How Zaharie Shah Navigated His Flight Sim–& What It Signifies for MH370

Screenshot of the PSS 777 cockpit

There are three basic ways to fly a Boeing 777. The first is traditional hand-flying: manipulating the yoke to change pitch and bank. This is a fun way to fly a plane in a simulator, but in practice, pilots don’t do this in commercial jets at altitude because it is inefficient and requires too much attention. Which leads us to the second way to fly the plane: by using the autopilot to fly from waypoint to waypoint. This is called LNAV, for lateral navigation, and is the way that pilots generally fly commercial routes. The path from airport to airport consists of a series of such waypoints, which the pilots plug into the flight management computer so the plane can fly itself.

The third way is to use the autopilot, but in a different way. By selecting HDG (heading) or TRK (track) hold, pilots can aim the plane in a certain direction and let it fly straight.

You can use any of these in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, the program that MH370 captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah use to practice flying a 777 five weeks before the plane disappeared. You can also use a fourth. By opening the map display panel, you can use your mouse to physically drage the plane to a new location.

Looking at the data recovered from Zaharie Shah’s flight simulator, it seems that he used at least three and possibly all four of these techniques during his session that ended with the plane above the southern Indian Ocean with no fuel.

— At point 3N, the plane is close to airway R467, with a heading that is close to what would be required to reach the next waypoint. It’s possible that at this point he was flying the plane using LNAV.

— Between 5N and 10N, the variable which records the maximum G force that the plane has experienced jumps from 1.4 to 2.2, and the minimum G force descreases from 0.6 to 0.1. These are accelerations that will never be experienced by a plane flying on autopilot, so we can infer that Shah was hand-flying the plane.

— At point 10N the plane is located is 13 nautical miles from airway N877 on a heading of 255.5. It’s been suggested that the plane could have reached this point if it were flying along that airway, and then the active waypoint were changed from DOTEN to a point somewhere in the south. However I have run the simulation in a Boeing PSS 777-200LR and found that if that manoever is performed the plane will enter a left bank of 20 degrees (as observed) and achieve a heading of 255.5 about 6 nautical miles from the airway. It seems impossible, then, that the plane could have been flying along airway N877, and since there is no other route it could have been turning away from, I assume that Shah was flying in HDG or TRK mode, which also make turns by putting the plane in a 20-degree bank.

— Between 10N and 45N, the plane moved a distance that is not commensurate with the quantity of fuel burned. The only plausible explanation is that the plane was moved on the simulator’s map display.

The upshot of all of this is that the recovered flight simulator data tells us that Zaharie Shah did not practice flying a 777 to fuel exhaustion in the southern Indian Ocean on autopilot. Instead, he moved the plane manually to the southern Indian Ocean, altered the setting of the fuel load to zero, and then hand-flew a gliding descent.

Given this understanding, the flight simulator session shows significantly less similarity to the accident scenario than was originally believed. Could its uncannily resemblance to MH370’s eventual disappearance be merely a coincidence? A hallmark of a coincidence is that it’s an outlier, with no other similar or corroborating evidence. And that’s exactly the situation here. Nothing else found on Shah’s computer, or uncovered by the Royal Malaysian Police investigation into his personal or professional life, suggests his guilt. As a piece of evidence, the simulator data looks shaky, and all the more so the closer you inspect it.

202 thoughts on “How Zaharie Shah Navigated His Flight Sim–& What It Signifies for MH370”

  1. Jeff: Regarding:

    “Instead,he moved the plane manually to the southern Indian Ocean, altered the setting of the fuel load to zero, and then hand-flew a gliding descent.”

    What data supports your conclusion that Z “…then hand-flew a gliding descent.”?

  2. @JeffW
    Since we know ZS was apparently advancing the aircraft manually as an expedient short cut in FS9, we don’t really know where/how he started the turn at DOTEN. I personally think the trajectory may have been via DUBTA L645 and not N877, which it appears clear to me that Z’s MH150 flight of 4-Feb went thru DUBTA not LAGOG.

    Stay tuned as there is alternate theory that the N10 turn happened closer to Sumatra, and then the aircraft was moved, but my personal feeling is as stated above.

    Also when I personally advance the aircraft/or re-start from a saved position, sometimes there is an upset that the A/P goes off, so that could possibly explain the G-force changes. Alternately perhaps the G-forces indicate a climb and dive like some think happened at IGARI.

    Overall is frustrating to throw darts at Victor’s work unless you are careful to ask others if it makes sense. Recently Mick made a finding re: radio station frequency settings around N10. Mick checked with me and I did not know the answer and after some fine tuning, Mick got Victor’s input and Victor eventually agreed on it.

    The objective is not to disprove Victor, but to see what else can be learned. If in that study you make a new interpretation that is productive.

  3. @TBill, DUBTA-DOTEN definitely looks more plausible than LAGOG-DOTEN if one were to speculate about departure from an LNAV route. But if one wished to assume that the plane was primarily flying on LNAV, one would have to wonder why there is all this apparent departing from LVAV. It just naturally looks more like TRK/HDG hold.
    As to the issue of the 2.2g, I’ve definitely also had the experience of loading a saved route and having the AP turn off and everything goes haywire and probably the plane pulls G’s. But those G’s would happen as a result of the save, not be encoded in it, if you get my drift.

    @airlandseaman, There’s two parts here. First, it looks like a hand-flown descent because in my experience with the sim the autopilot turns off if there’s no fuel in the tanks. Also, when you’re on autopilot the bank is either close to zero of close to 20, so any other values indicates hand-flying.
    As to a gliding descent, my experience with the sim is that if you leave it be in these circumstance the plane will quickly get out of control. Here we see it nicely pitched for close to the optimal best-glide rate.

  4. Jeff,

    I do not think that the initial parts of the simulation, anything up to N10 are significant at all. Indeed, I would go so far as to suggest, that they are an irrelevant “red herring”.

    The “end of simulation” is what matters here, nothing else.

    If he did in fact enter map mode, and if he did do a mouse move to 45S104E, he obviously had a reason for doing so, and thus one could assume, choosing “that particular location” was probably very deliberate. Where he actually “moved from” is irrelevant.

    Assuming there was “a specific reason”, then, “the date and time being simulated” (not when the simulation was actually done) may become a significant clue as to the true “reason” for doing so in the first place.

    I have not seen any definitive reference to “the date and time simulated” in any discussion on any forum I have visited.

    Does that information normally exist in the simulation program log files ?

    Does that information exist in the data we have ?

    If so, what is it ?

  5. @ventus45, Victor Iannello has claimed on his web site that the ATSB has privately shared information to the effect that there was additional data recovered from the hard drive indicating that the simulator session took place on February 2, 2014 and lasted for approximately one hour. Make of it what you will.

  6. Jeff, when the simulation took place only tells us that he was planning ahead. What matters is “how far ahead”. The ATSB has not (so far as I know) released that information.

    The question we have to resolve is: – Was he planning for a few days time (as some suggested the rostered Jeddah flights), or was it planning for a week or two ahead, or was it planning perhaps for a few months ?

    My nagging thought, is that it was probably for a specific date, and that is the equinox, 22nd March 2014, which has obvious implications for any “flight date” within a couple of weeks either side of it, and the actual flight date was (morning / dawn) 8th March 2014.

    When you run your simulator to “S1” at 45S104E at FL350, on 2nd Feb 2014, what do you see, (outside – not the instruments) and at what time ?
    When you drop to “S2”, at the same time, what do you see ?
    Vary the time on the simulator through the day, in 30 minute increments, and repeat.
    What do you see ?
    What do you deduce ?

  7. Ventus45:

    All files except the final (partial) file contained a [DateTimeSeason] field which contains values for Day, Year, Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Season. The date given by the ATSB is the date stated in the [DateTimeSeason] field of the recovered file fragments.

  8. @Gysbreght

    So would I be correct in assuming that:-
    (a) the simulation was actually performed on 2nd February 2014,
    AND, that,
    (b) the date simulated was the same day, ie 2nd February 2014.

    If that is so, the “Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Season” becomes critical to working out what the “intent” of the simulation was.

    Do we have those details ?

  9. Ventus45:

    My understanding is that the date, time and season in the [DateTimeSeason] field represents the conditions that are simulated. My understanding is further that it is the date and time that the simulation was actually performed by default, if the user has not specified another date or time to be simulated. Finally I understood that the times varied between 15:26 and 16:39 (hh:mm).

  10. Gysbreght,

    Thank you for that.

    So, if the session time was 15:26 to 16:39, and no simulated time was input, we would have to determine whether the computer was set on local time, or, since it was dedicated to flight sim, on UTC.

    Local time is UTC +8.

    If the computer (as a dedicated sim computer) was set on UTC, then 15:26 to 16:39 stands as UTC, and that could be construed as 23:26 to 00:39 Local time, which in other words, means he did the simulation around midnight on the 2nd February 2014.

    If the computer was on local time, he did it in the mid afternoon, (15:26 to 16:39 local) and so the UTC session times are 8 hours earlier, ie, 07:26 to 08:39 utc, on the 2nd February 2014.

    That is dawn twilight at 45S104E.
    When I put that in Stellarium, I get this:-
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/vcxpkmzop98hnko/Sim-dawn.jpg?dl=0

    If that isn’t a simulation for “ditch at dawn” – what is ?

  11. Humor me…just, what if, the six tonnes that Malaysia was so reluctant to disclose and mostbof us believe they are lieing….was fuel? How much difference in distance or destination would 6 T make? And would it be possible to hack jury-rig into the fuel lines with fuel from the cargo hold?

  12. @ Jeff,

    I note your warning, but I think that rejecting a scenario that is unpleasant to contemplate, simply because it is unpleasant, is unhelpful.

    What would you say to a Police Officer who has to investigate what appears to be a murder ?

    “Sorry mate, the idea of someone murdering another person is abhoreent, so don’t go there – don’t do an investigation ?”

    I hardly think so.

    I contend that the simulator is a valuable insight.

    I have re-worded the previous post, since I made a “cut and paste” error in it, and posted the wrong graphic, so delete it, and insert the following.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Gysbreght,

    Thank you for that.

    So, if the session time was 15:26 to 16:39, and no simulated time was input, we would have to determine whether the computer was set on local time, or, since it was dedicated to flight sim, on UTC.

    Local time was UTC +8.

    If the computer was on local time, he did it in the mid afternoon, (15:26 to 16:39 local) and so the UTC session time BEGINS 8 hours earlier, ie, at 07:26 utc, on the 2nd February 2014, which frankly, does not tell us anything useful.

    If the computer (as a dedicated sim computer) was set on UTC, the situation is VASTLY different.

    In this case, then 15:26 to 16:39 stands as UTC, and that could be construed as he was doing the sim between 23:26 to 00:39 Local time, which in other words, means he did the simulation around midnight on the 2nd February 2014.

    Now, he STARTED the simulation flight at 23:26 local = 15:26 UTC, and then proceeded to “fly” from KL up to 10N (which took nearly an hour, so he would have got there at say around 00:25 local which is 16:25 UTC on the sim.

    So far, so good.

    Now, he “mouse moves” all the way to 45S104E in a jiffy, and gets there in a minute or so (with changing the fuel etc) and is thus “there” at 00:26 local.

    BUT (AND THIS IS THE CRUCIAL BIT) THE SIMULATOR IS NOT AT 16:26 UTC now, BECAUSE it has had to “fly” all the way south, which takes time in the sim.

    The flight is ADVANCED by the sim, so it uses fuel (which he did not have enough of, so he had to reset that) AND the sim also has to “ADD the TIME INTERVAL” it took, at whatever speed was set, to actually get there.

    Consequently, from 10N to 45S (simplistically) is 55 lats * 60 nm = at 3300 nm.
    Assume the ground speed is 480 knots, that is 6.875 hours = 6 hours 52.5 minutes.

    So, add 6 hrs 52.5 minutes to 16:25 now gives you “sim time 23:17.5 UTC”

    That is close to the beginning of dawn at FL350 at 45S104E on 2-2-2014.

    When I put that in Stellarium, I get this:-

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/hfoy8xbs5rkac0g/Dawn%2023-27-50%20on%202-2-2014%20UTC%20at%2045S%20104E.PNG?dl=0

    In fact, it is only 40 minutes before dawn at 23:57:50 UTC, in twilight AT SEA LEVEL.

    If that isn’t a simulation for “ditch at dawn” – what is ?

  13. @ventus45, The point I was trying to make isn’t that your scenario is unpleasant to contemplate, but that it is silly. There seems to be a fashion in certain quarters to cook up theories that involve Zaharie doing utterly random things — flying to Christmas Island, or Antarctica, or (in your case) flying to some random spot in the ocean with the intention of getting there at dawn. People do not commit suicide and commit mass murder for the sake of whimsical notions.

  14. Hello all, I certainly admire the work,thoughts and commitment displayed by you all, however, am not sure as to what your trying to extrapolate from the Skippers simulator after all it is only a computer game. How does it reflect flying in reality? Is it exculpatory or inculpating evidence? MH370 deviated from its filed flight plan without intrusive interception because it was allowed. Even pre mh370 era trying doing that over head certain countries. The outcome is self evident. Retired friends of mine resisted the transition to the 400 series from the older classics because of fear of electronic interferences. Mr I

  15. Just some typos, Jeff:

    3rd paragraph: You can use any of these in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, the program that MH370 captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah <> to practice flying a 777 five weeks before the plane disappeared. You can also use a fourth. By opening the map display panel, you can use your mouse to physically <> the plane to a new location.

    6th paragraph: — Between 5N and 10N, the variable which records the maximum G force that the plane has experienced jumps from 1.4 to 2.2, and the minimum G force <> from 0.6 to 0.1. These are accelerations that will never be experienced by a plane flying on autopilot, so we can infer that Shah was hand-flying the plane.

    Paragraph 7: — At point 10N the plane is located is 13 nautical miles from airway N877 on a heading of 255.5. It’s been suggested that the plane could have reached this point if it were flying along that airway, and then the active waypoint were changed from DOTEN to a point somewhere in the south. However I have run the simulation in a Boeing PSS 777-200LR and found that if that <> is performed the plane will enter a left bank of 20 degrees (as

    Last paragraph: Given this understanding, the flight simulator session shows significantly less similarity to the accident scenario than was originally believed. Could its <> resemblance to MH370’s eventual disappearance be

  16. Hi all, I certainly admire the work and thought you al do in your endeavours to solve MH370. However, I am at loss as to what is hoped to be accomplished by the analysis of the skippers simulator? Is it in inculpatory or exculpatory evidence? After all the sim is nothing more then a computer game. How does it reflect the reality of flying? MH 370 deviated from its filed flight plan and proceeded without intrusive interception because it was allowed. Even pre mh370 era try to deviate from your assigned route without Gods permission (atc) , go dark and not responsive to Comms the outcome is self evident. I don’t believe in the skippers guilt, however, whoever is responsible achieved a feat that is unrivalled in modem aviation. There are people on KL who know exactly what happened and even within my country Australia, sad to for me to believe ATSB is towing someone’s line.

  17. @Jeff

    Congratulations are in order, a potentially useful blog for once

    You said “People do not commit suicide and commit mass murder for the sake of whimsical notions.”

    You are right, generally they don’t. Ditching at or shortly after dawn (which is what actually happened on this occasion) was not done on a whim. It was done to ensure a successful mission. Carefully planned from start to finish, with nothing left to chance, a controlled ditching needs to be done under favourable lighting conditions if it is to achieve the desired result which in this case was a swift, efficient sinking that produced as little floating debris as practicably possible, following a long flight made mostly under cover of darkness.

    In this respect, S38 E85 being the destination on 8th March, ticked all the boxes.

    Now, in order to narrow down the splash point, you are going to do more work on the piloted glide part of the mission. By far the biggest problem here is explaining the high descent rate at 00:19. That would be really useful, if anyone is going to have a realistic chance of finding the wreckage.

  18. @Ventus45

    Perhaps unlikely it was one of the pilots planning for a ‘suicide at dawn’, but your overall idea is good – otherwise the timing of arrival becomes yet another coincidence, and there are far too many of those already in this saga for them all to be actual coincidences, instead more likely planning.

    The timing would also make sense if evidence was being hidden (whilst still dark) so no ships could report a position.

    So maybe more ‘ditch before dawn’ than ‘ditch at dawn’, but the calculation of fuel exhaustion didn’t turn out to be perfect because there were multiple flight levels involved and thus variations in fuel consumption. The aircraft may have been at low level as fuel exhaustion occurred and so still in the dark.

    Otherwise, rather silly to go to all that trouble to create confusion and hide the thing only for a bored but observant first mate on a container ship to make a helpful call to Aussie SAR with a GPS fix, and the thing to be located before the pinger batteries ran out.

    Wouldn’t want that, this aircraft is intended not to be found, it would seem, else why involve the SIO at all. If the aircraft is not there, the SIO location indicated by the feeble data would dissuade people from searching and provide a good reason for not finding it, otherwise an actual crash in the SCS or off Indonesia would have served the same purpose.

    All assuming the radar data and ISAT data are correct, of course, – it may be more sensible to only take as true and fact those things the MYG makes/has made a public announcement to specifically *deny*. Those things usually turn out to have happened / be true.

    The higher levels of the MYG could be likened to a biological implementation of a NAND gate in this respect, which may or may not be a first in Darwinian evolution.

    At least this would be something noteworthy that could be said about them.

    Your other idea (minus 4600us, south from IGARI) is also good and needs to be looked at seriously by the people who are analysing the data side of things, but it seems they are not yet ready or willing to accept the implications if your suggestion is correct.

    As you say, ISAT repeatedly warned that the data may have been corrupted/hacked but since release some people have treated it as the Holy Grail / Gold Standard whose veracity must not be questioned, instead only its (incomplete) contents analysed.

  19. @airlandseaman, Obviously we know nothing about what happened between those two points and the presumed impact with the sea, but we can say that at those two points the plane was pitched for something close to best glide speed.

  20. The debate between JW and VI`s blog over HOW the simulation flight was conducted misses something important.

    WHO actually ran the simulation?
    The following list of potential users can be split into 2 groups: those who can physically access the FS, and those who accessed the FS online
    PHYSICALLY PRESENT
    – Zaharie Shah
    – aquaintance of Zaharie Shah
    – unknown intruder

    ACCESSED ONLINE
    – known acquaintance who accessed online
    – impersonator
    – unknown intruder

    This post examines the impersonator/unknown intruder thesis

    Pilots who make substantial investments Flight Simulator hardware can’t be content with running the simulation all alone.
    They seek even more realistic experiences, and the most common avenue for seeking these experiences is through multi-player environments online.

    Here is a brief description from a website offering such a experience.

    Realistic Air Traffic Control Communities

    If you’re a pilot or controller who loves the procedural aspects of aviation, wants to fly for a virtual airline, enjoys simulating all of the details, or needs to practice or stay sharp for the next flight, you’ll likely find a home with a realistic ATC community. Many realistic ATC communities also have an active social component that feature group events and activities.

    Realistic ATC Communities tend to appeal to pilots and air traffic controllers who are most interested in simulating realism. These communities tend to be more rules-based, with a steeper learning curve and a more intense and demanding experience.

    http://fsxmultiplayer.com/options.html

    – The computer which hosted Shah’s FS was connected to the internet. FS users often download add-ons, patches, etc. to their software.
    – Shah’s YouTube profile subscribed to FSX enthusiasts who provided add-ons and other software
    – It is quite conceivable that Shah was a regular member of an online community of multi-player FS enthusiasts which included some of his fellow pilots from MAS. Alternately, he may have simply communicated with other enthusiasts in online forums.

    Theory
    It therefore possible that Shah’s real identity, and his passion for FS was known to an online community.
    He may have downloaded a compromised piece of software which gave malicious actors access to his FS.

    However, the Similarities between MH150 and the FS session from Feb 2 are problematic.
    Feb 2 – FS session a B777 was flown into the SIO.
    Feb 4 – MH150 was flown by Shah.

    But what if the original flight to be diverted to SIO was not MH370 but rather MH150?
    If MH150 was the original flight, why would it have been chosen?
    – Feb 4 was just 3 days prior to Sochi Olympics in Russia.
    – There was threat to the Olympics from Islamic terrorism from Caucasus
    – flight to Jeddah was full of muslims, mostly male, thus difficult to profile suspects

    If MH150 was considered a danger to the Olympics, then the planning for the hijacking of MH150 could have happened long before Feb/Mar 2014.
    MH370 could have been hijacked opportunistically after the invasion of Crimea to send a message to Obama. The plans for MH150 were then shelved and used on MH370.

    QUESTIONS
    – were there passengers on board MH150 who also boarded MH370? (or similar profile)
    – was Z Shah a member of an online community of FS enthusiasts?
    – did Z Shah play multi-player FS online?
    – did Shah’s FS have add-on’s that were downloaded between late 2013 and Mar 8 2014?
    – were there threat assessment given to pilots of large airlines flying long distance routes towards europe about possible hijackings by terrorists from Caucasus?

  21. @Ventus
    The sim cases seem to be based off a daytime MH150 flight. I was also hoping to learn if night flight with Moon and stars was simulated – apparently not for these recovered cases. Moon is inaccurate in FS9 but stars/planets can be fixed with addon programs. Twilight and sunrise approx. correct in FS9 gives you some idea of what it was like.

  22. @TBill,

    I did not check for 2-2-2014, but for the event on 7-3-2014 the moon was not visible, although I did study Canopus way back, (details on Auntypru) and it was definately useable on 7-3-2014.

    @PS9,
    I have taken your point about avoiding being seen by a sailor quite seriously, from way back, (again, details on Auntypru) and it was the central reason for my descent profile to overfly, and “clear” the intended ditch zone, pre dawn, to search for “surface contacts” both visulally (ship / yacht lights) and using the weather radar, then doing a 180 to ditch in his “cleared” area.

    Regarding “bottom impact” issues.

    If the aircraft remained basically whole, after it filled with water, the “effective mass” as it sank would be:-
    (1) the basic weignt zero fuel weight, (say 140 tons) plus
    (2) the freight, (say 15 tons) plus
    (3) the cabin pax load, (say 30 tons) plus
    (4) the weight of the water that filled all the internal volumes, which are:
    (a) the volume of the fuselage (say roughly 50 meters long by 6 metres diameter = 450 cubic metres) times density 1025 kg/m^3 = 461,250 kg = 461.25 tons, and
    (b) the volume of the fuel tanks (117,350 Litres = 117.35 cubic metres) times density 1025 kg/m^3 = 120,283 kg = 120.28 tons.

    The weight of the entrained water alone is 580.5 tons, plus the other 185 tons, means the total mass hitting the sea floor is 765.5 tons !!

    In addition, if the aircraft remained basically “whole” we would expect it to sink and maintain trim in sea water (a fluid) much the same way it would in air, that is, it would GLIDE, just like the instrumented sea gliders the scientists use do. Given the entrained water, with such a great total mass, it would be interesting to get some ship design / test-tank people to test a model of an airliner in water and see how it could glide under these conditions.

    In any case, for now, at a very rough guess, it would probably be an L/D of say a quarter of that in air, so say about 4.5 to one.

    Thus for every 1,000 metres of water depth, the aircraft could glide up to 4.5km (in any direction). So for a water depth of say 5,000 metres, it could travel as much as 22.5 km away from the “sink point” (in any direction).

    Moreover, it would stabilise at “some speed” during this process. What that speed might be would require careful mathematical modelling and testing, but for the sake of argument, suppose it comes out at about 20 knots, say 10 metres per second. The “crash energy” available when it hits bottom is half mass times velocity squared, = substantial. That may generate enough noise to register on the hydrophone. Additionally, since the fueselage is a weak pressure vessel, it would rupture, ie, burst suddenly, when the entrained water mass discipated it’s energy. The sounds of those processes might also be recorded by the hydropones, perhaps ?

  23. @Ventus45

    “end of simulation” is what matters here, nothing else.

    Of course. I made the same point earlier. JW’s logic is self serving and typical of a journalist.

  24. Off topic but certainly relevant. The ATSB has been using Drift Trajectories to back up it’s SIO endpoint scenario.

    These Trajectories are not isolated to just the SIO. There was a Buoy released by the NOAA on the 8th of July 2014 that washed up ashore on the West African shore line in September 2015.

    This Buoy mirrors the exact locations of where the Mh370 debris has been found to date & also supports the relevant time frame. The Buoy is numbered 53523 & it’s path can be tracked on the NOAA website.

    http://osmc.noaa.gov/Monitor/ProductServer.do?xml=%3C?xml%20version=%221.0%22?%3E%3ClasRequest%20href=%22file:las.xml%22%20%3E%3Clink%20match=%22/lasdata/operations/operation%5B@ID=%27Extract_trajectories%27%5D%22/%3E%3Cproperties%20%3E%3Cferret%20%3E%3Csize%20%3E.5%3C/size%3E%3Cuse_ref_map%3Etrue%3C/use_ref_map%3E%3Ctopo%3Edetailed%3C/topo%3E%3Cbathy%3Edetailed%3C/bathy%3E%3CcolorBy%3Edate%3C/colorBy%3E%3ClabelBy%3Eadp%3C/labelBy%3E%3Cformat%3Egif%3C/format%3E%3C/ferret%3E%3C/properties%3E%3Cargs%3E%3CUsePlatform%3EDRIFTING%20BUOYS%3C/UsePlatform%3E%3Cconstraint%20type=%22text%22%20%3E%3Cv%20%3Eplatform_code%3C/v%3E%3Cv%20%3E=%3C/v%3E%3Cv%20%3E53523%3C/v%3E%3C/constraint%3E%3Clink%20match=%22/lasdata/datasets/OSMC_new_schema/variables/SST%22%20/%3E%3Cregion%20%3E%3Crange%20low=%22-180.0%22%20type=%22x%22%20high=%22180%22%20/%3E%3Crange%20low=%22-89.0%22%20type=%22y%22%20high=%2289.0%22%20/%3E%3Crange%20low=%2208-Jul-2014%22%20type=%22t%22%20high=%2221-Sep-2015%22%20/%3E%3C/region%3E%3C/args%3E%3C/lasRequest%3E

  25. @Ventus45

    Your statement:

    ‘The weight of the entrained water alone is 580.5 tons, plus the other 185 tons, means the total mass hitting the sea floor is 765.5 tons !!’

    It holds a lot of water but not in figurative sence. This water-weight would be equaled out by the evironment which is also water.
    Then the specific weight of all metal in the plane would cause the plane to be much lighter under water than outside the water for it nears the specific weight of water much closer than air. Add to this, all composit materials and other plastics would lighten the plane even further.

    That’s why it probably takes a plane an hour to sink to a ~4km seafloor and not a minute from 4km altitude in the air.
    The weight of a sinking plane in a water environment is not more than ~1/10 of it’s weight on land or in the air.
    The impact on the seafloor would more probably equal ~15tons.

  26. to add.. The impact on the seafloor would more probably equal ~15tons at a sinking/impact speed of ~5km/h.
    By far not enough to cause a ‘Curtin boom’ registered ~1500 miles away.

  27. @Michael John, Thanks for this. This drifter doesn’t much resemble what the ATSB thinks happened to MH370 debris, but it shows how much faster stuff moves across the Indian Ocean when it originates at a more northerly point.

  28. @JeffWise
    The El Faro hearing is due in a few days, details are findable online. It may not be
    a point of continuing interest to you – mentioning it just in case you missed it.

  29. All this talk of ditching at dawn reminds me of that scene in K-Pax, for those who know what I’m talking about, where Prot (the alien) waits until dawn to catch the first rays of sunlight to depart Planet Earth… “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a beam of light to catch…”

  30. I wonder if Jeff will humour me here. I wonder how well ZS knew his history?

    This is from the Wikipedia article about Pan Am 6. Nothing in common with 9M-MRO however I am intrigued about the retracted flaps & damage to a wing, engine, tail & nose (All components allegedly found to be from Mh370 to date).

    Sajid made me think about the dawn thing. This may explain it….

    Flew in eight mile circles on the two remaining engines until daylight.[5]

    Captain Ogg had decided to wait for daylight, since it was important to keep the wings level with the ocean swells at the ditching impact. That would be easier to achieve in full sunlight, improving the odds that passengers could be rescued, but he became concerned that the ocean waves were beginning to rise. As the plane circled the Coast Guard cutter, it was able to climb from 2,000 to 5,000 feet (610 to 1,520 m). At that altitude several practice approaches were made to see that the plane would be controllable at low speed (the goal was to have the lowest speed possible, just before touching the water). Delaying the ditching ensured that fuel was being consumed; that made the plane lighter so it would float longer and minimized the risk of fire in the event of a crash landing.[6]

    At 5:40 Captain Ogg notified Pontchartrain that he was preparing to ditch. The cutter laid out a foam path for a best ditch heading of 315 degrees, to aid the captain to judge his height above the water. After a dry run the plane touched down at 6:15, at 90 knots (170 km/h) with full flaps and landing gear retracted, in sight of the Pontchartrain at 30°01.5’N. 140°09’W.[9] On touching the water, the plane moved along the surface for a few hundred yards. One wing hit a swell, causing the plane to rotate nearly 180 degrees to port damaging the nose section and breaking off the tail.[10]

  31. Re – ‘Z’ sim data:

    Another possibility no-one has really mentioned is a third party (ie the hijackers) trying to frame Z by using an innocent journey they already knew had been generated on his sim at some point in the past (Feb 2014 in this case); either by hacking into the sim to go through direct access to it.

    That would then mean the INMARSAT data having to be somehow spoofed to match the journey generated on Z’s sim.

    After MH370 going completely ‘dark,’ this could’ve been done (?) using a UAV or a second, decoy plane…

    So to summarize, the hijackers deciding to leave Z’s sim data untouched but working with what they already had in front of them, identifying a strange-looking journey Z had generated into the SIO, then proceeding to use it for their UAV or decoy plane journey…

  32. sorry first paragraph should’ve read: “either by hacking into the sim or through direct physical access to it”

  33. Moreover, it would stabilise at “some speed” during this process. What that speed might be would require careful mathematical modelling and testing, but for the sake of argument, suppose it comes out at about 20 knots, say 10 metres per second. The “crash energy” available when it hits bottom is half mass times velocity squared, = substantial. That may generate enough noise to register on the hydrophone. Additionally, since the fueselage is a weak pressure vessel, it would rupture, ie, burst suddenly, when the entrained water mass discipated it’s energy. The sounds of those processes might also be recorded by the hydropones, perhaps ?

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  34. Wise says that “Nothing else found on Shah’s computer, or uncovered by the Royal Malaysian Police investigation into his personal or professional life, suggests his guilt.” I haven’t seen the police investigation, but it may have been contaminated by religious bias.

    Did that investigation consider this http://www.nzherald.co.nz/air-accidents/news/article.cfm?c_id=665&objectid=11226334 or this:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2581817/Doomed-airliner-pilot-political-fanatic-Hours-taking-control-flight-MH370-attended-trial-jailed-opposition-leader-sodomite.html

  35. Both of these fake stories have been refuted by his daughter and family a long time ago.

    If you researched more extensively you would find the details.

    Don’t believe anything you read in the Daily Mail – it’s well known for making up (or manipulating) stories to sell newspapers, especially where the subject(s) of its lies are based outside the UK and so cannot sue easily in UK courts.

    https://tribune.com.pk/story/689490/daughter-of-malaysia-airline-pilot-alleges-uk-tabloid-made-up-mh370-report/

  36. So. I have been following this whole thing closely since the outset & it’s been like trying to find a mouse in a pitch black room. We have all heard the squeaks but to date nobody has actually pin pointed where the mouse is.

    Are we assuming that based on the Inmarsat Data that Mh370 came down somewhere or close by to the 7th Arc? I’m also assuming that Mh370 could have gone North or South at the FMT but owing to reasonable deduction it was judged to have gone South?

    Are we also by the ISAT Data assuming that Mh370 flew until fuel exhaustion & performed a final death dive & impacted the Ocean in a High Energy impact thus resulting in the plane to break into thousands of not millions of pieces?

    I’m assuming that due to the water present, the fuel exhaustion & the fact that the debris found to date doesn’t appear to have burn marks that the plane didn’t burst into flames on impact with the ocean?

    So where is the large debris field? I know there has been tantalising satellite imagery produced & extensive overhead & surface searches of the area in question yet nothing has been discovered to back up the assumptions made to date. I know Victor (Ianello) has recently been discussing on his blog about objects being photographed by New Zealand’s Air Search & Rescue & he seems to believe these objects may have come from Mh370. Can anyone shed any insight into his reasoning for this as from what I can see there is nothing from these objects that give a positive identity.

    What I’m looking for is a summary of why Mh370 has to be in the SIO based on Factual Information.

    Thanks.

  37. @Michael John
    Obviously there is a “main-stream” view and “alternate” views. JeffW correct me if wrong takes a dual approach.

    Main stream view:
    (1) Inmarsat data is accurate… the Doppler shift data (BFO) proves SIO direction. Arc7 is very accurate (+-5nm) and clearly suggests a dive at the end, which puts the crash right on Arc7. However, there is a less likely chance the aircraft pulled out of that dive and managed to glide up to 50-100 nm farther off Arc7.

    (2) The recovered debris confirms SIO path because it follows expected ocean drift pathways to the locations where it was found. So far no burned parts suggesting fire (Blaine Gibson had prematurely suggested burn marks at one time, but that was proven false).

    I’d say that’s all we know that is agreed to. There are multiple conflicting interpretations of the debris. Some think it was a death dive, others think the aircraft may have leveled off thus minimizing debris. Some think the flaperon shows flutter (air) damage from a high speed dive, others contend the flaperon damage is from water impact.

    Keep in mind we are the public and we do not have all of the info MY/ATSB is holding as secret.

  38. @Michael John
    P.S.- As you may know, in the early stages, China and others demanded mathematical proof of the SIO direction, and Inmarsat published a peer-reviewed paper in the scientific literature (JoN) which of course was an important scientific contribution. That’s probably where you need to start reading if you want to understand the proof.

  39. @TBill, That’s an excellent summation of the “main-stream” view. The “alternative” view would go something like this:

    1) Failure of seabed search, and future failure of Ocean Infinity search, suggests that something is wrong with the Inmarsat data and the plane did not fly into the SIO

    2) Numerous inconsistencies with the recovered debris, including age and type of biofouling, breakage pattern, and unreconcilable drift models, suggest that the debris did not arrive by natural means, supporting an end point for the flight other than the SIO

  40. So basically give it time & roles could be reversed. The main stream view could very well become the alternative view….

  41. @Michael John, That’s what I’m thinking. Pretty much everything in the last few Australian and Malaysian reports casts doubt on the mainstream view.

  42. My main interest in SA295 is to do with debris dispersal. It isn’t known whether the aircraft broke up mid air or broke up on impact with the Ocean however what is certain is that like Mh370 the aircraft was assumed to have broken into thousands of pieces.

    These pieces of course we washed far & wide with the furthest item being recovered 2000 miles away in Nepal (According to the Accident Report by the SAAIB). What it also mentions is that a lot of debris washed up on local shorelines.

    This again makes me wonder about the high energy impact of Mh370. Once again the lack of debris washing ashore surely would indicate a lower velocity impact resulting in a lower amout of debris being released into the Indian Ocean.

    The focus point again for me here is whilst the impact point for SA295 is in a different part of the Indian Ocean to Mh370 the current streams appear to run across the along the same vein. So in theory the places where debris from SA295 washed ashore could potentially contain debris from Mh370 & I would take a closer look at these areas just to rule out any possibilities.

  43. There is 1 thing I’m baffled by. As I 1st mentioned above & the link I posted shows that SA295 more or less followed the same route as Mh370 from the GOT to the top of the Malacca Strait & Mh370 is judged to have taken 1 hour to complete this leg whereas SA295 took 30 mins. Maybe there is a completely rational explanation for this.

  44. @ Michael John:

    I lived in Nepal for eleven years and have hiked 4,650 miles in the Himalaya (Nepal and India). I can assure you that Nepal is a landlocked country. No air crash debris have washed ashore in Nepal.

    I am well versed on the TG 311 (31 July 1992) and PK 268 (28 September 1992) crashes in Nepal. I was on a TG 311 flight four days prior to the crash. TG 311 and TG 312 are the two flights I have most frequently been on.

    I have been reading Jeff Wise’s website concerning MH 370 for over a year. Currently I am reading “Pack of Lies” by Bradley West.

    I am a Boeing stockholder (2,400 shares) who wants MH 370 to be found. I believe MH 370 eventually will be found in the South Indian Ocean. It may take ten years but it will be found.

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