Malaysia Triples Described MH370 Search Area

31 January 2018: Today the Malaysian government released its first weekly report on the progress of Ocean Infinity’s seabed search for the wreckage of MH370, available here. It includes the chart shown above, which includes not only the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary zones of the 25,000 square kilometer search area originally described in Malaysia’s announcement of the search (see below) but also supplementary areas that are collectively more than twice as large, and stretch far beyond Broken Ridge to 29 degrees south latitude.

Before the release of this new report, Malaysia hadn’t signaled that it would be issuing updates on the search progress, let alone regular weekly ones, so its appearance is a welcome development.

The report notes that that first section of the search, namely the outermost portion of the Primary Search Area, has been completed without finding any wreckage. This section had previously been identified by Australian scientists as the most likely endpoint for MH370’s flight.

As I write this, the scan of the innermost section of the Primary Search Area has been completed, but the assessment has not yet been released. However, the fact that Seabed Constructor has moved on to another area suggests that probably nothing was found there, either. A big caveat: we don’t really know how long it takes the search team to assess the data collected during each pass.

A failure to find any wreckage in the Primary Search Area would come as a disappointment to David Griffin and his team at Australia’s CSIRO, who delclared in a June, 2017 report that after analyzing satellite imagery and drift patterns “we think it is possible to identify a most-likely location of the aircraft, with unprecedented precision and certainty.” The report specified three target points, all located within the Primary Search Area.

It’s worth noting that there are three compelling reasons to believe that MH370 did not crash in either of the newly designated supplementary search areas, which lie between 29 degrees and 32.5 degrees south latitude:

  1. The area was searched by the air in March, 2014, and no debris was spotted. (see below)
  2. It does not fit with debris drift modeling. Wreckage which entered the sea at this latitude would have reached the western Indian Ocean too quickly.
  3. An endpoint this far north does not match analysis of the Inmarsat signals carried out by Australia’s DSTG.


Left: Black rectangles show the extent of aerial searches in March, 2014. Right: Based on these searches officials calculate that wreckage from an impact between 29 deg S and 33 deg S almost certainly would have been spotted.

PS: While I’m at it, here’s my latest theory for why Paul Marshall is being so secretive about backing the latest search for MH370: he and Anthony Clake are treasure hunters. They’ve salvaged historical wrecks for bullion in the past, and this suggests that their interest in MH370 is primarily for financial gain. Treasure hunters tend to be seen by marine archaeologists as plunderers, so they are used to negative press. I think that if Ocean Infinity is successful, then Marshall understands that it will be open to portrayal in the media as having profited from a tragedy.

PPS: On Twitter Kevin Rupp (@LabratSR) has posted an image showing that Seabed Constructor is expected to arrive in Perth on February 8–that’s a week from Friday. Allowing for a few days’ transit time en route, there should be time for the ship to make some good progress into the Secondary Search Area before it departs on the 1200 nm trip.

43 thoughts on “Malaysia Triples Described MH370 Search Area”

  1. Jeff, like to object to your statement “my latest theory” in the story.
    I have mentioned twice in a posts that “I would not be surprised if they had a primary objective for the “no cure no pay” offer and are after something of value. They will recover that AND get money from MAG. Or at least along those lines.
    But glad you do agree now, as “salvage hunting” either for value or for a reward offered is IMO the only reason they embarked on this venture. And do agree with your reasoning for keeping it secret.

    SC has a 250T crane on board with 3000 m wire on it. They could potentially pick something from the seabed if it would not be in the deep part of the search area.

    They are moving fast though…..

  2. Sounds like the Iceland fiasco has more to it than I 1st thought….

    Maybe you should have added that to your post Jeff… Whilst Mh370 may not contain any hidden treasure OI still stands to gain a substantial amount of money. Although it would seem this time they are doing things legally…

  3. It may be a little premature but the Irony is that they came away from the Iceland venture empty handed…. I can imagine a failure a 2nd time will be disastrous. Best of 3? What will they try next?

  4. GlobusMax said”

    “Jeff provided the answer as to what is powered by the left AC bus:”

    Some of the main items have been listed in various places; I haven’t seen a definitive list from the AAM. As the quote in Jeff’s piece says, there are many more smaller items. For example, who would have thought window heat left would have been lost?

    From that blog post:

    “In a fascinating blog post on an airline pilot who goes by the handle “Ken” describes going through a simulated left AC bus failure in the course of a training session. He notes that among the systems lost were Window Heat (Left) and a Primary Hydraulic Pump (Left). “No biggie,” he writes, but adds that in addition:

    …there are a whole host of ancillary services lost. Many of these are reflected by the amber lights on the overhead panel. Having looked at the roof – you later discover even then that it’s not the whole story. In this particular scenario we decided to return to KLAX. Part of the return process was fuel jettison down to maximum landing weight. Guess what? Without the Left Bus – the main tank jettison pumps are failed. You’ll be advised of this… when you start the fuel jettison. I didn’t give this a second thought… but the discussion we had afterwards that included a talk about this little quirk of the Boeing EICAS/ECL was interesting. There are no EICAS/STATUS messages to advise you of everything you’ve lost, and in many cases, until you attempt to use something that’s failed – you won’t know about it. Older aircraft used to publish a Bus Distribution List (Electrical and Hydraulic) so that you’d know exactly what you’d lost with a particular electrical bus failure – but not on the 777. My fellow pilots were vaguely disturbed by the lack of information.”

    Maybe there’s the reason for the re-login straightaway: a landing may have been planned and the jettison pump was needed to reduce the fuel load (assuming the main tank was in use) or after a depressurisation the left-side cockpit windows were frozen and the pilot couldn’t see to land.

    Remember that the early information released by the MY military had an unidentified aircraft flying directly from IGARI across the peninsula to VAMPI (ie. not via Kota Bharu / Penang) and much further up the Straits (Reuters reported IGARI->VAMPI->GIVAL->IGREX) towards the northern Andaman Islands, and those areas were included in the MYG search area on March 14th.

    If the same track had continued past IGREX it would be heading for the region of Port Blair. It seems Port Blair had an ILS system then but whether it also had lights for night landings is unknown, providing lights for civil night landings was being discussed in Feb 2014 – see link. Perhaps a military lighting system had been in place. Or maybe the aircraft kept on going NW, but then there would be pings to explain.

    “Officials close to the investigation said available information showed the plane may have passed close to Port Blair, the capital of India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 550 miles (885 km) further northwest along an established commercial flying route.

    “It went very near Port Blair, that much we understand from information available,” said a senior military official with knowledge of the investigation. “It had gone into Indian airspace and then it was not clear where the plane went after Port Blair.”

    “An Indian Defence Ministry spokesman declined to comment on whether the aircraft had flown over Port Blair.

    “India has said it is possible that the military radars were switched off as it operates on an “as required” basis in that area.”

    So the MY military say it went very near Port Blair and when asked, the Indians avoided answering. Completely different from the story the MYG gave later, based on the same radar data? I wonder whose radar the MY military saw that on?

    CopperNickus on Reddit posted some alternative flight scenarios involving Port Blair two years ago:

  5. I’ve asked this question before but don’t think I have really gooten a satisfactory answer.

    People talk about arrival Times of the found debris at each location. Certain areas have been ruled out because the drift time frames do not match the perceived arrival Times of debris in these specific locations.

    How are these Times actually known?

  6. @PS9
    Interesting re: Port Blair reference, that’s a new one on me.

    Regarding, GIVAL and IGREX…that has been discussed (paper by Ron Belt) and it would appear in the early days MY military accidentally ID’ed another commercial aircraft, thought be SIA68, but realized relatively promptly (week or so) that MH370 was on N571. The Lido image was the corrected “final” MH370 path by MY military.

  7. @Michael John
    I am not a drift model expert, but especially important is the “Roy” engine piece has pre-discovery photo evidence in South Africa. Someone found Roy relatively “fresh” with smelly barnacles and snapped a photo, but it was finally picked up several months later.

    Roy is one piece that is used by some to “rule out” areas, as it very interesting to have a piece get that far. Hard to explain for some crash locations.

  8. @MichaelJohn

    “How are these Times actually known?”

    Simulate drift on a supercomputer by placing multiple pieces at various points along the arc; run the drift model forward from March 8 and see how long it takes each piece to reach various shores.

  9. TBill said:

    “Regarding, GIVAL and IGREX…that has been discussed (paper by Ron Belt) and it would appear in the early days MY military accidentally ID’ed another commercial aircraft, thought be SIA68, but realized relatively promptly (week or so) that MH370 was on N571. ”

    Do you mean they identified SIA68 travelling across the MY peninsula from IGARI->VAMPI->GIVAL->IGREX ?

    SIA68 is unlikely to be seen crossing the MY peninsula; it’s route seems to be Singapore->Barcelona, so it could only have been mistaken while in the Straits.

    The question would be: in that case, what was the other aircraft they saw flying from IGARI to VAMPI?

    And why didn’t they see MH370 on the IGARI->Kota Bharu->Penang… route at that time?

    Do you have a link to Ron’s paper please?

  10. All power to the new search. Hope they uncover something – at the very least, may they find some unknown treasure.

    Unfortunately, the plane isn’t there. There was no southern turn.

    Of course, it’s easy to make claims like my statements above. Suffice to say they rest on the foundations of intuition and deep experience in geopolitical machinations. They rely on a careful analysis of those “facts” that are the most incontrovertible.

    Jeff’s analysis and potential conclusions line up relatively closely with those of mine, at least on one critical dimension – that plane did not go South.

    I visit these blogs once in a while, and am gladdened by the quality and rigor of the exchange. Congrats to your collective resilience.


  11. @Adiyogi, Thanks for your encouragement.

    @all, Just an FYI, for those who haven’t been following developments on Twitter: Seabed Constructor has disappeared from online ship-tracking services. It vanished yesterday after exactly 10 days of searching. When last seen it had returned to the first part of the primary search area, an area which Malaysia had declared to have been successfully completed without any wreckage found. It appeared to have put a single AUV in the water and was in the process of following it when it disappeared. This has caused a lot of head scratching.

    Always a new mystery with this one…

  12. @PS9
    I do not have a link but I have the Ron Belt paper. I am happy to email let Jeff know if you want me to email.

    No I do *not* think they saw SIA68 at IGARI, rather they saw SIA68 in the Straits, and briefly mistook it for MH370 on a military radar blip. As far as commercial aircraft we had UAE343 thought to be about 6 min behind MH370 at VAMPI and then we had SIA68 heading up north thru IGREX etc. I believe we have the flight path of SIA68 somewhere.

    The recent ATSB report has a statement to the effect (paraphrasing) that MH370 could be confirmed at 1822 radar by comparison to other commercial aircraft…I would assume that was UAE EK343, but as always we are short on full disclosure of the secret radar facts.

  13. Interesting post and map on Mike Chillit’s twitter account showing just how close Seabed Contractor was to the presumed 1825 shipwreck discovered in earlier search work when it ceased transmitting its location. Perhaps that explains the appetite for a no find no pay agreement with Malaysia. No find: a tax write off. Find value in the shipwreck: ka-ching. Find value in the shipwreck and MH370: a double payday!

  14. With thanks to ‘Nederland’ on VI’s blog:

    The Australian Government led search operations for the missing Boeing 777 aircraft operating Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. The search involved the collection and analysis of large volumes of marine data from a remote area. The data obtained during the first phase of sea floor mapping is now available to the public:

    Scrolling down a few pages there is a map showing the primary radar data:

    I found that very interesting because the radar track is much cleaner than an early version attributed to NASA in ATSB MH370 Fact Sheet “Considerations on defining the search area” dated 26 May 2014. Notably the sharp corner in the turn-back has diappeared. The radius of that turn-back is still smaller than would be compatible with using the autopilot for that manoeuvre.

  15. @Gysbreght, I don’t think it’s right to call that track “primary radar data.” More like, it’s a cleaned-up track derived from a combination of secondary (before IGARI) and primary radar data, with an interpelated path where there are gaps. I wouldn’t put too much faith in it as an accurate representation of where the plane went. (Though some parts, such as the bend south of Penang, match quite well with what we’ve seen of the actual primary radar data.)

  16. @Jeff Wise:

    RE: “I don’t think it’s right to call that track “primary radar data.” “

    I think it is based on the primary radar data every 10 seconds that ATSB/DSTG received from Malaysia, as referred to in the DSTG “Bayesian Methods” book, slightly filtered and smoothed by the DSTG, and connected by a straight line to the single last radar point at 18:22 UTC.

  17. @Jeff

    You wrote:

    A big caveat: we don’t really know how long it takes the search team to assess the data collected during each pass.

    Victor Ianello wrote on his blog:

    Don Thompson reminds me that the data from an AUV mission is available only after the AUV is recovered after the completion of a dive, which could last 2+ days, based on the endurance of the batteries. It might take another 18 hours to analyze the data.

  18. @Michael John, Thanks for that clarification. Given how much they know about the inner workings of the OI operation, I wonder if they know why the ship’s tracking has been turned off?

  19. @Jeff

    ASLM seems to be the man in the know but I haven’t noticed any comment from him on the matter. Victor & Godfrey seem to have differing opinions over the reasons. So to answer your question. Then unless ASLM knows then I guess the IG are as baffled as the rest of us.

  20. @TBill

    “It is of course possible that a more complex piloted path to CI just happens to artificially appear like a straight flight south in the BTO/BFO data, but that idea currently lacks enough support.”

    only minor altitude/speed corrections are what is needed, don’t forget that straight path theory takes into account BFO error margin as well(admittedly less than path to CI would)


    “The ATSB has never tipped their hand regarding why they think the plane might have disappeared. Their search area is predicated on the idea that the plane flew without control inputs after turning south, but whether that was due to accident, hijacking, pilot suicide, etc, they’ve been avowedly neutral.”

    and that IS the main problem, they should’ve coordinated with experienced detectives instead of going all technical on something that was quite obvious intentional divert

  21. @Geysbreght – thanks for those two links at your 3:35 am post yesterday ( feb. 2 )…great stuff…G.

  22. Was the hijacking of MH370 initiated by pro-Russian Ukrainian Security Service SBU who were ousted from power by the Maidan 2014 revolution, and was it to aid in the annexation of Crimea?
    MH370 disappeared Mar 8 2014, just after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics had ended, and in the middle of the 2014 Winter Paralympics (7-16 Mar). It also happened during the Annexation of Crimea by Russia.
    Russia conducted a massive security operation to protect the Winter Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi.
    It hadn’t hosted an event of this magnititude in the recent past and may have looked to other countries which had faced similar security challenges, including it’s neighbour Ukraine, for lessons learnt.
    Ukraine was ideal because of it’s shared Soviet history, it’s geographic, cultural, and linguistic proximity as well as it’s close links to Russia.

    UEFA Euro 2012 Championship – Ukraine/Poland
    Ukraine (& Poland) won the bid in April 2007 to host UEFA Euro 2012, a surprise win considering the other 2 stronger bids. Equally surprisingly, 3 months later in July 2007, Russia won the bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.

    Two of the Ukraine soccer venues were located in the West, and 2 were located in Eastern Ukraine in the Donbass.

    Security for the UEFA Euro 2012 Championship was handled mainly by the Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) which was created after the breakup of the Soviet KGB. Most of it’s officers were holdovers from the Soviet KGB.

    ‘Russianization’ of Ukraine’s National Security Policy
    There had been a concerted effort to ‘Russianize’ Ukraine’s security policies since 2010 and the SBU was significantly influenced by the Russian FSB.

    In a highly enlightening article titled ‘Russianization of Ukrainian National Security Policy’, Taras Kuzio examines the dynamics that are driving the changes happening in Ukraine 2012.

    Since Viktor Yanukovych’s election in 2010, Ukraine’s politics and national security policies have become increasingly similar to those in Russia under Vladimir Putin. The influence of the siloviki in Ukraine is at its greatest, parliament is marginalized for the first time and the country’s democratization is under threat. These policies are a product of the authoritarian neo-Soviet political culture in the Party of Regions and unreformed siloviki, such as the Security Service (SBU), and with the goal of preventing a second Orange Revolution. Ukraine is also different from Russia in terms of the inability of the ruling party to use nationalism, weak national resources and regional diversity.

    Some interesting points from this article written in Nov 2012:
    – author hints clearly at the strong feelings held by Russia’s ruling classes in their attitude of ‘ownership’ towards Crimea, specifically the Sevastopol Naval Base.
    – majority of Ukrainians held negative attitude towards extending the lease on Sevastopol
    – the 2004 Orange Revolution could be repeated in 2015 elections and Russia may ‘lose’ Sevastopol forever when the time comes to renew the lease
    – the centralization of power in the president’s office, and undermining of parliamentary democracy was schemed up and copied from Moscow partly to dissuade Ukraine from taking away Sevastopol
    – power was centralized by the President and internal security was handled by SBU
    – the threat of NATO expansionism and loss of control over the Black Sea was one of Russia’s biggest fears

    Having read this article, and looking at events in hindsight, it seems like a no-brainer that Russia would attempt to annexe Crimea before 2015.

    Connection between EURO 2012, Olympics 2014, Crimea & MH370
    The Ukrainian SBU had close co-operation with Poland and NATO to assess security risks for the EURO 2012.
    Some of these involved transportation, specifically airline security.
    One big concern was hijacked civilian airlines, also known in NATO parlance as ‘renegades’, that could repeat the 9/11 style attacks.

    To thwart such attacks, security measures may have typically included deployment of In-flight Security Officers on board high risk civilian flights.

    Oleksander Yakyminko was the man in-charge of SBU from 2013-Feb 2014.
    He was originally trained as a pilot in the Soviet Air Force, and was stationed in Crimea 91-98.
    In 1998-99 he worked for a militarized security of the Donetsk State Aviation Company. His employment history between 2000-2007 is hidden. He was appointed by newly elected President Yanukovich as head of SBU in Sevastopol, Crimea in 2010, then Donetsk in 2011.
    He was awarded by President Yanukovich the following:

    Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky III. ( July 5, 2012 ) – for a significant personal contribution to the preparation and holding of the finals of the European Football Championship 2012 in Ukraine , the successful implementation of infrastructure projects, the maintenance of law and order and public security during the tournament, the rise of the international authority of the Ukrainian state, high professionalism

    2013 becomes head of SBU.
    Feb 19, 2014 the assualt on Maidan was initiated by the Alpha group of SBU.
    Feb 22, 2014 quits SBU, surfaces a few days later in Moscow.

    (source Wikipedia – click the Ukrainian version on the left, let Google translate)

    Q: What is the connection to MH370?
    French journalist Florence de Changy who has looked at the video of those who boarded MH370 has described the 2 Ukrainian passport holders in her book ‘Le Vol MH370 n’a pas disparu’ as the two men most likely to be considered hijackers if that is what was suspected in the disappearance of MH370. And according to an initial report from Reuters, they were also on the list of suspects along with the 2 Iranians .
    There is very little known about the 2 Ukrainian passport holders. They were cleared by the Ukrainian SBU in April 2014, but they were the very last to be cleared, whereas other passengers had been cleared much earlier.

    But can that verdict be trusted?

    According to an article on Mashable, “Ukraine’s top intelligence agency deeply infiltrated by Russian spies”

    pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, had ordered his operatives to steal a trove of state secrets from Ukraine’s Security Service, known as the SBU, before fleeing to Moscow on Feb. 22.

    During their raid on the spy agency, the thieves also stole data on more than 22,000 officers and informants as well as anything documenting decades of cooperation between the SBU and its Russian counterpart, the Federal Security Service, or FSB.

    What the burglars weren’t able to carry, they burned or destroyed.
    In the following weeks and months, the security service was thrown into turmoil as the agents’ new allegiances played out. After the Russian invasion of Crimea, thousands of Ukrainian spies switched sides and began reporting to Moscow. Similarly, as the Kremlin-backed insurgency took off in eastern Ukraine, dozens of Ukrainian agents there became agents of the Kremlin.

    “We have no idea who we can trust right now,” said a top SBU spy, still loyal to the government in Kiev. “Everybody is suspicious of everybody.”

    The SBU of Ukraine right upto Feb 22, 2014, and even for a few months afterwards was influenced by Russia.
    The pro-Russian SBU failed to quell the Maidan revolution and stop the pro-Russian govt. from toppling. The loss of Crimea looked inevitable.
    Therefore, the former leaders of SBU, in order to atone for their mistakes in the eyes of the Kremlin, and to retain their closeness to powerful elites in Moscow, may have desparately hatched the plan to hijack MH370 with military personel carrying valid Ukrainian passports. These passports and identities may have been among the 22000 that were stolen from the SBU head quarters in Feb 2014.
    The hijacking of MH370 distracted the world’s attention from the the annexation of Crimea, and brought the Kremlin some valuable time to implement the plan non-violently.

    But a question remains unanswered: was the hijacking and redirecting of an airplane towards the ocean a plan thought up by the Ukrainians/Russians, or was it originally thought up by NATO, and shared with Ukrainians as part of the preparation for EURO 2012?

  23. Whilst I seem to have suffered a credibility score of zero since announcing my belief in *Those* Tomnod images & that credibility seems to have gone into minus figures since I started adding comments to Jeff’s blog….

    However in regards to SeaBed Constructor going “Dark” I’m going to break with expected protocol & speculate that the reason is nothing to be suspicious about.

    A few observations. SeaBed Constructors AIS went dark shorty after the Malay observers boarded. It also came after Malaysia set up it’s weekly updates. So it seems obvious to me that Malaysia wishes to control the information. It seems that those observing & reporting on SCs progress are speculating over the movements SC is doing. Everytime SC stops or backtracks these unqualified observers & even more so unqualified commentators get the rest of us wondering what they may or may not have found. I can’t imagine this being helpful to the relatives. So Malaysia has taken the decision to stop AIS positions being reported & to instead update us via a weekly bulletin instead.

  24. *Footnote*

    Should I have said “Unqualified” observers Or commentators? Probably not. I’m sure I will be vilified even more for that. No doubt have these people growing their qualifications practically in my face.

  25. I will make 1 more point. I know the IG read your blog Jeff so here is a very valid comment.

    They slate us “Conspiracy” people for misleading the search for Mh370 or at the very worst putting the wrong ideas into the minds of the NOK. I’m not even sure that the NOK would take our views as anything other than speculation. But…

    We aren’t the 1s practically promising that OI WILL find the plane. How damaging will that be to the NOK. I’m reading some high value success rates from the IG. I’m struggling to see how that benefits the NOK. How will the NOK feel IF OI finds nothing? I’m struggling to see how the odds are anything above 50/50. It’s either there or it isn’t.

  26. @TBill:

    You recently posted (VI’s blog Feb 3, 1:11 PM) a “funny shape” for the IGARI switchback turn.

    You may be aware already that the funny shape results from specifying 4000 ft/min climb to FL420. At that altitude the airplane cannot achieve that rate of climb at constant speed, so the speed reduces (i.e. you command a ‘zoom’ climb). At constant bankangle the radius of turn reduces with reducing speed, hence the ‘funny shape’.

  27. Remember these positions they are searching are based on unprecedented satellite calculations. 1 milisecond margin is 300 km to both sides. And 600 km is a long way!

  28. @Gysbreght
    Thank you for the turn radius equation…that explains why I get same basic result even at 25 deg bank angle. I know it was a severe zoom climb, I was trying to match the IGARI shape and that was my first guess at how to do it. I was going to send to you but you got it.

  29. @TBill:

    Thanks for your reply. To match the IGARI turn-back you would have to repeat the exercise at 25 degrees bank, starting from 65 degrees heading (per sk999), wind 17 knots from 70 degrees (per ACARS 17:07 UTC).

  30. @Jeff Wise Posted January 6, 2018 at 6:11 PM:

    @Gysbreght, You are absolutely incorrect. The ATSB has made it very clear in its reports that Boeing simulations found that the plane could enter into steep spiral dives of commensurate rate of descent simply as a result of the autopilot switching off due to power interruption.

    In my reply I pointed out that in the recent Boeing similations spiral dives only developed several minutes after the time the SATCOM log-on messages would have been sent, and only in “In an electrical configuration where the loss of engine power from one engine resulted in the loss of autopilot (AP),”. I pointed out that a high-speed spiral dive involves high bank angle, high rate of turn, and small radius of turn. The radius of turn can be derived from the trajectories shown in Figure 6 of the ATSB report dated 2 November 2016. The pink line in the following chart shows the approximate radius of turn versus the distance travelled along Track no. 9:
    The airplane started turning at 18.4 NM along track, and would have sent a log-on request at 34.4 NM, a distance of 16 NM in 2 minutes, consistent with a ground speed of about 480 kt. At about 60 NM the radius of turn had reduced to 2.5 NM and the airplane would be in a tight spiral dive.

    In an electrical configuration where the loss of engine power from one engine resulted in the loss of autopilot, the airplane would continue with one engine inoperative and the remaining engine at either unchanged thrust or maximum climb thrust, i.e. a large thrust asymmetry.

    I would expect that after the first engine flameout the thrust asymmetry compensation (TAC) of the Flight Control System (FCS) would compensate the trust asymmetry by commanding a rudder deflection. Five seconds after the first engine flameout electrical power would be lost which would cause the FCS to change into secondary mode and TAC and autopilot would be lost. The airplane would then be essentially in trim for the thrust asymmetry existing at the time of losing the autopilot. As the airplane descends, the thrust of the remaining engine increases but, since the FCS is now in secondary mode and TAC is lost, the increase in thrust asymmetry would not be compensated and therefore the airplane would roll to high bank angles into a spiral dive.

  31. @Gysbreght, Am I correct in understanding that your analysis indcates that MH370 could only have generated the observed BFO values at 0:19 if:
    a) the plane was actively pushed into a dive by a human operator, or
    b) the plane was in an unusual electrical configuration in which the loss of a single engine resulted in loss of electrical power to the autopilot?

    If this is correct, do you know what this electrical configuration is (i.e. bus ties isolated) and what circumstances might give rise to it?

  32. @Jeff Wise:

    No, that is not what my analysis indicates. In none of the simulations that Boeing conducted in 2016 the BFO’s observed at 0:19 could have been generated at 0:19, which is 2 minutes after the loss of the autopilot. In my chart loss of the autopilot is where the track starts to turn, at 18.4 NM along the track. 2 minutes later the airplane is 16 NM further along the track at 34.4 NM, the point in ATSB’s Figure 6 where all tracks have been aligned to, and which corresponds to 0:19 for MH370. At that point the radius of turn is 9 NM, too low bank angle to generate the BFO’s observed at 0:19. Those BFO’s require a bank angle greater than 60 degrees, at which the radius of turn would be very much smaller than 9 NM.

    I’d rather leave the details of the electrical configuration to the systems experts who have access to the relevant documentation.

  33. TBill said:

    “No I do *not* think they saw SIA68 at IGARI, rather they saw SIA68 in the Straits, and briefly mistook it for MH370 on a military radar blip”

    I agree, but my point was, if it wasn’t SIA68 (as I said, not its route so they wouldn’t have) then what aircraft *could* they have seen flying IGARI/BITOD->VAMPI?

    Ie. was there a viable alternative to MH370 taking that route at that time of night?

    The Malaysians have never offered formal proof of the aircraft’s path after IGARI, they have only produced the Lido image – perhaps prepared by Ketchums as PR for the Lido meeting. And they quickly ‘sealed’ (aka classified as secret / hid) all radar data they had together with ATC transcripts and CCTV recordings. Why would they do that unless they had something they wished to hide? And the USA classified everything connected with MH370 similarly.

    Apparently the Lido image doesn’t even feature in the MY police report, and VI on his blog has recently said that an (un-named) Malaysian source has told him that the Lido image did *not* show MH370 *at all*, but only other aircraft. If that is true, then is there any radar data to confirm MH370 was actually in the lower part of the Straits (Penang -> MEKAR) at all?

    If not, then the early reports in Reuters from the MY military of the path IGARI->VAMPI->GIVAL->IGREX and Port Blair become possible again.

  34. On February 4, 2018 at 7:13 PM I posted a chart showing the track radius versus distance along track for MH370 simulation #9 conducted by Boeing in 2016. That radius was derived from a polynomial curve fit to the data of track angle versus distance along track.

    I wasn’t quite happy with the goodness-of-fit so I digitized the the trajectory again. In the following chart the first digitization is shown by the blue diamonds, and the second by green triangles. The two sets of data taken together indicate more clearly than before that the trajectory can be represented by segments of approximately constant radius. This would mean that distinct increases of bank angle probably occurred in the simulation at 18.9, 37.1 and 56 NM along the track. I thought this was perhaps interesting to someone.

    To determine the bank angle for each radius of turn the airspeed must be known. The distance travelled between the point where the airplane started to turn and the point where the final BTO transmission may have occurred indicates a groundspeed of 480 knots. If we ignore the effect of wind, then 16 degrees of bank would be consistent with 11.6 NM radius at 480 knots.

    BTW the groundspeed determined similarly from the tracks in normal electrical configuration was lower since the airplane had been flying with one engine inoperative when the autopilot was lost.

  35. Well, this is interesting…

    For nearly a week some aviation buffs and MH370 followers have been debating online whether the missing plane has in fact been secretly found and — if not — why the ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) was abruptly turned off for several days, preventing online observers from tracking its movements.

    The ship, Seabed Constructor, suddenly went “dark” on tracking websites not long after it had completed a curious circle, several kilometres wide, prompting many on Twitter to question what was inside the circle on the sea floor.

    The ship then headed south-west in a straight line, and a few kilometres later turned its AIS off.

    “I’m sticking with my theory that the big circle is a piece of debris, and the line south was to locate the plane. When they think they found it they turned off AIS as protocol,” one tweet said.

    “This. Is. Strange. I have never seen a ship do this. Maybe there’s an AUV lost down there?!?” said another.

    Seabed Constructor has spent two weeks scouring the ocean floor in the southern Indian Ocean for the fuselage or debris from MH370.

    Its operator Ocean Infinity — a Texas-based company — has signed a deal with the Malaysian Government to search a 25,000-square-kilometre area over 90 days, and will receive payment of between $US20 million and $US70 million only if it finds the missing plane.

    Speculations ship made secret detour to chest

    The decision to switch off the AIS prompted some to speculate that the ship had made a secret detour to a nearby shipwreck to retrieve a chest known to be on the sea floor.

    The shipwreck was discovered in 2015 during the previous Australian-led search for MH370, in waters south-west of the current search zone.

    The ship itself has all but dissolved over time, leaving only the metal frame and piles of nuts and bolts.

    But Paul Kennedy, chief executive of Fugro — the company that carried out the first undersea search — confirmed in 2016 that a large chest was the only thing left intact.

    “The whole ship has deteriorated. But there’s a big chest in about 4,000 metres of water.”

    The ship’s identity has not been confirmed, so it is impossible to know what, if anything, is in the chest.

    Aviation buff, John Zwicker, tweeted the chest “may be a box of old socks”.

    Mr Kennedy said the WA Maritime Museum had no records of a ship that matched the wreck found.

    But the anchor had “ceased manufacture” about 1820, meaning the vessel could be almost 200 years old.

    Others have speculated that it could be a Peruvian-built transport ship, the S.V. Inca, which disappeared on its way to Australia in 1911.

    Either way, Twitter has run hot with speculation that Ocean Infinity indeed took a deliberate detour to the wreck, presumably to retrieve the chest and any booty it might contain.

    “Tomorrow I’ll confirm the GPS I have for #Constructor down to the wreck and back. I’ve already confirmed it with my source. It happened. It isn’t a big deal from my point of view,” said Mike Chillit, a long-time MH370 follower.

    He questioned whether Australians had a right to share the spoils of any bounty brought up from the deep.

    Others are sceptical, given the strict 90-day deadline Ocean Infinity has to find MH370 if it wants to receive any payment.

    “I don’t see the point of OI going to have a look at the shipwreck now. They have a 90-day window, Malaysian ‘observers’ on board and a target: #MH370. They can look at it after the search if interested,” aviation buff Juan Valcarcel said.

    Seabed Constructor to dock in WA
    Ocean Infinity has repeatedly declined media requests for interview, so it may never reveal why it turned its AIS system off, or whether it used the three to four “silent” days to visit the shipwreck.

    The data behind the MH370 search

    The AIS was turned on only after the Seabed Constructor was apparently on its way to Fremantle in WA. It is due in port within the next 48 hours.

    A spokesman for the company has told the ABC that the stop is “a quick turnaround of the vessel and then continuing with the search”.

    Aviation experts say even with the AIS turned off, the ship is still visible on marine radar systems, but not on live website tracking apps.

    The Malaysian Government last night said the search has so far covered 7,500 of the 25,000 square kilometre priority area.

    So far two “points of interest” have been identified, but “upon further investigation, these POI’s were classified as geological”

  36. Kind of amusing, the speculation (even on VI’s site) that theres a wonderous ‘chest’
    at the bottom of the SIO that OI might have recovered.
    Although such a story might sell newspapers, the more prosaic probability is that
    the ‘chest’ is from a whaling vessel that came to grief.
    After cutting a whale into chunks apropriately sized to fit into the metal boiling
    container (to ‘boil out’ the oil), the oil would be tapped or scooped off the top
    of the fluid. Whales is big, so the container had to be large enough to fit large
    sized chunks into it.
    Note also the ‘nodules’ strewn about the wreck – probably coal for firing the boiling
    chest, which could look like this;

  37. The recent reactions to the Ocean Infinity search only reinforce a stance of confidentiality.

    The diatribe is ridiculous and counter productive, Ocean Infinity is officially obligated to Malaysia, there is no other entitlement here.

    No one else has stepped up to put money where their mouth is. Regardless of intention, they are the only game in town and have assumed this high-risk proposition.

    At the very least, this should buy them some latitude from the uninformed and ignorant spawned from social media.

  38. Connection between EURO 2012 security preparations, MH17, and MH370?
    The UEFA EURO 2012 soccer championship is the 2nd most watched soccer event in the world, and is considered a high profile target for terrorism. 2012 co-hosts Poland & Ukraine made subtantial security preparations.

    Some of these activities related to the securing of airspace over the venues. Both Poland and Ukraine considered the securing of airspace a high priority.


    Ukraine will use fighters and helicopters to guard its air space and put security and health services on full alert during the European soccer championship…
    The country’s top security and defense official, Andriy Klyuev, told security chiefs that the world would judge Ukraine by how it dealt with the security challenges posed by the month-long Euro-2012 tournament in June…
    Anti-terrorism measures include having 10 surface-to-air missile units on standby. Four air fighters and two military helicopters will be deployed to protect air space over the host cities, the Defence Ministry said.
    We will be permanently monitoring the air space of the match cities.

    According to this article, the biggest issues were crowdcontrol, terrorism/hijacking, and hookers. But the extent to which the airspace security is taken seriously by the host country can send a message of deterrance to potential terrorists.


    Fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles are set to be deployed in Poland’s four host cities for the Euro 2012 tournament.
    …Poland’s Government Security Centre (RCB),..declared a list of potential threats to the tournament earlier this year.
    The Newa SC, an upgraded version of the old Soviet S-125 Neva/Pechora surface-to-air missiles, is among the artillery on standby for the tournament, alongside GROMs (Polish anti-aircraft missiles).
    Meanwhile, three pairs of fighter jets will be policing Poland’s airspace for the duration of the tournament, supplemented by army helicopters and aircraft operated by the Ministry of the Interior.
    …According to government experts, dilemmas that are considered to be 60-70 percent likely to occur include road catastrophes, riots among fans, floods and even plane crashes.
    Furthermore, acts of terrorism, failures of communication systems, construction disasters and radiation contamination are considered to have a 50 to 60 percent chance of taking place.,Fighter-jets-and-missiles-on-standby-for-Euro-2012

    The interesting thing about this article is that in addition to preparations similar to the Ukrainians, the Poles also provide the likelyhood of a terrorist/hijacking attack. But what really curious about the percentages is that a higher % (60-70%) is given to aircrashes, vs. only 50-60% for terrorism.
    The percentages are derived from a threat assessment grid made by the Polish RCB which can be found below, made for the 2016 World Youth Day.

    Poland and Ukraine anticipated threats from the air and closely monitored airspace and deployed fighter jets and SAM’s to counter the threat. What kind of threat?
    In a post-911 environment, a hijacked airline is the obvious answer.

    Sharing of intelligence and deploying In-flight security officers (IFSO) are some ways to prevent hijackings.
    But in the event that a rogue pilot did take control of an aircraft, what options did they have?
    Shooting down the aircraft by jet fighters or SAM’s are one possibility, but that would be bad publicity for the hosts. A less visible method would be to bypass the pilot, take control of the aircraft either remotely or via some other means onboard, and land the aircraft or deliberately crash it somewhere less populated.

    With thousands of flights criss-crossing the european airspace during EURO 2012, all cannot be individually monitored. Instead the known characteristics of each flight must filtered through a threat matrix, and high risk flights must be paid extra attention.

    The MH17 connection
    Malaysia Airlines departing KL enroute to Northern European destinations flies over both Ukraine & Poland.
    Malaysian airport security standards are lax, and Malaysia has unwittingly allowed Al-Qaida terrorists through their airports in the past. Thus, Malaysian Airlines may have been considered high risk. It may have been closely monitored and may even have hosted In-flight Security Officers (IFSO) from Ukraine & Poland onboard during EURO 2012. The first route map of MH17 under the Wikipedia subheading ‘Crash’, starkly illustrates this issue.

    Back in 2007, both Poland & Ukraine were surprise winners of the bid to host the 2012 EURO because these were both less advanced in capacity, capital and infrastructure than the other countries competing for the bid. They both could not afford any embarrassing mistakes with security for the event.
    Poland & Ukraine may have deployed IFSO’s on board Malaysian Airlines during EURO 2012, and the Ukrainians may have gained experience become famliar with the aircraft flown by MAS, specifically Boeing 777.
    Ukrainian security during EURO 2012 was handled by the SBU which had strong influences from Russia. But the leaders of the SBU were incapable of suppressing the Maidan protestors who toppled the pro-Russian govt. in Ukraine. The pro-Russian leaders of the SBU were originally installed to prevent Ukraine from leaving Russia’s orbit and prevent Russia losing Crimea. However, when the pro-Russian govt. in Ukraine toppled, Russia’s loss of Crimea looked inevitable, and so the leaders of SBU escaped to Crimea and plotted ways to help Russia annexe Crimea. Making a MAS aircraft disappear into the Indian Ocean distracted the world’s attention, and brought Russia valuable time to conduct the non-violent annexation of Crimea.

  39. This one is a six minute radio clip.

    The ship searching for missing Malaysia airlines flight 370 is today docking in Fremantle to refuel and resupply.

    At the same time, a power struggle is opening up in the Malaysian led official investigation into the disappearance of the airliner.

    Four civilian air crash investigators, including the lead authority on analysing black box flight data and voice recorders, have been sidelined.

    The Malaysian military wants to replace them with seven fighter and helicopter pilots from the Royal Malaysian Airforce, with far less crash investigation experience.

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