Papers

Some recent papers:

Improved Prediction of MH370 Crash Location Based on Drift Modeling of Floating Debris (June 2023). In a study led by Bobby Ulich, we present a very detailed drift model for predicting the point of impact (PIO) of MH370. The most likely point of impact (POI) is estimated to be along the 7th arc at 34.0°S latitude, which is around 76 km (41 NM) northeast of the last estimated position (LEP) of 34.23°S, 93.79°E from our previous study (below). While the current study primarily uses drift modeling, the previous study primarily used satellite, weather, and aircraft performance data. The consistency of these two studies lends support to the results. Because of uncertainties in the drift model, the present study estimates that it is possible that debris drifted from an origin along the 7th arc between 30°S and 36°S. Based on this work and previous work, recommendations for the next subsea search area are presented. The recommended search is subdivided with priorities assigned.

Search Recommendation for MH370’s Debris Field (February 1, 2020). In collaboration with Bobby Ulich, Richard Godfrey, and Andrew Banks, we recommend an area in the Southern Indian Ocean (SIO) along the 7th arc to conduct future search efforts for MH370. The last estimated position (LEP) is identified as S34.2342° E93.7875°, and three search areas surrounding this point are defined based on possible behavior of the aircraft after fuel exhaustion. Although some of the seabed was previously searched in this vicinity, the terrain is challenging, and the debris field might have been not detected, or detected and misinterpreted. There is also the possibility that there was a controlled glide after fuel exhaustion, and an impact well beyond what was previously searched.

Scanning the Southern Indian Ocean for MH370 (June 24, 2019). Richard Godfrey, Bobby Ulich and I describe a methodology to evaluate possible MH370 paths to the Southern Indian Ocean (SIO) using accurate models for satellite communications, navigation, weather, and fuel consumption. A path crossing the 7th arc at around 34.4 latitude was identified as most likely. The path could be flown using the autopilot in LNAV mode between the waypoints BEDAX and the South Pole on a track of 180°T due south at Long Range Cruise (LRC) speed and at a flight level between FL390 and FL403.

Analysis of MH370 PSR Data (April 23, 2018).  Using primary surveillance radar (PSR) that has been recently released, Mike Exner estimates the geometric altitude of MH370 as it flew near the civilian radar installation at Kota Bharu. The available data set contains the slant range and azimuth as a function of time. Because the calculated horizontal speed near the radar head is a function of the assumed geometric altitude, the actual geometric altitude may be estimated by constraining the speed to be continuous across the “Cone of Silence”.  Mike estimates the altitude to be 43,000 ft or perhaps higher.

The Probable End Point of MH370  (February 14, 2017). Using data available from the Global Drifter Program, Richard Godfrey develops a detailed drift model to estimate where MH370 might have crashed. The timing and location of debris recovered from the shores of East Africa suggest a crash site along the 7th arc at around 30S latitude, which is north of the seabed area that was searched. Richard finds that a great circle path ending at Wilkins Runway, Antarctica, provides a reasonable match to the satellite data.

Further Analysis of Simulator Data Related to MH370 (Nov 29, 2016). Co-author Yves Guillaume and I discover that the individual data points recovered from the captain’s computer have markers indicating that they were from a single simulated flight from Kuala Lumpur to the Malacca Strait, to the Andaman Sea, and ending in the Southern Indian Ocean. The simulated flight path is similar to the actual flight path we believe MH370 followed.

Possible Flight Path of MH370 towards McMurdo Station, Antarctica (August 25, 2016). Co-author Richard Godfrey and I use the simulator data found on the captain’s computer to estimate the crash site of MH70 in the Southern Indian Ocean. The calculated terminus at 26.9S latitude is well north of the seabed that was searched.

Captain Zaharie Shah’s Recovered Flight Simulator Information: Preliminary Assessment from the MH370 Independent Group (August 14, 2016). Data sets from Captain Zaharie Shah’s home computer related to his activities using Microsoft Flight Simulator were contained in a secret report from the Royal Malaysian Police that was made available to the IG. The data sets were deleted from a computer drive and are consistent with a simulated flight to the Southern Indian Ocean.

China’s Pattern of Deception about MH370 (May 18, 2016). I look at the timeline of actions and statements made by China after the disappearance of MH370 and discover a pattern of deception.

Some Observations on the Radar Data for MH370 (August 18, 2015). Using the available radar data, I reconstruct MH370’s flight path after the turn back towards Malaysia until the last radar capture in the Malacca Strait.

Northern Routes and BFO for MH370 (May 2015). Previously, northern paths for MH370 were studied by
constraining the paths based on the BTO data and the available fuel. In this paper, I present an explanation of how the plane might have flown north yet exhibit the BFO signature of a southern path in order to disguise the true path of the plane. However, MH370 debris recovered after this paper was written, and incriminating data found on the captain’s flight simulator, render the northern path very unlikely.

Northern Routes for MH370 Ending at Airports (April 2015). In this work, I studied potential flight paths of MH370 that terminate to the north of Malaysia using only the BTO data. The study was performed to assess the possibility of a successful landing in the event that the BFO data from MH370 is either corrupted or has been misinterpreted. Due to fuel considerations, it is very unlikely that MH370 reached the runway at Yubileyniy in Kazakhstan. Additionally, MH370 debris recovered after this paper was written, and incriminating data found on the captain’s flight simulator, render the northern path very unlikely.