Were MH370 Searchers Unlucky, or Duped?

Yesterday, officials responsible for locating missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 announced that their two-year, $150 million search has come to an end. Having searched an area the size of Pennsylvania and three miles deep, they’ve found no trace of the plane.

The effort’s dismal conclusion stands in marked contrast to the optimism that officials displayed throughout earlier phases of the search. In August, 2015, Australia’s deputy prime minister Warren Truss declared, “The experts are telling us that there is a 97% possibility that it is in [the designated search] area.”

So why did the search come up empty? Did investigators get unlucky, and the plane happened to wind up in the unsearched 3 percent? Or did something more nefarious occur?

To sort it all out, we need to go back to why officials thought they knew where the plane went.

Early on the morning of March 8, 2014, MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing. Forty minutes passed the last navigational waypoint in Malaysian airspace. Six seconds after that it went electronically dark. In the brief gap between air-control zones, when no one was officially keeping an eye on it, the plane pulled a U-turn, crossed back through Malaysian airspace, and then vanished from military radar screens.

At that point the plane was completely invisible. Its hijackers could have flown it anywhere in the world without fear of discovery. But lo and behold, three minutes later a piece of equipment called the Satellite Data Unit, or SDU, rebooted and initiated a log-on with an Inmarsat communications satellite orbiting high overhead. An SDU reboot is not something that can happen accidentally, or that airline captains generally know how to do, or that indeed there would be any logical reason for anyone to carry out. Yet somehow it happened. Over the course of the next six hours, the SDU sent seven automated signals before going silent for good. Later, Inmarsat scientists poring over the data made a remarkable discovery: due to an unusual combination of peculiarities, a signal could be teased from this data that indicated where the plane went.

With much hard work, search officials were able to wring from the data quite a detailed picture of what must have happened. Soon after the SDU reboot, the plane turned south, flew fast and straight until in ran out of fuel, then dived into the sea. Using this information, officials were able to generate a probabilistic “heat map” of where the plane most likely ended up. The subsequent seabed search began under unprecedented circumstances. Never before had a plane been declared lost, and its location subsequently deduced, on the basis of mathematics alone.

Now, obviously, we know that that effort was doomed. The plane is not where the models said it would most likely be. Indeed, I would go further than that. Based on the signal data, aircraft performance parameters, and the available autopilot modes, there is a finite range of places where the plane could plausibly have fetched up. Search vessels have now scanned all of them. If the data is good, and the analysis is good, the plane should have been found.

I am convinced that the analysis is good. And the data? It seems to me that the scientists who defined the search area overlooked a step that even the greenest rookie of a criminal investigator would not have missed. They failed to ascertain whether the data could have been tampered with.

I’ve asked both Inmarsat scientists and the Australian mathematicians who defined the search area how they knew that the satellite communications system hadn’t been tampered with. Both teams told me that they worked with the data they were given. Neither viewed it as their job to question the soundness of their evidence.

This strikes me as a major oversight, since the very same peculiar set of coincidences that made it possible to tease a signal from the Inmarsat data also make it possible that a sophisticated hijacker could have entered the plane’s electronics bay (which lies beneath an unsecured hatch at the front of the business class cabin) and altered the data fed to the Satellite Data Unit.

A vulnerability existed.

The only question is: Was it exploited? If it was, then the plane did not fly south over the ocean, but north toward land. For search officials, this possibility was erased when a piece of aircraft debris washed ashore on Réunion Island in July of 2015. Subsequently, more pieces turned up elsewhere in the western Indian Ocean.

However, as with the satellite data, officials have failed to explore the provenance of the debris. If they did, they would have noticed some striking inconsistencies. Most notably, the Réunion debris was coated completely in goose barnacles, a species that grows only immersed in the water. When officials tested the debris in a flotation tank, they noted that it floated half out of the water. There’s no way barnacles could grow on the exposed areas—a conundrum officials have been unable to reconcile. The only conclusion I can reach is that the piece did not arrive on Réunion by natural means, a suspicion reinforced by a chemical analysis of one of the barnacles by Australian scientist Patrick DeDeckker, who found that the barnacle grew in water temperatures that no naturally drifting piece of debris would have encountered.

If the plane didn’t go south, then where did it go? Not all the Inmarsat data, it turns out, was susceptible to spoofing. From the portion that wasn’t, it’s able to generate a narrow band of possible flight paths; they all terminate in Kazakhstan, a close ally of Russia. Intriguingly, three ethnic Russians were aboard MH370, including one who was sitting mere feet from the electronics bay hatch. Four and a half months later, a mobile launcher from a Russian anti-aircraft unit shot down another Malaysia Airlines 777-200ER, MH17. A year after that, the majority of pieces of debris wind up being discovered by a man who had spent the last three decades intimately involved with Russia.

Whether or not the Russians are responsible for MH370, the failure of the seabed search and the inconsistencies in the aircraft debris should undermine complacency about the official narrative. When MH370 disappeared, it possessed an obscure vulnerability that left its Inmarsat data open to tampering. Having spent $150 million and two years on a fruitless investigation, search officials have an obligation to investigate whether or not that vulnerability was exploited.

636 thoughts on “Were MH370 Searchers Unlucky, or Duped?”

  1. @David, thank you for the detailed feedback on the draft, I will read carefully. Sorry about the lines on graphics they are added ‘post-production’, I’ll be sure to add them for the final version. My goal is to revise this weekend time permitting.

  2. @TBill

    I have now worked further on my northern hook around Sumatra route, and I think this is quite interesting as it seems to be the one route that follows navigational waypoints deep into the SIO area:


    I’ve come up with two different routes around Sabang radar, the yellow one at an average ground speed of 491, literally around the circle and using the waypoints AKINO and TOPIN, the green one at an average ground speed of 481 kts using additional waypoints. The RoC at the 18:40 phone call would be around -500 or -600, which means it could have been initiated at the last 18:22 blip.

    The important point is that MH370 reaches the first ring at around 2.6N. I then assume a ground speed of around 450 kts to ISBIX and onto BEBIM. After BEBIM, I assume a heading of around 170 and a ground speed of around 420 kts (as has been suggested by the ATSB).

    The underlying scenario is intentional diversion up to BEBIM and a missed further route on way to either Cocos Islands or Learmonth on T41 after the plane turned into a ghost flight at some point after ISBIX (this a long leg). In an earlier post (27/12), Matt Moriarty indicated the autopilot may continue on a different heading after reaching the final waypoint (alternatively it may have been intentional diversion after the initial plan didn’t work out).

    As you can see, this matches the BTOs/BFOs quite well (especially if one assumes a slightly positive RoC at the 19:41 and final ring due to exiting radar range and the autopilot trying to make up for the lost engine, respectively).


    It is interesting to note that the assumed crash point is at around -30.4, 97.8 right in the centre of the first high priority area in the June/August ATSB report, the one that has never been searched. I think a route like this could be the reasoning behind this area. There has also been a surface search for debris of less than a week, before the Chinese ship indicated it may have received a signal from the black box and the search moved further north. It is also a good fit with the cumulative results of various drift studies.

    I plan to further refine this a bit (one of the rings seems to be a few miles off), but would welcome comments.

  3. @Nederland
    Looks good to me as far as Sabang avoidance.
    I guess you are saying both green and yellow paths have the same BTO/BFO. Do you have the green path on SkyVector? If so can you the copy and paste the path here? Due to winds and also displacement of the Arcs with respect to altitude, you are not expecting perfect match to pings unless you account for those things. I am surprised a small descent rate matches BFO at 18:40.

    Your landing spot is relatively “shallow” 7500-ft deep but I don’t know if it is a craggy and hard to search there.

  4. @TBill

    The first full BTO/BFO comes at the 19:41 ring because of the sat phone call at 18:40. That call has BFO only and it works with a RoC of around -500/-600 with both proposed routes, i.e. from NILAM to VOKX.

    I’m not sure how to do hybrid waypoints on Skyvector, but I provide a close up of the northern hook route:


    Depending on speed and so on, you can work out different routes, but waypoint UPROB is too far south to enable intersection of the 19:41 ring at around 2.6N, which is needed to get to ISBIX and onto BEBIM as far as I calculated that.

    MH370 would have to turn to ISBIX at around geolocation 3°50’22.13″N, 93°47’13.25″E on its leg towards MABIX and would need to be at ground speed 450 by the time it meets the ring. Of course, it can slow down any time earlier as long as the average speed between 18:22 and 19:41 is around 481 kts (I’m simply calculating distance on the ground by time).

    I’m not looking for a deep trench crash site as I don’t feel this was the reason for the initial diversion.

  5. @Jeff Wise

    I’ve got overwhelmed with what’s happening in America lately also related possibly to MH370.
    I question some of your issues but have no reason at all to doubt your point of view in a political sence.
    In a way it should even be alarming to you your current President seems to be a big fan of Putin.
    He probably will deny and refute any possible involvement of the the Russians regarding MH370. IMO it’s not likely too but your current government won’t be of any help to prove if they were or not.
    In this case I could even imagine a common interest. Maybe the American military was involved? Or at least geo-political interest of both countries are considered more important?

    Who knows. Anyway your President has no interest to solve this case. On the contrary he has interest in becoming friends with Putin and Russia. Break down Nato and leave Europe on its own with a totally nationalist American program. Shielding off American industries like Boeing at all costs.

    He IMO being a psychopath shows no empathy to the suffering of any individual let alone the NoK or the whole MH370 case.
    In my view this is current reality. We can not expect anything constructive anymore from America regarding MH370.
    On the contrary I would say.

    But this is beyond our might.
    I agree we only can try to stay to the facts and possibilities regarding MH370.
    Discussing those primary in the hope all those thoughts and investigation will add to solving of this drama and mystery.

    I think all those people contributing have come a long way in adding bits of the puzzle and they should continue regardless current politics. I believe the ATSB and other officials involved are reading this blog (and others) too and many of them are as dedicated as us to solve this mystery.
    We can give them new ideas, insights no matter how rediculous they sometimes might seem.
    That’s why we have to push on.

    From now I’ll leave politics out. Back to basics.

    My Firefox-warning was your site was taken over by another site who had no certificate.
    It was the first time I encountered this in two plus years and I answered the call that your site was save.
    I had my doubts only afterwards but could not recall the message. If I could I would have sent it to you.
    Hope you can clearify.

    Jeff Wise, respect for what you are doing all those years and taking a clear stand.
    You know we don’t have to agree but on this I agree completely.
    It’s about the discussion and finding motivated and possible answers to solve this drama.

  6. @Ge Rijn “…. It’s about the discussion and finding motivated and possible answers to solve this drama”
    I could not agree more, thank you for bringing us back on track.

    I would like to ask a question.
    Is it fair to say that at least half the 7th arc from the southern most point searched up to just below Indonesia has not had the seabed searched even to some extent?
    Does anybody know the actual amount searched versus the amount not searched?

  7. @Ge Rijn

    current coup d etat in USA

    Sir, may i suggest that the critical situation in the US could finally bring some whistle-blowing to the public, since there is tough resistance against the dictatorial attitude of the new presidency.

    So the search für MH370 might indeed find new and very competent support. Maybe there are some government agencies in Europe now who will come forward with some leaks.

  8. wow, can’t you people just respect will of american voters or is it democracy only if it’s your winner 😉

    he will be in charge for 4/8 years and americans will choose someone else then, the sky isn’t going to fall

    I’d like if he could make USA stronger because world needs strong USA, although I wouldn’t put my bet on that

  9. @Nederland
    In SkyVector simply right-click on the spot and when the dialog box comes up, click on PATH.

    Came up with this to illustrate a few points,
    a SkyVector version of the Iannello/Godfrey path, with a big “X marks the spot” for anyone listening. Believe these are all valid SIO waypoints:

    WMKK IGARI WMKP VAMPI VOCX 27S00 2598S 29S02 27S00 2998S 25S02 27S00

    (cut and paste this string into SkyVector Flight Plan)

  10. @Nederland

    Why would he continue south after doing that?! If his intention was to go south he would go south straight from above he wouldn’t turn right after he entered SIO…

  11. @TBill

    Something like this could work:


    I recalculated the route a bit, and I think the ground speed would have to be around 493 kts in the route above (450 kts at around 2.6N at the intersection of the 19:41 ring).

    In reality I think the pilot would have used waypoints VOKX and MABIX rather than the geolocations, but like in the case of BITOD put in another waypoint en route.

  12. @StevanG

    I’m referring to various media reports that Sabang radar did not detect MH370 overflying Indonesian airspace. At reduced altitude 200 nm is a good estimate of the radar range and it is almost exactly the distance from Sabang to waypoints AKINO and TOPIN at the border of Indonesian FIR.

    As to why he or she wanted to go the extra mile, I think this was in order to avoid radar detection and possible interception (otherwise he or she could have just overflown Sumatra).

  13. Btw, for reduced speed during the later leg into the SIO, I refer to this ATSB media release, in which the ATSB set out the reasoning for the search area centering around the crash location indicated in my route above:

    “The new information is based on continuing analysis of radar data between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca before radar contact was lost. It indicated that the aircraft was travelling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel usage and reducing the possible distance the aircraft travelled south into the Indian Ocean.”


  14. Let us assume, that regardless of the actual details of the first part of the flight up to and post what we call the FMT, (of which I fear there will never be any solid universal agreement) can we at least all agree, that the aircraft either overflew, or at least did pass fairly close to ISBIX ?

    If we can agree on that at least, and if you look at it just from after ISBIX, I think we can hypothesise a reasonably sensible scenario, i.e. that “his intention” was to fly to Learmouth.

    The reasoning is as follows.

    Open skyvector, and cut and paste the following string into the “Flight Plan” Box.

    ISBIX 105937S0935814E 112941S0935855E 1294S PLMNM YPLM 1294S 140004S0940429E 155927S0940906E 175836S0941621E 195912S0942356E 220026S0943429E 235921S0944700E 255851S0950230E 275858S0952216E 295928S0954540E 320006S0961401E 335957S0964619E 360021S0972605E

    Now, in the “Spd” box put 480 (which is knots)

    Then, in the “Alt” Box, put 350 (which is Flight Level 350 = 35,000 feet)

    Finally, Hit the NAVLOG button at the bottom right of the Flight Plan Box.
    Download and save the PDF, opene it in another screen for reference.

    Now go back and view the flight plan in Skyvecor.

    You will see a flight path that extends south from ISBIX to just west of Cocos Island.

    From that point, you will see both a direct great Circle path to Learmonth Airport (YPLM) on the coast of Western Australia, and a path south, with waypoints every 120 nautical miles (approx) which is every 2 degrees of south latitude (approx).

    The path cuts the 7th Arc at Broken Ridge.

    You will note that (when you zoom in to the various southern segments) that the heading is always 181 magnetic. In other words, the path flown is LNAV in Mag Hold.

    Now, the theory / scenario is this.

    His “intention” after passing out of Indonesian radar range, was “absolutely” to “stay out of radar range”. He did not want anyone to know where he was, only that he was still airborne.

    He flew south, with the intention to arrive at position (12 South 94 E) which is about 170 nm west abeam of Cocos Island, and then make “his FMT” to track direct to Learmonth (YPLM). There was sufficient fuel for this to be a practical destination.

    With the aircraft on autopilot in LNAV, the heading at this time, (inbound to 12S 94E) would have been 181 Magnetic, but the final waypoint he had entered was 12S 94E, he HAD NOT YET entered the leg to YPLM.

    Approaching this point is where it all “went wrong”.

    For whatever reason, the aircraft never turned for Leaarmonth, but continued on, past the “end of route” on 181 Magnetic, past 12S 94E, and ended up at Broken Ridge.

    Thoughts ?

  15. @ventus45 – I would say the flight went to Learmonth (YPLM) and either landed (then detained) or crashed nearby. The flaperon has many unanswered and contradictory clues that maybe it came from a dismantler hydraulic claw ripping and twisting it in a way that no crash can ever reproduce.

  16. @Ventus45
    I agree there was probably enough fuel to get to Learmonth, depending on loiter and FMT timing. With Victor’s loiter to about 1940 ping ring, there is not quite enough fuel.

    Your suggested path is somewhat similar to Victor’s June_2016 paper on 180S magnetic starting from BEDAX. Victor found the need to drop altitude (slow down) continuously to meet the ping rings, which is not totally unreasonable. Victor’s paper shows the wind impact and it would shift the path slightly East.

    If intent on flying to Learmonth, I would expect ISBIX to BEBIM and take the normal flight paths. So your proposal requires us to say, although BEBIM waypoint was very close, he instead chose to key-in 1294S and went and take a strange flight path to Learmonth.

    Right now my path goes MEMAK to COCOS to POLUM to UXORA (on the way to Learmonth) for the purpose of ending in a deep trench.

    It’s hard to know what they were thinking about speed in that March 2014 reference. Victor now believes Mach 0.84 thru to MEKAR.

  17. For entertainment purposes only …

    I ran a route North from NILAM to Yubileyniy. Why anyone would steal a plane fueled for route of 2300 nm to fly a route of nearly 4000 nm is anyone’s guess. Do not try this at home.

    I fit the BTOs and ignored the BFOs other than to say that the plane went North. I allowed the heading to change to fit the BTOs.

    The BFO fit is terrible – 17 hz rms. Whatever. Entertainment only, remember.

    The route starts out passing over the Andaman Islands (middle of Smith Island), then the Indian Ocean, crosses into India about 120 nm West of Calcutta (Kolkata on the map), enters Nepal well West of Katmandu, enters Tibet at approximately the Tibet/Nepal/India junction, passes just East of the radar at Leh, passes just West of the Aksai Chin region, and then — get this — at the moment it crosses the 5th ping ring, it is almost squarely on top of K2 – second highest mountain on Earth. How cool is that? It then passes East of Tashkent on in to a perfect landing on the dirt pile at Ybilenyniy at 00:33:50 UT. Mach for the entire route is 0.863. You are long out of fuel by the time you land. But who cares?

  18. @Sk999

    Thanks for that. I will check it out. Of course this post will probably not appear, if ever, until whacko Wise decides it is OK.

  19. DennisW

    You’re back?


    You do realize you’ve reduced yourself to an internet pathology, right? Proclaiming your exile from this place (for the umpteenth time, like a petulant little child – thus your kinship with Dear Leader Trump), only to resurface shortly thereafter? Again?

    Can’t you actually stay gone? Like a man is supposed to do when he says he’s going to do something…

    Seriously, dude. Go find an alt-right page and talk about your guns or something.

  20. @TBill “…. Right now my path goes MEMAK to COCOS to POLUM to UXORA (on the way to Learmonth) for the purpose of ending in a deep trench”

    Freddie posted a track along these lines back in October.

    “Jeff, there are at least two tracks well to the northeast that fit the BTO’s accurately and both pass through the Cocos Islands waypoint.
    1. The target waypoint of UXORA gives a possible final location around 20S to 21S with just three waypoints within the five BTO’s from 19:41 through to 00:11 and a constant ground speed through to 22:41 while fitting all the BTO’s without changing the true track at any of the BTO’s.
    2. The target waypoint of IPKON gives a possible final location around 8S to 9S with just three waypoints within the five BTO’s from 19:41 through to 00:11 being required to give a constant ground speed and fit all the BTO’s like a glove without changing the true track at any of the BTO’s.
    They are both actually designated flight paths from Cocos out towards the 7th arc, being M641 and G200.”

  21. VictorI,

    Right – details of the flight do not matter. I’m more interested in the tourist attractions along the way.

    By the way, have you ever camped out above, say, 8000 feet? One thing I’ve noticed is that you can hear all the jets at cruise altitude flying overhead. Kind of irritating, actually. A 777 flying over the Karakoram should have been quite audible to any yak herder in the vicinity, and it should have stood out, because there aren’t any commercial routes in that region. Anyone aware of reports of odd planes flying overhead, comparable, say, to what those Maldives Islanders claimed to see?

  22. @TBill Jeff replied to the post from Freddie as follows –
    Jeff Wise Posted November 13, 2016 at 4:53 AM
    “@Freddie, You are spouting gibberish”

    I expect Jeff to reply to you along similar lines – please do not be offended. Join the club.

  23. @MH

    “The flaperon has many unanswered and contradictory clues that maybe it came from a dismantler hydraulic claw ripping and twisting it in a way that no crash can ever reproduce.”

    Interesting comment. Hmmmm.

    @Ge Rijn

    Trump may be a bit of a worry but he’s not Hitler. The latter couldn’t sustain an intimate relationship with another human. Also Dr Morrell had him on amphetamines. American physicians won’t do that to Trump.

  24. @TimR
    Interesting that Freddie mentioned UXORA. Freddie’s path(s) have some merit, it’s the story behind it (that it is based on actual second-hand knowledge of Z’s actual flight plan) that’s hard to believe.

    But my path is not like Freddie’s, my path is VictorI’s McMurdo path variation with a turn off at POLUM towards UXORA. Most of my paths are Victor variations. My end is 22.3S 102.5E it’s 23000 feet deep.

  25. @ed

    Counting the cricketeer’s chunk that’s 3 likelies in SA in the past month. Looks like they’ll be showing up in the Atlantic soon…

  26. @TBill “….interesting that Freddie mentioned UXORA. Freddie’s path(s) have some merit, it’s the story behind it (that it is based on actual second-hand knowledge of Z’s actual flight plan) that’s hard to believe”

    TBill, are you seriously suggesting that because a track has a story behind it based on second-hand knowledge that it should be less acceptable as a possibility, please say that this is not so.

  27. @DennisW
    Please do not descend into personalised attacks.
    (A technical theory of the events of MH370 may be coming within
    the month – it would be regrettable if you could no longer
    comment on such matters.)

    Incidently, you need to realize that Pulau Perak is located more
    than 375km from the vicinity of Kota Bharu… which rules out any
    ‘eyewitness’ in the vicinity of Kota Bharu seeing any aircraft
    overflying Pulau Perak…

  28. @Buyerninety

    Thanks for the link and the picture.
    The link @ed posted few posts back shows the Transkei piece at a different angle.
    Clearly visible is the round inspection door.
    It must be a piece of the front part of one of the two outboard flap, flap fairings.
    I think the inboard one probably left wing.
    I referre to the Jeff Wise ‘debris storm’ link I posted few days ago where I mentioned this adjustable hinge and picture 9 in this topic shows the complete (inner) outboard flap fairing.

  29. @Ge Rijn
    Is the ‘Transkei’ piece the same piece as the ‘Mpame beach’ piece, or are
    they different pieces?

  30. @sk999, I played around with a lot of routes like this, but had to make a lot of guesstimates about ping ring accuracy, winds and temps aloft, etc. Finally, Neil Gordon and crew revealed what it all should look like if you have the professional grade data and techniques. I’ve published it here before but you can also see it on page 88 (figure 10.1) of the Bayesian Methods book.

  31. @Buyerninety

    Another indication this must be a front part outboard flap fairing is in the amount of fasteners and spacing used on the round inspection door.
    In the Transkei piece there are 8 used just like in the original front flap fairing part.
    Spacing and dimensions are the same too.
    The smaller inspection door on the lower outboard side of the piece is missing in the Transkei piece.
    This makes me think its the inner part of a left wing outboard flap, front flap fairing part.

  32. @ventus45

    I now spent several hours trying to work out how the BTOs/BFOs can be aligned with a f—ed up path to Cocos/Learmonth, while staying clear off radar, and I feel that a slow ground speed of around 420 to 430 kts and a heading of 170 works best, especially if one accepts the route to BEBIM.

    Ok, fair enough, it was my mistake.

    I calculate a ground speed of around 507 kts between Sabang and MEKAR and that seems to coincide on average with the FI speeds.

    Now that the southern area has turned out to be wrong, I think the ATSB got it about right in their first paper, and the studied drift patterns seem to reinforce this. What else is left, realistically (other than the spoof), when even a great deal of the area between 36 and 32N has been searched already.


    On p. 46 there are various considerations for ground speed during the final stage of the flight, it could even be less than 420 kts.

  33. @SK999

    Sarcasm and an attempt at facetiousness isn’t as smart or cute as one would like it to be when the facts it is grounded in are ignored or willfully twisted.

    Mauritius has a population density of 653 persons per square kilometer. Your “entertainment purposes only” northern route, once in Nepal and the Chinese borderlands, has a population density of less than 48.

    There just aren’t as many yak herders to hear a plane as there are islanders, regardless of the elevation or how you presume jet engine noise to carry at elevation.

    Add to that the likelihood that a yak herder isn’t as well connected to current events (let alone has exposure to alternative theories of current events) as those in an international tourism destination, and even if a plane is heard, it could mean absolutely nothing to him or her.

    No one on this blog has sought to humiliate those who believe in the official narrative of MH370 or its various SIO permutations after hundreds of millions of dollars spent and nearly three years of searching with no results. There is no reason to treat those earnestly exploring alternatives, whatever they may be, with such derision. It makes you seem small.

  34. Actually, I agree it is the same piece – specifically because if you view
    this picture;
    looking at the exposed honeycomb at the lower middle of the piece,
    you will see sitting above the left edge of that honeycomb a dark roughly
    triangular feature with a crack leaving away from the triangular ‘point’,
    and you will see sitting above the centre edge of the honeycomb a smaller
    dark triangular feature.
    Now, if you compare view this picture;
    looking at the middle of the picture, you see those exact same features.
    (Obviously, cracking patterns are unique, and therefore a better
    indicator than fasteners.)
    (As regards this piece, the owner of Bulls Inn Fishing Lodge found it,
    presumably on Mpame beach. Tentatively call it the Mpame beach piece.)

  35. @Nederland

    “As to why he or she wanted to go the extra mile, I think this was in order to avoid radar detection and possible interception (otherwise he or she could have just overflown Sumatra).”

    I’m not sure you got me, I wonder why’d he go around Indonesia then east then south when he could go just south after he got around without going zig-zag after clearing “dangerous zone”. In that case he’d be even less detectable.

  36. @jeffwise and @sk999: I don’t know how you can use the results in the DSTG report to say that Yubileyniy is reachable. Rather, the peak for the northern routes shown in Fig 10.2 is much further east on the 7th arc than a path to Baikonur. Doing a quick calculation, if you assume the plane followed a great circle path after 18:34, I get an endpoint around 43.9,74.8 and a speed of M0.734. I agree with the DSTG that this point is reachable with the fuel onboard.

    Unless we have doubts about the accuracy of the reports about the fuel loaded at Kuala Lumpur AND doubts about the accuracy of the ACARS reports during the climb, the Yubileyniy airfield is not reachable. I continue to be surprised it is still considered to be viable.

  37. @StevanG

    Ok, I see. I’d say ISBIX was safely out of radar range, and on the other hand you have fuel considerations. The FI only gives the endurance limit of 7 hrs 31 mins. For the sample route above up to Learmonth, skyvector gives a total distance of 3540 nm. At an average ground speed of 472 kts that would be 7 hrs 30 mins flight duration (and also, the fuel calculation for diversion airports from Bejing is a bit shady, as there are airports closer than Hangzhou Xiaoshan International imo).

  38. @TimR
    “…are you seriously suggesting that because a track has a story behind it based on second-hand knowledge that it should be less acceptable as a possibility, please say that this is not so.”

    This is not so. I like Freddie’s story, because I am inclined something like that could have happened. His last several posts he clarified his position quite a bit.

    Doubts about jet fuel: focus area of mine. I do not think we have been given any jet fuel quality information from KLIA airport nor Beijing which is prior fill-up. I am under the impression jet fuel quality is the first thing checked upon an accident.

  39. @someone who asked
    Somebody recently asked- what % of 7th Arc has been searched?
    Mike Chillit puts the number at 25% in his survey. I am not sure that’s accurate, but close enough. Some areas were searched more widely than others, so it is hard to say exact number.

    A better way to ask would be what % of the search area has been covered, and that’s a smaller number than % of Arc7.

  40. @TBill

    “I like Freddie’s story, because I am inclined something like that could have happened. His last several posts he clarified his position quite a bit.”

    Just to say, a path to Bandung via Aceh and Cocos would also pass via ISBIX and BEBIM.

  41. @TBill: I am not sure I understand your concerns about bad fuel. The behavior of the plane cannot be explained by an engine flameout at IGARI.

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