I admit that's the way they behave here but people are reading way too much
<<That ringing sound to which we're so accustomed is actually a
psychological trick, meant to keep us on the line while the network works to
locate the other phone. "The ringing sound is generated by the originating
carrier's switch while the network sets up the call," a spokesperson for
CTIA-The Wireless Association told Mashable.
"This keeps callers from abandoning the call when they hear no sound. The
ringing sound has nothing to do with the actual 'ringing' of the called
party's device," he added.>>
Not much cell coverage or roaming in a jungle, either. Especially one
remote enough to have a 777 crash in it and have no one notice . . .
Well, there might not be much contact *because* there's a language problem
and hence not much to talk about. Whether language is the reason or not,
there's not much apparent cooperation among search entities.
Latest I read is that for some reason, China is now retracting their
satellite photo info - reasons unclear but I haven't checked Google for the
last twenty minutes.
Correct - 370 would have had a lot *more* time than Sully had to ditch. <g>
I doubt that if 370 DID ditch that people would have remained aboard without
opening the doors to try to escape. But it's pretty unlikely they made a
water landing late at night without instruments. I'm just trying to cover
all contingencies that could account for very little surface wreckage, other
than search incompetence. That's still my "go to" position.
Today's red herring is the data RollsRoyce says it was still collecting
hours after many people think the plane crashed. This 777's going to have a
lot of explaining to do when they finally find the wreckage. It took 2
years for them to find the AirFrance black boxes and "close" that case.
Let's hope this isn't resolved in the same, slow painful way.
Here's a new data point:
<<A cracking and corrosion problem on Boeing 777s that could lead to the
mid-air break-up of the aircraft prompted a warning from air safety
regulators weeks before the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370,
federal records show.
The Federal Aviation Administration ordered checks on hundreds of
U.S.-registered 777s after reports of cracking in the fuselage skin
underneath a satellite antenna.
In an airworthiness directive, it said the extra checks were needed "to
detect and correct cracking and corrosion in the fuselage skin, which could
lead to rapid decompression and loss of structural integrity of the
The directive, first drawn up in September, was approved in February and was
due to take effect on April 9.>>
Sounds a little too much like Airbus/AirFrance being warned that the pitot
tubes could freeze over and then taking their sweet time about replacing the
units throughout the fleet.
Unfortunately as the planes age, all sorts of material failure modes raise
their ugly heads.
On Wednesday, March 12, 2014 9:48:44 AM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:
Yes, I had seen that same report. Some more good questions that should be
asked and answered, ie was this plane checked for that possible defect?
I've also seen where Boeing says that the plane was not part of their
data logging that they offer airlines. Apparently the onboard ACRS?
sends maintenance, performance data back, similar to Airbus that went
down near Brazil. But Malaysian airlines chose not to participate in
Boeings data collection, but Boeing says MA did use the system themselves.
From what I've read, MA hasn't directly answered the question of when
the last data from that was received, etc.
This is the most confused, screwed up investigation that I've ever
seen. They've switched major parts of the story so many times now
that the Malaysian officials need to hold a major press conference,
release more information and clear things up. Of huge significance
is on what exactly are they basing the ever changing story of the continued
radar tracking of the plane after it dropped off ATC. They should
just release the radar returns, at least to enough international
experts, so that there is some more credibility to where the plane
might have gone. At first thought, you'd think that the military
probably doesn't want to disclose what they can or can't see on radar.
But at this point I think it's obvious that you could fly a 777 over
their airspace and they don't know WTF is going on, so it would seem
releasing more descriptive information as to what exactly they have on
radar would be better than looking like total idiots. Last I heard
on this was that they were back to saying that all they had was some
kind of radar data right after the last known ATC radar, that showed
it "might have" changed direction. Yet the day before, two high ranking
AF officials said that they tracked the plane all the way to the
Straits of Malacca. Curiously, that would be about the two hour flight
time that the airline, Malaysian officials all were giving out for
I say the odds are still that it went down off Kota Bharu where
contact was lost 40 mins into the flight from some sudden catastrophic
event. I'm still suspicous of those two Iranians too, while it seems
investigators are downplaying it as they were just two more illegal
immigrants. We know a good bit about one, but I haven't seen anything
about the other. And the guy who dropped them off at the airport
says they only had only a backpack and two laptops? If you were going
to Europe for good, wouldn't you have some real luggage? This guy
knew the one guy from school, the other he didn't know at all. They
stayed at his house overnight, yet he says he didn't ask them why
they were in Malaysia? They got these fake passports from this
mysterious guy "Ali" who I believe is Iranian? Wonder where they
got the laptops from?
They talked about corrosion, too, and that's probably something that has a
strong correlation to the conditions of the route the plane most often
travels. They seem to correlate these defects strongly with age, but I'll
bet the environmental conditions could either advance or retard when the
corrosion might appear.
I've read about half a dozen conflicting stories about data logging both by
Rolls, who made the engines, and Boeing and while the reports are
interesting they seem at the moment to be fairly inconclusive at best and
conflicting at worst. One thing that caught my eye was a story about how
the two different reporting systems seem to have been switched off at
separate times. A fire eating through the wiring can cause the same kind of
symptoms, though, as it move along conduits and equipment bays.
They have zero credibility with me now. I'll concede that the plane may
have been hijacked and could be *anywhere* its remaining fuel might take it.
The problem with that scenario is that someone should have gotten a strong
radar fix on it somewhere - other than the Malaysian authorities. I still
think the search was so badly botched that it's where the transponder
tracking stopped. The Chinese seem to have retracted their satellite photos
according to something I just read so we're still in the "data collection"
phase trying to evaluate what's likely from what's not.
What needs to happen is that fake "Transponder OFF" switches need to go into
these cabins so that when someone tries to turn it off (why they even CAN be
turned off is another issue) they send out an emergency beacon and light up
flashing lights on the airplane roof that satellites might be able to track
at night. The school buses around here can do that, why not a 777?
I think that's a remarkably strong concern to them. What bothers me more is
that if they were so lax in checking passports, how well did they screen the
luggage for explosives? Did they cut corners there, too? If it was a
terrorist attack, there would most likely be more than two people to seize
and maintain control of the plane and passengers. I would hope they are
really screening the passenger manifest for questionable flyers.
I don't think any of their reports are credible anymore. Which leaves us
with questions like why did the transponder fail just as the plane began to
change course? I think from the Flight24 radar guys analysis (who don't
have political considerations) we can be pretty sure that's an "unfiltered"
fact. That's what leads me to think structural failure.
Wouldn't hijackers want to start off toward their destination as soon as
possible? Hijacking or suicide crash dives are possibilities, but hijacking
requires considerable sophistication and the newest information implies they
would know how to turn off both transmitters. While we already know that
terrorists have this level of sophistication (they did it on 9/11) why has
no one taken credit?
We agree on that. I am pretty sure we saw wreckage (the door) but
incompetent searchers lost it. When you saw it there wasn't much doubt what
it was, unlike oil slicks and log rafts that were sighted.
Remember that Lockerbie's bomb was taken aboard by a woman who had no idea
it was a bomb. Any passenger could have been duped into bringing a device
onto the plane, or had a luggage switch pulled on them. I really wonder how
well they screen for explosives.
The US said it detected no mid-air explosions but entire explosion could
have been contained within the airplane, invisible to satellite surveillance
and yet done enough damage (the way the Lockerbie bomb did) to sever cables
and destroy electrical and comms equipment. It could have been the Uighurs
(pronounced "Wheat germs <g>") and their intention was to crash the plane
into a high profile target in Beijing.
Still, the simplest explanation is that it crashed where the Flight24 track
ends and the wreckage has yet to be found. Given the less than stellar
quality of information coming out of the concerned parties, I still lean
toward incompetent searching that "cleared" an area that shouldn't have
been. I just have a feeling one day soon we'll wake up to headlines "Crash
It's not clear if the choice to not buy the data collection service from
Boeing means that telemetry (to who? to where?) still takes place.
Presumably MA wouldn't need a telemetry link for such data, as they
could simply pull the data off the planes manually when-ever they felt
like it - since the planes are in their possession on a frequent basis.
The "off" switch is used routinely to turn off the transponder when
planes are on the ground (parked, in hangars, etc) so that ATC screens
are not cluttered by useless information.
It's a tough call as to how to make them automatic. I'd say that if an
interlock can be reasonably well engineered, that if the plane's wheels
are up, then the beacons are supplied by power that can't be turned off
from the cockpit.
Bulletproof passport checking requires real-time data and protocal links
to every conceivable authority in the world that can issue an opinion
about any given passport, and the cost to "subscribe" or participate in
such a network must have little or zero cost to end users (airlines,
airports) if stakeholders (gov'ts, law enforcement, societies) want to
experience 100% compliance everywhere.
And it must happen in a way that does not require humans to do more
things than they do now (press more buttons, flip through more screens,
etc) and a lack of data must not be interpreted as a "thumbs-down" which
causes a holdup during checkin or boarding. The implimentation and
day-to-day functioning of such a system requires talents and cooperation
that extend far beyond the staff at any given airport or boarding gate.
To link the competency of such passport checking (which is a distributed
human effort) to the competency of explosive checking (which is an
effort soley performed by specific local humans at any given location)
is not logical.
Hijack - implies taking control of the plane away from the pilots, with
several possible intentions:
- (a) Direct or fly the plane safely to an alternate location that
the hijackers could not otherwise travel to using legal means.
- (b) Direct of fly the plane safely to an alternate location to
hold the plane and passengers hostage in exchange for some
political or financial demand.
- (c) Direct or fly the plane into a target (a-la 9/11). In other
words, to use the plane as a weapon against a hardened target
for political or religious reasons.
For any of the above, it becomes a question as to how necessary it is to
turn off the plane's various transmission sources to render it
"invisible" from normal ground operations. Presumably the thinking is
that any plane that has been hijacked anywhere in the world for any
reason will be shot down as the primary response, so the best
countermeasure for the hijacker is to make the plane as invisible as
possible as soon as possible after the hijacking event has started.
We know (or we think we know) that the plane was not deemed to have been
hijacked and thus not shot down by any gov't in the area. We think we
know that the plane did not land at an alternate airport, and no ransom
demand was made (or at least made public).
If the plane went down due to a struggle for control as a result of
hijacking, we must conclude the initial stages of the hijacking was
successful as it probably entailed turning off the identification beacon
- something that would imply the hijackers had "comfortable control" of
the plane. A struggle for control of the plane would have happened
later - possibly hours later - presumably after passengers had come to a
consensus about the situation, gathered their courage, forumated plan,
I wonder if there is any reason they couldn't share a circuit with the
flight recorders since they already automatically turn off on the
And the zero cost includes not only access but also pretty close to zero
costs for airline personnel and equipment, and hassle. It would seem as
though you would pretty much have to mandate it by ALL airlines from ALL
terminals for it to possibly work. At least until the first time a
person isn't let on an airplane because somebody somewhere transposed to
digit or two on data entry.
hand purposes, the lack of a transponder would not make it all that
invisible to the military folks and lack of transponder alone would
probably bring out the fighters.
"Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive,
but what they conceal is vital."
They certainly need some sort of protection and isolation from the plane's
existing electrical system but I can understand Boeing's reluctance to add
batteries to the plane for various reasons. This incident highlights the
need to have a battery powered transponder or beacon that's armored and
isolated and likely to still transmit information even if the engines fail
catastrophically and the plane loses all power. Hint to aircraft designers:
I think the terrorists have figured out how to defeat the current
transponder schemes. Time for a design change to make it a little harder
than it appears now to turn them off.
The remote telemetry systems are a start and I'm assuming that as new planes
come on line, they'll have more features like this. Some insurer, remember,
is on the hook for a lot of money because of this incident. Not sure how a
battery powered transponder would prevent such a loss, but it certainly
would reduce the enormous funds expended searching. Governments care about
that cost (which I assume the Vietnamese are not happy about footing) and
they're the ones that would be able to mandate changes to the current and
clearly inadequate transponder system.
Good luck on that. It was an incredible feat of cooperation to get many of
the smaller airports in the world to even CARE about screening passengers.
You have to admit that we've not seen a lot of hijacking lately. I remember
when growing up that it seemed there was a hijacker diverting a plane to
Cuba on almost a monthly basis. Sometimes weekly around Christmas time. I
think the Malaysian airports failure to check passports against Interpol is
played out daily in airports across the world.
I suspect you've just revealed why the smaller airports don't check -
because they have in the past and it turned out the passengers were not
terrorists - like Sen Ted Kennedy. When that happens people get very angry
and complain vociferously. The best way to avoid those sorts of
confrontations, in the minds of airport security officials, is not to check
anyone unless there's some other indicator that they are suspicious.
Talk about your unintended consequences. Yet I think that hijackers might
(credibly) believe that no one but the Russians (and perhaps the PLA) would
shoot down a passenger jet. There was a lot of talk about how the US should
have shot down the remaining hijacked planes once the WTC had been hit.
Aside from the delay in getting a pilot scrambled and authorized to shoot
down a passenger jet, it's very likely that a pilot just couldn't do it.
Shades of the film/novel "Failsafe." Does such a terrible order come with a
suicide kit for the pilot who obeys the shoot down order?
Unlike the fears the motivated the Sov pilot who shot down KAL007, we
typically don't have firing squads standing by to execute pilots who fail to
carry out such missions. Since every plane can be turned into an unwilling
guided missile, they should all have self-destruct systems like missiles do
so a plane can be brought down remotely. A sort of in-the-sky "On Star"
system. <sarcasm alert>
I can't disagree with that, but it seems to me like there's a logical
fallacy when authorities present such an argument.
Dunno it's proper name, but I think of it as "The Wild Elephant
Guy's walking around Manhattan at lunch time blowing this whistle
Somebody trying to enjoy their lunch asks "Why on earth are your blowing
Guy replies: "To keep the wild elephants away."
Somebody says "That's crazy. The nearest wild elephants are thousands
of miles away."
Guy replies: "See!... It works!"
I remember a Gahan Wilson cartoon of the same ilk. A man is standing at a
street corner with a huge gun. His wife is standing with them and they're
both standing next to a dead elephant. Smoke is pouring out of the barrel
of a huge elephant gun. She says "I'll never laugh at you for carrying that
thing around again!"
That said, I have to believe that it's much, much harder to hijack a plane
these days for a number of reasons. Passenger education (people used to be
told to leave the hijackers alone), better search techniques (both equipment
and personnel-wise), no-fly lists, cabin door locks, transponders, etc.
IMHO that alone made the 911 scenario a one-trick pony. I don't think
the strategy lasted even an hour because when the people on the plane
over Pennsylvania found out what was up, they rushed the hijackers.
OTOH, one of the possibilities I heard cited for MH370 was that whoever
hijacked the plane ascended to 40,000+ feet for the purpose of killing
the passengers (I guess, by reducing pressure/oxygen in the passenger
area to 40,000+ feet)
Yes, I've said that before and agree completely. For years the advice was
to cooperate with hijackers to prevent a plane crash. That advice stopped
when it became clear some hijackers were determined to do just that - crash
the plane. The passengers on MH370 were probably mostly asleep and had no
idea they were off course (it was dark) or hijacked, if that was the case.
Ironically, once the hijackers are in the cabin and lock the door, the
reinforcement of the cabin door and frame will make it hard for the
passengers to get into the cabin and do anything about it. There's clearly
evidence that at least one pilot has had people in the cabin before.
I'm pretty sure in a 777 the oxygen masks descend automatically when the
pressure drops to a certain point in the cabin. I assume the designers
thought the pilots might be too busy dealing with whatever caused the
depressurization to deal with it manually.
If someone did steal that plane, it would certainly be the crime of the
century. Will it go to a chop shop? I can't imagine some other country
could repaint the plane and begin using it, not if the engines phone home
every hour. I'd certainly be sending people to every landing strip/airport
capable of landing such a plane within its flight range to "look around."
Could be the Uighurs, but since they mostly stab people to death (or so it
seems) I don't see them as having the technical skills to pull off stealing
a modern jetliner. But then again, I didn't think the 9/11 hijackers could
do what they did.
If it crashed in the ocean, enough stuff will float that eventually some of
it will reach shore somewhere. It is one of the greatest *true* mystery
stories I've ever heard of. It's like trying to prove a murder was
committed without the body.
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