Did MH370 Plunge or Ditch?

End-of-flight sequence

The general-interest media has seized hold of a debate that his been raging on this forum for quite some time: after the last communication between MH370 and the Inmarsat satellite at 0:19, did the aircraft spiral unpiloted into the sea close to the 7th arc, or glide into the ocean under pilot control with the flaps deployed for a gentle, Miracle-on-the-Hudson type touchdown?

The answer is: neither.

I’ll explain why, but let’s back up a bit first. In the picture above, taken from the ATSB report “MH370 – Definition of Underwater Search Areas,” released on December 3, 2015, we see the final sequence of events believed to have occurred before the plane vanished for good. Sometime around 00:02:30, the right engine ran out of fuel and flamed out. At 00:11:00, the satellite data unit (SDU) transmitted its scheduled hourly ping as usual. A few minutes later, at 00:17:30, the left engine ran out of fuel and flamed out. This caused a systemwide electrical supply failure, and the SDU powered down along with everything else.  The ram air turbine (RAT) deployed to provide emergency hydraulic and electrical power—but this would not include the SDU or the flaps. One minute later, the APU kicked in and restored electrical power, and a minute after that, the repowered SDU logged back in with Inmarsat, creating the “7th ping.” Then, within seconds, the APU exhausted the dribble of fuel in its fuel lines, and the SDU lost power again.

When the 7th ping occurred, therefore, the plane had been without engine power for two minutes, and had spent approximately 15 minutes before that slowing and descending from cruise speed and altitude under the power of a single engine. Thereupon, it descended without autopilot inputs. So: what happened next?

The position of the ATSB has long been that MH370 most likely flew the final hours of its flight without anybody at the controls. One reason for this is that calculations made by the Defense Science and Technology Group (DSTG) suggest that most likely no turns were made after the plane turned south, as one would expect if the plane were a “ghost ship.”

If this were the case, then flight simulations carried out by Boeing and others show that the plane will bank, begin to dive, then enter a series of porpoising climbs and dives (“phugoids”) before ultimately crashing into the sea at high speed. According to a recent article in The Australian, “extensive testing by Boeing indicated that after running out of fuel the aircraft would have dropped from 35,000 feet at a rate of between 12,000 feet a minute and 20,000 feet a minute.” And indeed, the article says, the final BFO value from the 7th ping suggests that the plane was indeed in such a preciptious dive of “up to 20,000 feet a minute.”

There’s one major problem with this scenario. If this is what had occurred, then the plane’s wreckage would have been found on the seabed within the current search area—indeed, it would have been found long ago, quite close to the 7th arc. So we know that the plane didn’t plummet unpiloted into the sea.

Well, then, since the plane hasn’t been found in the search area, perhaps someone held it in a glide so that it flew beyond the boundaries of the current search area and made a gliding landing onto the sea surface. This argument was advanced in the recent Australian 60 Minutes program in which crash investigator Larry Vance said that the condition of the flaperon meant that it had to have been deployed, and then knocked off by impact with the water.

Vance’s notions have been sufficiently ridiculed elsewhere, but suffice to say that they don’t stand up to scrutiny. For one thing, flaperons don’t “deploy,” they pivot up and down like ailerons. Secondly, as the ATSB notes in the aforementioned report,

A controlled ditching scenario requires engine thrust to be available to properly control the direction and vertical speed at touchdown and to provide hydraulic power for the flight controls including the flaps… This evidence is therefore inconsistent with a controlled ditching scenario.

Finally, it’s simply not true, as Vance asserts on the show, that no wreckage from the interior has been found. It has, and in quite small pieces. Thus, while it’s possible that someone in the cockpit was hoping to pull of a “Miracle on the Hudson,” they must have been attempting it at high speed, without flaps, and they failed.

What we’re left with, then, is a fairly narrow range of possibilities. We know that the plane was under pilot control at 0:19. If the ATSB’s interpretation of the 0:19 BFO data is correct, it was plummeting at high speed. Therefore the plane must have been in a suicide dive and would have impacted the ocean to the northeastward of the current search area near the 7th arc. If this is the case, then it is quite feasible that an extension of the current search could find the plane.

Alternatively, the plane was under pilot control, and the ATSB’s interpretation of the 0:19 BFO value is incorrect, then the plane either glided past the current search area and then crashed into the sea, or else wound up northeast of the current search area and then either plummeted or glide-crashed. If this is the case, then the potential search area would be huge and far more daunting.

Thus, it becomes a matter of some importance as to whether the ATSB’s interpretation of the BFO value is accurate. So let’s zoom in a bit. There were actually two BFO values recorded at the 7th ping, the first at 0:19:29 and the second at 0:19:37. The ATSB interprets the former as indicating a descent; the former, just eight seconds later, a very much steeper dive. It’s the latter, 0:19:37 value, then, that’s of particular concern. In September 2014 scientists from Inmarsat published a paper in the Journal of Navigation that had this to say on the topic:

Detailed analysis of BFO samples taken from other flights showed a high degree of consistency for the signalling message frequencies, with the exception of those that were performed immediately after the initial logon process. This called into question the BFO measurements after the log-on sequences at 18:25 and 00:19. However it was also determined (by the same method) that the first message transmitted by the aircraft in the logon sequence, the Logon Request message, did provide a consistent and accurate BFO measurement. This  means that we can use the Logon Request message information from 18:25:27 and 00:19:29, but it is prudent to discount the measurements between 18:25:34 and 18:28:15 inclusive, and the one at 00:19:37.

The article in the Australian that I mentioned previously described the ATSB’s current interpretation of the 00:19:37 BFO value as “new data ­extracted from the signals.” An explanation of how the data is new would be very welcome.

ADDENDUM: worth noting what @David posted in a comment earlier today: “I posted 28th July. “A curiosity, about the SSWG. At one stage on the ATSB Operational Update yesterday 27th July it read, “The last satellite communication with the aircraft showed it was most likely in a high rate of descent in the area of what is known as the 7th arc. This is indeed the consensus of the Search Strategy Working Group.” Today that second sentence has been deleted.”

@David’s comment was in reaction to another article in The Australian (behind a paywall, but posted in a comment to my previous post by @Tom Lindsay at 1:09am) which referred to the change @David had earlier spotted. It reads, in part:

An Australian government agency has secretly retracted its claim that international scientists and air crash investigators had reached consensus that ­Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went down quickly in a “death dive” rather than being flown to the end by a “rogue pilot”.
The backdown indicates that the Australian Transport Safety Bureau no longer commands unanimous support among its global advisory group for a public relations narrative it is running in conjunction with the Malaysian government and Malaysian Airline System Berhad.

A bit snarky, but they may have a point.

110 thoughts on “Did MH370 Plunge or Ditch?”

  1. @RetiredF4, I don’t feel that I am keen to hang Zaharie; in fact he’s not my first choice as culprit. But if the Inmarsat data and debris are valid, it’s hard to come up with a compelling alternative.

  2. @Jeff
    @RetiredF4, I don’t feel that I am keen to hang Zaharie; in fact he’s not my first choice as culprit. But if the Inmarsat data and debris are valid, it’s hard to come up with a compelling alternative.

    Yes, that is another way to put it. But if we are cautious with the validity of the only two named points of many others, we should be even more cautious with the interpretation of all those points in the context of everything else. The debris parts could mean everything, and we have only some low quality pictures available. It’s like stating somebodys blood group by looking in his face. In reality we do know know very little and assume much more. If you remove the repetitions of arguments concerning the debris being indicative for a ditching the argument is reduced to the fact, that it could be indicative, but far from proof.

    And after this post those repetitions will start again…….

  3. @DrBobby. From a quick look at your model path example. Clearly the BTO/BFO fit is very good. But the “course made good” looks like neither true, GC nor magnetic – rather a slight bend to the left (per Ashton et al’s exemplar) – and even more of a left required from ping 6 to 7. I’m not clear how we can say that this is a “steady state” path model post FMT – or if it is, what mode (speed and heading/track) is it assuming?

  4. Larry Vance has been quoted by Der Spiegel as saying that he believes at least one engine was running at the time of impact:

    “Hydraulics and electrics must have been available. One engine at least must have been running. The airplane did not run out of fuel as is often said.”

    He also find it plausible that few parts from the interior may wash up.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/mh370-disappearance-that-fuselage-is-in-one-piece-says-expert-a-1107149.html

    He does not, however, comment on how this fits or modifies the final handshake/fuel exhaustion theory. He seems to be focussing on the erosion damage to the trailing edge.

  5. @Nederland @Jeff Wise

    Yes, the article suggests they allready found an important clue about the end of flight.
    And it states it’s potentialy going to be decisive because it has to be deployed manualy contrary to the flaperon.
    Things are spoken of allready mentioned by me and others here weeks ago.
    It’s a pity we’re not going to hear about the report soon althought it will be finished in two weeks.
    They leave us speculate for a while longer..

    Jeff Wise I guess your reaction on that news would be: ‘comments closed on this topic’ 😉

  6. @Nederland

    Larry Vance Spiegel-article.
    I must say he has strong arguments.
    The outboard flap is going to give the evidence IMO.
    And then -if it was deployed as I think also- the 0:19 log-on theory on fuel exhaustion must also be revisited.

  7. @Ge Rijn

    Could it be the final handshake = fuel exhaustion theory is still valid, but the flaps were deployed “final minute”?

    In that case, MH370 must be very close to the arc, northeast of the current search zone.

    I would dramatically narrow down the search range and may convince governments to supply additional funding, taking into account drift studies, on which also more has been announced to follow from the ATSB.

  8. @Nederland

    Which final minute do you mean?
    There would be no hydraulic pressure in the final minute(s) after fuel exhaustion to deploy the outboard flaps.
    And deployed in that final minute of the handshake/fuel exhaustion would only be possible if the speed and altitude was allready low enough. Time would also be very short to react immediately on the APU start and then only a minute left for deployment I assume before the APU stopt (in this theory).

    Maybe it’s possible if the plane allready was descending steeply and slowing down a lot after the first engine flame out deploying the flaps before the second engine flame out. Starting it’s glide just after the 7th arc. But then it could have glided +100 miles depending on altitude.

    The 0:19 log-on without the IFE log-on remains unexplained then though.

  9. First, I am not eager to “hang Zaharie”. I look at the entirety of the data and conclude that of all the scenarios that I have considered, a pilot hijacking is the most likely. Others may look at that same data and conclude differently, which I can accept. If somebody cannot read my opinion without launching into lunatic, paranoid, unsubstantiated accusations about me and people with similar views, then that person has neither the objectivity nor the temperament to post here. Please note that I refer to the simulator data as circumstantial evidence, and I fully acknowledge that it does not meet the judicial standards to prove “guilt” of a crime.

    Second, Le Monde’s Florence de Changy shared with me portions of the Malaysian criminal report before she wrote her article. The two pages that Jeff published here were also from Florence’s material. That is why I was able to confidently say that Jeff’s material was authentic. That doesn’t make me a conspirator in a smear campaign against Zaharie, as some have claimed.

    I am probably one of the few people in the world that believe that both Jeff’s and Florence’s articles were accurate. Different conclusions could be drawn from the evidence presented in the Malaysian report. Vive la difference.

    Regarding the simulator data found on the computer, it is true that many paths were found. However, the coordinates which we believe to snapshots of a flight to the SIO were the only deleted coordinates found on the MK25 drive, other than two other coordinates of a plane parked at KLIA. This makes the coordinates much more significant that “one in a thousand”.

    I have distilled the simulator data into a table of derived values, which I present below. Any errors in this table are mine. If somebody wishes to believe that I have deliberately manipulated these numbers as part of a masterful scheme of mathematical deception, feel free to ignore these values:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/3q7s9aosratw44y/Simulator%20Data.png?dl=0

  10. @Ge Rijn

    “And deployed in that final minute of the handshake/fuel exhaustion would only be possible if the speed and altitude was allready low enough.”

    Yes, I think this is what I was trying to say. Either shortly before the second enginge flame-out or just after the APU kicked in.

    A possible, if sinister, reason for flying until fuel exhaustion could have been to avoid oil slicks.

    Manually switching off the IFE after the first reboot may explain the lack of IFE data at 0:19.

  11. @VictorI: No sign of deliberately manipulated numbers as part of a masterful scheme of mathematical deception in these values. Even the nomenclature is correct.

    Cheers.

  12. @Nederland

    This was one of the first ATSB pictures of the flap-piece.
    I’m sure they are allready a lot further in the investigation than at the point when this picture was taken.

    I expect them to find numbers that link it definitely to MH370. In fact I assume they allready found those.

    I expect them to find evidence the flap was deployed and I assume they found this evidence allready too but can not disclose it yet without Malaysian and Chinese consensus on how to formulate this news.
    The signs though are all there in ‘The Australian’-article today IMO.

    I guess we have to await the report.
    Speculation on the kind of damage has been done in lenght allready here by me and others.

  13. @Nederland @others

    ‘Manualy switching off the IFE after the first re-boot may explain the lack of IFE data at 0:19’.

    I have suggested this several times before but haven’t got and couldn’t find a conclusive anwser on this.

    If anyone knows exactly I’m still eager to hear it.

  14. And not to ‘hang’ Zaharie but I think we can not disregard the fact that till 2007 he was a fervant para-glider.
    If someone could attempt a glide he must have been one of the few that could pull it off succesfully.
    Captain Sully and the pilot of the Gimly-glider both were expirienced gliders too.

  15. “However, the coordinates which we believe to snapshots of a flight to the SIO were the only deleted coordinates found on the MK25 drive, other than two other coordinates of a plane parked at KLIA.”
    Huh? Ignores the fact that other, ‘deleted coordinates’ could well have
    been previously present on the drive, but Zahrie simply performed a disk
    defragment and cleanup and then attempted to run other flight sim(s) (which
    overwrote previous ‘deleted’ coordinates) – this occuring PRIOR to the time
    the flight (sim)(s) applicable to those deleted coordinates were made
    (and we know the ‘towards Antatica’ set was fairly recent – wasn’t a
    February file datestamp mentioned?).
    (We also know the disk was used on a computer setup that is known to have
    been crashing, thereby increasing the liklihood that he did carry out such
    cleaning and defragmenting activities as part of his attempts re fault-
    finding – he appears to have been a computer-literate guy.)
    Not like you to omit or ignore pertinent scenarios, VictorL.

  16. I should add that Table 2 that Jeff published was from the Malaysian report, and had several errors, including missing a data set, missing speed data, and incorrect fuel levels. The spreadsheet that Jeff shared was a table I created by transcribing the values from the Malaysian report. I shared the table with Jeff for discussion purposes, and he chose to publish it here. Although I believe these numbers are accurate, I cannot state with 100% certainty that I have made no errors in transcribing these values. Also, the number of significant digits that I chose to carry into the table was arbitrary and usually less than what was available.

    I have asked permission to share the raw simulator data that was in the Malaysian report so that there can be no claim that I have unfairly biased the interpretation. Despite unfounded attacks I receive, I am in favor of transparency, and I hope that more of the Malaysian report is released.

  17. @Ge Rijn

    The ATSB thinks that this is possible:

    “The fact that the expected IFE system transmission was not received could be due to:
    • the IFE system being selected off from the cockpit overhead panel at some point after the 18:25 logon” etc.

    https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/5747317/ae2014054_mh370-definition_of_underwater_search_areas_3dec2015_update.pdf
    p. 10

    I have also noted earlier that the Isat data suggest some automated data packages were sent by the IFE rather than ACARS and that is also suggested by the FI.

    So, it seems surprising that no routine data were sent from the IFE via the Isat connection after 18:25 UTC, unless the IFE was shut down.

  18. @Ge Rijn

    Actually, no! But I do have some knowledge of Dutch…

    Not trying to be deceptive, just picked a name I thought sounded cool… and was connected to some memories of mine.

  19. @Nederland

    Then this can explain the incomplete 0:19 log-on perfectly.

    Then why did anyone assume the plane must have crashed before this IFE log-on?
    As long as you assume a unpiloted flight after FMT I can understand this conclusion though.
    Then the whole chain of wrong assumptions started with the assumption of a ‘ghost flight’ after FMT. An assumption I always found not based on any logic at all.

    If the IFE was switched off sometime after FMT the APU did not neseccarily stopped between 0:19.37 and 0:21.
    The APU could have been used to prepare for a glide and deploy the flaps also.

    I think this is important information.

  20. @Nederland

    I think then I have a vague understanding of your connection to Nederland.. I won’t mention it but it’s not the tulips 😉

  21. @VictorI:

    I think it comes natural for a share of people to become suspiscious about data that are presented so to speak in part and parcel with their conclusion, or even secondary to them (from the view of the receiver). That does not mean that one necessarily will distrust the labour of authorities when it is acknowlwdged as such.

    The primary concern for everyone, I believe, is to locate the wreck, and what is likely to be functional to that is a good thing. I have said elsewhere that Shah can be expected to handle some bruising (although his NoK should not). It is not a big deal, history will correct any wrongs that may be committed here and now. MH370 (the misnomer) is not a ship but there is some room to hold the Captain, as authorized by MAS, morally and formally responsible until the details are fully known.

    And I’ll give it to you and DennisW that if that turn is made on his flight-sim he is very likely to be responsible for the disappearence of the plane. But to me, calling it murder-suicide, is still another thing.

    From one thing to another:
    Does it say in the criminal investigation who paid for the flight-sim, who paid for updates and adjustments? Shah himself, MAS or perhaps someone else? Is it known how Shah’s purchase and use of the FS relates to him being on a longer sick leave for his para-gliding accident?

  22. @Ge Rijn

    Agreed the APU flame out theory is odd:

    ” the APU had a maximum operating time of approximately 13 minutes and 45 seconds.”
    (op. cit., p. 8)

    So, that doesn’t seem to coincide with a reboot of approximately 2 minutes and following immediate APU flame-out (or crash) just before the expected IFE logon.

    And if the plane was hijacked it would only be logical to shut down the IFE.

    It became even stranger when the reboot was recalculated to be 60 seconds rather than 2 1/2 minutes, as advised earlier. And why would you need to recalculate the reboot duration anyway, that should really be straight forward to do. Looks like a cover up.

    On the other hand, the result could well be the same. Any extended glide after fuel exhaustion seems unlikely and that means the aircraft likely is close to the 7th arc, perhaps far closer than thought under the uncontrolled dive scenario.

  23. @Ge Rijn

    That last post of yours made me smile 🙂

    Seriously, the place I had in mind is not even a country (note the different spelling), it’s a reference to a place I had been on holiday once for a day or was passing through at that time.

  24. Nederland posted August 13, 2016 at 9:56 AM: ” ” the APU had a maximum operating time of approximately 13 minutes and 45 seconds.”
    (op. cit., p. 8) ”

    That statement is only correct as long as the airplane maintained an attitude of 1° nose-up and did not decelerate.

    Those conditions obviously no longer existed after two engines had flamed-out.

  25. @Nederland

    If the IFE was switched off after FMT there can be no precise estimate of the APU running time. IMO it would mean the plane was piloted after FMT and the pilot could have chosen any configuration he wished.
    He could have shut down the engines before exhaustion and do the end flight/glide only on APU f.i.
    He could have chosen to dive the plane too as @airlandseaman suggests. But IMO the flaps tell another story.

    If the IFE was switched off we cann’t hold on to that last BFO’s at 18:28 and 0:19.37 for assuming a high speed dive as those were also declared unreliable by Inmarsat and should be discounted.

    Then if that IFE was switched off before 0:19 it cann’t be near the 7th arc for then there’s no indication the plane did not fly on. On the contrary; it’s an indication plane flew on after 0:21.

  26. @Nederland

    Your spelling of ‘Nederland’ is perfectly correct in Dutch. That’s why I was almost convinced you were Dutch too.
    It’s a small country making waves and taking waves sometime. Hardly noticed 😉
    Let’s go back on topic.

  27. @Ge Rijn

    Let’s assume the ATSB is correct to say that the final 0:19 handshake indicates complete engine flame-out, the APU kicking in and the flaps deployed by that time or shortly after (the latter subject to confirmation).

    How long can you make it from there?

    I’m also wondering whether or not the penultimate BFO value (considered reliable by Isat) is distorted because the aircraft was flying far slower than hitherto presumed, so whether that means the rate of descent was less steep (and the plane flying slower).

  28. @Gysbreght

    you asked:

    “Why are Jeff Wise, DennisW and VictorI so eager to hang Zaharie?”

    Eager?? It has been two years. I think you can find a better word than eager.

    I can only answer for myself. My reason is that the evidence against him is compelling. Zaharie fans often show their ignorance by referring to the evidence as “circumstantial”, somehow believing that constitutes insufficient evidence to assign guilt. The reality is that many people have been convicted entirely by “circumstantial” evidence. As I stated previously, DNA, fingerprints, hair samples, and the like are circumstantial evidence. People using the excuse of circumstantial evidence to dismiss Shah’s guilt are just plain ignorant. It is a known fact that circumstantial evidence is far more reliable that eye witness testimony.

    From my perspective, I feel that the Shah fans are a rather sad lot. I don’t know know if they think they are being cute or politically correct or what they think. I don’t even feel sorry for them.

  29. @Nederland

    Depending on altitude and how long the APU kept working (if the IFE was shut off this could be much longer then 13 minutes if the last engine or both engines ware deliberately shut off) it could be 140 miles starting from 40.000ft as stated in The Australian article and anything under that from a lower altitude.

    He could not have deployed the flaps at +35.000ft and +400kt so at least he had to descent after engines flame out and slow down to safe deployment speed which would take considerable time with the APU running till deployment was possible.

    I don’t know about that BFO’s affected by speed. I only know those last BFO’s were considered unreliable by Inmarsat as stated by Jeff in this topic.

  30. @Ge Rijn, Jeff

    I’m asking primarily because the WSJ article seems to suggest that the ATSB do have new evidence to better define the search area and I strongly suspect that has to do with the question of whether or not the flap was deployed. It could well have to do with a presumend, logical sequence of events, such as when to commence “landing” procedure, when would it be best to deploy the flaps, perhaps under the sinister assumption to make the plane vanish, i.e. burn all fuel and maximise chances of successfully ditching the plane. For example, Larry Vance seems to hold the opinion that at least one engine was still running at that time. That could potentially narrow down the maximum search area.

    Just a thought, not saying it was the pilot or they were acting deliberately rather than under duress.

  31. @Gysbreght

    “@DennisW: Can you provide a list of what you consider evidence for the guilt of Zaharie?”

    Sure.

    1> means (one of only two pilots on the aircraft)

    2> motive (strong anti-establishment leanings and opposition sympathizer)

    3> opportunity (speak for itself)

    4> no communication post Igari

    5> Simulator data which mimics the diversion path (with absolutely no alternative explanation)

    Now, I would ask you why you think Z is innocent? Your answer will be something incredibly stupid like “innocent until proven guilty”. Whatever “proven” means in that context. Do you have some alternative elaborate reason for the turn West at Igari, and for the FMT?

  32. @Ge Rijn
    while you have some education in this area, you for sure must know that trolling has nothing common with schizophrenia – as absolutelly vast majority of such patients is trolling and attacking only themselves deeply… as my brother was, although misdiagnosed in fact, having far more social phobia, but this is over;
    far more are trolls “psychopats” which is personality failure (and the term has different emanings in time and accros the globe) and such people in many cases left undiagnosed while trolling and poisoning and attacking lives of others around us unnoticed… and scientologists are psychopats too, btw
    http://listverse.com/2014/03/20/10-crazy-facts-about-psychopaths/

  33. @Gysbreght, I want to know why some are so sure the evidence against Zaharie is compelling? A flight sim game FSX is compelling evidence????? This would not convict people in a court of law. This day and age of video games, many people use them on a daily basis, does not mean they would carry out their games in real life.

    I think that the searchers are just baffled, the plane isn’t where they were sure it is. All the money spent has come up with nothing and I think they need or are required to justify their efforts, so they want to end the search and have an answer to the questions of what really happened, whether its true or not. Blame the pilot and be done with it. Easy fix, but theonly problem is they can say that all they want, they don’t have irrefutable proof that he did it.

    I’m still not convinced that the data puts the plane where they say it went (still haven’t found it so won’t be convinced until they actually find it).

  34. @DennisW

    Where is the plane and those people?

    You are giving credit to a single individual for a magic act… Over a motive that doesn’t level up to it.

    Those flight points were not flown by anyone, not Shah nor by those who lend his simulator.
    The debris were planted. Someone is playing a game.

  35. @DennisW: I didn’t intend to enter into a discussion of your list which speaks for itself, as Iexpected it would.

    To aswer your question why I think Z is innocent – he knew too much about the airplane to have it flown like it apparently was.

    The most compelling evidence of that is the “high-acceleration” manoeuvre past IGARI, and that the airplane was flown without autopilot until at least until it was out of radar range. Other snippets are that he would not have de-powered the SATCOM to switch it back on again less than an hour later. If he had had a destination in mind he would have gone there in the most efficient manner, and he would not have let the airplane run out of fuel.

    But I realise that in a mindset of “presumption of guilt unless proven innocent”, any “circumstantial evidence” that does not fit in that mindset does not exist.

  36. @falken

    I was more humorous figurative speaking about schizophrenia regarding to both Jeff’s. One Jeff split (schizo) in two. I guess you know what I mean.
    I have some education in this indeed for I worked for almost 25 years in psychiatry.
    I think I know the vast majority of people affected by this are to suffer the most even if they attack other people in their psychotic delussions.
    Personality disorders like psychopathy and malignant narcissism are related to people who are not psychotic but have the urge and intend to assert themselves at the cost of others at all costs, to disrupt and to destroy the things and people they fear or envy.
    I agree with you; many go undiagnosed. In fact these times encourage this behavior I think.

    The troll who tries to disrupt this blog now again should take a deep look in the mirror.
    Luckely you and most people around here are wise enough to see through this behavior.

    I’m sorry for your brother. I found a lot of those ‘schizophrenics’ where actualy victims of psychopaths or malignant narcisists.
    But offcourse that’s a completely other discussion not meant for this blog.

  37. @Gysbreght

    from the Innocence Project:

    “Eyewitness misidentification is the greatest contributing factor to wrongful convictions proven by DNA testing, playing a role in more than 70% of convictions overturned through DNA testing nationwide.”

    http://www.innocenceproject.org/causes/eyewitness-misidentification/

    How weird that direct evidence, eye witness testimony gets, overturned by circumstantial evidence. Just shows how ignorant people here generally are about judicial evidentiary procedures.

    @Trond

    I have already put you in the whacko category. You won’t get a response from me.

  38. @ imaginary Jeff Wise

    You are sick. Similar to fire bugs, child molesters, and peeping Tom’s. Spend some time getting help for your problem.

  39. @DennisW

    Like the MH370 case is. You are avoiding the abnomalies. Anyone who does that will believe Shah did it.

  40. @Ge Rijn
    ya, thanks but I think we were here also mentioning lack of deeper investigation and lack of factual information and often misinformation in public media and in some cases even intentional – and this relates also to word “schizophrenia”, how its viewed today – one of best experts in this area who I know personaly thinks that will be better to completelly delete and not use this word anymore, because it is too much affected by media and hollowood hype and misguided info and in fact it covers many quite different disorders while public is very often “sure” that it only means some dangerously split mind or very dangerous persons who are then stigmatized which in fact is not true mostly and is the last thing they need…, sorry I will not talk about it again here; thnaks for allowing me to tell here about it few words, … in case it can reach few more people, its ok, tnx; this finnish approach seems to be working better than pills…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDVhZHJagfQ

  41. @Dennis
    Circumstantial evidence can be used and is used, but in the context of a proven crime. The police has a victim and there is proof enough, that the victim died by some third person. Without a victim no conviction, or are you saying the US system uses not only circumstantial evidence, but also circumstantial victims?

    Until now the case of MH370 is a big unknown. We can assume where it is, and we can assume that it crashed or ditched, or something in between. There is a very high probability that it was an unlawfull intervention by somebody, it was my take from the go. Shah made it to the top of your list due to the points you raise, wether they are proven or just assumed. As long as the details of the loss of Mh370 are unknown it is allowed not to be satisfied with the “Shah did it mantra”. That makes those who do this not to “Shah lovers” and they do not deserve your “whacko” categorization.
    But heck, if you feel that way and it makes you happy……..

  42. @Paul Smithson,

    You said: “From a quick look at your model path example. Clearly the BTO/BFO fit is very good. But the “course made good” looks like neither true, GC nor magnetic – rather a slight bend to the left (per Ashton et al’s exemplar) – and even more of a left required from ping 6 to 7. I’m not clear how we can say that this is a “steady state” path model post FMT – or if it is, what mode (speed and heading/track) is it assuming?”

    Those are good questions, Paul. The answers are in the spreadsheet I posted, but there is so much information there it can be difficult to grasp quickly.

    First, the lateral navigation method is listed in the top row. Just after the speed control method (in this case, “HOLDING” long-range cruise), you will see “Magnetic Track.” This means that the route will hold a constant track with a magnetic reference. In addition to Great Circle, there are four methods of maintaining “course”: the variants of NORM/TRUE and TRACK/HEADING. NORM of course is magnetic reference. TRACK means the actual aircraft path and HEADING means the “horizontal” direction of the aircraft longitudinal axis. After “Magnetic Track” you will see “186.68 Deg” which is the average Magnetic Track value for the legs from FMT to 00:11. I allow very small variations in my fit for each leg because the 1 degree location spacing and 1 degree resolution in my magnetic declination model will introduce RMS errors at any given point of about 0.3 degrees. You will see a table of values of all four course options near the left center of the route page. The second column is “Mag Track”. Those values indicate the nearly-constant values for this route, with a mean of 186.68 degrees and a RMS of 0.38 degrees (shown in the same table as “LNAV RMS”. The other RMS values are 33 microseconds for BTO, 3.1 Hz for BFO, and 1.0 knots for TAS.

    The average course from 00:11 to 00:19 is much less certain. It can vary from the 187 degree Magnetic Track of the preceding legs if the auto-pilot shuts off due to loss of electrical power, which appears to have happened during this final leg. Therefore I allow it to vary in such a way that the BTO error at 00:19:29 is zero (i.e., it is exactly on the 7th Arc, at ~20,000 feet) and the average air speed is about 28 knots less than at 00:11. That 28 knots is my rough estimate of the average speed decrease using the simulator slow-down rate provided by Mike Exner. In this case the Magnetic Track of the final leg is about 190 degrees, which is about 4 degrees to the left of the extended average Magnetic Track course.

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