Italian Satellite May Have Detected MH370 Floating Debris

A source has disclosed that an Italian satellite that is part of the COSMO-SkyMed constellation detected three floating objects on March 21, 2014, near where MH370 is believed to have crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014. This information was never publicly released.

The three floating objects were detected at 34.9519°S, 91.6833°E; 34.5742°S, 91.8689°E; and 34.7469°S, 92.1725°E.

COSMO-SkyMed Satellite

The detections are significant because we know that a French satellite that is part of the Pleiades constellation detected what appears to be man-made floating debris on March 23, 2014, only 35 NM from where the Italian satellite had detected floating debris two days earlier. The French Military Intelligence Service shared four proximate images from Pleiades 1A with Geoscience Australia (GA) in March 2017, which then performed detailed analyses and determined that a cluster of nine objects that are probably man-made appear in one of the images near 34.5°S, 91.3°E. Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) then used this position information along with advanced ocean drift models to calculate the most likely point of impact (POI) to be 35.6°S, 92.8°E.

There is no definitive proof that either satellite detected floating debris from MH370. Our source also could not definitively state that there were no other floating objects detected near the 7th arc by these two satellites. However, the source believes that if there were other objects detected, they would have been shared with the MH370 search team.

The two satellites used different physical principles for detecting floating objects. The Pleiades satellite used optical sensors to capture images in multiple bands of color to achieve a pixel size of 0.5 m x 0.5 m. On the other hand, the COSMO-SkyMed satellites use Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors to continuously scan the earth’s surface. Unfortunately, COSMO only obtained a wide-angle, low-resolution capture of the objects. On a subsequent satellite pass, attempts to capture the objects at high resolution were not successful.

Prior to 2014, researchers had already investigated using satellite SAR data to detect floating debris. For instance, in 2011, using SAR data from the crash of Air France 447 off the coast of Brazil in 2009, researchers presented a numerical method for processing the SAR data from COSMO-SkyMed to detect floating metallic objects. (HT Don Thompson.) Likely, those who have analyzed the COSMO data from March 2014 would know if the detected objects are metallic.

To determine if the objects detected by Pleiades and COSMO-SkyMed were from a common source, we used the results of a complex drift model (BRAN2015) developed by CSIRO and shared by oceanographer David Griffin. The results include the trajectories of 86,400 virtual drifters, representative of generic debris sitting flat on the surface. The virtual drifters start along the 7th arc on March 8, 2014, between latitudes 8°S and 44°S, and the trajectories are tracked for 1000 days. Our method was to find the two virtual drifters that best match the position and timing of the detections from the the two satellites. If those two virtual drifters started from nearby locations on March 8, likely the objects detected by the satellites came from a common source.

The results from the drift analysis are shown in the figure below. The yellow circles show the path of the virtual drifter that passed closest to the COSMO objects on March 21. The red circles show the path of the virtual drifter that passed closest to the Pleiades objects on March 23. These two virtual drifters start within 3.5 NM of each other on March 8, near to 35.4°S, 92.8°S. The proximity of the starting positions is consistent with a common source for the objects detected by the two satellites. That position is about 83 NM to the southwest of where a previous study estimated that MH370 crossed the 7th arc, and within the 140 NM radius recommended to search.

Floating objects detected by two satellites place MH370 impact near
35.4°S, 92.8°S. (Click on figure to enlarge)

In order to better estimate the likelihood that these objects were from MH370, we pose the following questions:

  1. Were there other detections of floating objects along the 7th arc by Pleiades, COSMO-SkyMed, or any other satellites?
  2. Were the COSMO-SkyMed detections on March 21 determined to be metallic objects?
  3. Exactly what areas along the 7th arc were surveilled by Pleiades, COSMO-SkyMed, or any other satellites?
  4. Will Airbus (the operator of the Pleiades satellites) provide the images for each color band so that independent researchers can analyze the raw data? (HT Bobby Ulich)

130 Responses to “Italian Satellite May Have Detected MH370 Floating Debris”

  1. Don Thompson says:

    The paper referenced in the above post can be supplemented with a more detailed review of the subject. Single-Look Complex COSMO-SkyMed SAR Data
    to Observe Metallic Targets at Sea

    The COSMO-SkyMed mission comprises 4 satellites delivering a daily overpass for the area of interest for MH370 whereas Pléaides comprised only 2 satellites in 2014 with overpass on alternate days. The Synthetic Aperture Radar acquisition may provide more detail than the visible/near visible spectrum of Pléaides to discriminate small features on the ocean.

    After conducting a search through available and relevant literature, I have exchanged some correspondence with one of the paper’s authors and discussed their view of COSMO-SkyMed’s ability to discern non-metallic objects (given the study’s emphasis on ‘metallic objects’), that is, objects of G/CFRP composite construction: in reply he described that buoys have been discerned with SAR imagery and that mostly-submerged wooden structures have been discriminated in fresh water. Notably, he also described how it might be possible to discriminate a localised pattern in sea surface conditions around a floating object thus aiding observation. Good knowledge of the prevailing surface conditions is also useful.

    While the mid ocean might seem like a barren void, it is necessary to consider what other objects might be present on the ocean surface, Global Fishing Watch shows that longline tuna fishing vessels were operating in the area of interest indicated by both these COSMO-SkyMed and Pléaides acquisitions considered by Geoscience Australia. A vessel should be readily discriminated by both visible and SAR imaging platforms, whereas the longline fishing gear comprises many floats and beacon rafts over their length which can be 10s of km, possibly discriminable but less likely to be readily identifiable.

    I echo Victor’s call for ADS/Astrium GEO-Information Services (for Pléaides) and ASI (for COSMO-SkyMed) to release into the public domain all primary imagery products acquired in support of the southern Indian Ocean surface search operations during March and April 2014.

  2. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: Thanks for the detailed comment. Whatever we can learn to increase or decrease the likelihood that the satellite detections were MH370 debris is extremely useful.

  3. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    Hi Victor, it’s odd that Geoscience Australia makes no mention of these SAR images from COSMO-SkyMed in a list of satellite assets used in the search for MH370’s location near the 7th arc.

    Satellites that have provided information in the search for MH370 include:

    – The Inmarsat communication satellites that gave us the hourly Burst Timing Offset and Burst Frequency Offset data, which, together, narrowed the search down from a large portion of the entire Indian Ocean to just a segment of the 7th arc
    – The Airbus Pleiades 1A satellite that provided the visual imagery of objects which, if they were parts of the aircraft, constitute the latest and most precise clue we have
    – NOAA and AVHRR Sea Surface Temperature imagery which provided details of ocean circulation, significantly augmenting what could be deduced from other oceanographic techniques. This is measured by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensor carried by the (US) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES)
    – Altimetry data from satellite missions operated by the respective space agencies: Jason-2 (NASA and CNES), CryoSat2 (ESA), AltiKa (CNES and ISRO). An altimeter is an instrument carried by an earth-observation satellite that measures two quantities extremely accurately – its position in space and the distance to the surface of the ocean directly below, to estimate sea surface height. Maps of sea surface height are key to estimating sea surface currents, just like winds can be inferred from maps of atmospheric pressure.
    “If we find MH370, which we all hope to do, it will be thanks to all this satellite data, particularly the altimetry data,’’ Griffin says.

    It’s interesting that CryoSAT2 is the only satellite on this list with a SAR payload, yet only its altimeter data is mentioned as it’s contribution.

    Could it be because, until recently, SAR was the exclusive domain of governments and militaries? COSMO-SkyMed appears to be no exception. According to the first link in your article,

    October 2009: TAS (Thales Alenia Space) handed over the management of the COSMO-SkyMed ground network to the Italian Defense Ministry, an event that marks the beginning of full operational use of the system by its principal customer, the Italian Defense Ministry and the ground network provider Telespazio of Rome.

    …. and if you look at Table 4
    Support ModeSAR observation side with respect to the nadir ground track
    Configuration Right-side looking (nominal) – Comment Providing better performance of northern hemisphere coverage
    Left-side looking for limited periodsComment Use intended to satisfy ASAP priority requests

    So the Italian military is in charge of the satellite, and it’s performance is better in the northern hemisphere.
    Perhaps we can remind ourselves that the this happened during the height of the Ukraine Crisis 2014 and NATO may not have wanted to disclose the tasking of it’s satellites.

    BTW, I usually roll my eyes when drift modelling of recovered debris is mentioned, but I think it’s worth pointing out something in the GA article, which clarified my understanding, and increased my confidence in drift modelling.

    The advantage for oceanographers this time was that the drift modelling only had to be applied to a two-week window – a much shorter interval than the many months relating to all the other evidence. This allowed for much greater precision.

  4. Victor Iannello says:

    @CanisMR: I suspect that the COSMO-SkyMed data set was known to CSIRO, but protocols prevented CSIRO from referring to it. I’m told that the French and Italians share Pleiades and COSMO-SkyMed satellite data by agreement. Permission for release of that data by CSIRO might have been complicated, but I am only guessing.

  5. Victor Iannello says:

    Some of us are trying to get more information about the COSMO-SkyMed detections as well as the single band data for the Pleiades images. Also, we need to better understand where along the 7th arc there were no detections. At this point, we simply don’t know whether the objects were from MH370. However, if they were from MH370, we should be able to use the drift models to fairly precisely predict the point of impact (POI). Now that 7 years has lapsed since the satellite data was obtained, there might be less sensitivity about releasing the data.

    I’ve seen some claim that it is doubtful that the detections were objects from MH370. At this point, without additional facts, I would say those claims are baseless.

  6. DrB says:


    The fact that the Pleiades images exist of a portion of the 7th Arc only 15 days after MH370 crashed is a testament to the rapidity of the analysis of the Inmarsat satellite data, the subsequent tasking, data collection, and analysis of the Italian COSMO synthetic aperture radar data, and the subsequent tasking and image collection of the French Pleiades 1A satellite. The French analysis of the Pleiades images indicated two large objects, which seemed to be in the right place to be the same objects seen by COSMO, in the vicinity of the 7th Arc near 34.5S. At that time, the Pleiades satellite data were classified, and this also restricted promulgation to foreign entities. The classification issue was overcome for Geoscience Australia, and four snippets of the Pleiades panchromatic data, one of which showed the two objects, with the other three images presumably being included to indicate the absence of large objects in nearby areas.

    Geoscience Australia performed more extensive image analyses, and produced a report indicating a significant number of sizable and “probably man-made” objects in the NE image snippet called PHR_4. Subsequently, David Griffin and his colleagues estimated the Point of Impact (POI) which would have put the objects in the positions seen 15 days later in the Pleiades image PHR_4. This and other considerations formed the basis for the later recommendation to search for the submerged debris field circa 35.6S.

    It is important to understand three facts which affected the Pleiades image analyses by Geoscience Australia:

    1. Only images of 4 small areas (20 km by 20 km each) were supplied by the French.

    2. No information was provided on the extent of the other areas imaged, nor of any specific analysis results in those areas.

    3. Only the black-and-white images were supplied by the French. The color images were not supplied.

    The supplied images are partially obscured by clouds, the sea state was such that breaking waves are seen throughout, and sun glitter is extensive, especially so in PHR_4. All three effects hinder floating object detection.

    The panchromatic images have 0.5 m specified resolution. I have computed the pixel size in the PHR_4 panchromatic image published by Geoscience Australia to be 0.50 m, in agreement with the specification. The panchromatic image uses the entire visible band. It is a grayscale image with approximately 12-bit intensity resolution. There are also multiple color bands, covering the visible range and the near infrared, which are recorded at 2.0 m resolution. A colorized panchromatic image can also be created at 0.5 m resolution by using the color image data to set the color of the 0.5 m resolution panchromatic image. This color image would be the one most useful in searching for MH370 debris. Unfortunately, the images supplied by the French to Geoscience Australia were the black-and-white panchromatic images, not the color images.

    Presently the Pleiades satellites (there are two of them) are still operating and providing commercial imaging services. I have inquired of their developer and operator, Airbus Defence and Space, whether the 2014 SIO images are available for purchase now as unclassified material. If they can be obtained, I can determine which areas of the 7th Arc were imaged in 2014, and I can process those images looking for MH370 debris, especially flaperon-sized objects. I am interested to see if there are flaperon-sized objects in the PHR_4 image and in other images to the northeast along the 7th Arc if those images exist and can be obtained. Reliable detection and classification of floating objects significantly smaller than the flaperon and the Pemba flap are unlikely given the imaging resolution of the satellite.

  7. Don Thompson says:


    I suspect you misunderstand satellite tasking. The tasking instruction is of the form, ‘when your satellite passes over a location, as dictated by its orbit, please acquire some imagery’. Tasking does not imply ‘please have your satellite move to my requested location and acquire some imagery’.

    The configuration of the ground segment, for example the location of uplink sites, needs to be considered in the responsiveness of the ‘system’. If a particular mission has only one uplink site, tasking commands can only be sent when the satellite makes an overpass within its comms antenna footprint.

    Astrium is keen to describe how the Pléaides mission is very reactive to tasking requests as it the ‘system’ employs multiple uplink sites on French territories around the globe.

    COSMO-SkyMed, COSMO being an acronym for COnstellation of small Satellites for Mediterranean basin Observation, comprises four satellites delivering a 12h revisit time for a specific location.

    Little of the mission operations are in any way secret, ‘User Guides’ to missions such as COSMO-SkyMed are Pléaides openly available and can be understood with a modicum of knowledge.

  8. DrB says:


    One of the principal issues with processing high-resolution images, even from “small” areas, is the huge file size. For instance, each of the four “snippets” from Pleiades is 20 km by 20 km in extent. At 0.5 m resolution, the grayscale panchromatic image is 40 K X 40 K pixels. At 12 bits per pixel, each image is 2.4 TB. A color image at 8 bits per 3 colors would occupy 4.8 TB. An image of the whole 7th Arc would be several petabytes in memory.
    The large data file demands “automatic target recognition” (ATR) be implemented using a high-speed computer. Human inspection is valuable, once candidate targets have been identified by computer processing. Human inspection by a trained operator can confirm object detections, reduce false alarms due to environmental features, and classify better than most current algorithms. The human brain is quite exceptional in image feature identification, under certain conditions. For instance, we have great difficulty identifying a person if their image is upside down. So, rotational invariance of complex shapes is a weak point for us humans, but it must be strong in an ATR system.

    Any useful processing of even the (2.4 TB!) “snippets” on a PC will require disassembling the image into sub-images (or “tiles”) which can be manipulated using acceptable file sizes. Then an ATR algorithm can be run on each sub-image in a time sequence. Candidate detections are found, and a small cookie-cutter image surrounding each contact is saved and sent to a classifier algorithm. The classifier algorithms extract various image features to see if the contact is possibly a real object. Those contacts which are determined to be potential objects are saved and later reviewed by a human operator. So there are 3 steps in the typical ATR system: computer detection, computer classification, and operator confirmation/classification.

    It’s very easy to build an automatic detection algorithm which has a probability of detection of nearly 100%, assuming the objects are nearly always visible. The difficulty is in keeping the probability of detection very high while, at the same time, keeping the false alarm rate extremely low. All useful ATR systems achieve a constant false alarm rate (CFAR). That is, there is a limit to the rate at which false alarms can be tolerated without overwhelming the system or the human operator. So, an ATR designer must use adaptive thresholds for detection and classification which keep the FAR low and constant. The FAR in high-data-rate systems must be extremely low, on the order of 1 per million opportunities. I have designed, built, and operated military CFAR sensors imaging floating and submerged objects in the ocean. I have also done satellite image analyses for various 3-letter agencies in the USA. My experience has given me a good understanding of the issues associated with overhead imaging of floating debris in the ocean, and I can use some of the techniques developed in my prior military work to effectively find objects which match the larger pieces of MH370 debris (and which are considerably smaller than all the “probably man-made” objects reported by Geoscience Australia). The question is, are any of the larger recovered debris clearly visible in Pleiades images?

  9. Victor Iannello says:

    @DrB: GA identified 70 objects in the 4 images (PHR1-4), of which 12 objects were judged to be “probably man-made”, and of those 12 objects, 9 were found in image PHR4. GA claims that 2 of the 70 objects were also identified by the French Ministry of Defence, but those objects were from image PHR2, and neither object was classified as “probably man-made” by GA. (GA classified one as “possible natural” and the other as “possible man-made”.)

    This demonstrates the subjectivity in identifying and classifying the objects.

    The GA report also states that: The confidence with which we are able to state that the objects observed in the images are unnatural could be increased if we were able to also study other images (from the same instrument and satellite in a similar sea-state) where debris is not expected to be found. For this reason, examination of further images is likely to be of value.

    It is clear that GA wanted more images to improve the confidence of their identifications and classifications, but was not able to obtain the images.

    I also note that the images were received by GA on March 23, 2017, which is 3 years to the day after the images were captured. It might be that this delay was mandated. It also might mean that the restrictions would be further relaxed today now that 7 years have passed since the images were obtained.

  10. TBill says:

    The 2-week debris drift analysis is interesting.
    On the one hand, the suggested crash site is somewhat beyond Arc7, as we might expect the plane kept going south. On the other hand, if we are going to find some of that rather large floating debris in the sat photos (let’s assume some of it sinks after a while), we may need to be looking well inside of Arc7. Somewhat counter-intuitive, but maybe we have to settle for finding some drifted pieces before we find the actual crash site. Possibly adds some justification to searching inside Arc7, even though we often tend to feel the plane itself flew beyond Arc7.

  11. Don Thompson says:

    @DrB wrote “40 K X 40 K pixels. At 12 bits per pixel, each image is 2.4 TB.

    Pléaides stores the 12bit image depth samples in 2 bytes of file storage when delivered as GeoTIFF user product.

    40K px x 40K pix x 2 bytes = 3.2GBytes

    The spacecraft is provided with 600GB of onboard storage. If temporary storage on the spacecraft adopted a 3 bytes per 2 pixels format, 2.4GBytes per panchromatic spot image is (obviously) the manageable trade-off for acquisition vs downlink to the ground segment.

  12. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: I would advocate searching for the main debris field rather than trying to figure out where floating parts may have eventually sunk.

  13. DrB says:

    @Don Thompson,

    Thank you for correcting my multiplication error regarding Pleiades image storage space.

  14. 370Location says:


    Thanks for clarifying that COSMO SAR data is shared with the French by agreement. All the reports pointed to French Ministry spokesman revealing that the SAR data was taken on Mar 21, delivered to Malaysia and AMSA on the Mar 23.“radar+echoes”+”fuzzy”+”dimensions”

    Note comments from a Malaysian unofficial that one of the objects was about the same in size as the 22x13m object reported by the Chinese.

    I found entries for your three SAR coordinates, along with a fourth, in my GE bookmarks marked as from a French Satellite, also with an extra digit of precision. The fourth object is about 200km SSW of yours. I traced that back to reports that the coordinates were disclosed on Mar 28 2014:

    Archived here:

    It would be very interesting to examine SAR images from anywhere plausible MH370 area.

    From the study Don linked, the SAR images reveal boat wakes and other surface disruptions, very much like sunglint images but at higher resolution, and regardless of cloud cover. As I already mentioned here, I believe a 200m resolution sunglint image from Mar 11 2014 may reveal an MH370 debris field near Java.
    This image has a more accurate contrast enhancement than on my website:

    To validate, I examined a similar sunglint taken a week after the Lion Air 610 crash off Jakarta. It shows boat wakes like the SAR images, and surface striations like those shown above. It’s clear to me that evn low resolution sunglint images and SAR could both show the effects of surface disruptions from oil and smaller debris affecting surface reflectivity.

    — Ed Anderson

  15. Victor Iannello says:

    @Ed Anderson: Thank you for your comment. I was not aware that the coordinates of the three objects (plus an additional one) were previously released. The coordinates evident in that photo correspond exactly (and in the same format) to what was supplied to me. I took the liberty of converting to decimal degrees. So now we can be quite sure that what was supplied to Malaysia and AMSA by France was indeed the SAR data from COSMO-SkyMed.

    Although the satellite data provides a high level of precision, we still don’t know if the objects were from MH370. The failure of the underwater search in that vicinity of course reduces (but does eliminate) the possibility that they were.

    Regarding the imagery near Java, how do you explain that lack of any debris recovered along the relatively nearby shore?

    [Your comment appeared here with a delay because the multiple links required that I manually approve the comment.]

  16. Don Thompson says:

    On March 11th 2014, the China Meteorological Administration activated the Disasters Charter thereby requesting that the Charter’s signatories assist in collection of imagery that might be useful in the search for MH370.

    Simultaneously, products were delivered to the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency and the China Meteorological Administration.

    Aside from the originator’s archives, it’s reasonable to expect that the MRSA and CMA retain archives of the image products distributed to them. Perhaps Malaysian and Chinese next of kin groups might assist in making requests to those agencies?

  17. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    @ Victor,
    There is a nice timeline of the debris sightings in this BBC article

    It too makes reference to SAR data released by the French on Mar 23. But the location was 930 km north of previous sightings by China and Australia.

  18. 370Location says:


    Some of the articles mentioned that the aerial search took into account the Mar 21 SAR detections (presumably with drift), but of course nothing from MH370 was sighted.

    If your source only provided three coords, that would explain why the fourth was not in your report.

    You asked, “Regarding the imagery near Java, how do you explain that lack of any debris recovered along the relatively nearby shore?”

    We did discuss the short term drift not too long ago. I had used the Nullschool maps early on to see where debris would travel from the Java Anomaly. It appeared to go generally west, with first landfall expected at Cocos Islands. I pursued that possibility with plastic debris researchers who regularly visit Cocos.

    Later, @Oleksandr did a custom plot showing that the bulk of the debris did go directly into the equatorial current towards Cocos. See the animation here:

    His data sampling was daily, but the graphical plots are every 5-6 days. The 14Mar frame shows the debris field SE of the Sunda Strait. The next 20Mar frame shows the bulk going WSW. The debris then mostly moves slowly west until mid-april, when weather appears to blow a very small slowest portion of the 50,000 particles back onto Java shores. It is passing N of Cocos on 16Apr, and some is blown S onto the islands on 20Apr. The researchers had planned a Cocos Islands survey for mid-2020 and would keep an eye out for MH370 debris. Then, Covid.

    According to their reports, nearly all of the plastic junk beaching at Cocos comes from SE Asia. Seeing the modeled forward drift, reverse drift from Cocos might generally be from around the Sundha Strait, Sumatra, and Java. If that’s the case, it could be assumed that there is a lot of local debris on Indonesian beaches. With nobody expecting MH370 debris there, it might have been overlooked.

    Sat images do show a rectangular object about 4x12ft appearing at a fish camp on the S tip of Pulau Enggano in the right time frame, but it’s probably a shack or table.

  19. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    @Ed Anderson
    According to this BBC report, search aircraft were parked in Malaysia (March 14) pending overflight approval from Indonesia to search ‘south of Java.’

  20. Miden Agan says:

    @Victor @370Location

    Debris drift analysis and arrival times contradict a crash site off the south coast Java.

    The suggested crash site of the “Java Anomaly” is at 8.36°S 107.92° E, near the south coast of Java. There would be some debris on the shoreline of Southwest Java. Many people and fishermen live there, and some debris would have been seen and found. None was.

    The following are quotations from the cited Nesterov drift analysis originating at the Javanomaly, followed by dates of actual debris finds:

    “The debris field passes Cocos Island from late April to Late May 2014.”

    No debris was ever found washed ashore in Cocos Island

    “First arrivals at Madagascar and Reunion Island are as early as August 2014 and continue through early 2015.”

    The flaperon washed ashore in La Reunion in late July, 2015. MH 370 debris was not found washed ashore in Madagascar until June 2016.

    Debris from a Javanomaly crash site would have arrived where it did about a year earlier.

    Regarding the COSMO satellite photos, if they and French Pleiades satellite photos were from 370, that would mean a crash site at about 35.5°S. MH 370 debris would probably not have arrived in La Reunion and South Africa as early as it did. Drift simulations and analysis by Prof. Chari Pattiaratchi indicate the most likely crash site is between 32°S and 33°S.

  21. Victor Iannello says:

    @Miden Agan: I don’t know who you are, but you certainly have similar opinions to Blaine Gibson, including the statement that Blaine made to Geoffrey Thomas about my most recent post.

    The results of the drift simulations from Chari Pattiaratchi differ from those from David Griffin regarding the transport speed of the virtual drifters. In general, DG’s drifters move faster, so the predicted point of impact (POI) is further south along the 7th arc. DG was kind enough to share the drift results from BRAN2015 (and BRAN2016) so we can track each virtual drifter each day, and make estimates of the location of the POI based on the timing and location of the recovery of debris. DG also shared the model inputs for both “generic” and “flaperon-like” drifters, so we know how Stokes Drift and windage are included in the model. To my knowledge, CP has not published the details of his drift model.

    Since you claim that CP’s results are more likely than DG’s, perhaps you understand the technical details of DG’s and CP’s models. If so, can you please enlighten us about the differences?

  22. DrB says:

    @Miden Agan,

    You said: “Regarding the COSMO satellite photos, if they and French Pleiades satellite photos were from 370, that would mean a crash site at about 35.5°S. MH 370 debris would probably not have arrived in La Reunion and South Africa as early as it did.”

    The 35.5 S latitude estimated by Victor near the 7th Arc is the predicted location of the COSMO/Pleiades objects on the MH370 crash date. These objects, which are all much larger than the recovered MH370 debris, may not be from MH370, as several people have noted, for a variety of reasons.

    The CSIRO drift model analysis, as reported by David Griffin and his colleagues, indicated a swath of several degrees along the 7th Arc which is generally consistent with MH370 debris reports. This swath includes 35.5 S as well as the contiguous area to the NW along the Arc.

    My current analyses, using the daily predicted CSIRO tracks for 86,400 virtual drifters, appear capable of providing a much more precise crash latitude estimate from a statistical analysis using a collection of 17 non-redundant reports of identifiable MH370 debris. My method and results are currently undergoing a series of verification tests to prove their reliability and precision. That work will be published when the verifications tests are completed, assuming success. I can say, however, that currently the MH370 Point of Impact determined by this new method is to the NW from the predicted location of the Pleiades/COSMO objects on 8 March 2014, and it is roughly midway between that point and the crash latitude estimates you attribute to Dr. Pattiaratchi

  23. 370Location says:

    You can’t be implying that a reference to “grid search” and “south of Java” means the area between the Java coast and Christmas Island was ever searched. It would have been documented. Those planes were likely heading to Perth. Taking the very long way around Indonesia probably would have required fuel stops.

    @Miden Agan,
    It’s difficult to hear such certitude in statements about drift analysis that is inherently uncertain, especially for dismissal of the acoustic event site as a search candidate.

    You can read previous discussions over debris arriving earlier than it was found. We are still finding debris 6 years later.

    Debris not being found may be because nobody was looking. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. For the southern 7th Arc, some debris would be expected in Australia. It was watched for, but none was confirmed.

    The Java anomaly is unique among search candidates. It is not where anyone would look based on maximizing various probabilities. It is a very specific location where there was a loud noise. The true site might be well off the bell curve on drift, debris finds, BFO, FE, searched areas, or any other parameter being optimized. All that matters for a specific site is whether it is a feasible fit to the evidence we have. So, somewhere reasonable on each bell curve.

    I’ve seen people trying to dismiss the candidate for all sorts of reasons, but usually it comes down to it being unexpected. Prominent experts has called it a red herring without considering the evidence, as if it were intentionally created to distract from the real search like some doubters making up conspiracies. I believe that if the significance of the sound were recognized early on, the site would have already been searched.

    Note that COSMO didn’t take a “photo”. It uses radar which can be presented as a monochrome image. The SAR data is unfortunately still unavailable for reanalysis, like the CTBTO infrasound and recordings from several French hydrophones in the SIO.

  24. TBill says:

    I don’t know who Miden Agan is either, but as you previously guessed, it certainly seems like it might be the same person as Alvian Aldebaran from MH370 FaceBook Veritas. In any case he raises some good discussion points, and if it is the same as Alvian he has recently started a productive thread over on Veritas FB.

  25. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: I don’t have a FB account, so I really can’t follow threads in FB groups.

    Just out of curiosity, does Alvian Aldebaran believe there are any possibilities other than along the 7th arc where Chari Pattiaratchi proposes, or the Maldives?

  26. TBill says:

    Not sure.
    There is a poll going on Veritas re: suggested crash locations, that Alvian started, but I am not sure he gave his personal view yet. The poll has been good discussion.

    The one take-away that surprised me was, quite a few feel the original satellite photos of the debris deep south in 44 South area were MH370. This view requires various assertions, such as cover-up of debris that may have washed up on WA beaches (West OZ), disbelief of the radar flight path turning up the Straits, and so on.

    I am not comfortable using FB either, so I just read the discussions.

  27. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Victor, do you think that any of the work currently being undertaken will pass the ‘credible new information, which leads to a specific location‘ test?

    Even if we had open access to the military radar data I can’t see how that would be useful in leading to a more specific location.

    I’m now of the view that the analytical phase of this effort is largely, if not completely, over. You and Bobby et al have one good candidate search area. Beyond that there’s possibly an argument for a far southern search area and there’s the unsearched northern area adjacent to the seventh arc. Putting together a phased search plan is likely not a difficult task now.

    However, the chances of any of the involved governments restarting the search is so vanishingly small that I’m of the view that it can be completely discounted. Realistically, the search is only going to be restarted if some non-government source of funding can be secured. That would likely be a very deep pocketed patron or patrons who might be attracted either altruistically or for the cachet associated with having solved the most intriguing mystery in aviation, perhaps a mix of both.

    Might it be time to start talking about what securing patronage might involve?

  28. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: If we can increase our confidence that the satellite detections were debris from MH370, I think that would pass the test for “credible new information”. I’m not sure we can get there, but it’s worth trying. The COSMO-SkyMed detections provide evidence that the Pleiades detections were not sun glint, but the provenance of the objects remains uncertain.

    I would likely not be involved in an effort to raise private money to fund a search, although I think all of us would assist searchers with technical matters.

  29. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mike Gilbert: Let me add that before organizing another search, I would advocate for a thorough review of sonar data in targeted areas to better understand whether it is possible the debris field was missed in areas previously searched.

  30. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Ianello

    Thanks Victor. On that last point, do you know who is the custodian of the sonar data? The ATSB?

  31. Don Thompson says:

    @Mick Gilbert

    The custodian of the Phase I (bathymetry) and Phase II (seafloor search) data is Geoscience Australia. A volumuninous open repository of unprocessed products from the various instuments and sensors plus the processed image products.

  32. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mike Gilbert: And to add to what @Don Thompson said, the custodian of the data collected by Ocean Infinity is Ocean Infinity. There was an effort to place the data in the public domain through a third party. I’m not sure if that ever occurred.

    However, the issue is not only access to the sonar data. To properly analyze the data, the correct software tools for reading and displaying the large data files is required, as well as the expertise to properly analyze the data.

  33. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Ianello
    @Don Thompson

    Thank you both.

  34. Mick Gilbert says:

    An open question, if I may.

    If you were gifted a 125,000 search budget, how would you allocate it?

  35. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: This might seem like a non-answer, but before making an allocation, I would want to understand better the probability that the debris field was missed in areas already searched.

  36. ALSM says:

    With a budget of 125,000 km^2, you could re-search the 7th arc 100 km wide from S30 to S38. It’s in there somewhere. Using Victor’s approach, the POI might be found with a quarter of that budget.

  37. 370Location says:

    @Mick Gilbert: With a gifted micro-search of only 125 km^2, I would survey the epicenter of the seismic Java anomaly that’s precisely on the low altitude 7th Arc. I expect the error of the seismic timing to be within just a few km.

  38. 370Location says:

    For those who have image processing experience, I wonder if it might be possible to use multiple passes of surface ship multibeam bathymetry scans to construct a higher resolution seafloor map.

    The 7th Arc was first explored with 150m and also 30m resolution multibeam bathymetry from the surface, which had small gaps. A second pass would have filled in most of those holes.

    There is currently a lot of active research in AI upscaling and super-resolution reconstruction from single images, with dramatic effect. There are also attempts to utilize multiple low resolution image captures to improve the noise and resolution of a computational result. Look at Google Pixel cellphone imaging for example.

    The Olex mapping system is an interesting approach to crowdsourcing of accurate bathymetric data for contributing fishermen.

    It is clearly expensive to send submersibles to scan large areas of the seafloor.

    It occurs to me that multiple scans using the best resolution from multibeam bathymetry could be computationally combined to improve the accuracy of not only the depth from echo timing, but also the signal strength that might reveal reflectivity.

    Multiple passes from a surface ship over a candidate area might be combined into a much higher resolution map with texture of the seafloor, all without deploying an AUV. Recruiting various expeditions on other quests to also cross candidate sites (multiple times) could computationally reveal evidence for sending down a survey vessel.

  39. Paul Smithson says:

    @Mick. You dont need a budget of 125000sq km. You need <1000 to cover a narrow swathe either side of 7th arc betweent 39.5 and 40.0S.

  40. Paul Smithson says:

    Arithmetic error. Make that <10,000 sq km. But still << a tenth of that budget.

  41. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Ianello

    Thank you Victor, that’s a fair answer I think. How would satisfactorily improve your understanding of whether the prior search might have missed it? An independent expert review of the all the sonar data?


    Thanks Mike. Are you saying 50 km either side of the previously searched zone from S38 up to S30?


    Thanks Ed. Always nice to see some frugality. What is the location of the epicenter of the seismic Java anomaly, just by the bye?

    @Paul Smithson

    Thank you Paul, another less is best bid, nice to see. What swathe width would you nominate?

  42. ALSM says:

    Mick: Yes, 50 km each side (100km total width) X 1250 km along the arc. S30 to S38 is about 1250 km. I’m not recommending that specific area be searched. But if you had 125,000 km^2 to burn, that’s where I would put it. If I had only half that budget, I’d pick S32 to S36 100 km wide.

  43. Victor Iannello says:

    @ALSM: +/- 50 km is +/- 27 NM. That means you propose to mostly search what was already searched, and extend outwards a bit. So, do you believe there was a greater chance that the debris field was missed rather than there was an extended glide after fuel exhaustion?

  44. ALSM says:

    No Victor, I was just rounding off the numbers to equal 125,000 km^2. I figure, worst case…it’s got to be between S30 and S38 (~1250 km). So, starting with that number, that would allow 100 km wide. My Dec 9, 2017 best estimate was that it is within +/- 22 nm (90% probability), and I see no reason to change that estimate. +/- 27 nm probably bumps up the probability to maybe 95%?

    Other than the fact that it was not found, I don’t see any evidence supporting the “long glide” theory. Meanwhile, as we have discussed many times, there are several lines of evidence pointing to the POI being close to the arc. The Jeffreys Bay analysis further supports the in-flight partial breakup theory.

  45. TBill says:

    If we look at the Figure above in Victor’s article, a hard crash on Arc7 would seemingly spread a wide debris field plume over the whole of Arc7 width, and then some. Yet we have no underwater debris hits whatsoever from 25-38 South.

    Is there an argument to support that? I suppose we could argue large pieces that came off in mid-air floated away, and small pieces after the aircraft hit water catastrophically are undetectably small. But the question has to be asked, if it hit near Arc7, shouldn’t Search 1 or 2 have seen something?

    Now then I do believe some other areas of Arc7, such as BR, the debris drift will vector easterly, away from Arc7, so that might help explain no debris hits on Arc7.

  46. ALSM says:

    TBill: Re: “…would seemingly spread a wide debris field plume over the whole of Arc7 width…”. That is not what Victor’s diagram is meant to communicate. He is not suggesting that the debris is spread over that whole circle. He suggests it is concentrated in a much smaller field ( perhaps a couple of miles?) within the circle.

  47. 370Location says:

    @Mick Gilbert asks,
    “What is the location of the epicenter of the seismic Java anomaly, just by the bye?”

    Thanks for being curious. The Java Anomaly epicenter is at: 8.36S 107.92E
    The search area might be refined by seismologists with advanced tools.
    Lots of details are on my website:

    — Ed

  48. Victor Iannello says:

    @ALSM: One of the challenges in defining the search area is to assign relative probabilities of a glide versus the probability of missing the debris field. My approach would be to only re-search areas where the detection probabilities were low, i.e., areas with challenging terrain or where there were equipment issues.

    @370Location: There are many reasons to doubt that the debris field is located at your Java anomaly. However, if the epicenter really can be located with precision, then the “value per unit area” would be high, and there is a good argument for conducting a search there.

  49. ALSM says:

    Victor: I don’t see any evidence to support a “glide” after MEFE. So I agree with your approach. If it is outside the +/-22nm band, then it is still relatively close to that band…not 50-100nm out. More likely missed in one of the harder areas to scan.

  50. Mick Gilbert says:


    Thank you, Ed. That far north would make it quite the outlier but, as Victor said, if the search area was well defined and relatively quite small it would probably get a bang-for-bucks tick.

    @Victor Ianello

    To re-search or not to re-search … Picking the “hard to get at” spots between the latitudes of interest from the initial search areas and having another look at those would seem to be the most logical approach.

    Glide versus no-glide, that has been the argument from essentially Day 1. Battlelines on that front were drawn early on and there seems to have been little movement from either camp regardless of what the trickle feed of debris suggested.

  51. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello et al

    In response to a request in another forum I have done a Q&D amalgamation of the various bits and pieces that I have worked on with regards to the analysis of Z’s flight sim data. It is not my best writing, being largely a handful of emails bundled together, and could do with some expanded explanations and an illustration or two.

    I’m pretty sure that I have posted most of the key points on here at various times but for the sake of good order and to address my sometimes faulty recall, here it is –

    Accompanying also Q&D diagram here –

  52. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: Thanks for posting. I agree that we have already discussed (and debated) the salient points here.

  53. TBill says:

    Thank you for that write-up.
    One point I noticed, you clearly state that ATSB is confirming the SimDate assigned for these cases is 2-Feb-2014.

    The reason I mention it, there seems to be some misunderstanding by some observers. Apparently there were some additional extraneous file fragments leaked, unrelated to these files, that show a different (later February_2014) SimDate.

  54. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill said: Apparently there were some additional extraneous file fragments leaked, unrelated to these files, that show a different (later February_2014) SimDate.

    That’s doubtful. More likely, people are confusing the log book entries for an FSX flight as extracted from MK26. The flight files to the SIO are from FS9 as extracted from MK25.

  55. Joseph Coleman says:

    @Mick Gilbert

    Hey Mick interesting report could you provide if possible the co-ordinate for number 2, from your graphic, and also not up for questions or debate do you know the approx date of when the co-ordinates as seen in the sim data, where first known whether during or after the sim analysis by whoever that may have been.


  56. Mick Gilbert says:


    G’day Bill, I concur with Victor.

    There’s repeated confusion between the data files that we’re looking at and the later February date mentioned in the RMP report. Apart from anything else, that later date is for a FSX/PMDG flight file. That’s most assuredly NOT what we’re looking at here.

    I’m of a view that that file with the later February date was created by the forensics investigators as an example for their proof of method for identifying and extracting files.

  57. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Joseph Coleman

    G’day Joseph. The location of the sim aircraft just prior to it being dragged to 10N (ie the location where the flight in the Strait of Malacca ends) was likely near 6°4’N 97°34’E, essentially off to the left (south-west) of the track from 5N to VAMPI having turned off that track prior to reaching VAMPI.

    That is based on knowing where the aircraft was, its altitude and rate of climb at 5N, the 1,740kg fuel burn (64,440kg at 5N to 62,700kg at the drag to 10N) and its altitude, attitude, orientation and the Nav Radio data from when it was relocated to 10N.

    The Nav1Active and Nav2Active were tuned to the PUT and VPL VORs respectively meaning that the simulation aircraft had to be closer to Phuket and Langkawi than to the Medan and Banda Aceh VORs.

  58. TBill says:

    @Joseph Coleman
    The other point Mick is alluding to, that I like to stress: ATSB/Malaysia/FBI has all of the available data for these runs including SimTime and SimDates. However, the complete sim data is undisclosed to the public. We only have the limited portion of the data that was leaked in 2016, and staring in Oct_2017, ATSB has given important hints about the nature of the undisclosed data, as summarized by Mick.

    So we don’t know the exact time the sim aircraft hit near VAMPI/N10, but ATSB does indeed know that. Mick has a good guess, but just saying. What I see in my sims, almost exactly as soon you hit VAMPI, the radio frequency shifts and you are ready to move the aircraft to N10 (after initiating a 20 deg turn).

  59. Joseph Coleman says:

    @Mick Gilbert

    Thanks for the Info “You Guys”.
    Interesting that Uprob waypoint has been renamed to Pakra
    Noticing a spelling mistake on calling it Oprob within the PDF file.


  60. David says:

    @ALSM. Your Aug 4th, “My Dec 9, 2017 best estimate was that it is within +/- 22 nm (90% probability), and I see no reason to change that estimate. +/- 27 nm probably bumps up the probability to maybe 95%?”

    As you will recall, in late February 2020 @DennisW introduced us to Bayesian quantitative assessment of the effects of a search. As an example he used the UGIB area A1, having drawn the conclusion that the probability of the sunken wreckage being in that was 60% prior to the search. He deliberately chose a low probability of it being discovered if there, of 80%.

    The Bayesian approach offers two formulae, one to assess the remaining probability of wreckage-being in an area searched, after an unsuccessful search, the second to assess the effect of a failed search on unsearched areas.

    The formulae are simple and elegant but subject to interpretation as to how they should be applied.
    One check as to whether a method used is sound is to add all the possibilities that emerge as to where the wreckage might be. They should of course come to 100%, within calculator accuracy.

    In March 2020 I mentioned to @DennisW that the outcome of the all the possibilities of his analysis, was 123% and offered an alternative, that meeting the 100% criterion. I believe that his error was in applying the wrong Bayes formula.

    The outcome I came to, complying with that criterion, was that the post search probability of the wreckage being in the already-searched A1 area was 16%, having been 0.6*0.8, 48% before. Based on advice from @Richard to Dennis this was 80% of A1.

    There was also a rise in the probability that it was in the unsearched 20%, which had been 0.2*0.6, 12%, to 19%.

    Thus the post-search probability that it would be in the A1 area was 16% + 19% = 35%.

    The prospect of a search being successful is the product of the probability that the wreckage is in the area to be searched and the probability of finding it if there, that having fallen from 0.6*0.8, 48% to 0.35*0.8, or 28%. However if the prospects of finding it in a new search, if there, have risen from 0.8 to the ATSB’s postulation of about 0.95 then the success prospects rise to from that 28% to 0.35*0.95, or 33%.

    At 0.95 there is only 5% room left for improvement there. If Ocean Infinity’s substantial part in the search achieved more (or less, we do not know) than the ATSB’s then that would affect that 5%. Likewise it might be argued that a new search, using such as OI’s improved AUVs, would increase the success probability, though I expect the gain to be in the speed of searching. Here I continue with the 0.95 assumption as applying to both the past search and any future.

    For interest I have applied that to the UGIB A1 area in place of Dennis’s 0.8 while at the same lifting his 60% probability of the wreckage being in that area to your estimate for your area of 90%. The method used was that of my March 2020 post and the 33% success-likelihood outcome above. It is referenced in the attachment.

    The result is that the post search probability of it being in the searched area falls from 0.8*0.9 , 72% to 11%, while that of it being in the 20% unsearched area rises from 18% to 57%, that probability total then being 68% in place of 35%.

    Summarising so far, assuming a 90% probability that the wreckage was in the UGIB area A1, with a 95% probability that if there it would be detected, after a search of 80% of it the 90% has dropped to 68%.

    The hypothetical chance of success in a new search is 0.68*0.95 = 65%, is almost double the 33% of the earlier assumptions.

    The prospect of it being somewhere else than in the UGIB search area rises from the 10% unspoken for to 32%, as one would expect, to reach the probability total that it is somewhere, of 100%.

    More background generally to the above is in the attachment.

    Now on Aug 5th you posted, “More likely missed in one of the harder areas to scan.”

    Looking into that and what difference it would make by treating the difficult-to-search hilly terrain separately, also in the attachment are the workings of two related methods of assessing that, arriving at the same answer.

    They entail making some assumptions, again just for indicative purposes. Accordingly I have assumed that the hilly terrain’s area is 1/10th of that 80% of the A1 area searched and that the probability that it would be discovered in the search, if there, was just 0.2, or 20%, vice the 0.95 , 95% elsewhere, ie the probability of it being in that area is 1/10th that of it being in the 80% area as a whole. That is because, as @DennisW’s analysis implied, the probability of the wreckage settling in any part of A1, per unit area, is taken as the same, 0.6 in his case, 0.9 in this. In other words the aircraft does not know whether beneath the sea surface the terrain is hilly or not or, if piloted, the pilot would be aware of those hills.

    The first method entails separating the search of the 9/10ths from the 1/10th, as if the latter followed the former. Otherwise that method is as employed earlier.

    The second entails the one search but with the search area overall ‘find’ probability decreasing, that of the 1/10th at 0.95 being reduced by 0.75 to 0.2. Thus the overall find probability is reduced by 0.075, from 0.95 to 0.875.

    The outcome of the first method after search conclusion is that the probability of it being in the non-hilly 9/10th of the 80% searched area drops from 0.648 (0.9*0.9*0.8), or 64.8% to 8.8%; and the 1/10th hilly area rises from 7.2% to 15.6%. That of the second method total of the 80% area’s post-search probability is the same. For both methods unsearched 20% area rises from 0.18 to 0.4864864, or 18% to 48.6%.

    The “somewhere else” rises from 10% to 27%, thence total possibilities add to 100%.

    Thus the probability of it being in area A1 after search conclusion is 8.8% + 15.6% + 48.6% or 73%, so treating that hilly area as difficult to search has raised the probability of the wreckage being in A1 from 68% to a, likewise indicative, 73%.

    Reducing the probability of finding the wreckage over that 1/10th has reduced that attributed to the total 80% searched area, the second method indicating that it would reduce from 0.95 to 0.875.

    Again assuming that a future search would have a find probability of 0.95, success probability would be 0.73*0.95, or 69½%, whereas without hilly area being considered it was 0.68*0.95 or 64½%.

    For those who think that the assumption the hilly area would occupy a tenth of the searched area is too much I have looked into the outcome were that reduced to 1/20th. The new search success probability then is 70.8%*0.95, or 67%.

    Thus allowing for a lower find probability in the hilly area makes a difference.

    Summarising overall then, were your estimate of a 90% probability of wreckage to apply to the UGIB area A1, the outcome is that a likely probability of success in a new search would be around 67%. Quite substantial.

    As I mentioned above, before the search that was 0.9*0.95 or 85½%.

    While I think the 90% estimate is hard to support for the UGIB area, or for any area after a substantial part of it has been searched unsuccessfully, the above gives at least a clue as to the upper success probability bound.

    Use of the methods in the attachment could be extended to other possibilities, particularly the first.

  61. Victor Iannello says:

    @David: My personal opinion is that the probability of the debris field in A1 is closer to 50%, and perhaps not even that high, depending on the confidence we assign to the satellite detections.

    The satellite detections are a bit like the seismic location that Ed Anderson has found. Independent of which is more likely, there are reasons to doubt both, but the location precision is high, so those are high value areas to search.

  62. David says:

    @Victor. A post search probability of 50% that the wreckage was in the A1 area would require a like pre-search probability of 80.6%, assuming there was a 95% probability that if there it would have been found.

    @DennisW’s analysis had that 80.6% somewhat lower at 60%.

    The success likelihood of a new search of A1 at your 50% and at the same find probability of the previous search would be 47.5%.

    As to the economics of high value spot checking, I imagine the search cost per unit area could decrease with time, as set up costs of specialised equipment, expertise and deployment were defrayed.

    But the opportunity costs of searching other than in a quiet commercial tasking period might constrain continuous search length.

    In which case opportunity duration might be key?

  63. Victor Iannello says:

    @David said: But the opportunity costs of searching other than in a quiet commercial tasking period might constrain continuous search length.


    At this point, I see zero interest from any party that has the resources to finance or conduct a search.

    Instead, I see advocacy from different parties that believe the next search should be conducted at a particular area along the 7th arc. With the data sets we have in hand, I think it is unlikely that any one of the parties will compel the convergence towards a consensus area to search. Most (but not all) of the parties have been quite transparent in providing analysis to support their preferred area.

    I think the satellite detections have the potential to compel at least partial convergence among various parties. Unfortunately, that hinges upon positively associating the detections with debris from MH370 with some reasonable degree of certainty. At this point, that remains elusive, and that situation might not change.

  64. David says:

    @Victor. As to motivation, the incentive to find the wreckage to improve aircraft safely has diminished with increased likelihood that there are no airworthiness implications.

    Finding it might bring closure to some of the next-of-kin while re-opening old wounds for others and there is the risk for all that a new search will again fail.

    There is no FBI interest evident in finding it, to further whatever it has in-waiting.

    Motives that remain are just challenge, curiosity and potential achievement, yet these have been enough, given time, to find a variety of lost wrecks. The Amelia Earhart mystery attracts interest still.

  65. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    To take a less conventional approach to determining a search area, might you start with the largest area needed for “guaranteed” success and then eliminate the lower probability areas.

    To that end where would you sink your fence pegs in order to define an area that would yield a 99.9 percent chance of covering the underwater debris field? In terms of ±x nm either side of the 7th arc bounded by y°S and z°S, what are your values for x, y and z?

  66. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: There is no “guaranteed success” until we better understand detection probabilities. We have the luxury of time since there is no new search on the horizon. I would recommend spending time on reviewing the existing data and developing and testing methods to improve detection probabilities, if that is possible.

  67. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    “the incentive to find the wreckage to improve aircraft safely has diminished with increased likelihood that there are no airworthiness implications.”

    I know that airworthiness is not the remit of ICAO, but it doesn’t help that the person in charge of ICAO these last few years appears to have not done a good job.

  68. David says:

    @Mick Gilbert. I do not think that there can be a 99.9% success probability construct for any underwater search or anything close. I expand on some of the issues in the attached, FWIW.

    To come up with a datum of a lesser maximum success probability that could be attained with confidence would, I think, require all possibilities that it was not in that area to be listed and quantified. Thence plotting a lowering success probability against reducing area would entail gradually shedding possibilities. Yet that might be achieved in multiple ways, leading to a great complexity, with each possibility being assessed and some being interdependent.

    In short I do not see a sensible way that can be done, though I am not well versed in statistics.

    Just for one example, what would be the effect of discounting the possibility that there was a pilot?

    That would reduce the search area by possibly shortening the glide distance, though there is no certainty as to how far the aircraft could have glided unmanned or what would be the probability variation from change of piloted search width (eg from glide course). Also though it would reduce the probability there would be course or altitude changes or a ditching; but again with what probability and with what effect elsewhere?

    Then there is the well-known possible effect on fuel consumption (after a/c deselection).

    So there would be an array of answers.

  69. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Okey doke, let’s lower the bar and simplify this a bit then. Hands up if you think that there is a better than 95 percent probability that the underwater debris field lies somewhere within a area described by 250 nautical miles either side of the 7th arc between latitudes 8°30’S – 43°S.

  70. David says:

    @CanisMagnusRufus. Thanks. Maybe the US will raise that with the UN.

  71. David says:

    @Mick Gilbert. Yes.

    To jump to the end game, I would allow 5% for the most way-out theories and unknown unknowns, lopping that off any further search prospect at the outset.

    Some of UGIB A1, the most prospective unpiloted area, which also covered short-glide piloted, has been searched, leaving the remaining 20% of that as the highest priority per unit area.
    (In passing, the UGIB hardest-to-search area was within the ATSB’s search and was searched subsequently by OI. Assuming that was thorough a research of that should await any research of A1.)

    An unsuccessful search of the rest of A1 lifts the likelihood that the wreckage is in the piloted long glide area. That is more likely to extend to less than maximum glide distance from the arc, that entailing his flying square to it by chance and not choosing to continue on the powered course.

    I would think it extremely unlikely that from very high altitude and an accelerated speed at imminent fuel exhaustion that his glide would exceed 150 air miles.

    As to arc length, 30 to 42 deg, that including the glide, the whole to be adjusted for wind integrated with descent time, the arc being that for a 45,000 ft glide start.

    The highest priority after the 20% unsearched UGIB area, would be its A2 area to 100 air nm width followed by that along the rest of that arc section to 100 air nm, extending from that searched, both sides.

    The Java anomaly and Cocos Island vicinity have weak evidence, there being no explanation of how the aircraft was connected to the noise registered at Java, no sign of survivors or any emergency communication if it ditched. Still, a point search there would be warranted as convenient on the way to or from the main site, the larger Cocos area to follow last were there time.

    But back to the main area, some Bayesian sums could be done on whether concluding the long glide search to 150 air nm or to research the already searched areas though I suspect that the former would be the better prospect.

    On that, it may be that there would be little interest at that stage in a re-search of the areas searched. It seems quite possible that the low prospects there have deterred Ocean Infinity.

    That is understandable. As I mentioned previously, using @DennisW’s being-there and find probabilities of 0.6, and 0.8 (the latter was deliberately conservative) the post-search probability of it being in the searched area was 16%, with that of the unsearched 20% rising to 19%, the total 35%.

    That 16% is unattractive. However were the ATSB’s (and quite likely OI’s) find probability of 0.95 used in place of his 0.8, then that 16% drops to 4.4%, the unsearched rising to 22%, total now 26%.

    If in a new search the search of the unsearched 20% then fails, the post search probability of the total A1 area drops to 5.6% plus 1.4%, 7% , so unattractive for a search at that point, though a failed search of the 100 air nm glide area would lift that (how much could be estimated now).

    Once either, both or neither 100 to 150 nm or re-search are concluded a search of Cocos (and Java if not done already) could be considered.

    If they and the main area’s search and re-search are concluded I estimate that would amount to the 95% it-being-there probability. Without Java and Cocos perhaps that would be 92% by my guess.

    However the search from 100 nm to 150 nm for the glide, all re-searching and Cocos could be foregone on the basis that offering a low probability per area searched.

  72. ventus45 says:

    How about tackling the problem backwards.
    Perhaps it is “hidden in plain sight” so to speak, but wider than what has thus far been searched.
    1. Convince the people doing the basic Bathymetric Mapping of the worlds oceans (international project) to do our widest possible areas as a matter of priority first. That way, we get the information for free, without it being “a MH370 search”.
    2. Then, armed with that new Bathymetry, select the “easy” to search areas (benign seafloor, no mountains / canyons etc) and convince someone to search those “easy” areas first, with whatever level of technology will give a confidence of 95% or better.
    If it is found in an easy area, all well and good, but if not, by having eliminated those easy areas with confidence, we will have raised the probability of it being in the new difficult areas, or missed in the previously searched areas.
    (donning tin hat)

  73. TBill says:

    I wish you had said +- 300 nm or 350 nm.
    If MH370 hit Arc7 at 38S, there is only glide of say 125 nm to consider.
    If MH370 hit Arc7 at 30S, now the fuel models suggest more fuel more may be available. So you need to draw the error bands based on fuel model. In other words, I am not so sure Arc7 is fuel exhaustion.

  74. Victor Iannello says:

    It’s fascinating to watch FR24 track the international flights in and out of Kabul Airport and also the helicopter flights between the US Embassy and the airport.

    Let’s all hope this rapid transition to Taliban rule occurs without injury and death.

  75. TBill says:

    @Victor @DrB @Andrew
    I was giving some further thought to the unknown of MH370 fuel density, and maybe it’s a wash. Higher density gives more power, but less gallon of fuel.

    I did read some guidance from Chevron who mentions that is a complex question, but in general higher density is better even in commercial airliners when the tank is not full. But perhaps it is not a big effect.

  76. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: The energy per unit mass is relatively constant. That’s why kg and lb are much better measures of range.

  77. Victor Iannello says:

    All FR24 activity around Kabul has ceased, and there are reports that the airport is under fire. Prayers for all those that are trying to evacuate.

  78. Victor Iannello says:

    If @DefenceGeek on Twitter is accurate, the air operation into and out of Kabul is massive. (I’ve seen several of these flights on FR24.)

  79. Don Thompson says:


    Political/diplomatic issues evident – Indian AF C-17s routing south around Pakistan, then north over Iran to reach Kabul. KC-135R operating as SHELL26 flying orbits at typical refuelling altitude, there’s a lot that is not visible!

    I’m surprised that some civil flights continue to overfly Afghanistan while some appear to be routing around. At this time, two UAL flights to Newark are about to cross into Afghanistan.

  80. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: Yes, a lot of the military traffic is blocked, but some is not.

    As for civilian flights, there is an FAA NOTAM restricting flights in the Kabul FIR only below FL260.

    So far, the media has been quiet about the extent of the airlift operation, possibly because they are unaware, possibly because they’ve been asked. As far as I can tell, the information from @DefenceGeek and @vcdgf555 is accurate.

  81. Mick Gilbert says:


    Okey doke, thanks David. So how much do you think you would pare back the probably from 95 percent (or 92 percent, ex-Java/Cocos) by bringing the the search width back to ±100 nm?

    Thanks Bill. So what do you think caused the re-log on and the recorded high rate of descent if not fuel exhaustion?

  82. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: All commercial traffic over Afghanistan has been re-routed. The Kabul FIR is under the control of the military, and no ATC services will be provided to commercial traffic.

  83. TBill says:

    It could still be active pilot managing the end of flight including power settings and APU, either accidental or on purpose causing SATCOM reboot.

  84. David says:

    @Mick Gilbert. To add to my previous, a precaution before a new search would be for the searcher to check that the calibration process for the search equipment was previously, and will be, satisfactory.

    One other feature that I have looked into quantitatively but overlooked in my earlier posts, is drift of the sinking wreckage with current, particularly the slow settling wreckage. Apart from lateral displacement of all, there is the effect on bottom spread.

    Also, @ventus45 raises the issue of bathymetric survey, which might be an added cost if his proposal were not realised, to extend search width.

    Now about your question, in brief, the probability of it being in the outer glide area before there was any search, by my estimation, which included assumptions, was 5.33%.

    However it is not that simple. For example, after unsuccessful search of all of A1 and the inner glide area, then the probability of the wreckage being in that outer area would be 30%. That is expounded below.

    For an analogy, applying the’100%-it-is-somewhere’ principle to the Bayesian equations leads to something like the figurative punching of a pillow. As a search is conducted, the pillow is dented but figuratively there is still the same total volume, the rest expanding.
    After an infinite series of unsuccessful searches of prospective areas, that unprospective 5% we have talked about would have swelled to 100% probability.

    Now getting into that, what is needed as a first step is a break up the original being-there probability of 40% ‘elsewhere’, ie outside the as-yet unsearched A1 area, that consists now of the Java plus Cocos area’s 3%, the way-out and unknown unknowns at 5% while the remaining 32% is the aggregate of the half-width extension to 100 miles and that from 100 to 150 miles.

    I divide that 32% into two by supposing (for this example) that the inner 100 miles part is currently searched to an average of 30 miles so is 70 miles wide, the outer part being 50. I suppose also that the probability tapers off linearly with width to zero at 150 miles.

    The result is a five to 1 ratio between the two. Thus I allocate 5/6ths of that 32% to the inner, 1/6th to the outer, i.e. 26.67% and 5.33% respectively.

    For simplicity in this exercise I do not separate out the A2 glide area.

    In summary then the probabilities outside the A1 area before there is any search would be, Java and Cocos (‘JCI’) 3%, the way-out and unknown unknowns (‘U’) 5%, A1 60%, the inner glide (‘IG’)area its 26.67% and the outer (‘OG’) its 5.33%.

    Post the A1 search, the 80% already done, but now adding an also-unsuccessful search of the 20%, those change to A1 7%, as posted previously, then JCI 7%; U 11.6%; IG 62%; OG 12.4%.

    Note that choice of the inner glide as next to search is obvious

    Not quite so the next, after an unsuccessful search of that IG the probabilities then become; IG 7.5%; OG 30%; A1 17%; JCI 17%; U 28.3%.

    This is the 30% I mentioned earlier that the glide area from 100 to 150 miles rises to in this example.

    The next candidate indicated is the outer glide as you can see After an unsuccessful search of that the results are; OG 2.1%; IG 10.6%; A1 23.8%; JCI 23.8%; U 39.7%.

    The above searches all suppose a find probability of 0.95, as gone into previously and all meet my simple 100% it-is-somewhere test, though being calculated individually.

    As I can now see, having these data before me, my previous post’s last two paragraphs, being before the glide search calculations, drew a wrong conclusion. There can be no elimination of the possibility that the wreckage is in a searchable area until there is 100% chance that it is in the unsearchable area, whence the search would have met the 95% probability in mind. Again, that would require the pillow’s infinity of searches.

    As you can see the next candidate after the glide areas are searched is, only then, a re-search of the A1 area – or to do the Java/Cocos island areas. The latter’s probability has risen to 23.8% from 5% and now the prospect equals an A1 re-search prospect.

    So thank you for your question.

    In conclusion, this type of calculation, easy to do, can be a useful discipline and it does provide insights.

  85. Don Thompson says:


    Traffic over recent days: C-2A Greyhound making trips between the USS Ronald Reagan, UAE’s Al Minhad AB, and the naval support base at Manasas, Bahrain. Carrier spotting via ADS-B!

  86. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    The Malaysian PM has resigned. Top contenders for replacing him include the current Foreign Minister

  87. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: A C17 registered as A7-MAP, owned by Qatar, and operating under flight LHOB247, left Doha, Qatar, and recently landed in Kabul carrying Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, who some say will become the new president.

  88. airlandseaman says:

    The top contenders to be prime minister include Muhyiddin’s deputy Ismail Sabri Yaakob, veteran lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and former foreign minister Hishammuddin Hussein, all from UMNO.

  89. Victor Iannello says:

    @airlandseaman: So Malaysians might get more of H2O? I wonder if his association with MH370 will damage his chances to become PM.

  90. airlandseaman says:

    Victor: Yes. That is what they are reporting. Not a good choice for MY.

  91. Andrew says:


    According to some Malaysian media outlets, Ismail Sabri (current Deputy PM) has been endorsed by the major parties as the next PM. The King is expected to announce the appointment on Friday.

  92. Mick Gilbert says:


    Thank you for your typically considered and detailed response. With regards to the calibration of equipment, I would think that it would be reasonable to expect that was the case given the organisations involved.

    Interesting to note how re-searching has slipped down the ladder.

  93. TBill says:

    Anwar Ibrahim’s hopes fading, they say.

  94. Victor Iannello says:

    Relative to MH370, I really don’t think it matters who becomes PM of Malaysia. As far as I can tell, there is not a country in the world where there is political will to re-start a search. Nor has any private company with the requisite resources and expertise expressed a desire to re-start the search. That might change if a small area was defined that had a high chance of success. With the evidence we currently have in hand, that also seems unlikely.

    I still maintain that the best path forward is to review the existing sonar data, assess its quality, and determine if there is a reasonable chance that the debris field was missed due to incorrect classification or due to low quality or missing data. If that does not occur, it becomes difficult to make new search recommendations.

  95. TBill says:

    One question would be the status of university studies on flight path reportedly initiated by Australia a few years ago.

  96. 370Location says:

    @Victor @David and @All,

    It seems that the Java Anomaly search area is so small and just far enough from the main search focus that it keeps falling into the blind spot of our perspective. It gets briefly recognized as “high value for unit area”, but then somehow ranked by @David at 3% likelihood relative to broadening areas already searched. That pushes it back into the blind spot. Now @Victor’s conclusion that a small area must have a high chance of success before anyone with the resources would bother to look, and so declines to even recommend it. Back into the blind spot.

    The search area is small enough that a single pass of a tow fish, or deployment of an AUV with sidescan sonar could rule it out. That might be part of a military training exercise either by Indonesia, or anyone with permission to search in their coastal zone. Multibeam bathymetry could be done by any capable ship transiting the area. A private operation like Ocean Infinity could completely scan a wider area around the estimated epicenter in less than a day, vs the significant resources required to broaden the searched 7th Arc.

    So, why not recommend multiple pinpointed searches for candidates with sufficient accuracy? Wouldn’t that restarting point build interest and support for resuming a broader search if nothing shows up?

    I have provided ample consistent evidence for the Java Anomaly site. It doesn’t seem to be enough to escape the blind spot, so I continue to dig deeper with the data that I can get hold of. If there were a recommendation to search the Java site, it might release restricted infrasound and hydrophone data. There were two coastal radar installations on Christmas Island watching for refugee boats that could be examined. The Cocos infrasound validation alone could narrow the overall 7th Arc search area, as recently proposed by Michel Delarche in his five part review:

    It’s gratifying to see any review of my acoustic analysis in the media, and utilization of the Coco Island flyby. I do think the author also has a blind spot for the Java event. He is focused on optimizing BFO, and forgets that the loud noise event is the basis for heading toward Java.

  97. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: I’ve seen some of the results of the university studies that you are referring to. To be kind, the conclusions were less than compelling.

    @370Location: I don’t think there is a high probability that your Java anomaly is associated with MH370. However, I don’t dismiss that possibility. If I were to recommend a search plan, your hotspot would be part of it, as would other areas.

  98. David says:

    @Mick Gilbert. My thanks for your interest.

    By calibration I meant check how much the equipment could be relied upon to detect the wreckage.

    IMO that would include testing using realistic targets on a realistic bottom at a realistic depth, not sheet mild steel on a hard flat plain shallow bottom, much of the steel flat and perpendicular.
    It did not include scrap composites and alloy structures, wrecked engines or undercarriage representatives.

    Certainly wrecks, drums and wires were detected during the searches and there were informal tests at depth but I for one would like to see that ingredient of the supposed around-95% probability of detection if there, verified, before continuing. Still, more cost and effort.

    As to where that hypothetical multiple search should end logically, assuming it has got as far as I have projected, were there subsequently an unsuccessful search of Java/Cocos Island and likewise a re-search of A1, the residue of way-out possibilities and the unknown unknowns (‘U’ earlier) would now amount to 72.5%, the highest probability offering being 19.3%, for a re-search of the inner glide area.

    At this point the likelihood of the wreckage being in unknown places is almost 3 times that of being in the searchable areas. That might be a reasonable point at which to draw stumps on further searching.

    Drawing such a conclusion of where to do that in advance would allow calculation of the maximum search area contemplated.

    @Victor. Given that funds and time for a new search most likely will be limited, return for the dollar/hour would entail deciding what hot spots there are, how separated and whether to search just those. As I understand it there would be just the those of A1 and Java, though obviously for any such brief search there would need to be reasonable grounds for believing the wreckage was in those.

    Earlier I attempted to simulate a searched hot spot by allocating first 1/10th of the A1 area to that hot spot, then 1/20th. In doing so I assumed that the probability the wreckage would be found in that area if there was just 20%, vice other areas’ 95%. Also in that for the reason I stated I allocated a 90% probability of it being in the A1 area pre-search, in place of @DennisW’s 60%.

    Using my method 1, search of the 9/10ths part of the 80% area searched, unsuccessfully, resulted in the probability that it was in 1/10th rising from 7.2% to 18.7%. Post search of the 1/10th at a 20% find probability, the probability that it was there, undiscovered, dropped to 15.6%, from that prior 18.7%. That is not much of a drop: the residual 15.6% is much higher than the rest of that 80% area, which dropped from 64.8% to 8.8%, the total for a new search of all of A1 being 73%, whereas without separating out that difficult to search area it was 68%.

    Reducing the hot spot area by half, 1/20th, it becomes 70.8%.

    Bear in mind please that the outcome of these figures illustrating the quite minor effect of reducing the likelihood of finding the wreckage in the A1 hot spots to 20%, might be less still if their area is even less than a 1/20th.
    Also, in case of confusion from this plethora of probabilities please bear in mind that the search sequence gone through most recently is based on DennisW’s 60%.

    Now returning to the hot spot’s probability being treated as the same per unit area as elsewhere in A1, let’s assume that all of the probability that it was in that 80% A1 searched area, i.e. 0.6*0.8 = 0.48, was taken to emanate just from the hot spot areas, 40% remaining outside A1 still. The effect of the search of that 80% of A1, containing those hot spots, the probability of finding being reduced from 95% to say my 20%, is that its subsequent probability would be 42.5%, the 20% unsearched now 13.3%, the total being-there probability now offering being 55.8% therefore.

    Also, based on the assumption that it was in that area and was 1/20th of it, the total A1 area to be searched initially would drop to 80%/20 plus 20%, or 24%, that is by about three-quarters.

    Thus with high confidence that hot spots were in, and limited to, identified small areas, the best approach obviously would be to search those first, the unsearched 20% second and quite possibly the 80% next. The downside cost would be realised only if the need for a re-search of A1 did not arise.
    I could do another example starting from completion of the 20% should that be of interest.

    @370Location. My intuitive 3% estimate was after having looked into the Java likelihood with you and separately into that of Cocos. IMO lifting that further up the list would be on the basis that as you say it is a low effort search and in an unsearched area. The Bayes outcomes do need to be complemented by a look into their probability density, supposing that any search will be time and cost constrained.

    Even so, despite being at 3% initially, using the Bayesian formulae, Java with Cocos did get a guernsey as the probability that the wreckage was in other searchable areas decreased.

    Somewhat counter intuitively, separating it from Cocos within that initial 3% would lead to its search prospects being lower.

    About the deLanche papers, I have yet to read them but in case others have the same issue I accessed the in-French versions and translated them, being unable to access the already translated items.

  99. David says:

    @Victor. Correction please.
    In the above the first sentence of paragraph 6. of that addressed to you starts with, “Now returning…..”
    After its first comma that should have read, “…., let’s assume that all of the probability that it was in that 80% A1 searched area, i.e. 0.6*0.8 = 0.48, was taken……..”

  100. Victor Iannello says:

    @David: Corrected.

  101. David says:

    @Victor. Thanks.

  102. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    ‘Sully’ Sullenberger nominated for the post of Ambassador to ICAO in Montreal.

    He is a well recognized, public figure. Wonder why the Biden administration chose him?
    Are they expecting issues to come out of ICAO, and want a sympathetic figure like him to deal with the media?
    Or is it just to garner favours from some coveted constituency?

  103. Victor Iannello says:

    There is an interesting site that collects and presents recent and live Inmarsat ACARS and ADSC messages, among other things.

    To search for messages from a known flight or plane, use this engine. For instance, after using FR24 to identify flights operating in Afghanistan, you can use the search engine to identify messages to and from the planes.

  104. Don Thompson says:


    Thank you, interesting exchanges there. TIL about Ravens!

  105. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: I agree. I was not aware of the extent of the security measures taken for flights with passengers. I assume that messages with references to Ravens (which can be identified by searching with the keyword “Ravens”) refer to the elite Phoenix Raven program.

  106. Don Thompson says:

    The resources going into the Kabul airlift are astonishing.

    I followed one USAF C-17, 06-0615, over the past few days. It set out from Nellis AFB (20210826T0040Z) on a first leg to Joint Base Charleston (arr 20210826T00440Z, dep 20210826T0905Z), second leg to Ramstein AFB, Germany (arr 20210826T1755Z, dep 20210826T2140Z), third leg to Al-Udeid AB, Qatar. Then departed Al-Udeid for Kabul, crossing the PK-Gulf of Oman coast 20210827T1100Z, returning over that coast at 20210827T11820Z bound for Al-Udeid. This morning it departed Al-Udeid (20210828T0640Z) bound for Sigonella, Sicily.

    Late Friday evening, stresses appeared to surface during C-17 99-0062’s ex-Kabul leg while the crew were enroute, heading toward Kuwait/Al Salem AB. Their flight plan appeared to confirm destination as Al-Udeid. The crew received four separate instructions to turn around and proceed to Al-Udeid before doing so.

  107. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: I wonder what was going on with that C17.

    In any event, the airlift should be wrapping up.

  108. Don Thompson says:

    @Victor Iannello,

    Wrapped up now. Last C-17s departed OAKB just prior to 1930UTC. A train of KC-135Rs heading south towards the Gulf of Oman now, 2030UTC, no doubt ‘hauling’ a flight of fast jets back to Al-Udeid/other regional airbases.

  109. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: Thanks for the update.

  110. Victor Iannello says:

    Question for the group: Is anybody aware of any ongoing research or investigations that might lead to better estimates of the POI? With the lack of new evidence, I see Twitter, FB Groups, and Reddit overrun with meaningless chatter. Bobby continues to quietly refine his drift analysis, and we are trying to obtain better satellite imagery. Is there anything else of any substance?

  111. POI says:

    From my point of view there’s still nothing else of any substance other then the previous (and recent) views of your Independent Group failed to help finding the plane when the opportunity was still there.
    Your persistent confirmation-bias the plane must have dived (uncontrolled) close to the arc contributed a lot to the efforts and the failing of the final search from OI.

    Your persistent refusal to advice them to search at least ~20 miles wider each side between ~32 and ~35S beyond the already searcehd areas has contributed to this failure a lot I’m sure.

    Your ‘Group’ advised them to go north till 25S instead. Which was totally useless and contradicted all your previous calculations and views. Driven by guys like ‘Richard Godfrey’ and Mike Exner you got caught in a whirlwind of confirmation-bias that contributed to the failure of finding MH370 big time.

    The plane is resting on the bottom of the ocean not that far beyond the searched area between ~32S and ~34S east of the 7th arc. All calculations predict this area.

    The best you supplied is mainly very detailed negative evidence brought as positive evidence. Which is very usefull if you are able to look at it this way.
    All your efforts/evindence prove the plane is not where you expected it to be. This should be a wake-up call to serious people/scientists.

    But regarding the past years I don’t expect one of you is brave enough to face their failures or let alone change their views.

  112. Don Thompson says:

    @Victor Iannello

    I now have the GFW fishing vessel data to hand for the period around acquistion of the SAR and Pléaides acquisitions. Will sift, plot & report on that presently.

  113. TBill says:

    Some words.
    I thank the IG for prodigious technical contributions to our understanding MH370. I have two special MH370 mentors or heroes, and Blaine is one, and you Victor are the other. Blaine for finding NO STEP, which inspired me to start to get involved. But it was your MH370 technical philosophy and papers that I latched onto as the closest thing to my own personal inclination. I now have “grown” to the point I have my own philosophy, which is a lonely place.

    For the last several years my analyses (though admittedly not as rigorous as IG’s) make me feel that MH370’s Arc7 crossing point may be closer to 31-32s. But obviously I could be wrong. That is the nature of MH370.

    Thank you for your work.

  114. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: That’s great work, Don. It’s surprising that this comparison wasn’t performed previously.

    @TBill: Thank you for the kind words.

    @POI: You sound a like lot somebody else that used to continuously promote searching in that area. As far as our advising to only search close to the 7th arc, that is incorrect, as you can easily see by recent search recommendations.

  115. TBill says:

    Ge Rijn certainly had a strident BR hypothesis but I do not recall if had a hunch basis. You know my approach is more flight sims and BTO/BFO analysis. As far as my thinking, I started with your NZPG path, moved over to 180s True path to get a better BFO match, and feeling that was not the best match either, thought it may be either 38s or over to 31-32s w/ various paths but 180s Mag. Tried 38s on for size, but never grew to like the 38s option.

  116. ventus45 says:

    I have been silent for some time, just monitoring.

    What I see now, is that the level of solidarity of purpose and methodology, that has been the collective strength of this group from the beginning, is showing the obvious first signs of real strain, with growing evidence of rising frustration in many, and possibly even a sense of despair in a few. But worse, I worry that once people start playing “the blame game”, that any sense of common purpose will evaporate quickly.

    None of us want that – so stop it – immediately.

    Dennis is no longer with us, but he is probably watching from on-high, and I am sure, that if he is, he would be grossly displeased.

  117. TBill says:

    Some perspective, I think we all had great excitement and some consensus for 2018 OI search, which accomplished so much (despite the negative result). Having now accomplished searching close to Arc7 from approx 25-39 South, there is naturally going to be less consensus moving forward, especially if we cannot continue to have OI searching to rule in-or-out new ideas.

  118. TBill says:

    I just noticed your comment above. Not sure how I missed it.

    I had mis-interpreted Victor’s comment above, I took Victor’s comment personally as a criticism of my personal PoI. Now I see I was wrong and that Victor was responding to you.

    Although I probably totally agree with your current assessment of the need to search much wider from Arc7, at the time of the 2018 OI search, we had a major theory that the Captain’s simulator data pointed to an NZPG waypoint. The NZPG waypoint theory points to an Arc7 crossing something like 26-29 South depending on how one does the calcs. Therefore I was (at the time) in complete support of IG and OI searching up to 25 South, even though I personally have a very strong BR hypothesis, to be honest.

    However, I think we now know, thanks to ATSB, that Malaysia was redacting the simulator data. Thanks to Mick Gilbert’s pursuit of further ATSB guidance, we now know that the NZPG waypoint theory is not supported by simulator data (as we now understand it). I personally believe, and I have a new 2021 paper, that the sim studies may represent a 180 South CMT magnetic flight path.

    DrB in 2018 showed a number of such “magnetic” paths to 31.5 POI area. Before that, @Nederland also showed some ~31 deg South path versions that seem promising.

    However, it all boils down to Malaysia is hiding the simulator and other data that could have substantially changed the overall crash location interpretation. I my view, IG/Victor’s 2016 interpretation of the simulator was superior and extraordinarily on target. However, Victor had “one hand tied behind his back” because the complete sim data was being hidden from him and the world.

    I feel the sim data would probably have been explosive, had we gotten the data before OI’s 2018 search. As it happens, Malaysia successfully hid the “complete” simulator data long enough for the world to lose interest move on.

  119. TBill says:

    Edits above:
    (1) I actually like CMH or CTH path, but the point is a path to 31-32s region
    (2) “In” my view

  120. ventus45 says:

    You said: (my highlights) “I feel the sim data would probably have been explosive, had we gotten the data before OI’s 2018 search. As it happens, Malaysia successfully hid the “complete” simulator data long enough for the world to lose interest move on.”

    By “explosive”, are you suggesting (perhaps even obliquely) that the Malaysians “deliberately” released only some elements of the “complete” simulator data, and “deliberately” hid certain other elements of the simulator data, “specifically to ensure”, that any search area that was deduced based on that incomplete data, would certainly be wrong, and thus, any search actually conducted in that area, would certainly fail ?

  121. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill, @ventus45: My guess is that the Malaysians did not redact the simulator data. I suspect that the Malaysian investigators and the FBI independently analyzed the data, and the amount of data that was successfully extracted was not exactly the same, although there were significant file sections that were found by both groups.

  122. George Tilton says:


    Are you making the point?: “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.” (Napoleon Bonaparte)

    My experience (from 30 years working in three-letter agencies) is incompetence wins every time…

  123. TBill says:

    Interesting interpretation not sure, is why I hedged a little bit above. So the question for ATSB is, how long have they had the so-called “complete” data.

    I am suggesting Malaysia hid the simulator data because to my eyes, the complete data we now know from ATSB is very incriminating. I have become more convinced last 12 months, it looks like an obvious MH150 diversion plan. I now speculate FBI saw that right away, as early as Week-2, and advised MY.

    When I say explosive, think back to Jeff Wise’s original article about the sim data in the New Yorker. If, at the time, he only knew the full extent of the data, it could have been a much more persuasive article. Not to mention, that article was already 2+ years after the accident. If we expect the public to understand MH370 without creating conspiracy theories, MY needed to say what the simulator showed relatively soon. An MH150 diversion plan could be a major national security crisis, so Malaysia might have needed a couple of months to “batten down the hatches” but the public needed to know in due course.

    Malaysia was simply trying to hide the sim data which may implicate the Captain, I assert. The partial, leaked sim data we finally got in 2016 implied NZPG waypoint, however, the more full understanding we now have from ATSB suggests NZPG might not have been the strategy (no flight path in the sim data).

    The other indication NZPG is not correct, is that passive flight path to NZPG does not match BFOs (eg; Arc5) very well. That’s another hint. But in those days we were not sure how much scatter could be in the BFO data.

  124. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: The first mention of the simulator data potentially representing flight MH150 was in this comment of mine from April 2017. When the ATSB’s final report was published in October 2017, there was a reference to MH150. I don’t know if the ATSB and the FBI had independently observed the potential significance of MH150, or whether it was after reading my comment that this link was studied.

  125. TBill says:

    Agreed I heard it from you first.
    In hindsight, I am just saying I’d be shocked if FBI did not realize the sim data was a diversion plan…not sure if they grasped MH150 but I would think so.

  126. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: It’s hard to know what conclusions the FBI reached, and what additional information they may have had.

  127. TBill says:

    Bumped into an apparent 5_Jan_2017 reference of Jeddah by you from Reddit.

    Your post above clarifies that ZS flew 3-Feb to Denpasar and 4-Feb to Jeddah.

  128. Victor Iannello says:

    Here is my entire comment on Reddit on Jan 5, 2017. I don’t believe the questions posed at the end of the comment were ever answered.


    There are some interesting items to note relative to the simulator data and Zaharie Shah’s schedule. All times are local to Malaysia.

    1. The flight path and take-off fuel load extracted from the simulator data is consistent with a diverted flight between Kuala Lumpur and Jeddah, where the diversion occurs at the FIR boundary between Malaysia and Indonesia.

    2. Zaharie did not work on Feb 1 and Feb 2, 2014.

    3. On Feb 3, 2014, his start of duty was 7:50 for a 9:05 scheduled departure for Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, on MH715. He scheduled arrival back in Kuala Lumpur on MH714 was 16:06 on the same day with an end of duty of 16:51.

    4. The Shadow Volume containing the recovered simulator data was dated Feb 3, 2014.

    5. On Feb 4, 2014, his start of duty was 14:00 for a 15:14 scheduled departure for Jeddah on MH150. His scheduled arrival back in Kuala Lumpur on MH151 was 11:12 on Feb 6, 2014, with an end of duty of 11:57.

    6. On Feb 20, 2014, Flight Simulator 2004 (FS9) was uninstalled from the MK25 drive of his simulator.

    7. On Feb 21, 2014, he piloted MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. His scheduled arrival back in Kuala Lumpur was 15:31 on Feb 22, 2014, with end of duty of 16:16 on Feb 22, 2014.

    8. On Feb 26, 2014, he piloted MH149 from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne, Australia. He arrived back in Kuala Lumpur on MH148 on Feb 28, 2014. Media reports say that Zaharie met with his daughter in Melbourne just before the disappearance of MH370 on March 8, 2014.

    9. On March 7, 2014, Zaharie started his duty at 23:20 for MH370 with a scheduled departure time of 00:27 on March 8, 2014.

    Some questions:

    1. Why didn’t Zaharie divert Jeddah flight MH170 [MH150] on Feb 4, 2014?

    2. Why didn’t Zaharie divert Beijing flight MH370 on Feb 21, 2014?

    3. Did Zaharie visit with his daughter during his time in Melbourne on Feb 27, 2014?

  129. TBill says:

    That was a very good post by you. Your post reminds me that we were thinking MH370 might have been the actual target flight due to the timing after the flight to Melbourne. However, forgetting that prior line of thought, I tend to feel now that FBI would have had to assume that MH150 was probably flight simmed for the obvious reason (actual intent).

  130. TBill says:

    …also reminds me, back then, I was focused on the moonless night of 8-March as the reason MH370 was chosen

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