MH370: Mission Accomplished

Three years, six months, and 26 days ago, a sophisticated hijacker (or hijackers) made of with a Malaysia Airlines 777 with 239 people aboard. In the course of doing so he, she or they expended considerable effort to befuddle pursuers. Today, that effort has officially been crowned with success. The Australian agency charged with the conducting the pursuit, the Australian Transport Safety Board, has thrown in the towel. In a final report issued today, The Operational Search for MH370, it stated that “we share your profound and prolonged grief, and deeply regret that we have not been able to locate the aircraft.”

There’s a good deal of material here–the whole report is 440 pages long–and I’d like to boil down the key takeaways.

Major omission

As I’ve said many times before, the key clue in the disappearance of MH370 is the fact that the Satellite Data Unit–the piece of equipment which generated the all-important Inmarsat data–was turned off and then back on again at 18:25. This process cannot happen accidentally, and is beyond the ken even of most experienced airline captains, and thus provides powerful evidence that the disappearance was the work of sophisticated operators. This document does not even mention the SDU reboot. Only by ignoring it can the ATSB can maintain a state of indeterminacy as to “whether or not the loss of MH370 was the result of deliberate action by one or more individuals, or the result of a series of unforeseen events or technical failures.”

Budget

Various figures have been thrown around for the total cost, but on page 7 we actually get an official tabulation: $198 million Australian, or US$155 million.

Radar

One of the most significant revelations in the new report comes in this paragraph on page 10:

Radar data shows the aircraft then headed to the northwest, eventually aligning with published air route N571 from IFR waypoint VAMPI. The validity of this section of the radar data was verified using the track of a commercial flight that followed N571 about 33 NM behind MH370. The aircraft continued to the northwest until a final radar position for the aircraft was recorded approximately 10 NM beyond IFR waypoint MEKAR at 1822:12

This seems to be a validation of the “Lido Hotel” image, showing near-continuous radar coverage of the plane as it flew up the Malacca Strait, and is a direction contradiction of the description provided by the DSTG in their “Bayesian Method” report, which unequivocally stated that

The radar data contains regular estimates of latitude, longitude and altitude at 10 s intervals from 16:42:27 to 18:01:49. A single additional latitude and longitude position was reported at 18:22:12.

This description now seems like a deliberate misrepresentation. To what end? It seems to me that the DSTG’s characterization makes it easier to discard the radar data after 18:01:49. By doing so, they were able to avoid concluding that the plane was turning rightward, to the northwest, between the final radar return and the first ping. This, in turn, would alter the calculated probability distribution such that routes to the north would be more prevalent vis a vis those to the south.

Flight Simulator

On page 98, the report describes the data recovered from Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s flight simulator, without reaching any firm conclusions about the implications for the investigation. It states that the simulated flight was conducted on February 2, 2014, but doesn’t state the reason for believing this. Curiously, the report then almost immediately describes this date as “six weeks before the accident flight,” when of course February 2 is less than five weeks before March 8. Also, the report mischaracterizes the simulation data points as showing a continuous flight up the Malacca Strait and then down into the southern Indian Ocean. In fact the data points show a series of iteratively spawned flights with altitude, location, and fuel loads changed between flight segments.

The report comes to no conclusion as to whether the existence of this data points to Zaharie’s culpability.

Debris

The report spends considerable time weighing the possibility that the pilot carried out a long controlled dive followed by a ditch in the ocean, but ultimately concludes that the plane hit with considerable velocity, as stated on page 101: “While no firm conclusions could be drawn given the limited amount of debris, the type, size and origin on the aircraft of these items generally indicated that there was a significant amount of energy at the time the aircraft impacted the water, not consistent with a successful controlled ditching.” This would tend to put the plane’s final resting place close to the 7th arc.

Barnacle temperature analysis

There was not, unsurprisingly, any mention of  the distribution of the barnacles around the entire surface of the flaperon, nor was there any attempt to grapple with the fact that his distribution is not commensurate with the flotation test results which show that the piece rode high in the water. As with the SDU reboot, the default setting of the ATSB appears to be ignore whatever evidence counterindicates its narrative.

One of the surprises for me was the revelation that the Réunion barnacle shell sent to Australian scientist Paul De Deckker was among the largest found on the flaperon (page 107). This shell had previously been described as 25 mm in length, whereas one of the leaked French reports described the largest barnacle as 39 mm. The former is much closer to the measurement I came up with through my own informal image analysis back in 2015 (23mm), and revives my questions about the age of the barnacles. Indeed, De Deckker writes on page 14 of his attached report (Appendix F) that “It could be assumed the specimens analysed here were quite young, perhaps less than one month.”

I hope to return to the topic of De Deckker’s temperature analysis in the near future.

Appendix G

The ATSB had long signaled that it would ultimately release the results of a biological examination of aircraft debris, and that came in the form of the attached report “Summary of Analyses Undertaken on Debris Recovered During the Search for Flight MH370.”

One aspect of the examination dealt with sediment found within the pieces, to see if they had come ashore and then been washed back out to sea before coming to shore once more. I imagine that if this had been found to have been the case, then it would explain the relative absence of marine life on some of the pieces. But in the event, no evidence was found than any of the pieces had come to shore more than once.

Another aspect was to try to gauge the age of marine organisms found on the pieces, in order to judge how long they had been in the water. Obviously, the presumption was that they had been in the water since the crash, about two years previous. But between the Liam Lotter’s flap track fairing (item 2) and Blaine Gibson’s “No Step” (item 3) only a single specimen, of the species Petaloconchus renisectus, appeared to be more than two months old. This individual was judged to be 8-12 months old. Likewise, the barnacles found on Item 5, the door stowage closet, had been growing “likely between 45 to 50 days.” What happened to the sealife that we would expect to have colonized the objects during their first year in the water? Either it vanished without a trace or it was never there in the first place, for some reason.

A third aspect of the examination was to determine what part of the ocean the pieces had traveled through, based on the types of species they contained. Only tropical species were found, with no trace of colonization in the cooler waters where the plane is presumed to have impacted.

Remarkably:

About two-thirds of the molluscs recovered from Items 2 and 3 must have been lodged onto the aircraft part(s) by waves when /they drifted ashore or were cast up on the beach(es) or by accidental human contamination [as in dragging the wreckage across the beach during its recovery]. Any handful of sediment, even a small one, from a tropical locality in the Indian Ocean would contain a very high diversity [hundreds] of dead shells of such species.. The natural habitat of the recovered molluscs is shallow water, on clean coral sand or in seagrass meadows. None of them could or would ever attach to drifting debris.

In other words, none of the sealife on these objects indicated that they had floated large distances across the open ocean. So much of it was indigenous to near-shore habitats that the scientists examining it assumed that it must be due to contamination.

Acknowledgements

However one might feel about the perpetrators of MH370, one has to admit a grudging admiration for the audacity of their feat. They managed to make a massive airplane disappear into thin air, and to defeat the best efforts of the world’s leading aviation experts to figure out what they had done. I would call it the greatest magic trick of all time. Needless to say, achievements of this scale cannot be accomplished without some skilled help. The latest report takes time on page 120 to offer special recognition to some familiar names, including Mike Exner, Victor Iannello, Don Thompson, Richard Godfrey, and of course Blaine Alan Gibson. Their determination to keep all eyes focused on the official narrative helped prevent the ATSB, the press, and the general public from asking the hard questions that might have prevented the current outcome.

185 thoughts on “MH370: Mission Accomplished”

  1. @David

    I presume that the post on Victor’s blog “by David @ October 10, 2017 at 11:02 pm” is you – am I correct ?

    If so, he (you) said:

    “By the way they did tell me that the outer flap had been forwarded to Malaysia. That suggests to me that they are leaving failure analysis to the Malaysians.”

    That is a bit odd, considering that Malaysia did send many items “TO” the ATSB, “specifically for analysis”.

    “I did not ask about other items the ATSB held and perhaps the lot has gone up there.”

    It is a pitty that you did not ask. With hindsight, obviously, you should have asked.

    If the ATSB has sent the outboard flap to Malaysia, it is almost certain that Malaysia had demanded it. If so, it is likely that they had demanded all items, both those they themselves had initially sent to the ATSB for analysis, and those that had been sent from source direct to the ATSB, i.e. not via Malaysia in the first instance.

    I don’t like the smell of it.

    On the one hand, it could be that Malaysia is “tying up all the loose ends” (except the flaperon that those pesky French will not surrender), and on the other hand, it could be that the ATSB is doing “the Pontius Pilate routine”. The ATSB did after all, specifically make the point, in the title of their last report, that it was a “FINAL”.

    If you remember, there was also the saga, not so long ago, of “insider discontent” within the ATSB, concerning that FINAL report, and the refusal of the Chief Commissioner to release other documents under FOI, for “diplomatic” reasons, so much so, that he threatened his own staff against discent, let alone leaking.

    For those waiting for “all to be revealed” in the Malaysian Final (when ?), I think the best response / prediction, that I can offer, comes shamelessly from Darryl Kerrigan in “The Castle”, and that is: “Tell ’em they’re dreaming”.

  2. HB: « The translation for “numero” was erroneously translated as “number”. It is actually “digit”. »

    HB, this is incorrect, actually.

    “numéro” (French) translates to “number” (English)
    “digit” (English) translates to “chiffre” (French)

  3. David: « The ATSB response was that it is, “no longer conducting MH370-related research”. »

    That is very disappointing to hear.
    🙁

  4. @ventus45:

    “…those waiting for “all to be revealed” in the Malaysian Final (when ?), I think the best response / prediction, that I can offer, comes shamelessly from Darryl Kerrigan in “The Castle”, and that is: “Tell ’em they’re dreaming.”

    Good summary of where the sad saga of MH370 will end up, and with which I entirely agree. All parties involved seem reasonably happy with leaving the fate of the plane a complete mystery and will be relieved to see the memory of this unprecedented event slowly fade from public memory. Although it is possible that the NOK of the passengers and a few diehard researchers will continue to seek the truth.

  5. @Jeff Wise. In answer to my query about barnacles (I also put another about flaperon and outer flap separation and outer flap damage, was under discussion on the VI blog) the ATSB wrote, “Thank you for your email. With the Australian-led search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean having been suspended in January 2017, and the release of our final report in September, the ATSB is no longer conducting MH370-related research”. It seemed to suppose my question was about drift. I rang and said I was asking the ATSB simply to forward the question to Geoscience Australia and also to ask that the other question be responded to fully: only part of it had been addressed, and barely.

    I observed that the ATSB had put out a report and that the formal ATSB method of seeking more information about that was not really being responded to: to me the written answers to my questions had been cursory. The impression I then got was that staff have been reallocated away from MH370. I had raised a question about on the record and off it. The answer was that nothing I had been told was off the record.

    Whether the above constitutes an official position or not I believe it to be real.

    @ventus45. Yes I have been posting on the other question on the VI blog and that is how the remark that the outer flap had been sent to Malaysia came into it. The context of my question was about damage assessment on that.

  6. @Peter, in the context it is not the entire serial number. I assumed digit but it could be a fragment too.

    @David, re:”657BB” refers to the location “right flaperon”, i dont think that was the part that “positively” identified it.

    Is the method to match those the digit(s) with MH370 reported somewhere? and can this be verified independently? My understanding is that it required the inteview of one person. Sorry to say, but the argument is very weak in my opinion.

    To confim my reasons to further doubt, it was confirmed by a number of sources that modifications to the flaperon did not match those in Malaysia Airlines’ maintenance records. … that Malaysia Airlines has indicated it carried out on the flaperon does not exactly match that observed in the discovery piece. This is a major discrepancy yet unexplained. No match is no match then how can the ID be matched?

    As far as i am concerned, this positive identification remains to be publicly demonstrated and verified.

  7. @HB. While a location number, 657BB can be effectively a part number. See the ATSB debris report 1, part 1, where it says it, “..was initially identified from a number stencilled on the part (676EB), as a segment from a Boeing 777 flap track fairing”.

    As to convincing evidence of its specific MH370 origin the readiest way might be for you to ask Jeff Wise for details since he has mentioned (Oct 11th, 7:33 AM) they may not be in-confidence any longer.

  8. @Jeff, did you have access to specific info on the tecnical details of the positive identification? and how the mismatch with the MAS maintenance records was reconciliated?

  9. @David, Thanks for this info. Very interesting. Although I think many will be disheartened that the ATSB has halted its efforts to find MH370, on the other hand the experts who helped them can now presumably talk openly about their work. I was very glad to see De Deckker’s work finally published, as well as the detailed biological examination of the debris–this is very significant evidence, unfortunately overlooked by the press, which has moved on, it would seem.

  10. Thanks for the flaperon info, Jeff. What a coincidence of numbers – 404 error (not found)!

  11. I got the folder, it downloaded OK Jeff.

    The “Master Schedule of Flaperon” has an “interesting” structure.

    @Jeff, do you have any other pages of that schedule ?

  12. @ventus45, Oh, good, glad you could get into it. What I put in there is everything I have on that particular topic. As to your earlier question, I think I’ve posted or linked most of the stuff that’s come over my transom, but I could be wrong, I’ve been accumulating stuff for so long that unfortunately my MH370 folder system is something of a squirrel’s nest. If there’s something you’re particularly interested in let me know and I’ll look for it.

    (BTW I haven’t gotten any radar data, alas.)

  13. @HB:
    I have no information about the serial numbers.
    I just wanted to say that from a linguistic perspective the translation you posted was not correct. Just wanted to correct that.

  14. @Jeff, David

    Trying to clarify the situation, the serial in question was the supplier inhouse serial 3FZG81.
    This is associated to component P/N 113W6142-2 and manufacture date stamp 14-12-01 as pictured on the part.

    The flaperon part number in question is P/N 113W6100-10 and the plane ID is 404 which is associted to MAS (i presume this is MH370).

    Work order 1 (No: B7-38G175) dated 22 jan 02 states order for flaperon ID 405 for plane 404. This is associated with P/N 113W6100-9010C03. I guess this P/N is the R flaperon.

    Work order 2 (No: B7-38G175)included one item (Bonded Part, Front Spar) with serial number 3FZG81 (hand scripted) for 113W6242-2 dated 10 Jan 02.

    More questions than answers. My 5 questions from these:
    1) Is the handscript been formally associated with the person involved in those activities?
    2) Is the part 113W6142-2 as in the photo or 113W6242-2? obviously big implications
    3) Why the date on the plate photo is before the order and manufacture date.
    4) Are there real discrepancies between the maintenance records and this piece as Malaysia Airline stated. Did Malaysia Airline staff positively identified this piece?
    5) Even if proven to be the original part, has malaysia airlines done replacement or modification? Or could this be a spare/maintenance part?

  15. @Jeff, “If you’re skeptical that the flaperon came from the missing flight, what are you proposing as an alternative hypothesis?”

    Hypothesis are good to find priority search areas, however, the time to find priority search area is over and it is time to find out what happened and who is behind that.
    My approach to scenario analysis is to rule out scenarios based on hard data evidence and validation of evidence (clearly lacking here).
    Righ now, i am still with the plane just passing waypoint IGARI, i am afraid. No other validated evidence.

  16. @HB.
    1) Do you mean the manuscript on Production Sheet 2?
    2) While it is apparently ambiguous the numbers above all have 1 in that position. I doubt a mismatch with the photo would have been missed with the clearer original document available.
    3)The front spar was made before the flaperon was assembled (spar January 2002, flaperon delivered February 2002) (aircraft date of manufacture (FI) 29th May, 2002.
    4)First part. What are the maintenance discrepancies noted by MAS?
    Second part. Unlikely MAS would know the front spar S/No and without the ID plate I doubt they could positively identify the flaperon. Even if they did, you may not trust them.
    5)There would be a aircraft record of the flaperon’s replacement/reason for that and any modification would be documented. I do not know what modification you have in mind.

    I think you confuse planes and shipsets. The aircraft is MAS WB175 (see Master Schedule and Delivery Docket). 404 is the shipset (see Production Sheet 2, right column) which consists of left (406) and right (405) flaperons (Master Schedule again).

    The shipset P/No is -10, the right flaperon is -9010C03.

    Production Sheet 2 is a list of the serial numbered items fitted to this flaperon.
    There is this one serial number which can be seen without disassembly but there are 5 others were there doubt.

  17. @HB:
    “…4) Are there real discrepancies between the maintenance records and this piece as Malaysia Airline stated. Did Malaysia Airline staff positively identified this piece?…”

    2006 Airworthiness Directive FAA

    “SUMMARY: This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Boeing Model 777 series airplanes. This action requires repetitive inspections to detect cracking of the upper cutout and lower flange of the outboard support assembly of the flaperons on the wings; and corrective actions, if necessary. This amendment also provides an optional terminating action for the repetitive inspections. This amendment is prompted by results of flight testing conducted by the manufacturer indicating that high engine thrust conditions during takeoff cause excessive cyclic loads and could lead to fatigue cracking of the outboard support of the flaperon. The actions specified in this AD are intended to detect and correct such fatigue cracking, which could result in fracture of the flaperon support structure, loss of the flaperon, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane.”

    “EXPLANATION OF RELEVANT SERVICE INFO:
    The FAA has reviewed and approved Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 777-57A0008, dated March 25, 1999, which describes procedures for accomplishment of repetitive high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspections to detect cracking of the upper cutout and lower flange of the outboard support assembly of the flaperons on the left and right wings; and corrective actions, if necessary. The corrective actions include modification of the fairings of the outboard flaperon; modification of the lower panels of the fixed trailing edge of the outboard flaperon; replacement of the existing outboard support, the outboard support bearing block, and the upper panel bracket of the fixed trailing edge of the flaperons on each wing with new components; and an operational test to detect fuel leakage…”

    MAS claimed to have made the changes(?),however the recovered Reunion flaperon was unmodified.

    Keep probing HB, you are asking some important questions.

    PDF of FAA Directive…
    http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAD.nsf/AOCADSearch/FC51AD7EB09195028625698300724B99?OpenDocument

  18. @David,

    1) Yes
    2) May well be but not clear on the picture it looks more like a 2 than a 1, also the press communication refer to the positive identification of one of the numbers which is 3FZG81 and not 113W6142-2.
    3) Before the flaperon, yes, but it would be strange to be before the work order.
    4) numerous press releases reported that MAS have done modifications and that modifications do not appear on it. I could not find what were the nature of the modifications. But I would expect MAS to endore the identification given their comments. It may be in connection with Boris’s post.
    5) I’d like to see them.

    Thanks for rectifying me on shipset. In that case how Shipset 404 is associated with MH370? could it belong to another airplane from MAS?

    @Boris, this is interesting find

  19. @boris, @HB
    Interesting finds, just along a similar line – can anyone find any details with the sources you might have on how 9m-mro’s wing was fixed due to the accident in Shanghai ? Perhaps parts were taken off 9m-mro during the repairs and kept in storage

  20. @MH:
    “…can anyone find any details with the sources you might have on how 9m-mro’s wing was fixed due to the accident in Shanghai?…”

    I’ve been unable to find detailed info about the accident. Photos show the damage was substantial, with the end of the wing completely sheared off. It is possible the crash pushed the whole wing backwards slightly, and this may have caused damage to the trailing edge of the wing where the flaperon sits. Who knows?

  21. @boris – I guess lots of parts could have been stored for later decoys whether they replaced the whole wing or repaired it … possibly that is why the original flaperon serial number was found in reunion.

  22. @HB. I have tried thrice to post this. I will now split it into 2 parts.

    Part 1:
    About the manuscript I imagine CASA would have noticed that if unusual and checked on any whiteout. A parallel change would have been needed to another right flaperon. The French might have asked about the manuscript even though it is rather too obvious to be a forgery. Beyond that you might need to ask either or both of them.

    The reference was just to the serial number because that is what ties it to MH370, while also establishing it is from a 777. This is the same method of identification of items 10 and 19 by the ATSB. Item 10, outer flap part, “The Italian part manufacturer recovered build records for the numbers located on the part and confirmed that all of the numbers related to the same serial number outboard flap that was shipped to Boeing as line number 404. Aircraft line number 404 was delivered to Malaysia Airlines and registered as 9M-MRO”. Item 19, trailing edge flap section, “The flap manufacturer supplied records indicating that this identifier was a unique work order number and that the referred part was incorporated into the outboard flap shipset line number 404 which corresponded to the Boeing 777 aircraft line number 404, registered 9M-MRO and operating as MH370”.

    About the front spar being made before the order was raised, I daresay that all if not many components such as ribs, PCU attachments and hinges might have longer lead times than normal delivery can include and CASA would anticipate orders therefore in making them or ordering them. Maybe like differentials and gearboxes for your car. The order is for the finished product after all, not the components.

    I think you need more specifics as to mods and repairs which do not agree with the flaperon condition as recovered. I have not heard of a MAS or Malaysian Government claim that the flaperon was not from MH370. Has there been one?

  23. @HB. Ah. But part 2 will not go through so that is now without the URL, to follow:

    Part 2.
    The FAA fatigue directive was issued in 1999. I think you could expect that modification to be introduced at build a couple of years later. It would have been ordered as a build design change surely but you might need to check on that.

    While you would like to see the documentation of all damage, modification and repairs to the flaperon I doubt that will be included in the final report unless the investigators see there is a need for this any more than other parts as above which have been identified as coming from MH370.

    Incidentally on fatigue, in the 2004 AMM, which is updated for the -300ER, it says the PCUs are in by-pass mode at take off when airspeed is less than 85 knots, to decrease actuator fatigue from engine exhaust. This is what I mentioned earlier. The 1997 Training Manual says likewise about by-pass but without giving a reason. The impression I have is that the flaperon fatigue problem was fixed between those two but that there may be residual instructions to inspect the actuators/replace components on a usage basis.

    The AMM also describes a Landing Attitude Modification which decreases flaperon droop in an overspeed approach with flaps well extended, such that at 20 knots above approach landing speed droop is removed. Naturally that would be relevant to a high speed controlled ditching. Of more direct relevance here, this may have been another modification to decrease stress, again quite possibly before 9M-MRO was delivered.

    The serial number of 9M-MRO, which operated as flight MH370 on 8th March, 2014, (from FI) is 28420. As per the ATSB above, the two tie to Boeing Line Number 404, the “Basic Airplane Unit No.” on the C.A.S.A. flaperon Delivery Document and also the ‘shipset’ line number:

    (URL here to follow)

    I do not know now what the WB175 Customer Unit Number is for, not that it seems to matter much.

    I think I have gone as far with researches as reasonably I can with this.

  24. @HB. Part 2, 3rd para bottom line please add, “their”, amending this to, “….the actuators/replace their components….”

  25. Good review article on 9M-MRO by Florence de Changy;

    https://m-scmp-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/m.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/2114940/malaysia-airlines-flight-370-search-why-give-hope-when-there-was?amp=1&amp_js_v=0.1#webview=1

    Whilst the Captain did it scenario remains a remote possibility the ‘hijack’ seems beyond one person. Also there is a post hoc complexity of the data which is a bit difficult to explain if you are dead. Malaysian authorities have stated all crew and passengers from 9M-MRO died as result of the ‘accident’. Finally it’s completely unacceptable for an individual to make a large passenger jet essentially disappear. A sophisticated state based hijacking which for some reason was unsuccessful may be placed in the too hard basket and left alone.

  26. SteveBarratt: “the ‘hijack’ seems beyond one person.”

    why ?

    SteveBarratt:: “there is a post hoc complexity of the data which is a bit difficult to explain if you are dead.”

    What “post hoc complexity of the data” ?

  27. 2 excerpts from Florence de Changy’s article (posted by SteveBaratt above), that are remarkable, when you think of it:

    « Australia had carried out 334 air patrols, involving 3,137 hours of air reconnaissance. Its search had involved 10 civilian aircraft, 19 military aircraft and 14 ships. Chinese efforts had involved 21 satellites, 18 ships (including eight equipped with helicopters) and five aircraft, covering an area of 1.5 million sq km. China had also asked 88 Chinese-registered vessels inside the zone (68 merchant ships and 20 fishing vessels) to help. Despite all this, as well as dozens of beach cleanings along the western and southern coasts of Australia, no debris that could be conclusively linked to MH370, its fuselage, its cargo or its passengers was found. »

    « a plane as big as a Boeing 777, loaded with electronics and equipped with several redundant communications systems – not to mention the hundreds of mobile phones of its passengers – can become perfectly stealthy in a few seconds, in one of the most closely monitored regions of the planet. MH370 managed to do what decades and billions in research have not yet achieved for the most sophisticated military plane. »

  28. @David, thanks for you further insight and research. I was just trying to state what i see.

    RE: mismatching date “PCU attachments and hinges might have longer lead time” the date which is printed on the debris is earlier than the date printed on the order and is not on the PCU or hinges. Besides, for parts having longer lead time you would expect the order to be before the work commences, no company will take the risk to start manufacture before a formal order is being placed.

    RE: Manuscript. Not if the changes were made recently to support a misleading identification (still a scenario not ruled out). I am not saying it is the case though but still a possibility.

    RE: reference, the point i was trying to make is that “113W6142-2” should also have been tied up to the line number 404 and for some obscure reasons only “3FZG81” was quoted to match. The press statement refers to “one of the three numbers” matching. Are the three numbers in question not “113W6142-2”, “3FZG81” and “14-12-01”?

    RE: mismatching debris, two independent sources. Regarding the specifics, that question is for Malaysia Airlines I guess. The problem is similar to when the Inmarsat data came up, as soon as this ID came up, all discrepancies were totally ignored without any explainations to support a non-water proof story. The question to prove is whether that piece was actually airborne on Mh370 and not whether that piece was delivered as part of 9M-MRO to MAS. The later argument is not enough.

    NYT Source (quoted source from Boeing/ NTSB)
    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/06/world/asia/mh370-wing-reunion.html?_r=0&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_pulse_read%3Bb66IiLyrQG%2BySztwS014Kw%3D%3D

    Le Monde (quoted source from Malaysia Airlines)
    http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2015/08/26/vol-mh370-la-difficile-identification-du-morceau-d-avion-trouve-a-la-reunion_4737352_3224.html

    From any layman person’s point of view, for the reasons mentioned above including possible modifications, one would expect Malaysia Airlines, the owner of the plane, to confirm the positive identification based on the evidence presented to them and not anyone else.

  29. @HB. I assume you are concerned that not just this manufacturer and the French might have been duped but by extension the ATSB and the manufacturer of the two flap items also. Forging documents on just the flaperon would hardly do the trick.

    This serial number applies to the front spar. What I have tried to impart is that component might well have been made before the order for the assembly was made, or at least raised on or by the San Pablo facility (of what is now Airbus in Spain). Perhaps components are made in lots, the facility switching between components. I cannot see that implies anything much.

    The first newspaper article you refer to does say that the Malaysians for their part verified the flap was from MH370, ““technical documentation” provided by Malaysia Airlines had enabled experts to establish “common technical characteristics” between the debris and Flight 370’s flaperons”.

    Also it says, “The person involved in the investigation said no serial or other unique number had been found, making the job of conclusively identifying the object more complicated”. The Florence de Changy article likewise says the experts awaited the return from holidays of “Spanish subcontractors”. So these articles are rendered out of date by the subsequent identification by the serial number.

    You say, “…one would expect Malaysia Airlines, the owner of the plane, to confirm the positive identification based on the evidence presented to them and not anyone else”. See the above quote.

    If you want to pursue this further I recommend you go to sources.

  30. @Peter Norton

    Post hoc complexity;

    (1) No sea surface debris yet debris on western Indian shores only.
    (2) No debris on WA or Tasmania (as above with FN close to zero).
    (3) Whilst the above is unprecedented it is possible but inconsistent with ISAT data.
    (4) 9M-MRO not found at ISAT impact point (FN close to zero). I accept not really post hoc.
    (5) Unusual distribution of lepas colonies on flaperon. Well discussed.
    (6) Lepas colonies characteristics inconsistent with water temperature at ISAT impact point (well discussed).
    (7) Marine growth on debris. Much of debris sparklingly clean and inconsistent with the calculated time in SIO (remotely possible by natural means).
    (8) Debris suggests both controlled glide and high impact with SIO. This has not been resolved. This by itself is a complex data set.
    (9) Ocean currents would have expected delivery time of debris to western SIO to have been sooner. I remember reading this but would need to reference it to confirm.

    There is probably more.

    Going dark at IGARI and SDU reboot is not post hoc of course. By post hoc I’m inferring ‘after the event’ ie. anytime beyond the hypothesised time of impact with the SIO.

    @Niu Yunu & HB

    Yes I found the article interesting. Florence has written a book on the subject (I have not read it). Of course an enemy combatant would dearly want to find a B1, the issue of course is the ‘effort’ in wanting to find 9M-MRO on the night of 8th March 2014. I would contend that B1 stealth technology is still better than what is found on a B777.

  31. @David, all i am pointing is that a common cause factor is not ruled out.

    The relevant text from the NYT article

    “A person involved in the investigation said, however, that experts from Boeing and the National Transportation Safety Board who had seen the object, a piece of what is known as a flaperon, were not yet fully satisfied, and called for further analysis.
    Their doubts were based on a modification to the flaperon part that did not appear to exactly match what they would expect from airline maintenance records, according to the person, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
    Plane Debris Is Probably From Flight 370, Australians Say JULY 31, 2015
    French and Malaysian officials did not share the American hesitation, not least because no other Boeing 777 is unaccounted for.

    The relevant one from Le Monde
    “Quant aux travaux de maintenance que Malaysia Airlines a indiqué avoir effectués sur le flaperon, ils ne correspondaient pas exactement à ceux observés sur la pièce trouvée.

    Going back to my initial confusion about flaperon and shipset,
    one document refers to Flaperon 404 and not 405. Flaperon 404, on the master schedule is for Boeing Line Number 400 and not MH370.

    Coincidently, on @David’s link, this plane LN 400 leased from Asiana Airline was coincidently withdrawn from use on 13 Jun 2015 (one month before debris was found) and back in service under Privilege Style in late Sept 2015. Maybe just another bizarre coincidence. In my view, this positive identification with the involvement of handscripts is not as positive as it appears. For reasons stated above, only the owner should be able to make a “positive” identification.

  32. @HB. As per my above, “..404 is the shipset (see Production Sheet 2, right column) which consists of left (406) and right (405) flaperons (Master Schedule again).
    The shipset P/No is -10, the right flaperon is -9010C03”.

    That still looks a satisfactory explanation to me ie the 404 has nothing to do with right flaperon 404, which as you say was fitted to a quite different aircraft..

  33. @HB. For completeness, if you go to my same posting, lower down, “The serial number of 9M-MRO, which operated as flight MH370 on 8th March, 2014, (from FI) is 28420. As per the ATSB above, the two tie to Boeing Line Number 404, the “Basic Airplane Unit No.” on the C.A.S.A. flaperon Delivery Document and also the ‘shipset’ line number”.

  34. I started looking at photos of the MH17 wreckage and thought about how possible it might be to take parts from wreckage there, and use them in a spoofing effort for MH370. IDK why, I just thought it was a good idea.

    Here’s some photos from NYDN way back when:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/malaysia-airlines-flight-mh17-debris-removed-gallery-1.2013903?pmSlide=1.2013901

    I really find it improbable to accomplish this. First, the uncertainty of it all seems really high to me. Who knows where the plane might crash, how long a pilot might be able to keep it in sustained flight, or whatever. You’d have to be pretty darn certain that it was going to crash somewhere useful.

    and then, you would have to be able to pull a part out of there that you could use. and quickly before the whole world showed up. How would you do that? some ordinary guy you just sent out there certainly wouldn’t have the knowledge, it’d have to be an airplane guy, and especially a 777 airplane guy. And then I would think he would have to look at the part and say, “can we fake numbers and IDs on this thing? are there numbers on this thing? what do they mean? and can we throw it in the ocean for a year?” you’d have to REALLY know 777 parts I would think. There’s like a million pieces in these photographs.

    The recent comments about the part numbers made me think of this, thanks all commenting recently.

    plus there’s a lot of other logistical problems with this idea IMO.

    It just seems to me that blowing up an airplane in the hopes of accomplishing these things seems like a super duper difficult thing to me. Or maybe this idea of using MH17 as a parts junkyard isn’t being floated around anymore (no pun intended).

    cool.

  35. @Crobbie, Interesting! Color me skeptical, but we’ll see. I feel like if they wanted to continue the search, they had all this information a while ago.

  36. @Jeff

    Color me skeptical, but we’ll see. I feel like if they wanted to continue the search, they had all this information a while ago.

    +1

  37. @Jeff
    @Dennis

    But now Malaysia don’t have to pay if there is no find. They cant lose….unless foul play of one of their own is determined to be the cause.

  38. Looks like Malaysia is backing away from that previous report:

    http://www.financialexpress.com/world-news/malaysia-says-no-decision-yet-on-new-offers-to-search-for-missing-mh370/897286/

    It seems so very clear to me that such a search would be unsuccessful that I would gladly wager a large sum of my own money against it. I wonder if the ATSB, or its individual members, would be willing to say, “We feel so confident in our analysis that we will personally stake $10,000 (or a million, or whatever) on the plane being there.”

    If they don’t feel that confident–if they don’t feel that there’s at least a 50% chance of the plane being in the new search area–then they have no business putting out statements saying that they’re more confident than ever that “they have pinpointed the probable site for the wreckage of the plane with unprecedented accuracy.”

  39. well if it isn’t there jeff, nobody will believe them on their next guess. it is a pretty dangerous statement, they better be sure!

  40. I hope they bloody well don’t find it in the ocean…. talk about an anti-climax after all these years!

    I’m sorry I don’t mean to come across as heartless. But part of me doesn’t want this to end… if I’m totally honest

    Anyway, Florence de Changy’s article repeats the erroneous assertion that “no hijacker claimed responsibility.” Well, the CMB did claim responsibility, whether you believe them or not is anotehr story…

    What became of that letter predicting “MH370 would never be found…” released a few hours (or even before?) the plane’s disappearance? Was it ever debunked by anyone on here?

    When I hear the name CMB, I always wonder why a Uighur group fighting Chinese rule would call itself the “Chinese Martyrs Brigade.” A bit like the Catalans calling themselves “The Spanish Freedom Movement…”

    Which is why I always thought the “CMB” was probably a badly thought out cover for something else!

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