MH370 Flight Around Penang

MH370 Path around Penang Island. (Click on image to enlarge.)


The civilian radar data for MH370 that became publicly available in April 2018 provides insights as to how MH370 was flown after the transponder was disabled around 17:20:31 UTC. After flying by waypoint IGARI and turning back, the aircraft passed to the north of Kota Bharu Airport, crossed the Malaysian peninsula in a southwest direction, passed to the south of Penang Island, turned to the northwest, and flew over the Malacca Strait. Here, we look more closely at the flight path as it flew towards, around, and away from Penang.

In order better understand the sequence of inputs to the flight control system, we created a simulation using the PMDG 777 model in Microsoft Flight Simulator. In particular, we studied whether the aircraft might have been flown with the pilot providing inputs to the autopilot, and what those inputs might have been.

Although we can calculate the groundspeed from the radar data, the altitude of this portion of the flight is not known. In the simulation, the flight segment near Penang was flown with the assumption of a level flight at FL340 and at Mach 0.84, and with representative meteorological data. These assumptions are consistent with the observed groundspeeds of around 510 knots. Within a reasonable range, the assumptions about altitude, Mach number, and atmospheric conditions do not materially change our observations and conclusions for this portion of the flight.


A flight simulation with the autopilot engaged was created in the following manner:

  1. In the Flight Management Computer (FMC), Penang Airport (WMKP) was set as the destination, and the procedure for an arrival to the ILS04 Runway via the BIDM1A standard terminal arrival route (STAR) was selected. The waypoints for this complete route would be BIDMO- PUKAR-ENDOR-MEKAT-KENDI-CF04-FF04-RW04. The final three waypoints are the final approach course fix, the final approach fix, and the runway threshold, in that order, for an ILS approach to Runway 04.
  2. Of these waypoints, all are deleted from the route except ENDOR and FF04. VAMPI is added after FF04.
  3. The aircraft approaches ENDOR with the autopilot engaged and LNAV selected. After passing ENDOR, the aircraft automatically turns towards FF04.
  4. About 2 NM before FF04, TRK SEL is chosen and the pilot turns the selection knob to steer towards OPOVI using the map in the navigational display (ND) as a guide. The aircraft passes FF04 about 0.4 NM to the right. (If the autopilot had remained in LNAV, the aircraft would not have flown exactly over FF04, as the aircraft would have “cut the corner” as it turned towards VAMPI.)
  5. After passing near OPOVI, TRK SEL of 300° is dialed with a maximum bank angle of 15°. This initiates a turn to the right at 15°. When the track of 300° is approached, the aircraft automatically rolls out of the turn and maintains this track.
  6. Once established on a track of 300°, LNAV mode is selected as the next mode.
  7. At this track angle, the aircraft path converges towards the route leg defined by the waypoints FF04-VAMPI. At about 30 NM from FF04, as the aircraft approaches this leg, the autopilot mode automatically changes from TRK SEL to LNAV, and the route leg is captured.
  8. The plane proceeds in LNAV mode past Pulau Perak and towards VAMPI on the path defined by FF04-VAMPI.

The next figure shows how the waypoints and route legs would appear in the navigation display (ND) in the cockpit after the aircraft had just passed ENDOR and with the route configured as ENDOR-FF04-VAMPI. The route (magenta line) shows the path the aircraft would have followed if the autopilot remained in LNAV mode as the aircraft rounded Penang Island. By comparing the preceding figure with the one below, it is clear that the autopilot changed to a different mode before FF04 and changed back to LNAV mode when the path converged on the LNAV route about 30 NM from FF04.

Navigational display after passing waypoint ENDOR.


There are some interesting observations about this path:

  1. The agreement between the simulated flight path and the civilian radar data is very good, including the intercept and capture of the route leg to the northwest and towards VAMPI. This suggests that this portion of the flight path was flown in autopilot, although it is nearly impossible to prove that the aircraft was not manually flown.
  2. The final civilian radar targets fall close to the path defined by FF04-VAMPI. This suggests that VAMPI was selected as a waypoint before reaching FF04, which further implies that there was an intention to fly northwest over the Malacca Strait and to intercept VAMPI even when the aircraft was near Penang. (The distance between FF04 and VAMPI is 166 NM.)
  3. While in the vicinity of Penang Island, the high measured speed, the implied high altitude, and the selection of VAMPI as a waypoint suggest that there was no true intention to land at Penang Airport.
  4. The selection of VAMPI as a waypoint while in the vicinity of Penang is consistent with the unverified military radar data that was shown to the MH370 family members at the Lido Hotel in Beijing on March 21, 2014. That radar data shows an aircraft that intercepted airway N571 at VAMPI.
  5. Although there was no true intention to land at Penang Airport, the flight path may have been chosen to deceive radar operators into believing there was an intention to land.

Possible Deception to Land at Penang

In the figure below, the flight path from MH370 is plotted together with two recent Air Hong Kong flights (both LD561) for the route Ho Chi Minh City to Penang. These flight paths are representative of arrivals to Penang from the northeast. The LD561 paths do not follow the BIDM1A approach route and bear little resemblance to MH370’s path. Likely, the flight crews received vectors from Butterworth Approach to intercept and establish the final approach on the localizer for Runway 04. One of the flights was established at the final approach course fix (CF04) and the other was established only 3 NM from threshold. In the both cases, the intercept with the final approach course required a turn less than 90°. On the other hand, if MH370 had intercepted the localizer, it would have required a turn of about 135°, which would have been a very sharp turn.

MH370 Path shown with two Air Hong Kong arrivals. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Airline pilot Juanda Ismail noticed that MH370’s crossing of the ILS approach occurs at a similar location and similar intercept angle to what would be flown in the course reversal procedure for ILS04. The procedure is shown in the figure below, and consists of an outbound leg to 7 NM from the threshold of the runway at a track of 222°, a 45° right turn to a track of 267°, a straight leg, a 180° left turn to a track of 87°, a straight leg, followed by a 45° left turn to intercept the inbound approach course on a track of 42°. In the figure above, this same course reversal procedure is represented by the black curve with the arrow.

Approach for ILS (DME LOC) for RW04. (Adapted from Jeppesen.)

In the course reversal procedure, the straight leg at 267° is similar to part of the path that MH370 flew. However, in comparing MH370’s path to the course reversal procedure, it is missing the outbound leg, the 180° turn, and the final intercept. As the altitude for capturing to the glide slope is 2500 ft at FF04 (shown as D7.8 IPG in the figure), clearly there was no intention on the part of the pilot to actually perform the procedure and to land. However, it is possible that by flying an element of the course reversal procedure, there was a deliberate attempt to deceive radar operators into believing that MH370 had an intention to land.

With waypoints ENDOR-FF04-VAMPI selected as the route, there is a question as to why the pilot chose to not remain in LNAV mode when approaching FF04, as this would have turned the aircraft and put it on a direct northwest path to VAMPI without the need for pilot intervention. One explanation is that once a turn to the northwest towards VAMPI occurred, it would be clear to the air traffic controllers at Butterworth that there was no intention to land. Entering TRK SEL mode and steering the plane towards OPOVI before tracking back towards the FF04-VAMPI leg delayed that discovery and also positioned the aircraft to initiate the turn further from Butterworth.

It is also noteworthy that once a northwest track was established, the aircraft was tracking to pass through the restricted area designated WMD-412A. This would be expected to draw the attention of the military air traffic controllers at Butterworth. The relationship between the military and civilian ATC is described in this section from the Factual Information released in March 2015:

Provision of approach control service (within lateral limits of Butterworth Control Zone: 5,500 ft. altitude – FL245. (elsewhere 2,500 ft. altitude – FL245). Air traffic to/from the civilian Penang International Airport (PIA) is provided by military ATCOs who have been licensed by the ATI Division develops and establishes the ANS safety standards and performs safety oversight and to ensure the provision of services to civil traffic. The rationale for such an arrangement is based on the military activities at Butterworth Military Airport (BMA) which is in close proximity to PIA, and other military activities carried out over the high seas in danger areas WMD 412A and WMD 413A (permanently established). Furthermore, the final approach segments of both the PIA and the BMA intersect. No major incident has been recorded with the present arrangement/delegation of authority.


  1. MH370’s flight path near Penang can be replicated with the autopilot engaged.
  2. The flight path near Penang is consistent with a navigation system that is fully operational.
  3. It is likely that waypoint VAMPI was entered in flight computers before crossing the approach path to runway ILS04, some 166 NM away.
  4. The flight path near Penang is consistent with the image of the military radar data in the Malacca Strait that was never officially released.
  5. It is very unlikely that there was an intention to land at Penang Airport.
  6. It is possible that the elements of the flight path near Penang were chosen to deceive radar operators into believing that the aircraft had an intention to land.


I gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments and suggestions offered by fellow IG members Don Thompson, Richard Godfrey, and Mike Exner.

458 Responses to “MH370 Flight Around Penang”

  1. Dennis Workman says:


    cut-paste below from Victor’s post “Insights from the Unredacted Satellite Logs” (7/4/2017). Are you saying “likely” should be replaced by “certain” in the Inference section?

    Observation: During a log-on sequence, the SATCOM transmits a value for the “Prev Sat ID”. If the log-on occurs after a log-off request, or after a power interruption, the previous satellite value is cleared and a value of 63 (077) is transmitted. This value was transmitted for the log-on at 18:25 and the log-on at 00:19. There may be other causes for 63 to be transmitted that did not occur during MH371. (@el-gato, Don Thompson, and Richard Godfrey)

    Inference: Since no log-off request was recorded prior to the log-ons at 18:25 and 00:19, it is likely that a power interruption preceded each of these log-ons.

  2. Ventus45 says:

    “6. It is possible that the elements of the flight path near Penang were chosen to deceive radar operators into believing that the aircraft had an intention to land.”

    With a ground speed of 500+ knots, that close in ?
    They would have to be pretty dumb ATCO’s.
    The aircraft was flying at more than double initial descent / approach speeds, and it was way too close in, for an acute turn for RW04, and even with the last option of the course reversal procedure for ILS04, I really do doubt that any ATCO, EVEN A “NEWBIE” trainee, would be deceived.

  3. David says:

    @ALSM. From Victor’s previous post re the IDG,“If mechanically disconnected, it can not be reconnected in flight.” I agree (my comment being, “As to other differences, disconnection is irreversible in the air….”)

    “We know the AES power was restored, so it is safe to assume that the “disconnect” was not a mechanical disconnect.”
    Victor has indicated that the right IDG could have powered it.

    There is another hypothetical possibility. Selecting all generators off after IGARI, even including disconnecting the IDGs, would auto-start the APU (and deploy the RAT). If the left bus tie were isolated the APU would provide power for the autopilot etc but not the left main bus, which powers the SDU.
    The SDU then could be re-powered by selecting the left bus tie to Auto.

    An alternative would be to shut the APU down during auto-start and restart it to power the SDU, left bus tie in Auto.

    Both instances are hypothetical since another explanation would be needed for the 00:19 log-on, such as other manual selections.

    Another outcome with this hypothetical is that fuel consumption would be affected by the APU, particularly its inlet drag, and RAT deployment would increase drag also. There could be offsetting savings were bleed air deselected or the a/c packs, or one a/c pack.
    (A footnote is that the APU would not provide air for air conditioning at high altitude were engine bleed air selected off.)

    Also missing in this scenario is the reason for closing the left bus tie for the SDU reboot, though the reason for that is missing in others scenarios also.

    @TBill. Case 16 is also an “alternative” I notice, the right backup generator providing transfer bus with power until the engine fails. However another previous action would have been needed to de-power the SDU after the 6th arc.

  4. David says:

    For those interested in a colourful summary of some accounts of 1 MDB, this is from Peter Alford, published in ‘The Weekend Australian’, 12th Jan 2019.

  5. TBill says:

    Thank you for the new topic. I have a lot of ideas, having flown the April_2018 radar path on PSS777 (by inserting manual waypoints along the path).

    But first, don’t we have a basic discrepancy with the Safety Investigation Report?

    It says “At 1801:59 UTC [0201:59 MYT] the data showed the “blip” on a heading
    of 022°, speed of 492 kt and altitude at 4,800 ft. This is supported by the
    “blip” detected by Military radar in the area of Pulau Perak at altitude 4,800
    ft at 1801:59 UTC [0201:59 MYT].”

    (They seem to suggest two independent data sources in agreement: data and military radar)

    I am thinking we have an eyewitness at Pulau Perak? That person ought to know if it was a low flying haircut or a distant overhead flight? It seems odd for Malaysia to report a low flying MH370 at Pulau Perak if we really think it was FL350-ish.

    Later we can list possible objectives for the Penang flyby, you have listed some new ideas. It’s a bit of a logical leap on my part, but I wonder if cell phone registration could be on the possibility list? And thus low altitude as part of that.

  6. Barry Carlson says:


    I’m not convinced that a deliberate selection of Way Points in order to fool / confuse ATC was inherent in the planned diversion, for the following reasons:-

    1.. Transponder was OFF and likelihood of all of Lumpur Control’s Primary Radar sectors being monitored in real time in the early hours of a Saturday morning was minimal.

    2.. MH370 was essentially a NORDO (No Radio) flight – assumed to be proceeding as per Flight Plan.

    3.. A high speed, high level traverse of the FIR boundary airway from Kota Bharu to Penang wouldn’t have drawn any attention even from Thai ATC. Which is apparently the case.

    4.. The deviation toward Pulau Perak to intercept the VAMPI – MEKAR extension of the N571 airway, was probably a personal choice in which Pulau Perak being the most western part of Malaysia was to become the Departure point.

    The exercise proved that in the early hours of a Saturday morning, and without Secondary Radar aircraft transponder responses that Malaysian and most likely Indonesian ATC services were ‘blind’.

  7. Abe Lipson says:

    A wild hunch but possible. MH370 after turn around..and loss of contact…1. Was any cell phone call made to or from the 250 passengers during its long flite to wherever or cud calls not be made then?
    2. Could one of the pilots rendered all unconscious at height, set certain settings on a to pilot, donned portable gas mask, robbed all of gold, money, jewellery. Passengers returning to CHina would have a lot of that..donned a hidden parachute, auto pilot brought plane to lower altitude,bailed out over safe place, changed appearance,auto pilot continued on preprogrammed direction to ????2. That pilot could have raised his life insurance very high months before flight with someon as
    beneficiary2. Has it been collected and by who and where are they now

    beneficuary, later to meet somewhereand live high. 2. Has insurance been raised?, collected by whom and where are they nkw? All this is possuble.
    Someone did not want this plane found and the unusual flite path!
    Maybe not so far out ..suggest investigate Co- pilot who was daring do type bUT I am not sa it was him. Juse investigate.!

  8. Victor Iannello says:

    @Ventus45 said: I really do doubt that any ATCO, EVEN A “NEWBIE” trainee, would be deceived.

    Perhaps. Without knowing what triggers the alarms, it’s hard to know.

  9. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: There are many problems with the military data that is described in the SIR. Perhaps some day the raw data will be released so that we can better understand it.

  10. Victor Iannello says:

    @Barry Carlson: It’s hard to know why the particular path was flown. However, the path does seem to include certain elements of the STAR and the ILS approach. Since there was no intention to land, the question is whether this is just a coincidence or whether this was deliberately done. I don’t know the answer, but I don’t rule out deception.

  11. Victor Iannello says:

    @Abe Lipson: We don’t know if there were any other cell phone registrations on cell towers. The question has been asked before.

    As for a sky jump, there is no good way to do that from a B777 and have any reasonable chance of survival.

  12. airlandseaman says:

    Victor found that the route around Penang can be flown with the auto pilot. I agree that was possible. And that scenario needs to be considered. But it does not mean that the route was in fact flown using an autopilot as described. It could have been flown by hand too. Other parts of the path from 17:30 to 18:02 look more like hand flying.

    I doubt if the specific route was chosen to fool or confuse ATC. The high altitude and TAS would make it obvious to any ATC person that there was no intent to land at KB or BU, regardless of what WPs MH370 passed over or near, whether programmed in the FMC or all coincidences.

    At some point after the hand flown IGARI turn-back, it is very likely that the autopilot was re-engaged. Flying 6 hrs by hand is a non-starter. So maybe VAMPI or MEKAR was the first WP used.

  13. Richard says:


    Many thanks for your fascinating new post. I wonder whether your discovery of the alignment of the waypoint ENDOR approaching Penang Airport is similarly true of the alignment of waypoint MIMOS approaching Kota Bharu Airport.

    MIMOS is an Approach Transition fix for Kota Bharu Airport (WMKC). ENDOR and D222F are Approach Transition fixes for Penang Airport (WMKP). Obviously the actual Ground Speed and Altitude at waypoint MIMOS and waypoint ENDOR show there was no intention to land.

    Below is a link to a close up plot of the Track calculated from the civilian Kota Bharu Radar Data assuming an Altitude of 43,000 feet passing exactly over waypoint MIMOS:

    Below is a second link to a close up plot of the Track calculated from the civilian Butterworth Radar Data assuming an Altitude of 38,000 feet passing exactly over waypoint ENDOR and D222F. It would appear that waypoint FF04 is narrowly missed, based on this assumption of an Altitude of 38,000 feet:

    I do not believe ZS ever intended to land at either Airport, but he definitely wanted to set up an excuse, in case he was challenged. If challenged prior to waypoint MIMOS, ZS may have considered slowing the Ground Speed and reducing Altitude, despite being overweight for a Landing, but then diverting toward Penang last minute. If challenged prior to waypoint ENDOR, ZS may have considered slowing the Ground Speed and reducing Altitude, despite still being overweight for a Landing, but then diverting last minute toward the Malacca Strait to supposedly dump or use up fuel.

    In the end, ZS was not challenged at all and he just carried on toward waypoint VAMPI, MEKAR and NILAM.

    I wonder whether Car Nicobar Airport (VOCX) was next on the list of Approach fixes, as it aligns with the satellite data at 18:28:15 UTC.

    It reminds me of the “Long Hunt for a Diversion Airport”, published 18th October 2016:

  14. TBill says:

    My overall hypothesis continues to be we may have witnessed an attempt to conceal the identity of the pilot.

    Following that logic, I believe the PIC may have been sitting in the CoPilot seat from the diversion at IGARI. Believe that would give the best view of Penang and Butterworth airfields from the cockpit.

    In my work I never saw the bank exceed about 7%. I had to choose between 5 and 10% bank setting to approximate the curve. That could be due to my choice of manual waypoints, but it is a relatively gentle curve. If the pilot is trying to keep an eye below I think he probably needs to move to CoPilot seat.

    Ugh this gives me some not so nice new ideas, so above is just one version.

  15. paul smithson says:

    Thank you for your analysis, Victor. I agree that it’s a useful analysis to do but I wonder if you you have taken the interpretation too far.

    Your interpretation requires waypoint navigation to be turned off at some point and then turned on again. Why the complexity? I’d agree with Mike E’s interpretation that the path from turnback to Penang isn’t consistent with waypoint navigation and that it seems odd to posit automated flight on, then off, then on again.

    Unlike Mike, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that from turnback to Penang was “hand-flown” because I’d expect that to produce a more inconsistent track. Following turnback onto reciprocal course it looks to me like a series of sections on track-hold or heading hold, with a few fairly crude (10 degree) heading adjustments.

    I am struck by the fact that the dial-down on the speed seems from M0.87-ish to M0.84 seems to occur as the aircraft closes the W coast. The speeds are completely inconsistent with intention to land at Penang and I agree with Ventus that this counts against your “deception” hypothesis. Speed should have started reducing nearly 30 mins previous. To me it looks more like manually pointing the aircraft (from Kota Bharu) roughly at Penang with one correction along the way and reducing speed (and changing course) as soon as visual confirmation is attained.

    The penultimate part that you interpret as a course capture and intercept might be right. Or it might be another, relatively small, manual heading change. The last part of the track seems to fall a little too north to be automated waypoint navigation on leg FF04 to VAMPI?

    All in all, I’m not convinced that the track, including near-miss of ENDOR and FF04 is evidence of waypoint navigation, followed by a track/hdg hold section, followed by a course-intercept – all for the purpose of deceiving folks on the ground and making a getaway up towards VAMPI and beyond.

  16. Victor Iannello says:

    @Paul Smithson: First, I said it was possible that there was an attempt to deceive. I don’t know. Obviously, the speed doesn’t match. And I don’t know the reason why the A/P mode changed from LNAV to TRK SEL to LNAV. That doesn’t mean it didn’t occur. I think it is likely it did.

    The final alignment with VAMPI looks like an automated LNAV capture of a leg. It is NOT a “direct to” from a “present position”, as people have incorrectly claimed. If the LNAV capture of a leg is true, the next question to consider is what defined that leg. There are really only two choices: a leg defined by two waypoints (with the VAMPI at one end), or a radial off of VAMPI. Then look at the track at ENDOR. It points towards FF04. And VAMPI-FF04 does align with the final points within 0.35 NM (corresponding to an azimuthal radar error of 0.27 deg at 73 NM). It all fits.

  17. airlandseaman says:


    Re: “Unlike Mike, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that from turnback to Penang was “hand-flown” because I’d expect that to produce a more inconsistent track.”

    Two comments:

    First, I was only referring to the sharp left turn circa 17:21-17:23 as being flown by hand for sure. That much has been confirmed by Malaysian Officials.

    Second, the “consistency” of the tracks to KB and on to Penang are in fact very consistent with hand flying. I don’t know what you were expecting. There is a slight curvature to both of these segments. Ignoring the fine scale radar noise, the average track wandered from ~230°, to 235°, to 239°, to 243°, and then 254° on the way to Penang. That looks very much like what I expect for hand-flying, aiming for a few visual lighted references along the way (night VFR), aided by the navigation display. Don pointed out to me that the E28 “Second Penang Bridge” (under ENDOR) might have been a night VFR aid. It certainly would have been viable (in clear air) for many miles. This is only speculation, but I think it is another valid possibility.

  18. Victor Iannello says:

    @Paul Smithson: Let me clarify something I said. When I talk of defining a leg using a radial off of VAMPI, I am really talking about creating an intercept course to VAMPI. When a new waypoint is added as the active waypoint, there is an option to specify a track to “intercept the course”. In this case, that course would be around 291°. It’s technically not a radial.

  19. TBill says:

    You make a relatively strong case for logical A/P flight to VAMPI, whereas Juanda Ismail sees Zaharie’s fine piloting skills only to Penang, followed by unorganized flight after Penang suggesting change in pilot or change in pilot’s physical well being. Presumably we can attribute the scatter in the radar data after Penang to, well, to scatter in the radar data, or possibly some changes in altitude that we do not understand clearly as yet.

    You could be correct about the landing deception, but I tend to envision the pilot was looking to decide between Plan (a) free passage around Penang, or by observation, Plan (b) reaction to any possible intercept attempt. The latter appears to have not happened.

    Juanda Ismail faces an uphill battle…he confirms it is ZS who would have been the teacher with the skills and talent to fly to/around Penang on the exact reverse approach path as a teaching pilot, but then tries to argue the flight away from Penang implies a 3rd party hijacking or serious aircraft defect making its ultimate impact felt at that exact time when the aircraft shoud have turned into the landing trajectory.

  20. Don Thompson says:


    Good news for the NTSC investigation. Reports published at & describe a ‘finger tip’ search by divers within a 5m x 5m area, that the CVR memory module was detached from the recorder chassis and ULB, currents are strong, and visibility at the seabed is no more than 1.5m.

  21. Mick Gilbert says:


    Re: ‘Juanda Ismail faces an uphill battle…he confirms it is ZS who would have been the teacher with the skills and talent to fly to/around Penang on the exact reverse approach path as a teaching pilot, but then tries to argue the flight away from Penang implies a 3rd party hijacking or serious aircraft defect making its ultimate impact felt at that exact time when the aircraft shoud have turned into the landing trajectory.

    I’ve not read any reference to a 3rd party hijacking in Juanda’s analysis. What he does say is:

    The primary surveillance radar plot after passing the course reversal point shows many small track changes over short distances (38 track changes over a space of 33 nautical miles).

    ‘This may suggest;

    ‘1. There was frequent manipulation of the control yoke whereby the aircraft was under intermittent manual control by partially incapacitated pilots.

    ‘2. The pilots were completely incapacitated and the aircraft may not have been under any positive control by anyone and was left meandering on its own accord at random, possibility resulting in a phugoid flight pattern.

    ‘3. The aircraft was flying under manual control by someone with no clear direction or destination in mind.

  22. Andrew says:

    @Don Thompson

    Good news indeed!

  23. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: Juanda attributes small deviations from smooth paths as evidence of manual flying. The waviness in the path we see just after the cone-of-silence at Kota Bharu could be evidence of manual flying. However, the small deviations near Penang are more likely due to radar noise, as the amplitude, the time scale, and the length scale of the deviations are much smaller. In fact, the intermittent radar captures are indictive of less than ideal conditions, so some noise (measurement error) is not surprising.

  24. TBill says:

    It was your Item 3 that I interpret as possible alternate hijacker.
    I feel Juanda Ismail’s analysis is brilliant and most welcome, but I just feel the more we learn, the more it points to ZS at the controls.

    I would say the next action item should be to give the IGARI turn around and apparent climb more analysis. But I would say it seems almost obvious ZS conducted that fancy maneuver too, and fairly clear to me that Malaysia must have known by morning what probably happened.

  25. DennisW says:


    On a lighter note, it is my birthday today. Got a t-shirt from computer science prof. daughter.

  26. Victor Iannello says:

    @DennisW: That’s a bold T-shirt. I like it.

  27. Benjamin says:

    Many thanks for carrying out this.

    One general question: What could be the reason for the missing civial radar blips between the coast and crossing the runway approach?

    I consider it from a crime investigation perspective: Might there have been a plane replacement with one diving under radar coverage and the other raising after that?

    @Barry Carlson: You esentially say in your January 12, 2019 posting at 8:11 pm, that you are not convinced it was deliberate selection of Way Points in order to fool and confuse ATC about a potential landing in Pengang. I don’t agree with your conclusion. If the dissappearance from the secondary radar and the non-responses from the plane in audio communication would have been handled correctly, all ATC und FIR eyes in the region (and presumably all air force eyes as well) should have been focused on this blip-only plane in primary radar to figure out how to start an effectice rescue operation (or what runway to prepare for an emergency landing). It was a 239 passenger plane gone dark and silent and turning 180° from its flight path to Peking, thus meaning there must be some great trouble on board and the flight being in poassibly big danger. It is much more stunning that none of such ground or military response ever happened; what makes me beliefe that part of the ATC ground personal or airline personal or military was involved in the crime, intentionally deleting appropriate SAR.

  28. Victor Iannello says:

    @Benjamin asked: Might there have been a plane replacement with one diving under radar coverage and the other raising after that?

    I doubt it. The radar captures from Butterworth show lots of smaller gaps, so the large gap between ENDOR and the runway final approach could be due to poor atmospheric conditions. To accomplish what you propose would require considerable coordination between a B777 and another aircraft.

  29. airlandseaman says:

    Benjamin: Re: “Might there have been a plane replacement with one diving under radar coverage and the other raising after that?” I would go further than Victor and say there is zero possibility that happened. The radar dropouts observed in the BU PSR data are similar to those in the Lido radar images. Victor mentioned “poor atmospheric conditions” to be more likely. I agree. In fact, Don and I have been researching the possibility that the dropouts are due to anomalous propagation caused by temperature inversions in the area. Some of the radiosonde data in the region supports that hypothesis. Given the high altitude, that is the most likely explanation. See for example:

  30. Victor Iannello says:

    From Reuters:

    Two Indonesian F-16 fighter jets forced an Ethiopian Airlines [ETHA.UL] cargo plane to land on Monday at an airport on Batam island after it had flown into Indonesian airspace without permission, an air force spokesman said.

    And here is the path from FR24.

    It looks like Indonesian fighter jets intercepted the Ethiopian plane over Sumatra and forced it down in Batam, which is close to Singapore, where it intended to deliver an engine for maintenance.

    Looking at the FR24 data, it looks like it was descending from 41,000 ft and passing near 18,000 ft in preparation to land in Singapore when it was detoured by the Indonesian jets near the east coast of Sumatra.

  31. Barry Carlson says:

    @Dennis: Reminds me of, “There are Old and Bold Pilots, but no Old, Bold Pilots.” Obviously doesn’t apply to the Math / Science sector!

    @Benjamin: I didn’t deal with the, “What ifs” of the situation. There is no way Malaysia is going to say publicly that no one in ATC thought to do things you are suggesting. The lack of action following Ho Chi Minh ATC advising Lumpur Control that they had no contact with MH370 following its expected entry into Vietnam airspace, doesn’t change any of the known facts.

    We would all like to know who on the ground had prior knowledge of the events that were to unfold. As time passes and nothing conclusive has made it into the media, the likelihood of it ever doing so becomes less likely.

    All I have implied, derived from the known facts, is that the aircraft was piloted in a manner that suggests in hindsight that inaction on the ground was expected. I have assumed that there was no on ground prior knowledge, and basic inertia in the system following an FIR handover was used to advantage.

  32. Ventus45 says:

    ET3728 / ETH3728 (ET-AVN) was supposedly going from Addis Ababa (ADD)
    TO Hong Kong (HKG) – was it not ?

    Why did it divert south-east near southern India and overfly Sri Lanka ?

    It then appears to have turned towards waypoint Tebit, presumably to pick up airway P570, but then apparently flew a bit south of the airway towards waypoint Nisok, then onwards towards WIMB.
    During that leg, the aircraft entered Sibolga primary radar coverage, crossing airway L774 near 014614N0955233E, and then overflew, or close to, WIMB, then over Sumatra towards WIBG, then towards waypoint Taros.
    Having flown straight past the fighter base at WIBB, it is hardly surprising that the TNI-AU scrambled !

  33. Andrew says:


    RE: “Why did it divert south-east near southern India and overfly Sri Lanka ?”

    Reading between the lines, it sounds as though the aircraft was enroute from Addis Ababa to Hong Kong and diverted for a non-scheduled stop in Singapore to offload an aircraft engine. The subsequent route took the aircraft over Indonesian territory and, without the necessary overflight permit, the Indonesians got upset. If they’d stayed further north and taken one of the airways down the Strait of Malacca, they would have avoided the Indonesian territorial limit and all would have been well.

    The Ethiopian Airlines comment that “(The plane) was crossing the Indonesian airspace in accordance with the ICAO Chicago Convention Article 5, by which a non-scheduled flight can overfly the airspace of a friendly country without prior permission” was either disingenuous or incredibly naive. Many countries around the world invoke the ‘safety of flight’ clause in Article 5 and require ALL aircraft to seek prior permission before operating over their territory. It’s no secret that Indonesia is one such country, as shown in the following map:
    World Permit Map

  34. Don Thompson says:


    The incident with the Ethiopian B777F, at least, shows that the TNI-AU Sibolga SATRAD air defence radar site is operational sometimes!

  35. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: That’s true. It’s operational in daylight and after March 7, 2014. What occurred on March 7, 2014 during the night is anybody’s guess.

  36. Ventus45 says:

    @Victor (@Don)
    Well you both know what my guess is.
    What the Ethiopian B777F incident clearly shows, is that even in daylight, and with everyone “on deck”, it takes a significant “time to intercept”, even when the “intercept geometry” is helpful (as it clearly was in this case).
    On the night of 7th-8th March 2014, even if we assumed that “everyone WAS on deck”, the “intercept geometry” was “impossible” for either my route OR any Ache FMT scenario.
    Simply put, re MH370, they would not have launched, even if they saw it, since there was no way they could catch it, short of full burner, and then there would have been the minor issue, of a couple of F-16 jocks having to go swimming in the dark.
    The Indonesians steadfastly refuse to admit that they ever saw it, in their airspace, (or where the Malaysians say it was) for rather obvious reasons.

  37. George.G says:


    Congratulations must be in order for Indonesian persistence in locating the CVR from JT610.

    All, please offer them a heartfelt “Hooray”.

  38. DennisW says:



  39. Don Thompson says:


    Many happy returns to the day!

  40. Tim says:

    I thought the consensus was this Penang turn was made at a bank angle of less than 10degs. Are you now saying it was made with 15degs?

    Just like the autopilot OFF IGARI turn, if this is a shallow bank of less than 10degs, this also seems to be autopilot OFF.

  41. Victor Iannello says:

    @Tim: I identified three sections: a turn with a 15° bank; a straight segment at a track of 300°; and a capture of the LNAV leg. If somebody were to fit those three segments with a single turn, it would be around 7 or 8°. However, I don’t think that’s the way it was flown.

  42. Tim says:

    Can we please, all put to bed the ridiculous idea that someone in the F/deck wanted to view Penang. For a start the bank angle is low, and then the turn was initiated after passing the Island of Penang.

    Only a dark sea filled with ships would be visible!

  43. TBill says:

    Can you give us SkyVector version of the key waypoints you propose especially FF04 coordinates? I am noticing FF04 seems to be slightly different location in FS9 than you are showing, whereas your location is probably more up-to-date.

  44. TBill says:

    How about say the A/P instructions were FF04 TASEK VAMPI similar to the sim studies, and similar to the sim studies, the cutover to VAMPI was made before TASEK was reached? I am thinking we are stuck with one problem that the curve flown by FS9/FSX is probably not a perfect match to a commercial reality.

  45. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: The navigation database defines FF04 as (5.191003,100.181583).

    I don’t know what the problem is with your simulation. There should be no problems replicating a 15° turn and holding a 300° track, and capturing the FF04-VAMPI leg. Did you follow my instructions above exactly?

  46. TBill says:

    Thank you. I am thinking that shows up as CF04 on FS9. No problem simulating your route.

  47. Don Thompson says:


    CF04 (Course Fix for approach on RWY04) is not the same as FF04 (Final approach Fix for RWY04).

    CF04 is 10nm out from the DME beacon, aligned with the runway.

  48. Don Thompson says:

    The second notable incident in as many months.

    A 747F experiences inflight ‘fire’ during departure from KLIA.

    The first was the LATAM 777 service during which aircraft reg PT-MUG seems to have lost power to both Transfer Busses, deployed its RAT, the crew communicated, made a diversion, and landed without any injuries to pax or crew.

  49. TBill says:

    “CF04 (Course Fix for approach on RWY04) is not the same as FF04 (Final approach Fix for RWY04).”

    OK. As a flight simmer’s fine point of detail, the older 2004 Microsoft FS9 (PSS777) is missing ENDOR, OPOVI, VAMPI, and FF04 seems to be in the wrong place (official waypoints may have been updated since pre-2004).

    The slightly newer 2006 FSX has all of those waypoints. You can always add waypoints via manual edit or with addon utilities, but just saying what users will notice.

    Implies for example, the ZS sim studies flight path on PSS777 probably was not constructed from native FS9/PSS777 waypoints, but looks like it might in theory have been constructed with FSX waypoints and transferred over.

  50. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: The PMDG 777 model for FSX includes navigation data as created by Navigraph and based on AIRAC cycle data. It is also possible to update FS9’s native navigation data. The captain had both FS9 and PMDG’s navigation database. I’m not sure what point you are making.

  51. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: One other point. Waypoints like CF04 and FF04 are “unnamed waypoints” that are described on navigation charts by their relationship to navaids like the ILS. You should choose WMKP as the destination airport and ILS04 as the runway before selecting FF04 as the waypoint.

  52. Benjamin says:

    Over the last two months, there have been two different new / renewed claims of people, suggesting / knowing the MH 370 crash site.

    First there was Martin Kristensen, a Danish engineer, with a calculated ocean destination near to the Christmas Islands.
    Coordinates: -13.28, 106.96

    Second there was Rusli Kusmin, a Malaysian fishermen, who claims to have eyewitnessed, from a distance of 2 km, a plane crash into the Malaca Street (west of Penang), .
    Coordinates: 4.987253, 98.703917
    Time of crash: 7.30am
    Plane was approaching from: North

    What do you, the experts on the MH 370 topic, think about these both suggestions / claims?

  53. Victor Iannello says:

    @Benjamin: The work by Martin Kristensen was critiqued here extensively. Many here believe there are some important shortcomings, including simplifications in the model for the BFO, which led to an impact site along the 7th arc that is too far north.

    Relative to the other crash site, as you say, there is an Indonesian fisherman that claims to have been an eyewitness to an aircraft crash at N4°58.741′,E098°41.741′ (4.97092,98.69568), which locates it east of Sumatra in the Malacca Strait. Putting the Inmarsat data and the debris discoveries aside (which that group believes have been falsified), the hypothetical impact site would contradict Malaysia’s own radar data, which indicated that the final radar target was at 18:22:12 and 10 NM past MEKAR on airway N571, which is about 245 NM from the radar site on Western Hill on Penang Island. To be detected at that radar range, the target would be flying at an altitude of 22,000 ft or higher.

    The hypothetical impact site is about 170 NM from that last radar target, and only 97 NM from the radar site on Western Hill on Penang Island. Those proposing the impact site in the Malacca Strait would have to explain why MH370 was not seen by radar after 18:22:12 even though the hypothetical impact site was much closer to the radar site than the last radar target (97 NM v 245 NM).

    I wonder if the group is now questioning Malaysian’s own radar data. At this point, it seems unlikely that Malaysia fabricated or omitted any radar data in the Malacca Strait.

  54. Benjamin says:

    @Victor: Many thanks for your Response.

    I hadn’t found critique on Martin Kristensen work so far, but I will try a search here and try to understand. To me his conclusions looked well done.

    Regarding the fishermen with the near TASEK destination: They claim 7.30am as time of the crash. If this is Malaysian Time, it would be UTC+8 (eventually because the fishermen are Malaysians). As the crashsite is nearer to the Indonesia coast then to Malaysia, it could mean Indonesian Time, UTC+7, as well. So ist would be something like 00:30 UTC oder 01:30 UTC, six to seven hours after the last Primary/Military Radar contact. And the fishermen said, the plane came from north. This brings me to the conclusion, that it would not have crashed troughout ist first (northbound) flight that was radar detected. It must have been a later return then. Maybe MH 370 took a hop to the Andaman Islands (incl. landing there?) and returned later, flying low under the radar?

    Would this be a possible Scenario, assuming we could trust Rusli Kusmin and he really saw the MH 370 Crash and not another crash?

  55. Brian Anderson says:


    The Cartoonographer is now claiming that you tacitly support his work. Ha ha ha ha ha ha . . . Gosh there must be at least 5 people on Twitter who believe his nonsense geometry. Unbelievable !

    He seems to conveniently forget that his view has changed substantially over the years too.

  56. DennisW says:


    The hypothetical impact site is about 170 NM from that last radar target, and only 97 NM from the radar site on Western Hill on Penang Island. Those proposing the impact site in the Malacca Strait would have to explain why MH370 was not seen by radar after 18:22:12 even though the hypothetical impact site was much closer to the radar site than the last radar target (97 NM v 245 NM).

    I am not a fan of drawing any conclusions from the radar data. That said, the Inmarsat data speaks loud and clear against a Malacca Strait terminus. Very early in the investigations I concluded it was a waste of time to consider any data (radar or Inmarsat) before the 18:25 ISAT login. That conclusion has stood the test of time. Even the data between 18:25 and 19:41 has proven to be very difficult to interpret.


    The Kristensen paper is a serious effort in the company of many other serious efforts by competent people. I would not rule it out or endorse it. The BTO/BFO data cannot be used to infer a terminus. It can be used as a terminal location filter i.e. there is virtually no possibility the aircraft terminated in the Malacca Strait.

  57. Victor Iannello says:

    @Brian Anderson: He is also claiming that I have “snuck around with fake names to write horrible things about [his] work..” on various websites.

    Unlike many others, I’ve never posted anything online with any other name other than my own. This lie came from an individual that created an internet identity with a fake name and fake residence and then legally changed his name to this new identity.

    He also didn’t read or comprehend the article of mine that he is citing, which stated that further north on the 7th arc was only a possibility, nor does he understand that the article was written in June 2018.

    The more he talks, the more foolish he looks.

  58. oddball says:

    Hi Guys,

    New here, not an expert but have a few questions, if anyone can / cares to answer. Posting here as the 7th arc thread is closed.

    1. When a B777 is flying to a distant way point on AP, will it automatically calculate and fly a Great Circle route, (I presume yes, but asking anyway), and if so, how will it decide which “side” (of the straight line to the destination) it will fly?

    2. Is it known (been calculated) which track it flew? (I am troubled by the assumption that the flight went over YPCC – is there another more distant way point – such as in Antarctica – which would have produced similar satellite data?)

    Also, some other questions:

    3. Is it confirmed that ZAS made the final Good Night radio call, and is it usual to put the Call Sign last?

    4. Had ZAS and co-pilot FAH flown together before?

    5. Is there any evidence of cabin depressurization? Obviously, that would disable FAH and almost everyone else, but how long would the pilot’s emergency oxygen supplies last? Presumably, the cabin crew also all have portable emergency oxygen supplies, but how long do they last?

    6. What is the maximum FL that can be comfortably flown while on emergency oxygen – how high can a pilot go while on oxygen, without loss of mental capacity?

    7. If ZAS had sent FAH to the bathroom, ostensibly proposing to hand control of the flight over to him upon his return, would FAH have had any possibility of breaking back into the locked cockpit, even aided by other crew or passengers (had he had the gumption to attempt it)?

    8. It has been reported that FAH attempted to make a cellphone call at some point (after the transponder was disabled?) Does anyone know when that is supposed to have happened?

    9. Any known opposing traffic out of or over Penang at that time?

    If anyone wants to answer so many questions…

  59. Andrew says:

    For those interested in the JT610 accident, the following post by ‘Luc Lion’ on PPRuNe highlights a serious incident that occurred to a Falcon 7X during descent into Kuala Lumpur. The French BEA’s investigation report raises some interesting points about the certification safety assessment process that seem relevant to JT610.

    Here is the report on a Falcon 7X serious incident in May 2011.

    I think that the serious incident of HB-JFN shares several commonalities with the Lion Air accident:
    1. In both cases, an uncommanded movement of the THS has led to a catastrophic situation.
    2. In both cases, the uncommanded movement has been caused by the failure of a single element in an automation system controlling the THS.
    3. In both cases, the automation system was a new design or a redesign.

    The report does a good job of showing that the combination of 14 CFR 25.671 and 14 CFR 25.1309 implies that an automation system that has the potential of commanding a THS runaway should be designed as fail-safe, which implies immunity to single element failure, or should provide appropriate warning to alert the crew of the unsafe operating situation. The warnings must be designed to minimize crew errors which could create additional hazards.
    That was not adhered to by the Falcon 7X at the time of the serious incident and, obviously, also by the B737 Max at present time.

    The report does also a good job of showing that the non-compliance to certification specifications was partially caused by a botched risk analysis process and that the risk analysis failure has systemic causes.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if similar risk analysis failures would be found at Boeing in the context of the Lion Air accident investigation.

    The incident occurred in May 2011, but the BEA’s investigation report was not published until July 2016. It would be interesting to find out if any of the recommendations were adopted by EASA or the FAA. If they were, I suspect the timeframe would have been too tight to have affected the 737 MAX certification.

  60. Andrew says:

    The link to the investigation report in my previous post doesn’t work. The report can be found at:

  61. lkr says:

    @VI: It took me a while to figure out the “cartoonographer” sub-thread. Am I to understand that you’re also the giant weasel that ruins someone’s sleep?

  62. Victor Iannello says:

    @lkr: I have no idea, but based on his behavior, if he has a conscience, there are lots of reasons why his sleep would be ruined.

  63. Hank McGlynn says:


    Good submission. Boeing knows how to implement a proper system – clearly not done in this case. I suspect Boeing flight control people were squished by marketing and business decisions. This will not end well for Boeing.

    Boeing was surprised by handling qualities after the larger CFM56 MAX engines were shifted forward from the 737 NG. This led to the installation of an active AOA limiter in addition to the normal stick shaker. This was a cheap and late addition. And marketing consideration led Boeing to not disclose the existence to pilots or develop type-specific training.

    It is unbelievable that they could allow the system to even engage with a 30 degree offset between right and left AOA vanes!!!

  64. Andrew says:

    @Hank McGlynn

    I suspect that Boeing’s philosophy in this instance was that pilots would disable the automatic trim system via the cutout switches in the event of a trim malfunction, even without specific knowledge of MCAS. Clearly that did not occur in the JT610 accident, possibly because the crew was confused by the stall warning and other indications. The CVR should provide the investigators with some valuable insight into the crew’s actions.

  65. DennisW says:


    Good post. Made me think about ABS – the greatest triumph of marketing over physics in the history of the world.

  66. Benjamin says:

    @Victor: I tryed the search functionality of this webpage, but I haven’t got any results for “Kristensen”. I tryed twoGoogle site search (“Kristensen” and “Kristensen”), but this brought only two comments where Kristensen is mentioned. So I have troubles finding out on my own, what was meant by you, when saying in your January 16, 2019 comment at 2:26 pm “@Benjamin: The work by Martin Kristensen was critiqued here extensively.”

  67. Victor Iannello says:

    @Benjamin: Prof Kristensen used the nickname “Viking” here. Doing a search on this name, I found 93 comments submitted by him and others on this blog.

  68. Mick Gilbert says:


    Regarding your questions;

    1. AP (presumably ‘autopilot’) can cover a number of modes of automatic flight. If the aircraft is flying using Lateral Navigation (LNAV) then that normally provides great circle courses between waypoints. We have some contributors who can probably offer a better or more detailed answer regarding which “side” (of the straight line to the destination) the great circle path falls on but my simple answer is that the great circle route will curve towards whichever pole (north or south) is closest to the the mid-point of the straight line to the destination.

    2. That’s the $64 question! If we knew which track it flew (and here presumably you mean on its southern leg into the Southern Indian Ocean) we would have found it by now by plotting where that track intersects the 7th arc.

    3. Speaker recognition analysis of the recording of the transmissions between MH370 and ATC determined that the last nine transmissions from MH370 were made by Captain Zaharie Shah. That would be consistent with the First Officer being the Pilot Flying for the take-off and ascent. It is certainly not unusual to put the call sign last when acknowledging an instruction.

    4. No, the Captain and First Officer hadn’t flown together previously. They were both doing simulator work on 22 and 27 December 2013 but it doesn’t look as though the Captain was tasked with anything that the FO was involved in.

    5. There is no evidence of depressurisation. The flight crew oxygen system had been replenished immediately before the flight so there would have been enough oxygen for one flight crew member in an unpressurised aircraft at 36,000 feet for 27 hours. There were 15 SABRE portable oxygen bottles located throughout the passenger cabin. Each bottle provides about 44 minutes supply at the high flow rate of 7 litres per minute.

    6. The efficacy of pressurised oxygen in an unpressurised environment has been kicked around a bit on this forum. Long story short is that the flight crew oxygen system is superior to anything else on the aircraft for sustaining consciousness at altitude. That said, none of the emergency oxygen, the flight crew emergency oxygen supply system included, is designed for sustained use at high altitude. Its purpose is to provide an emergency ‘get me down’ capability. Above a pressure altitude of about 40,000 feet you start running into trouble relating to a limitation in human physiology, specifically that the lungs can only withstand a small differential pressure (their elasticity is limited). Further, above 40, 000 feet ‘positive pressure breathing’ with 100 per cent oxygen is required; positive pressure breathing is a technique that is not normally taught to civilian aircrew and it is quite effortful. Without positive pressure breathing, even very short exposure to altitudes greater than 43,000 feet leads rapidly to unconsciousness. A further high altitude risk that the crew oxygen system cannot protect against is decompression sickness. Prolonged exposure to reduced ambient pressures causes normally dissolved blood and body fluid gases to manifest themselves in gaseous form; rapid depressurisation exacerbates the onset of the condition.

    7. After 9/11 flight deck doors were redesigned to prevent unauthorised access. On the B777 there are two types of locking mechanisms for the door, an electronic latch and dead-bolts. If the door was manually dead-bolted it would be very difficult to gain entry.

    8. The First Officer’s cell phone registered on a cell phone tower on Penang Island on Saturday, March 8 2014 at 1:52:27 am local time. The registration doesn’t mean that someone was trying to make a call, it simply means that the phone was turned on.

    9. If by ‘opposing traffic‘ you mean something flying north-east out of Penang while MH370 was flying south-west across the Malay Peninsula towards Penang, no. As MH370 flew up the Malacca Strait there was a flight out of Kuala Lumpur, Emirates EK343, trailing it on a converging course towards waypoint VAMPI.

  69. Ventus45 says:

    The image below has me intrigued.
    There is nothing between 99E and 96E.
    All modelled paths begin west of 96E, all cross the equator between 93.7E and 94E, and all pretty much converge through 93.5E 2.5S.

  70. Victor Iannello says:

    @Ventus45: That image was probably created before the ATSB report released in June 2014. The military radar data that was provided to the ATSB was spaced at 10 seconds ending at around 18:02, followed by a single point (of questionable accuracy) at 18:22, which was not used by the DSTG analysts. (It is interesting that the civilian data also ends around 18:02.) Also, in June 2014, the significance of the BFO values at 18:40 was still not recognized. I believe the paths shown in the figure reflect the state of the modeling at that point in time.

  71. TBill says:

    Over on Reddit is a quite excellent YouTube MH370 presentation by Jean-Luc et al

  72. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: Is there anything new in that video that we should be aware of?

  73. TBill says:

    I am about 50% through on it.
    I liked the into 10-minute by Jean-Luc’s partner who gave the less technical part. By the way kudos to IG they said in writing and verbally.

    Jean-Luc said he thought after IGARI the aircraft flew over the FIR boundary over the ocean, I was not sure I agreed with that.

    None of the recent YouTube videos are consistent with the talk I might give on MH370, but they serve a purpose. As you the know I am shocked the other late December YouTube video is approaching 2 million views.

  74. David says:

    JT610. Reuters. Voice recorder results not to be released until final report, in 7/8 mths.
    Also, lots of background noise apparently.

  75. Victor Iannello says:

    @David: Ideally, both the raw and the “digitally enhanced” versions of the audio will be released.

  76. Andrew says:

    @ David

    RE: ‘Ideally, both the raw and the “digitally enhanced” versions of the audio will be released.’

    It’s not surprising there’s a lot of background noise, given the stick shaker was active pretty much continuously during the accident flight:

    Relevant parts of the CVR transcript might be included in the Final Report, but the recordings are not normally released to the public. Indeed, the ICAO Manual of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation prohibits the release of both the recording and transcript: ”States shall not release the audio cockpit voice recording or a transcript of the recording to the public.” Some countries do allow the release of transcripts in certain circumstances, but the actual recordings are normally protected from release by law.

  77. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: I understand why privacy and legal concerns would limit the publication of the CVR audio. When I said “ideally”, I was speaking hypothetically, not based on actual constraints.

  78. Amble says:

    @TBill thank you for the link.
    Very interesting presentation, by far the best I have seen on the internet but….
    If the aircraft was intentionally going to Christmas Island but the necessary fuel was misjudged then why was no Mayday declared?

  79. David says:

    @Andrew, Victor. Fortunately there are precedents in Silk Air 185 and EgyptAir 990 when transcripts were provided (Silk Air App A, EgyptAir Attachment A). In the AF447 final report there was a CVR analysis at p58.

    In this instance I hope we can rely on the Reuters quote, “….Soerjanto continued to say that the transcription would not be made public until KNKT’s final report is released between August to September.”

    Thanks Andrew – the stick shaker apparently sounds a warning alarm as well as shaking. Their description of, “background sounds” and, “…noisy inside the cockpit”, might suggest there was more.

  80. TBill says:

    Yes there are some logic problems. The report has been out there for while now, but the recent presentation is well done. If you go back a few weeks we were discussing @TimR’s rumor which is fundamentally similar story that has been discussed for some years now. Right now it seems like even if there is any merit to the Xmas Island story, we tend to think MH370 flew on further to the South. Many of those who support the planned Xmas Island diversion story do not know where MH370 ended up or why it did not go to Xmas Island or vicinity.

  81. TimR says:

    @TBill “If you go back a few weeks we were discussing @TimR’s rumor which is fundamentally similar story that has been discussed for some years now”

    A likely scenario could be as follows.
    With no confirmation from the ground of an acceptable outcome head out to BEDAX.
    This provides further time to receive confirmation and a return for a landing at Banda Aceh.
    With no confirmation turn due South at BEDAX to go round below Sumatra.
    Programme in waypoints for ISBIX, Cocos Islands and Christmas Island.
    Settle at a speed of 370 kts and cross the 2nd arc (19:41) on the way to ISBIX.
    60 minutes after the 2nd arc having turned at ISBIX towards Cocos Islands cross the 3rd arc still doing 370 kts then 60 minutes later cross the 4th arc doing 370 kts then 60 minutes later after a FB turn at Cocos Islands (PCCNG) cross the 5th arc doing 370 kts then reducing to 250 kts on the way to Christmas Island.
    For some reason being unable to land on Christmas Island carry on at 250 kts towards an airfield on Java ditching near the 7th arc at around 9°15’S some 90nm from land.

    @Amble “….why was no Mayday declared?”

    This is a good question. It is suspicious that in September 2014 the Indonesian Police Chief told delegates at an aviation seminar that he knew what actually happened with MH370. Could there have been some communication from MH370 that was not acted on for whatever reason.

  82. Andrew says:


    RE: Fortunately there are precedents in Silk Air 185 and EgyptAir 990 when transcripts were provided (Silk Air App A, EgyptAir Attachment A). In the AF447 final report there was a CVR analysis at p58.“

    Yes, the rules allow tthe CVR transcript (or extracts) to be included in the Final Report in cases where it is “essential to the analysis and understanding of the occurrence” . The NTSB, for example, routinely includes a copy of the transcript in its reports and there are many other examples of reports that include some or all of the CVR transcript. However, the release of transcripts for purposes other than safety investigation is only allowed in limited circumstances when ordered by a competent authority, such as a court. Given the importance of the CVR in understanding what happened to JT610, I would expect parts of the transcript to be included in the Final Report. The actual recording, however, is a different matter entirely.

    RE: …the stick shaker apparently sounds a warning alarm as well as shaking.”

    I don’t know about the B737, but none of the other Boeing aircraft I’ve flown have had a separate stall ‘warning alarm’. The audible warning is provided by the stick shaker itself, which is very noisy and has a distinct sound when activated.

  83. David says:

    @Andrew. Thanks.

  84. DennisW says:


    I too was taken aback by the lack of a mayday at the end of flight given my belief that ZS did not wish to harm the passengers. My opinion has evolved to the common and necessary course of action after an ultimatim is given. You have to carry it out or any future negotiations are severely crippled.

    In my opinion there is little doubt that ZS and his co-conspirators were demanding that Najib return the money he diverted from Malaysian public funds. It is the only demand I can think of that can be carried out, verified, and is not easily reversible in the time frame of the flight.

  85. Ventus45 says:


    The problem I see with both your senario, and the Captio senario, is fuel.

    A competent pilot flying the low level Captio profile would have been watching the fuel gauges like a hawk, and would not have risked going past Cocos Island to Christmas Island.

    There was no benefit to do so.

    From a political viewpoint, both are Australian Islands, so there would be no difference regarding the “reception” after landing, and both islands have suitable runways, so there was no “operational” reason to choose one over the other.

    Any sane pilot would have landed at Cocos, particularly when fuel is so short.

    Your scenario means the flight could have been at more fuel efficient higher levels, since maintaining 370 kn ground speed could be achieved efficiently in the mid 20 thousands. But even so, reaching Christmas Island still required eating into statutory reserves, and eventually precluded any other landing option. I can not see any sane competent pilot turning towards Java in that fuel state. It simply does not make sense.

    The only thing which makes sense, from a fuel standpoint, is if Jakarta was the initial planned landing place.
    In that case, he would not have gone as far south as Cocos Island, before turning east, and would not have wanted to leave the Indonesian FIR into Melbourne FIR. It would have made nuch more sense to proceed via Pilek to Niris and then to Jakarta. This means that the arc crossing points have to be further north, so the speed reduction would have had to have occured early, ie, soon after the FMT.

    If the Indonesian Police Chief was correct, quite obviously, there must have been some information available to him.

    If there was no direct communication between the aircraft and Indonesian ATC, or TNI-AU, “in real time”, that only leaves the option of him obtaining that information “after the event”.

    That leaves two options.

    Either the information came via his contact with the Malaysian Police Chief (which means the Malaysians know) OR, it came from “post even processing of TNI-AU radar data” (which the Indonesians emphatically deny).

    Given that the Police Chief was cashiered soon after, I would be inclined to bet 80:20 on the latter.

  86. Victor Iannello says:

    @DennisW: In your scenario, a rejected demand led to carrying out an ultimatum. Wouldn’t that action have had a much larger effect if the scenario was publicized? Why would the plotters remain silent? Wouldn’t you want the world to know what had transpired?

  87. DennisW says:


    I agree it is puzzling. I can only attribute it to the fear of retribution in a state I know little about. The events leading to the death of the woman involved with Najib in the submarine episode lend some credance to that fear. ZS’s wearing of the submarine t-shirt is very telling, IMO. It is hard for us to speculate on what people would do in Malaysia.

  88. Victor Iannello says:

    @DennisW: In your scenario, they hijacked a plane, made a demand which was not met, and killed the crew and passengers. To then publicly release what transpired would greatly magnify the effect, yet present only a very small amount of incremental danger to the planners. It seems strange that in your scenario, that action was not taken.

  89. TBill says:

    One possibility could be that someone else on the Zteam was supposed to conduct the next steps, and they got “cold feet”.

    However, what we witnessed seems more consistent with SilkAir 185 “on steriods” with every effort taken to wipe traces of direct evidence of pilot involvement. Unfort if true this scenario probably included intentional depressurization at IGARI.

  90. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: If we accept the premise of that scenario (a demand was not met), I think a more likely explanation is the sequence of events did not proceed as planned, causing the disappearance, and forcing the organizers to go underground. Perhaps the pilot intentionally deviated from the plan. Perhaps there was a disruption that caused an unplanned sequence of events.

  91. Amble says:

    The aspects of the Captio theory I like are that it:
    -is compatible with the Inmarsat data,
    -does not need a loiter north of Sumatra,
    -does not need significant direction changes after turning south,
    -results in a flight under the crossing airways,
    -results in an end of flight nowhere near the aerial and underwater searches.

    What I do not like about it are:
    -if the intention was to land on Christmas Island then why did it not,
    -why did the aircraft fly so low for so long,
    -despite their assertion not sure the end point is compatible with the timing and location of the debris found to date.

    One possibility about why it did not land on Christmas Island is that ZS planned a suicide with a related desire to create an aviation mystery but wanted to hedge his bets in case he changed his mind at the last minute and could then divert to Christmas Island.

  92. DennisW says:


    @DennisW: In your scenario,

    1> they hijacked a plane

    2> made a demand which was not met

    3> killed the crew and passengers.

    1> and 3> are inarguable. We are only debating 2> and the details associated with 2>. 🙂

  93. DennisW says:


    One possibility about why it did not land on Christmas Island is that ZS planned a suicide with a related desire to create an aviation mystery but wanted to hedge his bets in case he changed his mind at the last minute and could then divert to Christmas Island.

    The only differece is our logic is that I don’t believe suicide was ever a preferred outcome. When the reason for the diversion did not work out, exercising the “or else” part of the plan was required.

  94. TBill says:

    Maybe not to create aviation mystery, more to conform to Malaysian society norms and not act in a way that would put disrepute burden on family and friends.

  95. Ventus45 says:


    Consider a “left field high ball”.

    Z’s co conspirators obviously must have believed that the demands would be met, and that the aircraft would subsequently land, somewhere, otherwise they would not have participated in what turned out to be mass murder. Z would have needed to agree with that, and convince them of it, to garner their support and participation. But Z conned them on that.

    Z knew full well, that the demands would not be met. Official government policy, world wide, is to refuse to negotiate in hostage and or terrorist scenarios. Every airline captain in the world knows that. Z knew that too. He knew that the government would bluff it out, and play for time. In their view, all they had to do was run out the clock, force Z to land before fuel exhaustion, so that they could then deal with the situation on the ground, wherever that may end up being. Which airport, which country, was initially irrelevant. That quite obviously explains the hours of official inaction post Igari.

    But Z was not going to fall into “the policy trap”. Thus, exercising the “or else” part of the plan, was always, “his” plan. It explains his empty future diary, and it explains the disengagement with the mother and child.

    The reason that TimR’s rumours about the intention to land surfaced, and persist, is that no one (not the co conspirators themselves) nor the government, ever believed that Z would action the “or else”. They were all stunned, when he did.

    The reason that all of the governments involved, publicly persist with “the mystery” angle, (and the reason for Obama’s historic visit) is that they all know, full well, that “the policy” failed, but none the less, “it must stand”. If it ever became widely known, that “the policy” had failed, and that Z had out witted them, then “the game” for any future “hostage and or terrorist scenarios” will have changed. That is the real issue here.

  96. DennisW says:


    Interesting point. It also supports the fact that a negotiation would not be disclosed by the Malaysian government. Certainly the actions after the IGARA diversion and before fuel exhaustion reinforce the notion that the government knew what was going on (not necessarily where the aircraft went).

  97. Victor Iannello says:

    @TimR: Several people have proposed some variations on your scenario. It would be interesting to hear comments from your contacts in Malaysia. Do any of them monitor this site?

  98. David says:

    Post by “Scuttle” on the JW blog about a 777-300 losing most electrical power after the right B/U gen failed.

  99. TBill says:

    The way I would put is the plan (if any) could have been subterfuge to get assistance prior to flight and to leave behind “proof” that a peaceful outcome was the plan (even though it may not have been).

    And yes if Razak did not know by 8_March morning this was a probable pijacking by ZS, you gotta be kiddin’ me. But in a way, we cannot accuse Malaysia of being petty like Egypt or SilkAir, this was probably way different, a bona fide existential issue playing out for the highest levels of Malaysian Government, both sides of the aisle probably scared. I believe NoK Sarah Bajc’s says MAS did not call her until much later in the day, so yes, they were expecting MH370 to show up somewhere.

  100. DennisW says:


    so yes, they were expecting MH370 to show up somewhere.

    Yep, that is very obvious from the Malaysian response.

  101. TimR says:

    @ Victor Iannello “….It would be interesting to hear comments from your contacts in Malaysia. Do any of them monitor this site?’

    I had only one contact and I have had no contact with him for quite some time.

  102. Victor Iannello says:

    @TimR: Would you consider contacting him again? There might be more useful information to share.

  103. Perfect Storm says:

    Dennis, congratulations on joining those who you called “wackos”.

  104. DennisW says:

    @Perfect Storm

    I am perfectly willing to accept criticism and learn from it. Bring it on, please. Believe it or not, I have even made mistakes in mathematics.

  105. Ventus45 says:


    “The way I would put (it) is the plan (if any) could have been subterfuge to get assistance prior to flight and to leave behind “proof” that a peaceful outcome was the plan (even though it may not have been).”

    Agreed. He needed the co conspirators to “believe” it would work, “and” that it was “safe”.

    “.. a bona fide existential issue playing out for the highest levels of Malaysian Government, both sides of the aisle probably scared.”

    Agreed, and the proof of that is that the new government went from “we will find it” to “we can not keep looking for MH370 forever” within a short time of gaining office. Once fully briefed (behind closed doors) they closed ranks. QED.

    Cast your mind back to the early air search. Both Najib Razak and Hishammuddin Hussein visited Australia in the early days, and both, at every public showing, seemed very nervous, almost as if they were afraid that the aircraft “might” actually be found. Obviously, if they did know what had happened, and why, that is the last thing they would have wanted. It is also significant (in my view) that they forced the search “north” at every opportunity, even though we all agreed (back then) that it went “way south”.

    Then there is the attitude of both the Chinese and American governments, both of which have been, amazingly, and disconcertingly, “disinterested” in the case, to the extent of apparent “studied indifference”.

    It is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that “any” government “wants” MH370 found, except, perhaps, the French. There are obviously bigger issues at play than merely a missing aeroplane and 239 dead.

  106. oddball says:

    @Mick Gilbert:

    Many thanks for your detailed answers to my questions, especially regarding the Autopilot, and high altitude issues. Yes, all your interpretations were correct.

    However, my line of thinking seems to have been well overtaken by subsequent posters. That scenario seems to make a lot of sense. A plan gone “wrong”, much as anticipated. I’ll have to think about this a bit.

    Meanwhile, I do have one more question.

    When planes are refuelled, how (accurately) do they know how much fuel is still on board beforehand? By gauges? Unlike a car, I believe it’s rare to fill a plane to the limit, thereby fixing a calibration point (and [almost] never run them to empty). Instead, they only load the fuel that is required for the scheduled route, plus statutory extra contingency fuel.

    So, the amount of fuel still on board at the start of refuelling could vary substantially, and the uncertainty in the amount remaining would become greater with each flight. I imagine from typically 100% of the last flight’s contingency fuel, to potentially, say 20%-100% over that, depending on whether the flight was delayed en route, queued before landing, or flying into a head wind or a tail wind, etc.

    Is this is correct, and if so, how accurately can anyone estimate MH370’s “Fuel Exhaustion” distance?

  107. TBill says:

    “… Once fully briefed (behind closed doors) they closed ranks. QED.”

    …except I am not sure they needed the briefing.

  108. DrB says:


    The fuel quantity gauges on B777-200ER aircraft are accurate to +/- 1% (which is an impressive feat considering the complex shape of the fuel tanks). This uncertainty does not change/increase with time, so there is no cumulative error in knowing the quantity when refueling begins, so long as the remaining fuel is measured just prior to refueling.

  109. oddball says:


    “The fuel quantity gauges on B777-200ER aircraft are accurate to +/- 1% (which is an impressive feat considering the complex shape of the fuel tanks).”

    Yes, impressive indeed.

    The Fuel Gauge on my relatively modern, digital display car, with it’s single, small, simple, mostly vertical sided tank is very much less accurate. From Full, it doesn’t even start to drop for 200km, so I habitually reset one of the trip meters at refueling. Last night, using distance traveled and the on-board fuel injection system derived fuel economy readout, was able to calculate required fill volume to a similar (<1%) degree of accuracy.

    Don't know why, with a digital display and multiple ECUs, the car makers don't do the same. Maybe they do now, in newer models.

    I'm guessing the B777 fuel gauge system also incorporates data from (the engine) fuel flow meters to achieve that degree of accuracy?

    Do we know how much fuel was onboard at the final refueling, and how much was added?

  110. DennisW says:

    Goldman gets a visit:

    I’ve interacted with Goldman twice as part of acquisition due diligence teams. I was unimpressed by the arrogance and lack of skill. Young MBA’s in pinstripes who could not even do a proper discounted cash flow analysis. Maybe the size of our acquisitions brought out the ‘B’ team.

  111. DennisW says:

    There is a lot out there for Googling. Jho Low is a principle in the heist. “Wolves of Wallstreet” was financed by him using embezzled funds.

    He was a notrious party animal fraternizing with the like of Paris Hilton and Miranda Kerr. Second link in following post

  112. TBill says:

    Yes there are several MH370 reports on the accident which contain fuel quantity information, including what was added in Malaysia and what was left on-board from the prior days flight, which was MH371 from Beijing back to KLIA. One report we call FACTUAL INFORMATION (FI) and more recently we have the SAFETY INVESTIGATION REPORT (SIR). There is also a police report with some information.

    Nobody really has had too much issue with the lbs of fuel reported, which has been studied in great detail by many here. Some of the uncertainties I have noted are (1) to my knowledge, we do not have any fuel quality information such as density, so we must assume standard energy contents, and (2) unorthodox operational choices such as cutting off bleed air and/or cutting off generators could enhance fuel supply. It would appear some unorthodox choices like that might have been made at IGARI, but we would not know if that continued.

  113. Andrew says:


    RE: “I’m guessing the B777 fuel gauge system also incorporates data from (the engine) fuel flow meters to achieve that degree of accuracy?”

    There are two fuel quantity indications available on the B777, ‘totaliser’ and ‘calculated’.

    The calculated figure is available through the Flight Management Computer (FMC). The FMC uses engine fuel flow data together with a snapshot of the totaliser fuel quantity at engine start to determine a ‘calculated’ fuel remaining in kg or lb, depending on airline preference.

    The totaliser figure (ie total fuel remaining) and individual fuel tank quantities are displayed on the EICAS and are determined by the Fuel Quantity Indicating System (FQIS). The FQIS has a total of 60 fuel height sensors (20 in each tank) that use ultrasonic pulses to measure the fuel height in different parts of each tank. Each fuel tank also has one densitometer to measure the density of the fuel in each tank. All that data is processed by the FQIS to determine the quantity of fuel in each tank and the total (ie totaliser) fuel. As DrB mentioned, the system is accurate to within ±1%.

    Pilots normally use the FQIS to determine how much fuel is onboard. The FMC calculated figure is less accurate and is normally only used as a gross error check. A large and increasing difference between the calculated and totaliser figures could be evidence of a fuel leak from one of the tanks.

    RE: “Do we know how much fuel was onboard at the final refueling, and how much was added?”

    The MH370 Safety Investigation Report states that the total departure fuel after refuelling was 49,700 kg. The fuel remaining before refuelling was 8,200 kg. Those figures are totaliser quantities, as displayed on the EICAS.

  114. DennisW says:


    The reality – analytics are at the hopeless stage.

    While I appreciate the continued concerns, questions, and analytics it is important to realize we can create a 7th arc terminus from 10S to 40S. I have put further analytics in the “waste of time” category. They are simply not reasonably actionable.

    It is also prudent to consider that no government entity has any enthusiasm for continuing the search. As Ventus pointed out, this is a bit disconcerting and violates our predestrian belief in the goodness of man. The cognoscenti know what happened. It is likely we may never know.

    Time to move on and wait for something to happen. Another seach will not be started in my lifetime.

    A corollary to that is that I just got a new Cali driver license with motorcycle and Class A endorsements (needed to drive heavy water tenders with air brakes). At my age you need to renew every four years. I struggled with the Class A written and driving tests. Ami cheered me up by saying it is likely to be the last license I will ever need. 🙂 She is pragmatic. I suggest you follow her lead.

  115. TBill says:

    @Victor @all
    Re: Cell Phones/LapTops/Electronic Flight Bags

    (1) Should we expect the FO cell phone to connect to the tower at FL350, given the special metallic coating on cockpit windows? I realize sometimes PAX cell phones connect as high as about FL350.

    (2) In answer to the age old MH370 question, why no MH370 PAX cell phone connects? I suppose if MH370 zoom climbed to F430+ at IGARI, that starts to get to a higher altitude than any cell phone connects I’ve heard about connecting.

    (3) I understand that USA,UK, and EU have had “sterile” cockpit rules prohibiting cell phone/laptop use during taxi, take-off, landing. This rule was tightened about March_2014 to include all phases of the flight.

    For MH370, we have that ZS was busy on his cell phone minutes before take-off on the runway, which is of course extremely suspicious. I try to make the point that we do not have as many MH370-style issues in USA due to a number of safety rules, and this would appear to be yet another example of Malaysia/rest of world weakness. Still true today?

    (4) However, for non-personal use, I see there is an iPad or iPhone device called EFB (Electronic Flight Bag). One example software app for that is called “CloudAhoy”. It looks like CloudAhoy was available well before MH370. CloudAhoy uses the iPad GPS capability to create a flight path projected onto Google Earth. The intent of CloudAhoy is post-flight review, but I have been trying to establish if MH370 could have used an app like that to choose a strategic landing site in the SIO.

  116. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Don Thompson

    Gents, regarding the inboard section of the right outboard flap, what is your view on how the pivot link was broken. I am most assuredly not an engineer but it looks to me like it has failed in tension.

    David, separately, I have been re-reading your perusal of Larry Vance’s Mystery (ahem) Solved. In your accompanying photograph of the MH17 wreckage hangar is that the left outboard flap outer end or is it the lower inboard flap?

  117. Ben S says:

    One thing that is nice about the hijacking scenario (with demands not met) is that it is concomitant with a tour of foreign landing strips in the Indian Ocean.

    They could have gone towards Car Nicobar, Cocos, and finally towards Christmas Island. This way ZS or the hijackers could have had until the last possible moment for demands to be accepted or rejected, as well as time to make up their own minds.

    At 10.44 S, Christmas Island also falls within the warm Indian Equatorial Current (10S – 15S) that travels from east to west, which would carry most of the debris westward.

    It would be interesting to see if a path can be made to match the BTO and BFO values that include passes of Car Nicobar and Cocos Islands with a final turn towards Christmas Island, ultimately passing south of it and crashing after demands are not met or the plan goes awry for other reasons.

    At least one problem with this scenario is exactly how the hijackers communicated their demands and to whom. I mean, were they using cellphones? And another problem is keeping the passengers alive. If the hijackers were doing both, how is it that the hijackers could communicate during the route but the passengers (still alive) could not?

  118. Don Thompson says:


    The wreckage laid out at Gilze-Rijen shows the outer section of the outbd flap. A small fairing is evident on the lower edge of the outboard end.

    My opinion of the pivot link break is that occurred as a result of lateral force acting on the flap carrier, not vertical force.

  119. TBill says:

    The Xmas Isalnd scenario has been relatively popular over the years and is just one example of a BTO/BFO matched flight path. But so far those proposed paths have not seemed likely. What I would say is, if the negotiation scenario is true or partially true, it does tend to rule out the 38S extreme western region of Arc7, which 38S remains popular also.

    The YouTube presentation makes the following 4 big points in their intro. I paraphrase below without immediate comment:

    (1) Lack of Interest in MH370 Accident by the French (Airline Industry and Authorities)

    Historically the airline industry has maintained the highest of safety standards. The excellent safety record has been accomplished by systematic scientific investigation of all aircraft accidents to define accident causes and areas for future improvment. Therefore it is hard to understand why the French (airline industry and leaders) do not seem to care at all about the MH370 accident. He concludes this point by telling the audience that, not to frighten you, but today it still possible to make an airplane disappear just like MH370 did.

    (2) Radar and other Data that could help find/explain MH370 are not being disclosed to the public. Not much to add here, most of us agree.

    (3) Weakness of ASTB Incapacitated Pilot/Straight Flight Model Assumptions

    I do have some issues with this item, but ATSB is criticized for the fruitless sea bottom searches for MH370 which were, according to Captio, based on inactive pilot/passive flight assumptions. When the initial search failed, there should have been a regrouping and scientific re-analysis to reassess the model to re-prioritize best search locations.

    (4) Why is there not an ongoing Secret Service criminal investigation of MH370?

  120. Niels says:

    Trying to analyze the consequences of BTO errors on polynomial fit for the 19:41 – 00:19 interval, I try to find proper error limit estimates for the different measured BTOs. From “Bayesian methods…”

    R1200 29 us (1sd)
    R1200 anom. 43 us (1sd)
    R600 62 us (1sd)
    R600 anom. ??

    Specifically I’m looking for the esimate for the 00:19:29 BTO error. Alternatively I could work with the 00:19:37 BTO value, whichever has the smallest possible error.

  121. Niels says:

    Thank you! For the moment I’ll work with the 00:19:37 value (18387 with 30 µs 1sd error estimate).
    I have to think a bit more to understand what combining the 00:19:29 and 00:19:37 values means for the 1 sd error estimate belonging to the 19390 µs “combined” value..

  122. Victor Iannello says:

    Niels: If you have two measured values with different standard deviations, the best estimate is determined by weighting each value by the inverse of the variance. In this case, the value at 00:19:37 has a much higher weight.

  123. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Don Thompson

    Thanks Don.

    Regarding the pivot link break, when you say ‘lateral force acting on the flap carrier‘, do you mean from inboard to outboard?

    Regarding that flap piece, the fairing on the lower edge doesn’t seem to match the illustration, either in orientation or structure. I might have this completely wrong but the part that David has labelled ‘Broken Auxiliary Support Track Carriage‘ looks like the piece that fits on the inboard end of the lower inboard flap to fair it to the fuselage when it is retracted. It looks to me as though those wreckage items are from the right wing and have been arranged in order from inboard to outboard starting in the foreground; moving left to right, there’s the inboard fairing piece, the lower inboard flap, and then the inboard flap (outboard) transmission assembly (that flap track canoe looks to be way too big to be one of the outboard assemblies). I don’t have an AMM so I’m just working off photographs and stills from videos.

  124. David says:

    @Mick Gilbert. You beat me to it.
    I had prepared this and it may still help.
    Adding to Don’s comment, the photo below illustrates that there is no fairing on the outboard end of the inboard aft flap. There is one at the inboard end (see opposite side) but that extends beyond the trailing edge whereas that of the MH17 item does not. However one can make out the MH17 fairing attached to the outer flap’s outboard end. However there are better photos that my searches have not re-discovered.
    Also the taper evident in the MH17 part is more consistent with the outer flap, the inner rear as drawn in the manuals having little, despite the appearance in the photo.

    Finally, flexing of these flaps’ ends is prevented by support tracks, internal in the outer flap’s case, the inner flap’s being external. In the MH17 case you can see it was internal, the carriage which has the rollers which ride on the track being evident, the upper roller having been broken off. Here is a depiction.

    About the pivot arm, its fracture is uncorroded unlike other flap and flaperon attachments, and is a good example of where an analysis would have been possible yet that has been neglected both by the ATSB and Malaysians.
    You will see from the photo below that it failed in bending, the outer side of the bend radius being “necked” so indicating that failed in tension. The inner side was not stretched, or not so much, and that is where detailed analysis would show whether there was a tensile or compressive force applied as well as the bending.
    As well there has been a twist as you can see.

    The pivot link holds the rear of the flap down and is attached to the flap through the carrier, the rear of which is shown here, badly corroded. The whole is upside down. The pivot link’s other end is attached to the support assembly below, an extension of the wing. I believe that end would have bent too though clearly this one bent more since this is where it broke. But I think one can visualise a flattened S shape to it at failure, both ends bent.

    That would result from the flap’s inboard end retreating aft, supported to some extent by the internal track there, that rotation putting that twist in the link, the fulcrum being at the forward attachment of the carrier to the support mechanism also, meaning the pivot link was bent sideways as the flap’s inboard end retreated, that inboard section of flap having broken away from the rest of it at the carrier. Being ductile the pivot link would have failed later than the brittle alloy of the carrier at its forward attachment, clouding the detail of the outcome.

    There are some more photos of the pivot link in my earlier appraisal here:

    PS One added comment about your most recent post. It alludes to the inboard fairing piece being to the left in Joost Niemuller’s photo. To me that is the jettison assembly, outboard of the outer flap, to which it mates.
    Also in good nick I see.

  125. David says:

    @Mick Gilbert. PPS I remembered that last July I had a crack at identifying what was in that photo:

  126. Mick Gilbert says:


    Very good, thanks for that, David. That Air Canada B777 photo makes it clear that the piece in the foreground (labelled ‘Broken Auxiliary Support Track Carriage‘ in your marked up photo) is the piece outboard of the outer flap. Any idea why is it called a ‘jettison assembly’?

    And now I see what you’re getting at regarding that fitting on the outboard end of outboard flap; half of it is missing.

    So, in that MH17 photo we are in fact looking at left wing components arranged left to right from outboard to inboard. That said, that transmission/support assembly (and canoe) still strikes me as being too big to belong to the outboard flap.

    Thanks also for your explanation of how you think that link arm broke. Separately, in your view what broke first; the carrier or the flap itself (viz the recovered inboard piece breaking apart from the rest of the outboard flap)?

    Last question (in two parts), for Larry Vance to be correct his miraculous reverse force that jammed the flap back towards the wing would have had to have defeated the ball/jack screw. Given the carrier seems to be the (or at least, a) weak point in that whole assembly would I be correct in assuming that it would most likely fail long before a force would ever break or strip the ball/jack screw? And if the carrier failed due to a force pushing the flap back towards the wing would I be correct in assuming that you almost certainly would not see the sort of damage to the pivot arm (in particular, the necking) that is plainly in evidence?

  127. Andrew says:

    @Mick Gilbert

    RE: “Any idea why is it called a ‘jettison assembly’?”

    It’s the fuel jettison nozzle, located between the outboard flap and the aileron:

    B777-300ER fuel jettison:

  128. Mick Gilbert says:


    Ah, very good, thanks for that.

  129. David says:

    @Mick Gilbert. On the other questions:

    “That said, that transmission/support assembly (and canoe) still strikes me as being too big to belong to the outboard flap.” It does look that. However if you compare the size of the inboard end of the outer flap piece with the piece of outer flap still mounted on to the support mechanism (labelled, “OUTER FLAP METAL REMNANT”) their sizes look to be roughly compatible even if they do not join directly. I did compare that mechanism carefully with diagrams of the two. The mechanisms are different, not just in size, and that photo matches the outer better, hence the amendment you will see that I needed to make.

    Still I do notice that the still-mounted flap remnant has a metal rib, presumably stainless and like that at the inboard support assembly.

    Incidentally while I did refer to the support mechanism (“assembly”) as a wing extension that applies just with flaps retracted since otherwise its rear end tilts down of course on deployment. Another clarification is that while the outer support track rollers are not outside the chord perimeter as they are with the inner flaps, the carriage assembly is in fact not enclosed like that at the flap’s inboard end. The fairing seals the gap there would be otherwise at the bottom when the flap is retracted.

    “Given the carrier seems to be the (or at least, a) weak point in that whole assembly would I be correct in assuming that it would most likely fail long before a force would ever break or strip the ball/jack screw?”
    The transmission would have been locked hydraulically by my recollection and also it had a brake resisting uncommanded retraction. Larry Vance talks about it retracting but on re-reading that section, what he seems to have in mind is that that inboard section of flap separated (at the pivot link, carrier front and from the rest of the flap) contemporaneously under wing buckling, in a flap extended ditching. Attached now to its support track at the inboard end, just at the one point, its carrier assembly, it did not bend/snap the track or connection under water drag but instead retracted back up that track, flapped about momentarily (leaving some internal damage) then extended from the track, leaving that behind.
    Even leaving aside the implausibility of the concept there are many errors of detail about the internal damage and collision with the flaperon.
    This is a top-down force-fitting of the evidence to a preconception that the loss of flaperon and flap trailing edges must be the result of a flaps down ditching: ‘situating the appreciation’ as it were.

    As to what would collapse/break first under excess flap lift after trailing edge separation; i.e. the transmission, its linkage, the support mechanism, the carrier (pivot link-plus-carriage front connection), the inboard end support track or the carrier assembly on which its rollers were mounted, I would not dare hazard a guess. Presumably they would all be designed to resist a similar up force specification.

  130. Mick Gilbert says:


    Thanks for those answers, David. Yes, Larry seems to have adopted the Benjamin Button approach in that the story is told backwards.

  131. TBill says:

    That B777-300ER fuel jettison picture is a good one… I must see if I can get anything like that on flight sim. I get more of a light fog, but perhaps I need to try for that view you showed.

  132. Andrew says:


    It should definitely show much more than a ‘light fog’, but I guess that’s a limitation of the software. At full tilt, each nozzle is dumping just over 1200 kg/min, or 20 kg/sec.

  133. DennisW says:

    C’mon people.

    We are losing focus here. Where did the aircraft terminate?

    IMO, the most likely hypothesis is a diversion/negotiation with a landing zone in mind for as long as possible. That leaves the COCOS and CI as the destinations. I still like Victor’s Cocos scenario.

  134. Andrew says:


    In my opinion, Cocos Island would be a much more likely destination than Christmas Island in the ‘diversion/negotiation’ scenario. The runway at Christmas is significantly shorter (6,900 ft vs 8,000 ft) and has a significant downslope when landing to the south. It also has an elevation of about 1,000 ft and is surrounded on three sides by steep terrain that slopes down to the water. The airport at Christmas is known to be quite challenging for pilots, whereas Cocos is relatively easy.

  135. TBill says:

    We only know one flight path ZS might have taken MH370, and that’s the path on the simulator. He came down to BEBIM vicinity and went southeast down the actual path shown in the simulator work. Pretty sure math works with some maneuvers. Yup he kept going at Arc7, so that’s a little problem.

    Also the simulator path is the only path that might prove ZS intent. If ZS was trying for deniability, by turning off the DFDR or by populating the DFDR with misleading info, we will never know who piloted the plane even if we find the black box. Except if ZS took the simualtor path, and that’s where he went, we would sort of have some solid evidence of intent.

  136. Victor Iannello says:

    There’s a new paper on MH370 acoustics out of Cardiff University in Wales. The paper considers the possibility that the acoustic wave from the impact could have propagated along the seabed, which increases the propagation speed. However, the bearing of the event from the HA01 sensors doesn’t change, so the crossing of the 7th arc remains around 27S latitude. The authors also recommend considering the location of other acoustic events that are not located near the 7th arc.

  137. jikonn says:

    Interesting comment in that acoustic article when talking about Hydrophones HA08 near DG…. “Looking at HA08s, the signals were more challenging to analyse. They were distorted by noise which is believed to have been caused by a military exercise in that side of the ocean” and “Unfortunately, on top of the noisy recorded signals, 25 minutes of data from HA08s is missing. The signals we have analysed indicate that the there was a 25-minute shutdown that has gone unexplained by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation, which is responsible for the hydrophone stations.” A couple for the conspiracy theorists!

  138. Tim says:

    It seems that the HA01, bearing 301 event fits best with a 0019Z EOF. If we could only shift the seventh arc west af few 100km we could then have triangulation. Is that possible?

  139. Victor Iannello says:

    @Tim: There is no scientifically justifiable reason to shift the 7th arc hundreds of kilometers to the west.

    The new work from Cardiff University actually puts the acoustic event further from the 7th arc as compared to their previous work, due to the higher propagation speed in the seabed. I place a higher confidence on the 7th arc than their estimates of propagation speed, which is why the crossing of the 7th arc is more significant than their estimates of the event location. However, that part of the 7th arc has already been searched to a width +/- 25 NM.

  140. TBill says:

    Re: Underwater Acoustics
    I guess these are the same data that @globusmax claims to potentially support a 38S crash location.

  141. DennisW says:


    Thx for the runway comments. They reinforce what other knowledgeable people said a few years ago.

  142. Tim says:

    @Victor, yes I thought the higher transmission speed should push the sound source away from the arc. But it now seems to be drawn tantalisingly close to the Seventh Arc!

  143. Victor Iannello says:

    @Tim: I think you are not correctly interpreting the results of the two papers. If you look at Figure 4 from the previous paper, you will see that event E1 is in “a close proximity to the 7th arc.”

  144. Niels says:

    It is not clear to me in the “Cardiff” paper how they estimate the time at which the signals were generated; do you understand how, for example, they come to a 1:11 – 1:16 interval?

  145. Victor Iannello says:

    @Niels: They use the measured phase dispersion at the receiver to estimate the distance and time of the acoustic event (by solving the “inverse problem”). There’s more information in a previous paper.

  146. David says:

    A diversion. AUV drama in the Antarctic. Click on day 20.

  147. Barry Carlson says:


    Ultra sound “bent pipe” deep water repeater technology will now be on Kongsberg’s R&D program.

  148. Niels says:

    Ok, I’ll check; interesting. Thank you!

  149. Don Thompson says:

    @David & @Barry

    I’d seen tweets from the expedition that they’d recovered the Hugin, accompanied by an image of the AUV under tow behind an ‘FRC’. The tweets failed to portray the gravity of the situation in the way the expedition blog posts have.

  150. Don Thompson says:

    Concerning Kudri’s papers.

    The first paper on the subject, “Rewinding the waves: tracking
    underwater signals to their source
    “, begins by describing an experiment in which spheres were dropped into a large laboratory test tank and the hydroacoustic signature of their impact is recorded. Then a model was designed to evaluate the signature but the model exploited a cylindrical object impacting water. I suspect that the water impact of spheres and cyclinders might not be so well correlated.

    Then the author continues, writing: “hydrophones are better deployed far from the sea surface and closer to the bottom where the acoustic-gravity wave pressure signature is highest“. That’s not the case, hydrophones are sited at a depth to best exploit the deep sound channel and up to 100km offshore so as to minimise noise from ocean-shore interactions.

    Armed with some experiment results, the author then acquires the CTBTO HA01 and HA08 data & searches for some events that resemble the recordings from the experiment. Big assumption, that a few kgs of sphere impacting water in a lab tank will correlate to anything, initiated anywhere, in the ocean.

    Jumping to near the end of the second paper, “since we analyse low frequency acoustic–gravity waves that span the entire depth, the effects of
    stratification and variations of water density on the propagation speed where ignored.

    Another questionable assumption. The entire field of hydroacoustics relies on paying attention to the effects of stratification and variation of water density throughout the water column. It is the variation in temperature and water density through the water column that causes the deep sound channel and enables transoceanic propagation.

    I find it implausable that energy from a surface impact propagates to the seafloor, translates into the seafloor, propagates along the seafloor, to then translate from the seafloor, back to the water to be detected by a hydrophone. Notable that the CTBTO hydrophone anchor cable attachments are described as intentionally providing some acoustic insulation from mechanical noise induced in the cable.

    The author’s work may have validity and potential for seafloor, seismic, initiated events and the study into tsunamis but, as I indicate above, important criteria have been ignored in the papers.

    Prior HA work for MH370 isn’t strengthened, or refuted, by these papers.

  151. Ventus45 says:


    “A diversion. AUV drama in the Antarctic. Click on day 20.

    A great read indeed !
    Now click on day-21, the story of the recovery of AUV9. The ROV work, and their capabilities, is amazing.
    The final paragraph reads as:
    “So what was it that put us through all this? It was a software glitch. The one thing that was beyond our control. Holly Ewart, an Ocean Infinity project-manager and a passionate young Londoner with a lovely personality, said it best: ‘It was hi-end technology that put us in that mess, but it was human ingenuity, determination and professionalism at every level that got us out of it.'”

  152. David says:

    @Ventus thanks. Yes I posted to day 20 when my intention had been to post to the blog so that all would notice on clicking day 20 that there was a day 21.

    For those who have the time I recommend pages 1-19, which include unpublished material and striking photography about the Shackleton expedition and the fate of the Endurance, all well presented.

    @Barry Carlson. Software validation too I hope.

  153. TBill says:

    JT610 appears to be in Boeing’s rear view mirror as far as stock price

    Personally I tend to feel if the CVR recordings were more in favor of Lion Air, in that case, we might hear more open details about the findings.

  154. globusmax says:

    @Don Thompson said
    “I find it implausable that energy from a surface impact propagates to the seafloor, translates into the seafloor, propagates along the seafloor, to then translate from the seafloor, back to the water to be detected by a hydrophone.”

    I can assure you this happens all the time or we wouldn’t find as much oil offshore as we do:

    There are of course attenuation effects, and refraction in the sea floor. I haven’t fully absorbed the paper, but I’d be worried about refraction effects according to Snell’s Law. It isn’t necessarily a straight path from impact point to hydrophone, and the authors seem to presume otherwise.

  155. TBill says:

    ” It isn’t necessarily a straight path from impact point to hydrophone, and the authors seem to presume otherwise.”

    That’s was what I was wondering

  156. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: Boeing is likely quietly building a reserve in anticipation of the liability claims, which won’t be settled for some years. Investors are much more worried about deteriorating trade relations with China, but that too is likely to pass, as both robust trade lifts both countries.

  157. DennisW says:


    Boeing is a very respected brand (not as highly revered as Starbucks is for democrats), but definitely right up there in spite of recent issues. That says to me that Boeing is not absorbing much if any blame.

  158. Barry Carlson says:


    “It isn’t necessarily a straight path from impact point to hydrophone, and the authors seem to presume otherwise.

    That is a point I made some time ago in this blog, and the variability of sound velocity in the SOFAR channel with depth has been documented over many years. Likewise, the passage of sound over long distances doesn’t necessarily follow a GC path; the water temperature and inversions in the water column will ensure that a sound is directed along a rather indeterminate XY axis. The arrival direction recorded by a hydrophone station will not necessarily relate to a GC bearing to the source.

    Here is a study done in the New Zealand area over 50 years ago –

  159. Andrew says:

    Boeing could also face considerable compensation claims for the EK521 accident in 2016:

    The final report for that accident should be very interesting in that Boeing’s design philosophy seems to have been a contributing factor.

  160. TBill says:

    Interesting…give me a time stamp on that survey. I am surprised anybody knows Unilever but I know because I used their Promise Activ cholesterol reducing spread, which is now mostly off the shelves here in USA.

  161. David says:

    @DennisW. Your, “C’mon people. We are losing focus here. Where did the aircraft terminate?”

    Northern search merits. I have enquired as best I can into the lifespan of one mollusc, the small snail Petaloconchus renisectus, one individual of which was found on item 3, the horizontal stabiliser panel. At p.29 of Appendix G to the ATSB’s Operational Search for MH370 report of 3rd October, 2017 Geoscience Australia describes this as only found in the tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean. See also the following Table 3 for its habitat.

    It was 8-12 months old at beaching, the panel to which it was attached having been in the water nigh on 2 years at its recovery in Mozambique. Hence it would have attached 12-16 months after the aircraft went missing. The question is, had the aircraft crashed in the tropics as distinct from the panel drifting through there later, should there have been more and older molluscs? Had the aircraft been in the tropics for those 12-16 months, from the habitat description there well could have been opportunities for others.

    Unfortunately the lifespan of this species (and all others in its family Vermetidae, I gather) is unknown apparently so the outcome is inconclusive but on balance I think just the one having attached at no earlier than 12 months after the crash tends to weigh against a tropical crash. Even were it short-lived, there might well have been more progeny from that long exposure. Long lived and there should have been forebears at beaching.

    However, on the same general topic in my enquiries I gathered that there was another mollusc discovered inside the Pemba part-flap that also would attach in the tropics only but by its apparent age that probably would have been within a month of the crash, maybe a couple of weeks. To confirm an informal estimate of its age would require laboratory estimation of the history of its shell.

    I notice that laboratory work conducted in France by Dominique Blamart & Franck Bassinot in 2016 on concentrations of the oxygen18 isotope in flaperon barnacle shells established at what temperatures they had grown. Later Patrick DeDekker in Canberra sought to do something similar with levels of magnesium substitution for calcium in the calcitic shells. He was unsuccessful due to natural magnesium contamination. Neither found a method for determining the age of these barnacles (growth depends on temperature but also water flow (i.e. nutrient availability), crowding, position and I would add for those awash, the time exposed to air).

    However, should there be a scientific method by shell analysis that would confirm the informal age estimate of the flap mollusc fauna as a month or less after the crash and the means of conducting that were found, that would provide a fillip for a search adjacent to the 7th arc in the tropics. Though the flap might have spent some time in a cove, static, before discovery it is possible, I understand this mollusc would survive inside the space in the flap though it would need access to plankton.

  162. Don Thompson says:


    The technique illustrated at the URL you shared exploits a watergun, airgun, boomer or sparker source to generate an acoustic impulse, the returns received by the towed array are then processed to generate geological profiles of the seafloor under the survey vessel. There’s no suggestion that the impulses are detectable via the seafloor 100s of km distant.

    Alex Duncan’s research into CTBTO and IMOS HA recordings for traces of MH370 impact concluded that the noise dominating the HA08S recordings was hydroacoustic ‘pollution’ from boomer seismic survey work in the Bay og Bengal region (whereas Kadri suggests that this noise is due to ‘military action’ in the Arabian Sea).

    I read Kadri’s thesis to propose that the acoustic energy propagates through the water column to the seafloor, translates into the seafloor where the energy then propogates (presumably omnidirectionally) through the seafloor. In the case of his study for MH370, the propagation distance in the seafloor is 100s of kms, after which it translates back to the water to be detected by the HA station.

    @BarryC, thank you for that paper, I’ll read it presently. CTBTO’s analysis of the ARA San Juan implosion event described that the propagation from the event to Crozet Island HA station wasn’t an ideal GC path due to either ice sheets or submarine ridges along the path.

  163. Don Thompson says:


    Boeing’s design philosophy“.

    Are you alluding to the RAAS or activation of TO/GA?

  164. DennisW says:



  165. globusmax says:

    @Don Thompson

    There’s not much difference in terms of the underlying physics between the reflected waves in the link I posted and what would be refracted waves in the case we are talking about. The energy propagates through the water into the floor and back out to hydrophones. Really the main difference is the lateral propagation distance. I can guarantee the acoustic energy from the plunge to the sea reached the hydrophones via the proposed mechanism, but the issue would be whether it is distinguishable from noise.

    A B777 descending into the sea would produce substantially more energy than one of these airguns. Undersea earthquakes, even very minor ones are detectable over such distances and more. A B777 high speed impact would be inbetween. Is it enough? My guess is it would be so long as modern noise cancelation techniques are employed in the hydrophones array an post signal processing. They should be able to figure all this out.

    @Barry Carlson

    Interesting link, thanks. Yes, the bearing indicated by the hydrophone array is not necessarily the same as the bearing to the source if the signal was refracted by acoustic contrasts along the way. This is a complex problem if you don’t know what those contrasts are, but luckily they have a couple of stations and a fairly tight generation time, so they might be able to reasonably triangulate.

  166. Andrew says:

    @Don Thompson

    RE: “Are you alluding to the RAAS or activation of TO/GA?”

    I was thinking of TO/GA activation (or lack thereof). ‘Design philosophy’ is probably the wrong term; it’s more about making sure that pilots are aware of the idiosyncrasies of the automatic systems and are trained accordingly.

  167. Pavel says:

    Hi people, I just wonder if anybody have seen and read this article:
    The announcement about it looks quite sensational:
    especially the map with new hydrophone data:
    Looking at that map I would like to ask a question: is it possible that captain/hijackers might be planning to fly up to the Mauritius airport (IATA: MRU ICAO: FIMP) over Diego Garcia island? Had MH370 enough fuel for such a trip?

  168. David says:

    @Don Thompson. On 11th January I posted the AMSA RCC’s surface search SITREPS 14 and 15 and said I might now seek those for 2 subsequent days.
    You indicated you would attempt to illustrate the SITREP 15’s ships’ 30th March positions on an animated map you had built.

    SITREPS 16 and 17 are attached below. An attachment to the former illustrates ship dispositions on the following day, 1st April, presumably at search commencement. That was the last day of searching in that vicinity before the search area was moved to the NE, as per two illustrations attached to SITREP 17 of the intended air search there. Also attached to 17 is a screen shot of an Operational Concept diagram, which can be related to ATSB reports.

    There is ambiguity about the purported 30th March ship position diagram. While that was a snapshot taken on 30th, judging from the “Notes” under the 16th’s disposition, the 30th’s snapshot was of the disposition intended for the following day, Day 24 (see “D24” at its “Notes”).

    SITREPS 16 and 17 add nothing about the items assessed by ships though apparently none assessed was of interest. SITREP 17 does say the aerial searches on 1st April were hampered by poor conditions (rain, low cloud) and that could have affected any helicopter operations too, so much of the assessment that day might have been ineffective.

    I attach another message from Joint Task Force HQ about the search on 29th March in case that has not been posted earlier, for it relates the position of, “potential life jackets/vests” spotted by the Chinese IL-76.

  169. Victor Iannello says:

    @Pavel: If you read the previous comments, there was a discussion of these papers and related work. There is little reason to believe that we should abandon our understanding of the BTO and the 7th arc in favor of this work.

  170. DennisW says:


    Reinforcing Victor’s comment above, the BTO data is golden. It depends only on the speed of light which has not changed in at least the last two centuries. Sheldrake makes an argument for a change, but the magnitude (if any) is not significant relative to our discussions here.

    Other data, drift, accoustics, BFO,… is subject to a lot of uncertainty. It is useful, but needs to be appropriately weighted.

  171. Ventus45 says:


    Re “golden” BTO’s.
    Remember “All that glistens is not gold”.

    We may “believe” that the BTO’S are rock solid, but what if they are not ?
    How can we be CERTAIN they are rock solid ?
    Even Inmarsat, had some nagging doubts, early on, and may still secretly harbour them, but they have certainly gone silent on that, long ago.

    So, simply put, we have the data we have, basically, on trust, as it were.
    But what if it had been fiddled with, somehow ?
    You can not shorten the recorded BTO’s, but they could (theoretically) have been lengthened, edited, to extend them.

    Paul Smithson’s theory was basically a “head for home” which turned into a ghost flight towards Madagascar.
    I tried to look it up again just now to refresh my memory, but it seems his links are down, they do not work for me any more.
    ( and

    In Paul’s theory, as I remember it, the range to 3F-1, reduced continuously, so the BTO’s should have reduced continuously.
    Although the data we have shows reducing BTO TO 19:41, thereafter they get bigger, increasing the range from 3F-1, thus creating ultimately the 7th Arc, and forcing us to look south or south-east.

    What if the BTO data to 19:41 is “good”, and that after IS “edited” ?

    Looking at the facts.
    1. The BTO defined 7th Arc search has failed, dismally, against all, very “slam-dunk” sounding confident expectations, (perhaps way over confident) ?
    2. All the governments involved, have now walked away from it, as quietly as possible, basically abandoning the search there, (both physically and in fact).
    3. Most of the debris finds are basically just as consistent with Paul’s theory (minus the BTO’s) as any other theory.

    So, perhaps other possibilities, based on the aircraft’s performance “capability”, (not constrained by, indeed, IGNORING the BTO’s), should be SERIOUSLY considered, again.

  172. globusmax says:

    @David.Thanks for continuing to pursue this.

  173. DennisW says:


    My assumption is that the BTO data has not been tampered with. In that case the physics is very clear. We know the location of the GES, and we know the location of 3F-1 as a function of time. There is nothing left to distort the conclusions except some sort of conspiracy theory, and I am not ready to go there.

  174. DennisW says:


    BTW, I am not going to get on a soapbox relative to my criticism of past analytics. Suffice to say that I have long contended that the accuracy of the BTO data is suspect. I really do believe that there is a high liklihood the aircraft is in the 25S to 20S range close to the 7th arc.

  175. DennisW says:

    Oops, sorry. Above should read BFO data is suspect.

  176. Ventus45 says:


    ADS-B is just one more set of data from the existing transponder system. It still does not help us solve the MH370 scenario, i.e tracking or locating an aircraft that has gone dark.

    What we need, are PSR’s in orbit. Existing RadarSats can detect ships today, even small ones. If there was a constellation of RadarSats, like the Iridium satellite constellation, direct tracking of aircraft, at least over the oceans (70% of earth) should be easy.

  177. Andrew says:


    RE: “I did not realize this. Hopefully you all can access the Aviation Week link.”

    The 1 Jan 2020 deadline is an FAA requirement for all aircraft operating in controlled airspace in the US. ADS-B has been mandatory in other parts of the world for some years. For example, in Australia all domestic aircraft operating above FL290 were required to have ADS-B from 12 Dec 2013 and all IFR aircraft were required to have it from 2 Feb 2017 (Foreign aircraft exempt until Jun 2020).

  178. DennisW says:


    Yes, I agree with you. My reason for posting was my surprise at the number of non-compliant aircraft out there. I may come out of retirement to become an installer.

  179. Victor Iannello says:

    The New York Times had a story on the 737 MAX crash and the MCAS. I didn’t see any new facts.

  180. David says:

    @Victor. From the article,”Boeing did not hide the modified system. It was documented in maintenance manuals for the plane, and airlines were informed about it during detailed briefings on differences between the Max and earlier versions of the 737.”

    I have not read elsewhere that the maintenance manuals documented the system.

    As to the airlines being informed, another hole lined up in Reason’s Swiss cheese model there, as is maintenance manual coverage.

  181. Victor Iannello says:

    A team led by David Mearns has found the wreckage of the Piper Malibu carrying Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibottson.

    Although many have expressed their frustration that an underwater search could find this aircraft but not MH370. However, the search for MH370 is orders of magnitude more difficult. The last known point for Sala’s plane was a radar target at an altitude of 2,000 ft, and over a part of the English Channel that is relatively shallow (around 200 ft), just 24 NM north of Guernsey. However, the comparisons with MH370 are likely to continue.

  182. Barry Carlson says:


    In fact the aircraft crashed within 3 NM of the English Channel’s main eastbound traffic separation lane.

    I appears that a UK Fisheries Patrol Vessel originally located the wreckage using its Fish Finder / Echo Sounder. Subsequently, the Geo Ocean III [David Mearns] has located over the position and the ROV has taken some video – which indicates that the impact was a non survival high energy one.

    So, at night in a high density shipping situation, nobody heard or saw anything. Which leads me to repeat a comment I have made before, i.e. combined wind / wave and vessel noise make the likelihood of anyone spotting anything coming out of sky unexpectedly; highly unlikely.

  183. Don Thompson says:


    Wholeheartedly agree on visibility of any object falling out of the sky. Casual observers just don’t get the vastness of the ocean, less so that it’s now possible to make one swipe to cross the ocean on a device screen. Or that ship tracks drawn on a cartoonograph resolve to many NMs width.

    The survey vessel Morven, employed by David Mearns, was formerly a Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency vessel but then paid off and acquired by a private company, A-2-Sea. It is presently used for inshore surveys. Morven embarked with an Edgetech 4200 side-scan sonar towfish for the search. The wreck was detected during the third traverse of the ‘box’. The primary radar at Guernsey Airport had provided a good final fix as the aircraft LKP.

  184. Victor Iannello says:

    Don Thompson said: The primary radar at Guernsey Airport had provided a good final fix as the aircraft LKP.

    Flightradar24 receivers did not detect any ADS-B data during the flight, so likely that capability did not exist. However, I hadn’t read that the transponder was not operating. Since it was reported that the last altitude was 2300 ft, I had assumed there was a Mode C (SSR) response. Have you read anything to the contrary?

  185. Don Thompson says:


    Guernsey Police posted an initial update at 0845hrs 2019-01-22 that “the aircraft departed Nantes at 1915 for Cardiff. The aircraft was flying at 5000 feet. The aircraft on passing Guernsey requested descent. Jersey ATC lost contact whilst it was flying at 2300 feet.”

    Given the absence of any secondary surveillance records by the webtrackers, I have assumed that the 2300ft report came from voice contact between the aircraft and ATC. Jersey has only SSR, while Guernsey has comounted PSR and SSR, enabling Guernsey’s PSR to maintain a track on N264DB.

  186. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: What webtrackers receive and report Mode C responses?

  187. Don Thompson says:


    Webtrackers don’t process Mode A or C SSR responses, my assumption included that an aircraft operating in UK & French airspace would be Mode-S/EHS and ADS-B compatible by this time.

    However, at a minimum, a Mode A transponder is required to transit Channel Islands CTR airspace (per UK AIPs).

    a) The carriage and operation of SSR transponder equipment with the following capability is mandatory when flying within the Channel Islands CTR, CTA or TMA:
    i. when operating as a VFR or Special VFR Flight;
    ii. when operating under IFR – Mode A 4096 codes and Mode C with altitude reporting capability.

    The CTR is defined as SFC to FL80.

    In this case, communications and surveillance with N264DB were sufficient to accurately define a very small seafloor search box. Hopefully, it will be as straighforward to determine the cause for the crash & the arrangements for the ‘charter’.

  188. Julia says:

    I realise now that the initial search for Sala’s Piper Malibu plane which was called off after three days, was only to search for surface debris or for survivors. I was surprised and disappointed it had been called off so soon after the 21st of January. Although today’s news that a body had been located on the left side of the fuselage, is incredibly sad, at least the wreckage has been located. I guess that any mayday calls from David Ibbotson will be recorded in a black box device if indeed there is one on this type of light aircraft?

  189. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: It’s a minor point, but I think it is most likely that the final radar targets were from the transponder in response to Mode C interrogations. I don’t believe the final targets were from PSR, nor do I think the transponder was inoperative.

  190. Don Thompson says:


    The AAIB’s interim report should clarify.


    The AAIB media release stated only that a body remained in the wreckage, not on which side/seat it was located. AAIB stated that the image acquired by the ROV showed the left side of the fuselage.

  191. Andrew says:

    @Don Thompson

    RE: “Hopefully, it will be as straighforward to determine the cause for the crash & the arrangements for the ‘charter’.”

    There will no doubt be a lot of focus on the pilot and his qualifications/experience. My guess: Loss of control caused by spatial disorientation or icing.


    RE: “I guess that any mayday calls from David Ibbotson will be recorded in a black box device if indeed there is one on this type of light aircraft?”

    Light aircraft are not normally fitted with the ‘black boxes’ that are installed in airline-type aircraft. Any calls transmitted by the pilot would have been recorded by ATC, but my understanding is there was no mayday call.

  192. Julia says:

    @Andrew. Thank you for clarification re. a black box type device and a may day call.

  193. Steveh says:

    Whilst no black box per se, the flight plan was apparently submitted using skydemon so there may be some breadcrumb telemetry available from that if it can be located.

    Also Likewise for the garmin gps etc.


  194. David says:

    For those who would like to follow this, the Weddell Sea Expedition is now on its way to search for the Endurance.

  195. TBill says:

    Re: MH370
    @DrB recently made a Tweet that I agree with:
    “…Recovering #MH370 data recorders not likely to tell us why ZS disappeared the aircraft. CVR likely blank & very unlikely to contain manifesto. Our FBI cannot tell us why the Las Vegas shooter did it. I think ZS is similar in that both cases were mass murder, but motive uncertain….”

    In other words, even if we find the DFDR intact, the DFDR is not designed to tell us the identity of the perpetrator. For example, I theorize the perpetrator might have switched to the Co-Pilot seat at IGARI, or otherwise acted to populate the DFDR with misleading information to hide the true identity of the perpetrator. Thus the only way to get the proof of blame is if the CVR contains incriminating evidence or confession, which my thought would be exactly opposite- that the whole event may have been designed to not leave incriminating evidence re: who did it.

  196. DennisW says:


    I agree that the black boxes will provide little info other than that is where the plane was flown. The data recorder will be interesting just to settle some issues on this site relative to what happened between IGARI and the FMT.

    I disagree with most everything else you said. I don’t think the motive was mass murder. The Malaysian response to the diversion strongly suggests that high level people knew what was going on, and there was an opportunity to prevent the crash into the sea. The motive was political.

  197. Ventus45 says:


    “The Malaysian response to the diversion strongly suggests that high level people knew what was going on, and there was an opportunity to prevent the crash into the sea. The motive was political.”

    Agree fully, which is why I think it “is highly likely” that the CVR will contain a “manifesto”, as DrB called it. Zs would clearly want to “lay the blame” where it really belongs, at the doorstep of a corrupt political system, “entrenched for decades”.

    The reasoning is, that Zs did not expect that the CVR could be found “any time soon” (meaning within the lifetime of his family), but he knew that undersea resource exploration and technology developments meant that it may be found, “eventually”, and knowing that the memory chips in the CVR will be “good for decades”, I think he would have had a personal desire to “set the record straight”, in the final analysis, even though it may be decades hence. For this reason, I think both recorders, if ever found, should never be given to Malaysia, and should be processed by the French.

  198. David says:

    @Ventus45. Surely for any political motive to have an effect on the here and now it would have to be disclosed in the here and now?

  199. DennisW says:

    @Ventus and David

    Wow. Excellent points on both ends of the possibilities.

  200. Brian Anderson says:

    The cartoonographer is becoming more outlandish and irrational with every passing day. Lies and innuendo. Enough to be defamatory.

    Who is going to show that his geometrical constructs are totally meaningless, and shut him down. Surely Twitter rules ought to be able to inhibit such lies about the IG and Inmarsat and others.

  201. Victor Iannello says:

    @Brian Anderson: Mike Chillit (previously known as Marion Edwin Kennedy) is now stating the IG was created by Inmarsat to deliberately derail the search. He knows this is not true. He is making these claims to damage the reputation of IG members and also the reputation of Inmarsat. For instance, he claims that Inmarsat created the BFO metric as a “ploy to sink the search”. This is a clear case of defamation.

    What the IG and others consistently have done is to demonstrate to the world that his math is incorrect, and that he is a fraud. Many recognized experts have attested to this. For instance, he continues to claim that you can estimate the final impact location by using a single satellite to triangulate the position. This is an utterly ridiculous assertion, and it is very easy to prove false (as most people here understand).

    Some here might remember his founding of a non-profit entity that attempted to raise millions of dollars to finance an underwater search for the wreckage. Luckily, wiser heads prevailed. After raising only a couple of thousand dollars, his co-founders kicked him out of the organization, which soon after disbanded and was forced to return the money to their few contributors. In the process, he also managed to alienate many of the NOK, who very publicly rebuked him.

    Unfortunately, characters of this type thrive on social media like Twitter and Facebook. It is a very sad part of this saga.

  202. TBill says:

    ” I don’t think the motive was mass murder.”
    I was primarily commenting on DrB’s “manifesto” comment, being the type of evidence we would need to identify the perpetrator.

    I am somewhat agnostic on why the pilot apparently diverted the aircraft, believing it was intentional act for some goal. I am willing to have the scenario be like yours.

    However, your position is somewhat nuanced. Your seem to believe it is preposterous to suggest murder/suicide, but on the other hand, you feel that an equivalent outcome could have happened indirectly (unintentionally?) as the mandated carrying-out of a threat that Razak did not surrender to. More like a military order the pilot had a duty to follow through on.

  203. DennisW says:


    Yes. Ultimatums have to work that way to be effective.

  204. Victor Iannello says:

    @DennisW: What was the desired outcome? Do we have any indication that carrying out the ultimatum was leveraged in any later demand?

  205. DennisW says:


    I can only speculate on the desired outcome based on what is doable, verifiable, and difficult to reverse. The only thing I can come up with is a money transfer to retreive the funds embezzled from the IMBD coffers by Najib (and others).

    I cannot point to anything involving the leveraging of the ultimatum, but I have not looked hard for anything either.

  206. DrB says:


    In response to @TBill, you said: “I disagree with most everything else you said. I don’t think the motive was mass murder.”

    No one said mass murder was the “motive”. Mass murder is a criminal act, not a motive. ZS’ motive is unclear, but it could have been political.

    You also said: The Malaysian response to the diversion strongly suggests that high level people knew what was going on, and there was an opportunity to prevent the crash into the sea. The motive was political.”

    I did not infer from the actions/inactions in the immediate aftermath that any high level people in Malaysia know what was going on, or why. In fact, I concluded just the opposite. I think what happened is fully explained by the general incompetence on public display. Nothing nefarious on their part is necessary or, in my opinion, implied.

    I would also add that if his motive was political, it was a failure for two reasons: (1) it was not then, nor can it now, be proven that his acts were a protest against the government and (2) it did not result in widespread outcries against the government, primarily because there is no direct connection between government actions/inactions and the lost aircraft. If it was a protest against the government, it was a flop. The Malaysian government has now, years later, changed, but I have not seen any evidence that MH370 influenced this to a significant degree.

  207. Shadynuk says:

    @DennisW “Yes. Ultimatums have to work that way to be effective.”

    From Najib’s perspective Yes, he must believe that. But unless ZS was involved in an ongoing organization that intended to continue to pressure the government by similar acts, he would not need to execute the ultimatum. If this was a one-time, solo event, why would it matter? He could simply land and accept his fate. He was ‘bluffing’ and Najib called his bluff. The crash itself could have been an ‘accident’ occurring under unusual and difficult circumstances – not uncommon in aviation.

    I tend to agree with DrB that it is quite possible that this entire event was a ‘flop’- perhaps ZS was naïve about what effect this would have –or as noted above, something went very wrong.

  208. Ventus45 says:


    Re “here and now” – no – not necessarily. Sometimes the “information void” has a better political effect, particularly if you are not a solo act, only the first shot.
    I can not find at the moment, a reference I once read, that indicated that KL-ATC was literally “invaded”, in the “very early hours of the morning” by “many” high ranking government officials. There has been no mention of this since – that I have seen.
    In the “ABC 4 Corners” program, Hishammuddin Hussein would not answer “any
    timeline” question(s) at all.
    When you look at the time line as publicly documented, the “hours of inaction” before the emergency was publicly acknowledged, was, quite clearly, not ATCO incompetence, but an indecisive government “keeping the lid on it” for as long as possible, no doubt playing out the fuel, never dreaming that the “ultimatum” would be carried out, until it was.

  209. DennisW says:


    I did not infer from the actions/inactions in the immediate aftermath that any high level people in Malaysia know what was going on, or why. In fact, I concluded just the opposite. I think what happened is fully explained by the general incompetence on public display. Nothing nefarious on their part is necessary or, in my opinion, implied.

    The S&R activity was directed by highly placed officials early on in the diversion. It was totally outside the normal response channels and protocols. It is clear to me that Malaysian officials knew what was going on, and planned to deal with the consequences after the aircraft landed somewhere.

    Even ICAO was critical of the Malyasian response, and that is unusual for them.

    Sure, it could be incompetence. That is a perfectly reasoable alternative explanation, but so is mine. Some day we may find out.

    No one said mass murder was the “motive”. Mass murder is a criminal act, not a motive. ZS’ motive is unclear, but it could have been political.

    Ok, sure, but you are wordsmithing here. I remain of the opinion that mass murder was never the preferred outcome.

  210. TBill says:

    @DrB @Shadynuk
    I agree if the goal was to topple or weaken the Razak regime, it did not seem to work. I feel Razak handled it well from the perspective of not giving credit or blaming ZS for taking the action. Only under Int’l pressure did Razak finally reluctantly admit MH370 loss was an apparent deliberate action. Razak probably could have told us that on 8-March just after the incident, but Razak could perhaps be forgiven for lack of candor as he was possibly the target of the action.

  211. David says:

    @Ventus 45. Thanks for your response. Without any evidence of political intent as yet, or the contrary, the interpretation of related events remains in the eye of the beholder.

    To my mind the lack of public disquiet or apparent effect on the Malaysian government indicates either there was no such intent, or else the plan failed.

    What argues against plan failure is that there was no “j’accuse” before, during or after the event. Besides, suicide and the mass murder bespeak derangement or zealotry. It is hard to see how these could have contributed to a successful political outcome, as they didn’t, this being a first shot or otherwise.

    Hijacking for other political purposes likewise falls short on grounds of outcome, though to me that is more explicable as plan failure, eg realisation that they did not have the fuel to reach their intended target. An early-on example was touted here:
    To me, hijacking-for-suicide, possibly by cabin crew, ticks as many boxes as either of the above even though expertise and initial speed needed would suggest otherwise, yet still that ticks less boxes than pilot suicide. But even the case for that leaves much unexplained too.

  212. TBill says:

    “… But even the case for that leaves much unexplained too.”
    What is unexplained? Let me see if I can explain it.

    Reading over some old JW posts, I found a few possible adds to the Freddie/@TimR scenario:
    > Freddie says the end-of-flight strategy might have featured a trajectory to simulate the appearance of approach to Beijing.
    > Freddie indicates authorities were told about the rumor in the early months, and that China did briefly search Xmas region (unclear if China had a reason to search Xmas area).

  213. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: I do believe @TimR is sincere. However, we have no way of knowing if he and his friend were provided truthful information or deceptive disinformation. It appears that there no longer is a channel of communication, so we are left guessing.

    As an aside, I’ll say that on almost a daily basis I still waver between the three possibilities of where MH370 is, i.e., farther north than 25S, along the 7th arc but wider than searched, or along the 7th arc and missed. I’ve been thinking about how we can more confidently conclude the debris field was not missed, which would certainly explain a lot.

  214. TBill says:

    Good article. In general seems to say the attack happens and then those responsible decide if it is advantageous to claim responsibility. One you get over 100 fatalities, there seems to be increased reluctance to take credit. Seems to contradict the common expectation that perpetrators always want to claim credit if it is political goal.

  215. Victor Iannello says:

    @Ventus45: I agree with @TBill–that article was interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  216. Niels says:

    Checking the Perth GES location:

    I found an apparent satellite dish park in Kiara, Perth at -31.881, 115.942 through Google maps, and one near Cullacabardee, Perth at -31.805, 115.888

    The latter shows the Inmarsat sign at the entrance,and corresponds best to the x, y, z location given by Inmarsat. The Kiara facilities belong to Optus, though Wikipedia refers to Sydney as the location for their satellite communications facility.,115.8819488,3a,75y,162.73h,80.15t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sz3l5HzeoHzzBvEVCPmjnyw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

  217. DennisW says:


    I regard Munk as a fraud. His comments at the end of his address about sea level rise are so typical of establishment true believers. The reality is that sea level rise has been constant for over 100 years at 1.6mm per year – about an inch for every 15 years.

    The climate change science brigade is about to come to an end including the “Sandusky of Climate Change” Dr. Mann.

  218. Niels says:

    Inmarsat in Burum must have a special relationship with their nearest neighbours:

    According to the following article, eight dishes would have been installed to intercept.. Inmarsat data.

  219. David says:

    @Ventus 45. Thanks for the casualties/claims articles and the Munk obituary. From the latter, “An ethos he expressed…was for scientists to…embrace the educational value of failure.” DeDeckker’s study of magnesium substitution for calcium in barnacle shells might be an example.

    The claims Kearns considered are those by a terrorist organisation. Terror seeks to dislocate/punish societies as a whole. I would have thought that a more immediate and specific political aim to expose perceived corruption of a particular government would be to either force an immediate change and/or to enlist social support for such a correction, thus not qualifying as terrorism.

    Not that even non-terrorists like to be associated with any number of deaths if only for the reason advanced for terrorists, that it might result in a backlash. However why that reaction would cut in at as many as 180 deaths for civilian terrorist targets escapes me. For non-terrorist political activists I would have thought the number of deliberate deaths that would not prompt a backlash would be none and even accidentally, few.

    In the Economist’s centre graph there is a sharp discontinuity at either end of the “attributed” (at 50 and 180 deaths). Maybe there is an explanation in her book but my first reaction is to worry about how statistically that would come to be. In the right graph there is a rising trend and then that like sudden kick down at 180, raising what are the sample sizes at these points and what best-fit method she has used?

  220. David says:

    @TBill. Below are some pilot suicide theory issues that I think warrant further explanation.

    The Safety investigation Report indicates that the RMP obtained statements from, “the next of kin and relatives, doctors/care givers, co-workers, friends and acquaintances; financial records of the flight crew, CCTV recordings at KLIA and analysis of the radio transmission made between MH370 and ground Air Traffic Control”. Implicitly the RMP was satisfied that none of these, presumably including Fatima Pardi, disclosed anything untoward as to the stability, behaviour or attitude of either pilot. Presumably there were interviews also.
    While the thoroughness and impartiality of RMP researches and their outcomes might be questioned, that assessment has stood while leaks or contradictions could have had it otherwise. As I understand it the Report interprets it as being inconsistent with pilot suicide and as it stands so do I.

    The flight selection requiring just 2 pilots is explicable, though as to flight path the pilot would be risking the Indonesians and warships below having a PSR record of the track (or lack of) beyond the Malaysian’s PSR range.

    However the choice of radio silence when he could have pretended to be hijacked, the course to a remote place of low aircraft and shipping density, and even some home simulation – for some reason – suggest this would have been thought out rationally over time and not be the more urgent approach of others.

    That leads me to my main problem with the possibility of Zaharie Shah’s suicide. As you know he was a fixer fellow, politically active while posting YouTube videos on such as air conditioners. I would have thought that for him suddenly to turn inward/passive and become suicidal would require some distressing event but apparently no change in his demeanour at work or in private was conveyed to the RMP, even with the advantage of hindsight.

    Then there is the final descent. Simulations are inconsistent with its timing. No one knows whether introducing a brief left engine relight might change that. However, assuming no relight effect, my opinion is that that descent would require a pilot and his intention would be to hold the aircraft in the steep dive he initiated.
    If so, a question arising is why he would sit there for several hours in the long leg south, possibly passively, when the aircraft otherwise could disappear itself? What would induce him to stay on? Perhaps he wanted to continue to operate the aircraft and/or scan the crash scene? If so would he elect to awaiting progressive engine failures passively? Does that fit?

    Also, while we now are aware that Jindalee would not have detected him, would he have known that?

    Finally there is the curious issue of de-powering the SDU then manually re-powering it later. With ACARS and transponder off to obscure the about-turn near IGARI from ATC and the airline in real time, even though he would be aware that the aircraft’s track could be reconstructed from PSR records, why de-power the SDU at all? By re-powering it later he indicated that concealing that the aircraft had remained airborne was not his objective. Indeed he may well have anticipated that others would assume it had continued on its NW track once beyond PSR range. Thus it looks likely that in this scenario the SDU was de-powered coincidentally with removal of power from the left main bus for another reason, possibly being part of a joint left and main bus depowering?

  221. Niels says:

    I think there is little doubt that the trend in GMSL indicates a current global mean rise of about 3 mm / year, see for example:

    If that implies an acceleration is a much more difficult question. Satellite altimetry is used since early 1990s; wouldn’t that imply that before that sea level measurements were relative at/to the coast?

    I trust, based on necessity, that the Dutch historic data has been collected with care. At first sight the trend does not indicate a clear acceleration, see for example:

  222. Victor Iannello says:

    @David said: I would have thought that for him suddenly to turn inward/passive and become suicidal would require some distressing event

    I would ask you to review the interview in the The Australian that reporter Amanda Hodge had with Fatima Pardi, in which she describes a break between the captain and her family in the weeks prior to the disappearance. In addition, I’d say that the captain’s contact with the young twin-sister Malaysian models demonstrates reckless behavior. Of course, neither of these proves that the captain intentionally diverted the plane. However, they could be symptomatic of more serious issues in his life.

    That said, I don’t mean to derail your thinking. What is your explanation for the disappearance?

  223. Victor Iannello says:

    @Niels, @DennisW: I think that if the climate change “brigade” winds down, it will be because at some point the economic cost of mitigation will begin to affect people in their every day lives. We are seeing signs of that in France with the protests led by “les gilets jaunes” (the yellow vests).

    I have not studied climate change enough to understand it. It is hard for me to imagine that CO2 has more of an effect than atmospheric water vapor, which is in much higher concentrations, has more “global warming potential”, and would seem to provide negative feedback due to cloud formation. The few times that I tried to learn more to better understand the physical mechanisms involved have left me frustrated as I have run across many “authoritative” sources that make false claims. My observation is that many of the “climate change experts” are actually “socio economists”. That said, I’m happy to follow the science if it is presented in a logical way with verifiable data and realistic models. If that exists, I haven’t yet seen it.

  224. DennisW says:


    I think there is little doubt that the trend in GMSL indicates a current global mean rise of about 3 mm / year

    The measurement technique has changed. It is a repeat of the Dr. Mann scenario.


    Re: climate change

    I agree with the “shoddy” science observation. It looks like a repeat of the Rachel Carlson (“Silent Spring”) scenario that cost the lives of about two million Africans.


    Finally there is the curious issue of de-powering the SDU then manually re-powering it later. With ACARS and transponder off to obscure the about-turn near IGARI from ATC and the airline in real time, even though he would be aware that the aircraft’s track could be reconstructed from PSR records, why de-power the SDU at all?

    I have exactly the same misgivings. Shah could not have known about the possibility of “tracking” using the Inmarsat data. He might have known that the satellite pings would indicate the aircraft was still airborne, but I doubt it. Restoring power to the SDU tends to rule out that reason for depowering the SDU in any case.

  225. Niels says:

    In the Netherlands the majority of the population lives close to (within a few meters) or even below sea level. It gives a certain perspective to the risks and urgency, even if there are scientific uncertainties. The ongoing political discussion is on how to distribute the costs of mitigation and adaptation across the different economic sectors. I like to explore the website of our “statistics bureau”; it is for example interesting to see how much different sectors contribute to CO2 emission, with 14% coming directly from households (the graph at bottom of page), and compare that with the proposed more concrete measures.

  226. DrB says:

    re Climate Change (AKA global warming):

    Early in my career I was a planetary scientist, studying global average temperatures of other planets. That has given me some insight into this issue regarding the Earth. There is a lot of disinformation, shoddy science, and poor reasoning on this issue. Here is what I think is known:

    1. In recent times (last century), the average measured atmospheric temperature has increased somewhat (but different methods have been used over time, and this and other measurement effects may be part, but certainly not all, of the observed changes).
    2. Also in this same time frame, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have increased.
    3. Many (most?) people assume because of this correlation that there is a causal relationship between CO2 and temperature. At the present time, this is unproven to be true or false.
    4. There are some mitigating effects for higher CO2 levels, especially the large increase in biomass (more trees can grow and convert CO2 to O2), as well as complex chemistry in the upper atmosphere.
    5. The atmospheric temperature variations observed over the last century are smaller than natural variations in Earth’s climate (ice ages, etc.) even over the last 10,000 years.
    6. There is also a very good correlation between solar activity and Earth’s atmospheric temperature, and this may be causal (but it is also unproven). The Sun’s output, both average radiated power and charged particles, is inconstant.
    7. The current temperature models have not yet been able to predict accurately the temperature changes over time scales of 5-10 years, much less 50-100 years. Don’t believe any current long-term prediction.
    8. No temperature model I have seen includes any effect of variable solar activity (which is not very predictable now) on Earth’s temperature. [Duncan Steel also wrote a book about another, large effect which is ignored in today’s temperature models.] I wonder if the Earth’s rapidly changing magnetic field, which shapes the magnetosphere, can affect the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth’s upper atmosphere sufficiently to affect our climate and average temperature?

    What most people don’t realize is that some scientists are prostituting their research on climate change in order to get government funding, pay their salaries and grad students, etc. Sometimes they even fudge the results to keep their sponsors happy and the money flowing, and occasionally they get caught doing so.

  227. DennisW says:


    Thanks very much for your climate change post. Awesome.

  228. TBill says:

    Thank you for the discussion points.
    (1) Mental state of pilot-
    There were several initial media reports from a daughter and good friend basically saying the pilot was in no mental shape to be flying. The daughter later changed her story, however those early reports certainly influenced me. Not to mention reported lack of future plans on the calendar.

    Suicide is not always predictable. The pilot was in the middle age sometimes susceptible to that behavior, not to mention the follow-up surveys re: GermanWings indicate depression among pilots is a concern. Seems to me many red flags for ZS.

    (2) Radio Silence/SDU/Power Management
    One possibility we were witnessing an effort to wipe evidence including whatever was on the Cockpit Voice Recorder up until IGARI (eg; like SilkAir). @Victor has previously outlined the steps needed wipe the voice recorder. Cutting Left Bus at IGARI would I believe stop the recorder, and putting it back on at 18:25 would allow several options to record over that data. I also assume the pilot was at least aware the SATCOM generates a logon message at 1825.

    (3) Final Descent
    Well I agree it could have been piloted to the end, which could help to explain why the crash is harder to find. Depending on the extreme to which the pilot was trying to hide the evidence, he could have steered to a deep sea location. That was always my hypothesis.

    (4) Indonesia/Singapore Airborne/Etc. Radar risks
    That would tend to favor a loiter perhaps an out and back path to fake a flight north/west prior to FMT. Not too much actvity though in the wee hours on a weekend.

  229. David says:

    @Victor.”What is your explanation for the disappearance?”

    In selecting between the known conjectures, the least-worst in my opinion is the Zaharie Shah suicide, though these knowns do not include the unknown unknowns. Also, “least-worst” means it has the least against it (by my subjective weightings) as distinct from being the best, which would include positives, currently absent. It also is tentative, being sensitive to interpretations and any new information.

    While that does not support a search north I would not see such a weak view having much influence on that, except that I do think it weighs against the negotiation explanation being seen to support a search there. That also has no strength IMO, currently.

  230. TBill says:

    I agree with you, if I had to guess it is wide at 30S, but north of 25S is possible with some heading changes or fake/real intent to divert to Xmas/Cocos.

  231. David says:

    @TBill. Thanks. Re your earlier:
    (1) The question is whether the RMP, with any review/oversight, would have accessed at least as much information as the press from such as Fatima Pardi and the pilot’s families and whether there would have been follow-up if seen as needed. Without investigation of the investigation most probably we will never know. I daresay the ATSB and other accredited participants will have a view but they are unlikely to go on record.
    (2) Yes the voice recorder could have been a reason, IFE de-powering (left main bus power restoration after checking that all others have been disabled by hypoxia), external and internal lighting (with backup gen and other selections) or all of the above; and others.
    (3)&(4) Thanks.

  232. Victor Iannello says:

    @David: In consideration of how it was used to whitewash the 1MDB scandal, I am always surprised to see people put some much faith in the RMP and its ability to conduct and document a thorough and fair investigation.

  233. David says:

    @Victor. Fair enough, though I do not think that necessarily needs to be read across unless there is reason to believe there was a similar incentive to distort the MH370 outcome deliberately. Presumably prevention of a suicide finding? Would that be a government objective?

    Separately, I was just going to put in a correction to my (2) comments above to @TBill. It appears from the TM that the voice recorder is powered by left transfer bus. Would you confirm that the left main bus does this?

    @TBill, re my (2) response I am unsure that de-powering the left main bus will disable the IFE so withdraw that.

  234. Victor Iannello says:

    @David: Although this possibility was discussed just after the disappearance, starting about one month after the investigation, the Malaysians did what they could to direct attention away from the crew. The investigators’ attempt in the SIR to direct attention towards a “third party” was an example of this.

    The CVR is powered by the left transfer bus, if that’s your question. The left transfer bus can be powered by either the left main bus, the left backup generator, or the right backup generator. Off the top of my head, I believe if the left backup generator is switched off, the control logic prevents the right backup generator from powering the left transfer bus.

  235. David says:

    @Victor. Thanks. So as I read the way you see it the RMP and the investigators were jointly following government direction, in co-ordination.

    Yes there will be no power supplied to the left transfer bus with the left backup gen switched off: TM 24-20-00 p.34.

    @TBill. Your, “Cutting Left Bus at IGARI would I believe stop the recorder”. The context was finding other reasons the SDU, powered by the left main bus, would become de-powered.

    From the above exchange with Victor, cutting power from that bus would not stop the recorder. Re-powering it later to record over earlier data would not arise unless the left backup gen had been switched off earlier and was now switched on again.

    Also, as I think you are aware, cutting power from the left main bus would entail not just switching off the left IDG but the right too, or alternatively the left IDG together with isolating one of the two bus tie breakers.

  236. David says:

    @Victor, 3rd line, please add ‘backup gen’ before ‘power’.

    @TBill, 5th line pleas amend, ‘transfer bus power was restored’ to read, ‘now switched on’

  237. Victor Iannello says:

    @David said: So as I read the way you see it the RMP and the investigators were jointly following government direction, in co-ordination.

    I don’t think there had to be any coordination. I suspect the Annex 13 team was not interested in making waves. They had the RMP report, which found no reason to suspect the captain, and they accepted the report on its face value, as many others do. (After all, they are accident investigators, not criminal investigators.) At the same time, their own investigation saw evidence of a deliberate diversion. To reconcile the results, they proposed a scenario in which a “third party” diverted the plane. Of course, that raises its own set of questions, but the hope was that those questions would soon be forgotten.

  238. ventus45 says:

    A “third party”, is an open ended and utterly meaningless red herring, not even that, it is a copout. What “third party” ? “On board” or not ? If you assume “on board”, you have to consider every person on the plane as a suspect and do a thorough criminal investigation accordingly. That did not and will not happen. That only leaves “off board”, which becomes a choice between fanciful remote takeovers, or a botched “interception” or attempted shoot down that resulted in a damaged aircraft.

  239. ventus45 says:

    I disagree with you regarding Z’s knowledge of SATCOM. If I were Z, I would “want” the world to eventually “know” that I had flown to fuel exhaution. Rebooting SATCOM provides for that. His discussions with the avionics engineer and that engineer’s attempts to contact Z that morning are in my view proof enough. The houly keep alive pinging is no different in concept to a mobile phone remaining logged on to phone towers, a concept he was familiar with.

  240. David says:

    @Victor. Understood thanks

  241. TBill says:

    @Victor @ventus45
    A few months ago @Victor posted remarks of safety consultant/author George Bibel who said the airline industry assumed MH370 was likely a criminal act.
    If we interpret that comment further, I think he is saying the accident cause is not thought to be a fire, probably not a mechanical upset or fault, probably not an international terrorism activity. So that leaves a Malaysian domestic hijacking of some type. That would be what I feel the world governments expect happeded to MH370.

    Public is expecting a huge mystery, but that’s a different story.

  242. DennisW says:


    Could be. There are a lot of theories regarding the powering off and subsequent powering on of the SDU. I am inclined to think that the depowering was a consequence of something else.

  243. Mick Gilbert says:


    How do you know Zulhaimi Bin Wahidin was an avionics engineer? I’ve been trying to nail down that fellow’s speciality for some time now.

  244. DennisW says:


    Most of the discussion about the call Zulhaimi Bin Wahidin was in the comments following Victor’s “Simulator Data – Part 1” post on 10/12/17. You were an active participant (as was Ventus). Again, the details of the 45 minute call (and the other calls) are an important element of this mystery, and they remain unpublished. Perhaps existing only as notes in some RMP’s report.

    Frankly, I don’t think I have had a 45 minute one on one phone call in my entire life. Perhaps a conference call with multiple participants.

  245. Mick Gilbert says:


    Yes, recall that previous discussion. From memory I pointed out that it was Zulhaimi that called Zaharie and not the other way around. I also seem to recall that ventus45 made the same claim regarding Zulhaimi’s engineering speciality back then and that I asked the same question; how does he know that Zulhaimi Bin Wahidin is an avionics engineer? I’m pretty sure that that question hasn’t been answered yet.

  246. Andrew says:

    @Mick Gilbert

    In today’s The Australian:

    Pilot’s cousin was mystery MH370 caller

    FEBRUARY 13, 2019

    A relative of the pilot of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 says he is the aircraft engineer who made a “mysterious” 45-minute phone call to Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah before the flight vanished.

    Speaking for the first time, former Malaysia Airlines engineer Zulhaimi Bin Wahidin ridiculed conspiracy theories that he had provided Zaharie with technical details to enable him to ­hijack his own aircraft.

    In an exclusive interview, Mr Zulhaimi told The Australian he was Zaharie’s first cousin, had been close to him all of his life, and insisted the experienced airline captain was not the sort of man who would take himself and 238 passengers and crew to their deaths.

    Mr Zulhaimi last called Zaharie on February 2, 2014 — just weeks before MH370 vanished during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

    Royal Malaysian Police interviewed Mr Zulhaimi “three or four” times at his home and police headquarters following the plane’s disappearance on March 8, 2014, because of their suspicion he had provided his cousin with the technical advice to hijack the Boeing 777.

    “I was at police headquarters for three days. It spanned from morning to evening,” Mr Zulhaimi said. “I told them that Zaharie is a smart guy. He doesn’t need me to get all of the information.”

    Mr Zulhaimi noted that ­Zaharie was a highly experienced aviator who held licences to train and test other pilots.

    “So he knew a lot about the aircraft.”

    MH370 disappeared from air traffic control screens about 40 minutes into the flight when its secondary radar transponder was turned off, and just after Zaharie issued the last radio transmission, saying “Good night, Malaysian Three-Seven-Zero”.

    Military primary radar and automatic satellite “handshakes” later showed MH370 flew back over Malaysia, then up the Straits of Malacca, before turning on a long track south to the southern Indian Ocean, where it remains lost despite two major undersea hunts.

    Mr Zulhaimi, who now works for a different airline, feels “uneasy” about his cousin’s “name being tarnished”.

    “They’re trying to blame him for what happened and it’s very hard for me to swallow that because he’s not that kind of a person,” he said.

    “He was a jovial person. He had a lot of money. He was enjoying his life. Why would he kill himself for no reason? He had a good family and a good life. Successful children. I don’t think people are crazy (enough) to kill themself for nothing.

    “Of course (he is innocent).”

    While most staff at Malaysia Airlines knew the men were related, police initially did not.

    “I asked them to get all of the information from the telco company to see how many times he has been calling me,” Mr Zul­haimi said. “When they found that he had been calling me so many times for the last 10 years then they did not question me anymore. They knew it was a genuine relationship.”

    The father of three said Zaharie was actually “like a brother”.

    “He’s my father’s younger brother’s son,” he said. “We share the same grandfather.

    “So that was the reason why (we had that phone call). Nothing more than that.”

    As boys, they both attended Penang Free School.

    “Even though he’s older than me, we went to the same school together,” he said. “We used to play together (as children).

    “When he joined Malaysia Airlines, after a few years I joined as well, so we were very close.”

    Their phone call has been one of the enduring mysteries that surround the plane’s ­disappearance.

    “That was not the first and last phone call,” he said of their conversation. “He had been calling me every week practically for the last 10 or 20 years.

    “He’s a simulator instructor and the simulator is located near to my house. So each time when he wanted to go for simulator training, he would call me, ‘Are you in the house now? I want to visit you’.”

    The 53-year-old said Zaharie loved to share travel stories and reminisce about childhood.

    “We didn’t discuss much about aviation because we worked in the same company and we knew about the aircraft,” he said.

    “Most of us had been with the airline for more than 25 years at that particular time so it’s a boring subject to talk about aircraft … we don’t want to talk about work.”

    Police suspicions about the phone call became public when their initial investigative report from May 2014 was leaked online.

    This information, including that Mr Zulhaimi had tried to call Zaharie’s mobile three times after the plane was announced missing, fuelled wild speculation about their conversation.

    Late last year, members of an independent group of experts urged ­Malaysia to provide “confirmation of the role and technical area of expertise” of the aircraft engineer.

    “What was the substance of that long conversation?” the experts had asked through the media.

    “And who made the three attempts to contact Captain ­Zaharie Shah later on the morning of the disappearance?”

    Mr Zulhaimi said he tried to call Zaharie three times between 10.27am and 11.12am on the day of the flight’s disappearance because he was in disbelief that his cousin’s flight was missing.

    He had last seen Zaharie when the pilot and his wife, Faisah, visit­ed his home a few weeks earlier.

    “He was around the neighbourhood, around my area, so he dropped by to see my kids,” he said. “Just to say hello. We chitchat for a while, about half an hour or one hour.

    “He was a normal, jovial guy. I didn’t anticipate that some bad thing was going to happen. It was a big shock to me as well.”

    Zaharie often dropped by Mr Zulhaimi’s Selangor home to visit his cousin’s children, who are now in their teens.

    “He became much more closer to me, I think, because of my children,” Mr Zulhaimi said.

    For Mr Zulhaimi, the five years since his cousin’s disappearance have passed slowly.

    “The whole family has tried to forget about it,” he said.

    “We just accept the fact that he’s dead by now, I think.

    “I spoke to his elder brother, his sister, we accepted it. It’s become normal now.”

  247. DennisW says:


    Wow. What an incredible coincidence. You have to believe in clairvoyance now.

  248. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: Yes, that was perfectly timed. I think we can put this one to bed. It’s too bad it took so long to get the information.

  249. TBill says:

    Amazing that we have to wait 5 years to find out they were close relatives.

  250. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: There were rumors he was a relative and the discussion was not technical, but nothing was confirmed. At least now we have a better understanding of the circumstances related to the call. That’s good.

  251. David says:

    Also positive follow-up by Ean Higgins in ‘The Australian’

    “MH370 truth is still out there after one theory proved false EAN HIGGINS

    12:00AM FEBRUARY 13, 2019
    Five years on, a new figure in the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 saga has emerged from the woodwork.

    The informal international MH370 “club” of amateurs and experts addicted to the puzzle and looking for new pieces to solve it have been wanting to know more about Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his actions in the lead-up to the flight.

    It will be impossible to work out decisively what happened on the Boeing 777 that disappeared on March 8, 2014, until the wreckage and the black boxes are found.

    The dominant, though far from unanimous, theory is that Zaharie hijacked his own aircraft and killed all on board.

    The MH370 club has been urging the Malaysian government to release more information about a long conversation between Zaharie and a Malaysia Airlines aircraft engineer about a month before the flight, and three failed calls to Zaharie’s mobile made later on the morning of the flight.

    Now we know the answers, not from the Malaysian government but through journalist Kristin Shorten, who tracked down the engineer, Zulhaimi Bin Wahidin.

    We now know his story, and it punctures one theory: that Zaharie was talking to the engineer for details of how to hijack the aircraft.

    Zulhaimi, it turns out, was Zaharie’s cousin and close mate, going right back to childhood. The long conversation was just one of many familial ones over the years; the calls after the flight disappeared were just a desperate bid to find out what had happened to his cousin.

    It’s just as important in solving the enigma of MH370 to exclude theories and leads by proving them false as it is to work on new ones that might work.

    This discovery of the aircraft engineer takes us one step further, and is the sort of work the Malaysian government and the MH370 club should continue to get closer to the truth.”

  252. Victor Iannello says:

    @David: Thanks. That’s a fair piece by Ean Higgins.

  253. formula says:

    Accepting Mr. Zulhaimi’s account is doubtless appropriate, certainly without cause to do otherwise, but cynics might (reprehensibly) say it took five years to coach him to render a convincing fabrication.

    One point of unrelated-to-MH370 surprise is: – “I asked them [RMP] to get all of the information from the telco company to see how many times he has been calling me,” Mr Zul­haimi said. “When they found that he had been calling me so many times for the last 10 years…”. Ten years of call records preserved as a matter of routine!

  254. Mick Gilbert says:


    Thanks for that. As others have noted, incredible timing.

    While the family relationship had been suggested by others the best I could do in terms of connections was to determine that Zulhaimi and Zaharie had both attended the same school.

  255. oddball says:


    “Ten years of call records preserved as a matter of routine!”

    Probably, much longer than that. Wait ’til you discover what Google has on you!

    To All:
    My own father took his own life, many years ago.

    Although various others were not so surprised, it was a big shock to me. He had been suffering from depression for many years, but to most people, it was not apparent. Likewise, while I knew of it, it was not blindingly obvious, not to me anyway. It grew worse in the last few years though I had left home by that stage so was not there to see it.

    From my observations, and a lot of soul searching, hindsight and personal experience, it seems to be something which, if not resolved, grows, slowly creeping up on you. In my view, depression is commonly (almost always?) the result of anger denied or suppressed.

    From the little I know of ZS, I see some similarities, and some stark differences. Like, apparently, ZS, my father hid his inner turmoil behind a “comedian act” exterior. Frequently had people in hysterics, though we kids were often embarrassed by it. (In my country at least, comedians (currently) have a very high suicide rate.)

    However, my father would never have considered taking anyone with him – he directed his anger inwards… Believed everyone else was more important… I believe it originated with his own father, but he had already died so it could not be ‘returned’. His decision may have been long-planned, but the only clues he gave were very subtle. All I recall personally was the unusual way he said “Good Night” the night before he died. (Hence, perhaps, my earlier question.) He went alone, as most people do, and even left us a 2nd note, reminding us to check a safety item before we drove one of the vehicles.

    ZS may have been different. His anger may have been outward, against the world at large. He seemingly had an asymmetrical face (very apparent in some photos), and that may have resulted in bullying and ostracization as a child – and may also have motivated him to excel and become a top class pilot. Outwardly, it seems flying was his ‘life’, but as with these things, I suspect his wife somehow would have played a very important part in this. If she was ditching him (or already had in some way), that would without doubt have rocked the foundations of his world.

    I doubt one can rely very much on the Daily Mail for an accurate story, but if this one:

    is half-way true, it probably explains most of this.

    This photo (from the story above) is particularly revealing:

    Notice the extreme lean towards his (upright, carefully posed) wife and family, but note also the folded knee directed towards his wife. That represents attack, suppressed aggression, or possibly, defense. Is that strong Love & Hate on display? (Admittedly, that must be an old photo but maybe that was an underlying issue throughout.) His widow looks very different in more recent photos – haughty, to my eye – so maybe she ‘outgrew’ him. Maybe she was cheating on him and he caught her out.

    I’m sure some will say I’m reading too much into it, but maybe not. I learned a lot following my father’s death. When I told my brother before he got married that his wife-to-be might end up cheating on him, I didn’t realise just how accurate that was.

    As with my brother, that discovery for ZS would have devastated him, I believe, and while he may still have been able to fly blindfolded, his other thought processes would have been completely out of balance – totally unknown territory to him. His analysis of whether hijacking the plane might achieve what he wanted would have been as sound as a shattered windscreen…

    If that is the case, I wonder what finding the flight recorders will (won’t) reveal.

  256. Victor Iannello says:

    @David: We also have to wonder why the occurrence of the telephone call had the significance it did in the RMP report, especially if the investigators had already interviewed Zulhaimi and discovered that the call was likely unrelated to the disappearance.

  257. Mick Gilbert says:

    If nothing else the revelations about Zulhaimi underscore two points:

    1. Drawing conclusions about single acts or isolated behaviours is largely meaningless unless you have the context and a behavioural baseline for reference. Substituting your own behavioural baseline for that of the subject is probably worse than meaningless.

    2. There is considerably more information in the Royal Malaysian Police files than what was leaked in May 2014. It should now be clear that the leaked files are just part of the overall and much larger investigation report.

  258. David says:

    @oddball. Thank you for that account.

    Re,”I wonder what finding the flight recorders will (won’t) reveal.”

    Breathing sounds on the voice recorder at the end would tell us if someone was alive in the cockpit and, perhaps, conscious. If no breathing and no background noise, that would tell us the left transfer bus was de-powered, though the data recorder might indicate that anyway.

    It would be handy to know what data MAS elected to record in its 777s. According to FI there are 1300 parameters recorded. The data recorder should have recorded the whole flight if the right transfer bus had not been de-powered.

    Examples of some of interest: control positions, control inputs and forces, engine adjustment, APU start, switch positions and power supply connections.

    Then there is the wreckage, which might indicate in flight break-up, passenger oxygen generator usage, switch physical positions, conceivably who was in cockpit seats; and other.

  259. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Re: We also have to wonder why the occurrence of the telephone call had the significance it did in the RMP report, especially if the investigators had already interviewed Zulhaimi and discovered that the call was likely unrelated to the disappearance.

    Victor, you have to look at who authored the various elements of the leaked RMP report to make proper sense of them. Zulhaimi is only mentioned in the SKMM folders. They’re called SKMM folders for a reason; they were compiled by the Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission). The SKMM is a telecommunications authority; essentially a regulatory body with, inter alia, supervision and monitoring functions. They are not the RMP.

    It’s probable, if not apparent, that the SKMM were given some evidence gathering tasks by the RMP in relation to the disappearance. In fulfilling that brief the SKMM has obviously looked at telecommunications associated with individuals of interest (flight crew, cabin crew, etc). Think about how you would organise the data you captured under those circumstances if you were given the task. You’d most likely flag at least three data characteristics; most recent call(s), most frequent calls and longest call. And it appears that is what the SKMM did with the Zulhaimi call, they flagged it as being a comparatively long call. Absent a proper behavioural baseline it looked odd; compared to the behavioural baseline of all calls between Zulhaimi and Zaharie over an extended period it doesn’t. Well, not unless you want it to.

    Having been presented with a number of leads from the SKMM analysis it appears that the RMP did what you would expect and chased them down. Hence, the Zulhaimi interviews. When those interviews took place, particularly in relation to the submission of the SKMM report, we don’t know.

    We’re looking at three different processes; evidence gathering, lead identification and investigation. You certainly would not expect the SKMM to rewrite their report based on the results of the RMP interview(s) with Zulhaimi.

  260. Richard Godfrey says:

    Here is a link to a new paper on MH370 entitled “How to play Russian Roulette and Win”:

    I am grateful to Victor Iannello, Don Thompson, Mike Exner, Dennis Workman, Bobby Ulich, Andrew Banks and Mick Gilbert for their many comments, corrections and contributions to the paper.

  261. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: Your characterization of the SKMM analysis is probably accurate.

    However, I think it was fair that there were questions raised about the long call the captain had with Zulhaimi, considering the timing of the call, and the employment circumstances of both men. At least in my mind, the evidence pointing to the captain as the prime suspect never hinged on the subject matter of the call.

  262. Victor Iannello says:

    @Richard Godfrey: Thank you for the interesting paper. Powering up the left bus for TCAS operability is worthy of consideration. It would be interesting to know for sure what the ADS-B receiver capability for Sumatra and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was at the time of the disappearance. If receivers were operating, the presence or absence of ADS-B data from 9M-MRO would give us a definitive answer about whether or not the transponder was turned on.

  263. TBill says:

    @Richard @Victor
    Richard – extremely good summary of the facts as we understand them. As far as ADS-B, do we have EK343 as a test case? I do not believe FlightRadar24 shows any data for EK343 from well before VAMPI. I believe MH370-Captio also mentions SATCOM reboot could be for, among other reasons, for TCAS.

    “The data recorder should have recorded the whole flight if the right transfer bus had not been de-powered.”

    I do not recall ever hearing anyone say cutting Right XFER bus cuts off the flight data recorder, so I did not realize that. Could this be done temporarily to hide evidence? For hypothetical discussion purposes, let’s say the pilot did not want to record certain nefarious actions taken, such as intentional depressurization of the cabin.

  264. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: We are not talking about what FR24 feeders might have received. We’re talking about ATC stations.

  265. David says:

    @TBill. The Safety Investigation Report p.133 helps with the powering of the data recorder.
    Based on normal usage if the power is off it will not record. On restarting it will add to the last record as distinct from overwriting the record of some time before.
    Not recording during this flight would be prima-facie evidence of right transfer bus de-powering therefore though not necessarily for that reason.

  266. TBill says:

    Could the flight ID be deleted from the CDU screen while in flight, so if secondary radar picked up MH370 (due to use of TCAS) at least that would hide the ID of the flight?

  267. airlandseaman says:

    TBill: Re:

    “Could the flight ID be deleted from the CDU screen while in flight, so if secondary radar picked up MH370 (due to use of TCAS) at least that would hide the ID of the flight?”

    Yes, the flight ID can be removed/changed. It is a dynamic variable. But your question indicates confusion about Mode-S vs. TCAS. TCAS can be on or off and SSR still works. They are separate systems (although both use 1030/1090 MHz). Most aircraft with a Mode-S transponder do not have TCAS, but their ID (Registration number) still appears on radar displays and in cockpit ADS-B-IN/TIS NDs. So removing the MH370 flight number would not change much. If the Mode-S transponder was on, and TCAS was off, the aircraft would still be identified as 9M-MRO. Note that the registration number and ICAO 24 bit code are programmed into the transponder configuration at installation. There is no way to change these parameters in flight, or turn them off.

  268. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: The Flight ID can be deleted from the CDU screen. In fact, since the Flight ID was missing when the SDU logged onto the Inmarsat network, there is a reasonable chance that it was deleted.

    If the Flight ID was missing and the Mode C “squawk” code (the four octal numbers) was changed, the Mode S ICAO code (24 bits) would still be known to radar stations that had Mode S capability. For those stations that had only Mode C capability, it would have been difficult to identify the plane in real time. For those radar stations that had Mode S capability, deleting the Flight ID and changing the squawk code would at the very least cause confusion.

    I’m told that Indonesia radar stations did not have Mode S capability, but Thai radar stations did.

  269. Victor Iannello says:

    @airlandseaman: You submitted your comment as I was preparing mine.

    I think @TBill was noting that although TCAS can be off while the transponder operates, on a B777, the reverse it is not true: If TCAS is operating, then the transponder is responding to SSR interrogations.

  270. airlandseaman says:

    Victor: Yes, TCAS requires (depends on) a Mode-S transponder, but a Mode-S transponder does not require TCAS. That was my point.

    The basic transponder is essentially a generic pulse amplitude modulated transceiver operating on 1030/1090 MHz. Mode A, Mode C and Mode-S versions of the transponder have different levels of baseband “smarts” modulating the basic com links. TCAS depends on the smarts in the most sophisticated version, Mode-S.

    The evolution of the transponder has been amazing in that what started as a very basic way to improve radar returns (an “amplified” return) is now a sophisticated general purpose communication transceiver that allows planes to communicate with ground radar, ADS-B receivers and transmitters on the ground and in the air, other aircraft (using both ADS-B and TCAS). But the core piece is still a primitive pulse amplitude modulated transceiver. It is kinda like Windows 10 built on DOS!

  271. TBill says:

    I also had in mind the small ADS-B receivers that anyone can puchase/use.

  272. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: Got it. If TCAS was activated, there was definitely a risk of identity disclosure, both contemporaneously and retrospectively, even if the Flight ID was deleted and the squawk code changed.

  273. Don Thompson says:


    We have established that the Flight ID can be cleared from the FMC using the MCDU.

    To be clear, Flight ID and ICAO a/c hex ID are communicated only via a specific Mode-S interrogation or ADS-B.

    The ICAO “Technical Provisions for Mode S Services and Extended Squitter” state that the register, within the transponder, where the Flight ID is stored (& is then transmitted to the ground by ADS-B extended squitter and in reply to appropriate Mode-S interrogation) cannot be cleared after being set with data.

    Register 0x08 is not cleared since it provides information that is fundamental to track file management in the ADS-B environment.

    Mode AC involves only altitude & octal XPNDR code.

    Mode-S & ADS-B will reveal, at least, the a/c hex ID. The Flight ID is somewhat moot.

  274. Don Thompson says:

    Note to self, update page before posting an answer.

  275. flatpack says:


    Back on January 27, 2018 at 11:40 am you stated :-

    “The reality is the earth radius at the equator is 6378km and at 40S is 6369km.”

    So, from the equator flying a southern course over an oblate spheroid (the earth), the radius of the spheroid reducing as you come off the meridional bulge, does the plane effectively want to follow a straight line geodisic path through spacetime ?

    What effect would autopilot functions have ?

    It seems to me that you don’t need as much lift to maintain pressure altitude, so the A/P may reduce thrust. After all, 9 Km represents a lot of potential energy.

    When is a descent not a descent ?

    There may be fuel saving by effectively ‘descending’ over the flight south, yet still have nominally. the same pressure altitude at the end as when you started…

    Does this make sense ?

  276. flatpack says:

    @Don Thompson

    You noted on August 17, 2018 at 1:31 pm :-

    “At 18:39, the GES did signal the AES that it was opening two channels, but one was very quickly cleared by the GES.

    At 23:13, the GES signalled one channel.

    In both cases, the GES and AES held the channel for 60 seconds, awaiting a call answer. Each call was routed to the flight deck.”

    Andrew noted on July 31, 2018 at 9:32 pm :-

    “My understanding is that most operators configure their SATCOM systems such that incoming ‘public’ calls (Q9) are not routed to the flight deck.”

    DrB posted on September 8, 2018 at 1:58 pm :-

    “Has anyone figured out why there are many more BFOs at 18:40 than at 23:14, even though the phone call durations are equal?”

    My question is why were there so many BFOs if the second channel was ‘very quickly cleared’ by the GES?

    There were apparently 51 BFOs related to the first unanswered phone call from 18:39:55 to 18:40:56. That is approx double the rate of the 23:13 unanswered phone call. The 18:39 event seems like two calls.

    Was the second call not fully dropped but re-routed to the SATCOM phone in the cabin because the one in the cockpit was engaged?

    If one channel actually was very quickly cleared by the GES (and the BFOs are somehow spurious), was the channel cleared because there was no available terminal on 9M-MRO to route the call to?

    EG the SATCOM phone in the cabin was ‘unavailable’ because it had been de-powered or otherwise disabled.

    It seems vaguely plausible to me that a call could progress in stages, so the GES would allocate a channel and only then (on the plane) would a look-up be made to the call routing table. Absent a legal route, or an active and available terminal, there may be no call alert acknowledgement made and the GES may clear the channel.

    The system may be buggy, and it may be telling us something. Possibly the apparently cleared channel but expected number of BFOs are symptoms of another error condition. Maybe the extra BFOs indicate fruitless retry attempts to access an active and available terminal.

    Also, is the priority level of the second call known, who made it, why was it made, and can the call routing logic be modified in-flight from the cockpit?

  277. DennisW says:


    Good questions regarding altitude. The autopilot uses barometric altitude, but it is a bit complicated, IMO. The link below is a good explanation of the various barometric altitude references.

    As for the potential energy derived from a descent relative to the center of the earth as one maintains to same “pressure altitude” flying away from the equator, I never really thought about it before. I would say “yes”, your interpretation is the same as mine.

  278. Victor Iannello says:

    @DennisW, @flatpack: The plane (for the same mass) weighs about 0.3% more, which means more drag, more thrust, and more fuel burned.

  279. DennisW says:


    The plane (for the same mass) weighs about 0.3% more, which means more drag, more thrust, and more fuel burned.

    Good point. Lots of variables in the mix. Probably none of these second order effects has a significant impact on the conclusions.

  280. Don Thompson says:


    The call priorities are known, they’re evident in the SUs. The call attempts to 9M-MRO were assigned ‘regularity of flight’. Not passenger correspondence.

    The addressing indicated the calls were routed to the SDU ports connected to the flight deck interphone circuits. Any other destinations on the aircraft are only routable through the CTU.

    At 18:39, the second circuit was cleared by the GES, there was nothing signalled from the ground to indicate the aircraft caused the clearing. The corresponding ground segment log (per the Stratos records) showed only 1 originating PSTN call.

    Number of BFO’s – a BFO is registered as each interleaver block is decoded.

    The call setup involves an initial few seconds ‘flurry’ of signalling, then until answer or clearing, the GES and AES exchange status only at 10sec intervals. Clearing the call involves another ‘flurry’ of signalling. Look at the time span, not the number of SUs exchanged.

    The two calls originated from PSTN circuits in MAS: the first at 18:39 was a general OCC line, the second at 23:11 was an OCC manager’s line.

  281. airlandseaman says:

    As part of the voice call setup protocol, the AES and GES exchange a number of link tests to find the lowest acceptable eirp (both endes) to work at the high, continuous data rate needed. You can see in the received power time series the exchanges, each time adjusting the eirp.

  282. David says:

    @Victor, TBill. Another puzzle as to the possibility of a Zaharie Shah suicide is that that interpretation of events should have developed as it has. He seems to have taken no steps in plannning and preparation to obviate that.

    He could have expected his backtrack across the Peninsular to have been evident from PSR records; as with the navigation to maximum radar range. Also he would have known that in flying dark, together with the aircraft being navigated as it was, the only obvious reason why a pilot suicide might not be deduced by investigators was the possibility that he and/or the co-pilot were acting under compulsion.

    Keeping himself in the mind of the investigators like this, he would have supposed I think that had it been a hi-jack they would expect an outcome such as a terrorist claim or some material gain. Yet with no such outcome, that together with a long subsequent flight (satellite pings) would disabuse them of that likelihood.

    Thus in his mind the investigators would think it reasonable to point at one of the pilots.

    He had not hidden his chagrin at the Malaysian Government via various posts (at least) so he might well see it likely that the investigators would suppose him to be depressed and the most likely culprit.

    Hence in planning one could expect that he would find it necessary to counter this strong impression in his imagination. To do that he might contrive rumours about the co-pilot’s stability, or more likely, late in the flight, communicate briefly by satcom, HF or any other means available to him, that the aircraft had been hi-jacked. If concerned that any transmission could give his location away he might do that before turning south.

    However he did nothing like that to dispel this impression and indeed his suicide is widely seen as more likely than other known possibilities. That brings his family no credit whereas being the victim of a hi-jack for example would not carry the same opprobrium.

    In summary if he planned to conceal his suicide to shield his and his family’s reputations he has not succeeded fully, yet that was foreseeable. It is odd to me that he would have left that interpretation likely. Possibly something went wrong. The alternative is that any case for his suicide is weakened.

  283. Victor Iannello says:

    @David: Thank you for the comment. We are missing important pieces of the puzzle and probably some pieces that we have are not correct. We need to shake things up because the path we’re going down is not producing a way forward.

  284. TBill says:

    Number of things, I assume Malaysians have a different cultural mindset than that of Americans. In America we’ll put you in jail if the circumstantial evidence looks like you did it. In that part of the world, I assume in part due to intense burden of shame put on the family and Country, there seems to be a greater burden of proof. For example, U.S. NTSB said SilkAir was apparent pilot suicide. Indonesia and Singapore said, in effect “no way, pictures or it didn’t happen.” The requirement of absolute hard proof gives a perpetrator some considerable opportunity to avoid blame in Malaysia as long as there is no defintive record of what happened and who did it. I basically feel CIA was thinking it was like SilkAir with the pilot trying to hide the evidence.

    I would say ZS succeeded somewhat in protecting family and Country from shame, even though some of us foreigners are focussing on the incriminating circumstantial evidence.

    As far as political objectives, not so much was apparently accomplished. Either there was some missing element or mistake, such as follow-up actions some co-planner chickened out on, or it was just hard to design a mission that would accomplish hurting the government while at the same time being subliminal/silent to avoid leaving hard evidence about who did it and why.

  285. TBill says:

    By the way, there were some reports of distress calls and CMB implications from China, that seems like somebody was trying to shift blame.

  286. DennisW says:


    It is difficult to attribute a motive for the diversion. Suicide ranks very low on my list of reasons.

  287. David says:

    @Victor. “We need to shake things up because the path we’re going down is not producing a way forward.”
    No it isn’t. Maybe some pressure getting Anwar Ibrahim onto it. According to Amanda Hodge in the article below (of May 27th, 2018) in ‘The Australian’ he promised Zaharie Shah’s sister as follows; “Ms Shah said she welcomed Malaysian prime minister-in-waiting Mr Ibrahim’s commitment, revealed in The Weekend Australian, to review all domestic failures and discrepancies in the hours and weeks after the plane disappeared, and resume the search if internal investigations into those failures warrant it.”

    I have intimated to Amanda Hodge recently that that might be worth pursuing, without response.
    Has he had such a review conducted?

    Or else as I posted about recently having the life of that mollusc from the part flap determined, with a chance that might prove the crash was in the tropics, though any such endeavour would take time, the will and the means.

  288. David says:

    @TBill. You said, “…..there were some reports of distress calls and CMB implications from China, that seems like somebody was trying to shift blame.”

    Would you expand on that?

  289. Victor Iannello says:

    @David: The current Malaysian administration’s focus is to use the 1MDB scandal to discredit and perhaps imprison Najib and his cronies. I don’t see much incentive to focus attention on the MH370 disappearance, as the captain is linked to the current administration. My guess is they prefer it is forgotten.

  290. TBill says:

    “Would you expand on that?”

    You know, right? the seemingly planted emails from unknown sources in China.
    One email claimed U.S. (Navy) assets got a distress call from MH370 that the aircraft was breaking up. On March 9, there was the email claim attributed to China Martyr Brigades that MH370 was hijacked and downed and will never be found, which for March 9 (day after) is at least clairvoyant.

  291. Neville says:

    @(Victor Lannello, TBill, & David [twice], from Feb 10, 2019, 8:49pm to 10:53pm. Also David, Feb 13, 10:43pm)

    There has been some discussion as to how the voice and data recorder might be turned off by a malevolent pilot. I have no views about the data recorder, but it seems to me that disabling the CVR would be a simple matter of cutting the headphone/mike wires, if they are no longer needed, or stuffing them in a briefcase packed with sound-suppressing material, just in case of a future need.

    Disabling the cockpit roof microphone should be equally simple. However, fortunately for the world, I’ve never flown a Boeing airliner, so perhaps I’ve missed something.

    I’m sure we will find MH370 eventually, even if we have to borrow some technology from Star Trek, but it’s going to be pretty sickening if we find that said malevolent pilot had managed to take out both the VCR and the FDR.

  292. David says:

    @TBill. Thanks for the memory jog on the second. I have no memory of the first.

    @Neville. That would be an alternative. It would need to await the absence of the other pilot yet before evidence was recorded. The sounds of doing it or sequential failure would be evidence of malfeasance whereas de-powering might be ambiguous (eg Silk Air).

  293. TBill says:

    “I’m sure we will find MH370 eventually, even if we have to borrow some technology from Star Trek, but it’s going to be pretty sickening if we find that said malevolent pilot had managed to take out both the VCR and the FDR.”

    You touch on the justification why the crash should be found, to find out what nefarious actions might have been taken. But many authorities do not want to “go there”, which is part of the reason MH370 may remain hidden for the foreseeable.

    As far as CVR, I think @Victor has previosuly given the electronic steps needed, but presumably the perpetrator might have wanted to wipe any incriminating sounds from the first 45 minutes of flight upon restart of the power at 1825 (assuming CVR was turned off at IGARI).

    But I am interested in your ideas of microphone sabotage, to be honest.

  294. formula says:

    @ David “However he did nothing like that to dispel this impression and indeed his suicide is widely seen as more likely than other known possibilities.”

    True, although doing something of significance (radio call reporting a hijacking etc.) introduces the risk that it is proven false or at least is substantially questioned and hence it might result in the opposite of the intention if it became viewed as a ruse. It might have been thought that no data, no information was the best means of providing for no conclusion, although that of course begs the question of why undertake the act at all.

    Further, a full diary and disclosed plans for the period after the flight (that I recall was not the case) might have done sufficient to cast doubt on a planned suicide and could have been easily accomplished without giving rise to suspicion of a false trail.

  295. David says:

    @formula. “Further, a full diary and disclosed plans for the period after the flight (that I recall was not the case) might have done sufficient to cast doubt on a planned suicide….”

    Yes though that could lead to a similar interpretation: done to mislead.
    However if his diary habitually projected well ahead with a consistent level of entries yet was empty after 8th March, that would be telling. A reasonable interpretation would be that he was leaving a deliberate clue (unlikely – why not a note (assuming there was none)?) or else that he had been distracted in his planning and well short of thorough. Either way, likely intent would have been demonstrated.

    I presume the diary entries, then lack of, were not as clear cut as that, for otherwise the issue would have been to the fore long since.

  296. DennisW says:


    I am troubled by the suicide scenario for several reasons chief of which are:

    1> ZS did not exhibit any signs of being suicidal prior to the flight. Nor is any reason for a suicide at all apparent.

    2> The flight path is not the best choice for suicide. Why not head Southwest as far from land (where any search operation would have to based) as possible. Instead of the flight path was South to Southeast.

    3> Malaysia has a low suicide rate of 5.5 per 100k people annually. The US is 15.3 per 100k and Germany is 13.6 per 100k.

    4> The number of commercial flights hijacked is about 162 (since 1920).
    The number of confirmed or very likely commercial flight in which the pilot committed suicide is 7. Hijacking is more than 20 times more likely than suicide based on historical occurrences.

    Looking at the diverion from the perspective of a hijacking one can assume that the PIC wanted something. Most likely from the government. Casting the scenario as a non-cooperative two player game results in a Nash Equilibrium of non-compliance by the government and a crash by the PIC.

  297. Ventus45 says:


    In the game of test cricket, there are four possible results; win, loose, tie, and draw.

    In games between Australia and England, “Ties” are incredibly rare, statistical outliers, and only occur when a team is desperately trying to win a “game”, so as to save a “series” (the ashes) in a situation where only a win will do, regardless of the risk of losing that particular game, since whether it results in a loss or a draw makes no difference to the series, ie, unless you “win” this game, you loose the series, so you “loose the ashes”.

    The win/loose couple is the normal (80/20 Pareto) outcome, but “the draw” is very often the preferred outcome, usually adopted as the strategy of choice late in the game, when the risk of loosing becomes equal to or greater that the probability of winning. If your situation becomes hopeless, (ie, you can’t possibly win – too many runs to get, too few overs left, required run rate too great and/or only one or two wickets in hand), then the strategy is to play out the remainder of the game, in such a way as to attempt to “ensure”, that you do not loose any more wickets, so that the other side “can not win”, ie, you play for the draw.

    There is one more point to note. In “test cricket”, the ashes are “held” by the side that last “won them” in a test series. Some test series do end in a draw, so the existing holder retains them, they don’t have to “re-win them”. If the other side wants them, they have to “win the series” to get them.

    It is likely, that when Z realised that the government would not play ball, that the ultimatum was effectively being “called”, he knew he could not win, but it was imperative from his point of view, that he ensured that the government could not possibly win. His “draw” play was oblivion in the SIO.

  298. TBill says:

    How has 9/11 (impervious cockpit doors) impacted the stats? I would think less hijacking now.

  299. Mick Gilbert says:


    In games between Australia and England, “Ties” are incredibly rare, statistical outliers, and only occur when a team is desperately trying to win a “game”, so as to save a “series” (the ashes) in a situation where only a win will do, regardless of the risk of losing that particular game, since whether it results in a loss or a draw makes no difference to the series, ie, unless you “win” this game, you loose the series, so you “loose the ashes”.

    As a bit of a cricket tragic I can tell you that you’re only half right there. Ties are incredibly rare, in over 2,300 games of test cricket there have only been two, both involving Australia.

    Both tied matches were the first matches of Test series so there was absolutely no notion of ‘must win to save the series’ involved. And none were in Ashes series against England.

  300. Brian Anderson says:

    @ Mick G

    There are occasional and more frequent ties in one day cricket. There might have been another one some years back, in a one day match between New Zealand and Australia. Australia made absolutely sure that the outcome would not be a tie by bowling that last ball underarm.

    NZers have never forgiven them and that “underarm” moment will forever be a bone of contention. A TV documentary on the event was screened just a few days ago.

  301. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Brian Anderson

    Yes, there have been over 4,060 one day internationals played for a total of 37 ties. The fixed over format somewhat improves the possibility of teams ending on equal scores.

    I vividly remember the ‘underarm incident’ back in 1981. Thankfully being left off maps seems to have overtaken the conduct of that game as New Zealand’s pet peeve.

  302. DennisW says:


    How has 9/11 (impervious cockpit doors) impacted the stats? I would think less hijacking now.

    Interesting question. I count 17 hijackings and 2 suicides by pilot (commercial flights) since the 911 incident. So the frequency of hijackings has gone down and the ratio of suicides to hijackings has gone up. It makes sense to use post 911 stats.

  303. DennisW says:


    It is likely, that when Z realised that the government would not play ball, that the ultimatum was effectively being “called”, he knew he could not win, but it was imperative from his point of view, that he ensured that the government could not possibly win. His “draw” play was oblivion in the SIO.

    Excellent analogy, IMO.

    BTW, in my previus post (17/2) I did not include MH370.

  304. David says:

    @DennisW. No pi-jacking in the sense of extortion, political or monetary, comes immediately to mind. Do your stats lend to that?

  305. DennisW says:


    A quick look showed Ehiopian Flight 702 (Feb. 17, 2014) was hijacked by the copilot to Geneva to seek political asylum. I did not see any other examples.

  306. ArthurC says:

    Just a thought – wouldn’t the perpetrator, if this was indeed a politically-based hijacking, want to make a statement by ensuring that the reasoning would be well-known and publicized? In other words, allow the wreck to be found, maybe leave a clear message on the CVR… that kind of stuff?

  307. TBill says:

    In the U.S. we have 2-in-cockpit rule and no cell phone use, and possibly other safety measures which presumably help to minimize any temptation a potential rogue pilot might otherwise have in the hardened 9/11 cockpit.

    In this non-USA case however we have the MH370 pilot on social media at takeoff which conceivably is suspicious, and allowed to be alone in the cockpit. So the stage was set for possible trouble. So if we talk about stats, I think part of the equation is opportunity given the specific safety rules in practice.

  308. Shadynuk says:

    “Most people use statistics like a drunk man uses a lamppost; more for support than illumination”

    Mark Twain

  309. David says:

    @DennisW. Thanks

  310. DennisW says:


    Just a thought – wouldn’t the perpetrator, if this was indeed a politically-based hijacking, want to make a statement by ensuring that the reasoning would be well-known and publicized?

    I wondered about this myself, but the fact is that less than 20% of terrorist attacks are claimed for credit by the perpetrators. Link below is a good summary.

  311. DennisW says:

    Correction to my post above:

    “less than” should be “fewer than”. The number of terrorist attacks is represented by an integer.

  312. TBill says:

    From the anove article
    “..In other cases, anonymity is appealing because it offers plausible deniability”

  313. Victor Iannello says:

    I see that Ean Higgins has come out with a new book on MH370. I’m sure many here will find it entertaining.

  314. DennisW says:


    People can say whatever they want about Higgins, and they do. Frankly, I really like the guy. He has balls, and is not afraid to challenge the establishment. You have to respect that. Having said that, I will probably not buy his book.

  315. DennisW says:


    I can sympathize with the Kiwis grief about being left off maps. Ami spent a few years working there, and we have visited twice. Truly a spectacular country. Despite being what I would consider expert climbers, Ami and I were beaten back twice trying to ascend Mount Cook (at less than 4000 meters). Very humbling.

  316. Mick Gilbert says:


    G’day Dennis,

    Yes, a very picturesque country that manages to punch well above its weight in Rugby. I was working for an Australian airline that was taken over by Air New Zealand and consequently reduced to ruin inside of two years so my views on our Kiwi brethren tend to be so jaundiced by that experience as to be largely worthless.

    Closer to home, Australia’s island state of Tasmania is also often left off maps.

  317. DennisW says:


    Good stuff all around. I love it. Not a perspective you get from the media.

  318. Andrew says:

    @Mick Gilbert

    The demise of Ansett was a very sad episode in the history of Australia’s airlines, not least for the thousands of staff who lost their livelihood. Air New Zealand’s decision to outbid Singapore Airlines and take control of Ansett was spectacularly stupid, given Ansett’s existing problems and Air New Zealand’s inability to support the Australian airline.

  319. Mick Gilbert says:


    Spectacularly stupid‘ almost certainly understates Air New Zealand’s handling of the purchase. Just four years earlier in 1996 Air NZ bought a 50% stake in Ansett for A$465 million ($A325 million to TNT and $140 million as an equity injection) not the A$540 that is widely claimed. In 2000, Singapore Airlines thought that the other 50% was worth A$500 million. They were probably pretty close to the mark. Air NZ’s initial 50% stake had come with a first right of refusal on the second 50% so they used that to block SIA’s bid. Now with effectively the table to themselves, untroubled by other bidders, Air NZ chairman Sir Selwyn Cushing bid an eye-watering A$680 million. He probably could have bought it for A$501 million. News Corp couldn’t believe their luck.

    Air NZ had no plans for what the merged entity would look like and had no CEO (Cushing couldn’t stand his own CEO, Jim McCrea, and didn’t want him running the new combined business so it ran leaderless for six months). The whole thing was a vanity project for Cushing based on utterly ridiculous revenue growth projections and equally ridiculous ‘synergy’ cost reductions. The numbers weren’t even vaguely achievable under ideal business conditions and 2000-2001 were far from ideal. I’m pretty sure that 2000-2001 saw a bigger downturn in airline revenues than the GFC caused. 9/11 was the coup de grâce.

  320. Neville says:

    “You touch on the justification why the crash should be found, to find out what nefarious actions might have been taken. But many authorities do not want to “go there”, which is part of the reason MH370 may remain hidden for the foreseeable.”
    Try reverse psychology! Give the Malaysian Government a reason for wanting to find MH370. What if we let them think the 18.4 tonnes of Li batteries which they claimed was in the cargo hold and then redacted, was actually gold bullion that Najib Razak had stashed away, and their beloved pilot had been flying it out of the country for him?
    “That {cutting the headphone wires} would be an alternative. It would need to await the absence of the other pilot yet before evidence was recorded. The sounds of doing it or sequential failure would be evidence of malfeasance whereas de-powering might be ambiguous (eg Silk Air).”
    Yeah –a perfect case of self incrimination!

  321. airlandseaman says:

    Cutting headphone wires would not cut all CVR recording channels. There is at least one cockpit area mic plus channels for all headphone jacks.

  322. TBill says:

    According to this reference (see picture) On a Boeing 777, the cockpit microphone is on the overhead panel next to the passenger seat belt sign switch:

  323. TBill says:

    P.S.- re: above link (see photo)…at first glance the overhead microphone does not look very tamper proof, but I am not sure how easy it is to unscrew those panel screws to get to the wiring. Also not sure if there is circuit breaker for the mics.

  324. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: @Mick Gilbert in the past has suggested that a wad of bubble gum over the microphone grill would be effective and easy. Whether a breaker was switched, wires were cut, or gum was placed over the microphone, there would be tell-tale noises before sound was lost.

  325. Brian Anderson says:

    5Y3591, a 767 cargo plane, crashed into the Trinity river, near Chambers County.

    Some Flightradar24 data available here . . .

    Of note is the rate of descent from 6000ft over the last few seconds of flight, approaching 30,000 ft/min.

    There are still some who say that this rate, and this acceleration is not possible in the case of MH370. Rubbish.

    Something went dramatically wrong about 20 seconds before the end in this case. Sad.

  326. Ventus45 says:

    Seems to have been a severe yaw even – tail failure ?

    Timestamp UTC Callsign Position Alt Speed Heading

    1550946990 2019-02-23T18:36:30Z GTI3591 29.669403,-94.536194 10200 299 308
    1550947002 2019-02-23T18:36:42Z GTI3591 29.680435,-94.550560 9925 297 308
    1550947011 2019-02-23T18:36:51Z GTI3591 29.688225,-94.560616 9825 296 315
    1550947019 2019-02-23T18:36:59Z GTI3591 29.695299,-94.566650 9750 298 325
    1550947026 2019-02-23T18:37:06Z GTI3591 29.706146,-94.573380 9650 298 333
    1550947033 2019-02-23T18:37:13Z GTI3591 29.713968,-94.577904 9475 293 333
    1550947039 2019-02-23T18:37:19Z GTI3591 29.720951,-94.582001 9250 290 332
    1550947053 2019-02-23T18:37:33Z GTI3591 29.738688,-94.593307 8675 284 328
    1550947060 2019-02-23T18:37:40Z GTI3591 29.744785,-94.598427 8450 276 320
    1550947067 2019-02-23T18:37:47Z GTI3591 29.750092,-94.604782 8225 267 309
    1550947076 2019-02-23T18:37:56Z GTI3591 29.755508,-94.615631 7925 256 292
    1550947082 2019-02-23T18:38:02Z GTI3591 29.757431,-94.623711 7700 248 281
    1550947088 2019-02-23T18:38:08Z GTI3591 29.758192,-94.631058 7500 244 275
    1550947097 2019-02-23T18:38:17Z GTI3591 29.759123,-94.642853 7150 241 274
    1550947104 2019-02-23T18:38:24Z GTI3591 29.759962,-94.654114 6750 240 274
    1550947121 2019-02-23T18:38:41Z GTI3591 29.761505,-94.673676 6150 243 275
    1550947134 2019-02-23T18:38:54Z GTI3591 29.762878,-94.689789 5850 272 275
    1550947143 2019-02-23T18:39:03Z GTI3591 29.764160,-94.705215 1325 254 274

  327. airlandseaman says:

    Ventus45: Re: “Seems to have been a severe yaw even – tail failure ?” From what information are you suggesting this? There is no yaw data in the data you posted. It appears the plane wend down in 24 seconds headed straight ahead on a constant track.

    Complete FR24 Granular data and charts here:

  328. airlandseaman says:

    3591 radar video here:

  329. Mick Gilbert says:


    Mike, that line of weather on the YouTube radar video appears to have been superimposed as a static image. Either that or it was the most stable front in the history of weather.

    I expect that the weather and 3591 would have been in roughly the same area just prior to the rapid descent.

  330. oddball says:

    Before the thread turned to cricket and the most à propos analogy, DennisW said:

    1> ZS did not exhibit any signs of being suicidal prior to the flight. Nor is any reason for a suicide at all apparent.

    Is that really the case? Is the Daily Mail story therefore just fiction, or does it have some truth? Is there no truth to the suggestion that his marriage was on the rocks if not over? Marriage breakdown is a major life event… It often leads to one of the 5 D’s I learned about at a Real Estate Investment seminar, which leads people into reckless relinquishment of valuable assets. Divorce. And fear of such an outcome can be worse than the outcome itself.

    On other topics:

    Does anyone have any comments on Leuren Moret?

    She seems to have some ‘out there’ ideas – which doesn’t mean they are wrong. Military Secrets, are, after all, supposed to be secret, and God knows what they really have these days. The more I study, the more it seems there are different Directed Energy Weapons already in existence.

    Apparently, being K-nighted went to Cushing’s oversized head, but it’s by no means the worst aircraft-related balls-up made by NZ leaders. Look into the SkyHawk “upgrade” debacle, if you want to get a better idea of eye-watering, nose-bleeding Kiwi stupidity. $3 billion of taxpayers’ money down the drain, thanks to certain moronically stupid (gay-feminist) politicians. Half a dozen formerly operational and fully saleable SkyHawks (complete with a willing buyer already fully lined up) left to rot. In this case, all NZ citizens lost out.

    Being flightless, most Kiwis should probably admit they don’t know much about flying.

    As for NZ, far better to be left off the map, if you ask me.

  331. Ventus45 says:

    Data above.
    Last column is heading.
    Heading goes from 308 right to 333 (25 degree starboard yaw in 36 seconds) then back left to 274 degrees (59 degree port yaw in 64 seconds). Seems very odd to swing 95 degrees for no apparent reason.

  332. Victor Iannello says:

    @Ventus45: It looks like there was a turn to avoid weather. The last 53 seconds show a steep descent and no change in heading. (I suspect it is actually track that is reported.) It looks as though there was a problem controlling pitch, possibly initiated by bad weather.

  333. TBill says:

    Not to speculate but I believe lightning strike caused engine damage another commercial jet yesterday had to turn back to emergency landing due to noise in the engine. Engine was put on idle and they landed safely.

  334. TBill says:

    P.S.- This is all I could find on the Delta struck by lightning but I heard a blurb about it on WTOP news radio…I assume same case

  335. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: This does not look like a loss-of-thrust incident for a number of reasons. The plane could have safely landed with only one engine, and could have glided with no engines. Also, the speed remained well above stall during the high speed descent. My guess is something occurred, possibly initiated by weather, for the loss of control of pitch.

  336. DennisW says:


    you said:

    1> ZS did not exhibit any signs of being suicidal prior to the flight. Nor is any reason for a suicide at all apparent.

    Is that really the case? Is the Daily Mail story therefore just fiction, or does it have some truth? Is there no truth to the suggestion that his marriage was on the rocks if not over? Marriage breakdown is a major life event… It often leads to one of the 5 D’s I learned about at a Real Estate Investment seminar, which leads people into reckless relinquishment of valuable assets. Divorce. And fear of such an outcome can be worse than the outcome itself.

    I discounted the Daily Mail suppositions based on feedback from Shah’s daughter relative to the accuracy of their information.

  337. oddball says:


    Fair enough! However, what about his on-line “stalking” of the young Malaysian model twins:

    Is that also fiction?

    The Asian cultural utter revulsion for “losing face” would likely cause family members to deny and cover up any alleged wrong doing by their husband / father / uncle, so I don’t know who to believe. The word of a dodgy tabloid, or the word of a distressed daughter. I presume the Facebook postings have been verified, at least?

    Wouldn’t this lend credibility to suggestions of marriage problems? What kind of ‘faithful’ husband does that? Someone who is really not happy in his marriage, I say. Maybe his wife caught him out and promised divorce? Man, if my wife caught me doing something like that, there would be Hell to pay, and rightly so!

    As William Congreve so aptly wrote:

    “Heav’n has no rage like love to hatred turn’d
    Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn’d.”

    Apparently, ZS made no effort at all to cover those tracks, so I believe he (wrongly) regarded his marriage as not worth protecting by that stage.

    I say it’s almost inevitable that someone would have reported this to someone in the family… But the loss of face to his wife / family as a result would have only inflamed his wife’s fury. A triple dose, I imagine!

    As they also say, “the sharpest weapon is a woman’s tongue” so I would not be surprised if the Daily Mail story is the truth, even if only coincidentally so. I have no doubt he would have been very thoroughly apprised of his mistake.

    That might have led him to formulate a crazy plan to “go down in a blaze of glory”, maybe? Evidently, he made much greater efforts to cover those tracks, and something no doubt prompted that change in behaviour.

    Is the Flight Sim data beyond doubt? If so, it clearly points to a man at least toying with the unthinkable. To me, this all supports recklessness for possible suicide, apparently bolstered or covered up by a political subplot. A sudden willingness to take enormous risks.

  338. oddball says:

    Am I allowed to say what I am really thinking, here?

  339. Niels says:

    @DrB, Victor, others
    Currenty I’m studying possible cruise speed settings / fuel consumption / weight etc
    One of the options is “0.84 Mach step cruise”, as it is refered to in the B777-200LR Aircraft Operations Manual (Delta Virtual Airlines). To me that looks like LRC control at optimum altitude.
    This manual also mentions FL300 to FL410 as standard cruise altitudes, while 43,100 ft is mentioned as operational service ceiling. Is there an indication what is a reasonable max. FL we could assume; would that be FL410 (in which case perhaps M airspeed may drop below 0.84 in low weight conditions), or would that be FL430?

  340. Victor Iannello says:

    @Niels: The Zero Fuel Weight (ZFW) for 9M-MRO was 174,400 kg. At that weight, there is sufficient thrust and buffet margin to operate at LRC speed at FL430, based on the table “Long Range Cruise Maximum Operating Altitude, Max Climb Thrust” that is included in the FCOM.

  341. Victor Iannello says:

    @oddball: I give people a lot of latitude, but there are limits. I won’t let this turn into Facebook or Twitter. Things that have gotten people in trouble are repetitive comments, making false statements, and accusing others of malice for disagreeing.

  342. oddball says:

    Hi Victor,

    I truly appreciate your work in creating and running this site, and thank you for all your work.

    However, I don’t know what I’ve done wrong here to justify this warning. Are my comments/questions on the possibility of pilot suicide inappropriate, or particularly repetitive?

    I don’t feel that I have accused anyone *here* of anything, and certainly not of malice as far as I can see, but maybe it’s my tone? Yes, I’m suggesting pilot suicide, and I can’t think of very many things more malicious in peacetime, but is that not permitted (to say)? I’m only asking DennisW why he rules out pilot suicide (no accusations, in my view), and offering (counter?) points that I believe might support it. Isn’t that the point of this blog?

    I’m only trying to suggest a possible, I hope well-reasoned, explanation for what happened. Yes, I know it’s divergent from what most posters are looking at, but isn’t that a good thing? Am I somehow bad mannered?

    Not long ago you said:

    “We are missing important pieces of the puzzle and probably some pieces that we have are not correct. We need to shake things up because the path we’re going down is not producing a way forward.”

    I’m not sure in which sense you meant missing – whether ‘overlooking’ or ‘not in possession of’ – perhaps both – but I feel strongly that I am making a valid contribution in response to your comment. To me, the snorting, raking rhino in the corner is being ignored.

    I accept that the Daily Mail story may be fake (and I didn’t write it), but on the other hand, it may be half-truth. One question I would ask is who supplied that old family photo that the DM printed? That appears entirely genuine to me. Could that have come from the daughter, who possibly didn’t realise at the time that she was being interviewed (perhaps covertly, as some less ethical publications possibly do)? Could it be she was promised something which was then disregarded – “Oh, no, I’d never publish any of this…”? I’m sure you know that newspapers often distort the facts (as a friend of mine says ‘Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story!’) and I have experienced it myself. They twist things, sometimes to the exact opposite of what you meant.

    Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but her words:

    “You can bet your ass I will not forgive you,”

    seem to me to be personal, as if she knows who she is addressing, but I dunno.

    I’d love to say more, but apparently, I’m pushing the limits of acceptability. My apologies. I am an oddball, with deficient social skills. I do see things from a different angle.

    I’m sure I have missed the point(s) of your warning – please would you be more specific, because I don’t see my error? If you’d rather I butt out, please say so.


  343. Niels says:

    Thank you, that’s helpful. Meanwhile I’ve made some first (rough) estimates of weight reduction between 21:11 and 00:11 and compared with the speed profile that I’ve calculated. I have to explain quite a strong reduction in speed; the numbers seem to point in the direction of (looking at @DrB’s sheets) ECON CI=52, constant FL around 340.

    For ECON mode, would you know how wind is dealt with / compensated for, and how that possibly affects fuel consumption?

  344. Victor Iannello says:

    @oddball: My comment was in response to the question you posed, not in response to your comments.

  345. Richard says:


    Anyone in the UK knows that the Daily Mail is not the source of much truth.

    Anyone in the world knows that Facebook is not the source of much truth.

    The article you quote from Perth News does not mention “stalking”, as you have quoted.

    I hold the view, that ZS was guilty of murder/suicide, but I do not rely on the Daily Mail, Facebook or the Perth News, in order to draw this conclusion.

    You go too far, in my view, when you express your racist views, by stating “As for NZ, far better to be left off the map, if you ask me.”

    I do not agree that a forum devoted to “Helping to Solve the World’s Greatest Aviation Mystery”, should be abused by you in order to express racist views against New Zealanders or anyone else.

    In fact there are many highly respected New Zealanders, that have contributed to this forum.

  346. TBill says:

    In addition to the daughter’s comments before she corrected to say she did not agree with that article, there was Straits Times article attributed to a close acquaintance that made similar implications. So you have to discount all of that, if you are saying pilot was lily white with no problems in his life. If you ask me there are more red flags than on a 36-hole golf course. But that’s me. Even Anwar admits ZS was angered about the jail time court case, many say this was not an unusual position as many of citizens were upset, but OK that’s like damning with faint praise.

    I thought @pigdead’s 2018 year end MH370 summary last month on Reddit was good. Let’s face it, 2018 was one of the most active years for MH370 with the searches and reports issued, debris findings etc. The only thing I can think of for this year 2019 is Mary Schiavo said the court case would move to Malaysia.

  347. Victor Iannello says:

    @Niels: In ECON mode, if there is a tailwind, the Mach number decreases, but is never below the MRC speed. If there is a headwind, the Mach number increases, but is never above the Mmo speed (M0.87). The change in Mach number is modest. For instance, in the example given in this paper for CI=80, a tailwind of 100 knots produces a reduction in Mach number from 0.796 to 0.787, and a headwind of 100 knots produces an increase in Mach number from 0.796 to 0.803. At FL350 and standard conditions, that only represents a change of TAS of around 4 knots for a 100-knot wind.

  348. DennisW says:


    Please read the linked essay, and then we can talk about how it might relate to MH370. The Gell-Mann and Peters paper is a very difficult read (at least for me), and I do not recommend going that far.

  349. Dennis Workman says:


    Despite reading everything Taleb has written, I am not a huge fan. In this case, I think his summary is appropriate.

  350. oddball says:


    You go too far, in my view, when you express your racist views, by stating “As for NZ, far better to be left off the map, if you ask me.”

    Thanks for the clarity of quoting what you object to.

    However, I really don’t know how to best respond to such an unjustified attack. Please justify how you view me to have been racist.

    noun: racist; plural noun: racists

    1. a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.

    New Zealand has representatives of almost every race on the planet: English, Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Jewish, Fijian, Nuiean, Indian, Chinese, Italian, Russian, “American”, Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, French, German, Spanish, Mexican, Turkish, Dutch, Swedish, Filipino, Malaysian, Iranian, etc etc. Those are just a few that I can think of who I know or have met. So, which race or races have I denigrated?

    I do not agree that a forum devoted to “Helping to Solve the World’s Greatest Aviation Mystery”, should be abused by you in order to express racist views against New Zealanders or anyone else.

    I quite agree. Just show us how I have abused it or expressed racist views, and that you are not yourself making a false statement or malicious allegation.

    In fact there are many highly respected New Zealanders, that have contributed to this forum.

    The joke’s on you, Richard. I AM a New Zealander. I live there.

    As for my comment about being left of the map, that was purely self-interest, but I won’t explain it so as not to risk being called something else that’s similarly non-PC.

  351. oddball says:

    Hi DennisW,

    I’d like to address of couple of your posts, if I may:

    In your post of February 17, 2019 at 9:44 pm @formula, you list several points, including:

    2> The flight path is not the best choice for suicide.

    IMHO, this is not an argument against suicide. It could be argued that ropes, sleeping pills, guns, long swims into the ocean, etc, are each not the best method for suicide as all have the potential for failure. However, if you understand the sad phenomenon of suicide, you’ll know that almost no one really wants to die. Almost every attempt at suicide holds an inherent plea for help, or some hope of a last minute reprieve or escape. For ZS, I think his suicide was probably more like a game of Russian Roulette, except with 5 chambers loaded. He may have been gambling on his attempt to blackmail the Malaysian government, knowing that he had a ‘fat chance’.

    That said, I also think he was more than happy with not “getting lucky”. In my view, in his mind he had that base well covered – best of all, most likely.

    As Shadynuk seemed to be saying, I also think your points 3 & 4 are examples of Statistical Fallacy. Just because an event is rare, doesn’t mean it won’t or can’t happen again. Like asteroid impacts with Earth. There are still a few asteroids floating about out there. Only if there were none left could you rule it out.

    Regarding Taleb’s the Logic of Risk Taking page, I believe his (opening) casino example is flawed, so didn’t spend much time trying to decipher the rest. Could you elaborate on the relevance, please?

    (Yes, I know, just because one point may be wrong doesn’t mean the rest is. Go tell it to a judge! Or call me a lazy generalist.)

  352. Richard says:


    Thanks for the clarification!

    Now I understand you are really an egoist, not a fake racist.

  353. DennisW says:


    The flight path carries a lot “baggage” from previous posts. The suicide advocates frequently embellish the suicide with wanting to hide the aircraft instead of simply dumping it into the South China Sea. Otherwise, what would be the point of flying West to Penang and then a long path South. My point is that flying South or Southeast from the FMT is not as good a choice for that purpose as would be flying Southwest, far away from any land base in the SIO.

    you said:

    I also think your points 3 & 4 are examples of Statistical Fallacy. Just because an event is rare, doesn’t mean it won’t or can’t happen again.

    It does not mean it can’t happen again, but it is not a statistical fallacy. In fact, the entire fequentist theory of probability is based on how many time a particular event happens relative to the family of other possible events.

    Taleb’s casino example is well chosen to expose a flaw in over two centuries of expected value theory.

  354. formula says:

    @ Dennis W ”The suicide advocates frequently embellish the suicide with wanting to hide the aircraft instead of simply dumping it into the South China Sea.”

    You alight (in your post next above) upon a point of weakness in that theory.

    An interpretation (rather too prolix, alas, for which apologies) that might go some way to addressing it is: –

    (1)The crew member perpetrator (so probably Z) whilst intent upon suicide nonetheless wished to avoid attracting whatever posthumous opprobrium might come his and his family’s way from society, both because of the cause of death and for including over two hundred other souls involuntarily in the plan.

    (2) Accordingly, there was a need to create a mystery such that no definite explanation could be produced for the aircraft’s disappearance and certainly nothing that would allow confirmation of the suicide notion.

    (3) It follows then that simply dumping the aircraft into the South China Sea (or anywhere else where wreckage recovery was probable (and perhaps radar tracking of the end of flight possible)) would not have suited the perpetrator’s intent.

    (4) In contrast, the flight West to Penang (hereinafter for convenience “the Penang leg”) would have suited such intent for it instils a seemingly inexplicable mystery. (In that connection, I make the assumption that the perpetrator had reasonable grounds based on his own research for supposing the Penang leg very likely could be accomplished without challenge (borne out of course by the actual flight). The weakness here obviously is why should the perpetrator take that risk and I can only put forward the idea that it was seen as slight enough but necessary to cement the mystery whilst at the same time affording some embarrassment to the Malaysian Government or at least its agencies that may have suited the perpetrator for political reasons.)

    (As for that Penang leg and the period onward until well away from other traffic, the management of risk from navigating the aircraft without detection is as you have doubtless seen dealt with thoroughly in @ Richard Godfrey February 13, 2019 at 5:14 am above with his paper “How to play Russian Roulette and Win”.)

    (5) Having taken the Penang leg risk, it would thereafter be vital to the plan to hide the aircraft, thereby minimizing prospects for a true explanation of its fate. The two risks that most obviously arise are that the aircraft is sighted at the end of flight (by chance passing mariners) and that debris is found. (Timing the end for the hours of darkness might have been a help, but against that making use of the maximum range of the aircraft to locate it further away may have been thought the better choice.)

    The end of flight sighting risk might have been managed not only through selection of a remote spot but also by having an active pilot at that point (although if fuel was low, choosing another location to end the flight might have been constrained). The debris risk perhaps was greatest not from the impact site but (as has been seen) from items being washed ashore. That could best be managed perhaps by selecting an impact site as far east in the SIO as was consistent with debris being washed westward, thereby to maximize the interval before it reached landfall. Clearly, the longer such interval, the less chance in the normal course that the debris would be recognized for what it was, especially if it was never expected that Inmarsat’s tracking capabilities were what they proved to be and with the consequence that it would not likely occur to anyone to search around Réunion and the African cost.

  355. DennisW says:


    I thought that is what I said, and furthermore that a location SW from the FMT instead of S or SE is a better choice. It is not only farther from any land base, but it remains in darkness at fuel exhaustion. S or SE from the FMT is more compatible with wanting to remain in range of a landing zone (runway) for as long as possible rather than a suicide hiding.

  356. formula says:

    @ Dennis W – it is to assist the non-detection of washed-up debris that S or SE from the FMT might be preferred (presuming the debris would track westward, so taking time to cross the whole expanse of the SIO.)

  357. Niels says:

    Thank you for the info on ECON mode. Indeed the “compensation” for wind is modest. As the time penalty for the example 100 knots headwind can be considerable, I guess this indicates that the FF penalty for flying aerodynamically non-ideal Mach airspeed is high.

    On the side, in the light of the recent discussion on CO2 as greenhouse gas I found the following quote from the Boeing article noteworthy: “As an additional benefit, the less fuel consumed, the more environmentally friendly the fight”
    To get a feel for some of the numbers: “In the Netherlands air traffic is responsible for 14 Mton CO2 emissions, or 6,8 percent of the total of the Dutch economy (2008)” (Source: CBS). That is close to half of the emission by all Dutch households.

  358. formula says:

    @ Dennis W – I understand, thanks. I take the point about keeping within range of runways but S or SE from the FMT is also not inconsistent with hiding the aircraft by affording an impact point that could maximize the time period before debris washed ashore.(Obviously not so far east as to find currents that wash to the Australian coast.)

  359. oddball says:


    Now I understand you are really an egoist, not a fake racist.

    Well done! As predicted. Fell right in.

    FWIW, as far as I can recall, it’s the first time I’ve ever been called that. And what does it matter? Of course, it’s pure projection:

    Anyone in the UK knows that …. (A put down)

    Anyone in the world knows that …. (Another put down)

    I hold the view, … but I do not rely … (“Na-Nah, I’m bet-tter than yoo-ou!”)

    … on the Daily Mail, Facebook or the Perth News, in order to draw this conclusion. (“Because, I repeat, I’m better than you…!”)

    IMHO, your need to label others as inferior, and thereby proclaim your superiority, is profound!

    But you still haven’t justified your racist allegations, or anything else.

    Go pick on someone your own size.

  360. oddball says:

    Hi DennisW,

    I agree with much of what formula has said, though I wonder whether ZS would have considered the likely path of the debris that far. I’m guessing he was looking for remoteness, ocean depth and difficulty in recovery of the FDRs, but which met his other criteria. Perhaps he planned to remain conscious until fuel exhaustion so he could ditch the plane in the same manner as other airline suicide pilots have done – a vertical descent at maximum speed – perhaps in the hope of breaking the plane so badly that the FDRs would themselves be breached, but the flaperon at least appears to rule that out.

    The suicide advocates frequently embellish the suicide with wanting to hide the aircraft instead of simply dumping it into the South China Sea.

    Ok, I agree that my theory includes a little embellishment, but as I keep discovering, life is complex, people are complex, and compromise is ‘a fact of life’, if you like.

    Otherwise, what would be the point of flying West to Penang

    To avoid detection by flying “between jurisdictions”, as others have said.

    and then a long path South. My point is that flying South or Southeast from the FMT is not as good a choice for that purpose as would be flying Southwest, far away from any land base in the SIO.

    My theory posits that ZS was trying to make the best of a bad situation – of being pushed by events to contemplate, decide on, then execute a planned suicide. I mean, who, with an extensive and successful career behind them, is happy to be taken so low that suicide looks like the best option? Not too many volunteers, I suspect.

    So, if you’ve been suddenly taken down, it’s likely you feel a great deal of shame / humiliation, hurt and anger, and likely you want to achieve redemption.

    According to my theory, ZS sought a course of action which (at least appeared to) have some possibility of “making good” but with a clear exit path if it didn’t work – which, according to the government blackmail theory (for want of a better name), it clearly didn’t.

    To (appear to) incorporate both these objectives, he needed to plan a route that would enable him to reliably achieve either outcome. Hence, the long, unexpected route over the SIO, to allow plenty of debating, negotiation or decision-making time to the slow moving government, but with a couple of airports he could get to, if his demands were met, and with a final ditching point that would be extremely hard to locate, if his demands were ignored.

    It does not mean it can’t happen again, but it is not a statistical fallacy. In fact, the entire fequentist theory of probability is based on how many time a particular event happens relative to the family of other possible events.

    Hmmm. My problem with that is that this event has not happened before – at least, AFAIK. That makes it the first such event, and there is no scale to compare its frequency against (as yet).

    Taleb’s casino example is well chosen to expose a flaw in over two centuries of expected value theory.

    Ok, but I don’t see that. Not from the linked webpage anyway. In my limited view, the thought experiment is very poorly explained, and I don’t even see what the starting conditions (how much money, what minimum bet, etc) and rules truly are. In the group (ensemble) case, what happens when one player goes bust? Does the group redistribute funds to keep him alive, or does the game stop at that point, or what?

    From my simple minded examination of the example, it is inevitable that eventually, everyone goes bust, no matter what “lawful” shenanigans the players may engage in to stay alive.

    To me, it’s this simple. Casinos always offer a long term Return On “Investment” of less than one. You might get lucky and have one player win a million dollars in their first game, but the law of averages says that (for an average ROI of, say, a generous 0.95), no matter what you win, your outgoings will always be higher in the long run, and everyone will end up with less than the playable minimum (zero?), even if it’s all pooled.

    Put simply, as a rule, the house always wins. (Any player who shows a propensity for winning is assumed to be cheating and gets banned.)

    I’m afraid I don’t see how the claimed flaw is exposed, but Hey, I’m very happy to be educated.

  361. Victor Iannello says:

    For those that have following the crash of flight 5Y3591, which was a B767 arriving at Houston Bush International Airport.

    This tweet shows how the aircraft deviated to the left of the VANNN1 arrival to runway 26L just before the accident.

    This tweet from Mike Exner shows how the aircraft was flying through high winds at the time of the accident.

    This increases the probability that severe weather was the initiating event that led to the loss of control of pitch.

  362. TBill says:

    Wow it looks like the weather was bad right at waypoint VANNN and so the ATC voice that reported that did a good job, and it looks like the pilots did a good job diverting away from the heavier weather. So I do not know about weather factor, obviously that is possible.

    By the way, I like NTSB openness already. Even though we do not have the video showing the descent, NTSB described what the content shows. So that’s all we really need as the public.

  363. DennisW says:


    Hmmm. My problem with that is that this event has not happened before – at least, AFAIK. That makes it the first such event, and there is no scale to compare its frequency against (as yet).

    I presented the frequency of hijackings and suicides (going back to 1920) in previous post.

    I’m afraid I don’t see how the claimed flaw is exposed, but Hey, I’m very happy to be educated.

    You don’t have a grasp of expected value theory. It requires some investment on your part.

  364. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: You have to look at not only the precipitation plot showing the heaviest precipitation near VANNN, but also the Doppler plot, which shows the aircraft entered a region with very high winds close to the location of the crash. Mike provided both plots.

  365. airlandseaman says:

    NOAA’s Doppler radar (KHGX) provides many derived products, all available to the public. Anyone can log in and download the data and the tool to filter, display, export, etc. It is a terrific service.

  366. Andrew says:

    Re 5Y3591:

    The following is an analysis by Tim Vasquez, a Texas-based meteorologist:

  367. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: Here is an image I created that combines the ADS-B path, arrival route, ATC radio communications, and Doppler radar. While descending, the aircraft deviated from the route at 8,500 ft, leveled around 6,000 ft, flew into very high winds, and began an increasingly steep descent.

    I’d be interested on your take on the ATC communications. If you would like to hear the audio, you can access this file and listen to the four exchanges that begin at 00:26, 4:04, 6:19, and 7:43. I find the exchange at 6:19 a bit odd, with the FO double transmitting with ATC during ATC’s reply.

  368. oddball says:


    I presented the frequency of hijackings and suicides (going back to 1920) in previous post.

    Do you refer to this post? (I had seen it.)

    DennisW says:
    February 17, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    Or is there are more detailed breakdown somewhere?

    Do you have actual frequency data or a plot, in addition to a simple total over almost 100 years?

    Similarly, for suicides, is that number also since 1920, and, seriously, how accurate can that number really be? Does it include the 9/11 Terrorist attacks – hijackings PLUS suicides? Whether the pilot is the appointed one or the actual pIC at the time is another question.

    Regarding hijackings, Wikipedia has a big list:

    It shows 2 each in the 1920’s & ’30s, and 4 each in the 40’s & 50’s, before climbing. From a basic scan of the list, hijackings appear to have peaked in the 1970s, then been substantially reduced from the 1990s onwards. So, why not start from the ’60s? Then, surely you must take into account the (various) counter-measures that have been put in place to prevent hijackings. These have clearly changed the statistical trajectory.

    AFAIK, commercial aviation pilot suicide is mostly a new, 21st Century phenomenon, so I’m not convinced the theory is helpful. I’m with Mark Twain on that. To me, it all depends on how much you know about the statistics in order to assess whether they are at all useful / helpful.

    I know you can do all kinds of amazing things with statistics, just as Banks and Call Centres and Political Parties do, but you have to know how your data was generated, I believe.

    To me, it all looks like trying to analyse movements in the Stock Markets simply by poring over the historical charts, when most of the movements are in fact initiated by news and events.

    You don’t have a grasp of expected value theory.

    Maybe so, but I certainly don’t have a grasp of Taleb’s casino example, and my questions have not been addressed, so I’ll stick with my dissenting view for now. The image is too far out of focus for me. If you want people to engage, maybe it needs to be clearer.

  369. Dennisw says:

    So, closing the loop on my link to the Taleb rant, and what it means relative to MH370.

    Consider a very simple example, a coin flipping game with an unbiased coin. If you flip heads you are given 1.5 times your bet. If you flip tails you are given 0.6 times your bet. So using expected value you have 1.5/2 + 0.6/2 = 1.05. So, you expect to increase your poke by 5% (on average) every time the coin is flipped. The reality is that starting with $100 you go bust (usually very quickly). If you bet $1.00 on each coin flip you end up with a gain of $5.00 on average after 100 flips.

    The different results (above) highlight ergodicity and why it is important. The process has “memory” in the case of non-ergodicity. Likewise, if you have a BFO error of -5Hz at 19:41, and you computed a BFO “sigma” of 5Hz as did the DSTG, it does not mean you are going to have +/- 5Hz of BFO error (with 68% probability) at 20:41. You are 68% likely to have a BFO error between 0Hz and -10Hz 68% of the time. The error at 20:41 “remembers” the error at 19:41. Even this logic is questionable since calculating a variance for the BFO (a non-ergodic variable) is incorrect to begin with.

    So what we have done is assume a best fit to the BFO values yields the best estimate of the MH370 path. While this approach feels good, and is not intrinsically reprehensible, it over-constrains the possible paths significantly. My recommendation is to ignore BFO except for the information relative to direction after the FMT and the rate of descent after fuel exhaustion. Following that logic, other clues relative to the nature of the diversion, and Richard’s drift analytics leads to the conclusion that the best course of action is a search from 25S to 20S +/- 25km from the 7th arc.

  370. Andrew says:


    RE:“I’d be interested on your take on the ATC communications.”

    It’s hard to make out what was being said during the exchange at 6:19. Given that the first call seems to have been made by the PIC and the second call by the FO, it’s possible the PIC decided to take over as pilot flying, presumably due to the weather ahead. My guess is that during the second call the PIC said something to the FO in response to ATC’s reluctance to give them vectors to the west. I’d say the stress level would have been rising quite quickly at that point and the FO was a bit too quick to reply to ATC, causing the crossed transmissions.

    I think it’s ATC talking during the last exchange at 07:43:

    ATC: “…gonna be vectors for runway 26 left. I’ll have a turn prior to the weather ahead. This will be a short approach.”

    Aircraft: Unintelligible reply, possibly “Roger”(??).

    That’s a typical call that ATC would make when giving the crew a heads up about what to expect in terms of vectoring.

  371. oddball says:

    Hi DennisW,

    Many thanks for that! Very much more comprehensible.

    However, there is a problem! You say:

    The reality is that starting with $100 you go bust (usually very quickly). If you bet $1.00 on each coin flip you end up with a gain of $5.00 on average after 100 flips.

    To me, these two sentences are contradictory.

    I think you are comparing apples with lemons.

    Yes, using your ‘very simple example’, I would expect to gain 5% per flip, on average.

    However, in the first sentence, you seem to be talking about “reality”, by which I assume you mean, what actually happens in a casino, where, Yes, you usually go bust very quickly.

    The difference is that in the casino, the return is not 1.05 on average, it’s <1.0. Typically, I believe, around 0.9 but I don't go to casinos (except to watch mugs losing) and don't care because it's a mug's game.

    If you are losing 10% on average, every flip, of course you'll be broke very quickly.

    Please tell me I've got this all wrong, and explain to me how.

  372. airlandseaman says:

    Re: “I think it’s ATC talking during the last exchange at 07:43:”. I agree.

  373. oddball says:

    Victor: Awesome graphic! That transcript must have taken some effort.

    Victor, Andrew,

    If I may…?

    I’ve listened to parts of the recording too. I agree with Andrew, and get ATC (male) saying “Yeah it’ll be vectors…”

    But what I don’t understand is the lack of any opening addressing:

    5-91… for example.

    Also, I don’t hear “2-(double)9er” at the start of the ATC (female) transmission at 0:40. I think it could be “[5]-9er-1” but the start seems to have been clipped, like talking before opening the mic, FWIW.

  374. TBill says:

    I also appreciate the graphic you posted…I was wondering how the radio calls corresponded with the flight path.

    @Andrew @Victor
    I am thinking meteorologist Tim Vasquez also posted MH370 cloud cover for the SIO during MH370 crash time, that has been important for some of us visualizing the flight path conditions.

  375. ST says:

    @all –

    Please see for link that talks about another Sixty minutes feature to be aired this coming Sunday.

  376. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: Thank you for your review. I updated the graphic.

  377. DennisW says:


    In first case you let your bet “ride” and you go bust. In the second case you bet only $1 each time. The sequential bets have no memory and pay the expected value over time. Letting the bet “ride” involves memory of conequences of previous bets and bust you go.

  378. Victor Iannello says:

    @oddball: The PIC said “we have Sierra”, which I believe refers to the version of the latest ATIS, which would include the QNH. (Later calls from other crew talk about having “Tango”, which would be next in the sequence.) It would seem that when the ATCO said “2-9er-9er-1”, she was referring to the QNH, i.e., 29.91 inches. The PIC responds “OK, 91 on the meter”, meaning 29.91 on the altimeter. I may have had confirmation bias when I listened and transcribed, but I think it’s right. I’m happy to correct it if I am wrong.

  379. airlandseaman says:

    Victor: re 29.91…you are correct. SOP to tell the Pilot the latest altimeter setting.

  380. oddball says:

    Hi Victor,

    The PIC said “we have Sierra”, which I believe refers to the version of the latest ATIS, which would include the QNH.

    Yes, heard that too, and I agree. Replayed a few more times, and it’s very hard to say (she speaks so fast), but I think I must be wrong, sorry. I thought “91 on the meter” must refer to 5-91 signing off and acknowledging the ‘meter setting, but that now doesn’t make much sense.

    I now think that the ATC recorder / (receiver?) must have too high a Squelch setting, and is missing bits of the transmissions, as there seem to be several transmissions that might not be complete. I guess that could be problematic for the investigation. It might also explain why 5-91 transmits over the ATC – because the weather conditions were generating a lot of static, and everone had higher squelch settings?

    Could be that 5-91 wasn’t hearing everything? Sounds like Tenerife… (but not a factor here.)

  381. Andrew says:


    I agree with Victor and ALSM; the “two nine-er nine-er one” refers to the altimeter setting or QNH. It is a requirement for the controller to pass the latest QNH to the aircraft when it is cleared to an altitude below the transition level. The “91 on the meter” reply from the aircraft is non-standard, but that’s quite normal in the US.

    My guess is the recording was taken from some kind of scanner, which clipped the beginning of some of the transmissions. The investigators will have access to the full ATC recordings, which will include everything that was said by the controllers and pilots alike.

  382. oddball says:


    In first case you let your bet “ride”

    Well… I sure didn’t get that point before now.

    I was working on betting $1 each time, in a casino situation, and in theory. I ‘get’ the “memory” function of letting your bet ride, but why is that “realistic”? It makes each subsequent bet non-independent, so of course the results will be different. It’s creating a postive feedback loop, but without spending the time calculating it, intuitively, for the +5% scenario described, surely that works in your favour too, due to the way the losing bet’s return is “less punishing” than it would normally be.

    OK… Just for the hell of it, I punched up an Excel sheet, and calculated the Average ROIs for the first 8 tosses in a row. It got too laborious after that, but the results are damn interesting.

    Not only does letting your bet “ride” (i.e. leaving whatever you win stay on the table) result in a higher ROI than replacing the returns with $1 every time, the average ROI actually increases with each new toss. Here are the average ROI results for the first 8 tosses, for the starting 1.05 ROI scenario originally described:

    1.05 : 1.1025 : 1.157625 : 1.21550625 : 1.276281563 : 1.340095641 : 1.407100423 : 1.477455444

    The growth rate starts at over 5% for the 2nd toss, and keeps growing exponentially. I like them odds!

    But I still don’t see the “flaw” that Taleb is ranting about. It’s really just a compounding variable interest rate problem, and I’m pretty sure that the flaw is simply a misunderstanding by punters (or a deliberate “con” by Financial Markets hucksters).

  383. oddball says:

    Thanks, Andrew. 😉

  384. Marijan says:

    For those of you who are interested, the upcoming episode of 60 Minutes Australia will be about the disappearance of MH370:

  385. DennisW says:


    I give up. I should know better by now. 🙁

  386. Victor Iannello says:

    Here is a video for 5Y3591 that ties together the ATC audio, the ADS-B path, the arrival route, and the Doppler radar.

    I don’t understand the left turn to deviate from the route before the ATC gave vectors to go around the weather.

  387. airlandseaman says:

    Victor: It sounds like 591 agreed to to go to the east side (of the storm front), but turned left (west side) instead. Something odd with that exchange.

  388. TBill says:

    The video is very good but the final ATC discussion about “are you picking up ELT’s” is not noted on there? so we do not have a good fix on when that was said. Is that what he is saying?

    Your link above on your 9:12PM post is not working for me.

    Yes thank you I certainly do not know what the pilot is referring to when he says West then East I was hoping you and Victor knew what that meant.

  389. Victor Iannello says:


    1) I only included the ATC exchange with 5Y3591 in the “balloon quotes”. Unless there is an error in what is presented, I won’t update it.

    2) I fixed the link from the 9:12 pm post.

    3) The going to the west and east is relative to the area of high precipitation that is moving to the east that is located near waypoint VANNN. The “short approach” refers to intercepting the approach closer to the airport than VANNN, i.e., to the west, such as near waypoint MKAYE or GRIEG. The “at or above” altitude constraints are lower for waypoints closer to the airport, as you can see in this approach plate for RNAV 26L.

  390. Andrew says:


    RE: “I don’t understand the left turn to deviate from the route before the ATC gave vectors to go around the weather.”

    I’m wondering if there was another exchange between ATC and the aircraft that’s missing from the recording, shortly after the exchange at 12:37:43. The deviation seems too large to have not been questioned by ATC if it wasn’t a response to an ATC instruction.

  391. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: We can’t dismiss the possibility that the ATC recording is incomplete. We also have to consider the possibility that the aircraft was deviating from the route without ATC clearance.

    After the short exchange ended at 12:37:51L, the next call that is recorded is from the ATCO at 12:39:25L (“95 Heavy”), which is a spacing of about 1m34s. Perhaps that call was made to question the deviation? It’s also possible the call was made after the ATCO saw the plane disappear from the screen, as the final ADS-B point at 1325 ft is at 12:39:02L. (The times associated with the ATC transmissions are not exact, so the ATC call and the last ADS-B point might be even more closely spaced in time.)

  392. oddball says:


    Something odd with that exchange.

    I agree! It’s almost as if the guy in the cockpit thinks he’s talking on a telephone. Maybe he’s the passenger / observer – though also a qualified pilot??? Or seriously sleep-deprived.


    Found a different audio recording here:

    Start at 1:23 to avoid the takeoff phase.

    This one has more of the communications with 5-91 during descent, so it seems the recording you found is incomplete. This clip seems to have managed to decipher some of the crossed conversation as well. In fact, it’s timed differently, so maybe that was another error in the other recording.


    On top of that, I read

    that there were potential elevator issues with the 767, where pins could break but remain unsymptomatic (until the last one broke…).

    Don’t know what the AD required, but a subsequent poster to that thread says it was all up to date.

    It sounds strange, that an apparent “safety” feature could become a deadly hazard, but it seems there was no system to identify that a pin had been sheared. When a circuit breaker trips, you know about it, and you should know to start looking for the cause, but seems this could be a silent progressive failure.

  393. oddball says:

    P.S. On that recording they are claiming someone shouts PULL, but again, I don’t hear it.

  394. Andrew says:


    RE: “We can’t dismiss the possibility that the ATC recording is incomplete.”

    It seems to me there’s an awful lot missing from the recording. It seems to hop between the various approach and departure frequencies and a lot of the transmissions are clipped. There are also a lot of ‘orphan’ calls where only one side of the exchange between ATC and an aircraft has been recorded. For example, there are several transmissions from aircraft that are obviously a response to an ATC instruction, however the ATC instruction was not recorded. Nevertheless, I agree it is possible that 5Y3591 deviated without clearance.

  395. DennisW says:

    @bloggers ☺

    Just got out of surgery for a blocked right side carotid artery a couple of hours ago after a mini-stroke at the beach house (Kaiser Santa Rosa after a challenging ride in my Jeep, Ami driving, on fire roads – all main highways to hospital were closed due to flooding, and the helicopter was grounded due to weather – love that Jeep). Blood flow to my brain should be significantly improved, and I will likely be able to contribute more once the meds wear off. Although I am not currently engaged with 5Y3591 commentary.

    Just for completeness on the expected value discussion the
    plot below (Octave online graphcis are way better than Matlab online) shows 100 flips. Blue represents betting $100 and letting it “ride” from the start. Red repressents betting $10 sequentially (expected value increase of $50 after 100 flips). The same sequence of flips was used for both betting strategies – 51 heads, 49 tails.

  396. Damien says:

    On the 5th anniversary, kudos to the people keeping at it day in day out.

    @Abe Lipson mentioned the possibility of a sky jump (Jan 12). I found the following interesting post on Jeff Wise blog 2015:



    2. “Rob says:
    September 4, 2015 at 4:07 am
    Since the current search areas assume that the plane was flying a straight path, assuming nobody was aboard to control it, while at 18:25 somebody alive switched on the left AC bus, it is REALLY important that we figure out if the perpetrators left the plane shortly after 18:25 or not.
    That is why I looked at ways to parachute out of a B777.
    The regular passenger doors don’t work : Even when the cabin is de-compressed, the airflow will push the doors backward (closed) with vigorous force, allowing just a 2″ “bleeding” opening.
    The forward E&E bay hatch is so tiny and the outer airflow so strong, that it will snap-off any ladder or leg that is pushed outside. A mere death trap, and sure suicide if you want to get out this way,
    Front and rear cargo bay doors are also not an option : These doors open to the outside, and even if you could open them from the inside (which is far from certain) they would rip off the fuselage and cause serious damage to the fuselage and possibly the engines.
    There is only ONE ideal door to exit from by parachute :
    The aft Bulk Cargo Door.
    This is a plug door that is operated manually and purely mechanical (no system in place that restricts you from opening it while in flight), and it opens inward (making sure the door does not get destroyed, ripped out, or tear off your arms, when you open it).
    And, lo and behold, that bulk cargo door has a lever on the INSIDE !
    See page 19-15 in this report :
    Which means you can open this bulk cargo door on a 777 ANY time as long as the fuselage is decompressed.
    This door is large enough, safe enough, and accessible from the inside, for a parachute jump.
    The only problem is how to get to the bulk cargo area.
    Now, it turns out that, on a 777, there is a hatch from the passenger level to the aft cargo bay.
    This hatch is located in the lavatory of the door 3R area (economy class).
    This hatch was used for 777’s that had an optional attendants rest module in cargo bay.
    That is the first “unknown” for this theory : Does this hatch in the right-forward lavatory of of door 3 row exist on all 777 ER models, including MH370, or did 9M-MRO not have this hatch ?
    Some experts suggest that ALL 777’s have this hatch from the doors 3 row down to the aft cargo bay :
    Once you made it through that hatch, you are in the front part of the aft cargo bay, however there are more obsticales :
    Looking at MH370’s cargo loading sheet (in the Factual Information report) :
    page 106 shows that some containers with “measurement” equipment by Agilent and some containers filled with mangosteen are blocking your way to the aft bulk cargo area.
    If this cargo would have been loaded on pallets, it would have been easy to make it to the aft bulk cargo area. But with containers, it is a lot harder. Here is an image of what you are up against :
    You may have to use the spare space on the side of the cargo bay, to make it to the bulk cargo door area.
    In summary :
    For exiting (by parachute or so) a 777 in flight, you need to de-pressurize the fuselage, decent from the passenger deck to the aft cargo bay using the door 3 row (lavatory) hatch that may or may not be there, then find your way to the rear end of the plane past the obstructing containers (which we know were there) to the bulk cargo door area.
    Once you made it there, you are home free,
    You can open that door when the cabin is depressurized, and then jump into a black hole (for MH370 it was in the dead on night at this time) hoping that whoever was supposed to pick you up out of the ocean below are actually there.
    Not for the faint of heart, but theoretically it seems not entirely impossible to exit from MH370 alive before the plane takes its long trip without human control….

    September 4, 2015 at 5:49 am
    @Rob, That’s some impressive research, thank you.

    3. Robsays:
    September 5, 2015 at 3:01 am
    The issue we are exploring is if there is the scenario where the perpetrator left the plane before sending it on an autopilot “ghost” flight into nowhere.
    The only safe way out of a 777 in flight appears to be to parachute out of the bulk cargo door, as explained above.
    For that scenario, the perpetrator(s) would need to have access to the aft cargo area, which may be possible with a hatch in the main cabin floor near door 3R.
    One unknown about a way out of the plane is if this hatch near door 3R was really there in MH370’s 9M-MRO or not.
    Originally, Boeing installed this hatch to provide operators with a way to install an modular crew rest area in the aft cargo bay, for long haul flights.And remove that module for shorter flights.
    The way this works is nicely explained, with pictures, by this guy here :
    4. and the previous link I mentioned :
    also explains this option (of an optional cabin crew rest module in the aft cargo bay) at page 19-4.
    So this hatch was there on the ‘classic’ 777 (200 and 300) models.
    However, since the early 2000’s, new planes could also be equipped with a permanent crew resting area in the ceiling at the rear.
    Now, I’m still trying to find out exactly where the entrance (staircase) would be on these newer 777 models, but permanent crew rest compartments would render a hatch down to the aft bay obsolete. So I’m not sure if Boeing installed a hatch on 9M-MRO or not.
    Jeff, is there any way in which we can find out if 9M-MRO had a permanent crew rest area in the ceiling, or was a ‘classic’ style with option to install a crew rest area container in the aft cargo bay ?
    Or what kind of floor hatches 9M-MRO had installed ?

    September 7, 2015 at 3:08 am
    OK. It is confirmed that 9M-MRO is a ‘classic’ type 777-200, with a hatch to a removable “crew rest” module in the aft cargo bay, And in fact, it had that module installed on this flight :
    page 14 says :
    There is a cabin crew rest area in the aft cabin lower lobe.
    Access is through a compartment door adjacent to Door 3R.
    (THIS IS PAGE 75 IN 2018 REPORT)
    So there was a sure way to access the aft cargo area from the main deck.
    After that, you only need to find your way through the containers (see page 106 in the Factual Information report above) :
    – 400 kg of Agilent measurement equipment at row 33,
    – 1228 kg of mangosteen at row 41,
    – then climb over the pallet with cabin crew bags at row 43,
    – through another container with 540 kg of Motorola walkie-talkie accessories an chargers at row 44.
    It only takes a couple of strong guys to open these containers, empty them by moving contents of boxes and crates in there aside, and open the aft side of the container, to find your way through that aft cargo area to the bulk cargo area and the mechanically operated door that provides your (parachuting) ride home.

    September 7, 2015 at 4:05 am
    Couple of more facts that I found out, and I warn you that it will become increasingly interesting :
    First about that crew resting module.
    The pictures in this post :
    suggests that :
    1) The crew rest module consists of two parts (so it can be loaded through the narrow aft cargo door), where the front part takes up an entire LD6 container space, and the aft part takes up about half of an LD6 container space.
    So the crew rest module will occupy TWO container rows, which would be the front two rows in the aft cargo area in MH370, which are rows 31 and 32.
    This is consistent with the loading info from the cargo sheet at page 106 of Factual Information
    which shows the front two rows (31 and 32) void.
    2) There is a panel (above the aft lower bunk bed) that you can remove from the aft section of the crew resting module, which will give you access to the lower cargo area.
    3) The ‘AFT’ section (which would end up in row 32) of the crew rest module occupies only HALF a container row.
    This means that once you made it out of the crew resting module, that you have a couple of feet of space to move around (and to open and unload the Agilent containers in row 33 for your access to the bulk cargo area.
    This means that YES, there IS a guaranteed way to get from the crew rest area to the rear bulk cargo area.
    Next thing is about that hatch to get from the main deck to the crew resting module, which is (as stated before) behind a door in the lavatory area next to door 3R.
    On the 777-200 main deck floor plan, you can see that hatch marked with an X behind that door next to door 3R :
    When you open that door (marked “crew only”), you will see the hatch and the staircase down into the lower lobe crew resting module. It will look something like this :
    Note that there is no ‘lock’ or so on that hatch.
    So if the door is unlocked, you can get in.
    And once you are in, if you want to prevent anyone from coming after you, you would need to hold it physically in place. More about that later.
    Third item is this : Fire safety regulations require that for this crew rest module, there should be an emergency exit.
    This document :
    already talked about that when they state (on page 19-4) :
    There are two hatches that give access to the LLAR. The hatch in floor of the entrance enclosure gives usual access to the module. There is a second hatch in the ceiling of the LLAR that gives emergency exit.
    So I started looking for that second hatch, back to the main deck. In this picture :
    you can see the lining between the module and the ceiling on the left side of the module, above the front upper left bunk bed. And, yes, the emergency hatch in the main floor that connects to that is also visible in the 777-200 floor plan :
    This floor hatch to the crew rest module floor hatch is marked in the main deck floor plan by an X as well.
    It is located right next to chair 27D. Sounds familiar ?
    Yes. That was what I was thinking.
    Forth item is this :
    The crew rest module (with two unlocked access hatches) has 5 bunk beds AFAIK, and at least one ‘transition’ area. According to aviation regulations there should thus be at least 6 oxygen masks in that compartment.
    That would provide enough oxygen for two people (on two hatches) to last for about 60 minutes…
    Whoever controls these two hatches to the crew resting area controls the aft cargo bay, and the bulk cargo door.
    And that bulk cargo door is the ONLY safe way out of the plane while in flight.
    Nuf said for now.”

    End of Rob’s post.

    Cheers Damien

  397. Andrew says:


    Wow – I hope all goes well for your recovery. Nice toys!

  398. TBill says:

    Best wishes to you.

  399. sk999 says:


    Jeep owner here. Agreed.

    Like Andrew, best hopes for your recovery.

  400. Mick Gilbert says:


    Good Lord, there’s no doubt about you, Dennis. Out of surgery, on your carotid artery no less, and straight back into the fray.

    Best wishes for a safe and speedy recovery.

  401. oddball says:

    Whoa DennisW,

    As they have all said already, All the best for a full recovery. 😉

    What a busy day. Replying to me at 11am, then in and out of hospital and back here again by 11pm. Whew!

    Hard to keep up with you.

    Meantime, take it easy, get well and chat again in due course.


  402. oddball says:


    This appears to be the AD on the elevator issue.–300-and–300f-series-airplanes

    Haven’t read it all yet, but it doesn’t appear to call for regular checks!? Maybe that is somewhere else. (I’m not familiar with this area at all, so please feel free to point us all in the right direction.)

  403. oddball says:

    Another oddball question for any large (passenger-style) aircraft pilots out there.

    I’m sure it’s not in the manuals anywhere, but in this situation (let’s say a hard-down elevator surface, and you’re heading for the hard stuff at high speed), what would you expect to happen if you (gently) rolled the (say, empty) plane upside down? Would you expect to lose a wing?

  404. Andrew says:


    Unlike Denzel Washington, you would more than likely lose a wing (or two) trying to recover from the dive while inverted. The aircraft would probably have a steep nose-down attitude by the time you rolled inverted and you would then have to push hard to recover from the dive, especially at low altitude. Transport category aircraft are only certified to -1.0g and while the ultimate strength is far higher, it would more than likely be exceeded during the recovery.

  405. Don Thompson says:


    Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery.

  406. Victor Iannello says:

    @DennisW: That must have been very scary for you and Ami. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Increase your chances by taking it easy.

  407. Don Thompson says:


    A long post, however, it falls apart very early on at:

    The only problem is how to get to the bulk cargo area.
    Now, it turns out that, on a 777, there is a hatch from the passenger level to the aft cargo bay.
    This hatch is located in the lavatory of the door 3R area (economy class).

    The original comment author conflates the bulk cargo and aft cargo compartments. That is misleading.

    The bulk cargo and the aft cargo compartments are separated by a bulkhead.

    The cabin floor hatch at door 3 does provide access to the Lower Lobe Attendants Rest (LLAR) module, if fitted. The hatch does not provide direct access to the bulk cargo compartment.

    According to MAS loading documentation, included in the factual information and the safety investigation report, the LLAR module was fitted on 9M-MRO. Door 3 is immediately aft of the wing-fuselage join. The LLAR module is loaded at the forward end of the aft cargo compartment, against the bulkhead to the wing box. The door 3L hatch leads directly into the LLAR module.

    Those MAS loading docs also show that 4 AKE/LD3 ULDs were loaded in the 4 positions immediately aft of the LLAR module, thus blocking any path from the LLAR module through the aft cargo compartment.

    No access to the bulk cargo compartment from the main cabin, directly, or indirectly.

  408. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson, @Damien: If the pilot jumped and the plane continued on autopilot to the SIO, that would mean that the autopilot was engaged at the time of the jump. That limits the speed at the time of the jump to no lower than the minimum maneuvering speed (MMS), which would be greater than 220 KIAS or so. (The flaps were not down or fuel would have exhausted before 00:15 UTC). The bulk cargo door is about 2 ft x 3 ft, if I recall correctly. To try a jump at such a high speed through such a small door would be suicide, and the pilot would know that.

    So did the pilot jump as a method of suicide? Assuming access to a door existed (and I see that Don doubts that), it would be very strange to choose what would be a violent and painful death over the painless, almost euphoric death induced by hypoxia.

    I don’t see a strong case for a pilot jump.

  409. Paul Smithson says:

    @Dennis W. Get well soon and look after that precious brain of yours!

  410. DennisW says:

    Request for Victor’s (and other’s) Consideration

    If one prepares a list of what we know for sure about the flight path of MH370 I think the following list is accurate (insert or delete information as you see fit with reasonable justification).

    1> Aircraft tracked almost straight West from IGARI. (ISAT data and aircraft performance data)

    2> Aircraft tracked South after the FMT. (ISAT data and SIO debris)

    3> Aircraft was airborne until ~ 00:19:30. (ISAT data)

    4> Aircraft descended rapidly at ~ 00:19:30. (ISAT data)

    5> Numerous pieces of confirmed debris found in SIO. (ATSB, Boeing, BEA,…)

    6> Underwater area searched is well characterized. (various sources)

    7> Very credible drift analytics exist related to 5>. (Godfrey)

    Details regarding a glide type impact are speculative. The radar data (still questionable, IMO) has undergone a great deal of examination, and does not contradict 1> through 7> in any case. The dive – glide – dive ending is pure conjecture. That the wreckage may have been missed is estimated to be about 10% or less. Difficult areas have been re-examined for the most part.

    So where am I headed with this line of thinking, and these observations? The only terminus which fits all of what we know for sure is the area constraind by 25S to 20S and +/-25nm from the 7th arc. Why do we feel compelled by a need to invent information which modifies this area? The media description for this behavior is labeled as the rise of alternative facts, and I agree with this implied disdain in this case. With all due respect to posters here – lets quit fabricating, as we have been doing for some time now, and declare a preferred (see area identified above) search area going forward.


  411. DennisW says:

    Thanks, everyone for the kind words and thoughts.

  412. @ DenisW

    Sad to hear what happened to you.
    All the best for a fast recovery.
    Your “clairvoyance” (in French) is needed 🙂

  413. DennisW says:


    I asked Ami about your “French” reference (she is fluent). Interesting nuance. Thanks.

  414. Shadynuk says:

    @DennisW Just read about your situation (couple of hours behind you). Best wishes for a quick recovery. From reading your latest posts it does seem that your brain is still working very well! Shadynuk

  415. Damien says:

    @Don Thompson, @Victor. Thanks for comments on possibility of skyjump. Couldn’t find any further comment on original post and just wondered if it had ever been looked at properly. Would obviously be significant if it was possible. Cheers.

  416. Victor Iannello says:

    @oddball: I listened to the new audio you provided. The “new” audio bits are at 8:32 in the recording. I didn’t think the exchange was with 5Y3591, but I could be wrong.

    @Andrew: Missing bits of audio would explain a lot. Perhaps we have taken this as far as we can.

  417. Marijan says:

    I will join the others here a wish you good health and a fast recovery DennisW!

  418. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Is this really your current theory?

    Hell’s bells! No. That is a bastardised, highly dramatised (afternoon soap-opera grade) version of what I initially put forward as a possible explanation.

    I might have had two telephone conversations with Ean and a handful of email exchanges in late 2016 regarding my work on the over-representation of B777s from 9M-MRO’s cohort in windshield heater incidents. I provided him with v3.7 of my work (v3.14 completed about four months later was the then final version). The v3.7 work included a hypothesised scenario but I did not suggest that a cockpit fire would have disabled the ACARS. Nor did I suggest that the aircraft could not be descended because of an autothrottle failure. Neither of those contentions make any sense. I most assuredly did not make the mistake of mistating the passenger oxygen system generator burn time as 12 minutes.

    I might have thought that if that if Ean intended to use that in his book he might have contacted me at some point in the ensuing two and half year period.

  419. Ventus45 says:


    Good job Ami, for safely navigating those back country bush tracks, calmly and effectively, to get you to hospital. Get well soon Dennis.

  420. oddball says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    Thought that would be the case.

    Poor guys.

    I didn’t think the exchange was with 5Y3591, but I could be wrong.

    Not conceding on this one! 😉

    The way I hear it, it’s the same male ATC making both transmissions.

    The “first” which you had, ends: This’ll be a short approach.

    He goes off mic, then continues a moment later (on that recording anyway):

    It is severe – clear on the other side of this cell so you’ll have no problem getting the airport either.

    I think it’s ‘either’ though the video clip shows it as ‘even’, if that makes more sense. Anyway, this sentence seems to mesh with the previous transmission about the bad weather just ahead, and the need to deviate because of it, so I think it’s to 5-91.

    I reckon that 5-91 then replies (immediately) with a very short / clipped / rushed: Ok

    and it seems like that was the final transmission. If that is the case then it looks to me like they had already started an unauthorised deviation to go on the west side of the storm cell, but maybe that conversation is missing from the recordings.

    At the least, the “new” recording seems to show that bits are missing from one or maybe all of the recordings public to date.

  421. MH says:

    Get well soon @DennisW

  422. oddball says:

    Hi Victor,

    Apologies in advance for the long post. I hope it’s helpful.

    As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve been trying to “get inside Zaharie’s head” to try to second-guess what he was trying to achieve, and how it all fitted together.

    I don’t know the facts as well you and others here, so I’d like to ask you a few more questions if you or others have time, please.

    I’m now tending to discount the Government Blackmail Theory as more likely a smokescreen that he may have encouraged to hide his true plans. Looking at your flight path diagram:×633.png

    1. Was it necessary to fly as far north as Car Nicobar (VOCX)?

    My view is that he would have wanted this, his final flight, to be as efficient (and as ‘near perfect’) as possible, which I believe would have meant conserving every single available drop of fuel for its intended purpose.

    Since he planned to fly south, why go so far North, and waste fuel doubling back? If it was me, I would probably have turned West-SW half way to VOCX, like I was flying Phuket to Sri Lanka, crossing north of Campbell Bay, then turned south to intersect the proposed route, making that the FMT.

    2a) Any obvious reasons against such a route?
    2b) Was there more chance of being challenged by taking this route?
    If not, this would mean he could have gone further south, which I now think was his true intention.

    I don’t know how well a 180S path fits the satellite data, but in my Zaharie Sandbox, I don’t see him turning towards Australia at all. I think a Great Circle curving away from (around Western Australia) is more likely, though that may not work with the satellite data, and maybe he took the near path. The wind directions may have favoured that, which he very likely used to achieve absolute maximum range. (Maybe even, he continually adjusted the AP to achieve maximum distance using every available resource… as he would have had plenty of time on his hands to calculate optimums.)

    Ok, following the same theme, assuming a fully operational plane, I see no reason why he could not remain fully conscious and alert throughout the entire flight.

    3a) Is that correct? And is there:

    3b) Any reliable evidence that he actually flew to an increased altitude early on?
    3c) How long would the passenger oxygen supply last at operational ceiling altitude?
    3d) Or, at whatever altitude it appears he flew at after WMKC?

    4a) If he manually adjusted his speed later in (or progressively during) the flight to fly for maximum range at the reducing weight, how much further could he have flown?
    4b) If he put the plane into a very slow descent (say, dropping 30-35,000 feet) towards the end of the flight, how much further still could he have gone?

    5. It has been suggested here that the flaperon damage could have occurred from detachment during a high speed final descent. Is this likely, and is the damage to other identified fragments more consistent with a high speed impact with the ocean?

    6. If all this is what happened, consistent with the sat data, where would it put the plane?

    In my view, he never wanted anyone to know where he went, and I’m sure he would not have known about the satellite pings. I say he wanted to create a complete, perfect mystery, with no hope of the plane being found. If you can’t be famous, be infamous!

    Hoping you have time to comment.

    Best regards,

  423. oddball says:

    P.S. How much power does the Cabin Air-conditioning use, and how would it be turned off? Presumably, it’s as simple as switches in the cockpit?

    Or, could this be another reason for turning off power busses?

    Assuming A/C off for the rest of the flight, how much more range?

  424. oddball says:

    PPS: The In-Flight Entertainment system would chew up buckets of power…

    Is it possible to jettison the fresh water and sewage tank contents in-flight, from the cockpit?

    What else can be turned off or dumped, from the pilot’s seat?

  425. TBill says:

    I theorize it is possible, for reasons of plausible deniability, that a smoke alarm could have been set off which would justify cabin depressurization and descent to allow cockpit windows to be openned to allow smoke removal from the cockpit-but I am theorizing there could have other clandestine reasons to want the window open. Why is water getting thrown out?

    Cutting cabin bleed air allows 2-3% more range, and that has been considered.

    In general, IG and ATSB, DrB and most of analytical efforts have been focus on passive flights, on the assumption of no apparent pilot inputs after Arc2, and assuming the final BFO’s are a crash sequence in progress near Arc7, and also assuming active flight is possible but does not lead to a better solution to locate the aircraft. If you want to assume active flight, you are not alone but we have fewer math experts on that side.

    Maybe IFE was cut off by circuit breaker, my rationale there is to prevent the IFE computer from recording flight path data. is an example of a group theorizing active flight path, they are saying hijackers attempting to divert to Xmas Island but they did not make it.

  426. oddball says:

    Thanks TBill,

    Wouldn’t open cockpit windows create much more drag? Would that also create a higher pressure zone inside the cockpit, making it more survivable for the pilot during a deliberate high altitude cabin depressurization?

    Overnight, another thought!

    Would it, at any point, have been more fuel efficient to fly on a single engine? Could that be why everything seems to have been disconnected from the right generator? So it could be shut down…

    My current thinking is that he wanted to fly that plane further than anyone conceived possible, so that when they did start to search immediately afterward, they would be looking in all the wrong places and would miss all the floating debris – as I think happened. I know there are some photos of possible debris, but where was that? I’ll have to check.

    If I understand the BFO / BTO plots correctly, they don’t line up so well with a constant speed flight, but rather than worry about satellite data scatter errors, I would look first at the best fit based on the initial assumption he was going for (1) absolute maximum range, (2) maximally south.

    FWIW, in my view, Occam’s Razor works well, and this doesn’t require selective burning of equipment by an oxygen-powered flame thrower in the cockpit! (Is that even possible in the 777? Sounds ridiculous to me.)

    I’m currently thinking that he was less worried about avoiding the recording of his actions than he was about hiding them for a very long time. Flying most of the trip with a plane load of murdered passengers would be a very big incentive to “run fast, run far, and hide well”! Darkness and cloud cover would have been beneficial there.

    No point planning for a last resort place to land in that scenario, so I say rule it out, at least in the meantime. “Keep It Simple, Shah!”

  427. Niels says:

    Assuming that the 00:19 log-on was the result of a series of events induced by fuel exhaustion, I would like to estimate the moment of fuel exhaustion, as for speed profile / weight calculations I would want to calculate back from that moment.
    As a first step/check I looked at the aircraft – sat. distance (range r), where I used the 00:19 BTO estimate Victor posted a while ago:

    So, I took 18390 microseconds for a timestamp 00:19:32 (between 00:19:29 and 00:19:37) as a reference. This corresponds to a range of 37861 km.

    Next I fitted a third order polynomial through the 19:41 – 00:11 range measurements and extrapolated the curve to 00:19:32. The result is an expected r = 37865 km or BTO = 18416 microseconds. Similarly, and more directly, one can extrapolate a third order polynomial fit through the 19:41 – 00:11 BTO values, resulting in 18417 microseconds @ 00:19:32.

    To me it looks like that in the BTO series, there is no sign of a significant slow-down and/or drastic change in course in the minutes before 00:19, or perhaps more precisely: It looks as if dr / dt remained unchanged between 00:11 and 00:19 in comparison with the period before 00:11. The question is if this is consistent with the fuel exhaustion hypothesis.
    I remember having noted that before (long time ago); it still puzzles me a bit, and would be curious to hear the thoughts of those who studied end of flight scenarios more in detail. I have little clue what for example would happen if the ac was on autopilot and there was a complete loss of thrust. Would the Mach airspeed be more or less maintained at the cost of potential energy (altitude)?

  428. Victor Iannello says:

    @Niels asked: I have little clue what for example would happen if the ac was on autopilot and there was a complete loss of thrust. Would the Mach airspeed be more or less maintained at the cost of potential energy (altitude)?

    The autopilot will hold altitude until the indicated airspeed approaches stall. The plane would then descend at just above the stall speed.

  429. Tim says:

    If I may, may I put the accident scenario up for contemplation again. I feel this better satisfies Occam’s Razor and does not need a rather weak and complicated suicide/murder hypothesis.

    The best accident scenario is a rupture of the crew O2 bottle. This could cause all of the following without any stretch of the imagination—-
    – massive loss of electrics, due bottle location next to L Main, L Stby, L Xfer bus, L AIMS, and L GCU
    – autopilot/autothrottle failure
    – pilot incapacitation

    Just the power up of the Satcom and the Penang turn are left to explain neatly.

    So I ask that before we make accusations against someone who is not able to defend himself, we first rule out ALL plausible scenarios. This has not been done yet.

  430. Victor Iannello says:

    @Tim: As long as the discussion remains fact-based, this blog will continue to consider the possibility of a deliberate diversion. Many, if not most here, believe this is the scenario that is most likely, based on the totality of the evidence we have. I can understand if you prefer to not consider this possibility until all other scenarios are ruled out with certainty. However, if this is your preference, you should consider contributing elsewhere.

  431. airlandseaman says:

    Tim: If there was at least one credible explanation for the known part of the path and all the turns required, compatible with an accident, it would still be on the table. But there is no such explanation.

  432. Andrew says:


    I’ll try to answer some of your questions:

    3c) How long would the passenger oxygen supply last at operational ceiling altitude?
    3d) Or, at whatever altitude it appears he flew at after WMKC?

    The passenger oxygen system installed in 9M-MRO used chemical oxygen generators with a nominal duration of 22 minutes, regardless of altitude. The passenger oxygen masks are designed to keep passengers alive for the time it takes for the aircraft to complete an emergency descent to a lower altitude, with an intermediate stop where necessary for terrain considerations. They are not intended for sustained use at high altitude.

    4a) If he manually adjusted his speed later in (or progressively during) the flight to fly for maximum range at the reducing weight, how much further could he have flown?

    If I recall correctly, DrB’s work did consider the reduction in speed as the aircraft weight reduced.

    Is it possible to jettison the fresh water and sewage tank contents in-flight, from the cockpit?


    What else can be turned off or dumped, from the pilot’s seat?

    Plenty of things can be turned off. The only thing that can be dumped is fuel, which is somewhat counterproductive!

    Would it, at any point, have been more fuel efficient to fly on a single engine? Could that be why everything seems to have been disconnected from the right generator? So it could be shut down…

    Shutting down an engine does not make the aircraft more fuel efficient because it must descend to a lower altitude due to the decrease in available thrust. The single engine fuel flow at the lower altitude is roughly the same as the two engine fuel flow at the higher altitude, but the TAS is much less. Consequently, there is a significant range penalty. If it were more fuel efficient, the accountants would have us all cruising around on one engine!

  433. oddball says:

    Many thanks Andrew, for your answers and comments.

    Love it re the accountants! 🙂 Why didn’t I realise that!?

    I’ll assume that single-engined operation is never going to increase fuel/distance efficiency, even in a slow descent. I sort-of expected that, as the shutdown engine is going to increase drag as well, but sometimes it just pays to ask.

    On a tangent, do other any aircraft have the hardware to dump sewage mid-flight, that you know of? There was a big fuss here about it a few years back, with “offensive matter” landing on people’s cars and houses under flight paths. Planes were accused, and it was never determined (AFAIK) whether it was planes or ducks, but it dropped out of sight. That may be a pun, I dunno!

  434. oddball says:

    Hi again TBill,

    Sorry, didn’t answer your question:

    Why is water getting thrown out?

    Andrew confirms that it can’t be, but I was considering anything that might reduce weight and/or engine load and thereby fuel consumption. I haven’t found how much water a 777 carries, but I’d imagine they’d need to provide a couple of litres per passenger for lav flush and hand washing, which might amount to 600-700 kg. It isn’t much, but if dumping it gets you an extra couple of nm, then I guess it might be worth doing. Especially if you’re just twiddling your thumbs on “the mission of your life.”

    Maybe IFE was cut off by circuit breaker, my rationale there is to prevent the IFE computer from recording flight path data.

    I don’t know if the IFE records flight path, but it might for the purposes of In-Flight Movie Royalty payments. I have no idea on that.

    However, I’m sure the IFE is not designed to withstand crash forces nor submersion in seawater – it’s probably a standard rack-mounted computer system with open cooling vents and an off-the-shelf hard drive (or drives), so even if it recorded flight data, under 100m of seawater, I doubt there would be much to worry about. The hard drive lid would cave in and in the process, break the airtight seals, or the air pressure equalising port would just let water in. Any chips on the electronic circuit boards would be unlikely to last very long in salt water, especially at depth.

    My reasoning for the pilot wanting to turn it off is again power consumption. I don’t know how much power it all used, but on Swissair 111, it was quite a lot. If the server used 400W and each seat-back unit another 20W, that’s about 6.5kW. (A typical laptop still uses about 30W, with a 60W adapter / charger. Better ones use less, but I dunno about seat-back units.)

    This is probably quite minor compared to the galleys when in operation, as they heat up food pretty darn fast.

    I’ve already mentioned the Cabin Aircon. As you say, cutting bleed air saves fuel, but I can’t find the Aircon power demand. There’s a basic description here:

    Then there’s cabin lighting, overhead reading lights… I don’t know if 9M-MRO had USB charging ports, but that’s another potential load to eliminate.

    To me, the easiest way to cut all these things off and “make sure” would simply be to cut the power to the relevant electrical busses, as evidently happened.

    At the moment, I’m still following the suicide-pilot-hijacker thought experiment…


  435. Victor Iannello says:

    @oddball, @Andrew: I think that under some conditions, there could be a fuel flow advantage to operating with a single engine, depending on whether endurance is more important than range during a portion of a flight.

    I believe that if a single engine provides sufficient thrust for a given speed, altitude, and weight combination, the fuel flow will be less with one engine inoperative than for two engines because turbine engines in general have lower specific fuel consumption at higher thrust levels. This behavior may be used to increase the endurance of portions of a flight. For instance, using the holding tables at 200 MT, the minimum fuel flow occurs at FL200 and fuel flow is 2760 kg/hr per engine (with the 5% allowance for a racetrack pattern) = 5520 kg/hr. On the other hand, with an engine inoperative, the fuel flow is 5230 kg/hr (racetrack). Therefore, the holding fuel flow can be reduced by 5.3% by shutting down an engine.

    On the other hand, maximum mileage occurs at higher altitudes and speeds in which the thrust from a single engine is insufficient. Therefore, an engine out would require a drift down to a lower altitude to get higher thrust, and the range goes down. As @Andrew says, an airliner with two engines will have better fuel mileage with both engines operating.

  436. Andrew says:


    Yes, that’s true if the aim is to maximise the endurance. I had assumed that @oddball’s comment was aimed at maximising the range.

  437. Tim says:

    Re potable water,

    MRO was carrying just over 1200kgs of water. So you could go to the galley and jam open a tap, this would give you another 2 minutes of endurance!

  438. Ventus45 says:

    Just watched the latest “60 Minutes” program on MH370 on Channel 9 in Sydney.
    Full of adds, nothing new, nothing significant.

  439. oddball says:


    Many thanks for that excellent elucidation. That puts that one to bed, if “run far” was part of the plan. All the more reason to turn off everything else.

    But I’m now quite confused about the consensus for most likely track. More on that later.


    To be honest, I felt the same way initially. However, the more I looked, the more obvious the need to look at the pilot became.

    And that’s what really clinched it for me, notably (no order):

    * The (deleted, forensically recovered) Flight Sim data on his home computer (which I have to assume is factual.) Powerful indication of premeditation.
    * The Family Photo in the Daily Mail, and the story associated with it, whether true or not. Can’t see how the photo is fake; I see smoke…
    * His obsessive, pointless, public (under his own ID) messaging of the very young model(s?) on Facebook. Clearly, a man with an unhappy marriage, who doesn’t give a damn anymore… A man losing (already lost?) his grip on his place in society, perhaps very lonely and desperate.
    * His lack of future planning in his diary (low weighting, not knowing what his diary was like earlier).
    * His political activism and lack of restraint in his comments.

    Regarding Occam’s Razor, I think the explanation I currently prefer fits very well with the known data. I don’t know why you call it weak. Nor complicated. One extremely unhappy man, with all the required skills and ability, and I believe, the motivation. No hijackers. No mistakes, no component failures. Just another (mechanically) reliable flight in a reliable, fully operational plane. A highly skilled but criminally suicidal pilot is almost the only difficult element to explain, under this hypothesis.

    Regarding the proposed O2 bottle explosion, I don’t know how much you have analyzed it, but here’s what I get:
    The Cockpit Crew’s O2 bottle explodes. Either:
    It blows a hole in the fuselage and causes decompression, or the explosion somehow cuts off the cabin pressurization system, or:
    It doesn’t, and no decompression occurs.

    1: If it causes decompression, there’s a problem: no Flight Crew backup O2. Also, because the cockpit door will be locked, not much chance of access by Cabin Crew with portable O2. So, the Flight Crew will immediately become hypoxic. However, despite enough damage to blow a hole in the fuselage, the autopilot and all associated electronics and controls must remain operational. More importantly, the Autopilot must remain engaged, not get knocked out of Auto by the explosion, or by unconscious pilots slumping onto the controls. I’m pretty sure that Andrew would tell you that ain’t likely. Nevertheless, the Autopilot must remain Engaged in order for the flight to become a Ghost Flight, and somehow you still have to explain all those cunning turns that somehow found their way into the Autopilot settings without nefarious actions by the crew.

    2: If it doesn’t cause decompression, there are other problems. The pilots are good guys, focussed on bringing their plane and passengers home. We know it was still capable of long distance flight apparently on Autopilot, but mysteriously, neither of them is able to control it normally. All the same, they somehow direct the plane to make a ~300 degree turn that looks like they are attempting to land at Penang. But then they don’t follow through, don’t descend or do anything else, and don’t communicate with anyone, even though it is apparent that the Sat Phone was probably operational. Seemingly, despite no major damage and no decompression, both pilots must have been severely injured and both are seriously incapacitated after making the second turn, near Penang. Again, the Autopilot must remain Engaged and somehow have been reprogrammed, for it to turn south a little bit later as it did.

    I see far too many unknowns, unpredictables, and tricky explanations required. What we know of what happened is just too “neat” as you said. That said, the exploding O2 bottle, with a million possible different scenarios, is impossible to completely and utterly rule out until the wreckage is examined.

    Occam’s Razor is just a quick rule of thumb for assessing probability. To quote Wikipedia: “Simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones.” Doesn’t mean it’s right, but the hypothesis is worthy of examination.

  440. oddball says:


    I had assumed that @oddball’s comment was aimed at maximising the range.

    Correct! 😉


    MRO was carrying just over 1200kgs of water. So you could go to the galley and jam open a tap, this would give you another 2 minutes of endurance!

    Nope! That would just transfer it into the sewage tank, which also cannot be emptied in flight.

    How did you calculate 2 minutes?

  441. Don Thompson says:


    “Gray water” drains from the sinks in the lavatories and galleys. This gray water goes through drain lines to either of two drain masts on the bottom of the fuselage where it is vented overboard.

    Only the vacuum toilet waste lines are connected to one of three waste tanks.

    Monitoring of water & waste is done by the cabin crew through the Cabin System/Area Control Panels.


    The flight crew O₂ supply has long featured as the core of mechanical catastophe theories, doubtless inspired by an idea that 9M-MRO’s system haboured a latent weakness or leak that necessitated the recharge while the aircraft was on the ground at WMKK. On the basis of fact: there is natural, ‘designed in’, wastage of O₂ prior to every on-ground engine start. So as to ensure the system shutoff valve is open, a solenoid valve is operated for 25 seconds to ensure oxygen flow from the cylinders and to vent oxygen from the system. After releasing the solenoid, a check is made to ensure pressure is restored. The system is also fitted with a frangible overpressure release valve to guard against overcharging of the system. While not impossible, the likelihood that a composite overwrapped pressure vessel suffered a burst while at normal operating pressure is a long way out on the diminishing range of possibilities.

    Any consequences of a catastrophic, destructive, event are contradicted by the evidence of ongoing navigation and restoration of routine satcom operation one hour later. That restoration of satcom operation, and the aircraft functions required to enable it, cannot be glibly ignored.

    The present objective is “where“: best to deal with facts, simple compliance to Occam’s Razor, and leave personality oriented subjectives at the door. If one is troubled by discussion of “who“, five of Kipling’s six honest serving men remain to help.

  442. Victor Iannello says:

    Here is a link to the 60 Minutes Australia’s episode on MH370. There is no new evidence presented that I could find, but it might nonetheless be of interest.

  443. Andrew says:


    RE: “On a tangent, do other any aircraft have the hardware to dump sewage mid-flight, that you know of? There was a big fuss here about it a few years back, with “offensive matter” landing on people’s cars and houses under flight paths.”

    No, in-flight sewage dumping isn’t a design feature on any aircraft, for obvious reasons. However, that’s not to say it hasn’t happened inadvertently on occasions. In the past, airliner toilets were the chemical type, which use a blue liquid disinfectant. There were a number of incidents where a leaking toilet system allowed a mixture of disinfectant and excrement to leak from the aircraft, where it promptly froze and fell to the ground as ‘blue ice’. Nowadays, most aircraft use vacuum toilets, which aren’t prone to leaking.

  444. Victor Iannello says:

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