MH370 Updates


A few things have happened recently in MH370 world that are worth taking note of.

No FMT. The seabed search in the southern Indian Ocean is all over but the shouting, and as a result I see that a consensus is forming that there could have been no “final major turn” into the southern Indian Ocean. Rather, if the plane went south, it must have loitered somewhere beyond the Malacca Strait until after 18.40 before finally flying a straight southerly path from 19:40 onward. This loiter, following a high-speed dash across the Malay Peninsula and up the strait, is quite bizarre, given that no attempt was made by anyone on board the plane to contact the ground, either to ask for help or to negotiate a hostage situation. So the presumption of a loiter doesn’t really shed light on motivation, it does effectively put yet another nail in the coffin of accident/malfunction scenarios.

More of the secret Royal Malaysian Police report released. Mick Rooney, aka @airinvestigate, has released a portion labelled “Folder 6: Audio and Other Records.” The new section contains an expert report analyzing the cockpit/ATC audio up to 17:21, which concludes (with less than 100% confidence) that it was probably Zaharie who uttered the final words “Good night, Malaysia 370.” It also includes ACARS data and the Inmarsat logs which had already been released back in 2014. In perusing the document I was not able to identify anything that would alter our collective understanding of the case, but I hope that others will offer their own assessments. And I applaud Mick for being the only one with the moral backbone to release this information. I am sure that more will follow. UPDATE: The next batch is here: “Folder 5: Aircraft Record and DCA Radar Data.”

Debris trail goes cold. I’ve plotted, above, the number of pieces of debris that have been found each month since MH370 disappeared. After the first piece of debris was found in July, 2015, a smattering of further pieces was found until April, May, and June of this year, when the number spiked and then dropped off again before ceasing altogether. This is a puzzling distribution, since drift models show that the gyres of the southern Indian Ocean act as a great randomizer, taking things around and around and spitting them out after widely varying periods of time. Would expect, therefore, to see the number of pieces found to gradually swell and then fall off again.

There is a complicating factor to this assumption, of course. Even if the pieces do arrive in a certain pattern, overlaid on top of this is the effect of an independent variable: the degree to which people are actively searching for them. It must be noted that a considerable amount of the June spike is attributable to Blaine Alan Gibson’s astonishing haul on the beaches of Madagascar that month. Indeed, Gibson by himself remains responsible for more than half of the 22 pieces of debris found thus far.

Earlier this week, several frustrated family members announced that they would be organizing their own beachcombing expedition, to take place next month. If their efforts prove less fruitful than Blaine Alan Gibson’s, it may raise questions as to what exactly was the secret to Gibson’s success.

710 thoughts on “MH370 Updates”

  1. @Johan

    “For a skeptic to the Nobel Prize in Economy (I know) I can at least say that contract theory (winner this year) is not a bad thing.”

    Part of my disdain for the Nobel in Economics stems from a very (in my opinion) insightful paper I wrote on pricing theory which (since I wrote it on company time) has never seen the light of day. Every time a Nobel in Economics is awarded, I am thinking that it is rightfully mine. Fantasies can be hard to overcome.

  2. @DennisW:
    Ha ha ha ha. I know that feeling!
    I can tell you that there are tens of thousands out there who feel exactly the same. That is one of the reasons why the Nobel Prize in general has as many critics as followers. It is a good thing you have been able to realise that. Without help of professionals.

    The sometimes terrible arbitrarriness, or seemingly so, involved in all kinds of human distinction or chosenness is an experience every living soul will have to face sooner or later. The laureate speeches are always about the positive end of that. The others we rarely meet, especially not on the lethal extreme end (perhaps in Albert Camus’ The Stranger).

  3. @Johan

    A haunting tale “Mother died today…”, and required reading in college. I think he was a deserving recipient of a Nobel.

    Now I have to Google the Prize recipients. Yes, there will always be controversy about such a prestigious honor, but it does not tarnish it as a pinnacle of one’s career.

  4. @DennisW:
    Great northern California coastal view in the added picture. I am not a fan of wind, but of scenic views. Regards to Ami.

  5. TBill has been very helpful in providing a .FLT file with wind. That file establishes conclusively that I was wrong in assuming that the X, Y, Z components of VelBodyAxis represent airspeed. They represent the speed of the airplane relative to earth, so VictorI was right on this issue. Unless wind is known from other sources, Dynamic Pressure is the only parameter that defines airspeed in the [SimVars] section of the file.

    With groundspeed & track, airspeed & heading, vertical speed and assuming zero sideslip the wind speed and direction can then be determined, as shown in the following table:

  6. @DennisW:

    I try to see it as a celebration of human accomplishment. In many cases, I am sure, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, who would have been worthy of mentioning as contributing. But remaining the top dog is a human accomplishment too.

  7. VictorI disappeared when I suggested his McMurdo-path ended on Manhattan. I hope I didn’t mess anything up.

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