Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Location of MH370

News sources are reporting that U.S. Intelligence officials are leaning toward the theory that "those in the cockpit" were responsible for the mysterious disappearance of the commercial jetliner, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.  Not knowing exactly what happened to Flight 370, speculation centers around theories of hijacking or foul play by the pilots.  These theories that are presented as the most probable cause of what happened to Flight 370 involve breaches in security and fear that resonate an ever present culture of fear over the past 13 years.  While we do not yet know all of the facts behind the disappearance of Flight 370, we should not resort to terrorism as the cause, and we should use sound judgement and scientific reasoning when proposing theories. Some officials, who do not fully understand the cause behind events speculate on theories revolving around fear.

I would like to present my theory of what happened to Flight MH370, using more sound judgement and scientific reasoning.  I received my degree in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University, where I specialized in Flight Mechanics and Structural Failure and Fatigue. I began my career working at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston where I worked in the Flight Design and Dynamics Department for the Mission Operations Directorate.  There, I specialized in crew flight procedures, radar, and navigation systems. After NASA, I worked for Boeing on the V-22 flight control system, then later for Motorola specializing in radio frequency communications and how RF signals propagated.

What most likely happened to Flight MH370, was that fatigue cracking occurred on the Boeing 777-200 series aircraft.  On July 23, 2012, The FAA published an Airworthiness Directive (AD) (FAA-2012-0149-0004) for Boeing Company Model 777-200, which was prompted by reports of fatigue cracks in the lap joints, and an Airworthiness Directive to detect and correct such fatigue cracking, which could grow large and cause sudden decompression and the inability to sustain limit flight and pressure loads.  This AD was updated on April 15, 2013 to include scribe lines where external decals have been applied or removed across lap joints and large cargo door hinges. In addition, on April 2, 2009  the FAA issued an airworthiness directive (AD 2009-02-05) regarding the airplane information management system (AMS) to prevent an unannunciated loss of cabin pressure, which if an undetected loss of pressure event were to cause an unsafe pressure in the cabin, the flight crew could become incapacitated.

The last known position of MH370 was at 1:21 AM at 35,000 feet, roughly 90 miles off the east coast of Malaysia. At around 1:30 a.m., the aircraft's transponder stopped responding. Under the theory that a sudden decompression occurred at that time due to fatigue cracks, the pilot and copilot would have had 15 - 30 seconds of consciousness to quickly address the problem.  If they were aware of the decompression through an annunciation loss of cabin pressure, they would have put on their oxygen masks, turned off the autopilot, begin their descent to below 10,000 feet, and head for the nearest landing spot.  If they did not place their oxygen masks on first before they began their descent, or if they attempted to troubleshoot the issue before putting on their oxygen masks, they would have lost consciousness before they reached 10,000 feet.

With the plane not on auto-pilot, in a descent with unconscious pilots, one may think the plane would crash, but this is where flight mechanics, aircraft stability and flight controls play a role in what happened to flight MH370. As the plane descended on its own, (without auto-pilot and unconscious pilots) it would continue to pick up speed to a point where the increasing speed creates more and more lift over the wings. When more and more lift is created, this force causes the plane to pitch up.  The plane may have descended to 23,000 feet before it began the pitch up maneuver.  At that point, the aircraft is pitched up and begins a climb.  It will continue to climb until the atmosphere becomes thinner and thinner and less and less lift is produced over the wings. This would typically occur at 45,000 feet. This roller coaster ride would continue between those two altitudes until the aircraft no longer has fuel to power the engines.

This pitching up and climbing and then pitching down and descending, accompanied by speeding up and slowing does is one of the basic flight dynamics modes of aircraft, and is called the phugoid mode.  I have to thank Dr. Pearson at Iowa State University for drilling this into me in his flight controls class and  Dr. P.J. Herman who taught flight performance where we flew a plane and demonstrated the speed stability of an aircraft by placing it into a phugoid mode.

Few may remember Payne Stewart who died in October 1999 when his plane experienced rapid decompression and his plane continued to fly for almost four hours after a rapid decompression had occurred and the flight crew was incapacitated. Two North Dakota Air National Guard F-16 intercepted the plane and identified that the cockpit window was iced over and there was no movement of the control surfaces of the plane.  During the plane's flight, the aircraft's altitude reached a maximum of 48,900 feet.  The NTSB added a commentary on the cause of the accident that stated.
Following depressurization, the pilots did not receive supplemental oxygen in sufficient time and/or adequate concentrations to avoid hypoxia and incapacitation.  A possible explanation for the failure of the pilots to receive emergency oxygen is that their ability to think and act decisively was impaired because of hypoxia before they could don their oxygen masks. Research has shown that a period of as little as 8 seconds without supplemental oxygen following rapid depressurization to about 30,000 feet may cause a drop in oxygen saturation that can significantly impair cognitive functioning and increase the amount of time to complete complex tasks.
While the transponder was shut down at 1:21 AM, this could have been caused by the rapid decompression and an electrical failure, or by the pilot, in a hypoxia state attempting to set the transponder code to 7500 to indicate an emergency, and accidentally turning it off in confusion.

With regards to the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), most commercial pilots would have no idea how to disable all of the communications systems.  More than likely additional structural failures occurred during the 5 - 7 hour flight while the plane was experiencing high stresses as a result of the phugoid mode that the aircraft was experiencing.

The reason the aircraft has not been located using ACARS is because one can only determine the distance the aircraft is away from the satellite based on the communications angle, it does not have enough information to determine the bearing, and thus based on the range of the aircraft, it could have flown north through China, or south in the Indian Sea.  Since no radar contact occurred if the plane was on a northerly route, the plane is more than likely took the southerly route, and continued flying until 8:11 am, when the last confirmed ACARS transmission occurred.

According to a map released by Malaysian officials, the aircraft's location was along a constant declination from the ACARS satellite of approximately 40 degrees:


And given the assumption the aircraft would have been spotted by radar along the northerly trajectory, the most probable location is in the south Indian Sea, away from any land or radar.



34 comments:

  1. I like your research and subsequent theory, however if this was the case, Australia has Jindalee OTHR (Over the Horizon Radar) Capable of over 4000km of 0-60,000ft of visual range. And Diego Garcia in the central Indian Ocean (South of Maldives) has fairly strong OTHR radar coverage as well. Either of these would have record of the plane, even if incomplete we could use that to dispatch ships to find the CDR beacon (Activated at 2.5g water entry)

    Overlay your above map with this:


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jindalee_Operational_Radar_Network
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diego_Garcia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's an overlay of the radar footprints. It's still possible that Flight MH370 was beyond the range of these stations.
      Radar Footprints

      Delete
    2. And don't forget that the aircraft diverted shortly after take off.

      Delete
    3. In stunning Revelations it is believed Captain Shah is the Mass Murderer of the 238 people aboard MH370.

      More specifically information from an undisclosed source regarding Pilot Shahs last phone call and actions, has at last confirmed just what could have happened to MH370.

      That is the MASS MURDER of 238 PEOPLE aboard MH370 through the actions of Captain Zahaire Ahmad Shah.

      It is believed Shah planned and trained for his mission of murder meticulously through the the flight simulator discovered at his home.

      see the rest of the article at http://www.mh370massmurder.com/

      Delete
  2. some really great knowledge here... Why then did they (Authorities) come out and say Pirates-Hijacking. Surly they would know these details and with Boeing and RR there, & people in the know such as you they could give them more info about what the faults will cause etc?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In stunning Revelations it is believed Captain Shah is the Mass Murderer of the 238 people aboard MH370.

      More specifically information from an undisclosed source regarding Pilot Shahs last phone call and actions, has at last confirmed just what could have happened to MH370.

      That is the MASS MURDER of 238 PEOPLE aboard MH370 through the actions of Captain Zahaire Ahmad Shah.

      It is believed Shah planned and trained for his mission of murder meticulously through the the flight simulator discovered at his home.

      see the rest of the article at http://www.mh370massmurder.com/

      Delete
  3. the AD does not affect the B777-200ER
    http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/848168.shtml

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Im not so sure, i think Boeing have already said its all 777 series. Do you have an article showing different information?

      Delete
    2. It says in what you linked
      SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for

      certain

      (The Boeing Company) Model 777-200 and -300 series airplanes.

      Delete
    3. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/12/us-malaysia-airplane-faa-idUSBREA2B1YN20140312

      Delete
    4. The airworthiness directive you are referring to relates to aircraft that have SATCOM, and you are correct that AD does not apply.

      However there was an additional AD regarding lap joints and scoring on decals that pertains to this aircraft and is unrelated to the AD you are referring to.

      Delete
  4. It's a very detailed theory, but still doesn't fit some of the known facts of the case.

    In addition to the phugoid mode altitude variability, the aircraft changed direction multiple times and navigated through waypoints heading west. I don't see how catastrophic decompression could cause that fact to occur.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't seen any solid evidence that the aircraft actually navigated through predetermined waypoints. A waypoint can be located anywhere, and the fact that unnamed sources are stating that radar had what they believe was the aircraft at a waypoint is meaningless.

      Delete
    2. In stunning Revelations it is believed Captain Shah is the Mass Murderer of the 238 people aboard MH370.

      More specifically information from an undisclosed source regarding Pilot Shahs last phone call and actions, has at last confirmed just what could have happened to MH370.

      That is the MASS MURDER of 238 PEOPLE aboard MH370 through the actions of Captain Zahaire Ahmad Shah.

      It is believed Shah planned and trained for his mission of murder meticulously through the the flight simulator discovered at his home.

      see the rest of the article at http://www.mh370massmurder.com/

      Delete
  5. Two more tidbits from the Daily Mail today.

    1. The last known position of the flight, six hours before the satellite pings went silent, had it at the northern end of the Malacca Strait on a NW heading into the Andaman Sea.

    2. Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was an ‘obsessive’ supporter of Malaysia’s opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, and hours before the doomed flight left Kuala Lumpur it is understood 53-year-old Shah attended a controversial trial in which Ibrahim was jailed for five years.

    This is looking more and more like a rogue pilot who took the plane on a spur of the moment ride to oblivion. When USAF Captain Craig Button took his life in his A-10 in western Colorado, he flew around the AZ, NM and CO region for two hours before crashing the plane with 3-10 minutes of fuel left onboard.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. 1. I think thats what he's saying from that point the plane went south.
      2. Large denials from the Anwar camp on this....
      i was thinking about suicide earlier, if it was your last flight you'd really want it to be a "joy" flight. But i just don't know how someone could do this to so many families?

      At the end of the day i really feel people are "hoping" its a hijacking for the optimism of passenger survival.

      Delete
    2. If the pilot and passengers were all incapacitated or dead from cabin decompression, what would cause the autopilot to change directions in such a controlled manner? There's no circumstances that produce that result - so, the plane must have been under the active control of a conscious pilot.

      If the Daily Mail report is correct and the pilot had attended the trial of the opposition leader and was incensed over the result, he could have acted rashly, and flown around in a semi-panic not knowing exactly what he was going to do, or maybe he considered flying the plane into a Malaysian political target but decided not to.

      Delete
  6. What a load of rubbish. The transponder was turned off. The communications system was manually deactivated and IF the plane crashed at sea in the deep southern Indian ocean, then why didn`t the buoy activate a mayday and where is its beacon???

    ReplyDelete
  7. To many what ifs going on here.
    The craft had been serviced ten days prior yo this flight.
    Probable what if.
    Slip in a remote device to cut power feed to transponder and communications. Disable emergency beacon.
    Craft controlled by laptop from one of passengers. Just a theory.

    Ah, but what do I know. I'm just a girl.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very nice conjecture, but one unexplained issue: according to the report, MH370 seems to have utilized FMS, with turns initiated by programmed GPS waypoints. That means someone has entered those waypoints to divert the plane. It does not hold that the nearly incapacitated pilot has wrongly entered the waypoints, by the same logic of transponder code input. Any guess on this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1) The pilot was experienced in flying from his home base. Inputting a preferred diversion waypoint in case of emergency would be a logical thing to do.

      2) The transponder may nave been switched off or to standby as a matter of habit. Pilots do this so as not to inadvertently send one of the three emergency codes. Perhaps the co pilot forgot to reset to run condition in a panic. Or, perhaps because of the hand off to the Vietnam ATC a different code was entered. Have we any records from ATC in Vietnam??

      Delete
  9. I do think the ghost plane scenario caused by systems failures is the most likely scenario, but what still confuses me is that the trajectory indicated by the last radar data west of Malaysia does not lead to the southern arc of possible locations at 8:11 AM. It seemed to be traveling west. Is it possible the plane veered south flying as a ghost plane? Or is it possible that it was already flying in a southerly direction at the point of last radar sighting?

    Also, what to make of the info that came out last night about the autopilot programming? Do we know what was programmed, and when in relation to the last communication?

    Lastly, what about any previous satellite pings to 8:11 AM? Were there no pings prior to that, or if there were, why have their possible locations not been released?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have been following chris goodfellow's blog (comments now closed). He likewise has a theory regarding in flight fire which I agree may explain some of the questions about lack of communications.

    Some facts

    1) The ACARS reports are on an automatic schedule so there is no evidence that the flight crew or anyone else deliberately turned of the ACARS reports.

    2) The Satellite pings are a red herring. As presented it can be just as easily inferred that the plane flew to one of the points on one arc and stopped.

    3) Fire is as big a possibility.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In stunning Revelations it is believed Captain Shah is the Mass Murderer of the 238 people aboard MH370.

      More specifically information from an undisclosed source regarding Pilot Shahs last phone call and actions, has at last confirmed just what could have happened to MH370.

      That is the MASS MURDER of 238 PEOPLE aboard MH370 through the actions of Captain Zahaire Ahmad Shah.

      It is believed Shah planned and trained for his mission of murder meticulously through the the flight simulator discovered at his home.

      see the rest of the article at http://www.mh370massmurder.com/

      Delete
  11. More than the Payne Stewart crash, there was the loss of Helios flight 522, a Boeing 737 that crashed near Athens in 2005. The cockpit crew failed to recognize a pressurization problem on climb-out, and they passed out as the plane continued on to 35,000 feet. It flew onward on autopilot circling its destination until the gas ran out. That's the simple version.
    As for your roller coaster conjecture I read something similar elsewhere. I suspect the plane might tend to stall and roll-off to the left or right at the top of the arc, which could explain the course changes. When a lot of these ideas and histories come together there are workable accident scenarios, which I find more believable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. to me the course changes could be explained by what happened to the Helios flight. when the Helios flight reached its target airport, it went into a holding pattern. if the MH370 was programmed to land at an airport, but the crew was incapacitated before they could land it, went into a holding pattern and then the autotpilot failed, it could be facing any direction and continue from there.

      Delete
    2. In stunning Revelations it is believed Captain Shah is the Mass Murderer of the 238 people aboard MH370.

      More specifically information from an undisclosed source regarding Pilot Shahs last phone call and actions, has at last confirmed just what could have happened to MH370.

      That is the MASS MURDER of 238 PEOPLE aboard MH370 through the actions of Captain Zahaire Ahmad Shah.

      It is believed Shah planned and trained for his mission of murder meticulously through the the flight simulator discovered at his home.

      see the rest of the article at http://www.mh370massmurder.com/

      Delete
  12. It is reported that data from the OTHR is being supplied by Australia (at last) and it coincides with your supposition of the possible location of the aircraft and possible related objects sighted. Albeit your supposition is entirely based on the reporting of erratic flight path and altitude after take off which convinces you it is a technical fault / fire / depressurisation, which allowed it to fly for over 8 hours using your fugoid theory. Though surely without precise transmission data from the plane, each descent and ascent could potentially send it off in any direction at any time. Other than that you have not much else to go with. Admittedly, it seems consistent that the last ACAS was at 1.07 and the next one due at 1.37 and between this time the transponder stopped transmitting so some timeafter 1.21 you assume technical fault.
    However, it is still entirely possible that this is an hijacking of some sort, which I believe it is. Could the 777 fly 8 hours with a technical fault in a straight line as you suggest? Maybe the intended destination was north (Iran/Afghanistan) and quite possibly it is at the upper end of the 40* inclination of the satellite position.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In stunning Revelations it is believed Captain Shah is the Mass Murderer of the 238 people aboard MH370.

      More specifically information from an undisclosed source regarding Pilot Shahs last phone call and actions, has at last confirmed just what could have happened to MH370.

      That is the MASS MURDER of 238 PEOPLE aboard MH370 through the actions of Captain Zahaire Ahmad Shah.

      It is believed Shah planned and trained for his mission of murder meticulously through the the flight simulator discovered at his home.

      see the rest of the article at http://www.mh370massmurder.com/

      Delete
  13. Very robust theory. And the plane is likely to be near Perth

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ive followed this article since you wrote it, promoted it on twitter, guardian.com, other forums & FB. Thank you for showing your faith in the Pilots and Crew. i feel they only deserve this until the truth is found, otherwise. Its seems AMSA have found credible data of objects close to your location of the west coast of WA. Only time will tell what happened and how. My heart still grieves for all the families and loved ones 12 days on.

    ReplyDelete
  15. In the article, you said the pilot was probably switching squawk codes to 7500 to indicate an emergency. 7500 is the hijack squawk code. 7700 is the emergency one or 7600 for comms failure.

    ReplyDelete
  16. In stunning Revelations it is believed Captain Shah is the Mass Murderer of the 238 people aboard MH370.

    More specifically information from an undisclosed source regarding Pilot Shahs last phone call and actions, has at last confirmed just what could have happened to MH370.

    That is the MASS MURDER of 238 PEOPLE aboard MH370 through the actions of Captain Zahaire Ahmad Shah.

    It is believed Shah planned and trained for his mission of murder meticulously through the the flight simulator discovered at his home.

    ReplyDelete