First MH17 Perpetrator Identified

On the morning of July 17, 2014, Ukrainian intelligence recorded a cell phone conversation between a military intelligence officer with the code name “Khmuryi and a fighter with the Russian-backed separatists forces, code name “Buryat,” who was in command of a flat-bed truck carrying a Buk antiaircraft missile launcher. The Ukrainians subsequently released audio and a transcript:

BURYAT: Where should we load this beauty, Nikolayevich?

KHMURYI: Which one? That one?

BURYAT: Yes, yes, the one that I brought. I am already in Donetsk.

KHMURYI: Is this the one that I am thinking about? The one ‘B’… ‘M’?

BURYAT: Yes, yes, yes. ‘Buk,’ ‘Buk.’

KHMURYI: Is it on a hauler?

BURYAT. Yes, it is on this one. We need to unload it somewhere and hide it.

KHMURYI: Is it with a crew?

BURYAT: Yes, with the crew.

KHMURYI: Don’t hide it anywhere, it will now go over there.

As extensive reporting by Bellingcat has subsequently made clear, the missile launcher had been sent over from Russia’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade the night before. Transfered to a field near the village of Snizhne, it sat for several hours, then picked off MH17. That night it was shipped back across the border.

Last week, Bellingcat released a report identifying “Khmuryi” as Sergey Nikolaevich Dubinsky, a major general in the GRU special forces. His photograph is above. This is the first time an individual participant in the shoot-down of MH17 has been identified by name.

To this day, it remains unclear exactly what Russia sought to achieve by destroying MH17. But the circumstances are coming ever more sharply into focus. Within minutes of destroying the civilian airliner, Russia launched a disinformation campaign that succeeded in misleading a large majority of Western observers into believing that the 777 had been shot down by accident by incompetent militiamen who had gotten their hands on a Buk by accident. On CNN, where I was still under contract at the time, this line was parroted reflexively. It was lamentable to me, and remains lamentable, that this “common sense” view was hewed to so narrowly. This kind of lock-step groupthink among the media is part of the reason that Russia’s misinformation campaign since 2014 has been so successful.

Bellingcat’s efforts, however, offer some grounds for optimism. To paraphrase Lincoln, you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Dogged research by Elliot Higgins and his crew, paralleled by the investigative efforts of Dutch investigators, are slowly bringing to light those responsible for this war crime.

MH370 is a more difficult case, but the fundamentals are similar. A plane comes to grief; a flurry of implausible theories swirl. The public and the media alike are thoroughly confused. But quietly, step by step, the facts are laid bare. It’s only a matter of time before, like Dubinsky, the names and faces of the perpetrators are revealed to the public.

UPDATE: Bellingcat has published further insights into Dubinsky’s role based on new information that has surfaced as a result of the report discussed here.

169 thoughts on “First MH17 Perpetrator Identified”

  1. @JG, Thanks for the question, there are many people who would argue I’m completely befuddled.

    @Havelock, If you’re willing to entertain the possibility that the plane was hijacked to someplace other than the SIO, I think figuring out its endpoint is as simple as figuring out where the guy who found all the pieces of it spent the last 30 years.

  2. @DennisW
    Yes I agree with you about the burnt debris, most likely ATSB was anxious to rule out fire promptly. I am not saying they faked the analysis, sounded like they did a good job. Yet the all-important seatback screen frame seems to have languished months without anyone looking at.

    It’s almost 1-year ago exactly that Blaine found the No-Step piece to kick off his great adventure. That’s what rekindled my interest in the case.

  3. Hi All
    That link is only B Bailey Colm. The Shorter of the three pieces. The main reporter is Mike Keane. Another third is taken up with graphics & text.The main context with the graphics part is Z Hijacking & hypoxia finish.
    Will try and source hole piece.
    Cheers Tom L

  4. ABN397
    Yes it disappears rather quick.
    I removed the cookie and put an ad blocker on then
    downloaded the page as a pdf. Is it too large to post here?
    About 3 pages of A4.
    Cheers Tom L

  5. @Tom, Is this what you’re trying to link to?

    Mike Keane
    The Australian
    12:00AM March 4, 2017
    On Wednesday it will be three years since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and the deaths of 239 passengers and crew, but the aircraft is yet to be found.
    The three-year mark is a good point to review whether the search strategy drawn up by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau was soundly based but unlucky, or whether it was established on the wrong premise and doomed from the start to fail.
    The ATSB, which took on responsibility for the search at the request of Malaysia, has taken the stance, at least in public, that both pilots were “unresponsive” at the end of the flight, possibly because they passed out from hypoxia (lack of oxygen) due to decompression of the aircraft.
    In the ATSB scenario, the Boeing 777 became a “ghost flight” that ended in an unpiloted “death dive” of a rapid crash into the southern Indian Ocean after the fuel ran out.

    GRAPHIC: End of the search for MH370?

    The search strategy team based its definition of the 120,000sq km target zone on this premise.
    However, there is compelling circumstantial evidence that this is improbable, and that in fact the captain flew the aircraft to the very end and outside the ATSB’s defined search area.
    The following explanation provides a coherent argument that the MH370 pilot in command, ­Zaharie Ahmad Shah, may have carefully planned and executed the destruction of the aircraft, resulting in the deaths of all on board.
    It is on record that some days before the flight Captain Zaharie plotted on his computer a route similar to the one that MH370 flew on its final flight on March 8, 2014, when it deviated from its scheduled route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
    What is remarkable is that his planned end point was in the southern part of the Indian Ocean in the area that approximates to the target zone in which the unsuccessful search was completed in January.
    Another clue is that Zaharie took on extra fuel.
    When pilots report for duty they review, among other things, the weather and the computer flight plan. The latter contains a very accurate prediction of the fuel required for the flight, and as the expense of carrying extra fuel is a significant factor in operating costs, a captain will adhere to the calculated figure unless there are mitigating factors such as marginal weather at the destination.
    However, on this flight the weather was not an issue and Zaharie elected to upload a significant amount of additional fuel. Why? Was it to take the aircraft even further into very remote and deep waters?
    The log of air traffic control radio contacts shows the captain was at the start flying the aircraft, with the co-pilot doing the non- flying duties such as carrying out radio communications. The co-pilot made a call — “Maintaining flight level 350” — early into the flight, as would be expected.
    However, it was Captain Zaharie who made the last transmission — “Good night, Malaysian Three Seven Zero” — about 20 minutes later.
    The non-flying pilot would normally make this call. Does this indicate that the co-pilot was no longer on the flight deck?
    If Zaharie chose to hijack his own aircraft, then he would wish to isolate the co-pilot. It would be easy, under some pretext, to ask the co-pilot to obtain something from the cabin and then lock the flight deck door after he had exited.
    The pilot could then depressurise the aeroplane without any ­interference. The emergency oxygen supply to the passengers would be activated, providing them with 22 minutes of oxygen. However, unless the aircraft commenced an immediate descent, they would become hypoxic and lose consciousness.
    The aircraft was cruising at 35,000 feet and shortly after the loss of secondary radar contact it climbed to 35,700 feet. At these heights the “partial pressure” in the lungs is too low to transfer sufficient oxygen into the blood stream to sustain consciousness.
    The pilots, on the other hand, have a different oxygen system that allows a modicum of “pressure breathing”, which increases the partial pressure in the lungs. This would probably be enough to allow a degree of consciousness for a short period and an ability to survive, in contrast to the passengers’ fate.
    Once assured that the remaining crew and passengers had died, he would repressurise the aircraft.
    The evidence suggests Zaharie depressurised the aircraft at the start of the hijack, soon after entering Vietnamese airspace.
    It is significant that no mobile telephone calls were made from the aircraft throughout the whole flight, which would indicate there was no sign of life among the passengers and cabin crew.
    If an aircraft is to be hijacked an ideal time would be at a radio frequency change associated with a flight information region boundary. The FIR boundaries define the borders where responsibility for air traffic control shifts from one country to another.
    About 40 minutes into the flight, the radar transponder on MH370 was switched off, and the ACARS automatic digital reporting system, which transmits flight data between the aircraft and ground stations, was disabled.
    This creates an element of uncertainty and confusion for air traffic controllers. It is noteworthy, therefore, that this scenario fits neatly with the events around MH370’s transit from Malaysian to Vietnamese airspace and the subsequent confusion, and mis­information, which resulted in a chaotic aftermath that hampered the initial search for the aircraft.
    After a very short appearance in Vietnamese airspace the aircraft did a turnback and took up a direct track to Penang.
    After flying over Penang MH370 joined one of the thousands of official airways defined in international aviation, in this case one known as N571.
    It then tracked to what pilots and air traffic controllers know as official waypoints on such airways, in this case VAMPI and MEKAR in the Malacca Strait.
    To make the necessary changes, the flight management computer, or autopilot, would have to be reprogrammed and the required intervention could only be achieved by a person who had the necessary knowledge. These actions could only be executed by an active pilot on the flight deck.
    Even at this point it is difficult to understand the ATSB’s official version of a “non-responsive” flight crew. The disabling of the transponder and ACARS requires cockpit familiarity and is clearly deliberate.
    The proposition that the aircraft may have had a major emergency does not stand up. There was no distress call, and the aircraft overflew suitable airfields where it could have made an emergency landing, and flew its reprogrammed route to the Indian Ocean.
    Another noteworthy event was MH370’s Penang “fly by”. This routing via Penang was intentional and provides circumstantial evidence that a crew member was “responsive” at this point well after the aircraft initially went off course, which is once again contrary to the “unresponsive pilot” scenario on which the ATSB based its search. Penang also happens to be where Zaharie was born and grew up.
    After flying past Penang, MH370 flew direct to VAMPI, a waypoint on N571, and proceeded to climb to a higher altitude. It was last seen by Malaysian military radar 10 nautical miles after MEKAR, which is the next waypoint after VAMPI.
    At some point not long after MEKAR the aircraft took a southerly track into the Indian Ocean. Once again it is difficult to ignore the probability that a responsive pilot was controlling the aircraft.
    In the long flight south an assessment of MH370’s track has been gained from interpreting automatic hourly communication signals sent between the aircraft and ground stations via satellite. This information, combined with fuel calculations and a few assumptions, provides a reasonable guide to the aircraft’s location.
    The technology used for these calculations is novel and would not be known, at this point, to the pilot fraternity.
    Three years on, there is still one very basic question that arises about MH370’s fate: Why did it end up in the southern Indian Ocean instead of arriving safely at Beijing?
    If the intention was to make the aircraft disappear, what better place than an area that is remote, which would make detection and recovery very difficult? Furthermore, there are pockets of very deep water of up to 8000m in that part of the ocean.
    The official “unresponsive pilot” scenario being postulated by the ATSB is an assumption, and the flight profile and the manner in which MH370 was flown cast doubt on this theory. The circumstantial evidence points to a pilot hijack and the most likely suspect is the captain.
    Media reports suggest senior ATSB officials such as its chief commissioner Greg Hood, and the head of the search, Peter Foley, have privately told select journalists they believe Zaharie did hijack his own plane, but allowed himself to die from hypoxia somewhere on the long last leg of the flight — which would still be consistent with their “ghost flight” and “death dive” ­theory. But this narrative, disseminated through so-called “background briefings”, does not fit internal logic.
    As outlined, the known facts indicate a high probability that this was a well-thought-out and executed plan to destroy the aircraft and make sure it would be difficult to find. If that is the case it would be reasonable to assume that Zaharie would have stayed with the aircraft to the very end, to ensure that something unexpected didn’t thwart his plan.
    The assumptions used by the ATSB to justify its account of what happened to MH370 are just assumptions. There is no factual evidence to support its interpretation of events. Therefore, credence should be given to other views, but this is not happening. If it is accepted that this is a well-thought-out pilot hijack, then it could be assumed that the plan would include the desire to minimise debris and also ensure any detection and recovery would be a challenge for investigators. Therefore, it would be a reasonable assumption that the pilot would deliberately run the aircraft out of fuel in order to minimise fuel slick.
    It would also be a reasonable assumption that he made some kind of controlled descent and ditched the aircraft. The rationale would be to minimise debris — and the fact that the search aircraft failed to spot anything and little has been washed up could support this theory.
    Moreover, by being in control to the end Zaharie could be sure of placing the aircraft in one of the deep water spots that are common in that area.
    If Zaharie was indeed responsible for the destruction of the aircraft, it is not only an aircraft “accident”: it is also a crime scene. It cannot be ignored, or forgotten, that there were 239 people on board MH370. It is highly probable that 238 passengers and crew lost their lives needlessly.
    Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak has said we must “not only learn the lessons of MH370 but implement them”.
    Several weeks ago, the Malaysian government, which under international law is in charge of the investigation into what happened to MH370, called a halt to the search. So where is the resolve to find the truth?
    To those who query the $200 million cost of the search, there are very good reasons to spend the time and money in solving the cause of this “accident”.
    Lessons are learned from all aircraft accidents and these findings are passed on to the industry to enhance safety.
    Furthermore, relatives and friends have a right to know what happened to their loved ones — and if any party is found to have been at fault, they have a right to seek compensation.
    Finally, it places closure on conspiracy theories that always abound after an unsolved accident. These theories are often distressing for families and friends.
    Malaysia is not a poor country and should be making “best endeavours” to find the aircraft so the cause of the loss of MH370 is found, otherwise there will remain the perception of a cover-up.
    Captain Mike Keane has spent 45 years in aviation. He spent six years as a navigator in the RNZAF and 14 years as a fighter pilot in the RAF. He then spent 25 years as an airline pilot of which half was in management, including as chief pilot of Britain’s largest airline, EasyJet. Over the course of his career, Keane has accumulated 25,000 flying hours.

  6. “Over the course of his career, Keane has accumulated 25,000 flying hours…”
    Too bad he didn’t ‘accumulate’ any flying time in 777’s, or flying into
    communist China in the last 5 years.

    They also left out the bit about where he allegedly made false representations
    in regard to an Easyjet share scheme;

    Seriously, if anyone actually bothers to research what the factors are
    that impact upon this matter of ‘excess’ fuel (loaded), what you find is
    that airline pilots that actually fly into communist China, comment
    that the Chinese ATC/flight corridors/airports situation is NOT what
    is experienced in Western countries.

    Generally, it is not uncommon for Chinese ATC to require a comparitively larger
    offset along their in-country corridors (in one standout case, by 25 Nm) or to
    declare an air corridor ‘closed’ with minimal warning (because the PLA wishes to
    use it).
    In addition, unlike the situation in the West where a diverted airliner can be
    pretty sure its diversion airport will assign a timely landing slot, Chinese
    airports are operated much nearer to full capacity – such that an aircraft, if
    diverted, can find that the closest diversion airport offered by ATC is half the
    country away from the original destination city(!), if a diversion landing slot
    has not been pre-arranged with closer diversion airports, days in advance.

    (Incidently, this explains why MAS ODC changed MH370’s diversion airports choices
    to less desireable airports than the originally planned diversion airports – the
    original diversion airports landing slots expired, and the original diversion
    airports had no other slots available {within the timeframe that MH370 might have
    still been aloft}, therefore MAS ODC had to negotiate diversion slots with less
    desireable alternate airports.)

    When such matters are taken into consideration, the MH370 fuel load is more
    accurately to be regarded as ‘prudent’.

    (Since Australian media reports seems to be a favourite of posters on this forum,
    here’s another to put in the MH370 file;)

  7. @Buyerninety
    I agree fuel load seemed normal. Too bad we do not have fuel data for the day before when 9M-MRO went to Beijing on 7-March, but we do know 9M-MRO returned to KLIA from Beijing with 8200 kg still in the tank on 7-March, and was projected to have 11,900 Kg extra upon arrival in Beijing on 8-March, which seems normal under the circumstances for China.

  8. @TBill. How do the two screen dumps compare beteeen “new”old and original is there an overly to compare?
    Perhaps with the amount of traffic and terrain we are getting partial targets that look like mh370.

  9. @MH
    Here is the so-called 1822 overlay by Beggarman/FR24 blog:

    So the “new” view seems a little earlier point in time. Buyerninety has questioned if the 1822 time stamp is correct on the overlay. The “new” view has no time stamp to my knowledge. EK343 still flies the same route but is now an Airbus vs. 777 in 2014.

    These pics just show air traffic in Malacca Straights at the time when MH370 was there. There are precious few FR24 screen dumps of the area on 8-March as far as I know.

  10. @MH @Buyerninety
    P.S.- I might add that there is a Reddit thread on EK343’s 8-March-2014 flight details and it establishes EK343 KLIA take-off time as 1:29, which on the surface without doing a flight sim approximation, would seem consistent with the EK343 distance traveled in the screen shots.

  11. Interesting (to me) Arc7 graphic on Mike Chillit’s site, he shows UAE425, which I estimate could have been quite close to MH370 ditch location if MH370 ditched in the 20S to 22S vicinity. I have one suggested path that follows vector L894 (before that turn it follows the Iannello/Godfrey McMurdo path). I recently realized my L894 path is similar to Ed Baker’s proposed path, where he follows the heavy cloud line which thickens right at around L894 and south. Similar to Ed’s path, I got a BTO problem after Arc5, and probably a BFO problem, but I like the path anyways because avoiding UAE425 is part of the story line.

  12. To me it seems there were many opportunities for mh370 to be detected and noted my the other flights it passed nearby. With this UAE425 in the supposed end of flight region for mh370 just adds to my doubt it went to the SIO.

  13. MH370 had transponder turned off and lights (likely) turned off.

    There is no way to detect such plane at night without radar or coming very close.

  14. @Stevan
    Well, it was daylight by 0800 when MH370 splashed down, with the possible exception of a far west Arc7 crossing. But the chances of the 2 planes (MH370 UAE425) seeing each other is not good.

  15. @TBill – since we don’t really know what and how comms were turned off on MH370, is it possible that MH370 could have monitored UAE425 (or was it UAE343) and determined it was close?

  16. @Lauren H
    There were two UAE(EK) flights. EK343 was really close to MH370 in the Malacca Sts.

    Lesser discussed is EK425 Perth to Dubai taking off 0600, would have hit Arc7 around 8AM (2400 UT) at around 20S on vector L894. Since we are clueless re: MH370 actual path, we can only say if MH370 spashed down around 20S, UAE425 *might* have been somewhere in the region.

    I don’t know if there might be ways for an MH370 PIC (if alive) to monitor air traffic on L894. One option is portable ADS-B in the aircraft. Portable internet connection I also assume might be possible. Also EK425 is still a daily flight (slight time change now), so simple knowledge of the flight path would hypothetically be possible.


    UWA pinpoints MH370 crash site

    Geoffrey Thomas, Aviation Editor
    Wednesday, 8 March 2017 12:40AM
    mh370 still from compter simulation of MH370’s last moments
    mh370 still from compter simulation of MH370’s last moments
    The University of WA, which predicted the landfall of debris from MH370 well over two years ago, has identified a precise location of where it believes the Boeing 777 crashed.
    Yesterday, on the eve of the third anniversary of its disappearance on March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard, Professor Charitha Pattiaratchi said that UWA’s reverse-drift modelling put MH370 “at Longitude 96.5 E Latitude 32.5 S with a 40km radius”.
    The location is at the northern end of a new area of 25,000sqkm identified late last year by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau as the most likely impact point for MH370.
    The area was arrived at through an independent analysis of the satellite data and the drift analysis from the CSIRO and is close to what is called the 7th arc and bounded by latitudes 33°S to 36°S.
    Debris map from MH370 produced by the School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering and The UWA Oceans Institute
    Debris map from MH370 produced by the School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering and The UWA Oceans InstitutePicture: Picture: The UWA Oceans Institute
    The ATSB and its partners have spent over two years searching an area of 120,000sqkm in the Southern Indian Ocean.
    The search was based on the hourly satellite communication with the Boeing 777, whereas the new areas of interest overlay reverse-drift modelling from the debris finds on the 7th arc.
    “Of the 22 pieces of debris found, the location of 18 were predicted by the UWA model,” Professor Pattiaratchi said.
    Despite the new analysis, released in ATSB’s First Principles report in December, Federal Transport Minister Darren Chester, on behalf of the Chinese and Malaysian governments, killed off the search.
    Mr Chester said the area identified was not specific enough, which elicited ridicule from around the globe.
    The parties involved in the ATSB-led search for MH370 included the British and US crash investigation agencies, Rolls-Royce, Boeing, Thales of France, Inmarsat of Britain and the CSIRO.
    The ATSB said in December that “the participants of the First Principles Review were in agreement on the need to search an additional area representing about 25,000sqkm”.
    It added that “based on the analysis to date, completion of this area would exhaust all prospective areas for the presence of MH370”.

    Channel 7 Interview with MH370 debris hunter Blaine Gibson about a new find that may solve the mystery.
    Also exhausted is debris hunter Blaine Gibson, who announced last week that he had given up his one-man crusade to find MH370.
    Mr Gibson has found more than 20 pieces of suspected MH370 debris but has received death threats and been accused of planting debris.
    He recently said he was disgusted at the attitude of the Malaysian Government in calling off the search and its reluctance to pick up debris he had found. “It’s comical and it’s tragic,” Mr Gibson said.
    The relatives of the victims of MH370 have announced a crowd-funding campaign to raise $US15 million ($19.7 million) to continue the search.

    Malaysia, China and Australia have spent $200 million searching for the missing aircraft.

  18. On the Travel Channel: Gooseneck Barnacles on “Bazaar Foods with Andrew Zimmern” the episode is called “Cruising the Pacific Coast Highway”

  19. Today marks 3 years since the tragedy of MH370. I wore my ‘Unite for MH370’ t-shirt all day in remembrance of those that lost their lives. No one asked what it meant. Most have moved on and are ho-hum about the loss of the plane. I just want to tell you all that I check this site almost daily to keep up with your research and ponderings. I don’t contribute because I am not technical. I try very hard to follow even the most technical of posts. Some things make a heck of a lot of sense, and some do not. Thank you all for keeping your interest and resolve to finding out what happened to MH370. I believe I have figured out most of the personalities here by the posts. I do hope that in my own lifetime, we find out what really happened, and we find the remains of the plane. Kind regards, and thank you to Jeff Wise for maintaining this forum. Unite for MH370.

  20. @Linda Ray, Thanks for your note. After three years, I think a lot of people have either turned their attention elsewhere or lost hope. It’s rather depressing to see what gets written up in the general media about MH370; there’s very little understanding of the basics of the case, so most of what gets reported is misinformation. The general sense seems to be, “there are all these crazy conspiracy theories out there, one’s as good as another, whose to say what’s right?” I continue to be optimistic that not only will the case be solved, but the fact will be recognized as such. We have all the pieces in hand, it’s just a question of grinding doggedly onward.

  21. @Jeff

    “It’s rather depressing to see what gets written up in the general media about MH370; there’s very little understanding of the basics of the case, so most of what gets reported is misinformation.”

    I could say that about just everything presented by the media. You need to take a hard look at who you (Jeff Wise) are. Not pretty. Not to say you are bad, but you are in bad company.

    As far as MH370 is concerned it is over.

  22. I am a long-term reader and this is now my first time posting which has been prompted after watching an episode of Air Crash Investigations on El Al flight 1862 and reading a reference to Occam’s razor in one of Dennis W’s postings.

    This is a very brief synopsis ex Wikipedia and Air Crash Investigation Ep. In 1992 an El Al B747 [flight 1862] took off from Amsterdam and after climbing through 6,500 feet lost power in right-side engines 3 and 4. As the pilot struggled to control the aircraft, warning lights indicated a loss of hydraulic pressure in both engines and a fire in engine 3. In fact, engine 3 had detached from the aircraft taking with it engine 4, both falling into a lake. A 9m strip of leading edge flap was also torn away. Investigators concluded the crew was unaware of the engine detachment. The aircraft circled to reduce altitude and after extending flaps the difference in lift between the wings caused the aircraft to roll through 90 degrees then crash into an apartment block causing catastrophic loss of life. The cause was deemed to be metal fatigue and subsequent failure in the fuse pins that attached the engines to the wing.

    In keeping with the philosophy of Occam’s razor with minimal assumptions I propose the following:

    1. MH370 experienced a right side engine detachment including the loss of flaperon, various wing panels, hydraulic pressure, electrical and communication systems but kept flying.

    2. The detachment was caused by a military strike, an act of sabotage or structural failure.

    3. The crew was aware of the damage and as the aircraft was difficult to control it proceeded on a path into the SIO along the 7th arc.

    My interpretation is the assumptions of the various investigating groups are that the source of the debris denotes the crash site which may not prove correct if the aircraft and debris were in different locations.

    I propose the following questions:

    1. Would the event of the aircraft dropping debris and continuing to fly on account for the debris source matching the more northerly drift analysis?

    2. Did the pilot diverge from the 7th arc after the final satellite ping in an attempt to reach the coast of Western Australia?

    3. Is it possible, under the remaining fuel and a Gimli Glider scenario, that the aircraft ditched close to the coastline or made landfall?

    4. Where could that be, given a radius in a west to southwesterly direction after diversion from the 7th arc?

    Little reference has been made of the vastness of Western Australian, the lack of population density, remoteness and harsh outback environment.
    Statistics in brief [approx.]; land area is 2.6 million square Kms, population 2.6 million people of which 92% reside in the SW corner of the state. Total coastline is 20,800 Kms including 4,900 Kms of island coastline.

    Should MH370 have made the coastline or landfall the possibility exists it will be nearly as difficult to find as if on the bottom of the SIO.


  23. @Peter B, Welcome to the blog! As you know, Occam’s Razor dictates that an explanation should be as simple as possible while incorporating all the known facts. It’s hard to reconcile a plane suffering this kind of catastrophic damage without the pilots making any kind of distress call.

  24. @Jeff Wise
    Thank you. Firstly a correction that I meant to say east to southeasterly diversion. Indeed it is hard to reconcile but thought it may prompt some alternative ongoing discussion as remote as the possibility may be.

  25. @PeterB
    B777 is famous for being one of the first major fly-by-wire aircraft, which means it is mostly electronic wiring instead of the “old” hydraulics. I guess B777 has a few hydraulics to allow some manual control if all power is lost.

  26. @TBill
    “fly -by-wire” does NOT remove or obsolete ‘”old” hydraulics’ but simply old-style manual flight control rods.
    Hydraulics are central and essential to any aircraft (old and new) – always will be.

  27. @JeffW – You can take that TV show off of your bucket list. The barnacles they ate were the California Coast variety and didn’t look anything like those on the Flaperon. In addition they were tidal, living on rocks rather than floating objects.

  28. @Swordfish
    OK Swordfish maybe I was off target on that last comment…but at least we managed to get you to post.

  29. @Nederland

    Thank you for a very interesting report. Item 22 from the tail section is definitely from a B777 (via identification number) and ‘almost certain’ from 9M-MRO. It is fractured and ‘The internal laminate seems to be squashed’. This suggests a very high speed impact. However the flaperon and outer flap sections are largely intact and suggest a low speed or controlled impact with the SIO. Can someone explain this please? Or if @Jeff Wise correct and the debris has been planted?

  30. @SteveBarratt, It’s a very interesting report, and I think it bears close examination and contemplation. One thing that struck me was how much of the material is described as not being compression, but the honeycomb material has been pulled apart. Perhaps this can provide a clue for how the structure most likely came apart. I’ll see if I can find an expert who could offer some commentary.
    Other aspects that struck me:
    — No effort was made to characterize the biological traces found on the material.
    — Several of the pieces might not have come from MH370.
    — I hadn’t heard of the landing gear door piece before. Most of the pieces seem to come disproportionately from the wings and tail, so this bucks the trend. The relatively small size of the pieces found thus far would seem to me to clearly indicate a very destructive high-speed impact, so I wonder where the bulk of the fuselage and the contents of the plane (e.g. seat cushions) went to. Perhaps its relative absence could provide some clue.

    @Nederland, thanks for posting!

  31. @Jeff Wise

    I take your point. Part 22 from the tail could have come from 9M-MRD. However the report states almost certain from 9M-MRO. Also the state of this piece suggests a large debris field, which wasn’t the case. I accept the possiblity of a false negative (‘a miss’).

    Also re: nose gear forward door the report states ‘….hinges were installed. Close visual examination of the fracture lines showed the fibers were pulled and there was no sign of kink’. How does hifh speed impact with the SIO cause the fibres to be pulled? This is a bit of a worry.

  32. @Jeff Wise

    Sorry should have been ‘How does high speed..’. Problem with writing with a phone on a commuting train trip.

  33. @StevaBarratt
    @Jeff Wise

    Again, I think that at least the right wing came off during the dive and the left outboard flap also came off before impact and that is why there are more identifiable parts from the right wing (there is one more piece from the left wing in the report, but it’s not very big). Pieces from the fuselage may be too small to be identified with any certainty. The right wing to body fairing panel, including part number, also is quite big and may indicate that the right wing came off as a whole.

  34. @Nederland, I don’t think there’s a precedent for a whole wing being ripped off a commercial airliner as the result of an unpowered dive. Some parts of the trailing edge, sure.

  35. @Jeff Wise

    In this case (Egypt Air 990):

    parts of the left wing came off, were found in a separate debris field and in better condition (p. 34-36)

    “mainly parts associated with the left engine and various other small pieces of wreckage (including portions of two wing panels, fuselage skin, horizontal stabilizer skin, and the majority of the nose landing gear assembly)” (34)

    So, not so much the wing as whole but vulnerable parts of it?

  36. @Nederland, Excellent observation. This is exactly what we should expect to find with MH370. Of course, the 767 is an older design and incorporates more metal and less composite, so presumably more would have sunk as a percentage of the total. It would be interesting to ask whoever did the debris analysis on Egypt Air 990 what they think of this Malaysian debris!

  37. There are some videos on YouTube of 777 stress testing on the wings…I seem to recall the flapperons came off but the wings are really strong to deflection.

  38. @Nederland, Interesting to note that in the case of Silk Air, apparently just parts of the empennage came off in flight; in Egypt Air, parts of the wing came off, too, perhaps as a result of an engine detaching.

    From the Silk Air final report: “A large portion of the wing structure, including parts of the flight control surfaces, were recovered from the crash site and were severely fragmented. The largest piece was a wing panel approximately two metres long.” Whereas: “The structure of the fuselage was severely fragmented and was difficult to identify. The pieces that easily identified were those pieces containing the SilkAir logo and lettering, and those pieces from areas around the door frames. Various other fuselage parts that were identified included parts of the doors and door operating mechanisms, pieces of floor beams, seat tracks, floor and interior panels. It was very difficult to identify the positions of these parts within the aircraft because of the severe fragmentation of the structure.”

    The size of the Silk Air wing fragments are consistent with those of MH370; likewise the size of the (few) interior pieces. This to me seems to leave open the question of why more pieces of the interior haven’t turned up.

  39. @Jeff Wise

    In some of the videos showing Blaine Gibson and next of kin combing beaches in east Africa, they seem to find a good deal of small pieces, too small to be identified. Some of this could be from the interior, but identification would be difficult (as with Silk Air, altough I figure a spiral dive would release even more violent forces than a straight dive). The report above does not seem to account for very small pieces. Unless a piece has a laminate pattern or something like that, there is not much more to say about it other than that it may be from an aircraft. In the case of Silk Air it was at least known that the plane crashed on this site and there was little risk of confusing pieces with other debris.

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