altitude. This results to a path to the present search area. Very simple interpretation.

    – the ISAT BFO data are somehow altered, spoofed by decoy plane or misinterpreted. This allows a flightpath to any point on the 7th arc. Complicated scenario.

    – the Perps knew about the ISAT data and the point at which the pings occur, and altered the flightpath by changing speed, heading and vertical speed to create the datas like we have on the table. Very sophisticated knowledge necessary

    What I miss is the fourth version, which needs the least amount of knowledge.

    – the ISAT data were not known to the perps.
    They just followed their planned low threat routing and flew their aircraft accordingly, by changing heading, speed and altitude as necessary. The datas are just the result by this flightpath, the result happened just by chance, not by a sophisticated plan. We are talking about 5 relevant BTO data points, each lasting some microseconds.

    Oleksander showed in his work in Figure 6, how climb and descents and heading influences the data.

    Applying such a method to the possible positions on the northern BTO arcs would be interesting.

  15. @jeff

    Yes, you are right, of course. Hence I split the scenarios into two main categories — without and with spoofing.

    No Spoof => BFO data says the plane went south and there are some variables to play with (straight vs curved path, altitude, speed) in order to determine where it crashed or was ditched in the SIO. This is the dominant scenario under investigation…though it has turned up nothing.

    Spoofed => The BFO data was altered. I agree that this certainly requires a level of sophistication and strongly indicates motivation. The plane’s known path already indicates that a plan existed and hence motivation compelled someone or some group to accomplish something. We might even say we are witnessing the works of “evil genius”.

    I was analysing the possible spoofing scenarios by focusing on — primarily — direction and — secondarily — potential detection. A deeper analysis of motivation can come after a narrowing of the alternatives based on these two considerations. That said, a brief look at motivation in each spoofed scenario seems reasonable.

    I I pointed out the problems with west (including north then west), south then west, south and east. I think those are dead ends…even with spoofing.

    I think straight north has major problems once land is reached…and even bigger problems if crossing the Himalayas is attempted.

    That leaves south then east (CI or Cocos islands as potential targeted destinations) and north then east.


    Your CI scenario represents the south then east possibility.

    Yes, I have continuously recognised that an attempt to land (hiding or not hiding the plane doesn’t matter until we get to a deeper analysis of motives) does not preclude the possibility of a crash or ditch into water.

    The problem (besides not offering almost any reasonable motive in the first place) with south then east is that a crash/ditch in water (near CI, for example) most likely WOULD create a debris field which would be seen…even by those not looking for one.

    Yes, I also agree (and wrote) that the flapper in Reunion works better with a starting point from around CI, but where is the rest? Please know that Ci is right in the middle of THE dominant shipping lane between Jakarta and Perth…which first starts in Singapore and the Malacca Straight (and India before that). Any drift would also cross the only major shipping lanes to Australia direct from the Gulfs of Oman and Aden. Lastly, that is a major fishing area.

    The odds of no debris being seen are low. And that’s not even considering debris washing up on Sumatra’s coast.

    Soooo….I have cast my eyes towards north then east. With BFO spoofing…but toeing the BTO line.

  16. sk999 – by using the term “unambiguous” I was mainly reflecting the levels of certainty expressed so far by the many analysts who hung their hat on the current search area. The pings were bullet proof and the BFO’s emphatically pointed south. Confidence was high. The closer it gets to the satellite the easier it gets – I thought? We still don’t have a logical reason for the diversion and if it disappears into the Pacific defining a search area is pretty difficult?

    An SIO spoof closes the door on a lot of speculation while not guaranteeing search success. A Pacific scenario would generate endless mystery. Proof of this is the fact that many believe fervently the plane is down there undisturbed, and will do their dying day. If it “was” a spoof it was effective.

  17. @Jeff @Oleksandr
    yes, number of satphone calls is unpredictable, unless the guy on ground who called may be part of the problem too; the fact that there was “just one” call at 18:39:55 (log till 18:40:56) is weird itself; why there was no MORE tries to call if he must know its ringing?? perhaps each few minutes at least few times??

    so, ok, the crazy possibility – preps had such help on ground, with predefined signal that they was effectivelly lost to everybody and that they can just proceed – it might be the 1st call, just one (which happened after 18:25 reset from plane side, to clash logs even more?); then pilots can expect other predefined just one satphone call signal exactly at 23:14:00 (log till 23:15:01) to re-reset timer again for next hour window to LAND somewhere (in N-S direction?); curious is, that ping at 00:10:58 is not 60 but 55 minutes from this call and that this 2nd call IS NOT mentioned in FactualInformation at all (?? if I am not wrong, at least in transcripts seems never listed); such both satphone calls are simply WEIRD, because if using radio, calling party dont know if other side can hear you, but by using satphone ringing in cockipt, I hope calling guy must know it is ringing, so the plane “just works”, yet; final reset(and powered-off again with incomplete boot?) at 00:19:29-38 provides another clashing BFO/BTO into logs and might be performed while plane on ground already OR during landing?? and then whole plane/satcom shut down completelly?

    “the ground support” may be monitoring the satcom from GES/inmarsat to this plane too, even using the $20 thing and PC

    I would simply want to know WHO exacly did the two satphone calls and ask him why this way.

  18. @Oleksandr

    ” But if you think I think it is unreasonable the plane was directed towards the CI airport as the only possible destination, then you are right – I think it is unreasonable. Especially taking into account that your path does not comply with the BTO and BFO data, while your scenario is lacking in a plausible motive and it contains a number of inconsistencies you failed to explain. Am I clear?”

    it does comply with BTO&BFO if you remove assumptions, 6th arc falls right behind CI (maybe 30-40 miles or so) and 7th BTO is only partial ping and has quite a margin of error so it’s more derived from aircraft performance assuming it traveled eastwards from the 6th arc

    it could be a loiter around Banda Aceh, abandoning (inoperative airport at the time, no lights on the runway?) then going to Cocos Island (which also had no lights at the time) then going to CI, so it wouldn’t have to be the “only” destination, but one of

    I know about PAL lights but I’m not sure they exist on Cocos, I know there are PALs on CI

    we find political motive plausible in absence of better one, yes it seems strange but it certainly wouldn’t be the most crazy thing that happened in history of mankind


    “The problem (besides not offering almost any reasonable motive in the first place) with south then east is that a crash/ditch in water (near CI, for example) most likely WOULD create a debris field which would be seen…even by those not looking for one.”

    taking MH370 off route is very unreasonable move by itself, we can’t find the most reasonable motive for it really

    debris field wouldn’t be huge in case of soft ditching, only floating pieces could be flaperons and couple of other very small parts

    at the time nobody mentioned area around CI as a possible crash area so noone looked actively for it

  19. @StevanG

    You seem to think that I completely reject your hypothesis. I don’t. It’s one of the few that remains, in my opinion.

    But that doesn’t stop me from pointing out the problems I see with it (ALL of the hypotheses have problems, btw, including the primary SIO one).

    Debris — Again, a soft landing may well produce less pieces, but it would most likely leave some big floatings things like rafts, overhead luggage, pantry items, whatever might “wiggle” out rather than “explode” out.

    And even if no one was looking, there is a lot more boating traffic around there. And if debris did catch the big current, it would go straight to…Cocos!

    Granted, you may be right about the debris.

    Motive — Wrong place for asylum. With whom to negotiate for hostage release — Indonesia or Australia? And if there was a hostage plan, why wouldn’t a country say something? It’s not something that requires hiding from the general public.

    Now, there are other plausible motives, but CI or Cocos would be the wrong locations to aim for.

    If the plan was not to land, then the plane was to be used as a bomb, probably. If it were to land, then some things or some people on board were going to be taken off and kept…or sold. Or the plane would be prepared to be used as a bomb later. Or a combination of those.

    In my mind, one has to figure out what the escape route was supposed to be…and then determine what motives would take them there. In the CI case, there is a route available, but not much reward to get for taking it.

    Same reason I doubt the plane went south and west. Maybe it could be a bomb to hit Diego Garcia as the French writer opined, but that’s a pretty stupid plan. Route? Yes. Good plan? No.

  20. Captain’s friend and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was jailed that same day before the flight because of alleged homosexuality.

    Captain had many posts on social media about revenge against government etc. so taking plane to the australian territory while mocking the malaysian government/military and requesting asylum might have sounded good in his head, although not the most rational thing to do.

  21. I must correct that receiving GES/IOR P-Channel transmissions probably isnt that easy and possible with cheap “rtl-sdr”, as it is in C band (3.7-4.2 GHz or even more), so my apologies here. Anybody confirms?

  22. @StevanG

    Yeah, I’ve heard that one before. But this back and forth tussle — and jailings of Ibrahim — has been going on for a long time. Maybe Khan snapped this time? OK. But then why the radio silence once he turned around Sumatra?

    I would think he would want to broadcast his complaint…and more importantly, his intentions, so that he could have a safe landing. Just tell the Indonesian and Australian authorities that he wanted asylum, that he wanted to land and to please not endanger the 239 persons on board. Easy.

    Otherwise, he might be misunderstood as a suicide flying bomb crazy guy.

    Meanwhile, he was reportedly a very good pilot. He even toyed with landing in difficult spots on the simulator. And if he got on the radio, he could be guided in with lights, equipment, etc.

    Nah, I don’t buy it.

    To me, this is like the alternative idea re the Maldives/Diego Garcia — that the USA stole the plane because they wanted to recover the cargo stolen from them by the Chinese.

    And then what to do with 239 innocent people? The US government can cross the line sometimes, but that is too blaze, too inhuman and too easily leaked.

  23. @Oleksandr, Vanished from radar screens while flying in good weather at 30,000 feet. ISIS claims responsibility for having shot it down. If it was a shoot-down, whoever did it must have had fairly large-bore weapon, like a Buk or a Patriot. This does not look good at all.

  24. @CurveBall

    “But then why the radio silence once he turned around Sumatra?”

    something happened in plane that prevented him from radioing, being it fiddling with E/E bay and turning the equipment off (and on) or something else

    you can’t perceive this as an ordinary flight where both pilots behave professionaly and cooperate, this was something entirely different

    “Nah, I don’t buy it.”

    well I think this is the best we have, unless someone comes up with better theory

  25. @ Curveball

    Sorry, I’ve seen you say this more than once now, so I must ask– Who the hell is this “Khan” that you keep mentioning? Are you talking about Shah–the captain?

  26. @StevanG

    Well, it seems that the plane was being flown with great professionalism and skill from the turn at the handoff, through the seam between Thailand and Malaysia, and then (presumably, according to your theory) around Sumatra.

    Granted, some problem may have developed after all of that…..


    Oops! Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention. The four-lettered Shah and Khan basically mean the same thing and I was focused on the events rather than the names.

  27. Falken,

    Re: “why there was no MORE tries to call if he must know its ringing”.

    There was a call 23:15. Although later you mentioned the second call, so I am not sure about what you meant with regard to one call. In general the scenario you proposed sounds too complex given that such a complexity was not really needed, and it has ‘vulnerability’ gaps compared to, say, going completely dark.

  28. Jeff,

    Here it begins: ISIS claims responsibility; Russian authorities dismiss them; some reports say the pilots managed to report about technical failure before crash.

    Perhaps the second Lubitz?

    Either way, this trend of mid-air crashes without any distress signals does not look good.

  29. StevanG:

    Re: “it does comply with BTO&BFO if you remove assumptions”

    If under “assumptions” you mean commonly accepted accuracy in BTO and BFO, then please provide a reason for other threshold. However, note in such a case northern routes are equally possible in terms of the compliance. Otherwise you would need to remove Einstein’s and Newton’s assumptions.

    Re: “7th BTO is only partial ping and has quite a margin of error so it’s more derived from aircraft performance”

    Absolutely wrong. Where did you take this? The 7th arc is as accurate as the 6th and other arcs.

    Re: “we find political motive plausible in absence of better one”
    No, there is plenty of more plausible motives, and I am sure you are aware of them. While political motive is possible, it is the least plausible among possible motives. For example, “long suicide” has at least 3 supporting reasons/indications, while your “political statement” has only one supportive reason. So, which one is more plausible?

  30. Trip,

    While I think a technical failure scenario is one of the two most likely explanations, I think Bruce’s explanation has a number of gaps.

    Either way, I concur that the original ATSB’s search area is as possible as the area suggested by IG (it was one of the major conclusions in my September’s technical note on the CTS model).

  31. @Oleksandr
    if there is launched something as unidentified cruising missile flying for several hours then I am sure todays military knows about it absolutelly everything (both US & Russia); there is no debris; the flaperon only retriggers media coverage and prolongs narrative for unknown reason; Bruce Robertson web seems to me as pathetic fairy-tale once he in detail describes what exactly happened in cocpit, ’cause nobody knows it yet; Fariqs phone was simply powered-on over Penang, no need to call to attach to BTS; They never tried mayday and is almost impossible that everything was damaged together; I am asking why there was no more tries to contact plane over apparently working satcom voice ASAP where call at 23:14 looks like absurd try only

  32. @Ted wintemute: As I have said before on this blog, Stuart Yeh’s theories about BTO and network latencies are totally wrong. I don’t know of any knowledgeable person that accepts his work.

  33. @victori @Olexander and all the techies

    Do you only accept that both BTO and BFO data are correct…and that just different speeds, directions and altitudes assumptions should be tested (and thus, searched) until the right one is found somewhere in the SIO?

    Or do you leave space for the possibility that the BOF data may be somehow erroneous, manipulated or falsified?

    And what about RetiredF4’s idea that maybe the twists and turns and dips and such just happened to occur in a fashion that the hourly pings painted an inaccurate picture?

    I was under the impression that the BTO/BFO data was starting to lose full acceptance. Plus I think that, from the beginning, interpreting the combination of BTO and BFO was something radically new, no?

    Not challenging; just asking.

  34. @CurveBall: I think it is safe that the vast majority of the investigators that have reconstructed paths based on the satellite data believe the BTO and BFO data are correct.

    I am part of a small subset that believes that it is possible that the satellite data has been altered. (I would prefer to not mention the others by name, other than Jeff, who has written a book about a theory in which the plane landed at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.) I have studied northern paths to determine which are allowed by the BTO and fuel consumption data, and how the BFO might have been spoofed.

    This has all been discussed here before, so I won’t rehash old news.

  35. @Oleksandr

    “If under “assumptions” you mean commonly accepted accuracy in BTO and BFO, then please provide a reason for other threshold. However, note in such a case northern routes are equally possible in terms of the compliance. Otherwise you would need to remove Einstein’s and Newton’s assumptions.”

    no, under assumptions I mean assumptions about constant speed/direction/altitude

    if you assume the altitude was not constant at several points during SIO flight then BFO literally means nothing as it’s extremely sensitive to change in altitude

    “Re: “7th BTO is only partial ping and has quite a margin of error so it’s more derived from aircraft performance”

    Absolutely wrong. Where did you take this? The 7th arc is as accurate as the 6th and other arcs.”

    Umm can’t remember where I saw it but it did sound logical to me, as it was only partial/corrupted ping.

    “No, there is plenty of more plausible motives,”

    what are those? Long suicide isn’t really compatible with what we know about human psychology, so what else remains if we assume a point in SIO as a final destination?

  36. CurveBall,

    Re: “Do you only accept that both BTO and BFO data are correct”.

    Unless spoofed on purpose to misled the investigation (another class of scenarios), I would say yes. With the accuracy suggested in ATSB report.

    Re: “Or do you leave space for the possibility that the BOF data may be somehow erroneous, manipulated or falsified?”

    Erroneous – hardly. Falsified – yes. See a number of Jeff’s and Victor’s papers/posts.

    Re: “And what about RetiredF4’s idea that maybe the twists and turns and dips and such just happened to occur in a fashion that the hourly pings painted an inaccurate picture?”.

    Very unlikely. BFO forms a trend line. 7 samples form a line (more exactly two of them are clusters of ~20 samples each). 2 samples form a line. What is the probability of other 5 to fall on this line? Given the range of BFO roughly from -300 to +300 Hz, and relaxed requirement for the accuracy of, say, +-10 Hz to be classified as “in line”, this would give you the probability of (20/600)^5 < 1.0E-7. This does not completely eliminate possibility of manned flight (including northern routes or CI advocated by Dennis and StevanG), but makes them very unlikely.
    RetiredF4, btw, forgot to mention one more distinctive possibility – a 'zombie' flight in some other mode rather than AP (e.g. AT, TOGA, 'failsafe'). A straight BFO line does not necessarily imply a "straight" geometrical line.

    Re: "I was under the impression that the BTO/BFO data was starting to lose full acceptance."

    By impatient people, who are willing to change data more than hypothesis.

    Re: "Plus I think that, from the beginning, interpreting the combination of BTO and BFO was something radically new"

    Yes. Previously nobody used BTO and BFO data for such a purpose. MH370 is the first case, and hopefully, the last one.

  37. StevanG,

    Re: “no, under assumptions I mean assumptions about constant speed/direction/altitude”

    Then you are absolutely wrong again. Assumptions have nothing do to with these specific BTO and BFO samples. You are free to change your assumptions as you wish, but the question is whether you will be able to fit data or not. You are free to use change in altitude to make BFO fit. But please show us what vertical velocity component is required (you can use Yap’s calculator), and provide a logical explanation for the change in altitude for each obtained value.

    Re: “Umm can’t remember where I saw it but it did sound logical to me, as it was only partial/corrupted ping.”

    Partial does not mean corrupted. See updated Inmarsat’s logs.

    Re: “what are those?”
    You know, right? If you forgot, then it does not make sense to discuss those again as we discussed those many times. You can browse Jeff’s site.

    Re: “Long suicide isn’t really compatible with what we know about human psychology”

    CI is also incompatible with what we know about human psychology. But what do we really know about it? Anyhow, I repeat my question, why do you think “CI political statement” is more plausible than a “long suicide”?

    Btw, I found a plausible explanation of what could go wrong at the very end, what fits into your CI hypothesis. You will not like it, but how about: Australian air defense detects an intruder at CI and shuts it down. I.e. it was not pilot mistake, tiredness and other blah you needed to explain the end-of-flight scenario. Any objections? Why not?

  38. do you have link for Yap’s calculator? Can’t find it.

    DennisW had several paths that fit with only minor change in altitude.

    I don’t have any special explanation for change of altitude but if it was hand-flown and there was a conflict going on I can see very erratic flight.

    “Partial does not mean corrupted. See updated Inmarsat’s logs.”

    I’ll believe you without seeing, too tired now 🙂

    “You know, right? If you forgot, then it does not make sense to discuss those again as we discussed those many times. You can browse Jeff’s site.”

    yes I know but all those mentioned are far less plausible than going to CI for whatever reason

    “CI is also incompatible with what we know about human psychology.”

    it’s not, only 2 weeks before MH370 you had ethiopian copilot who hijacked the plane and went to Switzerland instead of Italy, meanwhile exposing weakness of swiss airforce

    add to that Zaharie had quite strong reason to do some harm to malaysian government

    “Btw, I found a plausible explanation of what could go wrong at the very end, what fits into your CI hypothesis. You will not like it, but how about: Australian air defense detects an intruder at CI and shuts it down. I.e. it was not pilot mistake, tiredness and other blah you needed to explain the end-of-flight scenario. Any objections? Why not?”

    they don’t even have primary radar on CI let alone air defense, nothing of value on the island to justify its operation

  39. Both Yeh and Robertson point to rapid fire to explain the actions of the pilots and the movement of the plane.

    If we accept the premise that there was no 6 hour suicide without a cause, there must have been a danger that came about without warning. Rapid fire is the type of cause that could explain the actions of the plane and pilots. An explosion would have resulted in a wide debris field. If the pilots immediately turned to land at Boto Kharu but were overcome by apoxia, the plane would continue flying in a westerly direction. While I may not know enough to comment on Yeh’s Inmarsat numbers, we do have an observation in the Maldives by credible witnesses, by the oil rig worker, by the sailboat..

  40. rapid fire exactly at handover point which somehow turns off all comms and makes the plane invisible to civilian radar and then takes it along perfect path to evade interception?

    none of those witnesses are credible except Kate the sailor and it’s questionable if it was MH370 she saw

  41. Theory #1 continues to be that the BTO/BFO data is accurate and MH370 flew deep into the SIO until it hit water.

    That said, there seems to be some room for a Theory #2.

    In order to construct one, the following assumptions seem acceptable and plausibly applicable:

    1. A perfectly timed turn at the handover and an evasive path between borders indicate a plan existed. Radio silence underscores this likelihood. Therefore, remaining undetected is simply a logical continuation of the same plan.

    2. There is a N-S corridor which is over water, not covered by land-based military or civilian radar and is uniquely covered by only 1 Inmarsat satellite, This is the Bay of Bengal down to the SIO, hemmed in by land for the most part. From the last known location, there is also a possibility to going south then east (towards CI) but only for a short while before triggering Australian radars. There is also a possibility of going south then west, but Diego Garcia’s radar would take note.

    3. Since there is ostensibly a plan, there must be a place to land….and the plane must get there undetected But…where is there? The BTO arcs must be accurate within a small +/- range. So even if the BFO data was somehow manipulated, the plane would have to fly over land to get to the 7th arc. Jeff has posited that the plane entered Indian air space and flew over many sensitive areas and countries to make it to Kazakhstan.

    4. But where else is there a “doorway” from open water to land, and where there is weak, if any, radar coverage of commercial jets? I offer Burma. There are many big jets that fly from India and the Middle East to Asia (HK, Tokyo, etc) and follow the air highway over Chittagong and towards Kunming. Popular route, little detection capability. And the 7th arc is on the rugged, lawless border of Northeast Burma and China’s Yunnan province.

    If those assumptions can stand, then motivation must be addressed. This requires contemplating the passenger list, but more importantly — reviewing the cargo manifest. It is far easier to plan what to put on a given flight ahead of time rather than who.

    And this spot on the 7th arc is at war. A flying plane bomb is worth a lot here.

    Anyway, I continue to think that there are few actual paths that can be flown with no detection…and maybe only one (outside of straight south to the SIO)…and that’s the Burma Skyway.

  42. @Jeffwise
    “the scenario you describe would require spoofing, which in turn would require super-sophisticate hijackers with presumably some motive.”

    Regarding the super-sophisticate hijackers…
    Well not any more, see link bellow:

    “the ISAT data were not known to the perps”
    Exactly what I was thinking! The perps hijack the plane using GPS spoofing. The SDU doesn’t know GPS is spoofed and uses the wrong position to calculate DeltaFcomp.
    It could explain also the apparent SDU disconnection, if the antenna was pointing towards the wrong place.

    Now how could the plane not detect that GPS signal is being spoofed?
    One option could be that the ADIRU is disabled/failed somehow.
    According to the B777 MEL, none of the ADIRUs are required for dispatch :
    “May be dispatched with faults indicated by ADIRU status message provided:
    a) Both GPS receivers operate normally,
    b) Both FMCs operate normally,
    c) Non-stabilized magnetic compass operates normally,
    d) Approach minimums do not require use of triple channel autoland, and
    e) SAARU data is verified available to both PFDs before each departure.”

    Could this be why MAS is somehow reluctant to release information?

    But is it really necessary to have ADIRU failed? According to B777 manual :
    “FMC position updates from navigation sensor positions occurs in the following priority order:
    · One LOC and GPS
    · One LOC and collocated DME
    · GPS
    · Two DME stations
    · One VOR with a collocated DME
    · ADIRU”

    Then the last line of defence is the pilot/co-pilot.
    What if the perps waited until the pilot leaves to trigger the turn? Would the co-pilot detect a spoof? Or would he rely too much on his computer?

    BTW if you google “gps spoofing”, there is an interesting story on how some university students spoofed gps on a superyacht worth US$80 million. The crucial part is that the crew’s actions made things worse! Would a plane’s crew react the same? How would an autopilot react?

    On a side note :
    Can anyone confirm that the ADS-B data maintained by FR24 (or other) contained a 0 altitude in the last records for MH370 ? – I can’t seem to find the raw data any more.

  43. @sinux

    last two entries altitude data of FR24 are “0”
    this was contributed by coppernickus on reddit last year

    was also discussed here, because some people suggested it was due to a wrong switch position of transponder (altRptgOff), but other people said, it was due to the projections of FR24. Coppernickus maintained that these two last reports were the only Alt “0” lines in all reports of the early flight.

  44. @CurveBall

    “From the last known location, there is also a possibility to going south then east (towards CI) but only for a short while before triggering Australian radars. There is also a possibility of going south then west, but Diego Garcia’s radar would take note.”

    there is no radar coverage over CI (JORN from australian mainland could maybe reach it but only under full power and at higher altitude)

    same is valid for DG, without imminent danger to airbase I doubt they operate their radar(s) at full power so count 300-400nm of range at the maximum

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