ATSB Sidesteps Debris-Planting Issue


Earlier today, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau issued a report entitled, “Debris examination — update No. 1: Identification of two items of debris recovered in Mozambique.” The report confirms that the pieces are consistent with a right-hand flap fairing and a right horizontal stabilizer, pointing out that the lettering found on each part matches stencils used by Malaysia airlines. In the case of the piece found by Blaine Alan Gibson, shown above, the report says:

The fastener head markings identified it as being correct for use on the stabiliser panel assembly. The markings also identified the fastener manufacturer. That manufacturer’s fasteners were not used in current production, but did match the fasteners used in assembly of the aircraft next in the production line (405) to 9M-MRO (404).

This wording is ambiguous–does “current production” mean production at the time that 9M-MRO was built, or now? If the fastener wasn’t used when 9M-MRO was built, one wonders what it is doing in this piece. Hopefully the ATSB will clarify what it means. At any rate, the report concludes that both pieces “almost certainly from the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft, registered 9M-MRO.”

Naturally, I was particularly keen to hear what the ATSB would say about the marine life found on these pieces, or lack thereof. The report contains a section entitled “Quarantine and marine ecology” which reads, in its entirety:

On arrival into Australia, both parts were quarantined at the Geoscience Australia facility in Canberra. The parts were unwrapped and examined for the presence of marine ecology and remnants of biological material. Visible marine ecology was present on both parts and these items were removed and preserved. The parts were subsequently cleaned and released from quarantine.

Later, in the “Conclusions” section, the report states: “At the time of writing, ongoing work was being conducted with respect to the marine ecology identification as well as testing of material samples. The results from these tests will be provided to the Malaysian investigation team once complete.”

The key here seems to be to reinforce the idea that the results of the biofouling examination will go to Malaysia, and not released to the public. Which raises the question: why does Australia feel empowered to release a fairly detailed report explaining why they think the pieces came from 9M-MRO, but not to say anything about the marine life on them? Is there a legal distinction between these two kinds of assessment, as pertains to ICAO protocols? Perhaps some legally-minded readers can shed light on the matter.

384 thoughts on “ATSB Sidesteps Debris-Planting Issue”

  1. @buyerninety, I’m afraid I’ve given the erroneous impression that the only mystery surrounding these pieces is the absence of Lepas anatifera barnacles. In, the mystery is the absence of any significant marine life (the ATSB says they got some marine life off it, but it’s not clear what.) These pieces are innocent not only of Lepas but also of bryozoans, algae, acorn barnacles (which grown in near-shore areas, and which would accumulate in the refloating scenario that has often been discussed here).

    @DennisW, Your attitude towards biology reminds me of my son’s attitude towards olives. He’s never tasted them and knows nothing about them except that he hates them.

  2. @Jamie WH. Thank you for your curiosity
    @ Jeff. Thank you for your focus
    @Victor. Thank you for your integrity

  3. @Oz: Do you have evidence to believe that Al 5052 was used? The most common aerospace Al alloy is 7075.

  4. The font should be checked. Seems like another piece that aint right. There is a wast difference between what could have happened and what did happen.

  5. @Jeff Wise.

    You seem to state your case on ‘planting the debris’ mostly/only on (the lack of) marine biology. Am I wrong in asuming this?
    Or do you also have other suggestions/information concerning the shape of the pieces in which they were found (f.i. kind of damage, dimensions etc.) that can contribute to your statement?

    And maybe also suggestions about a way this pieces could have been planted which can still be deduced straight from the pieces fysical appearance and finding spots?

  6. @ge rijn

    Yes the way the flaperon came off suggest two tools could have been used. I dont remember where i read it, some here could shed light. And also a current discusdion about the hinge left attached on the no step piece is suspicious, and the way the internal piece looked could mean it was ripped off the way you rip a paper only with more force instead that it was done so by the plane going 90 degrees down with full crash.

  7. @VictorI,

    Aviation grade honeycomb is usually either 5052 or 5056. The call out for the part is BMS 4-4 which is 5052. (BMS 4-25 is 5056 by the way).

    Remember we are talking honeycomb.


  8. @Ge Rijn, You’re right, my concern about the provenance of the pieces rests primarily on marine biology. However, Brock has raised compelling questions based on drift modeling, which suggests that it is very unlikely that five pieces could have made their way to the western Indian Ocean without any turning up in Australia. As Victor and others have pointed out, there is much to be learned by studying corrosion and other chemical effects, and as you suggest mechanical deformation can tell us a lot as well, but I don’t think much progress can be made only by looking at photographs.

  9. @Jeff Wise. Yes I agree only from photographs it’s quite difficult although there are some quite detailed ones from the Blaine piece and Rodrigues piece that could lead to certain conclusions I suppose.
    What strikes me till now there is no piece found on the Madagaskar coast yet. Compared to the West Australian coast this coast is much more populated and accessible.
    A few years ago I drove from Perth to Exmouth along this coast. It’s for it’s biggest stretch (of some 2000km)the most desolated coast I’ve ever seen.
    In my view no wonder nothing has been found there yet in this regard.

    When you turn out to be right in your ‘planting hypothesis’ this can only include two scenarios imo.
    The plane crashed somewhere and debris was deliberatly put in the ocean in specific places (much) later.
    Or the plane never crashed, landed somewhere and was (partly) broken up with the goal of providing suitable debris which then was put in the ocean (much) later in specific places.

    But how on earth will you ever prove one of those scenarios? That would be a huge task only with the photographs and information yet available don’t you think?
    Impossible perhaps?
    But I agree this disaster and mystery is worth looking and investigating every possible and even -on first sight- impossible scenario.

    When nothing gets found in the current search effort and the search will be ended I’ll start to take my earlier fantasy of the Maldives/Diego Garcia scenario more serious with your ‘planting hypothesis’ included.

  10. Jeff,

    “Brock has raised compelling questions based on drift modeling, which suggests that it is very unlikely that five pieces could have made their way to the western Indian Ocean without any turning up in Australia.”

    Brock has demonstrated excellent knowledge of statistics, but absolute misunderstanding how drift models work. Once again, a number of drift studies, particularly Delft, have clearly indicated the likelihood of the origin between 25 to 35 S, consistent with all the pieces found, and even the towelette.

  11. @ROB

    FI states that the Flight ID “MAS370” is stored in the AIMS computer cabinets (L/R) in the MEC (EE bay). The IFE queries the AIMS for that data. So, wont of the same may imply that the AIMS was depowered and its memories wiped. If so, then the plane must have been flown, perhaps in near utter darkness, on limited mechanical controls, because the AIMS handles all of the flight data required for the AP and AT. Conversely, I also understand that any use of AP or AT, e.g. to VAMPI & MEKAR, or of non-mechanically-actuated flaperons, implies the functioning of the AIMS and numerous other integrated systems. Perhaps importantly, onboard clocks derive times via AIMS, loss of which would require the use of personal time-keeping devices.

    I understand that the plane may have been flown manually, from IGARI to Penang, around which time (~1:50am) power was restored, re-activating the AP & AT, which remained operational, through the FMT, for the remainder of the flight. If so, then the AIMS was restored a half-hour before the SDU, which most obviously suggests a gradual restoration of electronics systems, following a natural progression, from vital primary flight-affecting components, towards valuable but optional ones like the SDU ?

    If there was some kind of conflict, between the FD and MEC/EEbay, who would win? If an acting pilot was pulling CBs from the cockpit, whilst someone else was trying to reverse the effects from the EE-bay, whose choices would predominate ?

    1642:04 – After take-off, the IFE SMS e-mail application sends a normal beginning-offlight
    a. The message contained the correct AES ID, Flight ID “MAS370”, origin airport
    “WMKK”, and destination airport “ZBAA”.
    b. This indicates that the IFE was receiving the Flight ID, origin airport and destination airport from AIMS and the ICAO (AES) ID from the SDU at this time.

    AIMS Cabinet is one of two Airplane Information Management System cabinets, which route numerous information to and from the SDU, including ACARS data, Navigational data, AES ID and Flight ID.

    The AIMS collects and calculates large quantities of data. The AIMS manages this data for several integrated avionics systems. These systems are the:

     Primary display system (PDS)
     Central maintenance computing system (CMCS)
     Airplane condition monitoring system (ACMS)
     Flight data recorder system (FDRS)
     Data communication management system (DCMS)
     Flight management computing system (FMCS)
     Thrust management computing system (TMCS)

    The AIMS has software functions that do the calculation for each of these avionics systems…

    The AIMS has two cabinets which do the calculations for other avionic systems. These cabinets (Left AIMS Cabinet and Right AIMS Cabinet) are located in the Main Equipment Centre (MEC)…

    The aircraft is fitted with two engines (Model: RB211 TRENT 892B-17) manufactured by Rolls Royce…

    The engine is fitted with a digital Electronic Engine Fuel Control System and it interfaces with many systems and components in the form of primary analogue or ARINC 629 buses.

    The following analogue…

    The following ARINC 629 engine fuel and control system interfaces…correlate…with other systems for supply, control and indication data:
     AIMS – indication, air data and flight management control…

    The RB211 TRENT 892B-17 engine Electronic Engine Control (EEC) serves as the
    primary component of the engine fuel control system and uses data from the engine sensors and aircraft systems to control the engine operations. The EEC controls most of the engine components and receives feedback from them. These digital data go to the Engine Data Interface Unit (EDIU) and send the signal to the AIMS.

    The AIMS transmits and receives a
    large amount of data to and from the EEC. These include:
     Engine bleed status – EEC thrust limit calculations
     Air data – EEC thrust limit calculations
     Engine data – system requirements
     Autothrottle Engine Pressure Ration (EPR) trim – thrust balancing
     Condition monitoring – performance tracking
     Maintenance data – trouble shooting
     Primary display system data – indication.
    The RB211 TRENT 892B-17 engine has the capability to generate snapshot reports of
    engine data for the purpose of Engine Health Monitoring.

    Clocks display Airplane Information Management System (AIMS) generated UTC time and date, or manually set time and date…

    A clock is located on each forward panel. Each clock displays Airplane Information
    Management System (AIMS) generated UTC time and date, or manually set time and
    date. The AIMS UTC time comes from the global positioning system (GPS). In addition to time, the clocks also provide alternating day-month and year, elapsed time, and chronograph functions.

    Flight Controls
    The flight control system is an electronic fly by wire system. It is divided into two
    separate systems to control the aircraft in flight.

    [1] Primary Flight control system (PFCS) is a modern three axis, fly by wire system. It controls the roll, yaw and pitch commands using the ailerons, flaperons, spoilers, elevators, rudder
    and horizontal stabilizer.

    [2] The high lift control system (HLCS) comprises of inboard and outboard trailing edge flaps, leading edge flaps and Kruger flaps. It supplies increased lift at lower speeds for take-off and landing.

    The PFCS and HLCS uses 3 dedicated ARINC 6291 Flight Control digital busses to transmit data signals to command the flight controls.

    Mechanical control is available to two spoilers and horizontal stabilizers.

    The PFCS has three operational modes of command – Normal mode, Secondary mode and
    Direct mode. The PFCS command signals are directed through four Actuator Control
    Electronic (ACE) units that change analogue signals to digital format to send to three Primary Flight Computers (PFC). The PFC also receives airspeed, altitude and inertial reference data from Airplane
    Information Management System (AIMS), Air Data Inertial Reference Unit (ADIRU) and
    Secondary Attitude and Air Data Reference unit (SAARU). The PFCs calculate the flight control commands based on control laws, augmentation and envelop protections. The digital command signals from the PFCs go to the ACEs that will change the digital signal to analogue format and send to the power control units (PCU) that will command the control
    surface movement.

    The HLCS operates in three modes, primary, secondary and alternate. Command signals
    are transmitted from the flap lever to two Flap Slat Electronic Units (FSCU). The FSCU process the flap command and control the sequence of flaps and slats operation.
    It also commands auto slat, load relief and asymmetry protection.

    Two spoilers and the horizontal stabilizer receive mechanical control signals from pilots’ input.

  12. @Erik Nelson.

    ‘If there was some kind of conflict between the FD and the EE bay, who would win?
    An acting pilot on the FD or someone in the EE bay trying to reverse the effects of those FD pilot actions?
    Who’s choices would predominate?’

    Looks to me a very interesting question.
    Since you seem to have a lot of knowledge about the systems involved, do you have a most possible answer to this question yourself?

  13. @Oleksandr

    The Delft study is not talked about much on this blog since it is orthogonal to the “preferred” view. I find that rather humorous since the blue bloods are always talking about “letting the evidence speak for itself”, but it is apparently OK to ignore evidence that does not fit your point of view. Likewise with speculation – it is taboo to speculate on causality, but it is perfectly OK to speculate on flight dynamics.

    BTW, North of 30S is still the best candidate for a terminus IMO.

  14. @Jeff

    you said:

    “@DennisW, Your attitude towards biology reminds me of my son’s attitude towards olives. He’s never tasted them and knows nothing about them except that he hates them.”

    You should be concerned about who will keep the infrastructure running when my generation passes on so that something actually happens when you flip a switch.

    Hint: It won’t be marine biologists even though we are awash in them.

  15. @Dennis W.
    The Delft study was based on a maximum time span of 17 months.
    Parts from the northern half would arrive within a year near the African coast.
    Parts from the southern half would take more than 17 months. The flaperon took circa 16 months.
    Since the last parts are found circa 2 years later, all the found parts till now much better fit, according this Delft study, the southern half of the search area.
    Take a look at the nice video in this article:

  16. @Ge Rijn

    Nice try, but no cigar.

    The timing of debris finds is only meaningful relative to arriving too early. You cannot assume that a found part just arrived. It could have been there for quite some time. In fact, the lack of biofouling would suggest just that. Take your blinders off, and look at what the evidence is actually capable of telling you.

  17. @Oz: Thank you for those facts. Alloys 5052 and 5056 have low copper content (0.1%) and are corrosion resistant even in marine environments. That is consistent with the lack of corrosion found on No Step.

  18. @Ge Rijn

    BTW, your nice video supports what both Oleksandr and I are saying. The green floaters that actually reach the area where debris has been found originate North of 30S. The white floaters originating below 30S wander toward WA.

  19. @DennisW.

    You can imo obviously assume that in the prediction made in this study no debris arrived within a year. You cann’t hardly assume a piece as big as a flaperon would go unnoticed for more than half a year on the coast of a small tourist island like Reunion and the other pieces found in the state they are in, lying there unfound for more than a year. It might be slightly possible but anyway it contradicts the prediction made.

    The study limited its timeframe to 17 months. If you see the video simulation you see to the end of this timeframe the mass of white dots coming from the southern half is also moving half way to the African region with some of them allready reaching the islands area (Reunion, Rodrigues)in this time frame.
    You can ignore and discard this but the white dots much better fit the facts we know now than the green ones. When the study was done no debris still was found, so this couldn’t be taken into account. If so I’m sure they would have.
    And if the Delft study had taken a longer timeframe of lets say 2 years plus this would show things even more obvious.

  20. @DennisW said, “The green floaters that actually reach the area where debris has been found originate North of 30S. The white floaters originating below 30S wander toward WA.”

    True. Fairly consistently among drift models, the timing of the finds and the lack of debris along the WA shore indicate that a crash in the current search area around 38S is unlikely.

  21. @Ge Rijn

    At 17 months the majority of the green dots are still a long way (East of) from Reunion. Implicit in your rebuttal is that the flaperon was one of the leading pieces of debris.

    Also, how would you explain the lack of debris in WA?

    I think there is some selection bias going on in your conclusions.

    Your linked video seems to show a significant amount of debris reaching the East shore of Madagascar. I would wonder why no debris has been found there. Maybe not looked for with enthusiasm?

  22. @Erik Nelson

    Dear Erik

    Very commendable knowledge of systems, but why are you telling me all this? BTW, there was nobody faffing around in the MEC (EEbay) pulling circuit breakers. If you think that’s a practical possibility, I regret to advise you are gravely mistaken.

    But the B777 is a magnificent piece of machinery, isn’t it. You know, the thing I like about Boeing aircraft is that they retain the conventional control column (yoke) rather than an electronic side stick. FBW yes, but they still have mechanical feedback, to give the pilot that authentic illusion he is directly connected to the controls.
    A wizened old Boeing pilot once told me that just by resting his hands on the back if the control wheel, he could tell exactly what the aircraft was doing. Try doing that with a side stick. There are some out there who say the French should stick to making Renaults and Citroens… But I digress.
    And those Rolls Royce engines! They are absolute works of art. They are a 3 spool design the competitors are 2spool, which makes them more compact and rigid, If a bit heavier. In flight shut-downs? What in-flight shut-downs?
    But possibly the B777’s most breathtaking specifications are reserved for the electrical power system. With 5 hours ETOPS from day one.
    I could go on and on, but as I’m in great danger of boring the pants off everyone, I will leave it there.

  23. @ROB

    No problem with boring. I stopped reading after your first paragraph, and skipped to the end.

  24. @DennisW.

    If you just take the known facts now, the flaperon was the first piece found after 16 months, the flap-casing after 22 months, the Blaine piece after 24 months, the Mossel bay and Rodrigues parts some time later.
    There is a consistent line in this not pointing to parts all lying around for more then a half- or a year or so and the suddenly been found within a few months time.
    This just doesn’t fit the prediction made in the Delft study.

    If even one piece was found within a year the Delft study with its prediction would be quite valid. But it did not. So the study might sure be valid but the prediction is not.

    The flaperon is a big piece with a greater buoyancy which I can assume takes up more currant and wind speed than smaller items, so it could have traveled a bit faster imo.

    I mentioned West Australia in a post before (just a few back). I don’t exclude the possibility of some debris arriving there but because of the desolation of this coast north from Perth (travelled along it from Cape Leeuwin to Perth to Exmouth)imo it wonn’t be easily found.

    I also stated before that the lack of debris found on the coast of Madagascar yet, is striking to me also.

    The video shows that if debris washed upon the shores of Australia it would be most south of Perth around Cape Leeuwin to St. Augusta. This is a rather dense populated area with a lot of tourisme, I’been there all around. If something washed up there it would be found the first. There isn’t anything found still.

    The study took in account the whole southern search area also the most southern parts from 40S on. From those regions pieces have more probibility of reaching the shores of Australia but from the current search zone around 33S this is a lot more unlikely.

    It is not ‘selection bias’ going on. I try to stay to the facts now available that were not at the time the study was done.
    If you look at the video I suppose you cannot deny at the end of the timeframe the biggest mass of white dots is moving to the west and some have reached those islands close at the very end.
    The green dots had allready reached the shores of Madagascar long before.

    For me this study is now quite valuable just for the opposit it predicted back then.

    Consider it might be you projecting some ‘selection bias’ could be going on in your own mind and it might be time to open up for a different view?

  25. @Ge Rijn

    Was it you who was talking earlier about how the No Step piece of panel came away from the RH horizontal stabilizer?

    I agree with you that it broke away initially at the leading edge, and was peeled back by hydrodynamic pressure as the stabilizer ploughed through the water. That is why the underside of the panel has sustained more damage than the upper side Because the flaps were down, the 10deg (approx) angle of attack for ditching would have required moving tailplane pitch trim nose-down to compensate, which is why the upper surface of the stabilizer took the full force of the water. The tail hit first, the plane rolled to the right, the No Step section came off first, followed by the flaperon and flap track fairing. As the aircraft pivoted about the RH wing tip, Door 2R got bashed in as the nose slammed down into the water.

  26. @Erik Nelson
    There are two AIMS down in the EE bay, so there is a redundant
    system ready to take over if the 1st one fails. I understand
    one and almost certainly both have battery backup for power if
    Better to ask ‘where does the AIMS receive the information of
    MAS370 from’? I would think that occurs when a crewmember inputs
    the route info into their consoles (FMC?) before the flight
    begins, wouldn’t that be when that info is forwarded to AIMS?
    I won’t mention the ‘f’ word, so when something ‘happened’,
    trouble with tribbles, whatever, the route in the console was
    wiped/cancelled and ‘someone’ thereafter programmed/selected in
    the console a different/alternate direction for the aircraft
    (probably by inputting or selecting ‘waypoints’ for the aircraft
    to travel to, instead of a specific ‘route’).
    (So question- if travelling to a ‘waypoint’instead of flying a
    ‘route/flight ID’, what info is presented to the IFE by the AIMS?
    -‘NULL info”in place of a ‘flight ID’?)

  27. Hello @Oleksandr
    You seem sensible, I was a bit dismayed that several of your
    posts back that you appeared to be considering Katherine Tee’s
    report as a possible 9M-MRO sighting. Reading through all her
    posts in that 43 or so page cruisersforum topic, she seemed to
    eventually accept it wasn’t take 9M-MRO, although she didn’t
    explictly say that was her eventual opinion.

  28. @ROB.

    Yes that was me. But I don’t know offcourse. The front edge of that piece could have come loose by flutter and then the airspeed bended it backwards and broke it off or the stabilizer plowed into the water and water did the same.
    I regard the latter more possible for a flutter scenario needs a very high speed crash and then the sizes, shapes and condition of the pieces found don’t fit imo.
    Also the thussfar found pieces could be telling in another way imo. They are all (except the Rodrigues piece) pieces that could come loose in a ditching event regarding position and scale.

    I don’t see how a door could be bashed in, in such an event. This would take such tremendous forces it would rather break the whole nose section off first.

    I think IF it ditched it was well controlled by a very skilled pilot with no turning on a wing or so. A door might have been opened AFTER landing on the water but this all can only be pure speculation by now.

  29. Ge Rijn,

    1. There is inherent limitation in the accuracy of models. There is no sufficiently accurate wind data, for example. Say 20-30% accuracy in input wind fields would already be considered as good. A number of people on this forum fail to understand this.

    2. A lot of people equate beaching time and discovery time, and then make silly conclusions based on this.

    Re: “the flaperon was the first piece found after 16 months, the flap-casing after 22 months, the Blaine piece after 24 months, the Mossel bay and Rodrigues parts some time later.”

    What is the difference when pieces were found or reported? What is more important when they arrived. The flaperon was half covered by sand, indicating to me either a storm or quite prolonged stay on the beach. By logic Rodrigues Island fragment had to arrive before the flaperon, unless it was trapped in some eddies nearby, which is less likely. Blaine’s piece – dark story. Liam’s piece – end of December – you confuse time of reporting and discovery, not even talking about arrival time.

    Re: “This just doesn’t fit the prediction made in the Delft study”.

    Nonsense. Take a look again. It does perfectly fit indeed. We have one potential piece on WA beach, btw. How silly is to discard it first as irrelevant, and then state there were no pieces?

    Re: “The flaperon is a big piece with a greater buoyancy which I can assume takes up more currant and wind speed than smaller items, so it could have traveled a bit faster imo.”

    Nonsense. So a jet carrier or oil tanker would move very fast according to your logic?

  30. @Oleksandr.

    1.To my knowledge surface currents are mostly produced by the prevailing winds. If I’m wrong convince me otherwise.
    So generaly a floating piece would travel a direction following the prevailing wind in that region. Offcourse all kinds of twists and eddies would change its course temporarely (maybe even permanent) but in general it would move in the direction of the prevailing winds.

    2.This makes sence to me. But in the case of the Delft study I refered to, it’s not a silly conclusion. The time needed here between beaching (within a year) and discovery (after two years) is just too long to be just discarded as ‘silly’.

    3.There is imo not a great difference in when pieces were found and reported and when they possibly arrived. The last 4 pieces all were found in a few (3) months time.
    It’s not logical at all to assume those parts arrived there more than a year earlier. Why? Come with logical statements I suggest.
    By the way I never seen a picture where the flaperon was half covered in sand. Maybe you can show me one? On the pictures I know I see a more rocky shore but maybe you’ve got other pictures?
    As I stated the flaperon could have traveled a bit faster by its shape and buyancy and maybe by its size could have been discovered earlier than the Rodrigues piece. But also those eddies you talk about could kept other pieces longer in the ocean.
    Time of arrival, reporting, discovery of those pieces, all don’t matter that much in regard of the Delft study. They are all just far out of the prediction made there.

    There is no potential piece from a WA beach I know of. Please show me this piece.
    I never stated it as irrelevant as I mentioned before. It could well be some debris landed somewhere on the coast of WA or SWA. Only nothing has been found still in this -in your opinion- most obvious region.

    And about the tanker. No. A tanker is no sailing ship, although it would use the prevailing wind to go a bit faster I guess. But a sailing ship would indeed travel a lot faster on a prevailing wind than an object without any surface to catch wind.

  31. some easier calculations…

    On the 7th arc, the elevation angle was about 39.5 degrees. Thus, any rate of climb would contribute an un-compensated positive (towards the satellite) Dopler shift proportional to the vertical velocity (w) times the sin of the elevation angle:

    df/f0 = w Sin(E) / c

    df = f0 (w/c) Sin(E)

    Now, the 7th BFO of 184Hz is about 70Hz below the trend-expected value of ~255Hz, extrapolated from the previous 7 values, rising linearly from 88Hz @ 18:40 to 252Hz @ 00:11. To drop the BFO down -70Hz below trend, requires a rate of DESCENT of about -4000fpm.

    df = -70Hz
    w = -4000fpm

    Now, there’s also the anomalous BFO of -2Hz, from the second part of the login sequence. And, Dr. Ulich has suggested, that the SDU views the entire login procedure as a single event, so computing only one Dopler compensation, which is reused 7-8 seconds after the first part of the process, during the next. If so, then the CHANGE in BFO, over 7 seconds, from 00:19:29 to 00:19:37, from 184Hz to -2Hz, derives from the aircraft TURNING onto a heading “186Hz more directly away from the satellite”:

    BFO = baseline (b) + actual Dopler (a) – compensation (c)

    BFO2 – BFO1 = (b + a2 – c1) – (b + a1 – c1) = a2 – a1

    The horizontal speed is v. The component of that towards the satellite is:

    v*Cos(Elevation)*Cos(Heading measured from directly towards/away from the sub-satellite point).

    -186Hz/f0 = change of (v Cos(E) Cos(H) / c)

    change of (v Cos(H)) = (186 Hz / 1.6466525 GHz) * speed of light / Cos(39.5 degrees) = 85kts more away from the satellite

    So, over the 8 seconds, from 19:29-37, the aircraft plausibly turned more away from the satellite, by ballpark 20-30degrees, such that the component of its 300-400kts velocity along the LOS to the satellite, changed by about 80kts, more away from the satellite.

    In the SIO, the satellite would have been off the starboard side of the aircraft, so the aircraft plausibly turned at about 3deg/sec, to PORT, i.e. towards the SE.

    Both of these computations reinforce each other:

    rate of DESCENT of -4000fpm
    rate of TURN of 3deg/sec to port towards the SE directly away from the sub-satellite point

    All of those figures are completely consistent with the canon end of flight scenarios of spiraling descent after engine flameouts

  32. Please consider one other idea. Both pairs of login BTOs are anomalous. First, the SDU takes about 4600 microseconds more time to login on reboot:

    18:25 17120 –> 12520
    00:19 23000 –> 18400

    And, there is some kind of loop involved in the next stage, such that BTOs are delayed by 4-5 x 7820 microseconds:

    18:25 51700 –> 12600 (5 delays)
    00:19 49660 –> 18380 (4 delays)

    Thus, at 00:19, the SDU was functioning normally, as both adjusted BTOs are almost identical, 18380-18400.

    However, at 18:25, the SDU logged in almost 100 microseconds faster than the known historical average delay of 4600 microsec for that unit, since

    17120-4500 = 12620 ~= 12600

    makes both adjusted BTO values agree much more closely.

    Now, if there is a common conception, that electronics run quicker if cold… and if that’s actually true… Then could the SDU have logged in almost 2% overly quickly, at 18:25, because the aircraft, at least in the EE bay, was unusually COLD ??

    The following article suggests that computer-related electronic devices’ delays decrease under cold conditions. However, a 2% anomaly does not necessarily imply arctic conditions aboard the aircraft, since a swing from +25C to -40C is a change from 300K to 235K which would be more like a 25% temperature change. Perhaps 0C ??

  33. @DennisW.

    Yes I know of that one. Not to be cynical but in 2012 I flew from Kuala Lumpur to Perth with Malasian Airways and I took some of those towls with me in my hand luggage (realy I always do).
    I might have lost some on a beach north of Perth somewhere..
    Not to discard this piece but to name it as a potentional piece from MH370 goes a bit far imo.
    Was it ever properly investigated by the way?

  34. @jeffwise

    “He’s never tasted them and knows nothing about them except that he hates them.”

    that’s actually my attitude towards olives too so I totally understand him 🙂

  35. @jeffwise
    You make a point I really like about France, Australia and Malaysia sitting on their artifacts and accompanying evidence. To me, there is very unlikely any sort of intentional collusion to not release evidence for some sort of nefarious reason. Just doesn’t make much sense, even being open to all possibilities.

    However, we can remember back to the Germanwings tragedy and how we all knew seemingly within hours (okay, a few days) EXACTLY what happened because the French investigators were fast, efficient, and almost tripping over themselves in seeking to release significant causal information fast enough. It was astounding how quickly we all knew there was no mystery left, and moved our attention elsewhere.

    If the French (and Australians, I suppose) are not known for having secretive investigation units, ones that keep evidence virtually a state secret in even the most simple investigations, then this suggests to me the evidence behind closed doors does not line up close enough to the SIO narrative for them to be able to say “Here is what most likely happened, here is all the evidence pointing towards it, and we can all move on now”.

    When history shows the French are more than willing to be transparent and come to quick yet carefully-considered findings generally in air crash investigations, it suggests the facts and numbers don’t add up. And nobody can explain why. And admitting as much publicly is not something anyone with physical evidence is prepared to do.

    Submitted for your critical consideration.

  36. Ge Rijn,

    “To my knowledge surface currents are mostly produced by the prevailing winds. If I’m wrong convince me otherwise.”

    So, where do you get wind data over the ocean? Hindcast wind models, such as GDAS or ECMWF are not accurate; measured – sparse, not full coverage, etc. Wind data are needed for both drift models and ocean circulation models.

    “The time needed here between beaching (within a year) and discovery (after two years) is just too long to be just discarded as ‘silly’.”

    Withing a year – this is when the first debris based on 25S origin could be expected. Liam found his piece after 22 months. The flaperon arrived at least 5 months earlier. So, what is your concern?

    “It’s not logical at all to assume those parts arrived there more than a year earlier.”
    Agree. Some lean to think that all these pieces were found within a few days after arrival, which is unreasonable and ridiculous assumption in my opinion.

    Re “By the way I never seen a picture where the flaperon was half covered in sand. Maybe you can show me one?”

    It was described by Johnny Begue, who found it. No photo to my knowledge. We have intensively discussed this over again about a month or two ago (you can either scroll back for links, or Google by yourself).

    Re: “There is no potential piece from a WA beach I know of. Please show me this piece.”

    The unopened towelette with MAS logo found at the edge of intertidal zone. It is a potential piece from MH370. This indeed cannot be proven. Likewise it cannot be proven it is not from MH370. But it is certainly consistent with Delft study.

  37. Ge Rijn,

    “Not to discard this piece but to name it as a potentional piece from MH370 goes a bit far imo.”

    1. The towelette was unopened.
    2. It was from MAS.
    3. Time and place is consistent with Delft’s study.
    4. It was found at the edge of intertidal zone.
    5. A month or so ago I asked Matty to conduct an experiment: to observe and report any aviation related litter on his beaches. So far none in my understanding! Not talking about MAS.

    It is silly to state that this towelette has nothing to do with MH370 when all the evidence indicates such a possibility (again, I am not stating it comes from MH370, but I am saying this is quite possible).

  38. @Jeff

    I agree completely. Something stinks. My best guess is the lack of confirmation of the primary search area. It could also be something far more sinister than that. In any case, the authorities have to know we are not going forget about any of the missing info. We are not talking about a bunch of casual couch potatoes here.

  39. @StevanG

    FWIW, I like olives. A few of the beer bars in NorCal even toss them in beer to simulate a martini (which they are not licensed to serve), for the more discerning trailer trash.

  40. buyerninety,

    “Reading through all her
    posts in that 43 or so page cruisersforum topic, she seemed to
    eventually accept it wasn’t take 9M-MRO, although she didn’t
    explictly say that was her eventual opinion.”

    IG had to justify their terminal location, which is a result of geometrical connection of the trajectories before 18:41 and after. To do this IG members heavily rely on the assumption of constant altitude. Indeed, Kate’s description is inconsistent with FL340 or so. She could not see the aircraft at such an altitude as she described it. In addition, timing is also inconsistent. If she saw MH370, IG has to throw away their spreadsheets.
    To circumvent this problem, two IG fellow members, Mike Extner and Don Thompson, approached Kate. They convinced her that she could not see MH370, but possibly saw some other aircraft. Finally under pressure, Kate gave up with her initial testimony.

    I had initial chats with Kate and my impression was that she adequately described B777-size aircraft at 3 km altitude. My conclusion was that what she could see an aircraft with open window shields in the conditions of condensing vapour, which increased albedo of aircraft surfaces, and created the effect of “orange glow” in the darkness.

    But as I mentioned, my models do not rely on her testimony. It just coincidently happens that they are consistent, including alitude estimate.

  41. Erik Nelson,

    There are two identical sets of transmissions 18:25 and 00:19. Both abnormal BFOs are paired with abnormal BTOs. Chances of this to happen randomly are slim, less than 1:3000. Hence 273Hz and -2Hz BFOs and associated abnormal BTOs were likely caused by the same reason, likely software/hardware-related, not extreme ascent/descent.

    Perhaps you can have further ideas. The abnormal delays could possibly be comprised of several delays: n×a + m×b, where n and and m are integer multipliers.

  42. @ Oleksandr – beg your pardon sir, but a quick question or two re: your chats with Kate Tee…were they in person ( on the ) or over the net..e mail…texts…? ?..and about how long after her encounter did you talk with her, and how many separate conversations, over how long….thanking you most kindly, in advance, for responding….G.C.

  43. George,

    I asked her some questions at Duncan’s site. I was not aware that IG members chased her later, and basically forced her to change her original testimony. I believe her original version was the most accurate.

  44. @ Oleksandr – thanks for gettin back…I have this “compulsive” interest in what she saw that night, early morning, can’t quite explain it, but…..her early accounts ( first 3-4 months, or so )seemed so ” very credible “, but then her tone or “personality” changed….was different…can”t quite put my finger on it…but it just did not sound like the same person….almost like she was being coached from the side lines…orchestrated, if you will….didnt have the same “gin ay say kwah” ( sic )….i think others noticed this also….the inimitable, and ” voracious ” DennisW….to name but one….if i remember her recollection of the four aircraft sightings that night, three were up high…( FL 350 aprox. )….two of those were heading northerly….but its the one heading southerly that peaked her interest…” wonder where they’re going tonight…? ? “…not to mention the low…slow…and all aglow plane…heading in a westerly direction…she was close enough to see window screens were/weren’t open…paint/logos weren’t quite discernible….how close do you have to be to describe it in that context….1- 2 km…?….and on and on …hope she and her hubby worked things out for the best…wish she would honor us here on Jeff’s site with her prescence…G.C.

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