WSPR Can’t Find MH370

Screenshot from WSPR software as developed by Joe Taylor (K1JT)

“I do not believe that historical data from the WSPR network can provide any information useful for aircraft tracking.”

Prof. Joe Taylor (K1JT), Nobel Prize in Physics, Inventor of WSPR

Despite many stories in the media repeating claims that historical WSPR data can be used to track MH370, there are many reasons why these claims are patently false. There is broad agreement among acknowledgeable researchers that have investigated these claims, and a handful of these researchers have documented their concerns. For instance, amateur radio enthusiast Hayden Haywood (VK7HH) has created a video explaining why, in simple terms, WSPR can’t track airplanes. MH370 investigator Steve Kent published a paper that formally treats skywave propagation and scatter off airplanes, and concludes there is insufficient signal strength (by many orders of magnitude) for WSPR to detect aircraft over long distances. In fact, even WSPR creator Joe Taylor (K1JT), who won a Nobel prize in physics for his research on pulsars and gravity, told fellow MH370 Independent Group (IG) member Mike Exner, “I do not believe that historical data from the WSPR network can provide any information useful for aircraft tracking.”

WSPR Background

WSPR (pronounced “whisper”) is an acronym for “Weak Signal Propagation Reporter”. Amateur radio stations implementing WSPR send and receive messages using low-power transmissions to test propagation paths on the Low Frequency (LF), Medium Frequency (MF), High Frequency (HF), and Very High Frequency (VHF) amateur radio bands. When a participating station successfully decodes the transmission transmitted by another participating station, it sends that information to a central database, and that information is available to the public for retrieval. For each 110-second contact between stations (“spots”), the available information includes station call signs, locations, transmitted power, and three parameters discriminated by the receiver: signal-to-noise ratio (S/N), frequency, and frequency drift. The proposed theory is that recorded deviations (“anomalies”) in the (S/N) and the frequency shifts/drifts are related to radio wave interactions with aircraft some thousands of kilometers distant from either amateur radio station.

The theory behind using bi-static radar (i.e., transmitter and receiver in different locations) for aircraft detection and tracking is well-known, and books (e.g., this) have been written on this subject. A special case is when an aircraft crosses the “baseline” between transmitter and receiver, resulting in a “forward scattered” signal caused by the diffraction around the silhouette (projected area) of the aircraft. The Forward Scatter Radar Cross Section (FSRCS) is typically much larger than the RCS that conventional mono-static radar uses to detect targets. It is this forward scattered signal that is of interest here in evaluating whether WSPR signals can be used to reconstruct the path of MH370.

In this article we apply the well-developed theory of bi-static radar to demonstrate that WSPR signals cannot be used to detect MH370 in the manner claimed in this paper. The relevant equations are presented in the Appendix, and the inputs and the calculational results for the test cases can be found in the accompanying table in the Appendix.

Detection of MH370 Before Radar Coverage Was Lost

We consider the claim that the WSPR data shows that MH370 was detected on the night of the disappearance at 17:16 UTC when it was still under radar coverage as it flew over the Gulf of Thailand towards waypoint IGARI, before the turnback, at FL350 (37,200 ft). At that time, a WSPR transmission from a station in Switzerland (HB9CZF) was received by an Australian station near Canberra (VK1CH) over a distance of 16,527 km on 14.097 MHz at a transmitted power of 1 W. The distance from the Swiss transmitter to the aircraft was 9,868 km and the distance from the aircraft to the receiver was 6,660 km, as depicted in this figure from the paper:

Although WSPR contacts greater than 16,000 km are rare, this spot shows they can indeed occur. Based on the distance between the stations, the transmission from Switzerland reached the Australian station via skywave propagation in which the radio waves were refracted off the ionosphere and reflected off the Earth’s surface (“hops”) about 5 times.

WSPR Signals Forward Scattered from an Aircraft Would be Undetectable at Long Distances

The column labeled “Case 1” from table in the Appendix shows the inputs and the calculational results for this scenario. Assuming that the propagation loss is the same as for free-space propagation, the expected strength of the direct signal at the receiver is -110 dBm, which is about the same value claimed in the paper when considering hops between the ionosphere and the Earth’s surface. This suggests that the refraction and reflection losses were either calculated to be very small, or were neglected.

At 14.097 MHz, the wavelength is 21.3 m, and the FSRCS for the B777-200ER for waves directly incident to the top or bottom is estimated to be 18,791 m2, or about 23 times the projected area. The forward scattered signal at the receiver is estimated to be -210 dBm, or about 100 dB (10 orders of magnitude) weaker than the direct signal. Can a signal of this strength be detected and decoded by the WSPR software?

Whether the signal could be detected by the radio and decoded by the software depends on the achievable noise level, as a minimum signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of around -30 db is required by the WSPR software, where the noise level is referenced to a bandwidth of 2.5 kHz. I ran some simple experiments on my Flex 6400 amateur radio to measure the achievable noise level on the 20-meter band at my home in suburban Roanoke, Virginia. At 10:30 am on December 19, 2021, on a quiet part of the band, when connected to a horizontal resonant antenna, and after setting the bandwidth to 2.5 kHz, I measured a noise floor of -102 dBm. This largely consists of manmade and natural noise received at the antenna. To determine the sensitivity of the radio independent of the environmental noise, I disconnected the antenna and connected the radio to a resistive dummy load of 50 ohms. The noise level dropped to -105 dBm. By using the radio’s built-in pre-amplifier configured for its maximum gain of 32 dB, the noise level further dropped to -129 dBm. (Pre-amplification improves sensitivity but increases the distortion from strong signals, and so must be used judiciously.) Even though this noise level would be very difficult to achieve under real conditions, I used this noise level as the reference for calculating (S/N) values on 20 meters.

So, for the forward scattered signal strength of -210 dBm, the (S/N) would be (-210 – -129) = -81 dB. This is 51 dB weaker than WSPR requires (-30 dB), i.e., the forward scattered signal is 5 orders of magnitude too weak to be detected and decoded by WSPR! Considering the very favorable assumptions we made regarding propagation loss, incident angle, and noise floor, we can be quite confident that the WSPR signal originating in Switzerland at 17:16 UTC did not interact with MH370 in any way that was detectable in Australia, as was claimed.

WSPR Signals Forward Scattered by an Aircraft Would Be Masked by the Stronger Direct Signal

Assuming the skywave propagation loss was equal to the free-space propagation loss, the WSPR signals originating in Switzerland and forward scattered by MH370 over the Gulf of Thailand would be received in Australia with a strength of around -210 dBm. However, the direct radio waves that did not interact with the aircraft would be received with a strength of around -110 dBm. That means that the direct signal strength would be about (-110 – -210) = 100 db (10 orders of magnitude!) stronger than the scattered signal. Under these circumstances, the combined signal (direct plus forward scattered) would be absolutely indistinguishable from the direct signal, even if above the noise level (which it was not).

However, the equations presented in Appendix A predict that it IS possible for radio waves to forward scatter from an aircraft and be detected under the right conditions. For example, Joki et al. studied how broadcast TV transmissions at around 50 MHz may be passively used to detect, identify, and track airliners over a distance of hundreds of kilometers. Some of the factors that determine whether the aircraft could be detected include:

  • The projected area of the aircraft
  • Strength of the direct signal received, i.e., high power transmitters near the receiver increase the signal strength
  • The distance of the aircraft to the receiver, i.e., the proximity of the aircraft increases the strength of the forward scattered signal
  • The frequency of the transmission, higher frequencies increase the FSRCS and therefore the strength of the forward scattered signal
  • Frequency-based signal processing to separate the direct signal from the Doppler-shifted forward scattered signal

Recently, amateur radio operator Nils Schiffhauer (DK8OK) claims to have observed aircraft scatter by analyzing the signal from an AM broadcast of China Radio International (CRI), which operates on 17.530 MHz with a 250 kW carrier, and uses a beam antenna with a gain of 25 dBi towards Europe. Nils’ location is near Hannover Airport in Germany, some 7,600 km away from the CRI transmitter in Xianyang, China. The figure below depicts a “waterfall” plot showing aircraft scatter over a period of 3 hours. The Doppler-shifted signals from many aircraft are clearly visible in the lower sideband (LSB), some 5 to 20 Hz below the carrier frequency.

Waterfall plot of CRI broadcast on 17.530 MHz as received by Nils Shiffhauer DK8OK in Germany over a period of about 3 hours. Evidence of aircraft scatter can be clearly seen mostly in the lower side band (LSB).

After processing the data from a 1-hour measurement, Nils calculated that the carrier strength was -59.1 dBm, the average Doppler signal strength was -105.9 dBm, and the average noise level was -108 dBm.

I was curious if the forward scatter equations in Appendix A would produce calculational results consistent with Nils’ measurements. After using FlightRadar24 to observe flights passing near his residence, I estimated that planes landing on Hannover Airport’s Runway 27R would generally pass within a lateral distance of about 2 km and about 0.85 km (2800 ft) above his residence, which is a slant range of about 2.2 km . A good number of those airplanes were B737s, which I used to calculate the FSRCS. The inputs and the results from the calculations are shown in the column labeled “Case 2” from the table in Appendix.

We know the location, power, and antenna gain of the transmitter, and since we know the received strength of the carrier was -59 dBm, we can calculate the additional propagational loss of the skywave path due to refractions from the ionosphere and reflections from the Earth’s surface, which we estimate to be around -33 dB. The signal strength of the aircraft scatter is then calculated to be around -102 dBm, which is only 4 dB stronger than the measured value of -106 dBm. Considering that the value of FSRCS is assumed to be in the most favorable direction, the measured strength of the aircraft scatter is entirely consistent with the calculated value.

Nils concludes that since the signal from the aircraft scatter is 47 dB below the carrier, it would be impossible to look at the combined signal (which is all that is available in the WSPR database) and determine the contribution of the aircraft scatter. We strongly agree.

WSPR Signal Deviations are Not Related to Aircraft

Based on the extremely small signal generated by a hypothetical interaction with MH370 at 17:16 UTC, there can be little doubt that at that time, the WSPR database did not record a spot between Swiss and Australian stations consistent with forward scatter from the aircraft.

Yet it’s claimed that there was a detectable deviation in the recorded (S/N) values between the Swiss and Australian stations that is indicative of forward scatter from MH370. To evaluate this claim, Mike Exner and Bobby Ulich produced the following graph which shows the (S/N) for all WSPR contacts between the Swiss (HB9CZF) and Australian (VK1CH) stations over an time interval of around 16 hours. The particular (red) spot deemed as “anomalous” clearly shows no greater deviation from the trend than any other spot. What is claimed to be “anomalous” is within the scatter range of the other points. The dynamic characteristic of the ionosphere is all that is needed to explain these deviations.

To further demonstrate that there is nothing anomalous about the spot at 17:16 UTC, Mike and Bobby produced the following graphs which show that the reported values of frequency and frequency drift at 17:16 UTC are in no way anomalous to the other values recorded on that day for HB9CZF-VK1CH WSPR contacts.


This article attempts to lay out in simple technical terms why WSPR data cannot be used to track aircraft over long distances, and certainly cannot be used to reconstruct the flight path of MH370. At long distances and at low transmission powers, the received signals from hypothetical aircraft scatter are simply too weak by many orders of magnitude. What is claimed to be discernable “anomalies” in signal strength attributable to forward scatter by aircraft are within the expected deviations in signal strength for long distance skywave propagation involving refraction off the ionosphere. Although aircraft scatter could be detected if the aircraft were close to either the transmitter or receiver and if the transmitted power were sufficiently strong, the detection of the aircraft requires signal processing to separate the Doppler-shifted scattered signal from the much stronger direct signal, and this data is not available in the WSPR database.


This article benefited from many private communications with Mike Exner, Don Thompson, Bobby Ulich, Steve Kent, Nils Schiffhauer, John Moore, and Ed Anderson. I also acknowledge the many insightful blog comments from Mick Gilbert, Sid Bennett, and @George G.

Update on December 22, 2021

I asked Joe Taylor for a comment on the material covered in this article. Here was his response, shared with his permission:

As I’ve written several times before, it’s crazy to think that historical WSPR data could be used to track the course of ill-fated flight MH370. Or, for that matter, any other aircraft flight…

I don’t choose to waste my time arguing with pseudo-scientists who don’t understand what they are doing.

Appendix: Equations and Table of Results

where the variable definitions and the inputs and results for the two cases can be found in the table below:

Reference: Passive Radar Technology, Prof. Christopher Baker, University of Birmingham, NATO STO-EN-243-02.

668 Responses to “WSPR Can’t Find MH370”

  1. airlandseaman says:

    Victor: Thanks for taking the lead on this paper/blog post. It conclusively documents what so many knowledgeable experts have been saying from the very beginning: It is fundamentally IMPOSSBLE to track any aircraft in the SIO with historical WSPR data from March 2014. In fact, it is impossible anywhere on earth at any time. It is pure nonsense.

    It is (long overdue) time for the proponents of this WSPR fantasy to admit they were wrong, and to correct the record so we can get on with the real scientific effort to assist with the search. The viral spread of false information about WSPR has been harmful to 370 NoK, the amateur radio community and the public at large.

  2. Victor Iannello says:

    @airlandseaman: Thanks, Mike. The WSPR proponents are so dug in at this point that I think there is little chance of agreement. I simply wanted the opportunity for some of us to document (without leveling personal attacks) that we are on the right side of the facts, whether or not the blog article is widely read or understood.

  3. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Thank you for that concise and cogent rebuttal of one of the key premises that GDTAAA is built upon. As you say though, this considered presentation of the facts is unlikely to dislodge the few who have adopted publicly entrenched positions on the ‘methodology’.

  4. 370Location says:


    It’s good to see this new critique on the claims for using WSPR to locate MH370. I hope the counterpoint gets picked in the news media, which has so far simply repeated the infinitely improbable bunk.

    I recently posted some analysis stats here looking for variations in drift by actual ADS-B position distance from a day of WSPR paths. The author posted a response on his blog. He then blocked my reply there, so my reply instead is … on Reddit, where hams are asking about WSPR:

    It was initially baffling that he would be insisting I wrote about planes flying at ionospheric altitudes, or his explaining ATC rules to prevent a high density of two planes every 5 km along flight paths.

    My guess is that he mistook my mention of only sampling planes above FL150 as meaning 150,000 ft instead of 15,000 ft.

    He also must have assumed that I somehow meant two planes for every 5 km along his great circle paths instead of laterally distant from them. Even though I described the 3-5K sample average number of planes aloft and up to 30 along his path, his interpretation would mean 16,000 planes along each WSPR path.

    I don’t think he was intentionally changing my words into a straw man argument, but genuinely misunderstood them.

    — Ed Anderson

  5. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert, @370Location: The technically astute will understand that WSPR can’t be used to track aircraft when the target is thousands of kilometers from either station, even with the most generous of assumptions regarding propagation loss, radar cross section, and noise floor. We are not inventing new physical principles–as such, we can perform the analysis using known theory with the most favorable of assumptions.

    I am not expecting a coherent rebuttal.

  6. ALSM says:

    Re: Claim by the former guy that I made up the quote from K1JT, here is one email, verbatim, received from Joe on Sat 5/15/2021:

    Hi Mike,

    This is nutty. There is no conceivable way that historical WSPR data could be used to track an aircraft.

    — Joe Taylor, K1JT

    So, technically it is true that Joe did not say “It’s nuts.”. He said: “This is nutty.” So, I apologize if anyone was misled by my error. lol

  7. Victor Iannello says:

    @ALSM: It’s very hard to dispute that crystal clear statement, but some will try.

  8. Victor Iannello says:

    All: Here’s what Joe Taylor told me today in an email when I again asked him for a comment on using WSPR to find MH370. I repeat his comments with his permission:

    As I’ve written several times before, it’s crazy to think that historical WSPR data could be used to track the course of ill-fated flight MH370. Or, for that matter, any other aircraft flight…

    I don’t choose to waste my time arguing with pseudo-scientists who don’t understand what they are doing.

    I think that sums it up nicely.

  9. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Re: “I am not expecting a coherent rebuttal.

    And you wouldn’t have been disappointed. A rambling shambles of same old, same old.

    We’re initially treated to an episode of the misplaced use of a common character trait between open and closed boiling vessels as a means of ironic disparagement. Of all things, we’re treated to a critique of the Independent Group for having made multiple assessments of possible crash locations over the years. No one has published more papers claiming a greater number of crash locations over the years than he has. By my reckoning he has pinpointed the crash site variously as far north as 19S, 23S, 26.9S, 30S, a couple of stabs in the 34s (34.23S and 34.4S), as far south as 35S, and also 37S. There’s possibly more, I lost track sometime back.

    We’re then told that the “challenge” to download live or historical WSPR data and test it hasn’t been taken up. Bullshit! Many of us have looked at the historical data and demonstrated that there is nothing discernible in it. Unless I’m very much mistaken, you have done exactly that with the HB9CZF-VK1CH data in the example detailed above. Talk about none so blind!

    And speaking of blind, the author of Gaussian Distributions Trashed and Associated Analytical Atrocities says that the blind test with QF6036 has been ignored. More bullshit. It hasn’t been ignored at all. To the contrary, when some of us looked at his “position indicators” in that test, for seven of the nine for which there is ADS-B data, we found that none of his guesses were correct. The aircraft had barely travelled 130 kilometres from the known take-off location and his first “position indicator” was in error by over 35 kilometres! His methodology routinely fixed the position of the target aircraft where the actual aircraft demonstrably was not. This abject failure of the methodology to do what it was meant to do was hailed by the “adjudicators” as highly successful. Makes you wonder what subterranean depths needed to be plumbed to slip under the bar for failure.

    Then we’re told that Dr Robert Westphal’s Geocaching in the Ionosphere paper has been ignored. More bullshit! The shortcomings in that paper have been addressed. When it was pointed out to Dr Westphal that regards his examples of the Davis Station helicopter operations and the Qantas Antarctic sight-seeing flight being “detected” in WSPR links between Australian transmitters and New Zealand and Japanese receivers respectively, in neither case were the target aircraft anywhere close to the propagation paths between the stations, he responded that,

    … the WSPR signal from DP0GVN in Antarctica, assuming an isotropic radiation in all directions, hit the helicopters at Davis and was scattered amongst other directions to ZL2005SWL in New Zealand.

    Utterly impractical, but if it were true then it would mean that Guessing, Doodling and Tracing yada yada yada could not work. If WSPR signals that have been scattered off targets that are not on the great circle propagation paths can register in the received and recorded spot data, then it is not possible to discern the location of the target. In fact, you’d have no idea which or even how many targets you were dealing with. It is beyond astounding that the author doesn’t understand this – if Dr Westphal is right then he is wrong.

    Of course, all of this to and fro can easily be resolved. If he is so sure of his work let him submit it to a peer-reviewed professional journal such as Nature or Radio Science. We’ll wait.

  10. Mick Gilbert says:

    … pseudo-scientists who don’t understand what they are doing.

    To quote ET, “Ouch.”

  11. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: What he refuses to acknowledge is that his theory fails even with the most favorable of assumptions.

    Regarding the Qantas test flight, an earlier version of the article addressed the absurdity of this result, too. The signal must pass over one station, propagate thousands of kilometers to reach the plane, backscatter, then propagate back thousands of kilometers to reach the receiver. So in this case, the “anomaly” is determined by comparing it to what? If there is no aircraft, there is no backscatter. So is the base case the short path between the transmitter and receiver? I couldn’t make any sense of what was claimed, so I elected to just include the MH370 at 17:16 UTC because we do have ground truth at that time.

    There’s also a lot that could be said about the unscientific methods used by the arbiters of the Qantas blind test who proclaimed the test was a resounding success despite the obvious shortcomings.

  12. … thanks, Victor, for your work. I think it somewhat brave to bother K1JT with this topic, although I know from personal communication with him that he has a great ear for radio amateur‘s questions, answering them patiently …
    He now should have had the last word in this dead case. Charlatanry or pseudo-science is the right commentary to what [was] presented. Any time spent to publish more data and scientific arguments is wasted. It is not a case of science, but, as I said before, social-psychology. Also interesting, but not to be discussed here.
    73 Nils, DK8OK

  13. Victor Iannello says:

    @Nils: Thank you, and I won’t be bothering Prof Taylor again on this topic. I think it would be interesting to perform scientific experiments to quantify the aircraft scatter in the HF bands under various conditions, but those experiments won’t lead to a methodology for using WSPR data to find MH370.

  14. Nils Schiffhauer says:

    … thanks, Victor, and I strongly support the idea to investigate how amateurs can receive and analyze aircraft Doppler. For a serious approach, another mode is needed. We can already start with analyzing the relative difference of time of flight through different paths, including aircraft scatter. This can be done within a minute using STANAG4285 transmissions around the world and (graphically) analyze their pseudo-random numbers with free software PSKSounder. This already had been done for many years, without attracting too much interest among the community. We now have modern technologies at hand, making use also of worldwide synchronized networks by GPS et al. Propagation Committee of RSGB had set up an interesting net around 5.5MHz many years ago, but it also didn‘t attract too much interest among the mainly conservative community. A fresh approach – proper mode, plus transmitting and receiving network- would spark qualitative analysis (absolute time of flight, phase, amplitude, number of paths etc.) is very much needed. I tried to interest some amateur radio societies for such an approach but to no avail so far. New Year, new chances … 73 Nils, DK8OK

  15. Nils Schiffhauer says:

    … Sorry for a P.S.: Since more than a decade there already is existing a worldwide professional network of Digisondes for exactly measuring propagation and its irregularities. Most of this data, also historically, is freely available. Digisondes are by far better candidates to look after scattering between heaven and earth. As far as I know, this trove had not been tapped. The Digisondes people are very accessible regarding information, software and advice. 73 Nils, DK8OK

  16. ALSM says:

    @Nils comments reminds me of the GPSMET and follow-on COSMIC data sets available for ionospheric research. Global TEC profiles. Thousands of papers have been written on the data produced. There might be something relevant buried in all that data and research.

  17. Victor Iannello says:

    @Nils, @ALSM: Do you think there is any chance that there is a historical data from a transmitter and receiver that were close enough to MH370 somewhere along its path such that the scatter was recorded?

  18. 370Location says:

    I must admit I’ve been captivated by the idea of utilizing quirks in signal propagation to track MH370 since it was first introduced here by Dr Rob Westphal. Sadly, the closer I’ve looked, the more unlikely the prospects.

    @Nils suggests other datasets and methods for validating aircraft scatter and characterizing long skips. Ionosondes, digisondes, and OTH radar always bring to mind noise sources splattering across ham spectrum. The mysterious Russian “Woodpecker” was a an OTH radar determined to be N of St Petersburg. “Grinders” were presumably broad VLF chirps by powerful ionosondes to measure the vertical ionospheric reflection, and possibly oblique refraction with dozens of transmitter sites.

    I’d be inclined to explore more of Nils’ methods for characterizing aircraft scatter, but I don’t see any that that could retroactively help with locating MH370.

    My mind goes to validating with more passive methods like TDOA detection of GPS synched receivers in KiwiSDR. Maybe even an experimental station that sends a digital blip and listens for its own circumglobal propagation by correlating with the original pattern. (Seems unlikely on HF due to D-Layer absorption during daylight hours. It would likely only catch path delays along the solar terminator, so might need the multi-antenna RDF method to determine direction).

    @ALSM suggests looking at research on occlusive reception of GPS/GNSS signal refraction over the horizon. That’s in the L band 1.5 GHz range, but reminds me of all the many services that would be impossible if the GDTAAA method of backward great circle propagation had any validity. It reminds me that WSPR may be seeing a combination of groundwave signals plus rarer ionospheric skips that both decay exponentially with one over distance squared.

    The KiwiSDR collaborative TDOA method of correlating GPS synced IQ data from multiple receivers to triangulate a transmitter is disrupted by even slight deviations from signals taking the shortest path between TX and RX, like variations in skip from optimal takeoff angle, or horizontal refraction from different terrain.

    Assuming that signals instead take the worst possible great circle signal path is at odds with Loran ship navigation, which has worked for decades before GPS. Military Over The Horizon coastal radar like JORN would be useless with multiple disruptions from aircraft flying on the opposite side of the globe.

    The recent comments on the GDTAAA blog by “Rob” Westphal shows him talking at cross-purposes to the method being used. He’s trying to validate WSPR aircraft scatter by picking up WSPR spots on short skip perpendicular to the baseline of TX-RX. That invalidates the GDTAAA assumption that aircraft scatter only works near great circle paths.

    Regardless, Happy Holidays to All! — Ed

  19. Victor Iannello says:

    @370Location said: The recent comments on the GDTAAA blog by “Rob” Westphal shows him talking at cross-purposes to the method being used.

    Agreed. @Mick Gilbert made the same point in a previous comment.

  20. … there is a trove of data from Digisondes, freely available. The surely cover historical data. I played with some data, but only having MUF in mind:
    If one likes to dig deeper, (s)he will be welcomed by one of those really nice and helpful guys at:
    The power of those digisondes is about 10dB above WSPR, but the GPS-driven, digital format together with smart algorithms ensure a considerable processing gain. Digisondes are developed to reveal (ionospheric) scatter. They may or may not be used to reveal aircraft scatter. This is more or less “clutter” when the main focus is to look after scattering above 50km. As far as I know, there is also existing “raw data”.
    I am convinced that OTH data (especially the Aussie’s) is perfect to answer more questions for many reasons. Undoubtedly, those data must have been inspected by the professionals. Alas, I read nothing about any results. If any information is searched for by “Aircraft scattering at HF signals”, for this region the Aussie’s radar must be the very first stop. They have the power, the waveform, are GPS driven and designed to discover just what we want to see: aircraft scatter until FL0.
    73 Nils, DK8OK

  21. Victor Iannello says:

    @Nils Schiffhauer: Perhaps @Sid Bennett can weigh in, as he has experience in this area.

  22. ALSM says:

    Nils: I know several people, including IG founder Duncan Steel, have looked into the possibility that the JORN OTHR observed MH370, but ultimately determined it was not observed because it was not operating at that time. Others here may recall more details. It has certainly been discussed.

  23. Andrew says:


    Some time ago the Australian Defence Force had a website that published FAQs about JORN. I can’t find it now, but I recall there was a question about MH370 that had been raised many times. The website stated that JORN was not operating the night MH370 disappeared. The reason given was that JORN was not resourced or tasked to operate 24/7 at that time, because the threat environment was benign.

  24. David says:

    @Andrew. Yes, I quoted from the RAAF site of the time, “Based on the time of day that MH370 disappeared, and in the context of peacetime tasking, JORN was not operational at the time of the aircraft’s disappearance. Given range from individual OTHRs, the ionospheric conditions and a lack of information on MH370’s possible flight path towards Australia, it is unlikely that MH370 would have been detected if the system had been operational.”

    I infer that there were unfavourable ionospheric conditions, at least for JORN purposes.

  25. Barry Carlson says:

    @Andrew, ALSM;

    It seems that the ADF haven’t shelved the JORN system; in fact they are investing mega dollars in updating the whole system with BAE Systems being the prime contractor.

    If you delve through the data on the above site, you’ll find reference to RAAF Base “Edinburgh” – north of Adelaide, as being the Battle Space operations center. The main physical hardware, i.e. the antenna arrays located in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia, is to be updated.

  26. 370Location says:


    Math check, please.

    GDTAAA is using paths as short as 1000 km.

    Maidenhead grid error at each end is up to 5 km, so +/- 10 km over 1000 km or 1/100 of the distance.

    For the projected tripwire great circle, the error at the antipode of the path should be the mirrored +/- 10 km.

    At worst case 90 degrees around the globe (10,000 km), is the max tripwire error magnified to 1/100 of Earth radius (6400 km), or +/- 64 km?

  27. Mick Gilbert says:


    Given the range of likely flight paths, MH370 would have been well out towards the western edge of the coverage from Laverton just as the solar terminator was approaching that area. My understanding is that the night-to-day and day-to-night transitions are problematic for over-the-horizon radar. I recall, perhaps incorrectly, that there is frequency shift required to optimise performance when moving from night to day and back again. That’s possibly the “ionospheric conditions” they are referring to.


    That FAQ has definitely been removed or amended, hasn’t it?

  28. Mick Gilbert says:


    G’day Ed,

    I can recall looking at the inaccuracy problem that potentially arises from using just the centre of a Maidenhead Grid rather than the actual antenna location to project paths. As you’re no doubt aware, grid width varies with latitude so the potential error for the actual antenna position ranges from around ±3 kilometres up to around ±5 kilometres.

    I’m pretty sure that when I tried some practical examples that, because you’re working with great circle paths joining two points, the error doesn’t double (ie with two actual locations displaced by the maximum error in each grid, the offset from the midpoint to midpoint path is not the sum of the errors).

    In fact, if you take the maximum error in one grid as the upper left corner of the grid and use the lower right corner for the maximum error in the other, there is no error from the grid midpoint to midpoint path at the halfway mark. The in-error path and the midpoint to midpoint path intersect at the halfway mark. Geometry, I presume.

    All that said, it is a gross misrepresentation to be drawing those razor sharp (roughly 1 kilometre wide) path lines on the GDTAAA maps. The intersection of two paths should be shown as a 25 km² box. And that’s just to accurately represent the known Maidenhead Grid error.

  29. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: Active hams query the database to determine the precise location of stations. It doesn’t appear there was any attempt to do this. Not that it really matters, because you would just more precisely get a wrong answer.

  30. 370Location says:

    @Mick Gilbert:

    Agreed that for short WSPR paths, opposite errors would cancel at the midpoint, but nearest the stations it should be 10 km. Both errors in the same direction would max at 5 km off the path.

    However, we are dealing with claims of a great circle tripwire that extends far beyond the defining short path endpoints.

    Imagine a TX maidenhead location on the equator at the prime meridian. The actual station could be 5 km south. Now place the RX maidenhead 1000 km away on the equator, which might be 5 km north. The slope is about 0.58 degrees, and the error along the great circle tripwire (a slice through the center of the globe) increases toward +/- 90 degrees along the equator, then back to 10 km at the antipode of the transmitter.

    On average, displacement errors will be smaller, but I’m looking to quantify the peak error that needs to be accounted for, which determines the average number of planes that might be confounding a purported result.

    @VictorI is of course correct that that both actual station locations could be found for a particular path, leaving only the propagation errors that add to the uncertainty.

  31. Victor Iannello says:

    Merry Christmas, everybody!

  32. Mick Gilbert says:

    Merry Christmas, Victor. Merry Christmas all.

  33. Don Thompson says:

    Best wishes for a relaxing Christmas to all!

  34. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    Merry Christmas to our gracious host and to everybody else.

  35. 370Location says:

    Merry Christmas! With sincere wishes for Peace on Earth, and goodwill toward all.

    Plus, hopes that inquiring young minds tracking Santa on will be drawn to critical thinking and STEM. 😉

    — Ed

  36. David says:

    @Mick Gilbert. You make a fair point re the night/day propagation transition.

  37. Andrew says:

    @Mick Gilbert

    RE: “That FAQ has definitely been removed or amended, hasn’t it?”

    I think so. I tried to find it earlier this year and was unsuccessful. I tried again a few days ago – same result.

  38. George Tilton says:


    “That FAQ has definitely been removed or amended, hasn’t it?”

    Is this it?

  39. sk999 says:

    JORN Fact Sheet / FAQ, as of May 27, 2015:

    “Based on the time of day that MH370 disappeared, and in the context of peacetime tasking, JORN was not operational at the time of the aircraft’s disappearance.”

    The fact sheet / FAQ would appear to be a document that evolves with time. The version referenced by George Tilton states, “JORN is currently undergoing a capability upgrade under JP2025 Phase 5.” The version of the FAQ that I cite states, “… future upgrades are planned under Project Air 2025 Phase 6.”

    My interpretation based on reading tea leaves: JORN is a system that seeks to justify its existence. Its “bang for the buck” seems to be prettly how. However, its proponents seem to be doing a good job. At least for now.

  40. Andrew says:

    @George Tilton

    That might be an earlier version of the JORN FAQ. The link in @sk999’s comment is an archived version with the question about MH370. The current JORN page on the website does not have an FAQ section:

    The Australian Defence Science & Technology Group that developed JORN also has a page on its website, that states JORN “provides a 24-hour military surveillance”. I don’t know if that’s accurate today; it doesn’t seem to have been the case in 2014:

    The Phase 6 upgrade commenced in 2018 and was expected to take 10 years to complete:

  41. Mick Gilbert says:


    G’day Ed, I see what you are getting at now. You’re looking at the long path.

    I’m sure that there’s some fancy book learned way of tackling that problem but for a simple practical approach you could look at plotting the following in SkyVector. Start, per your posited example on the meridian and 5 km south of the equator, at 000242S0000000W. 1,000 kilometres east of that is 000242N0085855E, 5km north of the equator. Assume that those are your two actual antenna, representing worst case errors from the centre of their respective Maidenhead Grid locations.

    If you then plot the great circle route to the antipodes for both of those (000242N1800000W and 000242S1710105W), that should give you the long path route between the two notional stations.

    The furtherest displacement from the path connecting the Maidenhead Grid points (the equator) is as much as 63.5 kilometres.

    That error needs to be weighed against the fact that that +5 kilometres and -5 kilometres differences between the Maidenhead Grid centre points and the actual antennae involved is the absolute maximum. Errors in the order of say ±2.5 kilometres would be be more realistic I think.

  42. Mick Gilbert says:


    Yes, I had the same experience.

    @George Tilton

    Thanks for having a scrounge around for it.


    Thanks Steve. That’s the version in question.

    Regards JORN not delivering bang for bucks, apart from an Audit Office and a Parliamentary Joint Committee report, both in the late 1990s, that were critical of the project and budget management aspects, there’s not been much in the way of criticism. The RAAF had it expanded from the initial proof-of-concept project to a fully integrated three array system; that would be unusual for something that wasn’t delivering.

  43. George G says:


    Re your request for “Math check, please”

    Some time ago I started to determine the uncertainties which might be attributable to “Maidenhead grid” approximations. This went to starting to considering “extreme” corner to corner effects, etc. I even intended to adopt a statistical or “risk” approach. The “worst errors” are actually between close, even adjacent, grid sectors. As the distance between Tx and Rx become greater then the significance of the effect becomes less, and less, if one were to be considering the intersection of paths between two (or more) Tx-Rx pairs.

    After some scribbles I concluded that an investigator would search out the actual (real) locations of the Tx and Rx for any “candidate” pairs, so the matter became of little interest.

    @Victor has already touched on this.

  44. George G says:


    “number of planes that might be confounding a purported result”

    Your answer of December 24, 2021 at 11:22 am to @Mick Gilbert, of course acknowledged that actual Tx Rx locations can be found, thus removing that uncertainty in the final analysis.
    But, your “number of planes that might be confounding a purported result” remains a significant task to discriminate between disruptions to the radio waves caused by the subject aircraft (being an aircraft of interest) and the many other possible causes.
    You may or may not have noticed that I broached this subject “elsewhere” some time ago where I could not tell if “other planes” being eliminated as cause of a disruption (my choice of terminology) were only in the vicinity of the suspect location of the aircraft of interest, OR if they (the eliminated planes) included ALL aircraft along the relevant (or candidate) radio path. This I considered of significant importance as the vicinity of a large number, perhaps a majority (?), of Tx and/or Rx will be in the vicinity, or areas, of fairly high population of aircraft in flight.
    AND, if a (WSPR or otherwise) radio transmitter or receiver IS in the vicinity, or area, of a high number of aircraft movements THEN the possibility increases for the radio receptions to affected by those aircraft movements. Hence your interest in the “number of planes that might be confounding a purported result”.
    Also, “elsewhere” I introduced the subject of thunderstorms and fires (particularly large fires) as being potential sources of disruptions to radio waves. That was dismissed as a serious concern. In my opinion it is (or they are) just another necessary consideration.

    Separately, but not really so, the effect of an aircraft “near” a transmitter, or even a receiver, is clearly magnified inversely to the distance between the aircraft and the transmitter (or receiver). I am not sure if this is clearly being taken into account in some instances, or quarters.

    As Dr Robert Westphal has clearly shown, and has been witnessed before, a radio transmission can be diverted by the passage of an aircraft through a radio beam, as I wish to call the set of radio waves impinging upon an aircraft, in such significant number of waves as to arrive at a receiver (regardless of the necessary path or paths to get there) at a strength to be recognised and thus “received” by a receiver. In some cases this reception may be considerably stronger than competing reception via a more “direct” path.
    Whether, or not, the historical “secondary” data stored in “” has sufficient information to utilise this effect to advantage has yet to be proven by example.
    It follows that your task of finding the “number of planes that might be confounding a purported result” becomes a gargantuan task. Not only those in “direct” path, but perhaps even more importantly those NOT in “direct” path, may come into play.
    This, of course, means that if someone had ALL the data available concerning aircraft in flight, and radio receptions and massive computing power (and were able to “get their head around” it all) …….

  45. Victor Iannello says:

    @George G said: It follows that your task of finding the “number of planes that might be confounding a purported result” becomes a gargantuan task.

    To be consistent and to select “anomalous” spots without bias, yes, a very difficult task. But, considering it is nearly impossible that a low power HF WSPR transmission interacted with an aircraft over long distances in a detectable way that was archived, it is a futile task if the objective is obtaining a useful result.

    Those that continue to promote using WSPR data to find MH370 are providing an unintended beacon of a different nature.

  46. 370Location says:


    @Mick Gilbert,
    Thanks for the reality check on the max path error math. I agree on the smaller values for short skips, but GDTAAA uses only a few of those, and they are near 10K km. The rest of the tripwires are all circumglobal long paths that would encompass many planes along the way. If the error range is from nil to +/- 64 km on the equatorial great circle, then halving it and adjusting for smaller errors at higher latitudes should give a good estimate. Say, +/- 25 km, with 2 planes for every 5 km, gives about 20 planes on average in the long skip virtual paths.

    @George G,
    Yes, the path accuracy can improved by digging up more accurate ham station QTH location, but that’s not what was done with GDTAAA to track MH370. I fully agree that there are many other possible sources of interference with skip propagation, which also include variations in the unknown RF gear. For any single tripwire, the unknowns are overwhelming. Using a statistical method over one day with a huge volume of WSPR and ADS-B plane position data, most of those transient effects should average out, leaving a measurable effect from 4K known planes flying near 3M known WSPR paths.

    @WSPR testing:

    Having already done the drift variation plot for tripwires with a negative result, I also have been looking at what evidence for aircraft scatter might be in the WSPR data. I of course focused on the actual path segments between stations rather than virtual tripwires. I’ve also been looking at wider doppler shifts rather than the limited 4 Hz drift within one spot. @sk999 showed the possibility of double spots from scatter on the same contact with weaker a doppler shifted spot matching the main carrier. @Don also made suggestions and we looked at averaged WSPR frequency by distance.

    I’ve taken that python code quite a but further. Averaging by ham band was problematic, because some bands have multiple WSPR areas, or at least hams working WSPR outside the usual narrow range. So, I’ve broken up the WSPR data into 1 KHz sub-bands, which works nicely the 0.2 KHz ranges.

    Many TX are cycling through the HF bands. It turns out that each TX can also be characterized by getting averages from all the receivers that got a spot from it. Once the mean TX frequencies are known, the same trick can be applied to get an averaged offset for each RX. This gives a fairly accurate base for looking to see if each spot has been doppler shifted.

    Of course stations are being manually shifted in frequency and there are other variables, but with large numbers those should again appear as noise.

    Here is a plot that again splits frequency shifts into pos and neg offset sample sets, and plots the average variation by distance. Reducing the bin size to 2 km has added some resolution, despite raising the minimum flight altitude to 20,000 ft:

    My speculation about the large shifts at long distances is similar to that for the previous WSPR drift value plots. As the region nearest the paths is most critical, here’s a zoom in:

    (That url was random from Google. Really.)

    A very small bump might be seen within 100 km of the paths, but it’s still down in the noise, and not anything that could be useful. The bumps do seem to come and go on smaller samples of different hours in the day.

    Thinking that the averaged data could be hiding an underlying pattern that gets canceled out, it seems that a histogram of each bin, especially those nearest the paths, might reveal doppler shift patterns:

    The brighter pixels have more occurrences of the sample values. A cluster around -10 Hz nearest the WSPR path might be expected, but is not seen. The image has been enhanced by first scaling by the mean values far more common nearest zero freq shift. An FFT removal of remaining horizontal bands gives a fairly flat background, which is then contrast expanded by using histeq image processing. The original 20 km binning and coarser frequency bins appeared to show a weak arc centered from 20-50 Hz around 100 km from the path. Using the current 2km resolution with finer frequency resolution has increased the noise somewhat, and the arc is no longer evident.

    Increasing the sample count by using a lower cutoff altitude could reduce the noise. Acquiring more than one day of ADS-B dataset would be the next step. 11 billion lat/lon distance calculations are a bit slow, even with a spherical globe. It takes about a half hour to crunch these plots with vectorized python code.

    Sadly, it’s another negative result for now. Any suggestions or speculation are appreciated.

    — Ed

  47. Victor Iannello says:

    @Ed Anderson said: Sadly, it’s another negative result for now. Any suggestions or speculation are appreciated.

    It’s a negative result, but it is also what we expect.

    Despite the long-winded, incoherent explanations that attempt to refute this post, the (S/N) calculations were made with the most generous of assumptions regarding propagation losses, radar cross section, incident angle, and noise floor. The calculations show that WSPR contacts can occur at long distances (no surprise since they are recorded in the database) but scatter of WSPR signals off an aircraft CANNOT be detected at long distances. The claim that forward scatter from MH370 was detected at 17:16 UTC between the Swiss transmitter (HB9CZF) and Australian receiver (VK1CH) is shown to be false as the strength of the scattered WSPR signal is orders of magnitude weaker than can be detected. The claim that an anomalous WSPR signal between the Swiss and Australian stations was recorded at 17:16 UTC has also been proven to be false as the deviation of signal strength, frequency, and frequency drift are all within the limits of the variation in values experienced within a 16-hour window, that deviation caused by the dynamic character of the ionosphere.

    So why do people continue to promote a theory that can easily be proven false by anybody skilled in the art? This is not the first time we’ve seen this pattern of behavior regarding MH370 claims, which includes presentation of straw man arguments and obfuscation of facts to confuse those without the basic technical background to recognize the incoherence.

    I am proud of the contributors of this blog. I am not aware of any other place where a rational discussion of technical matters related to MH370 occurs.

  48. 370Location says:


    You are indeed curating a blog that is nearly unique in promoting serious open discussion of MH370 technical issues. Thank you for allowing my input.

    Those tactics you mention are prominent among FaceBook forums, where I presume most experts have been driven away or left in frustration. The most frequent posters there admittedly have little technical background, so it appears that instead of debate they use the argumentative skills that have worked for them in the past.

    I have yet to see a technical dispute anywhere of your WSPR report, and I don’t expect there will be any.

    OTOH, the GDTAAA lists 31 specific and wide ranging claims for the method, which is not unlike those made for a patent filing to cover future invention. So many outrageous claims also makes it nearly impossible for anyone to summarize the many problems without taking time for a full disseration. That makes peer review also less likely.


    Out of curiosity, I tried looking at doppler by distance from all planes aloft regardless of altitude. Small planes would not be expected to influence HF radio signals, and average to nil. To obtain more samples, I also expanded down to the 3.5 MHz band which would include much more groundwave propagation. The result is rather interesting:

    This plot does show a sharp bump that peaks with planes about 23 km from WSPR short skip segments, and another broader effect at about 320 km.

    I implemented a change in the histogram that should not affect the plot above. Doppler shifts appear to be proportional to frequency, which would be widely smearing the multiple bands vertically in the plot. So, the delta frequency shift is now divided by detected frequency, which should align the bands. This doesn’t boost the occurrence or amplitude of lower frequencies, but instead gives a unitless measure similar to Hz offset but scaled to match a 5 MHz carrier. The results are also a surprise:

    There are now various striations and clusters being revealed out of the noise. Most are not a strictly vertical line that’s uniform with distance, except for the sharp cluster at 320 km, which could represent skip or groundwave reflections at some favorable angle to the planes. It would be interesting to narrow the sample set based on TX-RX distance to see where it’s most prominent.

    An odd feature of the striations is that while they are several km wide (2 km pixels again), there is a dip in hits on the near side followed by a peak on the far side. It looks like an image enhancement artifact, but there is no spatial contast enhancement being applied to the data. I have no good explanation, but it would seem to be tied to where planes moved on successive spots related to their direction of flight. The sample set is huge, so they couldn’t be individual flights.

    The slight dip right over a WSPR path seems to match with @DrB’s assessment that there would be little doppler along the path except for vertical speed. The peak at 23 km might be accounted for by stations near busy approach/takeoff paths, since it was not seen on FL20 or above. I’m open to educated guesses about what the admittedly noisy features in the histogram plot mean in reality.

    I see this as a positive step toward understanding aircraft scatter, but absolutely not for validating the completely unrelated methods used in GDTAAA.

    For the hams in the group, here’s a plot of the WSPR frequencies used:

  49. Victor Iannello says:

    @370Location: Have you looked at Doppler shift versus distance from a WSPR station rather than distance from the short path between stations?

  50. Amble says:


    I do not understand some of the science of WSPR but was underwhelmed by the attempted refutation of your critique of the 17:16 UTC “sighting” of MH370. Your description of the refutation as “long-winded, incoherent” is spot on.

  51. Victor Iannello says:

    @Amble: Thank you for the comment. To paraphrase @Nils Schiffhauer: The science is understood. The social-psychology, less so, but that’s not the point of this blog.

  52. 370Location says:


    I could modify the code to make the plane distance axis be the lesser of the distance to either station, but it would ignore any info about the bath between them.

    I did try restricting the samples to only WSPR paths over 2500 km, which should be multihop skips. Most of the striated dhistogram features and clusters disappeared, and the averaged offset plot has a slow dip toward the short skip distance origin.

    BTW, these WSPR spot frequency analysis methods have not been a part of GDTAAA or the 31 claims. I place my work on them in the public domain so they cannot be included in any patent filings.

    — Ed Anderson

  53. Victor Iannello says:

    @370Location said: I could modify the code to make the plane distance axis be the lesser of the distance to either station, but it would ignore any info about the bath between them.

    Understood. But I think this analysis would also add to our understanding.

  54. Hi, all – proponents of the thesis that WSPR log data is suitable for tracking aircraft have promised us a paper dedicated to HF propagation for some time. Undoubtedly, this paper will come to the following results, if one sticks to the current state of science:
    * The changes in amplitude, Doppler shift, phase, and multipath caused by the dynamic ionosphere are large compared to the changes caused by aircraft scatter.
    * The individual causes of the signal changes can only be detected qualitatively, but not quantitatively (“drift” is not a – unique – proxy for Aircraft Doppler).
    * Since the respective current state of the ionosphere as by far the strongest “modulator” of the signal in the regions (!) of refraction are not known neither by location and frequency, nor by TEC or even the stratification, this cannot be extracted.
    * Even a 3D modeling with PropLab only reproduces the underlying statistical-empirical IRI model, but not the reality.
    * The small number of samples, their high integration time over 110 seconds and uncertainty about the technical quality of the transmitted signal make a robust statistical evaluation difficult.
    * The signals, which are already low without Aircraft Scatter, are increased in their totality by Aircraft Scatter below rather than above the safe detection limit.
    Furthermore, the denunciatory and non-technical-scientific argumentation of the defenders of the WSPR thesis does not exactly contribute to its credibility – of which, however, an actual technical-scientific argumentation must remain unaffected. Sine ira et studio.
    I have a good overview of the scientific literature on HF propagation, have made countless measurements of my own and have also published various papers on this subject.
    For epistemological reasons, the proof that something that may be possible in principle is not possible in reality cannot be given. If the black box should be found at the predicted place, this is at best a lucky coincidence, but is not connected with bent WSPR calculations.
    The procedure and the considerable PR hype of this “company of whiskers and windbags” damages the reputation of amateur radio as a serious scientific hobby. Quotations from BBC to NYT are no scientific proof of the thesis, but of the cleverly triggered wishful thinking of, tech-wise, lazy thinkers. It is a pity that Prof. Joe Taylor, K1JT, is not heard in this public discussion, but it is highly understandable.
    Yes, I would also like to have a different result. But this is not possible on the basis of the data.
    Eagerly awaiting the announced paper: Nils, DK8OK

  55. Mick Gilbert says:

    @George G

    George, regards the potential error arising from using the latitude and longitude for the relevant Maidenhead Grids in lieu of the actual transmitter and receiver antenna locations, you wrote,

    … I concluded that an investigator would search out the actual (real) locations of the Tx and Rx for any “candidate” pairs, …‘.

    Unfortunately, your conclusion does not appear to be supported by anything we’ve seen in the author’s work to date. None of the papers presented to date show anything other than the centre of the respective six character Maidenhead Grids being used for ray tracing.

    Moreover, while many radio amateurs post their actual locations in latitude and longitude on the likes of, some do not. And there are examples of stations being used by the author of Grid Determination Troubles Absolutely Affect Accuracy where the actual antenna location is not listed in the database (or the odd case where the listed location does not match the Maidenhead Grid).

    You also wrote,

    The “worst errors” are actually between close, even adjacent, grid sectors. As the distance between Tx and Rx become greater then the significance of the effect becomes less, and less, if one were to be considering the intersection of paths between two (or more) Tx-Rx pairs.

    Quite correct. The shorter the short path between the two stations, the greater the potential error at the target location on the putative long path. But there’s the rub. The author routinely uses the supposed long path of relatively short short paths for his ‘position indicators’. In his (not so) “blind test” involving QF6036 there were nine ‘position indicators’ utilising a total of 19 WSPR spots. Out of the 19 connections used, the short paths for ten were less than 2,000 kilometres and six of those were less than 1,500 kilometres. For the 05:02 UTC example, both connections used to determine the ‘position indicator’ were less than 1,100 kilometres.

    I have looked at a couple of connections used in the (not so) “blind test” where the Actual v Maidenhead Grid discrepancy produces errors of around 15 kilometres at the target zone. And in case you were wondering, no, those errors don’t fix the problem of the author being unable to determine the actual position of the target aircraft in at the very least seven of the nine ‘position indicator’ examples detailed in that paper.

    I’ll write more on this when I get the chance.

    You also noted that,

    ‘… the effect of an aircraft “near” a transmitter, or even a receiver, is clearly magnified inversely to the distance between the aircraft and the transmitter (or receiver). I am not sure if this is clearly being taken into account in some instances, or quarters.

    Well, one of the “quarters” where that particular issue has not been taken into account is the GDTAAA methodology. Clearly many of the radio amateurs didn’t get the memo not to set up their equipment near major airports! In looking at some of the (not so) “blind test” links I found a number of cases where, at the time of the recorded WSPR spot, their was local aircraft traffic proximal to either the transmitter, the receiver or sometimes both.

    I’ll write further on this also.

  56. 370Location says:


    I’ve run a WSPR doppler plot as you suggest where the X axis is the shorter distance from Tx or Rx to each plane aloft:

    While there is a steep drop in frequency shift near a Tx or Rx, the mean is unreliable because the number of sample planes shrinks to zero along with the radius around the stations. The distogram has a similar problem:

    The dark section near the zero origin is likely an artifact of the steep drop in samples compared to the
    already low counts beyond 75 pseudo-Hz on the plot. Also note I’m using an FFT to remove orthogonal banding, along with subtraction of smoothed row and column data. An entropy plot might reveal more, but it’s very noisy.

    I also tried reducing the dataset by spot path (not bath) under 500 km to see just single skips and groundwave. The mean plot looks similar to the longer path plot, but the distogram has a unique feature:

    There appears to be a diagonal below 50 km that strongest on positive doppler, but may continue to negative values at even shorter distances.

    @Nils and @Mick: I agree with all the points you both made. Perhaps it’s not best to be iteratively releasing data plots like this in an open forum. That was part of the problem with comments on the GDTAAA blog getting dumped into the media as daily breakthroughs before any of it could be vetted.

  57. Sid Bennett says:


    Forgive my silence please. Best wishes of the season to all of you.
    I have been distracted by a project to bring electric vehicle charging capability to our condominium.

    I appreciate your work to provide an analytical structure to refute the claim that WSPR can be of any value in the search for MH370. My work in the field goes back to the mid ’60s and continued for almost 15 years. I have watched the real-time displays of OTH-B for countless hours at that time and saw many ionospheric effects (amongst others).

    My technical papers have long since gone into the government shredder.

    The Woodpecker site is actually in the Chernobyl radiation exclusion zone, but can be visited (carefully). The equipment in the buildings is gone, and some of the the antenna array has been salvaged for scrap.

    I regret that WSPR has become such a diversion.

  58. Victor Iannello says:

    @Sid Bennett: Yes, it is an unfortunate diversion. That said, I think we have fulfilled our obligation for exposing the truth.

  59. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Ianello
    @Sid Bennett

    Speaking of diversions, unfortunate or otherwise, there’s another comic book out on the Guessing, Doodling and Tracing channel. A bumper end-of-year edition.

    While largely bereft of much in the way of technical detail there was this,

    When an aircraft changes from flying over land to flying over sea, there is often a change of wind. This can cause turbulence which in turn changes the radar cross section (RCS) aspect of the aircraft making it easier to detect with radio signals such as WSPRnet links.


    And moving on, there were a limited number of WSPR spots discussed in the context of them each being a “candidate detection of MH370“. One of those discussed was the 17:16 UTC WSPR spot transmitted by HB9CZF in Switzerland and received by VK1CH in Australia. That particular spot, over the distance of 16,530 kilometres, was meant to have been discerned by the methodology as an “SNR and Drift Anomaly”, purportedly an “SNR Scattering” (whatever that might be, the term is not defined).

    Being branded an “anomaly” one would expect that the SNR, Drift or Frequency data for that particular spot would be, well, anomalous. Imagine my astonished surprise when I looked at the data for 24 hours either side of the nominated 17:16 UTC spot and found nothing of the sort amongst the 69 connections that were recorded during that 48 hour period.

    The SNR, Drift and Frequency values for the “anomaly” were -20, -1 and 14097079 respectively.

    The mean SNR for the 69 spots was … – 20.

    The mode for Drift and Frequency were -1 and 14097079 respectively.

    The data for the 69 spots is graphed here –

    The “candidate detection” is highlighted on each graph by the red/orange diamond. It surely says something that I needed to do that highlighting because the actual results for this purported anomaly were entirely unremarkable. The results, either individually or in combination, could not be less anomalous if you tried.

    So there you go … it’s bullshit!

  60. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: As you recall, the post above was meant to study the claim about the detection of MH370 at 17:16 UTC. The SNR, drift, and frequency plots (the final three figures) are essentially the same as you presented in your link.

    You would think that if somebody made these claims about MH370 detection using WSPR data, they would choose to demonstrate it with a case that did not fail miserably.

    Anybody with the relevant technical background is laughing at this saga. Or completely ignoring it.

  61. TBill says:

    Good you picked up that point, otherwise I am not seeing much new in the new report. I was expecting more BTO/BFO analysis at each Arc as well as 18:25-18:28 showing the alternate fit to the generally accepted N571 offset maneuver, and at Arc7. If we have FE just past Arc6 at 00:12 then there is quite a bit of gliding time (7 minutes) to get to Arc7 at which point apparently the active pilot does what with the APU? Turn APU on at 00:17 to restart SATCOMs and happens to record an intentional dive at 00:19? But I am not sure if there is enough altitude and speed remaining for the flutter explanation of right flaperon trailing edge damage and separation.

  62. Victor Iannello says:

    Here is an interesting summary of an event in which an Emirates B777 taking off from Dubai rotated late and remained at low altitude before resuming a normal climb. Some believe this is a case of over reliance on automation, and in particular the Flight Director, which gave erroneous direction due to an incorrect altitude set in the MCP.

  63. Victor Iannello says:

    @George G: And you never got a coherent response to that analysis.

  64. Mick Gilbert says:

    @George G

    Thanks George, I can’t recall having seen that paper of yours before. Pretty well sums it up.

  65. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    You opined, “You would think that if somebody made these claims about MH370 detection using WSPR data, they would choose to demonstrate it with a case that did not fail miserably.

    I agree.

    I would add, however, that two of the other three examples of “candidate detections”, the ones at 17:02 UTC and 17:08 UTC, are potentially even worse. Best of a bad lot, springs to mind.

  66. Victor Iannello says:

    More complete hogwash from Geoffrey Thomas. Some of his claims:

    1. It’s unfortunate that there are detractors to the WSPR tracking theory. (Why unfortunate? Informed questioning should be encouraged by journalists.)

    2. All questions have been answered in detail. (What we have are long-winded answers that don’t answer basic questions, and claims that defy the known math and physics.)

    3. There is support from highly credentialed individuals, such as the former head of engineering at Google. (I’ve been in contact with Alan Eustace. He told me very clearly that he has NO background in this area, and makes no claims about the validity, leaving that to others.)

    4. The theory has been proven with blind tests. (The Qantas test and the MH370 position at 17:16 UTC both were failures, despite claims to the contrary.)

  67. TBill says:

    Re: Emirates B777 taking off from Dubai
    It was a teaching moment for me, I always turn on Flight Director in the sim but I never knew what it did. Now I know it gives the magenta cross hairs on the screen, which gives the pilot guidance on suggested trajectory. I can assure you I never over-rely on that guidance.

  68. Don Thompson says:

    UAE 231

    The incident appears to have caught the interest of aviation bloggers. It’s difficult to make an adequate analysis of the incident from FR24 and other trackers. FR24’s archive displays the usual issue where playback data has been interpolated/smoothed for archive. I suspect there’s an issue with FR24’s archive record: the record’s altitude field is not corrected for prevailing field baro pressure. Unfortunately, ADSBX only picks up the departure at 23:11:31Z when the aircraft has attained 1750ft, so after the incident.

    ‘Green Dot’ makes a number of errors in his narrative: A6-EQI had arrived at OMBD, ex-Zurich/LSZH some 20hrs prior to the UAE231 service, not two days prior. He then states “the aircraft was grounded for four days” following the return service Dulles/KIAD to Dubai/OMDB: incorrect, its next sector was Dubai-Brussels, only 46 hours later.

    The MCP target altitude setting appears to be a focus of these reports, perhaps the Barometric Reference on the EFIS Control Panel was the source of the error. Certainly, the aircraft did not initially begin a normal climb while it appears the autothrottle had commanded take-off thrust resulting in g/s exceeding 250kts.

  69. Andrew says:

    RE: EK231

    Although we don’t know the full details of this incident and much of the discussion is speculation, the video @Victor posted raises a number of serious issues about pilot training, automation dependency and crew coordination. These issues have been with us a long time and the degradation of pilots’ manual flying skills has been the subject of much debate in recent years. The pandemic has certainly not helped matters, with many pilots around the world grounded. Many of those who are still flying are not getting the practice they need to remain fully proficient.

    Much of the speculation about this incident hinges on Emirates’ release of a company NOTAM shortly after the event. That NOTAM directs pilots to refrain from setting the MCP altitude window to the airport elevation after landing/shutdown. It seems to suggest that such a practice might have been a factor in the EK231 incident. Unfortunately, some pilots have the habit of ‘tidying things up’ for the next crew by selecting all the MCP settings (IAS/HDG/ALT) to ‘zero’; a practice that is not required by the FCOM and can have unintended, serious consequences.

  70. Andrew says:

    RE: “More complete hogwash from Geoffrey Thomas…”

    Has anyone here contacted Geoffrey Thomas to refute these claims?

  71. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: For me, it was by email and Twitter. It’s no use. He’s very dug in.

  72. George Tilton says:


    According to “Geoffrey Thomas is Channel 7’s Sunrise Breakfast show’s aviation commentator and is the “go to person” in Australia and New Zealand for any aviation event.”

    I guess that would make him Australia’s version of Larry Vance or Jeff Wise?

    I do not trust self-promoting journalists…

  73. Andrew says:


    Fair enough!

  74. TBill says:

    Re: EK231
    Regarding the “tidying things up” since that practice is not so good for B777, does that practice originate from habit from flying other aircraft models?

  75. Brian Anderson says:

    Geoffrey Thomas is not a recognised “go to” in NZ on aviation issues. Virtually unheard of here, except we do get occasional news segments fro Australian channels, so he might appear there, infrequently.

  76. Victor Iannello says:

    Here’s a better description of the EK231 event from Jon Ostrower, although he doesn’t seem to understand that once the MCP altitude is set to the current altitude at ANY altitude, the autopilot enters ALT HLD mode and is not responsive to changes in MCP altitude settings. That’s not a quirk. It’s fundamental to the functionality of ALT HLD mode.

    [Thinking about this more, perhaps it’s a bit more complicated because the A/P might have been in VNAV mode, and the climb probably required an “altitude intervention” by pressing the ALT button.

    That said, this is normal operation, not a “quirk”.]

  77. Andrew says:


    RE: “…does that practice originate from habit from flying other aircraft models?”

    I don’t think so. It’s not SOP on other Boeing or Airbus types that I’ve flown. This type of practice sometimes creeps in when a senior pilot decides that something should be done a certain way, even though it’s not written in the manuals. Before you know it, others start doing the same thing and it unofficially becomes ‘SOP’ for some pilots. Airline management and check & training pilots spend a lot of their time trying to stamp out such practices.

  78. Victor Iannello says:

    Re: EK231

    I understand why it might not be best practice to set the altitude setpoint to zero after a flight, but if the next crew did not change that value, it means the ATC altitude clearance was not entered before takeoff. That seems like a much worse offense.

    And I’d say following the Flight Director when the guidance was not consistent with the takeoff rotation speed and the expected climb pitch is even worse.

  79. TBill says:

    “practice sometimes creeps in when a senior pilot decides that something should be done”

    I suppose that is common tendency in many technical workplaces, a fellow engineer conjures up a “recommended” technique to do something. That works fine if (1) the engineer’s method is correct, or (2) it may not be correct, but for many situations it does not matter too much.

  80. Andrew says:


    Absolutely. There’s a lot we don’t know, but if this event played out the way it looks, there were some serious procedural errors and a breakdown of basic airmanship. Jon Ostrower’s article claims the ADS-B data shows the MCP altitude was selected to 4,000 ft, but of course we don’t know when that occurred. The initial clearance altitude might have been selected during the normal pre-flight flow, after the FD switches were selected ON. However, that doesn’t explain why none of the pilots noticed the aberrant FD pitch mode and associated guidance, which are also part of the required checks. It also does not explain why the flying pilot (apparently) followed the incorrect FD pitch guidance after take-off, if that’s what occurred.

    This morning’s Sydney Morning Herald has an interesting article about the problems Qantas found after its pilots returned to work after long periods without flying:
    Qantas pilots making errors after long periods without flying

  81. Andrew says:


    In the multi-crew airline world, it’s also important that pilots follow standardised procedures to ensure there are no ‘surprises’ when one pilot does something the other pilot isn’t expecting. If someone has a good idea for doing something a certain way, it needs to be discussed by both management and the check & training people to ensure any risks are identified and managed. If accepted, the procedure then needs to be promulgated to all pilots, with appropriate training where necessary. That process often requires collaboration with the aircraft manufacturer and sometimes the national aviation regulator, to ensure there are no technical objections to the new or revised procedure.

  82. Barry Carlson says:

    @Brian Anderson wrote;

    “Geoffrey Thomas is not a recognised “go to” in NZ on aviation issues.”

    A couple of days ago I came across a CNN article –

    World’s safest airline: Air New Zealand takes first place on the annual list of the safest airlines around the globe from

    I haven’t seen any mention in the NZ press, and Air NZ don’t appear keen to “beat their drums” over the CNN / GT sourced article.

  83. Victor Iannello says:

    @Barry Carlson: That’s interesting.

  84. Victor Iannello says:

    For your entertainment:

  85. TBill says:

    That is quite entertaining. First of all, as an engineer, I completely do not understand journalists desire to shot down the good facts we have. This one aspect about MH370 for which I cannot grasp the explanation.

    But this speech really went other worldly when we found out FdC and JJWise are WSPR skeptics along with IG.

  86. DrB says:


    You are correct. It’s quite amusing when someone quotes Jeff Wise as the credible source to dismiss the WSPR aircraft tracking theory. It also establishes the extent of her journalistic and research capabilities.

  87. Victor Iannello says:

    @DrB, @TBill: I’d say it’s also a sad commentary on journalism today that her “facts” were not challenged by anybody in the room. Either they were overly polite, or the skeptics skipped the talk.

  88. Hi, all – with the discussion still humming, I pressed a Reset button for the average radio amateur and put the most important aspects into a dialogue-like Q&A:
    Should make an easy reading.
    It might help (or not) in some discussions …
    73 Nils, DK8OK

  89. Victor Iannello says:

    @Nils: At this point, the facts are on the table and discoverable by anybody that cares to look. The physics simply do not allow what is claimed. There is little more we can do.

    On a positive note, the area that WSPR proponents want to search is in the general vicinity of where most of us believe the plane is. Most people are not able to understand the nuance of somebody that proposes the correct general area for all the wrong reasons.

  90. David says:

    SJ-182. “Indonesian investigators may need another year to probe Sriwijaya crash”

  91. George G says:

    @David, Thank you.

    An internet search for “KNKT” was unsuccessful, but the Interim Statement can be accessed via a search for:

  92. TBill says:

    Interesting the Himawari weather satellite captured the Tonga volcano down under. No such luck for MH370, but maybe we need to ask for an animation.

  93. Mick Gilbert says:


    Bill, you can see the islands of Fiji and Vanua Levu in the top left of some of those satellite images.

    By my reckoning there are at least two large commercial aircraft in that shot. An American Airlines B787 is just to the west of and about to overfly Vanua Levu and a Qantas A330 is just to the north of Vanua Levu heading north east. I doubt that there’s sufficient resolution available to discern either aircraft.

  94. TBill says:

    OK…if there were contrails or a splash in the water, perhaps we could see. The other aspect is the sunlight terminator gives a feeling for visibility in darkness vs. day.

  95. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    Report by the NoK of passengers on board UIA flight PS752 shot down over Tehran in Jan 2020.

    Strong evidence indicates this particular aircraft was deliberately targeted by the IRGC.
    Why? The authors speculate the aircraft was a human shield to prevent further escalation of conflict between US and Iran.

    But why this aircraft and not another?
    Perhaps the ownership of UIA may have something to do with it?

    This may explain reluctance of RCMP to acknowledge that PS752 was deliberately targeted in its own report, or their reluctance to cooperate with Ukraine’s investigation.

  96. Victor Iannello says:

    @CanisMR: I haven’t studied the report long enough to determine if the claims are solid, but nonetheless, the NOK have assembled an impressive body of work.

  97. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    Diane Francis of the Atlantic Council wrote this about the incident:
    There were no Americans on board, but Boeing is a big fat American target. Besides that, the Ukrainian airline is partially owned by Ihor Kolomoisky, a prominent Ukrainian oligarch, with deep ties and citizenship to Iran’s other “Great Satan,” Israel.

    According to the report by the NoK, the IRGC was inquiring from the passengers if any held US passports, and removed some passengers from the plane prior to departure.

  98. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    ICAO has released first report into the diversion of Ryanair 4978.
    “ The ICAO’s team said Belarusian authorities claimed to have received two identical emails from the militant group Hamas alerting them to a bomb…

    But the ICAO never saw the first message as it was received by Belarus in its original formatting. It was only able to verify the existence of both emails as other airports in nearby countries received them as well.

    “The receipt of the first email is crucial to explain the basis for the communication of the bomb threat,” the ICAO report said, as Belarus said it got the first note at 9:25 a.m. GMT, and started communicating with the flight crew five minutes later. The second arrived at 9:56 a.m.

    Belarusian authorities said the original emails were deleted because of their data retention policy.”

  99. TBill says:

    Pretty good explainer: FlightRadar24’s AvTalk podcast about the USA’s 5G fiasco this week, where the airline industry was objecting to the 5G rollout due to potential interference with aircraft. The B777 was part of story because Boeing initially said they would by impacted, but apparently fairly quickly reversed course.

  100. FRIEDHELM DK9JZ says:

    As an engineer and possible customer i would ask [the WSPR tracking proponent] first:
    Did you ever have checked or tested your method by tracking any plane?
    Any? And when you did, why didn`t you publish it?
    In times of flighradar and so on it should be an easy game, to verify your method.

  101. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    BBC is reporting that liberal US Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer is to retire.
    The top contender for his replacement may be Judge KBJ, who dismissed the lawsuit brought by the NoK of MH370.

    Meanwhile, FdC’s book has been translated auf deutsch.
    A sympathetic review (behind a paywall) in Die Welt.

    Based on the FCCHK video, it’s remarkable that FdC has pretty much doubled down on her thesis.

  102. David says:

    New Australian TV program about the need for a new search, scheduled for Feb 23rd:

  103. Peter Norton says:

    « This documentary exposes new details that haven’t been aired before with a compelling argument to get that search going again. »

    Does anybody know already, what these “new details” are ?

  104. Victor Iannello says:

    @Friedhelm: I am sorry that I did not see your message was waiting for my approval.

    He would say he has already successfully tracked aircraft. Most here would disagree, as he progressively selects intersections with the many WSPR paths that satisfy preconceived notions of the path.

    He claims he used WSPR data to track MH370 near IGARI when still under radar coverage. The blog post shows that he did not, nor is it physically possible given the distances and transmitted power.

  105. Victor Iannello says:

    @Peter Norton asked: Does anybody know already, what these “new details” are?

    There are a handful of claims of “new details”, some claiming credible new evidence. My guess is there will be nothing new to readers of this blog.

  106. Victor Iannello says:

    Here is the trailer for the Sky News episode on MH370. Appearing in the trailer is Chari Pattiaratchi insisting he was right all along, as well as the path proposed by the WSPR proponent.

    I can just imagine what other “interesting facts” are revealed.

  107. Don Thompson says:


    Sky News Australia

    Ah yes. Byron Bailey, Mike Glynn, and Professor Charitha Pattiaratchi.

    Easy to predict where that tale is going.

  108. David says:

    @Don Thompson. There is little likelihood that aviation safety will gain from finding the wreckage, in my view. If so, aside from possibly helping solve a mystery, the principal purpose of a new search would be to help with closure for some next-of-kin.

    However a premature search would increase risk of upsetting next-of-kin more generally should that then fail.

    What might alleviate that would be for Malaysia to project the next search as the first of a series, if needed, as succeeding searchers come forward or are found. Needless to say though, such a campaign is unlikely.

    With this as context and going to the merits of the TV show, the publicity gained by this and others might well increase the pressure and inducement for a new search to be conducted shortly.

    That could be seen as premature stirring or alternatively useful, quite irrespective of what theories are discussed by the shows. In any case I see search area selection being up to the judgement of potential searchers, with an eye to Bayes, and TV commentators having little influence on that.

    That said, while searchers’ selections will not suit all advocates, few would be able to say that search of what they see as low priority areas will be certain to fail: that search might be ‘successful for the wrong reasons’. Besides, a by-product of failure is that it increases the prospects of searching in other areas, in the Bayesian sense.

    Even so, for my part since there are serious uncertainties about all theories, and risk alleviation such as that above by Malaysia is unlikely, I am seeing a new search as too risky in net and enthusiasm in the media for a search now as premature.

  109. Victor Iannello says:

    @David said: There is little likelihood that aviation safety will gain from finding the wreckage, in my view.

    That’s true if the aircraft was diverted by the captain. I think that is the most likely scenario by a long shot, but others disagree.

    Even so, for my part since there are serious uncertainties about all theories, and risk alleviation such as that above by Malaysia is unlikely, I am seeing a new search as too risky in net and enthusiasm in the media for a search now as premature.

    It might be that an organization with resources chooses to conduct a search independent of Malaysia. Other than Ocean Infinity, one possibility is the team assembled by ex-Google executive Alan Eustace, who is intrigued by the MH370 WSPR-tracking theory while surprisingly admitting he has no basis for accepting its validity. That said, the technology his team is developing has numerous technical hurdles to overcome, so I’d say the timing is uncertain.

  110. TBill says:

    I am struggling with the thought that only unknown mechanical failure justifies finding the aircraft, aside from NoK closure. I would defer that question to former NTSB Greg Feith.

    As far as premature searching, in one sense, not finding the aircraft in an area is productive by process of elimination. One problem though is people want to think the probability of finding during a search is say 50%+, so to some extent we have to be overly optimistic to justify the search. For MH370, this is exacerbated by Malaysia asking for proof of likely finding before they can justify a search. In the case of MH370 that is really not a realistic expectation.

  111. Gwyn Griffiths says:

    Thank you for asking me to comment on this article.

    I am a radio amateur with a experience of analyzing WSPR spots. I’ve found your article to be technically sound (within the limitations of the free space propagation model you have used) and I agree entirely with your conclusions.

    A few points on your section “WSPR Background”
    1. The mode is also used at LF and VHF and above. Important to note VHF as one can see the characteristics of bistatic radar in action quite easily on WSPR traces.

    2. A WSPR transmission is not 2 minutes but 110 seconds. This is important because the gap gives us the opportunity to estimate noise at the same frequency and within seconds of a WSPR path. A presentation on this topic is available at

    3. Any assumption by others that noise level does not change significantly should be challenged most strongly. A quiet site will show diurnal changes as noise level will be determined by propagated-in noise. If the site is not quiet, one is at the mercy of variations in local noise sources. I have not seen evidence that others have sought information from VK1CH on their local noise environment at the time.

    More general comments.
    4. Any serious analysis should set out the (long) list of well-established factors that can give rise to minute to minute and hour to hour fluctuations in SNR over such a path. This list would have factors that affect signal and those that affect noise. The scientific approach would be to rule these out, one by one, before suggesting that the extraordinary was the root cause.

    5. Any serious analysis should be extremely careful not to fall into the trap of setting up a circular reasoning argument at the very start. The second map at falls into this trap.
    It presents the reader with a fait accompli. It needs to show all paths from HB9CZF at this time, including to VK3DXE and JH1GYE. It should use those paths to illustrate the areal coverage of the signal from HB9CZF over South East Asia. Superimposed should be the positions of all aircraft over that region at that time (e.g. from Forward scatter does not result in a laser-like forward beam. The hypothesis of an anomaly from aircraft scatter should include all aircraft within that area.

    6. Setting the threshold for an anomaly is up to the author, and the repercussions of a threshold on probability of detection / probability of false alarm needs to be set out clearly. My own plots of HB9CZF to VK1CH spots over 7-9 March 2014 at
    suggest that if the anomaly level was set at -20 dB there would be a need for an explanation as to why there were 70 other ‘anomalies’ above this level. As one can see in the histogram, there really were some outliers, but not at 17:16 on 7 March.

    7. The VOACAP propagation modelling tool at has an option for WSPR and has smoothed sunspots going back at least as far as 2014. It is far more pessimistic than your free space calculation. On my reckoning the 1 W direct path from HB9CZF if both stations were using verticals over good ground, would be -172 dBm, that is, 2 dB above thermal noise. I have insufficient information as to determine why the actual WSPR SNR is so good.

    Gwyn Griffths

  112. Victor Iannello says:

    @Gwyn Griffiths: Thank you so much for your comments on the blog post.

    For others that are not familiar with Gwyn’s work, he has published on the topic of noise levels for WSPR spots, including this paper from July 2019.

    Some comments to your comments:

    1,2: Thank you. I’ll modify the text to be more precise.
    3: The WSPR proponent claims he is using the deviation (rather than some threshold) of S/N to detect anomalies, where that deviation is over some period of time during the day of the spot of interest, as well as the data from other days before and after the spot of interest. Of course, as you have shown, there is nothing “anomalous” about this spot.
    4,5,6: Agreed.
    7: Certainly this shows a limitation in VOACAP propagation predictions.

    Thank you again for your willingness to objectively critique the WSPR-tracking claims and for contributing to the discussion here.

  113. sk999 says:

    R.E. Gwyn’s “… probability of detection / probability of false alarm …” I peformed just such a study on one of the alleged “validation tests”, the results of which can be found here:

  114. Victor Iannello says:

    @sk999: That’s an excellent analysis, and illustrates the flaw of confirmation bias to falsely link events when there is no demonstrated causation.

  115. Gwyn Griffiths says:

    I concur with @Victor that this is an excellent analysis.

    Do you know of anyone that has done this as a double blind experiment as in the best medical trials? That is, working only from the WSPR data and its ‘anomalies’, to infer the locations of the Orion?

  116. ALSM says:

    @sk999: Nice work. More proof that WSPR data contains no information about 370. As if more proof was needed.

  117. Victor Iannello says:

    @Gwyn Griffiths: The proposed WSPR-tracking methodology requires a known position and performance estimates of the aircraft. Then, “anomalies” (however that is defined) near the aircraft are identified and selected based on a match between the aircraft position and the expected performance, and the process continues in order to construct a path.

    With the amount of information that is required to start the calculation, it would be difficult to design a double blind test that introduces no selection bias, especially since airliners at cruise altitudes tend to follow published airways, as well as standard departure and arrival routes at the starts and ends of flights.

    At the very least, the proponent needs to define his “anomaly” criteria, and show that the anomaly is present as the aircraft passes the propagation path, and is not present when no aircraft is in the vicinity of the propagation path. As you’ve shown (and others have shown in different ways), for the “WSPR detection” of MH370 at 17:16 UTC, the WSPR signal is not “anomalous” by any objective measure we can define.

    Instead of explanations to reconcile the proponent’s results with the results of others, we get more layers of obfuscation, even when the most basic questions are posed, with claims of increased transparency in the future.

  118. David says:

    @DrB. What might reduce uncertainty is your flotsam drift study. Is there progress with that please?

  119. DrB says:


    The drift study is complete, after almost two years of effort. I am pleased with the results. The prediction precision of the Point of Impact (POI) is a fraction of a degree in location along the 7th Arc. This has been demonstrated in a series of non-blind, partially blind, and blind tests. Numerous refinements were made during the course of the algorithm development, taking advantage of new insights as our understanding of the problem improved over time. I believe our results are as good as can be done using the 86,400 trial tracks computed by CSIRO using BRAN 2015. We use the arriving dates of trial drifters, at 17 unique locations where identified MH370 debris were found, to predict the POI. Shortcomings of previous work on this problem were identified and overcome. The POI is to the east of the LEP, as expected from the Boeing simulations. It lies in an area where the probability of the aerial search finding floating debris from there is very low.

    We are currently in the process of defining a recommended search area based on (1) our previous Last Estimated Position (UGIB 2020), (2) the POI predicted by this drift study, (3) an assessment of the random and systematic errors in both location predictions, and (4) a more accurate determination of the Boeing simulation POIs given the confidence we have in knowing the track bearing at fuel exhaustion.

    Once the recommended search area work is completed, we will have our lengthy paper reviewed by several persons who are knowledgeable in the topics covered. Their comments, criticisms, and suggestions will be incorporated as appropriate. The final step is for Victor and I to post our paper here.

  120. David says:

    DrB. Progress indeed.
    Thanks for the update and outline of its potential.

  121. airlandseaman says:

    Two days ago the WSPR advocates posted a paper claiming to demonstrate that a couple of contemporaneous WSPR spots detected the February 3 launch of a Falcon 9 from Kennedy Space Port. The following paper shows why there is no merit to these claims.

  122. sk999 says:


    The article and paper by the advocates were quite entertaining. The front-page photo of the SpaceX launch is actually a stock photo of an earlier Falcon heavy launch, not the Starlink launch with a generic Falcon 9 rocket. To be honest, a Falcon 9 launch is not very impressive – it looks like a skinny telephone pole with a Zippo lighter at the end. I’ll take the Falcon heavy image any day.

    The track was not quite as you drew it, but not much different. At the time of the 1st alleged WSPR detection, the 2nd stage was tracking east of the Bahamas, still gaining speed and altitude, but below the horizon of both WSPR stations. It later passed over the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic. (All this comes from a graphic shown as part of a SpaceX video of the launch ). At the time of the 2nd alleged WSPR detection, the spacecraft was, indeed, over the S Atlantic off the coast of Argentina as you show. In neither case was the satellite close to the great circle path between the TX and RX.

    The frequency drift of both alleged detections was 0. Quite amazing. I calculated the Doppler shift for the 1st detection to be over +400 Hz, kicking the scattered signal clear out of the WSPR band. Physics seems not to be a strong point of the advocates.

    And after all that excitement, 40 of the 49 satellites on board either have or are expected to deorbit prematurely due to the effects of a geomagnetic storm.

    The insertion altitude at the time of 2nd stage burnout was 210 km (according to SpaceX). That is about the divide between the F1 and F2 layers during the daytime. When Yuri Gagarin orbited the earth in 1961 in Vostok 1, his perigee was 183 km and his apogee was 327 km, which meant that he oscillated up and down through the entirety of the F region. Interesting that the F region is also the domain of low earth orbiting satellites.

  123. Victor Iannello says:

    @airlandseaman, @sk999: I’m sure there is some very complicated explanation as to why the obvious is not true.

  124. Don Thompson says:

    @sk999 wrote “To be honest, a Falcon 9 launch is not very impressive

    True, but every launch is much celebrated by the SpaceX acolytes.

    A few hours were spent, yesterday, collating the background data for Falcon launch #140. Amongst all the noise was a useful software project that scrapes the altitude and velocity telemetry, by OCR, from frames of the SpaceX launch livestreams. The speed over the ground was derived from that data. Considering the velocity of the launch vehicle, the results are sufficiently accurate.

    Falcon launches #135 on 2022-01-06, #137 on 2022-01-19, and #140 on 2022-02-03 all launched southeast (east+53.2º) so as to take advantage of calmer open water for first stage drone ship landings and fairing capture.

    While collating the relevant WSPR data it was, again, apparent that the WSPRnet database contains a proportion of garbage. The grid location for the transmitter callsign (TI4JWC) used in this most recent worked example of the Falcon 9 launch was misreported by 7 different receivers during the period since 2022-01-01 until yesterday.

  125. sk999 says:

    I have detected another launch using the same two stations:

    3763584764 TI4JWC FY5KE 2022-Jan-01 18:18 23 0 0 28.126207 3461
    3763710122 TI4JWC FY5KE 2022-Jan-01 19:18 23 2 0 28.126171 3461

    Exact same SNR pattern (0 and 2 dB), power (23 dBm) and drift (0 and 0) on Jan 1, 2022 at 18:18 and 19:18 UT. Funny, there is nothing listed on the launch schedule for that date.

  126. airlandseaman says:

    I should have noted that the raw Falcon9 velocity and altitude data used in my short paper above was mined by Don as described above. Many thanks for doing that Don.

    The ground speed was derived by first computing the vertical speed from the altitude time series, and then the ground speed component from the vector velocity and vertical speed. The ground speed was then integrated up to 18:22 (end of data) to get the location at 18:18 and 18:22. From that point, the second stage and payload were essentially at orbital velocity, so the location at 18:38 was easily computed.

  127. Victor Iannello says:

    @sk999: Clandestine launches producing exactly the same data. That’s rich.

    You should alert Geoffrey Thomas. It is another demonstration of the tremendous value of GDTAAA.

  128. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    I have spent quite a lot of time over the past few days looking into the claims reported by Geoffrey Thomas that “Dr. Robert Westphal and Mr. Godfrey have now detected and tracked Qantas flight QF64 on 26th January 2022”. As expected those claims are demonstrably complete and utter nonsense. Here are a couple of the key points.

    The very first thing to note about the reported claim that WSPR/GDTAAA “detected and tracked Qantas flight QF64” is that the exact location of the the target aircraft at the time of said detection and tracking is not known. It simply beggars belief that anyone could claim to have successfully tracked a target when they don’t know the actual location of the target to compare with their results.

    For those who have not yet read the actual write up by the author of GDTAAA, at the time of the purported detection and tracking, 20:56 UTC and 20:58 UTC, the exact location is not known publicly as the aircraft was then not in range of an ADS-B receiver. Regards the position of QF64 at that time all we have are the flight’s published route and location estimates published by Flightradar24 and Flightaware. Of note but unsurprisingly, the GDTAAA locations do not match any of the three published sources. The difference between the GDTAAA fixes and the other three sources ranges from 160 – 415 kilometres. Further, there is a 9° track error between the GDTAAA tracking data and the published flight route.

    How exactly the wrong locations and the wrong track passes for detection and tracking is anyone’s guess (and, of course, that’s what GDTAAA is Guessing, Doodling and Tracing …).

    Regards Dr Westphal’s claims, he and the author of GDTAAA take different approaches. Dr Westphal looked at the Doppler-shift in WSPR signals received by VK6QS, an amateur radio station in Perth, Western Australia. All of the transmitting stations referenced by Dr Westphal – namely W4ERJ at Aiken, South Carolina, W0QV at Bethesda, Maryland, NI5F at Graceville, Florida, KD4OTA at Cumming, Georgia, and K4RHG at Naples, Florida – are on the east side of the United States. The direct short-paths from the five US transmitters arc their way to the receiver in Perth, Australia initially across either the mid- to southern continental US or the northern rim of the Gulf of Mexico before crossing the Pacific Ocean and then mainly crossing the north-eastern Australian seaboard and then continental Australia (the path from K4RHG crosses the south-eastern Australian coast and traverses the Great Australian Bight to reach Perth).

    Dr Westphal claims to have “detected” Qantas flight 64 at 20:56 UTC, 26 January 2022 when the aircraft was over the Southern Indian Ocean, some 340 kilometres east-north-east of the Kerguelen Islands and some 3,900 kilometres from the receiving station in Perth. Notably, the aircraft is not on any of the “long paths” between the transmitters and the receiver. Further, Dr Westphal can not produce either direction or range data from the purported “detection”.

    Dr Westphal makes no effort to explain how or why the Doppler-shifts observed in the received signals relate to an aircraft over 2,000 nautical miles past the receiver. There are literally hundreds of other large aircraft within 2,000 nautical miles of that receiver at that time. Why, for instance, aren’t those Doppler-shifts the “detection” of Singapore Airlines flight 478 on its way from Singapore to Johannesburg? SQ478 is a similar size aircraft to QF64 and is a similar distance from the Perth receiver as QF64.

    Moreover, there are hundreds of large commercial aircraft on or near the direct short-paths between the transmitters and the receiver. For reference, at the time of the purported “detection” it was mid-afternoon in the US and early morning on the east coast of Australia. The skies near the US transmitters, along various segments of the propagation paths, and where the paths to the receiver cross the Australian coastline are full of commercial flights. Why aren’t those Doppler-shifts artefacts of perturbations much closer to the transmitters?

    It is a complete nonsense to suggest that perturbations observed in the received signals were related in any way to QF64, leave alone that they constitute a “detection”.

  129. Don Thompson says:

    More examples, if really needed, that whatever ‘GDTAAA‘ is detecting, it is not what is purported.

    Recent SpaceX Falcon 9 launches. An SVG file, browsers should open & display this satisfactorily.


    One really has to wonder why this spectacularly fallible technique has not been demonstrated for aircraft operating over readily trackable routes rather than the many obscurant exercises.

  130. Nils Schiffhauer says:

    Hi – the new “paper” (“WSPR detecting FALCON”) is really entertaining, to say but the least. They give no mechanism of how “it” worked. (There would be an enhancement if the receiver was located in the mere dead zone of the transmitter, and when the FALCON sees both, it sheds some scattering onto the receiver. Best imagined under marginal HF propagation, difficult to imagine under excellent conditions.) They don’t understand anything about HF propagation, and its dynamic over time. It is a miracle why a Radar engineer like Dr. Westphal lends his name to such charlatanry. I asked him, getting no answer. And [that] website seems to be open only to claqueurs, not to a scientific discussion. It is a shame for amateur radio. 73 Nils, DK8OK

  131. Victor Iannello says:

    @All: I have been away while comments from Mick G. and Nils S. awaited my approval. Those now appear above.

  132. Victor Iannello says:


    It’s clear that the WSPR proponents reject the abundance of evidence and analyses that appear on this site and elsewhere proving incontrovertibly that their claims of WSPR detection of aircraft (and a spacecraft) over long distances are false. Additionally, they demonstrate that they really don’t understand the physical phenomena (and underlying equations) they use to justify their results. The result is layer upon layer of obfuscation without answering the most basic of questions.

    Since information appearing on this site is dismissed, my recommendation is that they collaborate with true experts that can correctly perform the expected SNR and the expected Doppler calculations, and can critically evaluate the observed data that they say supports their claims.

    That said, the media seems to not care about scientific accuracy, so there is little incentive for them to improve.

  133. Victor Iannello says:

    With input from Don Thompson, Chris Pockock of AIN writes “Latest Aid in Search for MH370 Discounted”.

  134. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: You may not have seen that Don Thompson has obtained some ADS-C data which indicates that QF64 was exactly following the flight plan at times 20:19 UTC and 20:24 UTC.

    To suddenly deviate from the (known) position at 20:24 UTC to hit the proposed GDTAAA position at 20:56 UTC would require a change in course and a reduction in groundspeed from >600 knots to around 384 knots. That is very unlikely.

    With the new ADS-C data, we can be quite certain that GDTAAA failed to detect QF64.

  135. sk999 says:

    I conducted the following test using the methods of GDTAAA. First, I extracted all links on Jan 26, 2022 at 20:46 UT that cross through the map area – these are shown in Figure 1. All of the links that pass near the GDTAAA position at 47.31S, 78.65E are included. Next, I randomly threw a dart at a map of the region and used the methods of GDTAAA to see if I could detect it as well. The results are shown in Figure 2. I believe that this exercise demonstrates the power of GDTAAA. (Apologies for the poor quality of my cartoons – not my expertise.)

  136. Victor Iannello says:

    @sk999: An interesting exercise, despite your lack of expertise in cartoonography.

    @Don Thompson: It seems the WSPR proponent is questioning the veracity of your ADS-C data. The proponent is also having trouble reconciling the two ADS-C position/times with the expected groundspeed. Unfortunately, the proponent does not understand that when speed is calculated from timestamps reported to the nearest minute, that calculated speed will only be accurate to 20% over a timestamp interval of 5 minutes. This is basic stuff…

  137. Nils Schiffhauer says:

    Hi, and sorry for another entry. I stated that the proponents of the “WSPR/Aircraft Scatter” theory don’t know much about HF propagation. In a today’s blog entry on my home page, I write about my experiments of oberserving the level of one station over four consecutive days, and correlate their data. Yes, also with real aircraft scatter. And, yes, also with the famous 110-seconds’ chunks of SNRs …:
    The occupation with this mumbo jumbo has also its good: one comes on new ideas … 73 Nils, DK8OK

  138. Don Thompson says:

    @Victor, concerning tracking of VH-ZNG, operating QF64 from JNB to SYD, 2022-01-26.

    It appears that it is beyond the knowledge of certain GTDAAA proponents that some flight following sites on the WWW use satcom ADS-C messages to provide tracking beyond the range of terrestrial ADS-B, Mode-S, and MLAT capabilities.

    At present a network of volunteer ‘earth stations’ receive Classic Aero satcom transmissions and feed ADS-C derived position reports to flight following sites.

    Using these ADS-C derived position reports, extracted from a flight following website, I plotted VH-ZNG’s progress on 2022-01-26, as per comment above.

    During the segment of the flight illustrated VH-ZNG was ‘contracting’ with Johannesburg Oceanic FIR, FAJO, to provide ADS-C reports. It would later have signed-on with Mauritius, FIMM, and eventually Melbourne, YMMM.

    The ADS-C reports ceased at 20:24UTC because shortly after that time VH-ZNG executed a handover from the Inmarsat Classic Aero EMEA Ocean Region to APAC Ocean Region.

    During late January the volunteers suffered a prolonged outage with their APAC site, hence VH-ZNG’s progress ceased after the Ocean Region handover. The volunteers APAC site is now operational again. To be clear, this was not an Inmarsat network issue, rather it only affected the volunteer satcom receiver network and their downstream feed to flight follower sites.

    Below, the ADS-C position reports for VH-ZNG/QF64/2022-01-26:


    A short video animation of tracking indicating the source of data (not time acccurate).

    While the above information was extracted from a flight following website, I have recently acquired a full SATCOM message log so as to correlate with the flight following site’s position reports to ensure they match – they do.

    Given that I have the ADS-C reports for the 2022-01-22 QF64 service operated by VH-ZNG and its flight plan, the limited flight following provided by FlightAware and FlightRadar24 is superfluous. As is any information, such as GDAS, that has been used to contrive a specious position that is 90NM off planned track only 33 minutes later. The ADS-C reports are unambiguous.

  139. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: You’ve proved your points. Your ADS-C data is valid, QF64 was following the flight plan, and GDTAAA once again FAILED to track the aircraft.

  140. George G says:


  141. Victor Iannello says:

    What’s even more sad (or as I prefer to think about it, amusing):

    Some people have no shame.

  142. Peter Norton says:

    If WSPR-tracking of MH370 is a sham, how is it possible that Geoffrey Thomas wins international awards ?

  143. Victor Iannello says:

    @Peter Norton: It’s incredible what people get awards for.

    For those unaware, here is what Peter is referring to:

    It seems the ATSB also has an interest in WSPR tracking:

    If the ATSB collaborates with the DSTG as it has in the past to define the search area, experts like Neil Gordon will quickly drill down to the truth.

  144. Andrew says:


    The Daily Telegraph story is behind a paywall. The following story by Ellen Ransley was published today on several Australian news sites:

  145. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: I was able to reach the Daily Telegraph article through this tweet:

    Perhaps this will work for others.

  146. Andrew says:

    Thanks Victor – that worked!

  147. 370Location says:

    ATSB Statement on Mr Richard Godfrey’s analysis of the location for missing aircraft MH370

    The Australian ATSB has not put out a media release about MH370 on its website since 2018 – nearly four years now. Their responsibilities in the search ended in 2017.

    Notably, the ATSB statement is using the word “credible” in relation to Godfrey based on his past contributions, while disavowing any actual assessment of the WSPR method. News reports with preview access to an upcoming SkyNews Australia documentary are quoting the ATSB chief Angus Mitchell:

    ‘Mr Mitchell said while he didn’t want to give false hope to families, Mr Godfrey’s research is “credible”. “(But) whether it’s credible enough to track an aircraft remains to be seen,” Mr Mitchell told Sky News.’

    ATSB is allocating resources toward reviewing data for the area already searched around Godfrey’s candidate site.

    Previously, the ATSB would privately call upon experts for independent analysis before any media release, which they do say is forthcoming. Experts in RF theory and WSPR who have examined the many claims of unconventional physics and validation attempts behind the method for finding MH370 have nearly unanimously dismissed the approach.

    There is a broad call for the search to be resumed, with hopes it will be based on “credible new evidence” as the threshold stated by Malaysian officials.

    (also a pending Reddit r/mh370 post) — Ed Anderson

  148. Victor Iannello says:

    ATSB Statement on WSPR Tracking of MH370

    The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has not had a formal involvement in any search for the missing aircraft MH370 since the conclusion of the first underwater search in 2017, has not recommenced a search for the aircraft, and notes that any decision to conduct further searches would be a matter for the Government of Malaysia.

    “The ATSB is aware of the work of Mr Richard Godfrey and acknowledges that he is a credible expert on the subject of MH370, but the ATSB does not have the technical expertise to, and has not been requested to, review his ‘MH370 Flight Path’ paper and workings. As such the ATSB cannot offer an assessment of the validity of Mr Godfrey’s work using WSPR data,” said ATSB Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell.

    “The ATSB does acknowledge that Mr Godfrey’s work recommends a search zone for MH370, a significant portion of which covers an area searched during the ATSB-led underwater search,” Mr Mitchell continued.

    “When the ATSB was made aware that Mr Godfrey’s zone incorporates an area of ocean surveyed during the ATSB-led search, out of due diligence the ATSB requested Geoscience Australia review the data it held from the search to re-validate that no items of interest were detected in that area.”

    The ATSB expects that review to be finalised in coming weeks, the results from which will be made public on the ATSB’s website.

    “The ATSB acknowledges the importance of locating the aircraft to provide answers and closure to the families of those who lost loved ones,” Mr Mitchell said. “The ATSB remains an interested observer in all efforts to find the missing aircraft.”

    Mr Mitchell reiterated that any decision to conduct further searches for MH370 would be a matter for the Government of Malaysia, and that the ATSB was not aware of any requests to the Australian Government from Malaysia to support a new search for the missing aircraft.

  149. Don Thompson says:


    For the avoidance of doubt.

    Sky News Australia TV documentary promoted by (Australian) Daily Telegraph and (Australian) web properties. All, ultimately, owned by News Corp Australia.

    A maxim was coined in the IT industry, believed to have gained widespread acceptance from its use in Microsoft: “eating our own dog food”. It inferred that belief and confidence in one’s own products could be demonstrated by the entire organisation slavishly consuming whatever old tripe was produced. Hype over substance.

  150. David says:

    @Victor. ’60 minutes’ Australia will broadcast again on MH370 this coming Sunday 20th, the show commencing at 2140 AEST.

    Dr David Griffin of the CSIRO has been interviewed, among others.

  151. David says:

    Erratum. 2040 vice 2140

  152. Victor Iannello says:

    @David: I doubt that David Griffin will comment on WSPR tracking, even if pressed.

  153. Victor Iannello says:

    On a somber note, a Pilatus PC-12 (N79NX) with eight people, including four high school students, went down off the Outer Banks of North Carolina, on Sunday. The weather at the time was low ceilings and light rain. Juan Brown (blancolirio channel on YouTube) has an interesting episode on the tragedy (other than Juan’s lack of Foreflight skills in pulling up the details of special use airspace).

    My wife and I were planning to fly to Beaufort, NC, on Saturday and back to Roanoke, VA, on Sunday. With the poor weather conditions forecast for Sunday, I opted to make the trip by car. That proved to be a good decision, as the airport in Beaufort we were going to use (Michael Smith, KMRH) was the destination for the Pilatus.

    My condolences to the family and friends of all aboard.

  154. Victor Iannello says:

    The new headline: “MH370 breakthrough as hunt for jet is RESTARTED after bombshell tech pinpoints ‘EXACT’ location eight years on”

    Some people have no shame.

  155. TBill says:

    Sorry to hear the details about the Pilatus PC-12 (N79NX) with eight people, including four NC high school students. I had only heard a brief news story about a small plane down, that did not give any details about the nature of the flight or occupants.

  156. Peter Norton says:

    I was unable to follow the discussion for a couple of months.

    May I please ask:
    What emerged from the discussion here as the most likely reason(s) for the SDU log-off and subsequent re-logon ?

    And on that topic:
    Is it possible that one pilot was locked out by the other and he then accessed the E/E bay and cut the power (left bus?) to try to open the cockpit door? My understanding is that the door can still be locked from the inside manually, so that attempt may have failed. The pilot in the cockpit may then have depressurized the cabin. Once it was “safe”, he entered the cabin about 1 hour later and restored the power, hence the SDU relogon.

    Is this a viable theory or disqualified for technical reasons ?

  157. Peter Norton says:

    Oh, sorry for the mix-up:
    The person in the E/E bay would flip circuit breakers (not the left AC bus, which would be disabled from the cockpit). Correct?

  158. sk999 says:

    I am confused. In the article written by Geoffrey Thomas, he says that he has won an “Aviation Media Award”, but if you look at the picture at the bottom of the article, the name of the award is actually “Aerospace Media Award – ASIA” and is limited to journalists in the Asia and Asia-Pacific region. Separately, there are “Aerospace Media Awards” without regional restrictions, which will be presented July 17th in London. For those, nominations are still open (deadline Apr 1), so if someone wants to nominate Geoffrey once again (same category), there is still an opportunity to do so.

  159. Don Thompson says:


    There are no restrictions on nominations, nominees for the journalism award categories can be a self-nomination or nominated by third parties. All nominations should be for work published between March 2021 and March 2022, closing deadline for nominations is Friday 1st April 2022.

  160. Victor Iannello says:

    Trailer for 60 Minutes Australia episode on MH370:

  161. Victor Iannello says:

    @Peter Norton asked: What emerged from the discussion here as the most likely reason(s) for the SDU log-off and subsequent re-logon ?

    I’m not sure we reached consensus. One possibility is the left bus and left transfer bus were de-powered to disable the CVR, and were later powered to write-over whatever incriminating evidence was recorded before the CVR was disabled. I’ll add that some believe the captain incapacitated the first officer using the axe that is kept in the cockpit. Of course, this is all speculation.

  162. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    @ VictorI
    “ some believe the captain incapacitated the first officer using the axe that is kept in the cockpit.”
    Wow, an axe-wielding mass-murderer?

    Some people have no shame!

  163. Victor Iannello says:

    @CanisMR: It’s true that axe-wielding mass murderers have no shame.

  164. TBill says:

    @Peter Norton
    Hi Peter. A recent new learning for me is that MH370 had a CMCS system *Central Maintenance Computing System” (per SIR p49/51) that was apparently capable of real-time ACARS transmission of fault conditions, according to one pilot following MH370, probably including faults likes Transponder off. This tends to suggest another need to intentionally cut ACARS transmissions for the hijack theory, and for the accident theory, tends to suggests mechanical failure case is weaker case since no ACARS real time messages were received.

  165. TBill says:

    Well that leaves quite a bit of room for 60 Minutes USA to tell the truth.

  166. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: At this point, MH370 is a mild curiosity more than anything for most people in the US, and nothing 60 Minutes could use to generate ratings.

  167. Peter Norton says:

    @Victor Iannello said:
    “One possibility is the left bus and left transfer bus were de-powered to disable the CVR, and were later powered to write-over whatever incriminating evidence was recorded before the CVR was disabled.”

    Thank you, Victor. This is a very logical and plausible explanation.

    @TBill said:
    “MH370 had a CMCS system *Central Maintenance Computing System” (per SIR p49/51) that was apparently capable of real-time ACARS transmission of fault conditions, according to one pilot following MH370, probably including faults likes Transponder off. This tends to suggest another need to intentionally cut ACARS transmissions for the hijack theory”

    Thank you, TBill. Ok, but ACARS can be deselected relatively easily. This “would have been automatically captured in the Earth Station log” (ATSB final report, Appendix B, page 3), but it’s doubtful the pilot could have known this, no?

  168. Peter Norton says:

    I forgot to add: “Ok, but ACARS can be deselected relatively easily without depowering the SDU“.

  169. TBill says:

    @Peter Norton
    That was a good 2017 past discussion. If we should have expected real time messages from ACARS either Deselect or Transponder off, then the SATCOM was was probably depowered before approx 1721 before IGARI.

  170. ST says:

    Read this last night and there seems to be nothing simple about this –

  171. Victor Iannello says:

    @ST: There is consistent conflation of the following two questions:

    1) Does WSPR work at long distances? (Of course it does.)

    2) Can WSPR signals scattered off of aircraft be detected when the aircraft is far from either the transmitter and receiver? (The physics says no, and the observed data also says no.)

  172. Don Thompson says:

    Note the source for the report published at Free Malaysia Today

    A tweet from the Ministry of Transport, Malaysia. That is, ‘Ministry of Transport‘, not AAIB-MY.

    The MOT will be consulting the ATSB following the conclusion of its review.

  173. TBill says:

    @Victor @DonT
    OK good that’s what I’ve been asking for…the WSPR advocates need to see if Malaysia, Australia, and OK let’s add China, USA, Inmarsat, Boeing, IG agree that WSPR has merit for tracking MH370. Among other things, the WSPR analysis implies all of those groups were wrong and misled the public about the reported radar/satellite MH370 flight path up the Malacca Straits.

  174. ST says:

    @ Victor – Thank you for your concise summary above on the capabilities of WSPR. One of the good things coming out of this seems to be a review by Geoscience Australia of the images they already have from the prior search. This is something you had advocated for though not for the precise location. Maybe while searching for anything that was missed in review of these images in the area advocated by WSPR proponents, some detail that was missed before comes to light and helps bring resolution.

  175. Victor Iannello says:

    @ST: There are others that are also reviewing the previous sonar data, especially near the UGIB LEP. A review of existing data is not worthy of a news story unless you are desperate to make news.

  176. Paul Smithson says:

    Can you elaborate, Victor, on who is reviewing which data covering what area?

  177. Victor Iannello says:

    @Paul Smithson: I don’t know exactly what is under review, but I know it includes the vicinity of UGIB LEP. That’s all I can say.

  178. Paul Smithson says:

    Tks for response

  179. Paul Smithson says:

    New documentary on Netflix that might be of interest to readers here. Downfall: the case against Boeing.

  180. Peter Norton says:

    If all of you agree that WSPR can’t track MH370, then why is there so much discussion about WSPR even here on this blog ?

  181. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Ianello

    Regards There is consistent conflation of the following two questions:

    1) Does WSPR work at long distances? (Of course it does.)

    2) Can WSPR signals scattered off of aircraft be detected when the aircraft is far from either the transmitter and receiver? (The physics says no, and the observed data also says no.)

    You can add a further question to that. Even if you accept that WSPR signals scattered off of aircraft can be detected when the aircraft is far from either the transmitter and receiver, there’s the further and not so inconsequential matter of discrimination, thus

    3) Can WSPR signals that have been scattered off of aircraft be isolated such that they can be uniquely associated with just one aircraft?

    I’m guessing that as we are looking at about 110 seconds worth of information being simply averaged and recorded as single pieces of data, the answer to that must be a resounding no.

  182. DrB says:


    One can detect aircraft using the Doppler frequency shift to segregate the aircraft signal from the direct-path signal. Then you have a shot at detecting a somewhat fainter signal because they are at different frequencies which can be resolved. For example, an aircraft flying along the RF path at 400 kts produces a Doppler shift of 14 Hz at 20 MHz. In some cases the Doppler shift will be smaller (a few Hz). However, if the Doppler changes significantly during the 110 second transmission, the demodulation software won’t be able to track it and the contact won’t be successful. So far, I have not seen an example of an aircraft detection at a long range from both the transmitter and the receiver with a received frequency offset (called “drift” in the WSPR data base) larger than the nominal station drifts of typically +/- 1 Hz. If one saw, for instance a frequency offset (drift) of 3-6 Hz for a station which otherwise (before and after, without aircraft present) showed a frequency within +/- 1 Hz, then that would be an anomaly worthy of further investigation (to see if there was an aircraft present with a ground speed and track which produced a Doppler shift matching the WSPR “drift” parameter).

    The lack of understanding by the WSPR proponents of the huge Doppler shift of a rocket was on grand display when they claimed to have tracked a Falcon rocket launch when using zero frequency shift. The Doppler shift in this case was so large that the Doppler-shifted frequency was completely outside the 200 Hz band assigned to WSPR, making a WSPR detection impossible. Their claim of tracking a rocket with WSPR is just more rubbish (i.e., confirmation bias).

  183. airlandseaman says:

    The Falcon 9 would not only cause a large Doppler shift outside the range of the WSPR receivers (and a high rate of change in the Doppler), the Falcon 9 was nowhere near the WSPR Tx-RCV line at either 08:18 or 08:38 when the “proponents” claimed that it was detected (SNR spikes). Pure nonsense.

    All: In case you missed it, here are the details:

  184. airlandseaman says:

    typo correction to above: Times were 18:18 and 18:38, not 08:18 and 08:38.

  185. Victor Iannello says:

    @Peter Norton asked: If all of you agree that WSPR can’t track MH370, then why is there so much discussion about WSPR even here on this blog ?

    This is one of the few places where there is an informed technical discussion of the claims. New claims merit new analyses to test those claims. Upon examination, not one claim of using WSPR data to track aircraft (or spacecraft) has proved to be true.

    It’s also fascinating to see how media and other organizations cover something we know to be false.

  186. ventus45 says:

    I wonder – is “Multi-Static-WSPR” possible ?
    I presume that it is possible that an individual WSPR signal transmission could be reflected off an aircraft in multiple directions.
    Thus it could be received by multiple receivers.
    Assuming that is true, could a search of the WSPR database identify such instances ?
    Is the encoding of the transmission such that each transmission is uniquely identifiable ?
    If so, could it then be possible to determine the point of reflection ?

  187. sk999 says:


    Yes, a WSPR transmission bouncing off an aircraft will be scattered in multiple directions. While multiple stations could “receive” the transmission, in the vast majority of (if not all) cases it would be way too weak to be detected by the WSPR software. Even if it were strong enough, you would need to be able to distinguish it from the direct path signal that goes from the transmitter to the receiver directly and bypasses the aircraft and which would be way stronger unless blocked for some reason, such as curvature of the Earth, a mountain, whacky ionospheric conditions, etc. However, if the aircraft is moving fast enough, then the scattered signal will have a significant Doppler component, and the scattered signal might be distinguishable from the direct signal. That was my idea as posted previously.

    The encoding of the transmission, combined with the time of transmission, is probably uniquely identifiable. What is not uniquely identifiable is the aircraft that the signal bounces off of.

    So given all of the above caveats, supposed you had multiple receivers detecting both the direct and the scattered signals such that you also could determine the Doppler shift, and you were certain that only one aircraft was at issue, could you triangulate on the aircraft (what you call the “point of reflection”)? Possibly yes. However, if you only had meaasurement of S/N ratio and frequency drift to work with (no Doppler), then probably no.

    Here’s the problem in a nutshell. What is the area subtended by an aircraft relative to the area of the surface of the earth? In round numbers, that is also the strength of a signal scattered off MH370 relative to the direct path signal between a WSPR transmitter-receiver pair at the time that the plane disappeared. In round numbers, there is a loss of 100 dB. That is why detecting aircraft with WSPR is basically impossible.

  188. Mick Gilbert says:


    G’day Bobby, thank you for that explanation. When you look at the recorded Drift data for the various WSPR spots used by Dr Westphal and the author of GDTAAA recently for their (non-) “detection” of QF64 circa 20:56 – 20:58 UTC 26 January, there is nothing remarkable except for the K4RHG – VK6QS connection used by Dr Westphal. That has a Drift of -4. However, when you look at connections from K4RHG to all other stations at that time there is high negative drift recorded almost universally; average = -3.5.

    In fact, connections from that transmitter all seem to feature high negative drift values all of the time. I don’t know if that has anything to do with where the station is located. It is in Naples, Florida and sits less than 500 metres from a large electrical substation and about 3 kilometres from the local airport, effectively on the extended centreline for runway 23/05. At the time of the transmission used by Dr Westphal, two aircraft flew essentially overhead the transmitter at relatively low altitudes; a Cessna CitationJet landing at Naples and a Super King Air heading for Marco Island, just to the south.

    Any old how, the point that I was raising earlier was not so much can an aircraft be detected using WSPR rather can any such “detection” be isolated such that it can be uniquely associated with just one aircraft. This point has been addressed by Steve above.

    To cite a recent practical example of this, many of the receivers for the seven WSPR spots used by the author of GDTAAA for the recent QF64 non-detection are close to airports, in many cases large, busy airports such as Stansted, O’Hare, Dulles and Vancouver International. Despite earlier protestations that “Radio amateurs do not locate their antennas under the take off and landing flight paths of major airports” the author seems to have a happy knack of finding spots involving radio amateurs who have done just that. A case of not getting the memo, I guess.

    So, one might ask, in the case where you have four commercial aircraft within 40 nm of the receiver, one of them actually crossing the extended short-path propagation line “behind” the receiver, to the extent that any perturbation of the received signal is noticeable, how do you associate that with any particular aircraft? And if you were going to associate the perturbation with any aircraft, wouldn’t it be the one just 25 nm away rather than the one 3,700 nm away?

    Separately, what effect would a transmitter that is at altitude and that is also in motion have on the WSPR connection/quality of captured data? Asking for a friend.

  189. Peter Norton says:

    > Victor Iannello:
    > Upon examination, not one claim of using WSPR data to track aircraft
    > (or spacecraft) has proved to be true.
    > It’s also fascinating to see how media and other organizations cover
    > something we know to be false.

    Emotionally I kind of get the fascination (I think).

    But from a scientific point of view:
    You have already scientifically proven that WSPR-aircraft-tracking is a sham. So why does this sham merit further examination (scientifically speaking)?

  190. TBill says:

    @Peter Norton
    If you are following the MH370 WSPR website and Geoffrey Thomas’s articles, periodically including recent weeks, they announce that they have performed definitive “proof of concept” tests on WSPR tracking of aircraft. When that happens, readers of the blog want to know if the new test results are now accepted and if IG/others now accept successful proof of WPSR to track MH370, and if not, why not? At this point it is becoming predictable that the answer is “no”, but as long as definitive claims of success keep being made to press, there remains a need to respond to the claims.

  191. ventus45 says:

    Thank you for the explainer.

  192. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Peter Norton

    See Brandolini’s Law

  193. Victor Iannello says:

    60 Minutes Australia video:

    Some people have no shame.

  194. Peter Norton says:

    @TBill: ok, you are right. Your argument has convinced me.

    @Mick Gilbert: re Brandolini’s Law: Agreed, but one has to wonder whether the Streisand effect doesn’t make the effort (to, quote, “refute the bullshit”) counterproductive, because it amplifies what it seeks to refute.

  195. Victor Iannello says:

    @Peter Norton: For the most part, our audience is not the general public. Rather, we have technical discussions amongst ourselves, and inform and influence those that have the authority and resources to solve the mystery. I don’t think we amplify false information through our efforts. In fact, to the general public, we are obscure.

  196. DrB says:


    To clarify, there are two parameters in which the Doppler-shifted frequency of a reflection from an aircraft might be detected using WSPR – the frequency parameter and the drift parameter.

    The Doppler shift will generally be time variable. The time variation would show up in the drift parameter, which is the received frequency slope in Hz/minute. Of course, an aircraft at long range or flying at a low ground speed might have a Doppler shift which is relatively steady over a 110 second WSPR transmission period. If the drift is near zero, then you can’t identify that “spot” as an aircraft reflection using just the drift parameter. Large drift values, with magnitudes of greater than about 3 Hz, would indicate either a rapidly drifting transmitter frequency or an aircraft reflection of a stable transmitter frequency. One can distinguish between those two possibilities by looking at the time series of observed drift values. A transmitter with an unstable frequency would show large drift magnitudes for many transmissions, both before and after the spot in question. An aircraft reflection could generally be present in only one or two spots recorded by the same receiving station with similar Doppler drift. Another method would be to compare the drift values measured at multiple receiving stations for the same transmission. A drifting transmitter frequency would be indicated by all receiving stations. The Doppler variation of an aircraft reflection would cause the drift values to be different at those stations receiving the aircraft reflection than those stations receiving the direct-path signal. Therefore, a good test of the presence of an aircraft reflection is a markedly different drift value for one station compared to other receiving stations which would not be detecting an aircraft reflection. Of course, one needs to check for actual drift in each receiving station by comparing its reported drift values for many of its spots with other spot reports of drift using the same transmitting station(s) but different receiving stations.

    Identifying spots which are due to aircraft reflection could also be done by comparing the reported frequency over time. It’s too bad the WSPR message does not include the intended transmission frequency, but this is unnecessary for WSPR’s intended purpose. The Doppler shift is simply the difference between the measured and transmitted frequencies. Since we don’t know the intended transmitted frequency, we can’t tell if a single spot is Doppler-shifted using only the measured frequency parameter. However, if we have a time series of measured frequencies at one receiving station, or even a spatially diverse set of measured frequencies for the same transmission observed at multiple receivers, we could, in principle, determine the Doppler shift. Suppose the time series of measured frequencies at one receiving station showed a flat baseline before and after the spot in question. The presence of a frequency anomaly in the middle of the time series (with that central frequency being shifted up or down, or even both over a few transmissions) could be caused by an aircraft reflection. This technique could be used to identify potential aircraft reflections for both the frequency and drift parameters in the WSPR spot reports.

    You asked: “Separately, what effect would a transmitter that is at altitude and that is also in motion have on the WSPR connection/quality of captured data? ”

    The answer depends on the frequency, the aircraft ground speed, changes in the aircraft bearing, and the angle between the aircraft ground velocity vector and the direction of the reflected signal to the receiving station. For high frequencies and/or high speeds toward or away from the receiving station, the Doppler shift could be so large that the aircraft signal could be shifted completely outside the WSPR detection bandwidth of 200 Hz. Then no spot would occur. At low frequencies and/or low ground speeds, the Doppler shift could be within the WSPR band. Then spots could occur for steady aircraft tracks. Aircraft turns during the transmission might shift the received frequency outside the 6 Hz bandwidth used to decode each 110 s transmission. Then no spot would occur due to excessive drift.

  197. George G says:

    You wrote: “frequency outside the 6 Hz bandwidth”. Is that a 6 or 8Hz range ?

  198. DrB says:

    @George G,

    The WSPR frequency shift keying modulation scheme uses 4 frequencies separated by 1.48 Hz. Thus the total bandwidth used for demodulation is 4 bands, each of which is 1.48 Hz wide, for a total of close to 5.92 Hz instantaneous receiver bandwidth.

  199. DrB says:

    The French Space Command has approved my request to analyze the Pleiades 1-A satellite images. I plan to search them for candidate aircraft debris. The initial French and Australian analyses located several very large objects. No candidate debris were reported which were similar in size to the flaperon or smaller. It’s possible there is too much clutter due to breaking waves and sun glitter to reliably detect objects, like the flaperon and other MH370 floating debris.

    It is also possible that the aircraft point of impact was sufficiently farther up the 7th Arc such that no MH370 debris are in these Pleiades images.

    I plan to begin the Pleiades analysis once Victor and I publish our paper with our prediction of the POI based on the CSIRO predicted drift tracks.

  200. George G says:

    @DrB Thank you for your explanation.

  201. Tom says:

    Please note that if you read the recent statements by the Malaysian MOT and the ATSB carefully, you will notice that the MOT writes

    “The Ministry of Transport Malaysia (MOT) acknowledges that the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is reviewing documents produced by British aeronautical engineer Richard Godfrey”

    while the ATSB states

    “The ATSB does not have the technical expertise to, and has not been requested to, review his ‘MH370 Flight Path’ paper and workings.”

  202. Victor Iannello says:

    @Tom: I think there is some confusion about what Australia is reviewing. The ATSB has asked Geoscience Australia to review the subsea data, including the area around the spot identified by the WSPR proponent. The ATSB does not have the expertise to assess GDTAAA. However, Australia’s DSTG does, whether or not they have taken on that task.

  203. Tom says:

    I have been in touch with Richard and he has removed his attack against me from his blog.

    Could you please remove the last two sentences from my post above?

    Thank you.


  204. Victor Iannello says:

    @Tom: Sure.

  205. Peter Norton says:

    @Victor Iannello: thank you for explaining your point of view

  206. Leon says:

    Victor Iannello,
    I was one of the volunteers looking for flight MH370 using satellite images from Tomnod. On their map 65649 I saw more than 6 scattered objects on the water surface. This was on, or before March 14, 2014 I gave feedback to Tomnod like they were requesting during this search. Yet here we are all these years later.

  207. Victor Iannello says:

    @Leon: What were the coordinates of the objects? As you know, there is a lot of floating debris on the surface of our oceans.

  208. Peter Norton says:

    Is Richard Godfrey still part of the IG ?

  209. Victor Iannello says:

    @Peter Norton: I am only aware of one person that was asked to leave the group, and that was years ago.

  210. Mick Gilbert says:


    Thanks for those explanations, Bobby, much appreciated.

    My question about the moving transmitter relates to one of the spots used by the “physicist” author of GDTAAA in his recently claimed (non-)detection of QF64. One of the 20:56 UTC spots was AB5SS – VK4EMM. In reviewing the spot I went through my usual routine of pulling up the registration data for each radio amateur involved and pulling 48 hours of spot data to get a sense of the distribution of SNR, Drift and Frequency.

    AB5SS started ringing alarm bells right out of the gate. The operator is registered by the FCC to a Houston, Texas address but the tx_loc was in the middle of the south-western Pacific Ocean. Moreover, the 48 hour data showed that the tx_loc was moving. After a bit more research I found that AB5SS routinely launches solar-powered micro-transmitters on helium balloons. The tx involved in the 26 January 20:56 UTC spot had been launched 12 days prior from Texas. It travelled eastward eventually coming down on 30 January some 2,000 km off the west coast of Nicaragua. Around the world in 18 days … nearly. Fascinating really.

    Of course, using a moving transmitter to supposedly pinpoint an aircraft on the other side of the world raises even more questions than those usually associated with this electromagnetic homoeopathy nonsense. Trying to determine what exactly constitutes an SNR or Drift anomaly when you don’t have a decent baseline was just one of the manifest issues.

  211. Bruce W says:

    The term ‘electromagnetic homeopathy’ is entirely appropriate – it is unfortunate that this pseudo-scientific hokey-pokey continues to get airplay including the recent Australian TV broadcast referred to above.

    The discussion above points to the many absurdities in the WSPRnet/MH370 analysis. At the very simplest level it is astounding to see reliance on a 2d raytrace (Proplab) through a monthly median ionosphere (IRI).

    Richard Godfrey makes reference to the Inmarsat data but does not make reference to the detailed analysis of that data undertaken by scientists in DSTG Australia. The degree of rigor applied in that study is in marked contrast to the analysis of the WSPRnet data. The report can be found on the ATSB web site – an excellent read.

    Bayesian Methods in the Search for MH370
    Sam Davey, Neil Gordon, Ian Holland, Mark Rutten, Jason Williams

    Presents a unique insight into the Bayesian calculation of the search zone for MH370. Written by members of the MH370 search team.
    Contains a tutorial description of available data allowing readers to work out their own solutions

    ISBN: 978-981-10-0378-3

  212. Victor Iannello says:

    @Bruce W: Welcome to the blog.

    Most readers of this blog are very familiar with DSTG’s Bayesian analysis, both its strengths and weaknesses. I hope that DSTG is available to critique the WSPR tracking analysis and offer that critique to the ATSB. I hold Neil Gordon in high esteem.

    There is one aviation journalist in Australia that has been tirelessly promoting this, and others are following along without any technical review (I know that is a lot to ask). At one level, it is sad, at another, entertaining to see how media outlets continue to pump out horrible stories.

  213. Victor Iannello says:

    Flightradar24 is experiencing delays due to high demand from people wanting to monitor the airspace over Ukraine. Flightaware doesn’t seem to be affected.

  214. woodwei says:

    Hi, everybody, I am new to this site, and find out many think WSPR can’t find MH370. I myself am doubtful too. But I think maybe we can carry out an experiment, let a plane fly to the place in Indian Ocean where Richard Godfrey says MH370 ends, and ask him to show the path. If he can give correct path, then he may be right. This flight does not cost much, but it may prove which side is right…

  215. Victor Iannello says:

    @woodwei: Every test that has been conducted so far has failed, yet declared a success. This includes MH370 at 17:16 UTC, Qantas QF6036, Qantas QF64, and even a recent SpaceX launch. The underlying physics don’t allow it, and the observed data confirm that conclusion.

    There are experts on HF radar that have remained silent so far, some of whom have privately communicated with me. My hope is that more of them begin to publicly express their views. That said, I am not expecting any media corrections.

  216. Peter Norton says:

    A question for the satellite experts here please, in case it is answerable:

    Elon Musk tries to help by activating Starlink Internet access for Ukraine. A researcher claims this is dangerous, because these internet connections can be used as homing beacons for Russian missile attacks. Is he right?

  217. Don Thompson says:

    @Peter Norton asks about Starlink and the risk of becoming a target

    Any radio transmitter, and more so one that might have a novel emissions ‘signature’, might be marked out as a target.

    The Starlink user terminal (UT) is a flat panel, electronically beam steered, array. The UT operates in the Ku (downlink) & Ka (uplink) bands. Should an adversary maintain SIGINT surveillance over a territory then a sudden uptick in Ka band emissions from a growing number of locations might be alarming and provoke a response.

    However, the idea that there will be a massive deployment of Starlink UTs in UA is very premature. Most likely an example of the “Musk Cycle“.

  218. Peter Norton says:

    @Don Thompson: thank you for your insights!

  219. Don Thompson says:

    @Peter Norton

    You haven’t been the only person to pose that question.

    A neighbourly Tweep, in as much as he’s 15 or so miles from me, directed me to a web site that provides real-time tracking of Starlink spacecraft together with locations of active ground stations and illustrates the 7 hexagonal ‘cells’ a ground station services. The Wola Krobowska, Poland, ground station provides practically no coverage for Ukraine. The idea was, sadly, another Musk self-promotion.

  220. Leon says:

    Victor Iannello,
    I have no idea how to look up coordinates. All I have is that Tomnod map 65649

  221. Victor Iannello says:

    @Leon: In a reddit thread, Ed Anderson (@370Location) shared this file with Tomnod images and locations:

    I don’t see your image number in that file.

  222. 370Location says:

    There was a problem with that link in the Reddit thread. I edited it to change from just the old spreadsheet to make it a folder that includes some Tomnod coverage maps. Somehow Reddit updated the text of the link, but linked it to the old speadsheet. It should be fixed, or try this:

    (An upvote there would be nice. I inexplicably get downvoted.)

  223. Victor Iannello says:

    @370Location: An upvote on Reddit is worth its weight in gold.

  224. Don Thompson says:

    @Peter Norton,

    News is that Starlink is providing service over UA. It may be a case of permitting ground station antenna, located in Poland and other locations such as Turkey and Baltic States, to track satellites to lower elevations, beyond the normal, thus maintain service with User Terminals over a less than optimal area. Typical ground station deployment depicted here (note the 5 UTs also mounted).

  225. TBill says:

    I threw you some upvotes on Reddit, it’s not hard to get upvotes but its hard to protect them from the downvoters.

  226. 370Location says:

    Critique of the WSPR approach has been picked up by one website:

    The author does a concise summary of WSPR and its origins in discussions here with @Rob for finding MH370. With an audience of engineers, it is presented as a mental exercise to imagine any signal path beyond the antipode.

    The difficulty in debunking the GDTAAA homeopathic 😉 signal approach is in distilling the details of it into common sense. Null WSPR statistics appeal even less than decibel calculations. My analogies have fallen flat. I challenge everyone who realizes the obstacles to present a simple reduction of the flaws that the media and the public will understand.

  227. ST says:

    @Victor –

    Would be good to hear your thoughts on the weather analysis in link below.

    If the analysis is correct, it poses the question of the need to try to keep the aircraft safe.

  228. Victor Iannello says:

    @ST: Somebody needs to explain to Mike Glynn that the GDTAAA path is based on somebody’s guess and does not relate to WSPR data.

  229. Victor Iannello says:

    The world’s largest plane, the Antonov AN-225, was destroyed in the Ukrainian conflict. Reports say it was damaged while parked in a hangar near Kyev that was hit with Russian missiles.

  230. sk999 says:


    Regardless of the credibility of the “WSPR route”, Mike Glynn’s analysis attempts to connect various sets of weather data with what a pilot would see on his/her weather radar display, but the connection is based on wholesale conjecture, not actual data or experience. As far as predicting the existence of Cb’s, lightning strike maps might be OK, satellite imagery often exaggerates, and “GDAS data” from (ENN), well, there’s a problem.

    Mike makes the assumption that high relative humidity (RH) at the 250 millibar level in the atmosphere (roughly 34,000 feet) is a good indicator of the presence of a CB that would be seen on weather radar by a pilot flying at cruise altitude. This assumption is backed up by zero evidence, and there is much evidence to the contrary. RH of 100% at cruise altitude means that planes will leave behind persistent contrails. I have found this to be true every time. What is the correlation with CB’s? Basically none, and if anything, an anticorrelation. The atmosphere is highly stratified – what happens at one altitude may have no connection with what is going on at a different altitude.

    Mike states that ENN provides “weather data” from the “Global Data Assimilation System (GDAS)”. That is not true. First, ENN gets its data from the “Global Forecast System (GFS)”, not GDAS. The two are related, but not identical. Second, the information is not “data”, as if measured in realtime, but rather is a forecast model. The model might be able to predict the probability of CB’s, but in no way does it know about any in progress. Third, when I try to compare the RH values from ENN with the values in the actual GDAS and GFS files from the same time, they don’t match up. Not sure what is going on, but Mike might be working with flawed data.

    Finally, Mike made no comparison with the “official route” of a single FMT and a straight-line flight path south. If he had done so, I dare say that he could have found that “weather analysis supports straight line route south” as well.

  231. 370Location says:

    @ST @Victori

    Rather than avoiding cloud formations per Glynn, it appears that the GDTAAA flight path flew directly into water vapor accumulations.

    The linked METEOSAT7 image file is 48 hrs from 2014Mar7 to 2014mar8, with five frame gaps between 1900 to 2200 UTC when the satellite was eclipsed.

    The linked preview is heavily compressed. Download the original. Each frame is 30 minutes. The discontinuity midway through the sequence gives the precise timing.

    Glynn’s weather claims seem baseless, with the GDTAAA path heading directly into storm clouds rather than avoiding them.

    Look very closely at the 1830 vs 1900 captures.

    There appears to be a contrail in the Malacca Strait captured at 1830 that matches the radar info for MH370 location. The next 30 minute frame, allowing for wind shift, appears to show a continuation of the contrail, but north of the IG path and disappears (due to lower level flight?)

  232. ST says:


    Thank you for your prompt comments and detailed inputs.

  233. Andrew says:

    I came across the following briefing that might be of interest:
    Magnetic to True North: Change by 2030

    The aviation world is proposing a True North Reference system in lieu of the traditional Magnetic North system used for aircraft navigation. Modern navigation systems already work in True and convert their output to Magnetic using internal variation tables, mainly for display purposes. The problem is that variation changes with time and it has become increasingly complex (and costly) to ensure the internal magnetic variation tables are consistent across different aircraft systems; a mismatch between them can cause serious safety issues. There will be an initial cost, but it is believed that significant cost savings will be realised over the longer term, together with a safety benefit.

    Online presentation (registration required):
    ICAO TV – NAV CANADA: Magnetic to True North, Change by 2030


  234. @all

    Thank you for the challenge on the electrical power systems. Independently of the full CAPTION trajectory, I have concentrated my energy on Leg2 (from IGARI to Arc1). Indeed, there is no future in considering a battery deplating.

    Thus I took a new perspective to understand how the flight ID could have been erased before Log-on at 18h25UTC and why some Inmarsat bursts did not take place.

    I correlated the Inmarsat data with the electrical power status and with the operational sequences during MH371 and MH370 services. This led me (with a friend of mine) to elaborate the details of the scenario of leg2 powered by the RAT only.

    We are of the opinion that the “RAT only” is probably the most simple and realistic scenario and certainly the most logical. I have just uploaded the report which replaces the old Annex1. It can be found at :

    It includes new factual elements especially concerning Inmarsat data but unavoidably our interpretation in some places. It goes deeper that the discussion that took place in this blog on 2017-06-12 and following.

  235. @all
    Above, I mentioned a friend of mine, Captain Blelly ex Staff of the French Military Police of Transports.
    He has just published the results of his 4 years investigation.

    Captain Blelly’s book clearly describe his pilot’s view on the modu operandi of the hijacking that he has reconstructed from the facts and first hand documents.
    His pilots opinion is that the flight was piloted till the end. And his starting hypothesis is that the pilot took a “direct” route southwards to get “lost” with minimum traces.
    I provided him technical support for different parts of his trajectory. I have read it and to my view it is the most documented and complete analysis of a straight line trajectory.

    His pilot perspective is convincing until the very end…

    Unfortunately it is in French for now, but Victor you will deal with it I am sure ! :-). It can be ordered on different websites : Otelli Editor’s site, FNAC or Amazon.

    “MH370 La contre-enquête d’un pilote” by Captain P. Blelly – Ed. J-P. Otelli – 23 Feb. 2022

    It is worth considering ! Have a good reading.

  236. Don Thompson says:

    @Jean-Luc Marchand

    After reading page 1 & 2 it’s obvious to me you are digging yourself deeper down a blind rabbit hole. The mix of specific observations, misunderstanding, and unfounded conjecture is simply techno-babble.

  237. @Don
    Three observations after your shouting 🙂 about your fast reading of the executive summary …

    1- last time you publicly claimed clear and loud your view on the battery but privately your recognised confusing the Electrical System operation involving recharging the Main Battery…
    2- I think this time you did not read enough to see that I have corrected statements made some time ago in this blog. One example: the interpretation of the Log-on requests including 1 or 2 bursts were interpretated incorrectly at that time…
    3- Nobody had been looking at the numurous sequential loop counters included at different levels in the bursts by the protocole and translating the meaning of their behaviour, especially the holes in the sequences and/or their abnormal resets.

    In short, nobody is perfect… and people here will see what is technically factual in this report and learn from it and what is our opinion (which you are not found of, it seems…and it appears that your are throwing the baby with the water 🙂

    When reading Captain Blelly’s investigation and the proposed modus operandi of the hijacking until arc1… one will see that this piece of the puzzle will fit naturally 🙂

    Good reading for those who want to understand a little bit better the Inmarsat data.

  238. Viking says:


    Great observation of the contrail. However, the contrail does not disappear. It continues north, and shows up again intermittently in areas with favorable conditions, e.g. near the SW corner of the long Andaman island.

    I invite you to take a new look at my old solution. You will be surpriced how close it matches the contrail-segments.

    If you include information from other satellites to close the data gap during the eclipse, you can also find the contrail on its the way back (after a U-turn) in agreement with my solution. At 22:00 it reappears in METEOSAT7 data near the Malacca Strait on its way towards Christmas Island.

    I found this (and a lot more) one year ago, but have been too busy with another project to complete the investigations. The other project will keep me busy for another 2-3 months. However, if you are interestested, we could perhaps work together to complete the analysis of the contrail much faster. My limitation is access to software to convert raw satellite data to pictures. It seems like you have the necessary tools.

  239. TBill says:

    @Jean-Luc Marchand
    Thank you for putting forward some new material for the 8th anniv. Putting the RAT down at IGARI is a messy proposal, because it stays down for the whole flight and presumably impacts fuel efficiency and handling. Yet I agree it is a possible case.

  240. TBill says:

    Over on Twitter I posted a 19:40 satellite photo which I believe to be a Fengyun-3B infrared satellite picture from March 7, 2014 19:40 UTC. I agree it seems like there are some various contrails visible, but I am not the expert. I also see some possible smaller white clouds along the 180 South flight path, but again I defer to the weather experts. Vasquez is one such weather exert who used to comment on the satellite weather shots re: MH370.

  241. Viking says:


    I am positively surpriced that the Chinese satellite also shows signs of this. I actually did not check that one, since its specifications (in terms of spatial resolution) seemed to be slightly too poor. However, since the conditions for preserving contrails were exceptionally good in some parts of the area that night, it is possible that the contrails locally grew wider and therefore became visible in the Chinese satellite. Many thanks for your information.

    The pictures I mentioned above were from a Japanese satellite (Himawari-7).

    Having the signals in different satellites at the same time may be exceptionally important, since we may be able to extract the flying height by using them in a similar way as a stereo-microscope.

  242. Don Thompson says:


    1) As I wrote to you “the issue (of battery discharge-charging) is moot in the scenario where the RAT is providing power to TRUs C1 and C2.“. That is, the RAT is supplying power to CPT and F/O FLT INST buses, not the battery.

    2) The two part Log On Requests have been well understood long before today’s interjection from you.

    3) There is nothing hidden or untoward in the sequence counts of the T or R channel signalling units. The ISO-8206 SSN signalling initiated by the AES has been understood for some long time. While I agree at circa 15:42 the two SSN connections were released and re-established, that’s not bewildering. An ISO-8206 SSN ‘resume’ operation concerns flow control during an open connection; a lost connection requires a new connection, the ‘resume’ idea is baseless.

    There, you’ve had your 15 minutes (and more) of attention. Whatever you’re trying to say about the RAT, this narrative about the SATCOM exchange is nonsense.

  243. Viking says:


    I took a look at your picture. It is not likely to be from 19.40, since it is a visible picture. One must use infrared pictures at night, since the light sensitivity for these satellites is too poor to get visible signals at night. However, you are right that there are a few contrails vivible in it.

  244. TBill says:

    According to my info the photo is Fengyun-3B *infrared* satellite picture from March 7, 2014 19:40 UTC. Believe the cloud formations are consistent with 1940.

  245. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: It’s common for smaller planes to use a magnetometer for input to the Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) to determine the magnetic heading. The true track (and groundspeed) is determined from the GPS (which is converted to magnetic track through magnetic variation tables). So it would seem that even if the aviation world used true directions as the standard, the current generation of GA avionics would still need magnetic variation tables.

    Not to mention that the pilot would have to convert magnetic heading to true heading if the backup magnetic compass is used.

    I wonder what solutions will be developed.

  246. Andrew says:


    Indeed, and I expect that some segments of the industry will oppose the change, particularly operators of aircraft that use magnetometers/flux valves in their AHRS. Those operators would incur a significant cost to modify their aircraft systems, with little benefit.

    The Canadian study proposes that pilots of aircraft with simple directional gyro (DG) systems would simply apply variation to the magnetic compass heading each time they reset the DG. Similarly, pilots of aircraft that have nothing but a magnetic compass would mentally apply variation to the compass heading. Both cases would still require the use of magnetic variation tables.

    The segments of the industry that would see the greatest benefits are those that operate more sophisticated aircraft that need consistent variation data across multiple systems with internal databases. Given those segments are where the money lies, I suspect they will have the greatest influence.

    The proposal is currently the subject of a feasibility study. Canada seems to have taken the lead, largely because the rate of variation change with both time and position is so large in some parts of the country. A paper authored by the International Association of Institutes of Navigation for the 2020 European Navigation Conference noted:

    The biggest single problem in trying to implement this change worldwide would be inertia – the large number of countries involved and the difficulty of finding the will to all change at once. Some of these countries do not have a sophisticated aviation environment that could deal with this easily, and in others, such as the United States, the sheer extent of the change would be formidable and might meet opposition from a conservative general aviation lobby. A foreseeable way that it could happen would be if a single country were to file a difference with ICAO and change unilaterally. Once they had proved that it worked without problems, we might then expect others to follow progressively.

    Perhaps Canada will go it alone!

  247. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: After thinking about it a little more, the GA contingent might not really have a strong argument for opposing the change to the true north reference. The change would be a software upgrade: rather than converting true track to magnetic track, the magnetic heading would be converted to true heading using the same magnetic variation table. As for the magnetic compass, I doubt there are many pilots that still use it for primary navigation. And as a backup, most pilots use an EFB like Foreflight running on an iPad or iPhone with a moving map. The recent requirement for ADS-B out was probably a lot more expensive, although the benefit of having traffic displayed in the cockpit is a lot more tangible.

  248. Viking says:


    I was not aware that Fengyun includes several different types of satellites. Previously I only considered the Geostationary ones. The picture you uploaded is most likely from one of those in lower (polar) orbit. This is very interesting, since they have much better spatial resolution.

    I do not know where to get pictures and more detailed information, but I guess the picture you uploaded looks like a visible picture since it has converted recordings at different infrared wavelengths to (fake) visible colors. Sorry for my initial misintrepretation.

    This may actually be an excellent way to identify the initial part of contrails the first few kilometers after an airplane, where the engine exhaust is still hot.

    This opens an entirely new perspective on chasing contrails, and may allow us to find the flying direction from contrails and exclude other airplanes. For instance I found a third contrail between the northern and southern ones (from MH370?) near the SW corner of the long Andaman island in a picture from the Japanese satellite at 20.30. This may be the left-over from a (SE-bound) contrail midway between the SW tip of the long Andaman island and Aceh in your picture. If someone has access to old Flightradar24 data we may be able to put a name on the airplane. It is likely bound for Jakarta or some other place in Indonesia (or perhaps somewhere in Australia?).

    The signal you have encircled further south is also interesting. It does indeed look like a directly southbound airplane (MH370?). However, it is more fuzzy and completely without a sharp tip, so we have to be careful. It may be a fake positive cloud formation.

    Most importantly, do you have access to other pictures from the same satellite, or perhaps the picture is cropped so we can get more by uncropping it? If its rep-rate is slow this may unfortunately be the only relevant picture from that satelite, but lets hope for the best.

  249. sk999 says:

    Viking & TBill,

    The following link is an updated map of the relative humidity at a range of UTs and flight levels derived from the GDAS files. At 19:40, the plane was N of the equator in dry air (unless above FL440). The only good opportunity to catch a persistent contrail would have been about 21:00 UT when the plane passed through latitude -10. Note that clouds often display linear features that have nothing to do with contrails.

  250. TBill says:

    Thank you for the assessment that contrails unlikely at 1940, and humidity map.

    Some tips, DATA, DOWNLOAD, FY-3C(B, A), VIRR or MERSI, check all (product), select date from to March 7, 2014 leave time 0 to 23:59:59. I am not the expert on it, except I was able to locate where the image came from. Beyond quick view requires sign-up which is apparently free of charge.

  251. Andrew says:


    RE: “After thinking about it a little more, the GA contingent might not really have a strong argument for opposing the change to the true north reference. The change would be a software upgrade: rather than converting true track to magnetic track, the magnetic heading would be converted to true heading using the same magnetic variation table.”

    I agree, it shouldn’t be a major issue for those that have aircraft with ‘modern’ avionics that are largely software driven. It will be more of a problem for the operators of older aircraft that still have ‘steam-driven’ systems, including a lot of mid-size aircraft used by regional airlines, eg Dash 8, SAAB 340, Beech 1900, ERJ145. Perhaps many of those aircraft will be retired by the time the proposal is adopted, assuming it goes ahead.

  252. TBill says:

    PS- the real reason I was showing that satellite weather photo from 1940 was the smaller patch of white clouds in the bottom center of photo, which could potentially be in the path of a 180-S flight. In the past I have not assigned importance those clouds as far as causing the pilot to maneuver around them.

  253. Paul Smithson says:

    OI reported as willing to resume search early 2023 on no find no fee basis. Based on comments at anniversary commemoration event..

  254. Paul Smithson says:

    NOK event livestream link on their FB page

  255. Victor Iannello says:

    In my opinion, the only news from that event was OI’s definition of the next area to search, and their willingness to search in early 2023 (assuming other events align, including the completion of autonomous search vessels).

  256. Paul Smithson says:

    OI CEO oliver Plunkett speaks from 57:15

  257. Paul Smithson says:

    @Victor, I for one, was not aware that OI is publicly committed to proceed with search on no find no fee basis. That’s very good news and makes it a one-way bet for MY +/- search co-finders. Question, I guess, is what the “fee” side of that offer looks like.

  258. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello
    @Paul Smithson

    While the messaging from OI is encouraging, there are manifestly a lot of issues that need to be resolved before we see an AUV in the water.

    Separately, there is the proposed timing of early 2023 (Southern mid-summer, early autumn), “if not, 2024”. I recall the following forming part of the discussion on whether the FDR and CVR memory modules would be readable after an extended period off power –

    Any further thoughts on that topic from anyone?

  259. Don Thompson says:

    @Mick Gilbert,

    The Smithsonian Institute collection includes a reference to an L-3 aircraft recorder memory module. L-3, not Honeywell as 9M-MRO was equipped with. However, I don’t expect the two manufacturers will adopt significantly different storage devices.

    The L-3 memory module uses Intel 28F008SA ‘FlashFile’ memory, the semiconductor device packaging is very similar to the devices evident in Honeywell Crash Survivable Memory Units.

    Previously, we discussed E²PROM and Flash devices without resolving the differences. Most significant is that, typically, the E²PROM uses 2 transistors per memory cell and parallel data access at byte level whereas these Intel flash devices use 1 transistor and serial data access at a page level. Note also these ‘FlashFile’ devices exploit Intel’s ‘ETOX’ single level cell (SLC) NOR technology manufacturered using 800nm lithography. By today’s standards, 800nm is large, processes have been further miniaturised to the 10s of nm.

    SLC NOR technology is regarded as more reliable than NAND and more reliable than MLC (multi-level cell, where a single cell can define state for more than 1 bit). So SLC NOR flash in aircraft memory modules is good.

    My assumption is that SLC NOR memory devices such as, or similar in performance to, the Intel FlashFile components are typically used in aviation data recorders.

    Stable charge storage‘ within the cell is key to data retention. It appears the design goal is a minimum of 10 years for reliable retention. That is not to say that a cell’s electrons have all disappeared on day 3652. Briefly, charge (data) retention involves the device performance to minimise leakage, discussed at III.E here. The stable low temperature at the bottom of the ocean should help maximise data retention. I don’t believe there’s a point in time that is a ‘cliff edge’ for data loss, more a fading.

    I’d expect the module design to involve ECC codes so that it is resilient to some level of bit level corruption.

  260. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert said: While the messaging from OI is encouraging, there are manifestly a lot of issues that need to be resolved before we see an AUV in the water.

    True. OI’s autonomous vehicles need to be fully developed. Then, the “no find, no fee” contract with Malaysia would be negotiated. So I view early 2023 as a best-case scenario. And whatever search area OI thinks is most likely today can change between now and the start of the search.

    Nonetheless, OI’s publicly-declared commitment to search again (which mirrors what they have been privately saying) is a reason for some optimism.

  261. Viking says:


    Unusal statement from a former Australian diplomat may provide additional support for optimism for a new search:

  262. Victor Iannello says:

    @Viking: I find this statement particularly odd:

    But it does seem likely that he [Captain Zaharie Shah] did so with in-flight radio messages, which helps to explain the curious way the authorities at first tried to mislead efforts to search for the missing plane.

  263. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Don Thompson

    Thanks for that explanation, Don.


    That article is just a regurgitation of speculation and known falsehoods (Zahaire was not at the Court of Appeal hearing that afternoon) together with the bizarre claims about radio comms that Victor has noted. That author raised a few eyebrows some years back over his views on Tiananmen Square.

  264. sk999 says:

    Now that the WSPR “hotspot” is in the news, it seems like a good opportunity to examine the route more closely. Here’s one study on the “zig-zagginess” of the route:

  265. Don Thompson says:

    To accompany one’s reading of @sk999’s study.

  266. Paul Smithson says:

    @sk999. Nice work.

  267. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: “The Man with No Shame”

  268. 370Location says:

    @sk999, @Don’T,
    Huge Ennio Morricone fans here. 😉

    Mismatch of a 3rd order (or my 2nd order) BTO curve appears to show that the GDTAAA was ‘contrived’ to combine all of the author’s previous biases into informed 2 minute random WSPR tripwire selections. The variances from the curve are insertions of hold delay to match a conspiracy theory and more northerly site, or to match with conclusions in previous UGIA papers.

    Who are the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?

  269. TBill says:

    I am shocked.

  270. sk999 says:

    Clint’s image is taken from this clip, around to 00:45 mark.

    The context is that he is applying the scientific method. By emptying his revolver and throwing it to the ground, he has created initial conditions necessary for conducting an unbiased test.

  271. CanisMagnusRufus says:


    Q: do you feel lucky punk? Well do ya?
    My answer: yes I do!

    Could you please remind me again, but when the ground to aircraft calls were initiated after the Satcom reboot, was the hourly timer reset on the Satcom terminal on the aircraft, or the ground station/ satellite?

  272. TBill says:

    This Inmarsat “explainer” link below from March_2014 still seems to be available online.

    It says: “If no communications activity is registered, the relevant Inmarsat ground earth station then periodically sends ‘polling signals’ or ‘handshakes’ to the satellite, which relays them to the aircraft. If the aircraft is still operating, an acknowledgement signal, containing basic system information, is sent back to the ground earth station from the aircraft. This includes its unique identification code, and confirmation the aircraft satcom is still operating and available for communications, if required.”

    I defer all further questions to DonT

  273. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    @TBill … thank you.
    So if the ‘polling signal’ is initiated by the GES, then upon any new call from ground to aircraft, the hourly timer must be reset on the GES alone, not the aircraft SDU, right?

  274. TBill says:

    I defer, but it would help if you said why you are asking.

  275. Don Thompson says:

    In related news, the Ocean Infinity supported search for Shackleton’s Endurance has been successful.

    “The discovery was made at 1605 hrs GMT on 5th March, 2022, in 3008 meters of water, just over 4 nautical miles southward of Frank Worsley’s famous coordinates for the sinking.”

    The public announcement was made early this morning (UK time).

    OI deployed SAAB SeaEye ‘Sabretooth’ tethered underwater vehicles for this mission rather than the fully autonomous Kongsberg Hugin.

  276. Paul Smithson says:

    Re ENDURANCE. Such an exciting discovery. And in excellent condition!

  277. Paul Smithson says:

    “This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen. It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation. You can even see “Endurance” arced across the stern, directly below the taffrail,” explained Mensun Bound, Director of Exploration on the expedition.

  278. Don Thompson says:

    @Paul & those interested in GPS

    A Twitter user puts some detail on the interference phenomenon, useful thread.

    At this moment, aircraft in the airspace above Turkey appear to be generating ADS-B messages that indicate poor accuracy. Isn’t Lavrov visiting Antalya today?

  279. sk999 says:

    An inescapable consequence of the WSPR route is that Malaysia’s finding that MH370 continued up the Strait of Malacca after circling around Penang Island (based on military primary radar data) must be false. The WSPR route also deviates dramatically from the military radar route during the turnback at IGARI. Curiously, at all other times before 18:00, the WSPR route and the military radar track each other with remarkable accuracy.

    Once again, Clint is skeptical. This disparity demands further investigation. I have done so at the following link:

  280. George G says:


    In your linked document “gdtaaa-military-radar” you have listed three “Problematic WSPR Spots” at 18:00 UTC.

    They are spot 186134385, spot 186134326 and spot 186134302.
    You have listed them as each being “one of four candidate detections”.

    How did you determine that these were each one of the four candidate detections mentioned in the FP report. ?
    Or were you given the information ?

  281. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Having spent some time over the past few weeks looking at GDTAAA’s purported detection and tracking of QF64 between 20:56 – 20:58 UTC, 26 January 2022, I thought that I might share a few observations.

    Let’s start with the purported detection. The likelihood that the operating aircraft, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner VH-ZNG, was where GDTAAA purportedly detected it at 20:56 UTC and 20:58 UTC is effectively zero. While the exact location of the aircraft at those times is not yet public, we do know a few things about the actual conduct of the flight.

    First, we know when and where it crossed the South African coastline, at King Shaka International Airport, Durban at around 16:28 UTC. We also know the aircraft’s planned airspeed and altitude (492KTAS at FL360) and the winds at that time (275T @ 55kts). Had the aircraft diverted north of flight plan to end up where GDTAAA places it, it should have been arriving at that location some 30 minutes earlier than the detection time of 20:56 – 20:58 UTC. But, of course, there would be no logical reason for the aircraft to have diverted north from its planned route in the first place. The winds north of the planned route were uniformly less advantageous by a good margin.

    We also know when and where the aircraft crossed the Australian coastline, between Warnambool and Peterborough in Victoria at about 01:39 UTC. That represents a fairly brisk transit from Durban; one of the fastest recorded over the past couple of months, in fact. Given the winds aloft and the aircraft’s performance, it is simply not feasible for the aircraft to have been where GDTAAA placed it at 20:58 UTC and for it then to have made it to the Australian coastline in just 4 hours and 41 minutes. From the GDTAAA 20:58 UTC “fix” to the crossing of the Victorian coast is some 2,785 nautical miles point-to-point so the average ground speed required is just shy of 595 knots. Given the marked decline in the tailwind component from around 110°E all the way to the coastline, there is simply no way the aircraft could have achieved the necessary average ground speed required.

    Simply put, GDTAAA places the aircraft far too far west. Based on the winds and when the flight crossed the Australian coastline, I estimate that at 20:58 UTC the aircraft must have actually been around 250 kilometres to the east of where GDTAAA placed it.

    So, there’s that right off the bat. The purported detection and tracking is manifestly and demonstrably wrong; something that I would have expected an even cursory cross-check to have determined.

    I’ll share some observations regards the shortcomings with the seven WSPR spots used for the 20:56 UTC detection in due course. Spoiler alert: despite asserting that “radio amateurs do not locate their antennas under the take off and landing flight paths of major airports” the author of GDTAAA seems to have a unhappy knack of selecting WSPR spots involving receivers located near major airports.

  282. sk999 says:

    George G –

    Reverse engineering.

  283. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert said: Based on the winds and when the flight crossed the Australian coastline, I estimate that at 20:58 UTC the aircraft must have actually been around 250 kilometres to the east of where GDTAAA placed it.

    250 kilometers!

    What a dismal failure that is being promoted as a success.

    The man has no shame.

  284. Victor Iannello says:

    @sk999: As you say, the WSPR-generated track is at odds with the Lido Hotel image. Yet, the civilian radar data seems to align well with the targets in the Lido Hotel image, including the projection of the civilian radar path towards VAMPI.

    I find it interesting that Malaysia, through officially releasing the military radar data depicted in the Lido Hotel image, could unequivocally demonstrate that the WDTAAA-generated path is false.

  285. TBill says:

    @Victor @sk999
    Re: Malacca Straits
    I like to point out the simulator data also shows a divert to VAMPI from flight path B466, whereas B466 hits Indonesian FIR at TASEK (FS9 Map view below). I personally interpret the sim data as the apparent actual diversion plan for daytime flight MH150.

  286. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: Yes, the simulator coordinate 5N shows a track exactly towards VAMPI, as detailed in a previous blog article:

    The next is coordinate 5N, which is between GUNIP and TASEK near airway B466. The exact position suggests the aircraft has already left airway B466; the track, which can be calculated from the components of the velocity presented in the 5N data set, is 317 deg, which is exactly towards waypoint VAMPI on N571. (The value for the heading is 315 deg, which differs slightly from the track due to wind.) The altitude at coordinate 5N is 32,246 ft.

    However, what was flown in the simulation is not proof of the actual path of MH370. Officially releasing the military radar data would be much more persuasive.

  287. Victor Iannello says:

    So what is the probability that Malaysia will embrace the GDTAAA-generated path considering it implies the Malaysians have made false statements about the military radar data, and also considering that the GDTAAA proponent accuses Malaysia of withholding evidence of negotiations with the captain while MH370 was in a holding pattern?

  288. TBill says:

    According to @sk999’s paper the GDTAAA path does not simply imply the Malaysians have made false statements about the military radar data, it it more direct: per GDTAAA “I have presented evidence in my paper that questions all the Malaysian military radar trace as presented in Beijing to the Chinese next of kin. In my view, the trace has been faked.”

  289. TBill says:

    I used your digitized flight path to prepare the attached SkyVector comparison of WSPR vs. the “official” flight path in the Malacca Straits.

  290. sk999 says:


    Please be careful what you say. Your are badly misrepesenting my paper. All I said was that the GDTAAA path means that the flight path from the military primary radar data “is somehow in error,” which could have happened for any number of reasons, including some that could be perfectly innocent. It does not necessarily mean that the Malaysians made false statements (which I never said and which implies that they did so knowingly) or that the Lido chart is “faked” (implying a deliberate deception.) It is the GDTAAA inventor has expressed an opinion that the latter is the case, and I cited it as just that – an opinion – and as only one of many that doubt the credibility of that one particular slide.

  291. Bill Tracy says:

    I agree with you, I think.
    I do not feel Malaysia made false statements about the radar path, further I am not suggesting you feel that either. Rather I believe NTSB, DSTG, Inmarsat etc. are in agreement with the radar flight path to 18:22 as described by Malaysia.

    It is the WSPR advocates that argue that the “official” radar flight path to 18:22 is somehow wrong.

    If you feel I am misrepresenting, my apologies.

    Agreed there are some MH370 followers that do not trust the radar data to 1822.

  292. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    When I previously wrote that I estimate that at 20:58 UTC the aircraft must have actually been around 250 kilometres to the east of where GDTAAA placed it, I should have said “south-east”. The actual location of the target aircraft had to be both south (closer to the true great circle path) and east (closer to its destination) in order for it to cross the Australian coastline when it did.

    Now, regards the shortcomings with the seven WSPR spots used for the 20:56 UTC detection. The “physicist” author of GDTAAA offered no less than seven WSPR spots to “successfully” detect QF64 at 20:56 UTC, specifically:

    AB5SS – VK4EMM,
    EI0CF – G1MFG,
    KB8EZX – VE7BDQ,
    N4JO – W3BCW,
    SV8FET – DL2BBC,
    VA7AV – KB9LM, and
    W8AC – KD8RGJ.

    In each and every case aircraft activity near the receiver (and in one case, also near the transmitter) renders the spot data useless.

    With AB5SS – VK4EMM we have a solar powered Pico transmitter attached to a helium balloon out over the western South Pacific Ocean being recorded by a shared receiver station just to the north of Brisbane, Australia. The receiver is a three element 40m radio antenna on top of a 420 metre ASL ridge and it is optimised for reception from North America. The problem is that the receiver is not far from Brisbane airport, and, as illustrated in the accompanying diagram there are a number of aircraft proximal to the antenna while it is recording the WSPR spot. Notably, we have a Qantaslink Q400 flying directly across the purported long path less than 30 nautical miles “behind” the receiver while the spot is being recorded (the solid red line on the diagram shows the direct, short path between the transmitter and the receiver, the broken orange line is the purported long path).

    Then we have EI0CF – G1MFG; a spot from a transmitter in County Donegal, Ireland being recorded by a receiver in suburban Bedford, England. Notably, the receiver is located some 15 nm north of Luton airport and 28 nm north-west of Stansted airport, the fourth and second busiest airports in the United Kingdom respectively. Approaching 9pm local time, there are numerous aircraft in the vicinity of the receiver. In the accompanying illustration I show two flights, a Wizz Air A321 and a KLM E190, that fly directly across the purported long path, both less than 40 nm behind the receiver.

    KB8EZX – VE7BDQ; a spot transmitted from Cleveland, Ohio and recorded by a receiver in suburban Delta, British Columbia, Canada. The receiver is located about 12 nm south of Vancouver International airport, the second busiest airport in Canada. While there are a number of aircraft in the vicinity of the receiver, I show two in the accompanying illustration that might be expected to create issues for the recorded spot data; an Alaska Airlines B737-900 and an American Airlines B787-8 that flys across the purported long path some 60 – 65 nm behind the receiver.

    Then there’s N4JO – W3BCW. Of the seven manifestly flawed spots, this is probably the winner (by only a small margin) of the most egregious delinquency of scholarship award. Here we have a spot recorded by a receiver in suburban Bethesda, Maryland that was transmitted from Elk River, Minnesota. The receiver is only 16 nm from Washington’s Dulles International Airport and just 11nm from Ronald Reagan airport. Notably, the receiver sits virtually under the flight path for Reagan’s runway 15/33. The accompanying illustration shows the veritable swarm of air traffic surrounding the receiver as it started recording the 20:56 UTC spot.

    The following illustration hones in on just three of the nearly dozen commercial jet aircraft that were flying within 20 nm of the receiver while the spot is being recorded. Notably, we have a United Express CRJ-200 crossing the direct short path less than 15 nm from the receiver while an American Eagle CRJ-700 departing Reagan for White Plains flys almost directly overhead at just 2,700 feet.

    The notion that that spot data could possibly show the influence of an aircraft some 9,660 nm away is entirely preposterous.

    Crossing back across the Atlantic we then have SV8FET – DL2BBC; a spot transmitted from the Greek Island of Syros and recorded by a receiver near Lingen in northern Germany, near the Netherlands border. The direct short path between the two stations essentially carves its way from south to north across central Europe just before 10pm local time. Needless to say, there are numerous commercial flights making their way through the skies of central Europe at that time. In the accompanying illustration I show two flights of interest. One is a KLM E195 that crosses the direct short path about 22 nm in front of the receiver; the other is a Korean Airlines B777-300 that crosses the notional long path some 35 nm behind the receiver.

    Back to North America, we have VA7AV – KB9LM; a transmission from rural British Columbia recorded by a receiver in Highland Park, Illinois. The receiver is less than 15 nautical miles from Chicago’s O’Hare International airport, one of the busiest airports in the world. As shown in the accompanying illustration, there are numerous aircraft in close proximity to the receiving station at 20:56 UTC.

    Of particular note though are two aircraft shown on the accompanying illustration; a Southwest Airlines B737 MAX 8 and a Delta Airlines B737-900. Both aircraft cut across the notional long path, the nearest (the Southwest flight) only a few nautical miles behind the receiver.

    Finally, we have W8AC – KD8RGJ; the runner up for the most egregious delinquency of scholarship award. Here we have the transmitter and the receiver separated only by Lake Eire, with only 111 nm between the two. Needless to say, with Cleveland on the transmitter side and Detroit on the receiver side of the lake, commercial flights abound.

    As shown on the following illustration, there are aircraft crossing both the very short direct path (a Gamma Aviation Bombardier Challenger 350) as well as the notional long path (an Air Canada A220) together with a United Express CRJ-900 effectively flying down the long path towards the receiver.

    Further, on the other side of the lake, we have a UPS A300 Freighter passing behind the transmitter.

    Bear in mind the distances involved here. The transmitter and the receiver are only 111 nm apart; the target aircraft is nearly 9,900 nm from the transmitter.

    So, there you have it. Seven from seven, and not in a good way.

  293. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: Clearly, you don’t understand the spirit of GDTAAA. It’s never been about the math, the physics, or the observed data, as anybody that has bothered to dive into the details has discovered. Contributors here keep finding new ways to demonstrate that what is claimed is false.

    As the POI proposed by the WSPR-tracking proponent falls generally in the vicinity of what other investigators have proposed, there is little political gain for the ATSB (or Ocean Infinity) to dismiss it. The next search is likely to include that area independent of the WSPR-tracking claims.

  294. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Ianello

    Ah, thanks Victor. And here’s me thinking that logical, reasoned arguments drawing on facts and science might be useful.

    What you’re saying is that, to borrow a line from the Australian movie, The Castle, it’s all about ‘the vibe’.

  295. George G says:

    @Mick Gilbert
    Vibrant research is good.

  296. 370Location says:

    @Mick Gilbert,

    Impressive detail on those chosen WSPR spots. It of course doesn’t airliners anywhere else along the circumglobal path, because the nearest ones are enough.

    The ‘long’ path is still mind boggling, and there’s never been any explanation for it. If only it could be distilled for the media. It is effectively:

    Find the antipode of the transmitter. Do the same for the receiver. Create a mirrored antipodal path between the virtual stations. Now instead of taking the shortest radio path between the stations, force the real signal path to exactly include the virtual path in the opposite hemisphere. If that total ‘long’ path comes anywhere near the anticipated target, then assume that only the chosen target is disrupting the signal. Or, if the target is rarely between the stations, of course pick that path instead.

  297. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: Now that’s the spirit.

  298. Mick Gilbert says:


    G’day Ed, yes, it took a bit of time to go through each of the seven 20:56 UTC spots regards the actual locations of the Tx and Rx stations, determine the short and notional long paths, plot those, look at air traffic local to the Rx station for the timeframe when the spot was being recorded, pull the ADS-B data for suspect flights, plot that, yada, yada, yada. A live example of Brandolini’s Law for sure.

    Together with looking at typically 24 hours’ worth of spot data between the nominated Tx and Rx, I also looked at what other spots were recorded for the transmissions that made up the seven 20:56 UTC spots. Both investigations were instructive, the latter in particular with regards to the notional round trip distances invoked by GDTAAA.

    Here’s a summary of those findings.

    AB5SS – VK4EMM Apart from VK4EMM, only four other stations received AB5SS’s 20:56 UTC transmission. The farthest connection was 6731 km. The distance from the Tx to the target aircraft was around 12,273 km and the distance from the aircraft back to the Rx was an additional 6,652 km for a round trip of 18,925 km.

    EI0CF – G1MFG 21 other stations recorded that transmission, the farthest being just 1,241 km away from the Tx. The subject transmission didn’t make it any farther from Ireland than Denmark. Tx – target was 13,846 km, with target to Rx being 13,362 km for a round trip of 27,208 km.

    KB8EZX – VE7BDQ 54 other stations recorded that transmission, the farthest being 14,851 km (that was recorded by our good mate VK4EMM using an antenna optimised for US connections). Setting aside VK4EMM, the next farthest connection was 7,448 km. Tx – target was 18,353 km, with target – Rx being 18,368 km for a round trip of 36,721 km.

    N4JO – W3BCW 40 other stations, none outside the continental US, the farthest being just 2,553 km to the west coast. Tx – target was 19,403 km, target – Rx being 17, 883 km for a round trip of 37,286 km.

    SV8FET – DL2BBC 58 other stations, including one in the US, one in Iceland and one on Tenerife, farthest being 8,139 km. Tx – target was 10,838 km, target – Rx being 13,008 km for a round trip of 23,846 km.

    VA7AV – KB9LM 48 other stations, farthest being 4,558 km. Tx – target was 18,557 km, target – Rx being 18,831 km for a round trip of 37,388 km.

    W8AC – KD8RGJ 91 other stations, farthest being 7,409 km. Notably a handful of stations recorded the spot twice with a frequency shift of 120 Hz between the two (perhaps a power source artefact?). Tx – target was 18,326 km, target – Rx being 18,531 km for a round trip of 36, 857 km.

    Extraordinarily odd, isn’t it, that receivers purpose built to discern WSPR couldn’t record the transmissions purportedly used to “detect and track” the target aircraft at a fraction of the ranges involved. But then again, not being a Physicist maybe I don’t get the latest updates; has the Inverse Square Law been suspended recently?!

  299. 370Location says:

    @Mick Gilbert,

    The GDTAAA author is not a ham. He lacks the intuitive grasp of how difficult it usually is to make DX radio contacts.

    He cites references that each aspect of his method is possible, including long paths, no matter how improbable. The then assumes that the required combination of such things are happening at nearly every two minute cherry-picked instance.

    It’s the opposite of a dubious statistical approach used in his previous papers, where low probabilities from one aspect of drift, search, endurance, and timing were multiplied together to get nil results anywhere except his own candidate site.

    Applying that approach to WSPR leaves what Douglas Adams fans will recognize as Infinite Improbablility.

    (No offense to the other authors on those papers).

  300. Victor Iannello says:

    Mick Gilbert said: But then again, not being a Physicist maybe I don’t get the latest updates; has the Inverse Square Law been suspended recently?!

    It’s the inverse square law until the signal scatters off the plane. Then, it’s the inverse square law again to the receiver, which means the signal strength falls off as the inverse of the 4th power.

  301. sk999 says:


    The following report compares some the the properties of radar v. WSPR along with a discussion of coherent integration (CI) in general. (An earlier version was posted on a different forum.) CI is interesting because the S/N ratio increases linearly with time, rather than sqrt as is normally the case. CI is not very well described in the literature, and along the way, I came across some derivations that I think are fundamentally flawed, even though they seem to arrive at the right answer. It’s a bit technical, but any feedback is welcome.

  302. 370Location says:


    The recent GDTAAA technical report on WSPR methods for tracking MH370 does not provide any history or basis for long paths. It also lacks detail on the algorithm for SNR Normalization. So, I reverse engineered it.

    Importantly, the algorithm does not look at changes in the SNR between two stations. It is simply a global threshold.

    The spreadsheet has no formula to examine. The values are all entered as constants.

    Rx_Algo = -150 – SNR
    Loss_Algo = dBm – Rx_Algo
    Dist_Algo = Distance ^ 0.125
    Algo = Loss_Algo / Dist_Algo

    The Algo spreadsheet column is the normalized SNR. The mean and std (SD) are derived from all Algo values. The SD is used to size the window selections of how far an Algo value is from the global mean. Meaning, how well the signal is supposedly disrupted.

    The purported radar equation is out the window. It’s a red herring. There is no accounting for expected propagation path changes as in the radar equation. Cyclical daily variations in signal strength are ignored.

    The key flaw is right there in the formula. Signal strength is based on the shortest distance between TX and RX, and all the detections are made on that basis. But we know 97% of his picks are not short paths. Moving the stations farther away from the long path targets increases the expected signal strength!

    RF homeopathy is an excellent summation of the vibe.

  303. Victor Iannello says:

    @370Location: Thanks for diving in. He doesn’t make it easy to understand exactly what he is doing to arrive at his incorrect conclusions.

    Just to start, are you sure that he calculates the received signal strength by assuming a nominal value of noise (-150 dBm) and subtracting the SNR? That seems backwards.

  304. Victor Iannello says:

    @sk999: Thank you for new paper comparing conventional radar to GDTAAA, including the treatment of Coherent Integration (CI).

    A key point is that the WSPR decoder incorporates CI, and the threshold value of SNR = -30 db already accounts for CI and whatever other signal enhancement methods are used, so we can use that value directly without knowing exactly what the decoding algorithm is.

    There is nothing magic about CI. It is really nothing more than a narrow bandwidth filter, but the achievable bandwidth is limited by length of time a signal remains coherent, i.e., does not drift in phase (and correspondingly, with frequency).

    I have the following questions to help me understand your work:

    1. When comparing conventional radar with GDTAAA, it appears you used the same radar cross section (RCS) for both cases. Since the frequencies are different, and since conventional radar is backscatter while GDTAAA is potentially forward scatter, why did you use the same RCS?

    2. I believe the limitations of CI not only depend on the frequency stability of the receiver and transmitter, but also the phase distortion introduced by the skywave propagation path. I can’t imagine a situation where that overall stability is maintained over 110 seconds. Wouldn’t a more accurate comparison use a CI time closer to what is used in the WSPR decoder?

  305. Victor Iannello says:

    @370Location: If the algorithm is really what you describe, it’s many times worse than I thought. Why wouldn’t he explicitly state the algorithm in the text, since this is the crux of GDTAAA? Pages and pages of obfuscation without a clear explanation of what he (incorrectly) did.

  306. Tom says:

    “Why wouldn’t he explicitly state the algorithm in the text, since this is the crux of GDTAAA?”

    Weeks ago I had explicitly asked him for the algorithm and for what exactly he claims to be doing with Proplab Pro, but he refused to disclose that, claiming intellectual property rights.

    Then, however, it is beyond me why he would spend weeks to publish a 100 page document that doesn’t answer any of the crucial questions and doesn’t even fulfil the most basic standards of scientific publications.

  307. 370Location says:


    Ah, but SNR is subtracted twice.

    It seems to reduce down to:

    (dBm + SNR + 150) / Distance ^ 0.125

    Lots of obfuscation and hand waving.

  308. Victor Iannello says:

    @370Location: That’s still wrong. If he is trying to represent (Pt/Pr), it would be dBm – (SNR + N). With N = -150 dBm, that equals dBm – SNR + 150 dBm, not dBm + SNR + 150.

    But also, the WSPR SNR is defined relative to a noise bandwidth of 2500 Hz, but N = -150 dBm is what Gwyn Griffiths estimated to be the noise at 1 Hz.

    And the d^(1/8) normalization factor for two stations communicating via skywave has no physical basis that I can think of.

    But is he also trying to normalize a power ratio expressed in dB before converting back to a true ratio?

    WTF???!!! Can this really be as bad as it seems?

  309. Victor Iannello says:

    @Tom: Well, the uninformed will congratulate him on his work without understanding anything he wrote. As we’ve said before, this has never been about physics, math, or observed data.

  310. Victor Iannello says:

    On cue, Geoffrey Thomas continues to peddle this debacle.

    Some people have no shame.

  311. Victor Iannello says:

    @370Location: I examined the spreadsheet. I believe you correctly reversed-engineered his calculations for the “normalized” propagation loss.

    He almost certainly has the sign wrong on the SNR when he calculates the received power and also the propagation loss. That’s a very serious mistake.

    His normalized loss parameter is physically meaningless.

    He incorrectly uses the noise figure of -150 dBm when calculating the received power from the SNR by not accounting for bandwidth.

    As you say, he uses the short-path distances even when the (claimed) aircraft interference is along the long-path.

    I have no idea how he is using global means to determine anything. If that what he is attempting to do, it is yet another assumption that has no basis in physical reality.

    This is all really, really, really bad. This is why methods need to be peer-reviewed before creating media hype. This is also why none of us could replicate his incorrect results.

  312. George G says:

    “A credible and comprehensive new report”: Source, G.T. at “AirlineRatings” to which Victor has provided a link.

    Please note the “EDITOR’S Note” at the end of the article.

    I offer no further comment on the article.

  313. sk999 says:


    Answers to your questions:

    1. The comparison of radar v. WSPR was raised by the GDTAAA inventor, so only monostatic radar configurations seemed appropriate, since the inventor did not mention anything about forward scattering. The RCS is a function of wavelength, but can go either way, so I don’t think great harm is done by treating it as the same for both radar and WSPR (unless one goes below 2 MHz).

    2. The “climate paper” cites a CIT of up to 60 seconds for ionospheric coherence, but that is only applicable at HF for an OTH radar. For an L band air surveillance radar there is, of course, no skywave. The GDTAAA inventor mixes the properties of the two types of radar together without distinguishing them. Imagine that. In any case, the WSPR software has a minimum coherence time of about 0.68 sec (one tone) and a maximum of 6 sec (9 tones), at least that is how I read the documentation.


    The sign error in the SNR was noted by Gwyn Griffiths back on Oct 7, 2021 in a comment to the article published Sep 26, 2021. The response at that time was something about internal working and out of date columns and “… because of my oversight, you are trying to understand the meaningless.” In the five months since then the sign error has not been corrected, and, once again, we are asking irrelevant questions while trying to understand the meaningless.

  314. Victor Iannello says:

    @sk999: There are so many errors, misconceptions, and non-explanations that it is difficult to offer a coherent review of the paper. Even though my expectations were not high, I’m nonetheless shocked at how bad it is. There is also so little of the paper that is devoted to the actual algorithms, and there is no meaningful presentation of test results (like measurements and analysis of position error).

    I’ve communicated with Gwyn in the past, and I gave him a heads-up about the most recent paper which cited some of his work (and used it incorrectly). Without citing details, I will say Gwyn agrees with this blog article and the comments of contributors here. He was frustrated by the lack of a coherent response to his basic questions.

  315. Mick Gilbert says:

    It’s a comic book. The only possible point of contention is whether the story told is amusing.

    comic book
    ▸ n.
    a publication containing comic strips.

    ▪ comic strip
    ▸ n. a sequence of drawings in boxes that tell a fictional, often amusing, story.

  316. Victor Iannello says:

    @George G: Geoffrey Thomas claims that the proponent’s work has been peer reviewed. I’d like to see any peer reviews that supports the proponent’s work because any technical review I’ve seen has decimated his work.

  317. Tom says:

    We can probably safely assume that the term “peer reviewed” in that specific context means “has been shared with the usual suspects in the inner circle”, everybody else being regarded as a “detractor”.

  318. Victor Iannello says:

    @370Location said: The Algo spreadsheet column is the normalized SNR. The mean and std (SD) are derived from all Algo values. The SD is used to size the window selections of how far an Algo value is from the global mean. Meaning, how well the signal is supposedly disrupted.

    I have to admit that I doubted he was doing something that is on its face so incorrect, but you are right. His “anomalies” are based on the deviation of the “normalized value” (which in itself has several errors in the calculation) from the average and standard deviation of ALL 91,000 WSPR contacts from March 7, 2014 16:00Z to March 8, 2014 01:00Z !!! There is no accounting for time of day, location, or frequency. The short-path distance between the stations is included in the normalized value, but it is included in a way that is not related to any physical phenomenon.

    This is why those of us that have reviewed his work were not able find the anomalies he did. His work is completely wrong. It’s not even close to being reasonable.

    This is a blaringly obvious demonstration of media hype overtaking the facts. Unfortunately, the source of the media hype lies with one aviation journalist in Australia that was warned both privately and publicly that the work had no technical merit. His response was to dig in deeper, complain that some of us were trying to “trash” the proponent’s work as he stepped up the promotion in the media.

  319. Tom says:

    Tragic as it seems, one question remains:

    If the calculations are completely flawed, why would someone still arrive at a “flight path” that shows clearly defined patterns like holding pattern, straight course towards FIR intersection, Australia etc. rather than a totally random set of points?

    Is this all confirmation bias?

  320. Victor Iannello says:

    @Tom asked: Is this all confirmation bias?

    Yes. Including long paths as well as the short paths even when the long path is much longer than the short path (which makes it many times less likely) greatly increases the number of WSPR paths to select from. Then, defining a dubious “normalized value” results in the classification of many of those paths as anomalous. That allows one to select progressive positions that are physically realistic in terms of plane performance and other factors (such as the likely route), but may in fact bear no resemblance to the actual path. Since GDTAAA requires a known starting position, the deviation increases with time. The WSPR data adds ZERO useful knowledge, and may lead to reconstructed routes completely wrong (as we saw for QF64, in which GDTAAA predicted a non-existent deviation from the flight plan).

    Despite the claims of the WSPR proponent, GDTAAA failed to predict the position of Qantas QF6036, Qantas QF64, and even a recent SpaceX launch. It also classified the WSPR contact at 17:16 UTC on March 7, 2014, as “anomalous” due to the interaction with MH370, when in fact the SNR, frequency, and frequency drift of the contacts show absolutely no anomalous values, as presented in the article above.

    It is difficult for many people to believe that a method that was so heavily covered in the media could be so drastically wrong, but that is indeed the case.

  321. sk999 says:

    The equation for “algo” in the spreadsheet can also be written approximately as

    algo = (lossalgo/2.5 – 160*log10(distalgo) + 65)

    The dominant contribution to lossalgo is SNR; while dbm has the wrong sign, the range is not as large. Making use of the fact that
    distalgo = pow(dist,1/8), one can rewrite this equation as:

    algo = (10/2.5) * [log10(p_r) – 5*log10(dist)] + dbm(junk) + const

    where const includes the offset due to use of the wrong bandwidth for the noise floor.

    Since SNR anomalies are determined based on the sample mean and sample variance of algo, the contribution of the wrong dbm acts only as noise, and the use of the wrong bandwidth is irrelevant.

    Taking the remaining part, we see that it is a measure of the observed path loss relative to a prediction based on an inverse 5th law, not inverse square. New physics!

  322. Paul Smithson says:

    Well – thanks for that, sk999. At last someone has got to the bottom of it.

  323. sk999 says:

    Well OK, the sign of the distance term is wrong as well. Fantasy physics.

  324. Victor Iannello says:

    @sk999: Even with the correct power relationship, the method is fundamentally flawed because it assumes that the (unperturbed) power loss is a function of distance, and only distance, when in fact the skywave losses due to ionospheric refraction are time dependent. It’s presented as if the power loss versus distance collapses to a curve that can be then fit, and then the statistical deviation (caused by the aircraft interaction) can be calculated for each spot. But no such curve exists, and as a result, a high percentage of the spots are classified as anomalous.

    It’s layer upon layer of conceptual and mathematical errors.

    Yet despite the errors, reconstructed paths of high precision are claimed.

    The accuracy of a reconstructed path is solely a function of the accuracy of the biases of the individual guiding the reconstruction. It’s nothing but a guess, with WSPR tracking adding ZERO to improving the accuracy of the path.

  325. Gwyn Griffiths says:

    There are two areas in the Godfrey and Coetzee 15 March 2022 paper that refer to my work with WSPR that need additional context and correction. I will deal in separate posts.
    1. In section 3 Godfrey and Coetzee refer to a report I co-authored that was published online on the (then) KiwiSDR forum. It is available at
    Our four conclusions are correctly set out by Godfrey and Coetzee and I stand by them. However, Godfrey and Coetzee have chosen not to provide the all-important context for those conclusions. The full context is as follows:
    a) The conclusions were specific to a particular experiment where a single WSPR receiver was GPS-aided and a single WSPR transmitter was GPS-locked. The vast majority (78%) of WSPR spots received were on the exact transmit frequency resolved to 1 Hz, that is 14.097090 MHz.
    b) The transmitter and receiver were 38 km apart, just north of San Francisco Bay.
    c) Because of the GPS-aiding we could identify and quantify true Doppler shift. For an aircraft with a ground speed of 530 knots, and where the distance to the aircraft is much larger than the separation of the receiver and transmitter, the Doppler shift at 14 MHz is 25 Hz. What we saw were two WSPR spot decodes at some intervals – from the direct path with no Doppler shift and from aircraft scatter with a Doppler shift.
    d) We saw occasional Doppler shifts of over -20 Hz and + 20 Hz (Figure 7.4 in the reference above). Using the example air corridor nearest the transmitter and receiver these values of Doppler shift would be compatible with a round-trip distance to the aircraft of no more than 500 km (Figure 7.6).
    e) That distance limit was because even at less than 500 km round trip the SNR was close to the decode limit (Figure 7.4) even for a direct path not involving multiple hops from the ionosphere and ground/sea.
    Despite having quoted this paper, and having seen our estimates of true Doppler shift (not to be confused with WSPR drift rate), Godfrey and Coetzee have not included in their report any analysis of true Doppler shift from the subset of WSPR reporters and transmitters that use GPS-aided or locked equipment.

  326. Gwyn Griffiths says:

    This post deals with the calculations that involve SNR.

    As @Victor and others have noted I brought the simple sign error in the calculation of Rx_Algo to Mr Godfrey’s attention five months ago and I agree with others, it has not been corrected.

    The intention is to calculate an ‘Algo’ that does not change given a change of tx power, keeping distance constant, for which we can postulate an equivalent change in SNR, that is, SNR goes up by x dB when tx power goes up by x dBm. It is simple to show that using their equations with the sign error Algo does not stay constant. Using the correct sign, Algo does, of course, stay constant when tx power goes up and SNR goes up by the same amount.

    There is also the issue that the authors have used distance in km rather than in metres to derive Dist Algo. But that does not matter, neither does the use of correct bandwidth, as by this point there is no link between the numbers and physical reality.

  327. Victor Iannello says:

    Here are two interesting plots derived from the WSPR data between 3/7/2014 16:00 UTC and 3/8/2014 01:00:00 UTC.

    The first shows the transmitter to receiver loss using the noise level at the correct bandwidth (which simply vertically shifts all the points) and also corrects the sign of the SNR. It is seen that:

    a) The power loss falls within an envelope rather than along a curve. This is to be expected, as the power loss depends on variables other than distance, such as the time-dependent propagation loss due to refractions off the ionosphere. The loss due to ionospheric refraction will in turn vary with time and location of the transmitting and receiving stations. Any attempt to correlate loss only with distance will fail because other important effects are ignored.

    b) The lower bound is the free space propagation loss, where the propagation loss at 20 m is shown. (There are a few outliers that are likely related to data input errors.)

    c) The upper bound is due to the WSPR detection limit, i.e., the requirement that the SNR is greater than around SNRo = -30 dB for the WSPR algorithm to decode the message. The upper bound on the loss is therefore Lo(dB) = Pt(dBm) – SNRo(dB) – N(dBm). For a 5W transmitter, Pt = 37 dBm, and the upper bound is Lo = 37 + 30 + 116 = 183 dB.

    The second figure shows the loss incorrectly calculated by the WSPR proponent. Again, the loss values vary greatly at a given distance, but there are many points that lie above the WSPR detection limit. That’s impossible. The upper limit of the data also decreases as distance increases, which is also not physically realistic.

    So, the loss parameters (before and after normalization) has shown to be calculated incorrectly. Even if it had been calculated correctly, it is a useless parameter for detecting anomalous values of SNR (and by extension, for detecting aircraft) because it ignores other factors like ionospheric refraction losses that are important contributors to the overall power loss between transmitter and receiver.

    The statistics bear this out. Using the classification scheme presented by the WSPR-tracking proponent we find that:

    a) 38% of all WSPR contacts are “anomalous” with a standard deviation of 1 sigma from the mean.

    b) 85% of all WSPR contacts are “anomalous” with a standard deviation of 0.25 sigma from the mean.

    c) 89% of all WSPR contacts are “anomalous” with either a deviation of 0.25 sigma OR exhibit frequency drift.

    The large number of “anomalous” propagation paths in the vicinity of the aircraft allows one to select progressive positions that are physically realistic in terms of plane performance and other factors (such as the likely route), but may in fact bear no resemblance to the actual path. Since a known starting position is required for tracking, the deviation between the WSPR track and the true track may increase with time.

    To increase the number of WSPR propagation paths to select from in the vicinity of the aircraft, two dubious techniques are employed:

    a) Declare that propagation in the long-path direction is as likely as in the short-path direction, even when the short path is much shorter than the long path

    b) Define (and even incorrectly calculate) a meaningless normalized loss parameter that is used to classify a high percentage of the WSPR contacts as anomalous.

    In short, the WSPR data adds zero useful knowledge, and may in fact lead to reconstructed routes that are completely wrong, depending on the biases of the poor soul who is constructing the path. The fact that paths were constructed with incorrectly calculated parameters (with proponents nonetheless claiming an accuracy of 4 km is possible) is another demonstration of the futility in using the WSPR data for aircraft tracking.

  328. Victor Iannello says:

    Gwyn Griffiths: Thank you for setting the record straight about the conclusions from your work. If aircraft scatter could only be detected at distances less than 500 km round trip for direct wave, there is no hope that aircraft scatter can be detected at many thousands of kilometers and with multiple sky refractions and ground/sea reflections. That’s consistent with the calculations that some of us have performed.

    And I think most of us agree that there is no relationship between the numbers and physical reality.

  329. Tom says:

    A guy named Klaus dared to critize RG on his blog:

    Klaus on 19 March 2022 at 22:08
    “There are several reviews on the web now, and they are all very critical. Wrong math (various sign errors), wrong physics (8th root?), wrong assumptions (time independent behavior of signal ways).

    I would hope to see you can prove them wrong. I think you owe that to the next of kin.”

    His reply: a long list of people stating how brilliant his work is:

    “David: fascinating work. (12NOV2021)
    Robert: Thank you for the incredible amount of work you have put into analyzing the WSPR data to reconstruct the flight path of MH370. (14NOV2021)
    David: The truth can’t be proven wrong no matter how hard anyone tries. (21NOV2021)
    Ian: Fascinating work; great job! (30NOV2021)
    Dirk: Biggest congratulations for this outstanding success to everyone. (30NOV2021)
    John: Excellent work! (30NOV2021)
    Sam: Fascinating, and brilliant work. (02DEC2021)
    David: well done. it’s just shy of where I thought it would be. (03DEC2021)
    Jean-Luc: very interesting piece of “hell” of a work ! (06DEC2021)
    Tom: Good to see the ATSB are closely monitoring your work. (06DEC2021)
    Tait: Fantastic work Richard. (07DEC2021)
    Chee: Great work and progress Richard. (07DEC2021)”

    I have no words for this anymore.

  330. Victor Iannello says:

    @Tom: It’s not about the science, math, or observed data. As @Mick Gilbert says, it’s about “the vibe”. Or what @Nils Schiffhauer describes as “social psychology”. That comment you supplied supports this notion.

    Knowledgeable people asking informed technical questions on that site either get frustrated and leave (e.g., Gwyn Griffiths) or get banned (@Nils Schiffhauer).

    What many don’t understand is I strongly support another search by Ocean Infinity or anybody else that has the resources. And I also don’t rule out that the debris field’s location in the vicinity of what is proposed by the WSPR proponent. After all, it’s the same general vicinity of previous estimates.

    On the other hand, I believe junk science should be called out as junk science. Most contributors to this blog agree. Others feel differently, including some in the media.

  331. Tom says:

    I totally agree. Everyone who has scientific training now knows beyond any doubt that this is junk and not science. First, because the math is wrong. Second, because the behavior is unscientific.

    Good news is that apparently Ocean Infinity are planning another search anyway, and the overall search area is correct.

    Bad news is that in case of success, RG will claim it was all WSPR.

    But, then, if the plane really was to be found, who cares?

  332. Tom says:

    Who cares about WSPR and his bizarre behavior, I mean.

  333. David says:

    @Tom: Those quotes in your 9:26 am list as by ‘David’ are not by me, the only ‘David’ posting on this blog.

    I do post on the RG blog by that name but the first of those is by ‘david’, the second by’David Burns’, the third again is by ‘David Burns’.

  334. David says:

    @Tom: Another I now see he lists as by David, of 22nd September 2021, viz:”David: Amazing, can’t wait to see the actual flight track of mh370″ was not by me but, in the context of the posts immediately above it, again by ‘david’.

  335. 370Location says:


    Klaus quoted above was clearly looking for a response to critical peer reviews on technical errors. The author’s response is that GT’s spin reviews are at the top of Google searches. That’s not just a disconnect, it’s more spin.

    The author stated in his previous response to critique on his blog:

    “If you and your fellow detractors cannot contribute with some solid technical inputs, Hannes and I will tend to just ignore you and continue with something more positive in my life.”

    He also wrote that he considers any detractors in the IG or on this blog to be only “self-appointed” experts or peers. (In spite of regularly lauding for the press his own past participation in the group).

    I was originally quite hopeful that WSPR might have some possibilities for even a single detection that might delineate between path options. I held that open even when critiquing the coopted WSPR approach over a year ago. Even recently several engineers have tried to fix the errors and find some statistical WSPR evidence that might be useful in finding MH370.

  336. Tom says:

    Of course I didn’t mean to create any connection between “David” on this forum and the “David” there, I was just copying part of that ridiculous list.

  337. Victor Iannello says:

    Let’s not go down the road of assigning motivation to the numerous errors and omissions of this work, as it can be used to diminish our technical review. The reviews stand alone as devastating.

    [I redacted some parts of the previous comments so that the technical points are less likely to be ignored.]

  338. Tom says:

    Now somebody displayed a sense of humor:

    Emil Rupp on 20 March 2022 at 20:15
    @Richard, thank you so much for your outstanding work! The scientific community will be proud of you. The detractors completely fail to understand that the radar equation is rooted in canal ray and positron physics that have been described long before the age of WSPR propagation. Don’t be fooled by them. He who is able to bridge the gap between the old and the new will win, and MH370 will be found because of your discovery!

    “Rupp had falsely claimed to have carried out the rotated mirror experiment. Some fellow physicists at the AEG labs grew suspicious of Rupp when he claimed having accelerated protons at 500 kV, something he could not have the technical facilities to achieve. Rupp had to publicly retract five publications from the previous year.”

  339. David says:

    @Tom: Your 11:51 understood, thanks. Better I had sent it without an addressee.

  340. Brian Anderson says:

    Off topic I know, but while it is fresh . . .
    At the recommendation of an old coffee mate I have just watched the Netflix doco . . Downfall, The case against Boeing.

    I was reluctant because I hate watching any of the ‘crash investigations”. I am an aeroplane builder and pilot [or rather was until I decided to hang up my goggles a couple of years ago; our son was killed in the crash of a C206 22 years ago and I can assure you that there is no such thing as “closure”; I find these programs superficial and over-dramatised.

    But, Downfall kept me interested. Phew, what an indictment!

    I’m astonished that the Chairman & CEO during the investigations was given a $62M payout when he resigned. I know Boeing suffered a very heavy fine too, but I wonder what compensation might have been paid to the the families of the victims. The program was silent on that.

    Boeing’s culture and attitude through the investigations and enquiries makes me wonder if the same problems have inhibited the ability of investigators to extract useful information from Boeing relating to MH370.

  341. Victor Iannello says:

    @Tom: I’m not a big fan of a comment submitted under false pretenses, even if it is obviously satire. In this case, it diminishes the scientific evidence that WSPR tracking does not work as claimed.

  342. Mick Gilbert says:

    China Eastern Boeing 737-800, B-1791, operating as flight MU-5735 from Kunming to Guangzhou down. Departed controlled flight from around 29,000 feet (likely top of descent) and impacted the ground roughly 2 minutes later about 119nm west of Guangzhou. Video footage shows a large object, could be the intact aircraft or may just be the fuselage, travelling straight down prior to impact. Unburned wreckage items being photographed away from the main impact.


  343. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert. Yes, it is tragic. Fortunately, the FDR and CVR will likely be recovered, and we should be able to determine the cause.

  344. haxi says:

    @Mick Gilbert,

    This is truly tragic. So heartbroken seeing it going straight down…

  345. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    Article written by Douglas Murray in the NYPOST about the Biden nominee for SCOTUS, and her handling of the MH370 case from the perspective of the US NoK.

    Disclaimer: I don’t share the politics of the author

  346. Victor Iannello says:

    @CanisMR: It would be interesting to get the opinion of a disinterested, apolitical legal analysist as to whether the ruling of the SCOTUS nominee was out of the ordinary.

  347. Mick Gilbert says:


    The tenuous link to the matter of MH370’s disappearance notwithstanding, I recall then US District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson making a number of plaintiff friendly rulings on matters relating to NOK claims against MAS and Boeing, not the least of which was her May 2017 motion to compel Malaysia Airlines to disclose any evidence it had of third party involvement in the disappearance of MH370 after they had claimed same as part of their defence.

    A somewhat less emotive summary of her Forum Non Conveniens ruling regards MH370 can be found here –

    On Forum Non Conveniens

    In re Air Crash Over S. Indian Ocean, 352 F. Supp. 3d 19 (D.D.C. 2018), aff’d sub nom. In re Air Crash over the S. Indian Ocean on Mar. 8, 2014, 946 F.3d 607 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    In a relatively straightforward application of the forum non conveniens factors, Jackson held that the multidistrict litigation over the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in 2014 should not be held in U.S. courts. Jackson reached this conclusion after noting the accident’s location near Malaysia and the long investigation by Malaysian authorities. These factors established beyond a doubt the nexus between the incident and Malaysia, notwithstanding the interests of many other countries in the case. Trial in the United States was held to be inconvenient, and the case was dismissed.”

  348. TBill says:

    @CMR @Mick
    If I recall correctly, Mary Schiavo and the other lawyers were attempting to hold Boeing liable for mechanical issues, for which there is no evidence. I personally felt the legal case would have been closer to the central issue if the case had challenged cockpit security issues in the fundamental aircraft design. The Malaysian version of the court case never seemed to move forward.

  349. sk999 says:

    R.E. NY Post article, it is styled as “Opinion”, which, in this case, means that it is pure spin, playing on people’s emotions and letting underlying facts get lost in the process.

    I am no legal analyst, but I have read various legal filings in several cases, e.g. the Germanwings lawsuit against the flying school where Lubitz learned to fly. When it comes to aviation incidents involving multiple countries and jurisdictions, there is no single right answer.

    Here is Judge Jackson’s opinion:

    In a nutshell, the plaintiffs’ alleged that, because all other causes could be ruled out, it must have been Boeing’s fault. The judge said, great, but all the evidence that rules out all other causes is in Malaysia, so go there first.

    (There was also an appellate review, but it basically concurred with the District Court.)

  350. Don Thompson says:


    In case of TL:DR, here’s some detail of the prior cases that led to the multi-district litigation (MDL). Not all sought action in respect of product’s liability.

    The complaints in these matters can generally be grouped into two categories. First, there are cases that assert claims under the Montreal Convention against the defendant airlines—Malaysia Airlines System Berhad (Administrator Appointed) (“MAS”) and Malaysia Airlines Berhad (“MAB”)—and/or their insurers, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE (“AGCS SE”), and Henning Haagen, an officer at AGCS SE. Second, there are cases that assert common law wrongful death and products liability claims against airplane manufacturer Boeing, including claims based on a res ipsa loquitor tort theory.

    Forty two cases were brought in the US, and subsequently wrapped into the MDL. See here


    When it’s possible to go straight to the original documents for the courts cases, why bother with the distortion of the middleman?

  351. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    @Mick Gilbert
    FdC mentioned in her book that in the early days of the MH370 saga, the White House was calling the Malaysian leadership ‘every day.’
    Given what was happening back then in Ukraine, and the intimate role played by the current occupant of the White House, then and now, in what’s going on in Ukraine, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the whole coverup of MH370 was initiated by someone from the same ‘overlapping’ administrations. If this is indeed the case, a ‘quid pro quo’ offered to KBJ would not be out of the realm of possibilities.

    Anyways… FdC may be right after all about 2 AWACS flying in ‘formation’ over the S.China Sea at the time of the disappearance of MH370, because that is how they operate, at least sometimes. According to Geoffrey Thomas, 2 RC-135’s have been flying in formation near Ukraine, soaking up and geolocating SIGINT.

  352. TBill says:

    The opinion on the surface appears to be an impressive piece of work.

    I noticed a couple of things: President (Obama) promised US help finding aircraft, which seems to me unused resource by Malaysia…”the President of the United States promised these plaintiffs, families of the relatives of MH370, in English and Chinese, that the United States of America would do ‘all we can to help in the search efforts to find the plane that carried your family members[.]'”

    Also there is mention of France having open criminal litigation, but I did not see USA having open criminal investigation, which was FBI argument for not releasing classified MH370 data under the Freedom of Info Act.

  353. Don Thompson says:


    FdC is very unlikely to “be right about two AWACS flying in ‘formation’ over the S.China Sea at the time of the disappearance of MH370″.

    The March 2014 air forces exercise with which FdC conflates the presence of “American AWACS” aircraft did not involve the deployment of American AWACS aircraft. That function was provided by the RSAF with their Gulstream CAEW aircraft.

    An ‘AWACS’ aircraft is not an RC-135. The former is surveillance and C² whereas the latter is a SIGINT platform.

    For some time prior to, and now during, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine NATO, Armée de l’Air, and USAF E-3 Sentry aircraft have been operating around the borders of Ukraine as have USAF and RAAF RC-135s, ItAF Gulfstream CAEWs, USAF Global Hawk UAVs, and a whole host of other aircraft.

    As I have suggested, try primary sources, rather than questionable interlocutors.


    The specific reference to FR criminal litigation mentioned in ‘MDL Docket No. 2712’, referred by @sk999, involves the AF447 accident: 760 F. Supp. 2d 832,.

    In the case of MH370, French NoK requested and was granted an investigation for possible criminal or terrorist action by the Paris prosecutor’s office. US citizens have opted for civil actions in pursuit of damages and compensation.

  354. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: Do we have any updates on the French investigation? It seems that if they were going to uncover any new information, we’d know about by now.

  355. Mick Gilbert says:


    You lost me at “FdC”.

  356. Viking says:

    Yesterday, I was informed from sources in China that the first black box found from MU5735 was the CVR. Today this information is corroborated by some Western news agencies:

    I think it is still not 100% certain, but I presume many of you are eager to hear more news about the terrible accident.

  357. Victor Iannello says:

    @Viking: Many of us have been following this story. Whatever the cause, it is important for aircraft safety that we understand the scenario. While the CVR will give us insight compared to what we know now, it is important that the FDR is also recovered and analyzed. I hope the Chinese allow complete access.

  358. Viking says:

    I agree that the FDR is most important. Fortunately, it looks like China is open about the case, but covid19 restrictions may still give some problems as discussed in the link.

    If you have ever walked in a forrest in Southern China, you will know that it is an entangled mess, where a machete is the most important tool, so I expect it may take a couple of days to find the FDR. In particular since it is also the rainy season in the area.

  359. haxi says:

    The CVR has been sent without any delay to a Beijing lab. Data retrieving has already begun, although it’s too early to say its memory is entirely intact. Searching for the FDR is still ongoing.

  360. Don Thompson says:


    I have no knowledge about any recent updates from the Paris Prosecutor’s Office nor the Gendarmerie des Transports Aériens.

  361. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: Thanks. I couldn’t find anything, but your web sleuthing abilities exceed mine. I think if anything of any significance had been uncovered, we’d have heard about it.

  362. haxi says:

    According to Xinhua news agency, the FDR of MU5735 has just been recovered.

  363. Victor Iannello says:

    @haxi: That’s good news. Hopefully the Chinese will allow full access of the FDR and CVR to aviation safety officials, including foreign nationals.

  364. Victor Iannello says:

    I see that Gwyn Griffiths is not being respectfully treated by the WSPR proponent. There is no doubt that there is a sign error in how SNR is used to calculate the received power, as many people here have observed. I’ve shown in a previous comment how this mistake produces results that are not physically plausible. Rather than acknowledging and correcting the mistake, we are left with more long-winded obfuscations.

    There appears to be fundamental misunderstandings of not only the underlying physics of aircraft scatter of radio waves, but also the algorithms employed by WSPR for decoding signals, and how that relates to the threshold SNR of around -30 dB. That’s too bad, because some the “detractors” have run experiments in which WSPR signals scattered off aircraft have been detected, and these “detractors” understand the limitations of using this phenomenon for tracking aircraft. None believe that MH370 can be tracked using WSPR signals in the way proposed.

    Then of course we have some that wouldn’t know an equation from an elephant chime in that the WSPR proponent is under attack. In fact, it’s the methods and false claims that are under attack. Junk science should be called out as junk science, even if the results roughly align with other results that are based on more solid methods.

  365. Peter Norton says:

    Wikipedia now claims WSPR can find MH370:

  366. Victor Iannello says:

    @Peter Norton: That’s a demonstration of how complete rubbish can gain credibility if repeated often enough.

  367. George G says:

    China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 descent
    from Reuters Graphics

  368. TBill says:

    I am not a Wikipedia wizard, but it looks like the MH370 WSPR comments were put there before June_2021, with recent updates. On the “TALK” page someone objected saying: “I wanted to ask why the psuedoscientific MH370 claims are being stated as fact?” and it appears that comment was dated 2-June-2021

  369. Victor Iannello says:

    On YouTube, Dan Gryder claims that MU5735 was pilot suicide by the co-pilot, who was recently demoted from senior captain due to disregarding a terrain warning on an approach, and then failing a check ride in the simulator. The captain on the flight was the examiner that failed him on the check ride.

    Note: I didn’t see sources, so treat this with caution.

  370. DrB says:

    The descent path of MH5735 shows a very steep descent followed by a temporary recovery at low altitude, followed by a steep descent into terrain.

    The following is pure speculation on my part and is not based on any substantiated information.

    Unhindered by facts, I can imagine several reasons for the temporary recovery: (a) the aircraft went into phugoid oscillations on its own after being upset or stalling or
    (b) one or both of the pilots managed to temporarily arrest the descent.

    If (b), then then there are also several possibilities:
    (1) the descent was not primarily human caused, and the pilot(s) were only temporarily successful in recovering control of the aircraft, or
    (2) the initial descent and the temporary recovery were both human caused (but not necessarily by the same pilot flying).

    If (2) then the reason for the temporary recovery could have been:
    (i) One pilot flying initiated the steep descent, the other pilot temporarily succeeded in arresting the descent, but was then overpowered by the pilot initiating the steep descent, who then crashed the aircraft, or
    (ii) the pilot flying was unhindered in creating the steep descent, and desired to demonstrate his flying skill by making a recovery at low altitude, which would be on full display in the FDR/CVR, before ultimately crashing in a second steep descent.

    Interestingly, the initial descent began prior to the typical TOD for that flight. Perhaps the pilot left the cockpit during this level cruise period and was locked out by the co-pilot. Then the co-pilot could have crashed the aircraft without interference, possibly even testing/demonstrating his skill at making a recovery during a descent under extreme conditions which would likely never have been attempted in a simulator.

  371. airlandseaman says:

    If Dan Gryder’s claims are true, then China has been misinforming the public big time about the copilot. According to official reports from China, none of the crew were having any issues.

    No sources for the Gryder assertions were provided in that video, and I haven’t found the same info anywhere else. OTOH, it does seem odd that a pilot with 30,000 hrs is the copilot. And we don’t even know who was in either seat at this point. The trainee was probably in the right seat. Why else would he be on the flight with 500+ hours? And he wouldn’t have been in the left seat as a trainee.

    The assertion that the CVR audio is live streamed by Chinese recorders is new. Anyone been able to verify this? If this is true then China is definitely withholding critical evidence.

  372. Victor Iannello says:

    @airlandseaman: This story has definitely entered the realm of politics, with anti-CCP media outlets pushing the narrative of realtime monitoring of cockpit conversations and a disgruntled senior pilot taking revenge after receiving poor treatment.

    Until less partial sources can verify some of the claims, I think we have to be prepared to accept or dismiss this news.

  373. haxi says:

    @all, sources here in China say that the CVR of MU5735 has been sent to the NTSB lab in Washington. Still confirming this piece of information though.

  374. airlandseaman says:

    It does look like the car memory is going to be downloaded by NTSB in Washington.

  375. Andrew says:


    RE: “No sources for the Gryder assertions were provided in that video, and I haven’t found the same info anywhere else. OTOH, it does seem odd that a pilot with 30,000 hrs is the copilot. And we don’t even know who was in either seat at this point. The trainee was probably in the right seat. Why else would he be on the flight with 500+ hours? And he wouldn’t have been in the left seat as a trainee.”

    There have been lots of rumours on various websites, but nothing remotely official at this point. Let’s hope the preliminary report clears up some of the speculation about the pilots’ employment history.

    The ‘trainee’, mentioned in some reports as the ‘second co-pilot’, might have been sitting on the jump seat. If that pilot joined the airline as a cadet it’s likely he did some time as a second officer on a wide body type before moving to the B737. It’s quite common for trainees to observe some line flights from the jump seat during their early conversion training.

  376. Victor Iannello says:

    The US military reports that Russia is jamming some GPS signals in Ukraine.

    Perhaps some will attribute the large discrepancies between aircraft positions from ADS-B and WSPR-tracking to Russian spoofing of GPS signals?

  377. Don Thompson says:

    Re: GNSS

    The RTL-SDR site posted an informative article on Mar 11th covering GNSS/GPS reliability.

    The vicinity of Syria and the Caucasus region seem to be particularly affected on a persistent basis. ADSBexchange provides a filtered view of aircraft reporting poor GNSS derived accuracy.

  378. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: Thanks for that. It’s not as “consumer friendly” as other tracking sites, but ADSBExchange can be a gold mine of information.

  379. Andrew says:

    @Don Thompson

    Another report on the issue:
    OpsGroup: GPS Outages: The Hotspots

  380. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: Other than removing the option for an RNAV approach, are there other implications for commercial aviation?

  381. Andrew says:


    Yes, GNSS interference is a significant issue in others areas of civil aviation operations, simply because GNSS has become the primary source of position information for a number of applications. The following ICAO working paper outlines the major concerns:

  382. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: I guess I meant that if the outage occurred while an airliner was airborne, navigation would still be possible via INS and VORs (at reduced accuracy), but GPS-based approaches would not be possible.

    Would a modern airliner be dispatched with GPS inoperable?

  383. Andrew says:


    Yes, navigation is still possible using IRU position data, either with or without radio navaid updating. However, the reduced accuracy, together with the unreliability of ADS-B/C data, means that ATC must increase the separation between aircraft on those routes where GPS is necessary to provide the required navigation performance (RNP), or where ADS is the primary means of ATC surveillance.

    More broadly, the increasing prevalence of GPS interference has forced the industry to develop strategies to mitigate its effects, and to revise the long-term plans for performance-based navigation (PBN). The original vision for PBN called for the eventual retirement of all ground-based navigation aids (including ILS), and for GPS (with augmentation where necessary) to become the sole-source of radio navigation signals to aircraft. It now seems likely that ILS & DME aids will continue operating well into the future, if only to serve as a backup for GPS-based approaches.

    The FAA-approved Master MELs for the ‘modern’ Airbus and Boeing types allow dispatch with both GPS inoperative, provided enroute operations do not require their use, and the IRUs operate normally. However, the first requirement is becoming increasingly difficult to satisfy, because many routes now require at least one GPS to provide the specified RNP. Consequently, at the operator level, the MELs often prohibit dispatch unless at least one GPS is operative.

  384. ventus45 says:

    The original vision for PBN called for the eventual retirement of all ground-based navigation aids (including ILS), and for GPS (with augmentation where necessary) to become the sole-source of radio navigation signals to aircraft.

    Sole Source = Single Point of Failure (or destruction by war, solar flare, etc) = Very Bad Idea. Very short sighted, and no doubt pushed by the accounting brigade, who can’t see beyond the current trading account. Do the accountants have a viable operable plan B, or is it simply liquidation if it’s no longer viable to operate ?

  385. Victor Iannello says:

    French investigators open probe of ‘serious incident’ on Air France flight

    French aviation safety investigators have opened a probe after an Air France Boeing 777 airplane approaching Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport was involved in a “serious incident,” according to BEA, the French bureau that investigates air crashes and aviation safety.

    In an audio recording of air traffic control that French officials say is of the incident, a pilot says, “the airplane was just kind of out of control.”

    The incident happened on Tuesday, April 5, according to a BEA tweet that reported “instability of flight controls on final, go-around, hard controls, flight path oscillations.”

    The BEA did not give CNN further details as to what caused the incident or why it qualified as “serious,” adding that it had to wait for the end of the investigation. The tweet said the agency is analyzing flight data from the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, known as the black back boxes.

  386. Victor Iannello says:

    Juan Browne (@blancolorio) has an interesting analysis of the Air France incident. Juan is a B777 pilot (in addition to owning an Aviat Husky A-1). He thinks there could have been interference with the localizer signal, causing a lateral deviation during the approach. It looks like the pilots also had trouble managing the go-around, possibly because the autopilot was disconnected late.

  387. Andrew says:


    Juan’s video provides a good analysis of what we know so far about the AF11 incident. I agree with his assessment that localiser interference was a likely cause of the lateral deviation. A few further points:

    1. The low speed at the commencement of the go-around is fairly typical. The autopilot is very quick to raise the nose to the go-around attitude and the autothrottle immediately commands TO/GA thrust, but there’s always a bit of a lag in thrust as the thrust levers advance and the engines accelerate to produce TO/GA thrust.

    2. The initial audible warning that can be heard on the ATC tape is likely the landing configuration warning, as Juan mentioned. That warning activates if any landing gear is not down and locked and the flap lever is in the landing position (ie 25 or 30). The normal sequence during a go-around is to raise the flaps to 20, check for a positive rate of climb, then raise the landing gear. If that sequence is rushed during a high stress event, it is not uncommon for crews to get the sequence wrong and to forget to raise the flaps before the landing gear, resulting in a configuration warning.

    3. The second audible warning is the autopilot disconnect warning, as Juan also mentioned. That might have been deliberate, if the autopilot was disconnected via the control wheel autopilot disconnect switch. However, it might also have been inadvertent, if one of the pilots was trying to override the autopilot via the control column or control wheel. Again, that sometimes occurs during high stress events if the aircraft doesn’t behave the way the pilot expects. In most cases, the aircraft is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do, but the pilot has a different mental model and is expecting something else to occur.

    4. There shouldn’t be any need to disconnect the autopilot during a go-around, provided the aircraft behaves as expected. If the aircraft behaved normally, then it might be a case of momentary confusion where the pilots were caught unawares by an unexpected event at low level at the end of a long overnight flight. If that’s the case, I would expect the investigation to look at issues such as fatigue, training and recency. There are a lot of pilots out there who meet the legal requirements but are not particularly current due to the lack of flying during the pandemic. I think that’s going to be a significant issue for the airlines and regulators over the next year or two, as more pilots return to flying after long periods on the ground.

  388. Andrew says:

    A DHL B757-200 has come to grief in San Jose, apparently having suffered a hydraulic failure after take-off. The aircraft returned to San Jose and departed the end of the runway, breaking the fuselage in half. Fortunately, the crew escaped unhurt.

    Video of the accident here:

  389. Andrew says:

    Ref the above, the accident occurred at San Jose in Costa Rica, not California!

  390. Andrew says:


    You might be interested in the following European feasibility study. It’s almost 20 years old, but it covers many of the issues.

  391. ST says:

    @all – More on GDTAAA/WSPR

    On related note, no updates as yet on the ATSB site regarding the Geoscience Australia review of images from previous search as announced in statement below -

    “When the ATSB was made aware that Mr Godfrey’s zone incorporates an area of ocean surveyed during the ATSB-led search, out of due diligence the ATSB requested Geoscience Australia review the data it held from the search to re-validate that no items of interest were detected in that area.”

    The ATSB expects that review to be finalised in coming weeks, the results from which will be made public on the ATSB’s website.

  392. Victor Iannello says:

    @ST: The silliness continues with self-generated “confirmation” reports. Real news would be when an independent expert verifies the junk science claims. That has not and will not happen.

  393. ST says:

    @Victor – Is it feasible that the end point can somehow be gleaned from WSPR records and the whole track has been determined to culminate at that end point?

    Based on what is shared on this blog, it sounds unlikely but maybe the confidence is coming from that point being in the middle of the ocean close to previously recommended search area.

  394. Victor Iannello says:

    @ST: WSPR data adds absolutely no useful information during any part of the flight.

  395. ST says:

    @ Victor – Thank you.

  396. George G says:


    Please find link to “Implications of Algo”

  397. Victor Iannello says:

    @George G: I think you made a strong case that many of the anomalies are not anomalous.

    However, the case for calling WSPR tracking of aircraft junk science is much more fundamental. Even if a variation in WSPR signal strength or frequency can be called anomalous (and even neglecting the very serious math error in calculating the propagation loss, which in itself invalidates EVERY conclusion), that signal variation is not because of an interaction with an aircraft thousands of kilometers distant from either receiving or transmitting station. At low transmission powers and at large distances from either station, the aircraft scatter is impossible to detect by many orders of magnitude. End of story. All the long-winded obfuscation in the world can’t negate this simple fact.

  398. Victor Iannello says:

    If the variations in a received WSPR signals are due to an interaction with an aircraft, it should be possible to identify the Doppler signature of the aircraft in the measured frequency spectrum. This would be a scientific way to demonstrate that it is possible to detect a WSPR signal scattered off of aircraft that are thousands of kilometers from either transmitter or receiver.

    A small group of us have been privately communicating to scientifically study the limitations of detecting aircraft scatter in the HF bands. One member of this group is Nils Schiffhauer (DK8OK).

    In the post above, I included some of the work of Nils, who recorded the frequency spectrum of Chinese Radio International (CRI), and observed the Doppler signature of RF scatter of off aircraft passing in the vicinity of his home near Hannover Airport. Nils recently obtained more data of CRI’s signal, this time on 17.670 MHz from Keshgar, China. I attempted to match the Doppler signatures observed in the waterfall plot with the calculated Doppler shift values for actual aircraft flying near his home.

    To calculate the Doppler shift, I made the following assumptions:

    1. The skywave signal from the transmitter to the aircraft follows a great circle path and reaches the plane with an elevation angle of 10 deg.

    2. The scattered signal from the aircraft to the receiver follows a straight line, which is precisely calculated in ECEF coordinates.

    This figure shows the comparison of the calculated Doppler signal from four aircraft near Nils’ home.

    In the figure, I also included the slant range of the aircraft from Nils’ receiver to better understand the distances at which the scatter was detected. Here are some observations:

    1. For flight TK1553, which was a B737-MAX, the match is excellent, with a strong signal detected out to a range of 3 km, and a weak signal detected out to around 8 km.

    2. For flight LH48, which was an A320, the match is again excellent, with a strong signal detected at a range of around 3 km, and a weak signal was detected out to around 7 km.

    3. For flight FR145, which was a B737-800, that match is again excellent, and weak signals were detected between a range of around 15 km and 30 km.

    4. For flight KL1903, which was an E190, the range varied between 15 km and 37 km, but no signal was detected.

    So, the observed data show that HF scatter off of aircraft was only detected at distances of tens of kilometers even with a very strong received signal along the direct (unscattered) path.

    The suggestion that an aircraft at thousands of kilometers from either station will interact with WSPR signals in the HF bands to cause a variation in the recorded signal strength or signal frequency is pure fantasy.

    Acknowledgements: The waterfall plot is used with the permission of Nils Schiffhauer. Don Thompson helped identify candidate aircraft that were responsible for the Doppler signals. Others participating in productive discussions were Mike Exner, Steve Kent, Bobby Ulich, and John Moore.

  399. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Good to see proper scientific method being applied to this matter. Well done to you, Nils, Don, Mike, Steve, DrB, and John. At your leisure, might it be possible to get some details on the flight paths of the various candidate targets, in particular with reference to the receiving station and the propagation path from the transmitter.

    In stark contrast to your work, we have one of the latest comic books to be released from the Guessing, Doodling and Tracing and Associated Arithmetical Atrocities cinematic universe, namely the Airport and Flight Route Interference Assessment document of 6 April.

    You are probably familiar with it but for those who aren’t it purports to address the oft cited issue of likely interference from aircraft other than the target, specifically aircraft that are much closer to either the transmitter or receiver. In that endeavour the authors choose to focus on a single “position indicator”, that which they contend occurred at 00:18 UTC 8 March 2014 based on a grand total of just two spots; Spot ID 186206449 between WA8RC and KB1MVX, and 186206228 between G7FYO and KC3BWN.

    Transmitter WA8RC is in Battle Creek, Michigan, and KB1MVX is in Powder Springs, Georgia. The stations are separated by just 982 kilometres. The Tx to target distance is nearly 19,000 km, and the hypothesised “back scatter” return from target to Rx is nearly 20,000 km. That’s not a typo; the authors contend, without one scintilla of actual evidence, that a reflected HF signal travelled 20,000 kilometres … and was readable. Notably, the authors’ ray tracing tool of choice, the $US240 Proplab Pro V3.1, cannot resolve the return path. Of course, the authors spend no time whatsoever dwelling on that problem.

    Nor do they actually spend any time dwelling in any meaningful fashion on the matter that their document purports to address, specifically airport and flight route interference. Had they have actually applied themselves to the problem they would have noted that KB1MVX is just 45 km north-north-west of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (KATL). That airport name might be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in commercial aviation; it is, and was back then in 2014, the busiest airport in the world! Strikingly odd, is it not, that an airport interference assessment makes no reference to that fact.

    To just pad the picture out a little further, the network of five runways at KATL are all oriented east-west. The propagation path between WA8RC – KB1MVX is essentially north-south. Thus, regardless of the direction of the landings and take-offs, aircraft would be crossing the propagation path “behind” the Rx. And note that we’re talking about a spot that was recorded at 8.18pm on a Friday night. Picture what the local air traffic would look like at the world’s busiest airport on a Friday night for just a moment (because clearly, the authors did not).

    And just to add insult to injury, when you look at the 00:18 UTC spot between those two stations, the one that is meant to be so special, so anomalous, that it could only have been caused by an aircraft on the other side of the world, you find that, lo and behold, just 10 minutes earlier at 00:08 UTC we see a spot with identical characteristics. Spots 186204732 and 186206449, recorded 10 minutes apart, are indistinguishable, specifically frequency = 14097097, snr = -1, drift = 0.

    Moving to spot ID 186206228 between Tx G7FYO in Willenhall, UK (just north-west of Birmingham) and Rx KB1MVX in Silver Spring, Maryland, the distance between the two stations is some 5,750 km. In this case, the Tx to target distance is nearly 13,500 km, and the hypothesised “back scatter” return from target to Rx over 19,000 km.

    Leaving aside the utter impossibility of that occurring (because, you know, physics) when you look at the location of the Rx we find that KB1MVX is just 35 km from Washington’s Dulles International Airport and only 22 km from Washington Ronald Reagan. Again, strikingly odd, is it not, that an airport interference assessment makes no reference to that fact that the Rx is close to two major airports giving rise to the real likelihood of aircraft passing over or “behind” the Rx while the spot was being recorded.

    And, of course, because the delinquency of scholarship evidenced in that document is a gift that just keeps on giving, wait, there’s more. We are told that the spot 186206228 holds special significance because “there was a drift disturbance between the transmitter G7FYO at IO82xo and the receiver KC3BWN at FM19lb“. When you actually analyse the spot data you find, somewhat astoundingly, that in the 14 year history of WSPR there have only been three spots recorded between those two stations.

    Spot Date Time Frequency SNR Drift
    1 186206228 2014-03-08 00:18:00 10140117 -14 -1
    2 186209605 2014-03-08 00:40:00 10140117 -12 -2
    3 186220290 2014-03-08 01:58:00 10140117 -15 -2

    Now, I don’t know if statistics has changed since I studied it or whether there’s “special” statistics for “physicists” but I would not have thought that it was possible to draw any conclusions from such a vanishingly small dataset.

  400. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: The entire WSPR-tracking theory is built on layer upon layer of fantasy that defy the physics and math. Trust me, many knowledgeable people understand this. As you note, the claim that two WSPR stations in the US can be used to detect an aircraft in the Southern Indian Ocean is absurdity on display for the world to see.

    The Doppler calculations are useful because it makes it possible to verify that features in the frequency spectrum of received signals can be assigned to a particular aircraft. This is exactly what should have been done before making the silly claims about detecting aircraft scatter from WSPR signals over distances of thousands of kilometers. It would have been yet another way to understand the limitations of using WSPR signals to track aircraft before making absurd claims that have been amplified by the clueless media outlets.

  401. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Bad maths and physics-breaking assumptions aside, how can you prepare a document titled Airport and Flight Route Interference Assessment and fail to address the airports that are in close proximity to the receivers?! Particularly when one of the receivers you have selected is less than 50 kilometres from the busiest airport in the world!

    And, of course, the authors choose not to mention the direct (short) paths between the Tx and Rx – the connections that are actually being recorded in the spot data – nor do they explore the possibility of aircraft interference on those paths – something that is actually likely to be readable in the spot data.

    It is just appallingly poor work – one unfounded statement upon another (but plenty of pictures). Where it sits on the spectrum ranging from a delinquency of scholarship to a deficit of intellectual integrity is anyone’s guess.

  402. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: As we’ve said before, it’s never been about the math and physics.

  403. Sid Bennett says:

    I just watched a recording of a new History Channel program on MH370. Pretty well done except for Jeff at the end. But…
    When discussing the debris that was found, an example of debris that exhibited evidence of fire was shown. I had not realized that. Is it a new piece of data? It is unlikely to have happened at the end of the flight as the A/C was out of fuel.

  404. George G says:


    Please find link to “Limited critique of a _Confidence Analysis_”

  405. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Sid Bennett

    Sid, that “burned” item would have been debris reference item 24. The analysis of same can be found here –

    It is not evidence of an inflight fire.

  406. ALSM says:

    That History Channel show was a pathetic example of journalism. There were numerous factual errors. Wrong time lines. Jeff wise conspiracy nonsense. And that piece of debris referred to above was not burned…at least not while it was part of 370. I had a chance to see it on one of Blaine’s visits. ADSB found no evidece it burned on the plane.

  407. Mick Gilbert says:

    @George G

    Thank you for your continued work on debunking GDTAAA.

    It is one of the special properties of bullshit that even when you winnow out 80 percent of the bullshit, what’s left is still 100 percent bullshit.

  408. George G says:

    @Sid Bennett

    You said on April 19, 2022 at 9:32 pm:
    “When discussing the debris that was found, an example of debris that exhibited evidence of fire was shown.” in reference to a History Channel program.

    Perhaps this was referencing “two items of fibreglass-honeycomb composite debris (which) were recovered near Sainte Luce on the south-east coast of Madagascar, having reportedly washed ashore in February 2016.”

    These were later listed in the Malaysian SIR as Item No 24 and unidentifiable.

    Paraphrasing the ATSB preliminary examination findings (see link):

    (Although)”The items were initially reported in the media as being burnt.”

    1) The dark grey colouration on the outer surfaces of the items related to an applied resin and was not the result of exposure to heat or fire.

    2) Three small marks on the larger item were indicative of localised heating. The age and origin of these marks was not apparent.

  409. George G says:

    One of the penalties of cutting and pasting direct into the “Submit Comment” panel.
    So, Mick Gilbert and ALSM, I had not read your comments on Sid’s query before posting.

  410. Sid Bennett says:

    @Mick Gilbert, George G

    Thank you for the fact checking.
    It was the only thing of potential interest in the program.


  411. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: I can’t find the article at the link you provided. Has anybody found it?

  412. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Victor, it appears that it has been spiked! If you Google “Revolutionary MH370 tracking technology detects missile attack on Moskva” you can see the now defunct link to the article. You can see a pirated reprint of the article on but that site unleashes an avalanche of spam pop-ups so beware.

    The story was that GDTAAA has detected and tracked the missile that hit the Moskva together with a “decoy” aircraft that had fixed the Moskva’s attention while the strike took place. Simply just more absolutely confected nonsense but it did answer the question, is there any claim too ridiculous for Airline Ratings to publish? Apparently there is.

  413. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: Well, it was published then removed. I wonder why.

    Contributors here would have recognized the absurdity of the claim, but other absurd claims have been heavily promoted.

  414. George G says:

    @Mick Gilbert
    I just thought you had forgotten the last almost three weeks had gone by.

  415. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: Here’s my prediction: The motivation for taking down the article is to protect military intelligence, as if GDTAAA has true value, and not because the claims are false.

  416. Don Thompson says:

    @Mick Gilbert & @Victor Iannello

    The originaal page has been cached.

  417. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Don Thompson

    Many thanks Don.

    @Victor Iannello

    Yes, given the manifold problems that detecting, tracking and engaging sea-skimmers has presented for navies for the past 40 years or so, news that the matter has been solved by using publicly available information captured by amateur radio enthusiasts, $300 ray tracing software and an Excel spreadsheet is not something that you want everyone reading about.

  418. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: Thanks.

    It’s quite remarkable that there are multiple “anomalous” links that intersect on the presumed launch site at the time of the launch and also the position of the Moskva at the time of the hit.

    It’s all amusing, except that many of the clueless believe this hogwash.

  419. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: How true! And how utterly ridiculous.

  420. George G says:

    @Mick Gilbert,

    On April 20, 2022 at 12:43 am you wrote: “Thank you for your continued work on debunking GDTAAA.”

    Your appreciation is acknowledged. Ta.

  421. Don Thompson says:

    Translation of the CAAC’s ‘A briefing on the preliminary report of the “3·21” China Eastern Airlines MU5735 flight accident investigation

    An Interim Statement would be welcome once the data recorders have been successfully read.

    As MoT-MY did in the case of MH370, the CAAC is following the ICAO Manual of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, Doc 9756, Part IV Reporting, to the letter. Full public disclosure is not mandated:

    Basic factual and circumstantial information on an accident is usually available within the first two to four weeks of the investigation. The ADREP Preliminary Report form is a simple and standard method for reporting such preliminary information. Although the Preliminary Report is not compulsory for incidents, States are encouraged to use the Preliminary Report for investigations conducted into serious incidents.

  422. David says:

    @Victor, Don Thompson. The Bloomberg article inaccessible to me.

    It may have mentioned this, from Reuters, “China said the black boxes of a Boeing 737-800 jet that crashed last month were badly damaged, leaving virtually no publicly available clues to explain its violent plunge into a wooded hillside, killing all 132 people on board.”

  423. George G says:

    @ David

    and “the data restoration and analysis work is still in progress” (in reference to the damaged recorders).

  424. M Pat says:

    ATSB concludes no wreckage likely in surveyed area close to RG proposed location.

  425. M Pat says:

    Note from the report: “However, there are significant regions, mainly beyond the 10 nautical mile radius from the proposed crash location, that have either no data, data collected by Ocean Infinity that is not part of this review, or data collected using shipborne multibeam sonar, which has insufficient resolution to identify an aircraft debris field.”

  426. airlandseaman says:

    The detailed ATSB report is here:

  427. Victor Iannello says:

    When the ATSB announced it would review the sonar data near the GDTAAA site, it was covered (i.e., promoted) by Geoffrey Thomas with much fanfare. Now that the results of that review has concluded that the debris field is not in the vicinity of the proposed site, it’s covered in this article:

  428. Don Thompson says:

    Late update from Western Australia.

    The ATSB review of its historic underwater search data […] has been met in many industry circles with disbelief.

    The ensuing diatribe ignores that the chief GDTAAA proponent claims that an area of only 300km² around S33.117º E95.3º need be searched and that this area has been searched by both the ProSAS-60 Synthetic Aperture Sonar and, in parts, for detailed infill by the Fugro ‘Echo Surveyor 7‘ Hugin 4500 AUV.

    The constituents of the ‘industry circles‘ are not identified.

  429. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: The article also fails to mention that there are even larger “industry circles” that believe that GDTAAA is junk science and cannot be used to locate MH370.

    But I guess Geoffrey Thomas is so dug in at this point there is no hope he will report the facts relative to GDTAAA.

  430. George G says:

    @ Don Thomson
    @ Victor Iannello

    Slightly off subject:

    By Geoffrey Thomas April 22, 2022
    END Quote.

    The new revelation comes in the preliminary report
    END Quote.

    The subject find was reported at the time of the find, as far as I remember, without conducting any research.

    The link to the article is below if you are a disbeliever.

  431. Don Thompson says:

    @George G.

    Your recollection is correct. Debris originating from the B738, reg B-1791, was recovered at locations remote from the main debris site, including an article described as part of a winglet.

    China Eastern, CES5735. The right winglet was located within the extent of the main debris field at N 23.3241º E 111.112º.

    The summary of the CAAC Preliminary Report, that has been released, does state ‘The trailing edge of the right wingtip winglet was found approximately 12 kilometers from the main impact point‘.

    While the find of a piece of debris (1.3m by 0.1m) had been described by CAAC on March 24th during its 4th press conference, later, on March 26th during its 6th press conference CAAC described that this part found in Yatang was identified as trailing edge of a winglet of the crashed aircraft. A further piece of debris was found about 2.3km north of the debris at Yatang in Lixiu Village. The AVherald updated its article daily.

    Any revelation appears to be the clarification that the remote article of debris originates from the ‘right‘ winglet.

    The 737NG blended winglets are approx 2.4m in height (per B737 Technical Site). The right/starboard winglet remnant referenced above appears to have fractured midspan.

  432. Julia says:

    Following the decision of the ATSB not to conduct another search for MH370, what are the options for ever finding the plane?
    The incredible work of the Independent Group, its dedication, has produced many results and findings which have added to the safety of aircraft since the disappearance of MH370. The flying public should all be grateful.
    However I think I’m correct in saying that their initial aim and continuing aim is to locate the plane so what next?

  433. TBill says:

    I am not aware of any such decision by ATSB. Malaysia is the responsible country, and unless there has been a recent change, reportedly OI is developing a search proposal to present to Malaysia.

  434. Victor Iannello says:

    @Julia: Ocean Infinity and others have expressed a willingness to searching again in the near future. As time progresses, technological advances are making it more cost effective to search large areas of the seafloor, which lowers the risk.

  435. Julia says:

    Thank you for this. I thought Ocean Infinity had suggested they might search again and was a bit confused to read the statement of ATSB as it sounded a bit final.But only for their part I guess and am relieved to know their statement does not preclude other searches being carried out in the future

  436. Victor Iannello says:

    @Julia: My guess is the ATSB would provide some level of support to OI if they decide to search again. I know that the ATSB is still very interested in finding the debris field, even if they don’t sponsor and manage the search.

  437. Julia says:

    Thank you for this encouraging, positive reply

  438. Victor Iannello says:

    The WSPR proponent makes this claim:

    “Meanwhile it transpires that Victor Iannello has been calling academics who are conducting a peer review of our WSPR technical paper to try and dissuade them from doing such a review. At the same time Victor Iannello and his fellow detractors complain there are no peer reviews.”

    This is an outright lie. On the contrary, I’ve encouraged MANY people to review the WSPR analysis, including investigators in academia, government, and private industry. To my knowledge, ALL peer reviewers to date have come to the conclusion that it is utterly impossible to achieve what is claimed. (If there is a positive review that I have not seen, please feel free to bring it to our attention.) That said, let it be known that I support ANYBODY who conducts a scientific analysis of the claims and releases the results.

    I’ll say that since writing the article above, I’ve collected my own data that experimentally demonstrate that the assumptions in the article are favorable to WSPR tracking and my conclusions are correct. In a nutshell, the strength of the scattered signals from aircraft that are thousands of kilometers from the WSPR stations are MANY orders of magnitude too weak to have any detectable influence on the recorded values of signal strength and frequency shift, as the article above concludes. As part of this effort, I have matched features in the recorded frequency spectrum with the Doppler shift of aircraft near my home to definitively measure the strength of scattered signals from specific aircraft. This work is similar to the work performed by Nils Schiffhauer (another investigator that was personally attacked by the WSPR proponent because he believes the WSPR tracking claims have no technical merit).

    Based on the theory and the experimental evidence, I feel more strongly than ever that WSPR tracking of MH370 is absolutely worthless. It is only through irresponsible journalism and the ensuing media hype that this “theory” is given any oxygen.

  439. ALSM says:

    Victor: You are correct. It’s a lie. You have systematically encouraged people to prove for themselves that WSPR data can and cannot tell us.

    For me, from the beginning, it was obvious that historical WSPR data contained zero information about MH370. We know that from basic electromagnetic field theory and other branches of physics. But the experimental data you, Nils and John collected and analyzed since December 2021 proves beyond any doubt that aircraft many miles from the transmitter or receiver have no detectable effect on WSPR signals. Absolutely none. Such a shame so many have been duped with this BS.

  440. Don Thompson says:

    @GDTAAA [sic]-WSPR watchers

    A recent comment made by the principal proponent of GDTAAA [sic] insists that the authors of the Geoscience Australia report, prepared on request from ATSB, have erroneously plotted the position (S 33.177º E 95.3º) claimed as MH370’s Point of Impact.

    To the contrary, the error originates in the proponent’s material related to the subject and disseminated to the world’s media.

    Having correlated the ‘red dot’ depicted in those images with seafloor mapping data from multiple sources it is plainly evident that the Geoscience Australia authors have not made any error in plotting the claimed PoI location.

    Claimed PoI plotted using the GMRT WMS (web map service). Lines indicate survey tracks followed by the ProSAS-60 towfish. North up.

    Claimed PoI plotted using Geoscience Australia WMS showing the ProSAS-60 and ‘Echo Surveyor 7′ Hugin AUV side scan survey imagery. Line of 7th arc, image left to right.

    Proponents’ disseminated image with error depicted.

    It is also claimed that the Geoscience Australia report is dated 8th March 2022. That is also incorrect, the PDF metadata shows that the document was finally modified on Fri 2022-04-22 23:53:33 2022 UTC, after creation on Mon 2022-03-28.

  441. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: You noted the error in position some time ago. I don’t know why it was never corrected, and why the WSPR proponent is even today disputing where the location falls on the seafloor map.

  442. George G says:

    @Don Thomson,
    Thank you. I even fiddled with the idea of replying to said proponent, but let him confuse himself for just a little longer. Pity others must also be confused.

    Unfortunately, the front sheet of Geoscience Australia report “MH370 Data Review – Final Report” is dated “8 March 2022”. Clearly the front sheet was not updated before issue, which is a pity.

  443. Victor Iannello says:

    This article from Geoffrey Thomas is amazing. Having conducted the requested review of the sonar data surrounding the claimed Point of Impact (POI), the ATSB and Geoscience Australia are falsely portrayed as incompetent and dishonest.

  444. Don Thompson says:

    @George G

    Perhaps, rather than a simple and genuine error by the GA authors when specifying the date on the cover page, there is something more complex at play?

    The footnote included at page 5 of MH370 Data Review – Final Report refers to a URI that did not exist prior to March 14th, 2022.

    GDTAAA [sic] imbues an ability for time travel?

  445. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: As @George G says, the date on the front page of the ATSB report is wrong. That oversight is enough to cause the GDTAAA proponents to meltdown.

    I think the proponents’ incorrectly positioning the POI on their maps is much more egregious, especially when claiming it is GA/ATSB that’s in error, and in spite of your pointing out the mistake back in December.

  446. Hi – like Victor, also I had encouraged some renowned experts/magazines to approach Godfrey for submitting his ideas to be published in a technical/scientifically magazine (peer-reviewd, at best). To no avail.
    Recently, I have published an article dealing with this topic to spark a public expert’s discussion; alas, in German. I announced that in Godfrey’s blog today at 17:34 CEST as follows:

    Hi, all – the article “Flugzeug-Scatter auf Kurzwelle” (“Aircraft Scatter on Shortwave”) appeared in the May issue of the German-language journal “Funkamateur”, the world’s third largest journal of its kind. It explores its subject in just under five pages and also addresses the possibility of tracking aircraft thousands of kilometers away via WSPR log data. The mentioned article is thus the first technical publication in a universally recognized journal with an editorial staff of great expertise – newly un-biased – that is comprehensibly dedicated to this topic. This publication was supposed to be prevented by the president of the DARC, Dipl.-Ing. Christian Entsfellner, DL3MBG, but could finally appear after personnel changes in the editorial office. A further publication will be published by the technical periodical “Funktelegramm” in its June issue. I would be pleased now, if also the advocates of the thesis that flight data can be read out from WSPR logs could put for their part in this or that technical periodicals for discussion.
    Bonne chance and 73: Nils, DK8OK

    Let’s see if Godfrey & friends dare to offer their charlatanries and how they are accepted. My bet: they will vanish like Nosferatu at the first daylight …

    73 Nils, DK8OK

  447. sk999 says:

    The maps shown in various reports on MH370 (going back to 2014) often leave much to be desired. They can be poorly annotated. There can be mistakes introduced when overlaying graphics. The type of projection is seldom given – thus, interpolating across a large area can be impossible. It is always a good idea to cross-check against multiple sources to identify errors or misunderstandings.

    The origin of the figure that Godfrey labels “ATSB Map dated 3rd October 2017” is not given but is apparently Figure 28 from the ATSB final report. The scale marker (0 to 100 km) is in error – it is closer to 84 km. It is possible that whoever drew it marked a length of 1 degree in longitude and forgot to apply the cos(latitude) correction when converting to a linear distance. This error would explain why the original “red dot” of Nov 30, 2021 GDTAAA report was mislocated.

    For Figures 1-3 of the new Geoscience Australia report, North is not “up”. The direction of North can be deduced from the tick marks in Figures 1 and 2 and from the compass rose in Figure 3. Failure to account for these offsets in the direction of N will result in incorrect conclusions being drawn about the accuracy of the POI as marked in the Figures.

    On p. 5 of the new GA report, there is a description of the 124 page GDTAAA Flight Path report, but the link in the footnote goes to the 100 page GDTAAA Technical report. Sigh.

    Online access to the Bathymetric data can be found at

    Layers -> Map Layers -> Elevation and Depth -> Bathymetry-compilations -> Southern Indian Ocean (MH370) -> will load the data. Pan and Zoom with a readout of latitude and longitude. Note that the POI coordinates align with the location that GA marked in its figures.

  448. Victor Iannello says:

    @sk999: The bottom line is that the WSPR proponent is making a false claim that the ATSB and GA are incorrectly plotting his POI in the ATSB’s recent report. You can easily see that the position is correct by examining the follow image, which compares the figure from the ATSB report with an image from Google Earth with the bathymetry layer turned on.–04-22%20WSPR%20POI.jpg?dl=0

    As to why the WSPR proponents can’t seem to plot the correct position is a mystery to me considering the detailed bathymetry data is available from several sources, and also considering that Don Thompson found and publicly noted the error in December 2021.

  449. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Don Thompson
    @Victor Iannello

    Thank you for the thoughtful and considered review of the scale/grid errors in the GA report. On the basis that the GDTAAA purported end point has been correctly positioned by GA, the scale/grid errors are essentially cosmetic, having no bearing on the actual work or the results. Not a good look but largely immaterial.

    As for the harping about only 29 percent of the area being reviewed, as the report – authored by GeoScience Australia, just by the bye, not the ATSB – makes it clear, the authors reviewed ALL the data that they had access to. I don’t know what people were expecting GA to do about the Phase 1 low resolution scan data (“Enhance!”, as seen in the movies, isn’t a real world thing), the Ocean Infinity data or the areas where there is no data at all.

  450. sk999 says:

    Mick Gilbert mentions “… scale/grid errors in the GA report.”

    I am unaware of any scale/grid errors in the GA report. Not even “cosmetic”.

    The one scale error that I found and referred to was in the ATSB final report (NOT the GA report) in a figure attributed to the ATSB and not used by anyone other that the GDTAAA inventor to locate the GDTAAA POI on a bathymetry chart, a location that was shown by others (DT) at the time, based on other datasets, to be in error.

    The “… only 29 percent …” argument is a complete red herring, but it is is typical of those used by people such as Florence de Changy who want to dismiss reports that they find to be “inconvenient.”

  451. Mick Gilbert says:


    Steve, the lat/lon scale/grid on figure 3 of the GA report is misaligned, isn’t it?

  452. sk999 says:

    Mick Gilbert asks: “… the lat/lon scale/grid on figure 3 of the GA report is misaligned, isn’t it?”

    In what way? The compass rose in the upper left makes clear that there is a rotation of N relative to “up” CW by about 5 or 6 degrees. When I use that rotation to extrapolate the long/lat markings along the bottom and left axes over to the “red dot”, I deduce a long/lat for that dot that’s pretty dang close to the GDTAAA values. Whoever it was who drew the dashed yellow lines on “Figure 3” reproduced in the article of Apr 24, 2022 would appear not to understand how a compass rose works.

  453. Mick Gilbert says:


    Yes, you’re quite correct, Steve, my mistake.

  454. Don Thompson says:

    @GDTAAA [sic] & WSPR watchers

    The error from the GDTAAA authors in depicting the crash location became apparent following post of the ‘MH370 GDTAAA Analysis‘ on Nov 30th 2021.

    The proper response would have been a timely correction.

  455. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson said: The proper response would have been a timely correction.

    That pattern has been to double down on errors, such as the indisputable math error in the way propagation loss is calculated.

  456. George G says:


    Please find link to “Short Explanation”

  457. Victor Iannello says:

    @George G: Thank you for taking the time to explore the “anomaly”. As I’ve said many times before, WSPR tracking of MH370 is not about math, physics, or reality, as anybody that analyzes the claims will quickly conclude.

  458. Victor Iannello says:

    A claim by the WSPR proponent: Academics who are peer reviewing my work have been contacted directly by Victor Iannello to try and dissuade them for conducting a peer review. Victor Iannello denies any such contact and has publicly called me an outright liar. I invite Victor Iannello to sue me and I will be calling witnesses and providing written proof of his attempted dissuasion of a peer review.

    I have not been “calling academics who are conducting a peer review of our WSPR technical paper to try and dissuade them from doing such a review”, as originally claimed. I have been in contact by email with several that I’ve ENCOURAGED and offered to SUPPORT their review. I’ve never tried to “dissuade them for [sic] conducting a peer review”.

    I am confident that any competent, peer review will classify WSPR tracking of aircraft as junk science.

  459. George Tilton says:


    I am struck with the similarities between proponents (True Believers) of GDTAAA and proponents of Cold Fusion. The inability to realize that they have gone down the rabbit hole of confirmation bias and results that fail the golden standard of peer review…reproducibility. Ad-hominem attacks are a sign they cannot support their theory.

    Channeling @DennisW I dub it “Richard’s Folly”.

  460. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Over on the Geographically Displaced Terminus Attributable to Author’s Askew Alignment channel, I notice that even those of us back here in the cheap seats get a shout out.

    First we have this,

    I draw the line at outright lies such as the claim Hannes Coetzee does not have a PhD in radio engineering by Mick Gilbert …”

    I have never commented publicly on Dr Coetzee’s qualifications.

    Back in December 2021, when the author of GDTAAA first mentioned a “Dr. Hannes Coetzee, PhD, call sign ZS6BZP, an expert in radio communications and a design authority on antennas” I performed a basic search for the fellow mentioned. A Google search for “Dr Hannes Coetzee, PhD” turned up two medical practitioners and a veterinarian as the top three results.

    Further searches, sans PhD, turned up a LinkedIn profile for a South African radio engineer. I could find no reference to that fellow having a PhD. There was no record of a South African university having awarded a doctorate in radio engineering to a Hannes (or Johannes) Coetzee that matched the time period. Perhaps more to the point, at that time Dr Coetzee himself did not list a PhD amongst his educational achievements on his LinkedIn profile.

    Subsequently, in a private Facebook group, I commented that,

    Dr Hannes Coetzee, PhD, is a veterinarian. He is currently a Department Head and Professor at Kansas State University.

    Unless he has failed to keep his LinkedIn profile up to date, Mr Hannes Coetzee, Principal Radio Frequency Engineer and amateur radio enthusiast (callsign ZS6BZP), is not a doctor. He holds a B.Eng from the University of Pretoria and an M.Sc from Rhodes University.

    In subsequent comments in the thread I variously stated,

    Hannes Coetzee only lists his Masters and Bachelors qualifications. He may just be a lamp under the bushel basket type of guy.

    The fellow may well hold a PhD. It may simply be the case that he hasn’t bothered to update his LinkedIn profile and the University of Pretoria hasn’t bothered to update their list of current PhD students.

    To state the blindly obvious, at that time I openly entertained the notion that Hannes Coetzee, Principal Radio Frequency Engineer and amateur radio enthusiast (callsign ZS6BZP), held a PhD.

    As soon as I became aware that Dr Coetzee was indeed a doctor I posted,

    It appears that Dr Coetzee is indeed a Doctor. Apparently his doctoral thesis was written and the subsequent doctorate was awarded under the name Petrus Johannes Coetzee.

    I would gladly remove my original post but I suspect that that would remove all the subsequent posts with it and I recall reading that that practice was the cause of some consternation.

    I note that Dr Coetzee has subsequently updated his LinkedIn profile to now include his doctorate amongst his educational achievements.

    Apparently, not satisfied with contorting facts on that front, next we’re treated to this headlong plunge into delusion.

    My private & confidential work on Moskva was leaked from my hacked email to the press but immediately deleted. Mick Gilbert a detractor of my work recovered the deleted article from the Google cache and republished it without permission.

    Clearly a reference to this published and subsequently deleted article

    Leaving aside the fact that I’ve seen a differing explanation for how the article, replete with quotes from the author, was published “accidentally”, I did not recover it from the Google cache. The contention that I did would be, what’s the term I’m looking for? An outright lie! The very thing that lines need to be drawn for, according to the Glass Cannon.

    Moreover, the notion that one needs permission to post a link to a publicly accessible webpage is risible. To illustrate the point, here’s me doing it twice more.

    In the meantime, I couldn’t help but notice that nothing has been done to correct the slanderous claims made about GeoScience Australia’s competency regards accurately mapping coordinates. Seems like the whole “draw the line at outright lies” is all one way.

  461. Victor Iannello says:

    @George Tilton, @Mick Gilbert: WSPR tracking of aircraft fails on its technical merits, which is what we’ve tried to focus on.

  462. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Re: ‘WSPR tracking of aircraft fails on its technical merits …’

    I couldn’t agree more, Victor. If the author of GDTAAA had focused one tenth of the effort that he has applied to his hysterical arm-waving to the simple and scholarly task of preparing a properly structured and written paper on his project and submitting that to a peer-reviewed journal such as Radio Science, the matter would have been settled unequivocally by now.

    To the extent that they stand by their work, he and his co-author could very easily submit their MH370 GDTAAA WSPRnet Analysis Technical Report to Radio Science tomorrow and we would have a peer review of the methodology available in a few months. The peer-review process would be completely independent and the determination would be unimpeachable. Readers can form their own view as to why the authors have eschewed this uncontroversial and time-honoured mechanism.

    Instead we have to suffer through a seemingly endless stream of dog-ate-my-homework moments and shilly-shallying misdirections sprinkled liberally, of course, with ad hominem invective.

  463. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: I’m not even sure the WSPR tracking proponents could get a peer review without an outright rejection from the editors of any academic journal. The science is really that bad.

    That said, we should all try to stay above the fray and concentrate on the technical issues. That’s not easy to do when outright lies are leveled, but that should be our goal, or we run the risk of diminishing the value of the technical analyses some of us have shared.

  464. sk999 says:

    Just to flog a dead horse, here are some slides showing how the GDTAAA POI location was incorrectly identified on three separate maps.

  465. Andrew says:

    BEA press release regarding AF11 investigation:

  466. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: What do you make of this?

  467. Mick Gilbert says:


    Thanks for that work, Steve. Far from flogging a dead horse it is a good example of the sort of diligence and attention to detail we’ve come to expect from contributors to this site. Sadly that’s something manifestly lacking elsewhere.

    So, I guess that we can now add bad geography to the list of bad science, bad maths and bad manners.

  468. George G says:

    @sk999, nice tidy up of the dead horse.

  469. Mick Gilbert says:


    Steve, would you be okay with my sharing of your graphics, together with the appropriate attribution, with others?

  470. Andrew says:


    It seems clear the left turn was caused by the FO’s inappropriate control inputs after the autopilot was disconnected. Why that occurred remains unclear, but it’s possible the FO became disorientated or perhaps suffered some other subtle incapacitation.

    The thing that is probably of greater concern, however, is the apparent breakdown in crew coordination during the go-around. The Capt appears to have applied control inputs without formally taking control, which is against the SOPs that have been universally adopted by operators of multi-crew aircraft. If one pilot wants or needs to take control from the other, they should announce “I have control”, whereupon the other pilot should say “you have control”. In this case, the aircraft appeared to rotate normally to the correct go-around pitch attitude, but the pilots then began making opposing pitch inputs on their control columns. The FO applied a nose-up input, while the Capt applied a nose down input, presumably to maintain the correct pitch attitude. The FO’s greater input resulted in an excessive pitch attitude of +24°.

    Shortly thereafter, the FO announced “Positive climb” and retracted the landing gear before the flaps, resulting in the configuration warning that may be heard on the ATC tape. That is another indication that proper crew coordination broke down. The normal go-around procedure requires the flying pilot (PF) to call for “Flaps 20”, whereupon the monitoring pilot (PM) selects the flap to 20. Amongst other things, the PM should then check and announce “Positive climb”, and the PF should verify and announce “Gear up”. In this case, there appears to have been some confusion over who was doing what, which resulted in a break down in the normal procedures.

    As to what caused all this, my guess is the FO became disorientated after disconnecting the autopilot and made inappropriate control inputs that resulted in an unexpected go-around that caught the pilots by surprise. Startle and surprise are two effects that have interested human factors specialists for years, but have not yet caught the attention of most regulators. These effects have been factors in several high profile accidents, including AF447, EK521 and QZ8501, where the pilots were caught out by unexpected events that resulted in inappropriate responses. The following is an EASA research paper on the subject:
    Research Project: Startle Effect Management

  471. sk999 says:

    Mick Gilbert asks, “… would you be okay with my sharing of your graphics, together with the appropriate attribution, with others?”

    I have no problem, nor do I think you even need to ask. Just be aware that I include three figures with annotations made by a third party, for whom I do not speak. (The fact that this third party took one of my articles and reproduced it on his website and styled it as a “Guest Paper” without permission should be considered of no consequence – I’m OK with that as well.)

  472. Mick Gilbert says:


    Thank you, Steve, much obliged.

  473. Viking says:


    The Egyptair mystery is now officially solved by the French authorities:

    I do not imply any similarity with MH370, but it provides some reason for hope solving other mysteries.

  474. TBill says:

    Sounds like the O2 theory may be speculative – O2 of course does not ignite by itself, but promotes faster burning of other materials. Implication is the O2 tank pressure and air O2 content should be monitored (assuming it is not). As a Chem Engr we always continuously monitor air quality in confined spaces, except when on aircraft I suppose.

  475. Don Thompson says:

    @MS804 watchers

    The source article at Corriere Della Sera (Daily Courier?) reports…

    “In autumn 2018, with an unprecedented act, the French judicial police came to the offices of the BEA to collect the data of the ‘black boxes'”

    “The dossier was sent a month ago [March 2022] to the Paris Court of Appeal which is investigating for ‘manslaughter’ because among the victims there are also 12 French nationals.”

    “The Egyptian civil aviation authorities and EgyptAir did not respond to the Courier’s questions. ICAO, the UN civil aviation agency, explains that it has not received any final reports from Cairo. BEA, the French investigation agency, confirms the position expressed in 2018: for them the most probable hypothesis remains “a fire that broke out in the cockpit during the cruise phase which led to the loss of control of the jet.””

    It should be clear to readers here that, in France, air accident investigations in the domian of civil aviation safety are undertaken by BEA, the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses. In the case that an aviation technical investigation is required when considering prosecutions, cases are made responsibility of an investigating magistrate or judge who relies on the Gendarmerie de l’Air for the investigation technical resources.

    Both BEA and the investigators of the Gendarmerie de l’Air appear to have drawn conclusions that contradict those made my investigators in Egypt. That fire was a result of cigarette smoking in the flight compartment by one of the flight crew, where combustion was accelerated by leaking oxygen from the crew O₂ supply.

    The NY Post makes an error in stating “ the aircraft’s black box recorder, which was recovered from deep water near Greece by the US Navy“. The French Navy located the recorders by means of hydroacoustic techniques and the recorders were recovered by Deep Ocean Search operating from their vessel, the John Lethbridge.

  476. George G says:

    @Don Thomson,

    (once again), thanks for your points of clarification.

  477. Andrew says:

    RE: MS804

    Don Thompson said: “Both BEA and the investigators of the Gendarmerie de l’Air appear to have drawn conclusions that contradict those made my investigators in Egypt. “

    It’s not the first time that Egyptian investigators have disagreed with the findings of other accident investigators in cases where an accident was found to have been caused by the actions of an Egyptian crew member. The same thing occurred after MS990 crashed off the US coast in 1999, where the NTSB found the accident was probably caused by the deliberate actions of the Egyptian relief FO. The Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority refused to accept that finding and conducted its own investigation, which found the accident was caused by the failure of the aircraft’s elevator control system. That finding was dismissed by the NTSB, after it found the aircraft’s flight path could only have been caused by an intentional act.
    The Crash of EgyptAir 990

  478. Don Thompson says:


    The Egyptian conclusion appears to ignore that SU-GAP’s FDR recorded both Fuel Control switches switched to CUTOFF, thus shutting down the engines, approximately 15 seconds prior to both recorders ceasing due to aircraft power loss.

    These switches located on the central Control Stand are protected from accidental actuation (pull to unlock plus physical guards on control stand).

    Two minutes after the recorders ceased operation the aircraft impacted the ocean as determined from the radar assets surveilling the area.

    Why would an 767, stable in cruise at FL330, require any elevator control input? The FDR shows that the aircraft remained in stable flight for 8 secs after AP disconnect, until the throttles were retarded to idle, and the elevators were commanded to trailing edge down (with consistent defections on each side).

  479. Andrew says:

    @Don Thompson

    The ECAA report tried to brush off the fuel control switches being moved to CUTOFF as a possible response to an engine flameout. It claimed the crew might have concluded there was a dual flame-out as a result of a low pressure warning that was recorded on the FDR. The engine relight procedure starts by moving the fuel control switches to CUTOFF. The ECAA failed to mention, however, that the low pressure warning was likely caused by the negative load factor that was recorded as the aircraft rapidly pitched nose down to about -40°, as discussed in the NTSB report.

    “Why would an 767, stable in cruise at FL330, require any elevator control input?” Exactly. The elevator failure scenario was comprehensively debunked by the NTSB.


  480. Victor Iannello says:

    Juan Browne (@blancolorio) has another video on AF11. He attributes the botched go around to not following SOPs and poor CRM.

  481. Victor Iannello says:

    Bruce Ward is an expert on HF radar, and was affiliated with DSTG and the development of JORN. He is now affiliated with Adelaide University, where a student of his is evaluating GDTAAA.

    In a recent comment, he says:

    In short, GDTAAA makes sweeping assumptions and ignores all of the known sources of variability inherent in HF propagation. I do not know of a single person involved in the development of HF radar systems that considers the MH370 predictions to have any technical credibility.

    It appears he is coming to the same conclusion as us, i.e., there is zero validity to using GDTAAA for finding MH370.

  482. Andrew says:


    RE: “He attributes the botched go around to not following SOPs and poor CRM.”

    Yes, I think that goes without saying. The more important question is WHY did that occur? If we don’t understand the ‘why’, then we don’t really learn anything and can’t take the necessary steps to prevent something similar happening again.

    Professional pilots don’t normally disregard SOPs without good reason, so why did they not follow the SOPs and why did the CRM break down in this case? Was it deliberate, or was it the result of a systemic problem, such as training, recency, or fatigue? Were they caught out by the ‘surprise’ effect that I mentioned previously? There are a number of factors that might have contributed in one way or another. I would hope the BEA investigates them thoroughly and does not dismiss the incident by simply saying the pilots didn’t follow the SOPs.

  483. George G says:


    Re Juan Browne’s video on AF11:

    The BEA Press Release finished with the paragraph:

    “At this stage, the analysis of the parameters does not show inconsistencies, in particular between the movements of the controls and the movements of the aeroplane. The validation and the analysis of the parameters are continuing. Particular attention will be given to reproducing the forces applied to the controls and to the relationship between these forces and the movements of the controls.”


    The subsequent three paragraphs following “Overall …” in his presentation, and in the “aviationsourcenews” article from which he appears to be reading are NOT in the BEA release.


  484. Andrew says:

    @George G

    @George G

    I took exception to those last three paragraphs when I saw them on Juan’s video, and then I realised they were written by a journalist. They state:

    “It remains clear that more due diligence is going to be needed amongst pilots, especially in the approach stages.

    The BEA is hoping that this will be the only time an instance like this will happen, especially in the Air France fleet as well.

    For now, it is unclear what Air France will do with the pilots involved, but they will probably be either re-trained or dismissed from the company due to safety concerns.”

    The pilots clearly committed several errors, but the suggestion that it was due to a lack of “due diligence” is, in my view, incredibly superficial. I also don’t believe that dismissal of the pilots is the right way to go, unless it can be shown their actions were deliberate or grossly negligent. As I said previously, we need to understand why this incident occurred to learn anything from it.

    There has been a lot of emphasis on the need for a “just culture” within high risk organisations, following the work of Prof. James Reason, who suggested the concept was a necessary component of safety culture. A just culture recognises that human beings make mistakes and that honest mistakes are a learning opportunity. At the same time, a just culture does not tolerate wilful misconduct.

    Unfortunately, there are still plenty of airlines that believe dismissal or some other punishment is the best way to deal with pilots who commit errors. The problem with that approach is that it creates an environment where people are fearful to admit any kind of mistake. That robs the organisation of an opportunity to learn why errors occur and to implement appropriate measures to help prevent them from happening, or to at least mitigate their effects.

    The following is a paper on just culture in medicine. The principles are the same in other high risk industries:
    Just Culture: A Foundation for Balanced Accountability and Patient Safety

  485. George G says:

    AF11 – Looking at the recording of “Flight parameters from 07:50:08 to 07:52:03” shown in the BEA Press Release: Whatever caused the co-pilot and pilot flying “astonishment with respect to the aeroplane’s bank angle” it seems he had achieved correct pitch control after selection of go-around, reaching a briefly stable pitch-up angle of around 14 degrees. It also seems that he had begun to regain some roll control and was beginning to correct his previous roll control error. What is your comment, if I were to suggest that the captain was startled (or was truly woken up) by the deliberate pitch up by the pilot flying at the start of the go-around. ?

    ( and now I’m off to read your “Just culture” attachment )

  486. Andrew says:

    @George G

    It’s hard to know when we don’t have a transcript of the CVR to understand what was said by the two pilots. The press release says “the crew carried out a go-around”, but doesn’t say if there was any discussion between the two pilots before the go-around was initiated. The fact the Capt didn’t start to intervene on the control column until about 5 seconds after the go-around commenced might suggest that he was not surprised by the initial pitch-up.

    I think it all started going wrong because the FO apparently missed the “Flaps 20” call at the start of the go-around, possibly because he was focused on the increasing bank angle. The “Flaps 20” call is important, because it triggers a series of actions that requires coordination between the flying pilot and the monitoring pilot. If that trigger goes missing, it’s very easy for the whole sequence to become a mess. The Capt then compounded the problem by intervening on the flight controls without formally taking control, resulting in the two pilots trying to fly the aircraft with nobody monitoring.

  487. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    Totally unrelated to MH370.

    Q: wonder who could have leaked the draft opinion of Justice Alito on Roe v Wade?

    No prizes for guessing.

  488. Victor Iannello says:

    @CanisMR: I don’t know. I’ve been too engrossed in the Johnny Depp – Amber Heard trial to follow anything else. (NOT!)

  489. Andrew says:


    What a pair – they deserve each other…

  490. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Very clearly NOT! I’m pretty sure that the lady’s name is Amber. [VI: Thanks! Now corrected.]

    Regards Professor Ward (I’m not in the “First Name Club”, apparently there’s some significance to that according to the Glass Cannon), his frustration at repeated misrepresentations of the University of Adelaide’s and the DSTG’s involvement in reviewing the homoeopathy project was palpable.

    As anticipated, the whole Guessing, Doodling and Tracing show is unravelling like a cheap sweater on a blackberry picking trip.

    Meanwhile, hot on the heels of the manifest failings in science, maths and geography (what serious scholar uses a copy of a survey map in a report to plot a terminus when specific detailed maps of the area are readily to hand?!), the author of GDTAAA is now giving ethics advice out of one side of his mouth while telling lies out of the other.

    For the avoidance of doubt, I did not recover the deleted Moskva article from the Google cache. Saying that I did would be a lie. I simply re-posted a link that I found provided in a well known, reputable and well respected public forum. Near as I can tell there’s more to recovering deleted webpages from the cache than CTRL-C, CTRL-V.

    And dress it up however you want, re-posting a link does not constitute re-publishing, with “permission” or otherwise. But on the topic of permissions, I did note that my posts to a private chat group were reproduced over on the cartoon network without my permission, in direct contravention of group rules. And not even the most up to date post in one instance.

  491. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert, @Andrew: Coincidentally, the law firm representing Amber Heard is local, and I do work with the firm, so I actually do have a mild interest in the case. I don’t know the particular lawyer in the courtroom.

    Regarding GDTAAA, eventually the truth will be available to anybody that wishes to learn it. I have been a proponent of technical review of the work, which I am confident will confirm it is junk science. The accusation that I have suppressed technical review is comical.

  492. TBill says:

    @Victor @Mick
    The trial is being conducted here in my backyard, so we really get the news. That’s because Washington Post has offices here, so it is a valid legal venue, and apparently Virginia legal system might allow somewhat better prospects for the plaintiffs than California.

  493. George G says:

    And now for something completely different.

    The little work helicopter to have when you need to persevere.

  494. Don Thompson says:

    FYI, map builders

    Geoscience Australia has deployed a new WMS server providing access to MH370 Phase 1 and Phase 2 imagery.

    The MH370 Phase 1 imagery seems not render properly, an alternate source that uses the Geoscience Australia data is the GMRT WMS hosted at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

  495. Paul Smithson says:

    Thanks for tracking this down, Don.

  496. Don Thompson says:

    Ocean Infinity takes another leap into the future with first of new 78m vessels on the water.

    Armada 78m #01

  497. Tom says:

    Godfrey has closed his page for comments.

    Richard on 8 May 2022 at 20:19

    Due to the unprecedented attacks with renewed death threats, website hacks and email hacks, I have decided to close my website for all comments.

    The website will remain open in read only mode for a limited period.

  498. ALSM says:

    The 3rd and final episode of “MH370: The Enigma of the Lost Flight”, produced by VICE UK Studios Limited, will air tomorrow (Wednesday) at 20:30 AEST (10:30 UTC) on SBS Australia. You can view the documentary here:

    …if you are in Australia. It is geo blocked outside of Australia, but it is straight forward to log in to SBS and create a free account using a VPN with an exit point in Australia. (Thanks, Don, for teaching me how to do that!)

  499. Victor Iannello says:

    @ALSM: I haven’t seen it, but the teasers refer to new voice analyses that implicate the captain. What are they referring to?

  500. Damien Brown says:

    Given there is still a degree of blame aimed at Captain Zaharie, (as per the SBS documentary), the Captain’s family deserve it to be known – who else on the flight was capable of flying the aircraft.

    Additional questions of interest: what was in the rear cargo hold (the one with the inward opening door)? Was there any luggage from late transiting passengers?
    (Only occasional visitor here, so apologies if these matters already addressed).

  501. ALSM says:

    Victor: Voice stress analysis by Dr Malcolm Brenner.

  502. Victor Iannello says:

    @ALSM: I’ll say I became aware of this voice analysis some time ago, but I was asked to not publicly refer to it, as Dr. Brenner at that point was carefully guarding the data. For whatever reason, he has decided to release his conclusions.

    Considering Dr. Brenner’s past association with the NTSB, my guess is the official investigators have been aware of this analysis for some time.

  503. Victor Iannello says:

    I was able to see the final episode. Brenner’s analysis was interesting, although inconclusive. Mike did a fine job refuting the GDTAAA junk science. I didn’t see anything else that was helpful for solving the mystery.

  504. Paul Smithson says:

    @victor, could you summarise the nub of Brenner’s analysis for benefit of those of us that can’t view the programme?

  505. Victor Iannello says:

    Paul Smithson: Brenner, who is an expert in human factors and who was employed by the NTSB, believes that the analysis of the ATC recordings suggests that the captain was under a lot of stress. He cites:

    1. Without an ATC requirement, the captain reported maintaining FL350 not once but twice.

    2. Through a frequency analysis, a comparison of the two radio calls reporting FL350 showed that the second call was 30 Hz higher than the first, indicative of increased stress.

    3. In the final transmission, the captain spoke at a fast rate, indicating stress.

    4. In the final transmission, the captain neglected to call back the transfer frequency.

    5. Brenner speculates that the captain could have locked the first officer out of the cockpit, but it’s also possible he used the fire axe to incapacitate him.

  506. Don Thompson says:


    The series home page can be accessed from anywhere, playback from the CDN is limited by geo restrictions.

    Hence, the comment above to use a VPN service that offers tunnel exits in Australia.

  507. Mick Gilbert says:

    Seems like everyone’s being hacked these days.

    A rather disturbing incident for passengers on a AnadoluJet flight out of Ben Gurion Airport the other day.

  508. jjp17 says:

    Hello everyone.

    Over the past number of years I have visited this site and this is my first post. I have always had a fascination with airplane crashes, their causes and the mysteries of aviation.

    Pardon perhaps the academic or over asked question…(aimed towards those that have indepthly studied the flight data…..)

    What is your current best hunch at where the debris field is in coordinates.

    I can imagine there are still too many questions unanswered however I also believe that if some of you had a chance to help OI search again you would have some suggestions on where to search.

    I would love to hear from a number of people.

    Thanks in advance for satisfying my curiosity.

  509. Tom says:

    jjp17, you might want to read this

  510. 370Location says:


    The question of where to search gets asked often on sites like Reddit, where it quickly devolves into questions of what happened in the cockpit, pilot intent, blame, withheld data, etc.

    Of all the plausible candidate sites, there is only one that has a very precise endpoint, defined by the epicenter of a loud noise directly on the 7th Arc about 55 minutes after the last ping.

    The candidate location is at: 8.36S 107.92E

    Details available at:

    Here’s a brief summary of my work:

    Careful in-depth reanalysis of the hydrophone acoustics using new methods shows that multiple early reports included the same event, but it was either prematurely dismissed as geological near Java or thought to be matched to a distant origin. It has been documented on over a dozen hydrophones. This ongoing study also revealed flaws in some previous hydroacoustic reports, but the Curtin University research used in official reports was very well done.

    An approximate hydrophone bearing near Java led to analysis with dozens of seismometers which pinpoint the source location. All the data is consistent with the noise originating not from a geological event, surface impact, or implosion, but instead a large piece of sinking MH370 debris hitting the seabed.

    The accuracy is as good as the epicenter estimate, which may be within a few km, and might possibly be refined by expert seismologists to within an area the size of the expected debris field.

    The site is far from expected, even by me. It’s where where no aerial, surface, or satellite searches were conducted, as those were mainly based on assumptions of an unpiloted path to oblivion.

    By setting aside prior conclusions, the Java site is actually a very good fit for all the factual evidence from satellite data, drift, fuel endurance, and unsearched areas. Even barnacle evidence considered weak for a cold water crash site is consistent with a tropical endpoint. It also does not depend on any optimization of paths to match satellite data, or even the first hours of the flight path. It is based on new acoustic evidence presented after the search was suspended.

    One objection here has been that most drift models carry the main floating debris field directly to where it was found, arriving months early. I do not see this as a reason for dismissal, because the models also show the slower trailing debris still arriving in 2015, and most MH370 debris was found well after expected arrival, usually when people went looking.

    I have further acoustic evidence of a jet flyby at Cocos Island airport that could be validated by experts with access to restricted infrasound recordings there. This supports a flyable low and slow path to the site of the noise event matching satellite data and plane performance with minimal changes in altitude or speed. CAPTIO-N researchers found another path up to Cocos Island that does include an optimized BFO match.

    Additional restricted evidence includes two active coastal radar installations on Christmas Island. These could be examined by officials for evidence of a flyby there.

    I am currently researching acoustic “blind source separation” techniques to better separate weak signals from pattern noise. I’m also exploring very low frequency 0.12 Hz seismic Rayleigh waves that appear to be consistent with a SW heading surface impact at the site.

    In support of other research candidates, I’m also mapping the responses from the Fugro phase2 deep sea hydrocarbon sniffers (some 36 million data points).

    I sincerely hope that Ocean Infinity and others will seriously consider the Java acoustic candidate site. The relatively tiny search area could be scanned in a day with the latest technology.

    — Ed Anderon

  511. Victor Iannello says:

    For those who have not seen it, a pilot flying a Cessna Caravan 208 charter flight from the Bahamas to Florida became incapacitated, and a passenger with no flying experience took control and successfully landed. He was helped by a controller that was also a CFI.

    Here’s Juan Browne’s (@blancolorio) explanation:

    With some training, this passenger would be an awesome pilot.

  512. Paul Smithson says:

    Thanks, Victor, for your earlier response re Brenner.

  513. ALSM says:

    Lunar eclipse is nearly full.

  514. George G says:

    ALSM said:
    May 15, 2022 at 11:19 pm
    Lunar eclipse is nearly full.

    Last night was clear here and the moon was trying to convince us all that he could shine as brightly as the sun.

    At about 4am the four aligned planets also all shone brightly.

  515. Victor Iannello says:

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that flight data from a black box recovered from the China Eastern Airlines jet (MU5735) that crashed in March indicates someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed the plane, citing people familiar with U.S. officials’ preliminary assessment.

  516. TBill says:

    Noted re:MU5735 so Dan Gryder seemed to have been correct back early April

    @ALSM @George
    we were socked in with clouds for the lunar eclipse, so I was studying FR24 and seeing the altitude I could see the or just hear the aircraft. The main thing I noticed was even with dark Moon and clouds, they were directing DCA traffic to go over to the Potomac and then downriver to land at DCA. I was wondering if the pilots could see the river darkness. Lots of light pollution might help I suppose.

  517. Damien vincent Brown says:

    Regarding my earlier question: ‘who else on the flight was capable of flying the aircraft?’. In light of the Florida incident referred to above, where a passenger with no flying experience landed a Cessna Caravan, and noting the hijackers in the 9/11 attacks had limited training, how feasible is it that individuals with suitable technical aptitude, but no formal flying qualifications, could be trained to carry out the various manoeuvres and steps of the flight of mh370?

  518. Victor Iannello says:

    @TBill: Dan Gryder may have been correct about intentional pilot inputs. We don’t know about the other claims.

  519. Victor Iannello says:

    @Damien VB: MH370 appears to have intercepted airway N571 at waypoint VAMPI and continued along that airway. That requires an advanced level of knowledge.

    But there are other facts that incriminate the captain, such as the short time between the last transmission, the inactive transponder precisely at IGARI, and the turn back to the Malaysian peninsula.

  520. Peter Norton says:

    ALSM: “create a free account using a VPN with an exit point in Australia. (Thanks, Don, for teaching me how to do that!)”

    how to do that for free ?

  521. Don Thompson says:

    @Peter Norton asked “how to do that for free ?

    SBS makes no charge to view their OnDemand viewing service, a user registers with an email address.

    VPN service providers such as Mullvad, OVPN, and NordVPN are available for a modest subscription. Wireguard or OpenVPN VPN client software applications are openly available from the developers (open source software).

  522. Peter Norton says:

    @Don Thompson: Thank you. I thought you and ALSM were talking about a free VPN account. Sorry, I got that wrong apparently.

  523. Damien Brown says:

    Thanks for your response Victor.

  524. ventus45 says:

    The personal toll of the massive search for doomed flight MH370
    60 Minutes Australia

  525. Don Thompson says:

    @ventus45 and others

    The source material for the article above can be found at the ‘9 Now 60 Minutes’ YouTube channel.

    Clips from Richard de Crespigny, Dr David Griffin, and Peter Foley.

    No need to “go around the internets for a shortcut“.

  526. Brian Anderson says:

    This morning I had an interesting discussion with an occasional coffee mate. This guy is of some standing in NZ so I won’t identify him. He has always known of my interest in MH370.

    It transpires that his brother was a commercial pilot [now retired], and flew for Malaysian Airlines for a time, and then Singapore Airlines, and later for Korean Airlines.

    Very recently the brother offered a comment that . . .
    “there had been a 9 minute discussion/negotiation between the captain and the Malaysian authorities/Government early on in the flight. The negotiations got nowhere, and the captain followed through with his threat to make the plane vanish.”

    This has never been made public, of course, and I cannot recall even the suggestion of such a discussion.

    Make of this what you will. It could be just a rumour, or speculation. But the comment came from someone who would understand the culture in Malaysian Airlines, and something of the culture and political environment in Malaysia too.


  527. Victor Iannello says:

    @Brian Anderson: We had a commenter here using the handle @TimR that was told a similar story by an official within Malaysia. After multiple private email exchanges with him, I do believe TimR is an honest broker. However, it was not possible to corroborate the story. Also, I’m not sure it helps to find the plane.

  528. Victor Iannello says:

    Here’s an interesting video that describes how Korean Airlines Flight 085 was almost shot down by US military on 9/11 due to confusion about whether the plane was hijacked. I was not aware that any of this occurred.

  529. Julia Farrington says:

    Re. your point earlier about the inactive transponder at IGARI.
    Zaharie was given permission by ATC before take off to change the flight path to IGARI waypoint.
    The ATSB told me that this was quite common (after looking into it) but I’ve never forgotten this as an early sign of pilot planning.

  530. Victor Iannello says:

    @Julia: Thanks for your comment. I don’t think we can assign any significance to ATC instructions to proceed direct to IGARI, although if the plan was to go dark at IGARI and that waypoint was also skipped, it would have made it a little more difficult to time when to go dark.

  531. Julia Farrington says:

    Thank you
    As far as I am aware Zaharie made a specific request to ATC to change the flight path while he was on the tarmac before take off. ATC allowed this.

  532. Victor Iannello says:

    @Julia: At 12:42:10L, ATC said:

    Malaysian Three Seven Zero selamat pagi identified. Climb flight level one eight zero cancel SID turn right direct to IGARI.

    Then at 12:42:48L, MH370 responded:

    Okay level one eight zero direct IGARI Malaysian one err Three Seven Zero.

    So the direct to IGARI instruction (which canceled the standard departure previously cleared by ATC while on the ground) was initiated by ATC, knowing that this would be advantageous to MH370 because it was a shorter path to IGARI.

  533. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Julia Farrington
    @Victor Iannello

    There are, at a minimum, three problems with this contention that “Zaharie made a specific request to ATC to change the flight path while he was on the tarmac before take off“.

    First up, the flight plan that was submitted to ATC had MH370 tracking “PIBOS R208 IKUKO R208 IGARI M765 BITOD”. The aircraft was always going to pass IGARI.

    Second, all the interactions between ATC and MH370, starting with the initial contact with Lumpur Delivery at 0025:52 MYT through to last contact with Lumpur Radar at 0119:30 MYT were recorded and transcribed. There is no record of any “specific request to ATC to change the flight path”.

    Third, all of the ATC interactions while the aircraft “was on the tarmac before take off” were handled by the First Officer.

  534. Andrew says:

    @Julia Farrington

    The initial clearance given to MH370 on the ground was: “Malaysian Three Zeven Zero is cleared to Beijing via PIBOS Alpha Departure six thousand feet squawk two one five seven.” The PIBOS Alpha departure is a Standard Instrument Departure (SID) that routes via waypoint PIBOS and from there the aircraft was flight planned via R208 to waypoint IGARI. As pointed out by Mick Gilbert, the ATC transcript shows there was no request to change that routing while the aircraft was on the ground.

    After take-off, the crew contacted the departures radar controller, who cancelled the SID and cleared the aircraft to “turn right direct to IGARI”. As Victor mentioned, the direct routing was initiated by ATC; a common occurrence when there is light traffic and ATC is able to assist.

  535. ventus45 says:

    I think Julia may be thinking of the level change requested before push-back.

    The filed Flight Plan was:
    DCT PIBOS R208 IKUKO M076F290 R208 IGARI M765 BITOD N0480F330 L637 TSN N0490F350 W1 BMT W12 PCA G221 BUNTA N0480F350 A1 IKELA N0480F350 P901 IDOSI N0480F390 DCT CH DCT BEKOL K0890S1160 A461 YIN K0890S1190 A461

    As you can see, the initial cruise level is FL290 from IKUKO to IGARI on Route R208 at a speed of M0.76 thence to BITOD followed by a step climb to FL330 with speed 480Kn, thence to TSN followed by another step climb to FL350 with speed 490kn.

    When MH370 called for clearance delivery, they requested FL350 up front.

  536. Don Thompson says:

    @ventus45 et al

    At 00:46L the approach (& departure) radar controller instructed MH370 to contact the (area) radar controller on 132.6 MHz.

    The (area) radar controller then gave the instruction for MH370 to climb, initially, to FL250 (00:46:58L).

    The (area) radar controller followed with his second instruction at 00:50:11L for MH370 to continue climb to FL350.

    All navigation direction, prior to reaching IGARI, was initiated by ATC to MH370.

    See SIR, APPENDIX 1.18D and APPENDIX 1.18E.

  537. Julia Farrington says:

    @Victor @Don @Andrew @Mick

    Thank you very much for these detailed responses.
    The matter has been settled now in my mind once and for all. ATC communicated to MH370e not the other way round as I had been led to believe.
    Thanks again!

  538. Andrew says:


    The initial cruise level of FL290 on the filed flight plan is a flight planning requirement that’s dictated by the regional ATC agreement for the Kuala Lumpur and Singapore FIRs. Aircraft planning to fly eastbound on M765 are required to plan at either FL290 or FL370. ATC can then provide a clearance without needing to coordinate with the adjacent FIR before departure, which speeds up the clearance delivery process.

    Those levels aren’t necessarily the most efficient, so crews normally give ATC a heads up and request the level they wish to fly when they first contact ATC on the delivery frequency. Once the aircraft is airborne, ATC will then clear the aircraft to that level, subject to the traffic situation at the time.

  539. Julia Farrington says:

    A thank you to you too for your help on this matter

  540. Tim says:


    And while we’re on the subject of those radio calls….

    Who was that voice analysis expert that appeared on the latest documentary- I bet he’s never sat in a flight deck.

    His claim that there was a noticeable stress change in Zaharie’s voice in the latest 3 transmissions. I think we can all hear that too. More likely due to a switch over to the handheld mic rather than anything sinister. Where do they find these experts ?

  541. Victor Iannello says:

    @Tim: A change in mic might change the relative amplitude of audio frequencies, but it would not shift the fundamental frequency higher, which is what was noted.

    The expert has a long history of analyzing human factors in aircraft accidents for the NTSB, and is recognized in the industry as a true expert.

  542. Don Thompson says:

    @Julie Farrington and @Tim

    The full paper referred by Julie can be found here.

    Also, USC lists a summary biography for Brenner.

    The animated graphic used by the Vice Studios production to illustrate Brenner’s hypothesis, an amplitude waveform over time, misrepresented the element of the analysis technique relevant in the loss of MH370. That is, the discrimination of the frequency spread of recorded voice from the ATC audio.

  543. Julia Farrington says:

    I watched all three episodes of this Channel 5 documentary (UK)
    The relatives(including Ghyslain Wattrelos), David Learmount, Blaine Gibson and Dr Brenner came out strongly and were worth listening to.
    It was very damning of the way Malaysian government handled it

  544. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    Following revelations about the ’Russia-gate’ scandal, here’s an interesting article about the relationship between the FBI, the DNC, and the law firm Perkins Coie.

    According to Wikipedia, this same law firm has defended Boeing pretty much from the time it was established back in 1916, including the company’s defence in the Forum Non Conveniens trial of MH370.

  545. George G says:

    “most probably possible”

  546. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    On May 4, you wrote ”I’ve been too engrossed in the Johnny Depp – Amber Heard trial to follow anything else. (NOT!)”
    … and ”Coincidentally, the law firm representing Amber Heard is local, and I do work with the firm, so I actually do have a mild interest in the case.”

    Could it be that if the families of the MH370 pilots decide to sue the IG for defamation, they would start in Virginia?

  547. Mick Gilbert says:


    Could it be that if the families of the MH370 pilots decide to sue the IG for defamation, they would start in Virginia?

    On the basis that most jurisdictions around the world hold that you cannot defame the deceased, no.

  548. Victor Iannello says:

    CMR: You’re funny.

  549. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    I didn’t know that defamation is not possible against deceased persons.
    Thank you for correcting me.

    My apologies to you, our gracious host.

    @Shah & Hamid families
    I’m deeply sorry for your loss.
    I never knew I was on a quixotic mission to save the reputation of the pilots all these years.
    I hope one day the truth will come out and their reputations will be rehabilitated.

  550. Mick Gilbert says:


    Defamation is a tort; “an act or omission that gives rise to injury or harm to another and amounts to a civil wrong for which courts impose liability“.

    Defamation is taken to be an act or statement that damages a person’s reputation such that it causes either humiliation or mental anguish and/or financial loss to that person. Legally, the dead are taken to not have a reputation which is capable of being damaged, nor can they suffer humiliation, anguish or loss.

    And in most jurisdictions, defamation is a personal action which cannot be assigned or brought on someone’s behalf (except on behalf of a minor).

  551. Victor Iannello says:

    An Ocean Infinity top executive held a meeting with Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong here today, as the marine robotics company shared its readiness to resume the search operation for the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 based on a “no cure, no fee” deal.

    More here:

  552. Don Thompson says:

    Wee said he had instructed Transport Ministry officers to obtain further information from Ocean Infinity for deliberation before consulting on further decisions with the governments of Australia and China.

    And more…

    Wee said it was reiterated in the meeting that there must be new credible evidence before it could proceed with another search operation.

    How very odd?

  553. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: My guess is Malaysia doesn’t really want another search, and the “new credible evidence” requirement gives them the political cover to say no.

  554. Paul Smithson says:

    Let’s game theory this a bit. If you don’t have “credible evidence” you don’t know how big the candidate search area might be. If you don’t know that, what is the right price for the fee if found? Even with a no-find-no-fee deal, there has to be a fee that’s agreeable to both parties.

    If there’s already a mutually agreeable fee, then it shouldn’t make any difference to MY if there’s credible evidence or not. The sensible play is to say here’s the offer, search on as much as you like.

  555. Victor Iannello says:

    @Paul Smithson: We can only guess at the decision factors for either side of the negotiation. Malaysia might not want to search again unless there is almost certainty that the search is successful, as each failed search reminds its citizens of a painful episode. On the other hand, OI may or may not decide to search without a contract.

  556. Victor Iannello says:


    It doesn’t help the cause for restarting the search when the silliness of WSPR-tracking of MH370 is being promoted as “credible new evidence”.

  557. Victor Iannello says:

    Here’s Wee Ka Siong’s (Malaysian Minister of Transport) comment on Facebook:

    Had a meeting with Ocean Infinity Chief Executive Officer Oliver Plunkett and representatives of the next of kin of flight MH370 victims at my office in MOT today.

    Plunkett gave us an update on the company’s latest advances in their technology, human talent, and capabilities compared to five years ago.

    He shared Ocean Infinity’s readiness to resume the search operation of MH370 based on a “no cure, no fee” deal, whereby payment is made only if the company finds the wreckage.

    I have instructed my officers at MOT to obtain further information from Ocean Infinity for deliberation before we consult on further decisions with the Governments of Australia and the People’s Republic of China.

    We further reiterated that there must be new credible evidence before we can proceed with another search operation.

    Those who were present at the meeting were officers from MOT’s Aviation Division, Air Accident Investigation Bureau, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia.

  558. Peter Norton says:

    From the above link:

    « “In my view, I do not see why Ocean Infinity has to justify their choice of a proposed search area, as their proposal is on a no find no fee basis. When Ocean Infinity is funding the underwater search, they are taking the financial risk for the planned operation.” […] Mr Godrey said.
    When Malaysia rejects a “no find no fee search” then it is perfectly clear they do not want to find the plane for whatever reason.
    The solution for OI is very simple. Just tell the Malaysians we going to look for it anyway and they will sign up at the last minute, as they did last time, because the only thing worse than finding it, is for someone else to control it when it is found. »

    He has a point there.

  559. Victor Iannello says:

    @Peter Norton: It is possible that Malaysia is bluffing, and OI can call their bluff. I don’t know. We really don’t know what is driving the decision making on either side of the table.

  560. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    SCOTUS overturnedRoe vs. Wade!
    There’s hope yet for America.
    If only they can bring the same level of scrutiny to Forum non conveniens.

  561. Victor Iannello says:

    @CMR: SCOTUS is unlikely to rule on the MH370 case (nor should it).

  562. Peter Norton says:

    It is possible that Malaysia is bluffing

    For what purpose could that be ?

    Particularly IF they want to find the plane ?

  563. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    @VictorI, PeterN,
    When Malaysia rejects a “no find no fee search” then it is perfectly clear they do not want to find the plane for whatever reason.
    Perhaps Malaysia fears that OI will not just ‘fortuitously’ find the site of the wreckage but also locate the blackboxes, which then have to be handed over to 3rd parties for analysis.

    Look at the investigation into the shooting of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Aqla. which is currently in the news. The Israelis are demanding to examine the bullet that killed her, but the Palestinians are refusing to hand it over for fear that the evidence will be tampered with.

    Similarly, Malaysia could lose control of the narrative they have spun so far about MH370, a narrative that probably was imposed on Malaysia by powerful 3rd parties.
    Perhaps Malaysia is in this predicament because it may bear some responsibility for what happened to MH370.

  564. Stuart says:

    Regarding the statement “…. a narrative that probably was imposed on Malaysia by powerful 3rd parties”, to whom are you referring? Thus far, Malaysia seems to be content to “let sleeping dogs lie”.

    Thank you for reminding us about the possibility of evidence tampering. If OI is able to conduct a new search, there will need to be oversight maintained throughout, possibly by US Navy and joint/international assets. In the event that evidence is found, wreckage and visual/other data recorded may not be immediately available to the public, not only for privacy and intellectual property issues but security concerns as well.

  565. Barry Carlson says:

    Similarly, Ocean Infinity needs to be careful that they are not lured into disclosing information that could directly lead ‘others’ into realizing, to their advantage, the ultimate control they may have over the recovery of the DFDR/CVR. This could lead to a 3rd Party being engaged to do whatever was deemed ‘necessary’ in controlling the eventual outcome.

  566. Victor Iannello says:

    @Stuart: What security concerns might they have?

  567. Stuart says:

    It is possible that aerial/surface/undersea assets from known countries, and also those of U/I origin, may be operating in the search area.

  568. Peter Norton says:

    Victor Iannello says: “It is possible that Malaysia is bluffing”

    For what purpose could that be ?
    Particularly IF they want to find the plane ?

  569. Mick Gilbert says:

    So, another comic book from the Guessing, Doodling and Tracing cinematic universe has dropped, this time our heroes are “tracking” Emirates flight EK421 of 1 June out of Perth.

    It took less than five minutes of analysis to start revealing significant flaws. For example, right off the bat, there are manifest issues with each of the two WSPR spots used to create the very first purported “GDTAAA position indicator for EK421 on 1st June 2022 14:26 UTC”.

    The first spot, between Tx AC0JX in Duluth, Minnesota and Rx VK6WR in Perth, Western Australia, is meant to evidence the detection of an aircraft near the receiver due to “SNR forward scatter”.

    Before dealing with the problem with the spot they used, it is worth noting here that it is exactly this sort of “detection”, that of an aircraft operating out of an airport near a receiving station, that the authors totally ignored in their MH370 GDTAAA WSPRnet Flight Path Airport and Flight Route Interference Assessment paper of 6 April. That paper wws meant to be an assessment of possible sources of interference and yet at no point in the 29 pages did they bother to look at airports near receiving stations. And yet here they are now using exactly that for a demonstrably shonky “detection”. Readers can plot that on a scale from deliberately deceptive to intellectually delinquent at their leisure.

    Back to the problem with their interpretation of the spot data. The specific characteristics of the particular WSPR spot that the authors maintain evidences “SNR forward scatter”, spot 4336275131 at 14:26 UTC, were SNR = -19, Frequency = 14097104, Drift = 0. The problem for the authors is that 18 minutes prior, at 14:08 UTC, spot 4336235073 has identical characteristics, specifically SNR = -19, Frequency = 14097104, Drift = 0. They are identical yet at 14:08 UTC (10:08pm local) there were no aircraft anywhere near the receiving station. A proper review of the spot data for AC0JX and VK6WR shows that there is nothing particularly odd or anomalous about the 14:26 UTC spot. And as illustrated by the identical 14:08 UTC spot, its characteristics cannot be attributed to detecting a nearby aircraft. Oh dear!

    But wait, as is always the case with this GDTAAA rubbish, there’s more!

    The second WSPR spot used for that first purported “GDTAAA position indicator”, between Tx KF9KV in New Glarus, Wisconsin and Rx KB3EDF in Maryland, has an error so basic it is simply astounding that any one, leave alone two authors, did not pick it up. In the WSPR database, the location for KB3EDF is given by a four character Maidenhead grid reference, FM18. A four character Maidenhead grid is 1 degree of latitude by 2 degrees of longitude. Rather imprecise when attempting to determine the exact location of an aircraft on the other side of the world. The actual location of KB3EDF could have been determined by the authors with little effort had they sought to do so. Had they have done that they would have found that KB3EDF is in fact nearly 45 kilometres from the location that they have used for their calculations. Simply put, they have the receiver mapped to the wrong location. Oh dear (again)!

    This mis-mapping, of course, has serious implications. Given the shallow grazing angle between the purported rays associated with the two spots used by the authors to determine their “GDTAAA position indicator”, their basic mapping error shifts the intersection point between the two rays nearly 50 kilometres to the north-east of where the Emirates flight actually was at the time.

    In other words, they’re wrong. But of course, there is no meaningful scrutiny of their work in the Airline Ratings reporting. It is uncritically put forward as yet more proof that a bullshit methodology built around tenuous concepts, pseudo-science, bad maths, and poor mapping, works. It doesn’t. It’s a sham.

    In time, GDTAAA will be consigned to the same trash bin as the South China Sea shoot-down, the Kazakhstan hijacking and the other crackpot nonsense that MH370 has attracted over the years. Frankly, the sooner the better.

  570. sk999 says:

    Mick Gilbert,

    Quite independently, I wrote a report on exactly the same set of spots that you examined. I call it “Cherry Picking in the Ionosphere – A Case Study”

    A part of that report is now superseded by your identifying the actual location of KB3EDF, but I will leave it unchanged since it demonstrates the hazard of assuming high precision when relying on stations with 4 character Maidenhead locators, of which there are several others in the EK421 “comic book.”

    Totally off topic – both Duluth and New Glarus are worth checking out if you are in the neighborhood.

  571. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    @Mick Gilbert, VictorI,
    same trash bin as the South China Sea shoot-down, the Kazakhstan hijacking and the other crackpot nonsense that MH370 has attracted over the years.
    In a recent interview, FdC mentioned that she is willing to be challenged and is open to revising her S. China Sea theory.
    But she remains adamant that the pilot didn’t ditch or commit murder-suicide in the SIO.

    In the same interview she mentioned that her latest book contains additional material that was left out of the ebook. So I got my hands on a copy and going through the book I came across the following sentence on pg.2.
    On weekdays, MH370 mainly carries businessmen, but the Friday night- Saturday morning flight is different. Its passengers are going home or spending the weekend in Beijing.

    This reminded me of a postby VI, last year.

    If MH370 flew after sundown on a Friday evening, it would not only eliminate businessmen from becoming victims of the tragedy, but also certain religious groups that have prohibitions against travel on religious holidays as well.

    Typically, big businessmen in China are members of the CCP, and avoiding targeting certain ethnic groups may answer some of the questions that VI asked.

  572. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert, @sk999: Thank you for taking the time to look into the new GDTAAA claims. You’ve shown once again that WSPR tracking of aircraft is junk science. Unfortunately, those in the media that have been propagating this nonsense are unlikely to stop.

    All we can do is continue to publish facts.

  573. Victor Iannello says:

    @Peter Norton: I was simply commenting on the possibility that Malaysia will delay entering into the contract until OI demonstrates a willingness to search even without the contract.

    Again, I have no idea what the deciding factors are for either side of the negotiation.

  574. George G says:

    @Mick Gilbert
    You wrote on June 26, 2022 at 8:09 pm:

    “It took less than five minutes of analysis to start revealing significant flaws.”

    Good work.

    At least there is consistency with previous GDTAAA posturings.

    Refer the following extract from Appendix D (Postscript) to my Limited Critique of a “Confidence Analysis” (20th April 2022).

    Neither contributing “Link” being anomalous, the GDTAAA “Position Indicator” at UTC 22:08 does not, and did not, exist.

  575. Victor Iannello says:

    @George G said: At least there is consistency with previous GDTAAA posturings.


  576. George G says:

    @Mick Gilbert

    Further to the above, elsewhere it has been written, by the main GDTAAA proponent:

    “I fail to understand why have you chosen to criticise these two candidates that were discarded in our analysis and not included in our results table? There are 17 position indicators that were included in the results table.”

    Well, what do you know ?

    I challenge you to re-read the subject “Case Study” upon which you were commenting, and obtain the information that “these two candidates” actually “were discarded in our analysis and not included in our results table” without more intense analysis than a simple reading.

    To someone not so inclined the “Case Study” , INCLUDING the Candidate Position Indicator at 14:26 UTC , will be seen as more “evidence” that GDTAA and it’s proponents are justified.

    This is unfortunate.

  577. Mick Gilbert says:

    @George G

    G’day George, yes, harrumpings from the Cartoon Channel have been brought to my attention.

    It appears that despite stating at Section 6. Australia Region Candidate Position Indicators, that “This results data set comprises 10 WSPRnet position indicators. The first indicator has the timestamp 14:26 UTC.” and labelling Figure 8, “GDTAAA position indicator for EK421 on 1st June 2022 14:26 UTC Local View“, the authors say that that 14:26 UTC position indicator isn’t a position indicator. Apparently readers are required to delve into a linked spreadsheet to divine what the authors consider to be “valid” results. Probably taking the “Easter egg” thing a bit far for my liking.

    But none of that presents any problem whatsoever for a critique. The wonderful thing about junk science is that it is always more junk than science, so we don’t need to delve much further into the “case study” to find more cases of egregious and manifest flaws to study.

    Let’s take the very next position indicator, the one at 14:40 UTC, ID 1 in the apparently “must read” linked results data set. The second of the two spots used to create that position indicator is between Tx EP2C at the Alborz DX Club, Alborz, Iran and Rx G4ZFQ in Cowes, England. The authors purport that this spot (4336305702) is a detection of the target aircraft abeam Cooljarloo, Western Australia because of Long Path Back Scatter as evidenced by an SNR Anomaly. The SNR value was -26 dB. The problem here is that less than two hours earlier at 12:44 UTC, spot 4336057934 had the same SNR, -26 dB. Unsurprisingly, at 12:44 UTC the was no aircraft anywhere near the purported detection location. And at 14:44 UTC, just four minutes after the purported detection, there’s spot 4336314998, SNR = -26. And of course at 14:44 UTC there was no aircraft at the purported detection location. When you look at the data for the 24 hours encompassing the purported detection we find that far from -26 dB being some sort of anomaly, it is in fact the second most frequently occurring value for SNR.

    Regarding the use of four character Maidenhead Grid references in attempting to determine the location of an aircraft on the other side of the world, apparently there’s all sorts of hubbub on that. A review of basic geometry would have been more helpful.

    As stated previously, a four character Maidenhead grid is 1 degree of latitude by 2 degrees of longitude. At mid-latitudes that translates to a grid roughly 165 kilometres by 110 kilometres. On the basis that the transmitter or receiver could be anywhere in that 16,500 area (15 percent larger than the state of Connecticut) simply picking the mid-point of the grid by invoking the six character Maidenhead reference “mm” gives rise to positioning errors of up to 100 kilometres, with an average error of perhaps somewhere around 60 kilometres.

    In this latest exercise, the average distance between the transmitters and the receivers used for the position indicators per the results data set was 2,346 kilometres. Over that distance an mapping error of around 60 km would yield an azimuth error of up to 1.587°. Apparently the authors have an azimuth error “tolerance” of 0.75° to cover shitty mapping. So what we’re likely to see arise is more than double that.

    However, if that is their tolerance, it is simply ridiculous given the globe spanning distances being used. A 0.75° azimuth error gives rise to a 13 km position error for every 1,000 kilometres to the target. The average Tx to target distance for this latest exercise was more than 13,000 km. So, 13 squared, mmm, carry the three, yes, makes a complete mockery of the ± 17 km accuracy for a single WSPRnet detection bullshit.

    Apparently the authors, or at least one of them, believe that the mis-mapping error makes very little difference to the final results. From the generally held scientific perspective that the results are bullshit, I guess that that’s true. A little more, a little less bullshit doesn’t change the fact that you’re looking at 100 percent bullshit.

    Of course there are graphic examples to illustrate the problem with the use of four character Maidenhead grids in the case study. Take the 15:44 UTC spot between Tx AE7YQ in Sahuarita, Arizona and Rx KG5TED/H in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The authors’ choice to use the four character Maidenhead grid reference EM30mm for the receiver gives rise to a 42 km mapping error. Given the distances involved, that initial mis-mapping translates to a significant error at the target; the actual ray path is some 100 kilometres north of where the authors plotted their position indicator. The target aircraft is manifestly not where the actual rays intersect.

    But, of course, wait, there’s more. For an example of just how badly the use of four character Maidenhead grid references can affect the final results, look at the 21:48 UTC spot between Tx RW3DIA in Shchyolkovo, Russia and Rx OH3FR in Riihimaki, Finland. The receiver is mis-mapped by some 32 km. It looks like this error means that the actual ray path is some 120 km to the west of where the authors have placed it in their doodlings. For that particular position indicator, given the shallow crossing angle of the second ray, the intersection shifts to the northwest by over 300 kilometres. Demonstrably the opposite of making very little difference.

  578. Victor Iannello says:

    This was posted to FB by a NOK and published by Geoffrey Thomas. The questions posed are similar to questions posed by contributors here.

    “I have said this many times: The Govt of Malaysia has for many years shown little commitment to search for MH370. It has for all intents and purposes abandoned even a pretence of sincerity in the search and investigation, frequently taking cover behind its ask for ‘credible new evidence’ of the plane’s location, and invoking an obligation to consult with China and Australia governed by the past agreement.

    “The Govt of Malaysia should clarify:

    A. What has it done since 2017 to find ‘credible new evidence?

    B. Who bears the responsibility to find the evidence to resume the search, if not itself?

    C. What are its principal objections to a ‘no find, no fee’ open offer to international organizations with proven credentials in marine search operations?

    D. Are China and Australia committed to finding MH370? What are their reservations/objections if any? Is consultation a diplomatic courtesy or a requirement? If a requirement, is such tripartite consultation, valid in perpetuity?

    E. As the flag State, does it still see itself as the lead in the search and investigation with responsibility towards a range of domestic and international stakeholders – families, regulators, civilian passengers, airlines, etc.?

    F. Under International law and Conventions, when does it cease to have responsibility/obligations for all things MH370? The one thing that, after all these years since MH370 vanished, still gets me riled up is when confronted by the cold truth that governments can just slam the door shut, wait out the passage of time and events, usher the new to crowd out the old, and let anger and fury hang suspended. Maybe it becomes easier when expectations are extinguished.

    “I think one key point that needs to be asked is since Malaysia is always using the term credible new evidence…. are they actually expecting it to fall from the sky or some random guy out there is going to produce it for them?

    “Are they not missing the point that it is actually their very own responsibility to find this evidence? What have they done in finding any evidence whatsoever?

    “Is there any one thing that Malaysia has done that can help find the plane? If they had any brains, they should just accept what the good Samaritans out there have done for Malaysia… including the no-brainer offer from OI (Ocean Infinity) to do the No Cure No Fee offer.”

  579. Li Yao says:

    Mick Gilbert: “From the generally held scientific perspective that the results are bullshit, I guess that that’s true. A little more, a little less bullshit doesn’t change the fact that you’re looking at 100 percent bullshit.”

    Just a well-meant piece of advice:
    The language distracts from the otherwise certainly solid maths.

  580. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick said: The authors purport that this spot (4336305702) is a detection of the target aircraft abeam Cooljarloo, Western Australia because of Long Path Back Scatter as evidenced by an SNR Anomaly.

    This kind of claim is particularly comical.

  581. Don Thompson says:

    I now read that the GDTAAA proponents have discovered something from the archives: ‘dopplergrams‘!!

    Who’s going to tell them the detractors have already ‘been there‘ and demonstrated, using the now commonly available flight tracking data, that doppler traces identified alongide origin carriers in received spectrograms can be identified and correlated to specific aircraft?

    And importantly, that this recent work using ‘dopplergrams‘ shows that reflected doppler signals are 20dB to 30dB weaker than the direct origin carrier signals, fading to imperceptable within 10s of km distance from the aircraft. Further, the reflected doppler signals, typically, demonstrate rates of change that would cause a message decode fail if the origin carrier signal was a WSPR tranmission. In summary, the radio tranmission and radar theory principles, previously reviewed here, and held to contradict the claims for GDTAAA, remain valid.

  582. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Li Yao

    Your point is well made and noted. Thank you. I can’t, however, promise that the “colourful turns of phrase” will be entirely extinguished moving forward.

    @Victor Iannello

    Comical, indeed.

    Their contention is that a 1 watt signal travelled nearly 10,000 km from the Tx to the target aircraft and then that the orders of magnitude weaker reflected signal travelled nearly 14,500 km back to the Rx, where it was readable, by way of a generating an anomalous SNR, over the signal that had travelled less than 4,500 km from the Tx to the Rx. The purportedly anomalous SNR for the “detection” was -26 dB, which was in fact the second most frequently recorded SNR between the two stations over the 24 hour period spanning the purported detection.

    This comical construction is not just a one-off aberration related to an isolated case. Their entire methodology is built on that physics-breaking nonsense.

    And, of course, anyone who raises these issues is branded a “detractor”. Worn proudly as a badge of honour so far as I’m concerned. What the authors fail to grasp is that their three biggest detractors are Science, Logic and Reasoning. A few of us just happen to be humble messengers.

  583. George G says:

    @Mick Gilbert

    The attempt to use GDTAAA to provide assistance to any future search for MH370 was an unfortunate misadventure. A dismal failure.

    Most unfortunate may have been any attention given to the purported results (pseudo final position). An unfortunate diversion.

    The misadventure may have helped to maintain more attention to the demise and search for MH370 than there might have been otherwise.

    If anyone wants to spend (waste) time on the most recent GDTAAA offering, one would continue to find past (or original) inconsistencies.

  584. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson said: In summary, the radio transmission and radar theory principles, previously reviewed here, and held to contradict the claims for GDTAAA, remain valid.

    As you and some others know, I spent some time studying and measuring HF scatter from planes flying near my home (AJ4AQ) in Roanoke, Virginia, using my Flex 6400 and recording and analyzing the signals using some of the same software as Nils. I found a part of the HF band with a strong broadcast signal (WRMI in Okeechobee, Florida, on 15.770 MHz) and low noise. I measured HF scatter off planes ranging in size from Beechcraft King Airs to B777s, which I identified by matching the measured and calculated Doppler shifts.

    Here is an example for B777s flying to Atlanta, Georgia, over a period of 24 minutes. I was able to detect aircraft to around 150 km from my home, but the strengths were 10s of dB below the very strong carrier signal, even at these relatively close distances. The signals were not detectable as the aircraft crossed the path between my home and WRMI, as the Doppler shift goes to zero, and the scattered signal is many orders of magnitude weaker than the carrier. This is entirely consistent with the results predicted by the radar equation.

    Here’s another example for B737s, an A320, and a King Air 350i.

    There is simply no way that aircraft scatter can be detected using low power WSPR signal at long distances, even with the -30 dB SNR that is decodable with narrow bandwidth processing. The experimental results were entirely consistent with the conclusions from the blog article above:

    At long distances and at low transmission powers, the received signals from hypothetical aircraft scatter are simply too weak by many orders of magnitude. What is claimed to be discernable “anomalies” in signal strength attributable to forward scatter by aircraft are within the expected deviations in signal strength for long distance skywave propagation involving refraction off the ionosphere. Although aircraft scatter could be detected if the aircraft were close to either the transmitter or receiver and if the transmitted power were sufficiently strong, the detection of the aircraft requires signal processing to separate the Doppler-shifted scattered signal from the much stronger direct signal, and this data is not available in the WSPR database.

    Any truly scientific study, either experimental or theoretical, will arrive at the same conclusions. Matching the Doppler signals of the scatter to particular aircraft is an important part of the investigation, because it unambiguously identifies signals to aircraft.

    I considered writing up my results, but as the results simply confirm what we already know, I moved on to other tasks. The informed already agree, the uninformed won’t understand the implications of the results, and the WSPR proponents are already too dug in for us to expect anything other than further doubling down.

    As an aside, I could easily detect meteor scatter, which occurs surprisingly often at some frequencies and azimuths.

  585. Victor Iannello says:

    By chance, I ran into well-known safety investigator and consultant John Cox at KROA today. We talked a bit about MH370 and also about the WSPR-tracking fantasies.

  586. Stuart says:

    Regarding the FB posting excerpt “……. since Malaysia is always using the term credible new evidence, are they actually expecting it to fall from the sky or some random guy is going to produce it for them?”

    Possibly the evidence has been there nearly all along. Take the points placed via the BFO/BTO calculations and extrapolate a line using this path in a S/SW heading, extending for several hundred kilometers past the predicted POI. This is where OI should concentrate their next search effort. For those who doubt there is any validity to this search strategy, how else can you account for the US having dedicated National Systems imagery collection assets to search this area that is hundreds of kilometers S/SW of the suspected POI, that was not even known at that time? Annotated images of scenes collected were produced showing unidentified (U/I) objects, and not unidentified ocean debris (i.e. adrift commercial fishing-related, etc.). Due to the level of classification and distribution (SECRET//REL TO USA/FVEY), said U/I object description could not be elaborated in the annotated imagery product. I am sorry to say to readers of this blog that this aspect of the search for missing flight MH370 will not have a tidy explanation.

  587. Victor Iannello says:

    @Stuart: How do you reconcile the objects located by satellite images near 44S,91E with the 7th arc?

    Why could the unidentified objects not be annotated in the imagery product?

  588. Don Thompson says:


    Would it be routine for any, and perhaps all, imagery products processed by the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, then based in Hawaii, or any other unit providing intelligence products to INSCOM (Intelligence & Security Command) & PACOM (Pacific Command) to be protectively marked as ‘SECRET/REL TO USA/FVEY’?

  589. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    @ Stuart
    How does one find these images you mentioned? Can you post a link?

    Does anyone know the identity of Reddit moderator PigDead on r/MH370?

  590. Stuart says:

    @Victor, @Don Thompson:
    Certainly any IMINT analysis facility today at or in partnership with whom you mention above is/are producing transmissible digital products at that level. In the case of PACOM, with many more contentious issues swirling than other AORs, higher classification levels are warranted.

    If an object is observed within a scene, having been previously “identified” via sources operating at a higher classification level, it can only be labeled generically, i.e. “U/I” in this case SECRET//REL TO USA/FVEY.

  591. Stuart says:

    The post is referring to an annotated IMINT product that was declassified and recently released. I don’t know if the raw image is still available, but be aware that it is a classified image, you would need to have access to search for it, and it may not have been archived. I don’t have a link to the released image though I believe Don Thompson does and hopefully he can kindly provide it.

  592. Victor Iannello says:

    @Stuart: To be sure we are all on the same page, please comment on the following:

    1. There were floating debris captured by satellites in late March 2014 in the vicinity of 45S,90E.
    2. Some of the debris have been positively identified and are not from MH370. Other debris have not been identified, and you believe could have been from MH370. (Why do you believe this?)
    3. Some of the images show streaks, which could be either digital artefacts or could be related to unidentified vehicles at incredibly high speeds and accelerations.
    4. You had responsibility for analyzing some of the imagery, some of which is classified as “SECRET//REL TO USA/FVEY”.

    Is there anything else you can add?

  593. Victor Iannello says:

    @Stuart said: I don’t have a link to the released image though I believe Don Thompson does and hopefully he can kindly provide it.

    This satellite image was part of a post on Quora. It relates to debris captured near 43S,96E on 3/21/2014. The image is marked “SECRET REL TO FVEY, USA”, so either it was later declassified and the label was not removed, or it was inadvertently released. The analyst is identified as Stuart Lichty.

  594. Don Thompson says:

    @Victor Iannello,

    Thank you for posting that reference to the image released by the ADF/RAAF following an FoI request by an Australian citizen.

    I do have a copy of the image, I assisted the FoI requestor extract the images provided in a rather cumbersome format. I had intended to post the image to a public URL over this weekend.

  595. Victor Iannello says:

    @Don Thompson: It would be helpful if we had access to an image of higher resolution.

  596. Don Thompson says:

    The file, as released by ADF, can be accessed here. As I recall, ADF released the image encapsulated in a PDF. My extraction of the image involved a method to minimize/obviate any additional generational loss: ‘what you see is what was got’.

    Classification reason is declared as pursuant to ‘1.4c‘, that is:

    Sec. 1.4. Classification Categories. Information shall not be considered for classification unless its unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to the national security in accordance with section 1.2 of this order, and it pertains to one or more of the following:


    (c) intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology;

    The reference to ‘Declassify on 25×1‘ appears to refer to period until declassification, i.e., 25yrs.

    The ‘Date Of Information’ amd ‘Time Over Target’ is stated as 2022-03-22T0523Z. The scene location is 432406S 0955452E.

    Reviewing the chronology of the MH370 surface search in the Indian Ocean: the search had been re-focused to an area of interest, broadly, around S44º E93.75º on Mar 20th. Focus remained on that area for 7 days. Ten SLDMBs were released to track local sea surface currents. During those 7 days, this specific scene location was directly overflown on 3 occasions and on 2 further occasions the area immediately east, per SLMDB drift observations, was overflown.

    At this time AMSA was leading the SAR effort, a civilian agency. As we have learned, space based earth observation resources from many agencies contributed to search planning. The Disasters Charter had been invoked on 2014-03-11. A top-down process was followed: task acquisition of space EO imagery; task aircraft; task surface vessels. Actions from each task level involves filtering and prioritising before assigning to resources capable of discriminating at the next level of detail.

    Concerning the content and use of this IMINT item:

    Is the original classification related to the capability of the EO imaging technology rather than the nature of content acquired?

    Would it be reasonable to assume that the original classification was waived to permit the imagery to be used by AMSA?

  597. Don Thompson says:

    A correction:
    I wrote ‘Time Over Target’ is stated as 2022-03-22T0523Z.
    That, of course, should read 2014-03-21T0523Z.

  598. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello et al

    A question from the cheap seats for the radio cognoscenti, if I may.

    Would you expect a 3 MHz 5 W transmission and a 14 MHz 200 mW transmission emanating from essentially the same location to be refracted as skywaves identically (ie identical skip distances) over multiple skips?

  599. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: Well, that would be a non-sensical claim. The refraction/absorption characteristics of the ionosphere would be quite different at 3 MHz and 14 MHz.

  600. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Thank you, Victor. That’s pretty much as my high-school physics suggested it would be.

    Over on the Cartoon Network, however, there are two candidate WSPRnet Position detections that were included in their results table for EK421; spots 4336723911 and 4336724617, shown in the linked “results data set” spreadsheet at rows 23 and 25 respectively.

    Spot 4336723911, between Tx AF7XZ (Tucson, Arizona) and Rx KFS (Half Moon Bay, California) is a 200 mW transmission at 14 MHz. Spot 4336724617, between Tx K7ZOO (also in Tucson, just four blocks (825 metres) from AF7XZ) and Rx KFS is a 5 W transmission at 3 MHz.

    In yet another physics-shattering breakthrough “discovery”, the authors purport that both of those transmissions followed identical multi-skip skywave paths to land in lockstep at the target aircraft’s location some 16,235 kilometres away.

    But, of course, wait, there’s more. Despite the manifest difference in frequency and the order of magnitude difference in power, the purported scattered signal from both transmissions off of the target aircraft then happily multi-skipped their way back to KFS, a distance of some 15,000 kilometres. Five ionospheric skips to the target, five back to the Rx for a total distance of some 31,000 kilometres.

    It is simply astounding that anyone with any regard for their professional standing and credibility would be putting their name to this nonsense.

  601. Stuart says:

    @Don Thompson:
    Regarding the questions at the end of your post, welcome to the world of clandestine operations. Trying to determine what actually happened will be far more complicated than using equations to solve an engineering problem.

  602. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: Layers upon layers of rubbish.

    The beauty of GDTAAA is that any single “anomalous” contact can be disregarded because there are many more to chose.

  603. Don Thompson says:


    Often the answer to a question confirms what one already knows.

    The release of this image, in response to a Freedom of Information request, contradicts any suggestion of actions being ‘clandestine‘.

  604. George G says:

    @Mick Gilbert, are you trying to confuse me. I’m quite capable of doing that myself. 🙂

    Your comment #33556 July 3, 2022 at 7:03 pm

    Being confused, I decided I’d better find out what you were on about.

    (against my better judgement)

    If you wish to peruse Figures 30 and 31, and associated text and/or references of the subject “Case Study” you will find you need not be quite as scientific as in your comment.

    Figures 30 and 31 show a “solid” red line crossing a broken, or dashed, red line. These cross at or near an asterisk. Also on Figure 30 is seen a solid green line parallel to the solid red line.

    Note, for identification purposes, in Figure 31 the dashed red line passes through a purported transmitter in South East Australia and a purported receiver in the Mediterranean.

    Perusal of the “associated text and/or references” finds that the Australian transmission received in the Mediterranean was removed from the final results. In other words it was presumably “discarded in our analysis and not included in our results table” per previous discussion. I assume this was due to a “marginal” SNR.

    I now leave it up you to finish and state the obvious ….

  605. Mick Gilbert says:

    @George G

    G’day George, I didn’t bother checking line 24 of the linked “results data set” spreadsheet, and it would appear neither did the authors.

    The spot detailed at line 24, which is meant to be the third making up the 18:00 UTC “Position” detection, is spot 4336720472, between Tx W6LPM in Campbell, California and Rx WB0OEW in Tucson, Arizona. It is meant to evidence detection of the target aircraft at a distance of some 15,000-16,000 kilometres from the Tx/Rx pair by way of “Long Path Back Scatter” because of a purported drift anomaly. Presumably this is the solid green line on Figure 30.

    Notably, that long path does not intersect the other paths (both of which are identical) listed in “results data set” spreadsheet as making up Position Indicator ID 10 of the 17 ostensibly validated position indicators.

    You’re quite correct in that the intersecting ray between the Mediterranean and Australian stations isn’t detailed in the “results data set” spreadsheet despite being shown on both of the accompanying figures. Absent that spot, there is manifestly no “position indicator at 18:00 UTC”.

    Maybe you need a club members only decoder ring to interpret this stuff. You might think that between two authors there might be some form of cross-checking or QA of at least the write up.

  606. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    June 25 @ 5.17, Stuart asked, ”a narrative that probably was imposed on Malaysia by powerful 3rd parties”, to whom are you referring? “
    Today is July 4th, and the USA is celebrating independence from England’s King George III.
    But Malaysia did not show that same independence from UK when it initially handled the MH370 crisis. Virtually every major announcement made by the Malaysian PM of that time was prefaced with the same line: “according to the UK’s AAIB,…”
    If one were to hazard a guess, the Malaysian PM was probably receiving instructions from the office of his counterpart in UK, or someone at 10 Downing Street because it’s not standard protocol for a Whitehall mandarin to be tasked with this kind of responsibility.
    So who could possibly have been assigned this task?

    Here are 2 people who may have a very good knowledge of exactly what happened to MH370, or at the very least of the cover-up of the incident.

    They are both members of that rarefied elite that runs the UK.
    One of them wrote a book on MH370.
    The other wrote books on the following subjects:
    – 1988, privatization of nationalized industries (very useful information to oligarchs who were snapping up whole industries in Russia and Ukraine at a pittance and then expropriating the profits to the UK)
    – March 2020, a sudden catastrophic breakdown of interlinked infrastructure
    – 2022, points of tension between a rising China, and the challenge it poses to US hegemony

    The The Daily Express which normally pumps and dumps misinformation about MH370, has a candid video of this other person.

  607. Mick Gilbert says:


    You contend that ‘Virtually every major announcement made by the Malaysian PM of that time was prefaced with the same line: “according to the UK’s AAIB,…”

    You would have no difficulty providing three or four examples of the PM using that phrase then.

  608. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    @MickGilbert … I was actually paraphrasing FdC. It’s a line she often uses in interviews.

  609. Stuart says:

    @Don Thompson:
    Certainly you are familiar with the term “cover story” and its use as a subterfuge of actual events, in the case of MH370, an international search and rescue/recovery effort that was precluded by a highly secretive US counterterror air reconnaissance mission that had already been flown and identified an area of possible wreckage of the plane. Unexpected unknown phenomena were encountered. This may have further complicated any possible future release of information regarding the clandestine flight. The mission of reducing terrorism threat was accomplished.

    You are asking why this information would not be known by now, why wouldn’t INSCOM etc. have record of any type of mission, clandestine or otherwise? The US doesn’t want to disclose its intelligence collection TTPs. US and partner nations intelligence analysts produced and forwarded credible IMINT products of a debris field of possible plane wreckage floating in the Southern Ocean, IVO 43S 095E, within weeks of the plane’s disappearance. Those given responsibility for the undersea search, Ocean infinity and others, have ignored critical evidence and probably missed key opportunities to recover wreckage. If at some later point in time wreckage is finally recovered, at or near the location shown on said imagery products, difficult questions will have to be answered.

  610. Victor Iannello says:

    @Stuart said: …in the case of MH370, an international search and rescue/recovery effort that was precluded by a highly secretive US counterterror air reconnaissance mission that had already been flown and identified an area of possible wreckage of the plane…US and partner nations intelligence analysts produced and forwarded credible IMINT products of a debris field of possible plane wreckage floating in the Southern Ocean, IVO 43S 095E, within weeks of the plane’s disappearance.

    Isn’t it more probable that the debris field near 43S,95E was not further considered after the Inmarsat data, drift models, and fuel calculations ruled out the association with MH370, whether or not unknown phenomena were encountered? Are you aware of evidence to the contrary?

  611. Stuart says:

    I believe the Inmarsat data, weather and drift pattern analysis, fuel calcs etc have pointed the search in the right direction. Two extensive underwater searches have not revealed any possible wreckage of the missing flight. Examining previous crash recoveries indicates that larger components of the plane, i.e. turbines, can remain intact after impacting the ocean from altitude. Yet, still no evidence has been located. Rather than repeating the same search area and hoping for different results, perhaps it is time to redefine the possible location of wreckage. This may entail using a different mindset altogether regarding what we understand and have considered as possible scenarios. It is difficult to present controversial ideas to engineers and scientists who are accustomed to making decisions based on hard data. What if the data is there, having been collected and analyzed by extremely knowledgeable personnel working within highly restricted environments, yet is still not understood? Is it possible that there is some entity operating within our oceans and atmosphere, and with the capability to “travel” by manipulating space-time in a way that causes space-time displacement of nearby objects, including aircraft? This phenomenon has already been observed by military pilots and possibly commercial pilots as well. This will be denied by many but these individuals would be wise to consider this as an important step in advancing our understanding of physics which obviously has a long way to go.

  612. Don Thompson says:

    @Stuart wrote “Examining previous crash recoveries indicates that larger components of the plane, i.e. turbines, can remain intact after impacting the ocean from altitude.

    It’s not the altitude, it’s the force with which the aircraft impacts the water.

    This image shows a complete CFM56 engine and a fragment of the same model of engine recovered from the crash site of Sriwijaya Air 737-500, PK-CLC. PK-CLC’s altiitide did not exceed 10,900ft before the crash.

    More extreme destruction was wreaked on the engines of SU-GCC, operating Egyptair flight MS804. I had the opportunity to talk with members of the seafloor recovery team involved in that search. They described the condition of its engines: only after bringing several baskets of small articles of debris to the surface did they realise that the many similar shards of metal they’d scooped up were fragments of turbine blades while nothing on the seafloor had been recognised as ‘an engine’ or part of an engine.

    As for delving into the unexplored peripheries of physics, your suggestion is not unique. The topic of this blog post is another example.

  613. Don Thompson says:


    O_l_i_v_e_r L_e_t_w_i_n?

    Seriously? That’s so far out in the weeds. I really don’t even want to know why.

    As for FdC, treated as a fiction ‘The Disappearing Act’ was a fun read. FdC was never going to achieve notoreity with anything other than the ‘The Disappearing Act’. Had she set out to write the story of what is credibly known about the loss of MH370, such a book would be in a field of dozens. A fiction it had to be. Regardless of how ‘The Disappearing Act’ treats what is credibly known about MH370, most of what it attempts to set out as authoritive is simply nonsense. Any counter to it would be another tome in itself.

    But Oliver Letwin, I’m just lost for words.

  614. Victor Iannello says:

    @Stuart: If you have any knowledge that can help shed light on this mystery, whether or not it violates our understanding of the physical world, we’d be interested in learning more.

  615. Stuart says:

    @Don Thompson:
    Is there proof and/or evidence that the turbine engines of MH370 were obliterated in a crash onto the ocean surface? If the flaperon found off the coast of Madagascar does belong to the 777 of MH370 and is largely intact, does this indicate a catastrophic end of flight scenario, whether under a steep descent under power, prolonged accelerating spiraling descent following loss of turbine power/thrust, etc.? This doesn’t appear to be the case unless said flaperon detached early in the descent and drifted onto the ocean surface.

    I don’t consider WSPR as being useful in the search for MH370, as it has been found to be erroneous in accurately predicting aircraft flight paths etc. Regarding your rather salty comment, physicists have been studying possible manipulation/alteration of gravitational effects on moving objects for several decades yet have not achieved much progress, probably due to a lack of field data/observation. Recent sightings by military and other pilots will hopefully contribute to advances in this area.

  616. Don Thompson says:

    @Stuart asked “is there proof and/or evidence

    Proof? Certainly not.

    Evidence? Certainly yes.

  617. George G says:

    @Don Thompson: In your answer of July 6, 2022 at 4:47 am to Stuart’s question concerning “proof and/or evidence” you have answered, in part: “Evidence? Certainly yes”.

    Upon review, Stuart’s question was pretty specific. It asked: “Is there proof and/or evidence that the turbine engines of MH370 were obliterated in a crash onto the ocean surface?”

    The question specifically concerned “the turbine engines”, and perhaps you read it to be more generally referring to the aircraft itself ?

    In an earlier comment you had given informative graphic descriptions of the damage done to two other examples of impact with the sea, namely PK-CLC and SU-GCC.

    At this stage of our combined knowledge, or smatterings of evidence, I argue we cannot make any reasoned estimates as to the actual state of the two engines of 9M-MRO, other than they will certainly have suffered extensive damage. What we can argue based upon the evidence is that there is a likelihood (even high probability) that they were no longer functioning as propulsive units when they entered the ocean. We might expect that the rotors were still turning, and possibly they may have been rotating at a higher speed than might normally be expected for engines following loss of power in flight. This higher rotational speed would result if the aircraft was descending still wing-borne, but well in excess of normal flight speeds.

    If the above accurately describes the likely engine situation at entry into the ocean, then I would now argue that the extent of damage to these two engines might be considerably less than for your two examples, as for both of those examples (I estimate) the engines were producing high power at entry.

  618. CanisMagnusRufus says:

    the radar points attributed to MH370 as it approached the Malay peninsula after going “dark” at the turn back at IGARI are all lines at perpendicular incident angles to the radar installations at KB and Butterworth/Penang.

    Couldn’t this have been intentionally done to create as big a radar crosssection return as possible?
    And if so, was this radar cross section actually created by a large aircraft, or could it have been created by a air-launched decoy such as the MALD?

  619. Mick Gilbert says:


    An air-launched decoy that “they” cleverly fitted the First Officer’s phone to?! These are the moments when I most miss Dennis.

  620. Victor Iannello says:

    @CMR: As always, your creativity is duly noted.

  621. Don Thompson says:

    @George G,

    I am away from home for a few days yet, not ignoring your question!

  622. George G says:

    @Don Thompson, 😊

  623. Andrew says:

    The following is a BEA report about an incident where an A320 very nearly flew into the ground during an approach to Paris-Charles de Gaulle in May 2022. The aircraft descended to 6 ft above the ground almost 1 NM short of the runway before climbing away.

    Serious incident to the AIRBUS A320 registered 9H-EMU on 23 May 2022 on approach to Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport

  624. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: That’s very scary.

    In this day, how common is it for an airliner not to have LPV capability?

  625. Victor Iannello says:

    @All: WSPR-tracking proponents have recently posted what might be one of the most bizarre papers. They claim to have tracked a Diamond DA40 on a roundtrip flight from Roanoke Airport. The DA40 is a small 4-seater with a wingspan of 39 ft and a maximum weight of only 2600 lb (1200 kg). It’s also primarily constructed from composite material.

    As an aside, Roanoke (KROA) is my home airport, and the particular plane they claim to have tracked is N395JP, which I have in the past (but not recently) rented and flown, so I am very familiar with both the geography and the plane. (It is not hard to guess why the location and plane were selected.)

    The paper presents the same junk science as you’ve seen in the past, except this time the claims are even more absurd considering the small radar cross section (RCS) of the DA40 and the claims of detection at relatively low heights above the ground, where ground clutter would make detection even more unlikely (as if the previous claims were not already ridiculous).

    If the authors wish to prove their WSRP-tracking has any value, they need to match the timing of their claimed “signal anomalies” to actual Doppler signatures of known aircraft. Until they do this, they are just cherry-picking the WSPR data. They don’t even have to use WSPR data to do this, as the physics of aircraft scatter and propagation are not limited to WSPR signals.

    I’ve done this exact thing using a strong broadcast signal (WRMI, Okeechobee, FL, 15.77 MHz, 500 kW), and was able to detect a plane as small as a King Air 350i, which is 6 times the size of a DA40, and that detection was only because the SNR of the (direct) received signal was very high and the plane was less than 40 km from my home receiver. The scatter was tens of dB less than the direct signal (but still above the noise because the SNR of the direct signal was so high), and detection was possible only because I employed Doppler discrimination. The results are summarized in this figure, which I’ve previously shared.

    Using this approach, which provides absolute verification of detection under the most ideal of circumstances, I have not been able to detect a DA40, which often fly near my home because it is the plane of choice at the local flight school.

    The claims in the paper are ludicrous and without scientific substantiation.

  626. Andrew says:


    It’s quite common for airliners not to have LPV capability, and I would hazard a guess that very few airliners manufactured more than 5-10 years ago would have the capability. The A320 involved in this incident was almost 23 years old. Many airlines don’t normally need LPV capability as they operate to airports that typically have multiple ILS-equipped runways.

  627. Victor Iannello says:

    @Andrew: I am curious about this case because some claim that ILS installations will eventually disappear (much the way VORs are now disappearing). Maybe by the time this occurs, most planes will have WAAS GPS (or international equivalents), and LPV approaches for airliners will be the norm or even required, which would eliminate the possibility of an erroneous altimeter setting to cause a CFIT.

  628. Andrew says:


    The decommissioning of ILS installations has been mooted for some time, but it took a back seat about five years ago due to safety concerns over GPS signal interference, outages, etc. ICAO standards and recommended practices for dual frequency multi-constellation SBAS were approved in late 2020 to help mitigate the problem, and I believe the FAA recently resumed discussions about ILS decommissioning.

    The other problem, however, is that SBAS is limited to the equivalent of Cat I minima; it does not support the Cat II/III minima needed for low visibility operations. Consequently, the industry is also moving towards ground-based augmentation systems (GBAS) where needed to support low visibility operations.

    Over time, I think the ILS installations at most airports will be decommissioned and LPV approaches using SBAS will become the ‘standard’ type of approach. Major airports that need a low visibility capability will likely move towards a combination of GBAS and SBAS approaches, and might also retain an ILS as a backup.

  629. 370Location says:


    Thanks for the full reveal on N395JP. I’d seen your tweets with that nice DA40 where you block out the reg for privacy, and thought it was pretty creepy that the GDTAAA authors would choose to demonstrate their “tracking” abilities by stalking a high profile “detractor”.

    The absurdity of this misuse of WSPR may sink in when it’s realized that the authors could use the exact same methods and a phone with GPS to demonstrate tracking any vehicle on a road, even a scooter on the opposite side of the globe with same incredible accuracy.

  630. Victor Iannello says:

    @370Location: All true.

    The WSPR-tracking proponents have had ample time to run proper scientific experiments to demonstrate the conditions for which HF transmissions can be scattered off aircraft and have sufficient strength to be received and detected. These results could then be compared with calculations using the radar equation. As you know, some of us have done exactly this. Unfortunately, they continue to produce test cases that prove nothing other than confirmation bias.

    So why don’t they conduct truly scientific experiments as others have?

  631. 370Location says:


    I fully agree. We could speculate that they’ve tried running tests but decline to acknowledge any negative results. From the author’s incoherent responses to any of the the tests that we’ve done, I think they simply are not capable.

    I saw that confirmation bias in the past, particularly with the hydroacoustics (my focus) where a simple signal plot completely debunked the confident assertion that a pip in someone else’s data was validation of his previous candidate site. It was clearly an ice event, but he publishes the claim anyway and blocks detractors.

    Maybe their tests are the best they can do. The paper showing evidence that WSPR signals can travel more than halfway around the globe was just silly. It’s never been in doubt, and I ran stats showing the im-probabilty. Their first example used RX and TX sites nearly antipodal to each other, and they even cite that signals can have huge variance there. They don’t grok that it’s due to multipath summing, as in a signal taking many optimal “short” paths in almost any direction, with no way to pick just the one they want. Their second example used a huge stacked yagi array with gain around 21 dB and a narrow beam width of six degrees. The optimal signal path to any station is going to be wherever that monster is aimed, not their “long” great circle path. They don’t mention where it was pointed, but a simple test would reveal the answer. Every other WSPR contact with that station would likely be on the same path where that antenna was pointing. Just the idea that their two extreme examples demonstrate a typical WSPR contact is astounding. It does nothing to validate their claims that radio waves are equally likely to travel the longest possible path around the globe as the shortest optimal path.

    We know that the scientific method requires questioning one’s own theories, testing for negative results, a variety of techniques to avoid self deception by confirmation bias, and at least considering critical reviews. I see just the opposite with GDTAAA, plus wild extrapolated assertions based on clearly dubious conclusions.

    Perhaps it’s the patent factor, where some claims don’t have to be true, just convincing enough. They might need to change the AAA to be Anything Anytime Anywhere to cover against future infringement tracking scooters.

  632. Victor Iannello says:

    @370Location: If they try to use the archived WSPR data to detect aircraft scatter, they will fail. Even at relatively short distances (<50 km), the scatter off large aircraft is orders of magnitude smaller than the direct (unscattered) signal so that detection of the scatter is only possible if the direct signal has a very high SNR and Doppler discrimination is used to separate the scattered signal from the direct signal. That's what both the theory and experimental data show.

    If they insist on using WSPR contacts to demonstrate their methodology, at the very least, they should try to experimentally detect aircraft scatter by analyzing a spectrum of data and using Doppler discrimination to identify the portions of the spectrum that can be associated with a particular aircraft. Even that will be very difficult, but it would have much more value than their current results, which simply illustrate how confirmation bias enters into poorly conducted experiments, and can fool the uninformed if heavily promoted.

  633. sk999 says:

    It is refreshing to see that the N395JP report provides key information that has been omitted from previous reports, and this information allows us to better quantify what is occurring in the GDTAAA process.

    First, it gives the criterion by which a link is considered to have been “detected” – the link path must pass through a square box 2 nm on a side centered on the position of the aircraft at the start of the WSPR transmission.

    Second, we are told that about 40% of all WSPR signals during this time period are “anomalous”.

    We are also given explicit information about how links are pulled from the database (3-30 MHz, distance > 1000 km, etc.)

    As an added bonus, spot IDs are provided for all detections.

    The authors also provide an estimate of the “false alarm” rate, but I decided to compute my own.

    I find that, during the 48 minute flight period, there should be an average of 23 “anomalous” links and 3.8 “position indicators” that are actually “false alarms” – i.e., apparent detections due to random chance alone (no causal connection.) The actual numbers are 20 and 5 respectively. Thus, it is now possible to state more positively that the GDTAAA results are entirely the result of cherry picking. (Indeed, at this point I expect that the authors are in a position to open a fruit stand.)

    [The authors compute slightly lower rates e.g., 1 chance in 2.2 billion per time slot for a position indicator or about 9 orders of magnitude too low, so a bit of cleanup in their calculation is warranted.]

  634. Victor Iannello says:

    @sk999: On a positive note, the authors might finally have figured out the definition of SNR, as they are not repeating their previous math error (although also never acknowledging it). Progress?

  635. sk999 says:


    I strive to acknowledge progress when warranted. The calculation of the statistic “Algo” in the MH370 technical report, used in the determination of “SNR anomalies”, had four egregious blunders, of which the error in the definition of SNR was just one. In the recent report “EK421 Case Study”, the GDTAAA authors have remedied two of those blunders, specifically with regard to the calculation of the “free space propagation loss”. The MH370 report version of this quantity (called “Dist Algo”) was a turgid mess. The EK421 report version (called “FSPL”) is actually perfectly correct. There still remain two other fatal blunders (including the aforementioned issue with SNR definition) but heck, progress? Yes!

    However, the N395JP report uses a totally different method to compute “SNR anomalies”, rendering the previous blunders irrelevant. No, the error in the definition of SNR has not been figured out, merely pushed aside.

  636. Victor Iannello says:

    I’ve been waiting for Geoffrey Thomas to take the bait and join the WSPR-proponent in his trolling. He has:

  637. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Gents, I have a bit on my plate presently so late to the party on this one.

    A bit hard to know where to start with this latest comic book. Detecting and tracking a 2,000 kilogram light aircraft flying at a couple of thousand feet using transmitters and receivers thousands of kilometres away?! What next?

    In the strident pursuit of confected nonsense the authors seem to just trade one egregious error for another. They may have fixed some of the appalling maths from their earlier outings but their statistical analysis in this outing is at least equally outrageous. I don’t think that I would necessarily categorise that as an improvement. I would use the ‘same shit, different buckets’ aphorism but I’m trying to cut down on the “colourful language”.

    Any old who, as Steve has pointed out they’ve swapped out the original author’s bugger’s muddle of ALGO for one of the most mediocre attempts at statistical analysis you are likely to see this side of a lower secondary school classroom. Maybe it was left to the work experience kiddie/summer intern to come up with the notion that you can reliably determine an anomaly from vanishingly small data sets by applying the equivalent of a z-score analysis but it is beyond laughable to put that forward in a paper. An Intro Stats student would get an F for that nonsense!

    In this instalment of Gaussian Distributions Trashed and Associated Arithmetical Atrocities, our authors propose five position indicators – at 11:50, 11:58, 12:06, 12:22, and 12:26 UTC – that apparently pass all of their anti-false-alarm countermeasures (and yes, George, I did check for hidden spreadsheets, linked terms and conditions, trapdoors and the like and those five seem to be the ones the authors are backing). For these five “detections” they rely on 12 WSPR spots. To analyse the spot data they have invoked a ±3 hour sampling period, although ‘If the count is too small we extend to ±3 days, but for the same ±3 hours‘.

    How small is too small you would do well to ask. Of the 12 datasets, more than half of them have 10 or fewer data points. Two of the sets have just four data points. Four data points! Which I guess answers the question, how small is too small? Three or fewer it would appear. It is absolutely farcical to suggest that you could reliably determine anomalies from such limited samples, even with truly randomised data.

    You’d be forgiven for just putting this latest instalment aside for the next toilet paper shortage at this point but, of course, as is inevitably the case with these authors, wait, there’s more. As even these authors have observed previously, SNR tends to trend over time, essentially diurnally. In their Long Distance WSPR Propagation White Paper (spoiler: not a White Paper), they wrote, ‘Night time transmissions experience much less propagation loss than day time transmissions.‘ So, gee fellas, having made that observation, what do you expect to see in a six hour sample of spot data? Particularly samples involving either the transmitter or receiver (or both) experiencing that night/day transition. Their purported detections are taking place between 7.50am and 8.26am local time near Roanoke where sunrise occurred at 6am on the day in question, so their ±3 hour sampling period covers the night/transition period at the target.

    Had the authors have actually bothered analysing any of the larger data sets they quote, they would have found that there is clear evidence in the SNR data of a diurnal trend. Given that, the application of the a simple z-score analysis, such as what the authors are now using to determine anomalies, is fraught with problems. For fear of stating the blindingly obvious, using a simple z-score analysis on entirely conformal trending data (ie data showing no deviation from the trend line) will throw up an anomaly rate of around 40 percent where z is less than -1, or greater than +1 (ie setting a threshold of one standard deviation).

    Ironically, the authors claim that by invoking a one standard deviation threshold for determining anomalies they are guarding against false alarms/(positives). To the contrary, by blindly applying that threshold, particularly with small data sets, they are baking in false positives at a rate of about two in five.

    And to improve the likelihood of getting a false positive, have your data point toward the beginning or the end of the timed sample. This was the case with all three of the 11:58 UTC position indicator spots, and both of the 12:22 UTC spots.

    Apart from that fundamental analytical flaw, there was also the curious case of the 12:26 UTC spot between WA9EIC and HERMES-LITE. Here the authors claim that, based on a ±3 hour sample, spot 4419758879 is anomalous because its SNR value of -21 dB falls more than one standard deviation (σ = 5.18, by their calculations) from the mean (x̄ = -15.0323, by their calculations). The problem here is that their ±3 hour sample is missing nearly 25 percent of the available data. For reasons I cannot fathom, their sample is missing nine spots (4419781290, 4419801722, 4419820425, 4419842158, 4419861374, 4419883060, 4419901784, 4419925597, 4419938567) from between 12:36 – 13:46 UTC inclusive. When that data is included in the sample, x̄ = -16.175, σ = 5.093 and the purported SNR anomaly is no longer anomalous.

    And, of course, no review of Grid Determination Troubles Absolutely Affect Accuracy would be complete without noting that even the often small error between the mid-point of a six character Maidenhead grid reference and the actual location of the transmitter or receiver can create issues. All the more so now that the authors want to invoke the use of a 4 nmi² target area to minimise false detections (an inanity, in any event, on the basis that none of the “detections” are real).

    Take, for instance, the two spots that are meant to make up their purported 12:06 UTC “position indicator”, spot 4419720798 between transmitter WA4GLH in Hixson, Tennessee, US and receiver W5XTT in Millican, Texas, US and spot 4419721823 between Tx M0WWS in Stocksfield, Northumberland, UK and Rx WZ7I in Pipersville, Pennsylvania, US.

    When the ray paths are calculated using the actual locations of the transmitters and receivers, the WA4GLH-W5XTT long path shifts about 1.7 nautical miles to the north and the M0WWS-WZ7I short path extension shifts to the south by about 1 nautical mile of the authors’ projected paths, which were based on the six character Maidenhead grid coordinates. Not a huge shifts to be sure but given the shallow intersecting angle between the two paths the effect is to move the intersection some 5.3 nautical miles to the east-north-east, well outside the 4 nmi² target area box.

    And yes, Steve, their calculations for the probability of a single WSPRnet link crossing a 4 nmi² target are truly bizarre. Probably that work experience kiddie/summer intern again. In some convulsion of logic they assume that a single WSPRnet link can only cross one 4 nmi² target box! Because of their ‘every short path has a long path rule’, every WSPRnet link circles the globe completely. So, as it circles the globe each single WSPRnet link crosses some 10,819.5 target boxes. If, as they are happy to posit, the 2,000 links are ‘evenly spread around the globe‘, that’s 21,639,000 target boxes covered or 86,556,000 nmi². That is nearly 60 percent of the Earth’s surface covered. Even rounding back to call it 1 in 2 (50 percent), that’s a far, far cry from the author’s utterly nonsensical claim of 1 in 18,600.

  638. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: As we’ve noted before, this series of seriously flawed papers on WSPR-tracking has never been about advancing knowledge. The most recent paper is probably the most egregious because absurd claims about tracking airliners has been extended to claims about tracking small composite planes.

    Yet that didn’t stop Geoffrey Thomas from promoting this rubbish as more proof that MH370 was tracked with WSPR data.

    Mission accomplished.

    Plus, they trolled one of the most vocal critics of their junk science in a very creepy way. Was that meant to intimidate me?

  639. sk999 says:

    A more extensive writeup describing the calculation of the “false alarm” rate can be found here:

  640. Victor Iannello says:

    @sk999: That’s a great paper that offers strong evidence that the claimed WSPR detections are not detections at all, but rather are cherry picked from the archived data set.

    The WSPR-tracking proponents have had many months to demonstrate (either experimentally or theoretically) that the claimed detections are based on true physical principles. They have not, they cannot, and they will not, as they are too dug-in to do anything but double-down with more meaningless papers.

    The most recent claims of tracking a small composite aircraft are ludicrous.

  641. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Victor, just checking, in that photograph you posted on 30 June, is the aircraft behind you and Captain John Cox a Diamond DA40 by any chance?

    Just coincidence I’m sure that not long after posting that, the same model aircraft, in very similar markings, flying out to the same field became the target of choice over on the Guessing, Doodling, Tracing and Associated Asinine Activities channel.

  642. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: Yes, the aircraft in the photo with John Cox is my DA40.

    Based on the WSPR-tracking proponents’ skills in calculating probabilities, they might claim it was all just a random selection.

    In fact, the article was targeted at me. What a creepy troll.

  643. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello

    Creepiness aside, the utter hypocrisy of it all is not lost on me.

    Mind you, one of the cheerleaders over there spends their spare time trolling Facebook forums using absolutely amateur-hour fake profiles so this particular project would be pretty much “on brand”.

  644. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: Yes, hypocritical and creepy.

    That said, we should try hard to not get sucked into their drama. WSPR-tracking is junk science, as many of us have shown. End of story.

  645. Paul Smithson says:

    Anyone watched the D.B. Cooper documentary on Netflix? The story of individual investigators, their quirks, obsessiveness, persistence etc might make some of you chuckle.

  646. Victor Iannello says:

    [Comments here are closed as the site undergoes some maintenance during the (Northern Hemisphere) summer lull. The site will open again for comments, and new articles are planned, so please check back.]

  647. Victor Iannello says:

    [Comments are again open. You should not see any noticeable changes to the site. I am also renewing the SSL certificates, which often causes a service interruption, so please have patience.]

  648. Anon says:

    Started following mh370 at the 7 year anniversary and had a few points to clarify my l understanding of the path to get here and assumptions. Please correct any assumptions

    The most accurate data is the final ping at the 7th arc. I don’t have the mathematical skills to validate the calcs but that appears universally accepted noting an inconsistency issue with 7th ping that did not exist for the others. This was assumed to be because the plane was already in an uncontrolled descent.

    As for the ping, I assumed from atsb report that this was sent at or near the point of fuel exhaustion. Was this verified with Boeing? Likely a minor impact in trajectory and final location.

    At that point the plane was assumed to be flying at constant speed, flight level and heading.

    On fuel exhaustion, the plane switches from auto pilot to manual control. At that point there are two scenarios. PIC chooses to leave controls or incapable. Plane goes into uncontrolled descent and could be anywhere from that point to 10nm in any direction after spiral dive per modelled crash scenarios. That seems most likely given the flaperon wreckage.

    The second facts are from the material and drift analysis. These supported high speed dive. This assumes photos from satellites may have identified candidate starting locations with a degree of uncertainty they were from the plane given timing and cyclones in the area.

    Now Im sure these two locational facts and fuel exhaustion scenarios were overlaid on a map and cf the search area. so I have two questions
    1 were there gaps or blackspots in data capture for these areas?
    2 is it possible to check the images and use modern AI in likely areas to detect potential objects? The size of the Air France crash in comparison indicates the final location would be large and there may be small parts at the edge of a searched area

    The final atsb paper along with your Feb 2020 paper had a lot of work so it’s possible these questions have been addressed and assumptions factored into the analysis but it was not clear.

  649. Mick Gilbert says:

    @Victor Iannello et al

    Returning to an earlier episode from the Guessing, Doodling and Tracing cinematic universe, the Long Distance WSPR Propagation White Paper of 1 June 2022, here our intrepid authors demonstrate the uncontroversial, viz that HF propagates better through night skies. They found a couple of instances where, with ionospheric conditions favouring long paths over short paths, HF propagates via the path of least resistance even though that path may be longer. Hardly surprising. What they did not demonstrate was that reception was via both the long and short paths.

    Notably, with regards to 8 hours or so of spots between EA6URP (Radio Club Cultural Mallorca, Spain) and ZL2005SWL (Marahau, New Zealand) they found that SNR conformed quite tightly to a curve with only one “anomaly” out of 57 recorded spots.

    There was just one SNR anomaly at 04:38 UTC with a value of -33 dB and just one drift anomaly at the same time 04:38 UTC with a value of -1 Hz/minute.

    Interestingly, they believe that the cause of that dual SNR and drift “anomaly” ‘… could have been a glitch in the WSPR Daemon software or a car passing on the road between the antenna … and the sea front or a travelling ionospheric disturbance‘. Aside from the 04:38 UTC anomaly, they see ‘stable and predictable reception over a period of 8 hours.’

    In “The Adventure of Silver Blaze” fashion, what is most notable, and what the authors seem oblivious to, is the fact that the dog, their dog GDTAAA, did not bark. Over 56 spots there were no aircraft detections. And, of course, if their whizz-bangery hocus-pocus methodology actually worked, there most assuredly should have been aircraft detections. A good number of them, in fact.

    The authors nominate seven “Interim Landing Points” along the long path between EA6URP and ZL2005SWL. In terms of air traffic, apart from the approach to the Rx, at least three of the seven landing points points are of interest. The three landing points worth looking at are:

    1. 40° 08′ 07″ N, 037° 00′ 54″ W. Located some 275 nm west of the island of Flores in the Azores, here the long path is crossed by air traffic between Europe, and the Caribbean and South America.

    2. 28° 36′ 46″ N, 070° 50′ 44″ W. Close to halfway between Miami and Bermuda, here the long path is crossed by traffic flying between the east coast of the US and South America.

    3. 12° 22′ 30″ N, 094° 27′ 33″ W. About 180 nm off the coast of Guatemala, and some 55nm from waypoint ANREX on the Mexico/Central America FIR boundary, here the long path is crossed by traffic flying between the west coast of the US and Central America, and South America.

    Additionally, there is the long path’s arrival at the Rx, which takes it across the southern tip of the North Island of New Zealand, and then Cook Strait and Tasman Bay on the South Island. It would probably be easier to catalogue which New Zealand domestic flights don’t cross that long path. Basically all air traffic between New Zealand’s North and South Islands cross the path. To that we can add traffic on approach to Wellington from the north, traffic on approach to and departing from Nelson (ZL2005SWL is only 20 nm from the airport) and local light traffic out of Motueka-Abel Tasman airfield just some 7 nm to the south of ZL2005SWL.

    In all, at least 13 aircraft of varying types and sizes cross the long path, either near one of the three nominated touchdown points or near the Rx. For fear of stating the blindingly obvious – none of those aircraft were “detected” in the recorded WSPR spot data.

    At 02:48 UTC, British Airways B777-200 G-VIIY operating as flight BA254 from Bridgetown to London Heathrow crosses the long path near the 40° 08′ 07″ N, 037° 00′ 54″ W landing point. The data for spot 4207135675 (freq =14097166, snr = -20, drift = 0) is entirely unremarkable. As the authors themselves observed, that spot is not anomalous. Applying their ±3 hour period, one standard deviation from the mean anomaly test outlined in the authors’ more recent Roanoke Flight N395JP GDTAAA WSPRnet Analysis Case Study, spot 4207135675 remains unexceptional.

    The significance of this cannot be understated. When presented with a target aircraft that is essentially identical to 9M-MRO, the GDTAAA methodology fails to detect it. That, of course, should surprise no one.

    Beyond the 02:48 UTC failure-to-detect, we have the following:

    At 03:02 UTC, two aircraft cross the long path near the Rx; Jetstar A320-200 VH-VGI operating as flight JQ244 from Christchurch to Auckland, and Motueka Aero Club Cessna 172N ZK-EFF operating locally out of Motueka-Abel Tasman airfield. The authors claim that they can detect a largely composite Diamond DA40 flying hundreds of nautical miles from the Rx. ZK-EFF is just 2.7 nm from the Rx when it crosses the long path so surely a similarly sized, largely metal target at much closer range should have been detected. Unsurprisingly, no. Spot 4207171878 is, if anything, more mundane than the 02:48 UTC spot. There is no anomaly and therefore no detection.

    At 03:34 UTC, another two aircraft cross the long path near the Rx; Air New Zealand A320-200 ZK-OZM operating as flight NZ554 from CHC to AKL, and Air NZ ATR-72-600 ZK-MVO operating as flight NZ5626 from CHC to Hamilton. Again, the relevant spot, 4207255341, is unremarkable. Again, no anomaly, no detection.

    At 04:06 UTC, yet another two aircraft cross the long path near the Rx; Air NZ ATR-72-600 ZK-MVR operating as flight NZ5079 from AKL to Nelson and OriginAir BAe Jetstream 32 ZK-JSJ departing Nelson for Wellington. Spot 4207336911 clears the authors’ ±3 hour period, ±1 σ test. By their methodology, there is no anomaly and therefore no detection.

    At 05:44 UTC, Jet Blue A320-200 N594JB operating at flight B6745 between New York and Ponce, Puerto Rico, crosses the long path near the 28° 36′ 46″ N, 070° 50′ 44″ W interim landing point. At the same time over the Cook Strait near the Rx, Air NZ A320-200 ZK-OJS operating as flight NZ445 also crosses the long path as it flies its approach into Wellington from AKL. The 05:44 UTC spot, 4207615497, is unremarkable. Not only does the SNR conform tightly to the expected value, the spot data is identical to the 05:42 UTC spot, 4207609927, two minutes earlier. No anomaly, no detection.

    At 06:16 UTC, Air NZ ATR-72-600 ZK-MVJ operating as flight NZ5084 crosses the long path near the Rx as it departs NSN for AKL. The spot data for 4207696498 at 06:16 UTC (freq = 14097120, snr = -9, drift = 0) is identical to the 05:42 UTC spot, 4207692328, two minutes earlier. As this spot occurs close to the peak in SNR at 05:58-06:00 UTC, as would be expected, it falls just outside ±1 σ for the ±3 hour period data.

    At 07:18 UTC, Air NZ A320-200 ZK-OXE operating as flight NZ691 crosses the long path near the Rx as it descends into WLG from AKL. Spot 4207840709 is unremarkable, with SNR conforming tightly to the expected value. It also clears the authors’ ±3 hour period, ±1 σ test. No anomaly, no detection.

    Two minutes later, at 07:20 UTC, Avianca B787-8 N786AV operating as flight AV44 from Bogata to Mexico City crosses the long path near the 12° 22′ 30″ N, 094° 27′ 33″ W landing point. While the SNR of -15 dB is somewhat lower than the expected value, it nevertheless clears the authors’ ±3 hour period, ±1 σ test. No anomaly, no detection.

    And finally at 08:06 UTC, Air NZ Dash 8-300 ZK-NEA operating as flight NZ8766 crosses the long path near the Rx as it descends into New Plymouth from CHC. Spot 4207946117 clears the authors’ ±3 hour period, ±1 σ test. Unsurprisingly, no anomaly, no detection.

    Using the authors’ own conclusions regarding the general stability and predictability of the long distance, low power transmissions between EA6URP and ZL2005SWL, it is clear that a number of aircraft movements that their methodology claims to be able to detect, were not detected. For fear of once again stating the blindingly obvious, GDTAAA does not work.

  650. Victor Iannello says:

    @Anon: Welcome to the blog. I’ll address some of your questions.

    The position of the 7th arc is known fairly accurately from the final two BTO values. The final two BFO values were significantly below the trend of the previous 6 values, which most of us believe was due to a steep descent of around 0.7g.

    Boeing was part of the investigation team, and the findings reported by the ATSB were with the concurrence of Boeing.

    After fuel exhaustion, the autopilot disengages. The steep descent indicated by the final two BFO values suggests the plane crashed relatively close to the 7th arc if there were no pilot inputs. If there were pilot inputs, the steep descent could have been arrested, an ensuing glide could have occurred, and the plane could have glided another 100 NM. The fact that previous searches near the 7th arc have failed would suggest the glide scenario is likely. However, the search had areas where the data is missing or was low quality, especially in areas where the terrain was steep, so we really can’t be certain whether or not there was a prolonged glide.

    I hope that answers at least some of your questions.

  651. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mick Gilbert: Thank you for patiently wading through the silliness and reporting your (unsurprising) results.

    I’m not sure what to say that hasn’t been said many times previously. WSPR-tracking of aircraft is complete nonsense. The physics say it’s impossible, and the data show no identifiable correlation between received signal strength and aircraft position. Any claims that WSPR-tracking is based on sound science, and any test cases proving the validity, are complete junk science. In special cases, HF scatter off of aircraft can be detected, but only when the unscattered (direct) signal has a very high signal-to-noise ratio, when the aircraft is close to the transmitter or receiver, and when the scattered signal can be separated from the unscattered signal using Doppler discrimination. None of these required conditions exist for the cases cited.

  652. ventus45 says:

    Victor. Way out of my depth on propagation issues but curious. Since JORN is bistatic and works, why can’t WSPR work ?

  653. Victor Iannello says:

    @ventus45: JORN uses very high power transmitters with directional antennas and Doppler discrimination to separate vehicles from ground clutter, and even then, the range is much shorter than what is claimed for WSPR tracking.

    Some of the developers of JORN (Australia’s DSTG) have very forcefully said that WSPR tracking is junk science. They are in agreement with this blog post.

  654. Mike Glynn says:

    Having just read this thread it’s appropriate that I comment on a couple of things.

    My involvement with RG goes back to learning that he was after an appropriate flight to test his method of detecting aircraft via WSPR. I was in possession of a candidate plan, which happened to be my final flight in Qantas, although I was not aware of that fact at the time.

    The flight was a ferry of a 747 with an oil leak in the number 4 engine which could not be repaired in Johannesburg and had to be flown, empty, to Sydney.

    I had experience in post-maintenance air-tests in the 747 and this was considered desirable by QF.

    The flight was planned overhead Perth and Adelaide then direct to Sydney, and due to the unusual routing, I thought it may have been a suitable candidate for a test of WSPR.

    The kick in the tail was that we only got as far as Perth due to the oil leak accelerating during the flight and we diverted to Perth and landed with the engine still running, with the oil quantity indication bouncing off zero, but still with sufficient oil pressure to keep the EICAS quiet.

    So, I contacted RG and the test went ahead. The test was not a success. RG initially appeared to be tracking the aircraft till it crossed the African coast, although there was a cross-track error of 20NM or so. He eventually reported that the aircraft had landed in Melbourne.

    This was obviously incorrect, but he had been making some wrong assumptions regarding the aircraft type, weight and tracking and so we decided on another test which was a flight plan of a QFA330 from Apia to Adelaide.

    I supplied RG with the details of the flight including weight, type and time of departure. We had done a search of most flight-trackers and the flight was not on the sites we checked. Only after the analysis was complete did we find a site which had the flight recorded; however, I do not believe RG found and used this site.

    An informational error on my part at the beginning of the plan meant RG turned the aircraft the shortest way towards Australia (to the Right) after take-off, however there is a procedure for departures on RWY 08 at APIA to turn left due to terrain. RG had stated that WSPR does not supply a direction of turns so I accepted the error at the start of the plan due to the incorrect turn.

    After a couple of days RG informed me that the flight was tracking to Brisbane.

    We were preparing to stop the test at that point but the following day he stated that the aircraft was tracking to Sydney and the following day he stated that the aircraft had flown to Adelaide from overhead Sydney and landed there.

    This was correct; however, no documentation was given to me to substantiate how he had arrived at this conclusion.

    Considering the process so far, I wanted to do another test and had another one, an A380 flight from Sydney to an Asian port, ready to go.

    RG declined another test as he wanted to start on the MH370 analysis. I wasn’t happy with this, but it was his decision.

    However, my opinion remains that the test process was not scientific.

    When RG produced his MH370 analysis it made little sense to me as an airline pilot. The track to the north of Sumatra is very irregular and I found it difficult to reconcile it to anything an airliner would fly.

    I had not heard of the “loiter” hypothesis either, so the holding pattern was new to me.

    I asked RG whether he had considered the weather in the area in his analysis and he said he hadn’t. Despite comments made about the weather analysis on this thread, the results make sense to me as an airline pilot, particularly the diversion away from the thunderstorms off the south coast of Sumatra.

    Recently, however, I have revisited the WSPR track analysis. My knowledge of the characteristics and limitations of WSPR is basic, and I simply don’t have the appropriate background to comment on that with any authority.

    However, as a former RAAF pilot, I was trained in the principles of radio navigation and off-airways navigation. Andrew Banks arrived at my squadron just as I was leaving and was trained in the same techniques.

    In my opinion, the methodology used in the construction of the WSPR track does not conform to any known principles of aircraft navigation that I am aware of.

    It is arbitrary in the extreme and, I believe, constructed only to satisfy the constraints of the only solid data available, the BTO and BFO data.

    I realise now that I should have looked at this earlier. and avoided looking as if the construction of this track makes any sense from an aviation POV.

    Thats my error.

    I will be explaining why I believe this in due course.

    Thank you for your time and understanding.


  655. Victor Iannello says:

    @Mike Glynn: Thank you for your comment.

    If you want to help put things back on a scientific course, perhaps you should contact Geoffrey Thomas, who has reported that you believe WSPR has successfully tracked aircraft. If he is a fair reporter, he should report what you now believe to be true.

  656. Victor Iannello says:

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