MH370 Flight Simulator Claim Unravels Under Inspection

SimPhugoid

In last month’s New York magazine article about Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s flight simulator, I cautioned against treating the recovered data as a smoking gun:

…it’s not entirely clear that the recovered flight-simulator data is conclusive. The differences between the simulated and actual flights are significant, most notably in the final direction in which they were heading. It’s possible that their overall similarities are coincidental — that Zaharie didn’t intend his simulator flight as a practice run but had merely decided to fly someplace unusual.

What I failed to question was the report’s assumption that the six points all belonged to a single flight path. On closer examination that assumption seems ill supported. Rather, it seems more likely that the six points were recorded in the course of  two or possibly three separate flights. They were interpreted as comprising a single flight only because together they resembled what investigators were hoping to find.

The first four points do appear to show a snapshots from a continuous flight, one that takes off from Kuala Lumpur and climbing as it heads to the northwest. Between each point the fuel remaining decreases by a plausible amount. Each point is separated from the next by a distance of 70 to 360 nautical miles. At the fourth point, the plane is at cruise speed and altitude, heading southwest in a turn to the left. Its direction of flight is toward southern India.

The fifth and sixth points do not fit into the pattern of the first four. For one thing, they are located more than 3,000 miles away to the southeast. This is six or seven hours’ flying time. Curiously, at both points the fuel tanks are empty. Based on its fuel load during the first four points, the plane could have flown for 10 hours or more from the fourth point before running out of fuel.

The fifth and sixth points are close together—just 3.6 nautical miles apart—but so radically different in altitude that it is questionable whether they were generated by the same flight. To go directly from one to the other would require a dive so steep that it would risk tearing the aircraft apart.

The picture becomes even more curious when we examine the plane’s vertical speed at these two points: in each case, it is climbing, despite having no engine power.

The ATSB has speculated that in real life MH370 ran out of fuel shortly before 0:19 on March 8, and thereafter entered into a series of uncontrolled porpoising dives-and-climbs called phugoids. In essence, a plane that is not held steady by a pilot or autopilot, its nose might dip, causing it to speed up. The added speed willl cause the nose to rise, and the plane to climb, which will bleed off speed; as the plane slows, its nose will fall, and the cycle will continue.

Could a phugoid cause a plane to climb—663 feet per minute at point 5, and 2029 feet per minute at point 6? The answer seems to be yes for the fifth point and no for the sixth. Reader Gysbreght conducted an analysis of 777 flight-simulator data published by Mike Exner, in which an airliner was allowed to descend out of control from cruise altitude in the manner that the ATSB believes MH370 did.

A diagram produced by Gysbreght is shown at top. The pink line shows the plane’s altitude, starting at 35,000 feet; the blue line shows its rate of climb. Worth noting is the fact that the phugoid oscillation does indeed cause the plane to exhibit a small positive rate of climb soon at first. But by the time the plane reaches 4000 feet — the altitude of the sixth point — the oscillation has effectively ceased and the plane is in a very steep dive.

Gysbreght concludes:

As expected for a phugoid, the average rate of descent is about 2500 fpm, and it oscillates around that value by +/- 2500 fpm initially. The phugoid is apparently dampened and the amplitude reduces rapidly. I was slightly surprised that it reaches positive climb values at all. Therefore I think that 2000 fpm climb is not the result of phugoid motion.

Not only is the plane climbing briskly at the sixth point, but it is doing so at a very low airspeed—just above stall speed, in fact. If the pilot were flying level at this speed without engine power and pulled back on the controls, he would not climb at 2000 feet per minute; he would stall and plummet. In order to generate these values, the plane must have been put into a dive to gain speed, then pulled up into a vigorous “zoom climb.” Within seconds after point six, the simulated flight’s speed would have bled off to below stall speed and entered into an uncontrollable plunge.

Perhaps this is why Zaharie chose to record this particular point: it would have been an interesting challenge to try to recover from such a plunge at low altitude.

What he was doing at points 5 and 6, evidently, was testing the 777 flight envelope. This might seem like a reckless practice, but I think the opposite is the case. From time to time, airline pilots do find themselves in unexpected and dangerous conditions. For instance, as Gysbreght has noted, “On 7 october 2008 VH-QPA, an A330-303, operating flight QF72 from Singapore to Perth, experienced an In-flight Upset west of Learmonth, West Australia. The upset was caused by a freak combination of an instrumentation failure and an error in the flight control software, which resulted in an uncommanded pitch-down. The vertical acceleration changed in 1.8 seconds from +1 g to -0.8 g.” It would be better to experience a situation like this for the first time in a flight simulator in one’s basement, rather than in midair with a load of passengers and crew.

What Zaharie clearly was not trying to do was to fly to McMurdo Station in Antarctica, as some have speculated.

For one thing, while a 777 is fully capable of flying from Kuala Lumpur to Antarctica, it was not carrying enough at point 1 to make the trip. And if one were trying to reach a distant location, one would not do so by running one’s tanks dry and then performing unpowered zoom climbs.

The misinterpretation of the flight simulator data offers a couple of cautionary lessons. The first is that we have to be careful not to let a favored theory color our interpretation of the data. The investigators believed that MH370 flew up the Malacca Strait and wound up in the southern Indian Ocean, and they believed that Zaharie was most likely the culprit; therefore, when they found data points on his hard drive that could be lumped together to form such a route, that’s what they perceived.

A second lesson is that we cannot uncritically accept the analysis made by officials or by self-described experts. Science operates on openness. If someone offers an analysis, but refuses to share the underlying data, we should instinctively view their claims with suspicion.

491 thoughts on “MH370 Flight Simulator Claim Unravels Under Inspection”

  1. Oleksandr – you wrote “No, this is not true. I already provided you with the reference, which lists ADIRU output. I thought we more or less clarified that magnetic heading is not output from ADIRU,”

    Clearly you know more about how Boeing jets work than Boeing does. Could you please contact them and let them know that the following two figures, from the Continental 777 Training Manual, written by Boeing and imprinted with the Boeing trademark, showing the ADIRU outputting magnetic heading and inputting it to the AFDC via an ARINC 629 bus, are wrong?

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/eyzyx498q21rz9b/adiru2.png?dl=0

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/n1fwigkkm9cmnys/adiru3.png?dl=0

  2. @ROD:)

    I think I see a pattern here. Is this the “mistery ending”? But aren’t you coming close to both having the cookie and eating it? Couldn’t Z feel pretty confident about that noone would pick up his track as he turned? Or could he suspect that the satcom-link could give him away even if he didn’t pick up the receiver? After all, not even having a track helped. Still I see your point with the debris which is not completely obliterated, perhaps. Couldn’t he be content with just being impossible to frame in terms of guilt?

  3. @Jeff Wise,

    The ATSB has previously published (and later refined) a list and description of the terms contributing to the measured BFOs. Look at their reports on defining the search area.

  4. Bobby,

    Re: “First, I didn’t say anything about BFOs for speeds HIGHER than LRC.”

    In your original post (September 1, 12:58 am) you said that 166 Hz is the maximum BFO for 18:27. On the basis of this you concluded that “No turns, circles, spirals, or any other maneuver than a climb (which increases the BFO) can more closely match the BFO data then.” In my response (September 1, 4:29am) I guessed that you applied LRC settings. Your answer (September 1, 9:14 am) contained: “In fact, the BFO then is fairly insensitive to speed.”. Thus first you stated that 166 Hz is the maximum BFO for level flight, then you stated that this value is not sensitive to the speed. Either your do not care about the accuracy of your statements, or your intention is to create confusion.

    Re: “And why are you using YAP’s BFO calculator instead of your own?”

    To compare my results against his, particularly whether 166 Hz is the maximum possible or not for flight level 18:27.

    Re: “Your example of 570 knots ground speed is not a realistic possibility for this aircraft.”

    Really? Why not? Firstly, you seem to confuse ground speed with air speed. Subtract, for example, wind of 20 knots. Is 550 knots realistic or not? Hint: the certified MMO is 0.87 for B777. Secondly, if an aircraft is descending, it may exceed MMO/VMO and even Mach 1, like in the case of SilkAir Flight 185. Of course there is FEP, etc. – another story.

    Almost forgot: BFO bias in my and Yap’s v2 calculator was 152.5 Hz based on ATSB 2014 paper vs 150.3 Hz in your model. Hence additional 2.2 Hz difference on top of your 167. The remaining difference is within ~1 Hz – I am not interested in discussing it.

    As a matter of fact, the uncertainty in the BFO bias and wind speed allow for even exceeding the challenging value of 176 Hz, so that your original conclusion that nothing else can fit data besides S-shaped trajectory with ascent is absolutely wrong.

  5. Jeff,

    “Would it be useful to try to reach agreement on a BFO formula”

    When Yap and I were developing our BFO “calculators” we discussed various aspects. There are minor differences due to the type of Inmarsat tables interpolation, and Earth models (spherical or ellipsoidal). There could also be physical difference: accounting for the red/blue shift, and mathematical (exact Doppler formulation or approximate). But all these differences are immaterial: a couple of Hz all together.

    Would it be useful to reach agreement at this stage? I don’t know.

  6. Sk999,

    My statement was based on the official ATSB report, to which I provided link earlier. It did not list output of the magnetic parameters on the ADIRU of 9M-MRG. I don’t know why there is a discrepancy.

  7. @sinix
    ” If the drives were wiped, there wouldn’t have been “restore point file, deleted files” categories, but everything would be unallocated cluster files.
    So the drives were not wiped, the flt files were simply deleted.”

    There was more than one drive, so it’s quite possible that the drive that was wiped was not the same as the drive containing the recovered data.

    At Jeff Wise’s “60 minutes Australia Reports on Secret Malaysia Report”,
    http://jeffwise.net/2016/07/31/60-minutes-australia-reports-on-secret-malaysia-report/
    there is a screen shot of page 23 from the confidential Malaysian police report.

    • There were 5 HDDs
    • The “data of interest” was found on hard disk labeled as MK22 and MK25.
    • The “data of interest” was found in windows restore point file, deleted files and unallocated cluster files.

    According to “Captain Zaharie Shah’s Recovered Flight Simulator Information: Preliminary Assessment from the MH370 Independent Group”at
    http://www.duncansteel.com/archives/2798

    Included in the IG ASSESMENT points 1 and 2:
    • The simulator game (FSX) had been uninstalled from a Solid State Drive (SSD) on 20-FEB-14.
    • This drive also contained simulator data.
    • This drive was not connected to a computer.
    • The “data of interest” was saved in a Shadow Copy Set
    • The “data of interest” were last modified on 3-FEB-14.

    Note: In the current version of Windows, a Windows Restore Point is a Shadow Copy Set.

    I’m guessing that the Malaysian Police report did not differentiate between HDDs and SSDs but referred to all drives as HDDs.

  8. @Aunt Bea –

    Not distinguishing between SSDs and HDDs is a pretty huge deal, for the simple reason that SSDs are usually smaller than similarly priced HDDs and not always replaceable.

    That could easily explain why the files were deleted – somebody ran out of primary disk space. Even without drive being built-in, it may have been the best performing drive at the time, despite being undersized.

    So that distinction is important. Having heard that the drives may have been SSDs, I am far less suspicious of deleted files, since it may have been out of simple necessity.

  9. Experienced flight crew navigation data entry error. Of possible interest. Just released.

    “The ATSB has released its investigation report

    Data entry and navigational issues involving Airbus A330-343X, 9M-XXM, Sydney Airport, NSW, on 10 March 2015

    On 10 March 2015 Airbus A330, registered 9M-XXM and operated by Malaysian based airline AirAsia X, was conducting a regular passenger service from Sydney, New South Wales to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On departure from runway 16R the aircraft was observed by air traffic control to enter the departure flight path of the parallel runway 16L. Following advice from air traffic control, the flight crew identified a problem with the onboard navigation systems. Attempts to troubleshoot and rectify the problem resulted in further degradation of the navigation system, as well as to the aircraft’s flight guidance and flight control systems. The crew elected to discontinue the flight but were unable to return to Sydney as the weather had deteriorated in the Sydney area and the available systems limited the flight to approaches in visual conditions. The aircraft was instead radar vectored to Melbourne, Victoria and the flight completed in visual conditions.

    The ATSB found that when setting up the aircraft’s flight management and guidance system, the captain inadvertently entered the wrong longitudinal position of the aircraft. This adversely affected the onboard navigation systems however, despite a number of opportunities to identify and correct the error, it was not noticed until after the aircraft became airborne and started tracking in the wrong direction. The ATSB also found that the aircraft was not fitted with an upgraded flight management system that would have prevented the data entry error via either automated initialisation or automatic correction of manual errors.

    The flight crew attempted to troubleshoot and rectify the situation while under heavy workload. Combined with limited guidance from the available checklists, this resulted in further errors by the flight crew in the diagnosis and actioning of flight deck switches.

    Finally, the ATSB identified that effective monitoring and assistance by air traffic control reduced the risk to the occurrence aircraft and other aircraft in the area.

    In response to this occurrence the aircraft operator undertook safety action, including:
    • the development of a training bulletin and package for its flight crews that emphasised the correct operation and alignment of the air data and inertial reference system
    • sharing the lessons learnt from the operator’s internal investigation with all pilots and reviewing the recovery procedures to be undertaken in the form of a flight safety notice.

    Safety message
    This occurrence highlights that even experienced flight crew are not immune from data entry errors. However, carrying out procedures and incorporating equipment upgrades recommended by aircraft manufacturers will assist in preventing or detecting such errors.

    Additionally, the airborne management of this occurrence illustrates the importance of effective communication when dealing with an abnormal situation under high workload conditions. This is especially the case when there is limited guidance available to resolve the issue.

    ATSB report: Data entry and navigational issues involving Airbus A330-343X, 9M-XXM, Sydney Airport, NSW, on 10 March 2015

  10. @Rob

    No problems regarding the name. Usual issue with mine 😀

    Would he have allowed a death dive? He would have if he had miscalculated the fuel in his fugued state of mind or probably he had already ingested something beforehand. Remoteness and roaring forties and proximity to great SIO rubbish gyre would have figured in his calculations as to debris dispersal. In any case, he would have forgotten about Inmarsat and all that probably think he was safe. All speculation of course but highly probable.

  11. @Wazir, Thank you for posting the link to the article. My 2 cents, SIO coordinates entered into the FMS , if indeed it was intentional, would be very personal to him. Not random numbers. @Johan, yes: finding that prescription…….

  12. @Bobby: thanks so much for making the spreadsheet available – I appreciate your openness with what sounds like the result of much painstaking effort.

    And thanks also for the 0.7° heading leeway you allow for each leg. This goes a long way towards explaining both the fluke of all arc intersecting AND the modest discrepancy between 5 and 20°S: you are adding tiny heading adjustments which effectively manually adjust wind to exactly what is required.

    Might you be persuaded to show the BTO errors for your path if these adjustments are instead to zero? I promise not to argue that the wind data is perfect; I just wouldn’t mind seeing how important this “wind data imprecision compensator” step is to the achievement of good BTO fits for constant heading paths.

    Or, if easier: you could consider re-parameterizing such that small wind speed variances (rather than small heading changes) are what you back-solve for in order to hit each arc. This might make clearer just how imprecise the wind data has to have been in order to fit a true heading track to the BTO arcs.

  13. @Jeff,

    Apologies, have only just seen your request for the article text. With the time difference here, I was on my lengthy commute home at that point.

    Glad the link was of some relevance. I do wonder if we’ll ever know the contents of that last conversation…

  14. @JS
    “That could easily explain why the files were deleted – somebody ran out of primary disk space. Even without drive being built-in, it may have been the best performing drive at the time, despite being undersized.”

    A thoughtful explanation. As to the importance of the deleed data, if someone wants to free up some space, which files would he delete, the important and usefull ones or the crap ones?

  15. @Johan

    I agree, I do seem to be edging dangerously close to wanting my cake and eating it. It’s a bit of a dilemma, I admit. Perhaps, as Wasir suggested, Z wasn’t too concerned about the risk of leaving a mass of wreckage floating on the ocean. Perhaps he wasn’t. There are cases we all know about where aircraft hit the water at high speed, and leave very little surface debris. The recent Egyptair crash is an example. But then there is the RH flaperon, the “spectre at the feast” to coin a phrase, not to mention the other debris from the RH wing trailing edge. The flaperon reeks of controlled ditching, imho. No two ways about it, you cannot duck the evidence from the debris.

    Then there is the apparent synchronization of the location at flameout with sunrise. Was this merely a coincidence? If you set out to deliberately engineer a flight path, given the fuel available on the night, the time of takeoff, the need to fly along the FIR boundary and up the Malacca Strait, to avoid attracting attention (and Indonesian airspace) and then after all that, to fly as far as possible in a straight, into a remote part of the SIO, and manage to arrive there just after local sunrise? You will find it’s no mean feat. It required careful planning. The only flight path that ticks all these boxes, is the one that MH370 flew that night. Pure coincidence? I cannot see how it possibly can be.

  16. @ROB

    Synchronisation of engine flame-out and sunrise only works if you presume a specific route, but the evidence (uncontrolled descent, lack of finds in the search zone, drift patterns and lack of debris on Australian shores) imo currently suggests MH370 crashed much further north and was therefore flying in daylight far longer. It seems to me you are grounding your conclusions on an erroneous premise.

  17. @RON:)

    There is that duck again. And (and) I see a “Nostradamus-warning”, too. Let’s see….

    First: could he plan all that realistcally with his flight sim or would he use other software/calculations he would normally use to calculate fuel consumption for a flight (if pilots do that) and sunrise?

    Second: how would you feel about flying some six hours with 238 dead corpses behind your back, some of them perhaps reluctant corpses for a significant time? To see the sunrise, which he has seen until sickness during his 18.000 flight hours? What is he, a sun mystic? Was he flying in that kimono style holiday garment you see in some pictures too?

    Third: Is it worth it all to wait until second flameout at some 30.000 ft before you start to try to belly-land with the sun in your eyes? Was he carrying out a rite or was he trying to hide the the truth? It seems the former might have interfered with the latter.

    Fourth: the plane wasn’t there, was it? So “the only path” sounds a little premature. Or?

    Fifth: Why? To create “a mistery”? Or half-of-a-mistery since everyone figured it out? You know, if it sticks, figuratively, then he has only created a monument of perverse aberration. For his children to carry for generations.

    I can assure you I know the lure of seeing an order where there isn’t one. If one wants order whether there is or not, poetry is a good arena. Dead poets, preferrably.

    So it seems to hang on whether Z was a poet or not. And (and) some things are actually speaking for that. 🙂

  18. Jeff,

    You said you want to clear smog. Also earlier you concluded that the failure to find the aircraft in the current search area indicates piloted flight.

    However, if alternative AP-controlled flight modes do exist, respective search areas would be different. We are ‘chewing’ possibility of these modes for long while, but no agreement was reached so far due to the ambiguities in available documentation. There are at least two potential candidates, namely:

    1. Magnetic heading/track.
    2. The ATT roll mode (attitude hold).

    Both of these modes would ‘shift’ the search area to the east, outside of the current search area.

    Would it be possible to obtain ‘formal’ clarification either from Boeing or from an experienced B777 pilot, who must be in possession of proper documentation? This would certainly help.

  19. @Nederland

    The words pot, kettle and black come to mind. You said “it seems to me you are grounding your conclusions on an erroneous premise”. Lets take these one at a time

    1) Presuming a specific route? I haven’t just plucked a route out of thin air to synchronize it with sunrise. My route aligns with the DSTG’s Bayesian analysis of the ISAT data. It crosses the 7th arc at the about the same point as the MRC (maximum range cruise line) does. By itself, the ISAT data is under-constrained, as Dennis pointed out, so to get my route, I made an assumption (just as the DSTG did) that the route was flown in an economical, autopilot mode. The DSTG found that the aircraft most likely flew in a straight line, following the FMT. The fact that this straight line crosses the 7th arc at about the same point as the MRC line (assuming an economical cruise mode) is a persuasive indication that this was the actual route flown, imho, especially when the behavior exhibited prior to the FMT strongly suggests a pilot in control, following a preplanned route, also imho.

    2)Evidence of uncontrolled descent and lack of finds in the search area? There is really no evidence of an uncontrolled descent. The 5,000fpm ROD at 00:19:29 is entirely consistent with a controlled descent under RAT power, following 2nd engine flameout at 00:17:30. The consensus among the cognoscenti on this forum is that the 15,000fpm ROD at 00:19:37 is unreliable, and probably spurious. I would agree, seeing as it was apparently recorded a mere 8.5secs after the 5,000fpm ROD. The Debris found so far, clearly points to a controlled, high speed ditching, as pointed out previously. A ditch you cannot duck :). there are two possible, plausible explanations for the lack of seabed wreckage in the existing search area – either the wreckage was overlooked because it lies in difficult seabed terrain which the towfish cannot properly scan, or the aircraft was glided downrange of the search area.

    3)Conflicts with drift analyses? The CSIRO drift analysis backs up the current ATSB search area, down to latitude S40. I have no problems with the CSIRO drift analysis, you won’t be surprised to hear.

  20. @ROB

    If MH370 isn’t found in the search area then probably the DSTG assumptions/route were wrong.

    The 0:19:29 BFO, if reliable, alone precludes a glide beyond the search area at that time (that would be between 1000 and 2000 fpm).

    The state of debris, particularly the piece from the vertical stabiliser, indicates high speed impact rather than controlled ditching. Some larger pieces are from the right side/wing. Imo MH370 crashed uncontrolled with its left wing first and no piece of the left wing has therefore been identified.

    But I’m glad to see the CSIRO drift modelling that includes more recent finds, such as the one from South Africa, and not just the flaperon. I am unaware of any drift model that indicates it is possible MH370 crashed even further south than the search area.

    Here’s a discussion of possible flight paths ending north of the search area:

    http://www.duncansteel.com/archives/2152

  21. @Johan

    Two main assumptions are still on the table:

    -the flight went into a ghost-flight somewhere after FMT or:
    -the flight was under pilot control till the end

    The first assumption IMO has to include somekind of hijack or a catastrophical technical event before, during or after FMT that killed the pilot(s) or the pilot(s) was/were killed after FMT or commited suicide leaving the plane fly in an AP-mode till fuel exhaustion.
    (Suicide f.i. by decompressing the plane would be easy and painless).

    The second assumption demands carefull planning, a lot of skill and a motive.
    IMO it’s unlogical to assume a pilot had carefully planned his route and actions but did not plan a specific end-point that was reachable with the amount of fuel he knew there was on board.

    Going dark at a specific point, avoiding radar and FIR-bounderies etc. all need carefull planning on forehand (by a pilot or hijacker).
    IMO then it isn’t ‘mystic’ to assume he also planned the timing of the flight-departure time and arrival-time on a planned destination.

    In other words; he might well have picked this night-flight knowing he would fly under the cover of darkness till sunrise at destination.
    There he would have needed the light to ditch the plane (if he planned this also).
    No poetry but all planned.

    If MH370 was planned and controlled by a pilot till the end I think it’s not unlogical to assume he also entered a final waypoint in the FMC (probably) after or just before FMT.

    Maybe he decompressed the aircraft after this final action and died leaving the plane fly on AP till it’s destination.
    Maybe he stayed alive till the end and planned to ditch the plane for the sake of leaving minimal debris and to be sure the plane sank on this planned destination.

    When over the top and determent to end it all, people who then decide to end their live can become very peacefull, quiet, rational and calculated, shutting off all emotions and feelings.

    I have seen this happen several times in psychiatry. To us it was a warning sign.
    This was the time a suicide was most likely to happen soon and ofcourse we all tried to prevent it.

    But most of the time they succeeded. Outsmarting every nurse and docter.
    They were just too committed to die.
    No poetry involved.

  22. @Johan

    Sorry, I think you’re loosing the plot a little. To synchronize the flameout with sunrise does take some planning, but you don’t need a simulator to do it on. I checked it out with the online Vincenty calculator and the NOAA sunrise/solar calculators. This is how it could have been done: It is route specific. The pilot knows in advance how long the fuel would last, in this case 7hrs 12mins approx. He chooses a remote spot in the SIO to end up at. After being constrained to flying along the FIR boundary and avoiding Indonesian airspace, the first convenient waypoint for defining the FMT turns out to be IGOGU (ANOKO a possible alternative). To get aligned with the Thai/Malay FIR, waypoint ABTOK would be a convenient choice. Granted, a simulator could be useful for the turnaround-to-FMT leg, for working out the TOA at IGOGU.

    I am not looking for order where there isn’t any. And I am a fully paidup member of the dead poets society.

    The trickiest bit would be choosing the next waypoint after IGOGU, to match flameout with sunrise. It turns out to be ISBIX. A great circle path from IGOGU, which passes through ISBIX and then continues on the same geodesic toward a manually inserted, along-track waypoint, with enough positive offset to put it beyond the estimated point of fuel exhaustion, passes very close to the DSTG hotspot. The path runs essentially parallel to the sunrise terminator, which turns out to be very useful, because all the pilot has to do to synchronize flameout with sunrise, is to speed up or slow down slightly on the southbound leg, to compensate for an off-nominal time of arrival at IGOGU. He does not have to consider changing course. The time at flameout is more critical that the location at flameout. The sunrise terminator was moving across the globe, from east to west, at about 22Kmh, at latitude S37.

    Z was a pilot rather than a poet. Evidently a pilot with particularly unpleasant demons. But that’s only an opinion.

  23. Above, someone suggested that if there was a depressurization without any response to recover, the cabin temperature would eventually drop. Might a decrease in cabin temperature over six to seven hours affect the BFO’s?

    Might points 5 & 6 of the FS data be two separate end-of-flight scenarios to test repeatability of the games endurance and range calculations?

    A flight up the straight with a turn to the SIO makes ZS a suspect. If the points were not linked to a single flight, he becomes a person-of-interest

    How many people worldwide had flights on FS running out of fuel in the SIO before March 8, 2014? How many of those people were on MH370?

  24. @Johan, @GeRijn, Interesting posts :). Whether Hijackers or suicide, this act was very personal. IMHO, the plane was intended to be someone’s coffin. SIO, the place it would be burried. Chosen, because the perpetrator intended the plane never to be found. Why? Because we would always be guessing. Never know for sure, if it was intended or not. Does a father or mother want their children to be stigmatized for life, No. Backlash from community, family, friends, employer, insurance? I am inclined to say that the perpetrator would have easily deprived himself of oxygen and not have gone to the restroom during those 6 hours and view the carnage. None the less, it cannot be ruled out that he did. Someone, anyone who choses to end life in this fashion has a deep rooted obsession with planes or atleast to die in one. Loves them. It was their life. This ofcourse, is my opinion and pure conjecture. Otherwise, other methods are much more effective without taking more souls with you. The why of it all will remain a mystery, which is very common in suicides. Unless, (if the perpatrator was alive till the end) there is a recording of something spoken. But thats doubtful. We can only hope. My 2 cents.

  25. @Oleksandr, I think the DST must certainly know whether alternate AP control modes exist, and would have factored these into its probability distributions. In the near future I’ll be posting an exclusive interview that I did with DST head mathematician Neil Gordon that sheds light on these issues.

  26. @ROB: @Ge Rijn:

    I hear you. I wasn’t meaning to be provocative in a really serious way, but I am grateful you took the trouble to elaborate. Both of you. Well there are still some loose ends, aren’t there? And if he seemingly didn’t manage to throw away the flight paths on hos sim, what else wouldn’t there be on his personal computer/s and hard drives that would relate to this?

    To turn it somewhat around: isn’t there any simple solutions left for a southbound track. I don’t really see this guy as a freak. More a lover of life imprisoned in the air.

  27. @Jeff Wise:

    Some time ago I agreed with Oleksandr that when the ADIRU is inoperative and the pilot does not initiate heading, then ATT is the only autopilot roll mode available.

    RE your Neil Gordon interview, I hope you got something out of him on the post-IGARI primary radar data that the Malaysians made available to the DSTG.

  28. @Johan @Keffertje

    @Johan.
    I understand you did not mean to be provocative. I don’t mean to be also. It’s about discussing different points of view without an urge to please anyone I hope 😉

    There are still many loose ends. But IMO there are some important facts we should rely on and not doubt they are fabricated.

    First the Inmarsat-data. Precise or not, they are what they are: genuine.
    A global company like Inmarsat has absolutely no interest or reason to get involved in some kind of cover-up fabricating those data.
    This is pure nonsens and paranoïd thinking.

    The debris. No way this could have been planted unnoticed, unseen, untold over such a long time and over such geographical distances. Oke, when Jeff put this on the table there was only the Flaperon. This might have been a possibility then.
    But now it’s just ridiculous to hold on to a scenario like this.

    The drift-analizes. Based on ever more debris, all drifter-based drift-analizes shift the crash area at least north of 36S. Brock McEwen will state differently for he uses other methods.
    But also he finds only places north of the current search area.

    And at last to get a bit ‘poetric’: lovers of live are perhaps the most prone to end their lives. Listen to the Don McClean song ‘Starry, starry night’. Maybe he had this song on his mind, who knows.

    @Keffertje.
    Sounds like a Dutch name..
    IMO there is another option still open. A catastrophical technical failure just after IGARI. After that trying to reach Kota Baru, Penang and maybe even Car Nicobar and Atjeh airports. But not able to land and communicate.

    If hijacked after IGARI the hijacker must also have planned everything in detail. But with another destination than the SIO.
    Maybe things went wrong after 18:22.
    Maybe the Malaysian airforce shot the plane before leaving radar coverage and only damaged it. Maybe the jets had to return due to their short range. Maybe the plane flew on crippled and they chose to fly into oblivian into the SIO. Maybe, maybe.

    But still to me the most logical reason is the captain planned this all.
    He was the only one on board we are sure of he was capable of planning and performing something like this.

    People who are commited to end their live often only focus on that goal and how to execute it. They are not able to consider in a normal way the impact their actions could have on others.
    In this way they are out of reality, psychotic if you will, but completely rational and calculating.

    Germanwings and other suicide-pilots are telling in this regard.
    The Germanwings-pilot even rehearshed his decent on the flight before.

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