The mystery of MH370 has not yet been solved. The main crash location has not yet been found. The flight and cockpit voice recorders have not yet been recovered. Meanwhile there are numerous speculations and conspiracy theories. There are many different opinions, but there is no consensus.
How does a modern aircraft disappear without trace?
The MH370 flight path analysis is based on sparse data and requires the analyst to make certain assumptions. These assumptions must fit the available data from reliable sources or at least be plausible. Evidence is based on objective and verifiable facts, preferably corroborated from multiple sources. Opinions can be valid, even though sometimes limited in scope and context. Speculation can be helpful as long as a hypothesis can be formulated and the results tested against the known facts or plausibility criteria. To solve the mystery of MH370 analysts will have to deal with facts, opinions and speculations. In my view, MH370 must be found in order to provide further evidence of what happened and why. This blog is not a court of law. There is no legal proof yet of what happened to MH370. The question what has to be answered, before the question why can be resolved. Maybe 2021 will be the year when MH370 is found.
A note describing an approach to solving the mystery of MH370 can be downloaded here
My best wishes to you, Richard, and hope your new site will help resolving THE aviation mystery which is the disappearance of MH370, scientifically and without any ulterior motives.
The question arises, if MH370 was a pilot hijack planned to end in the Southern Indian Ocean, why not pick a flight already heading West from Kuala Lumpur? Why pick MH370 heading East and have to turn back across Malaysia?
Why not pick a flight with more fuel available to give you more flexibility with regard to the options for your final destination? Why pick a flight with an endurance of just 7.5 hours, of which you would lose an hour just because of the turn back?
There are alternative candidates, for example the flights to Jeddah or Amsterdam.
Of all flights in the MAS timetable, the flight to Beijing was the flight with the most fuel on board and only two pilots in the cockpit. Flights to Jeddah, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul were considered 2 sector flights and carried a 3rd or 4th pilot, according to the MAS duty roster in the RMP report.
You can easily ask one pilot to take a coffee break, but you cannot get rid off two pilots out of the cockpit that easily.
While what could fathomably be the reason to go all the way to the middle of nowhere, 6 hours from Malaysia, if the idea is to go into the sea and also murder a few hundred – instead of in the South China Sea? For a simple sea ending in itself, the great risk in recrossing the Malaysian peninsula, nearly kissing Butterworth base would appear to be a ludicrous move if the only idea is to sink the plane and everyone on it into water.
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The point may have been to hide all the evidence as far away from anywhere as you can get, so that no one will ever find MH370.
I agree it was a high risk move to fly past Butterworth Air Force Base. They could have easily intercepted MH370. In fact the Malaysian Military Radar trace shown to the next of kin in Beijing includes an anomaly detection out of line with the rest of the trace. It might be a glitch in the radar system or it might be an intercept aircraft. The Royal Malaysian Air Force had 8 McDonnell Douglas F/A-18D Hornets based at Butterworth in 2014. Take a look at the radar trace at 02:07:06 Local Time (18:07:06 UTC) highlighted in the linked image:
If you decide to go East and hide the evidence as far away from anywhere as you can get in the Pacific Ocean, you would have to fly within sight of radar detection of one of the five US Air Force bases in the Philippines. Flying further into the Pacific, there are US Air Force bases in New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Guam, Mariana Islands and Marshall Islands.
I just don’t understand what is envisaged.
There is so much sea in the South China Sea after the communications can be turned off to make a plane crash very hard to find. There’s simply no need to fly back over land, skirting the main military base, heading right for capital Kuala Lumpur and thus easily demonstrating a security risk for possible intervention.
In any event, why hide the remains of the airplane after a murder suicide, in this theory, which does not seem to have evidence attached?
I appreciate most theories don’t have much evidence, but this theory is quite bizarre and counter-intuituve.
Considering the FBI conclusion which informed the ICAO Safety Investigation Report conclusion that neither pilot is any more a suspect than anyone else on the plane and including potential persons unknown, with no evidence including state of mind to implicate either pilot, the pilot suicide theory appears improbable and hence the route appears really very contrived, if not quite well into the random.
I can rationalize picking a flight with a single additional pilot. I do have difficulty rationalizing the flight path of 180S. Why fly parallel to the coast of Australia? The PIC had to know that the ports on West side of Australia would be the likely candidates for a search staging area. In my view two candidate paths make much more sense.
1> A path at ~200 degrees SSW to increase the distance from a staging area.
2> A path toward the Cocos to have a last chance “bail out” option.
The UGIB “Final Resting Place…” report, and the Godfrey drift analytics are simply too compelling to support any notion of 1> or 2>. Frankly, I am more troubled (and confused) than ever.
A path of 200°T ends up close to the islands of Île Amsterdam and Île Saint-Paul. These are only research stations but they have radio and satellite connections to report any incident they might observe.
A path to Cocos Island would put any possible hijacker at the mercy of the Australian authorities.
Let us make sure of what happened first and then try to figure out why, otherwise it is like asking the doctor for treatment before there is a diagnosis.
In my view, there is something in the puzzle that we are missing.
Richard, it can seem you may be only able or prepared to reply based upon the pilot suicide theory. DennisW’s comment includes the more intuitive “bailing out” element. That means I understand he is not answering based upon the same fundamental theory as you, but another.
To see you reply, I believe only considering the pilot suicide theory, can appear as if two people are in a discussion, though talking in different languages, which neither other may understand.
Also, you replied,
“A path to Cocos Island would put any possible hijacker at the mercy of the Australian authorities.”
Not if the plane is taken down outside the radar range, yet within range of a prepared boat. Everything about the mystery of MH370 can suggest great planning by very knowledgeable people. Remember that no-one was considering anywhere in the southern Indian Ocean for around a week or longer after the disappearance. That gives ample time for disappearance from this island. Or indeed any other piece of land the plane could have ditched in the vicinity of, while perhaps outside of civil radar range. I say this also thinking of the group Captio and separately the Danish Professor Kristensen, who both suggest that an End of Flight between Java and Christmas Island can concur with an analysis of the satellite data.
Re: the pilot’s home sims, there is some consensus, whichever side you take, that the flight being studied is MH150 to Jeddah 3PM departure with the right fuel load and apparent waypoints. You probably know that, but food for thought.
I agree that the Jeddah flight has a similar fuel load to Zaharie Shah’s SIO flight simulation, but the Jeddah flight carries a 3rd pilot as the duty time is close to the maximum allowed. You can see from the duty roster in the RMP report, that the Beijing flight is the longest with only 2 pilots.
Richard- I know, but I was attempting to look at it from a new perspective. For the sake of argument, let’s assume the sim studies are in fact a scoping plan to hijack MH150 to SIO. Going with that assumption, if it was a serious plan, there are motive, political and security implications.
For MH370 the implication is, MH370 may have been a change of plan, so the sim study is not the “blueprint” for MH370.
I agree with you that the ZS simulation to the SIO with a fuel load of 75,044 kg is very close to the estimated fuel load for a flight to Jeddah of 72,700 kg. The implication of your assumption has consequences for both MH150 and MH370.
They always say: “There is no proof yet what happened to Mh370”. There is lots of proof.
MH370 has huge explosion. It is disintegrated. All passengers and Crew members including both Pilots died in horrible way. Whole plane burned by very strong flames. MH370 is completely destroyed. I took its thousands of pictures about disintegrated parts, wings, passengers blew out from plane by power of explosion, ruptured people’s heads, arms etc..they are on the air going to hit Ocean. I am inviting you and everyone to see my pictures. This is only one and 100% proofs. There is no any other kind of proof except my photos. I knew, I found out this truth about 3 years ago. i contacted to officials and Malaysian gov. but they said they don’t care anymore about MH370. Come join to my group in FB: MH370 – REALITIES and EVIDENCES. You will see what happened to MH370. * I am the admin.
1. MH370 continued to fly for 7.5 hours, there was no “huge explosion”.
2. There is no evidence from any of the recovered debris items that the “whole plane burned by very strong flames”. There is not a single burn mark to be found on any debris item.
3. Please explain how you were on site in the Indian Ocean to take “thousands of pictures” of plane wreckage and body parts.
4. I find your request to show pictures of body parts insensitive, particularly to the next of kin.
5. Photographic evidence is not a “100% proof”.
6. Your claim that “there is no other kind proof except my photos” is false. There are many other forms of evidence apart from photos, such as satellite, radar, ACARS, ADS-B, drift and hydroacoustic data.
7. I can understand why the Malaysian Government did not listen to you.
8. I cannot allow my web site to be used to endorse your FB page.
You are warned not to abuse this web site, otherwise you will be banned.
re paper on the hydro-acoustic data:
Is the data available in a digital format? Although the signal may have lost true coherence during the long distance propagation, I would think that the envelope of the signals would benefit from a cross-correlation analysis.
Richard Stead, Ed Fenimore and Tom Kunkle of the Los Alamos National Laboratory have published 3 papers analysing the CTBTO data LA-UR-14-24972, LA-UR-14-25015 and LA-UR-14-28179. I have asked permission to post them all on the Archive.
I have also asked whether the data is available in digital form.
Please comment on the hydroacoustic post in future, it makes tracking of comments and replies easier.
I have argued the case for 34S, but I could be wrong. This area has already been partly searched.
Ed Anderson has argued the case for 8S and could be right.
Jean-Luc Marchand et al. (Captio) have argued the case for 12S and could be right.
Martin Kristensen has argued the case for 13S and could be right.
Charitha Pattiaratchi has argued the case for 32S and could be right.
David Griffin has argued the case for 35S and could be right.
Tom Kunkle et al. have argued the case for 40S and could be right.
We all agree that MH370 is somewhere near the 7th Arc and somewhere between 8S and 40S. We cannot all be right.
Florence de Changy has argued the case that MH370 is in the South China Sea. In my opinion, the South China Sea is discounted by the Civilian and Military Radar, Co-Pilot’s Mobile, Satellite Data and the Drift Analysis.
So even before we get to the case for Kazakhstan and debris planting, we have to concede there is no consensus on where MH370 is to be found.
There are many theories as to what happened Pilot Murder-Suicide, Hijacker Murder-Suicide, Lithium-Ion Battery Fire, Electrical Failure in the Main Equipment Centre, In-Flight Decompression, Hypoxia, Cockpit Window Failure, …
In my view Pilot Murder-Suicide is the most likely theory, but I could be wrong. Dennis has proposed a negotiation scenario and a bail-out option and could be right. In my view, none of these theories have yet been proven, although there are many who claim that they have provided rigorous proof.
On this web site any one can make a case for a search location for MH370 or propose a hypothesis of what happened to MH370. I only ask that we distinguish between fact, opinion and speculation. I caution that until we know the what and the where, it is not possible to resolve the why. Let us all keep an open mind on MH370.
“So even before we get to the case for Kazakhstan and debris planting, we have to concede there is no consensus on where MH370 is to be found.”
“Let us all keep an open mind on MH370.”
Only two the above directly resulted in actually finding pieces of mh 370, so that is where I would … and did…place my bet. Chari told me in Sept. 2015 the crash site was between 28°S to 33°S, most likely 32° S. Chari told me to go to Mozambique and Madagascar and Griffin said Madagascar too. 34°S and 35 5° S are not far away. So let’s agree a sufficiently wide area needs to be thoroghly searched around those latitudes.
@Richard. With reference to your comment above: “Tom Kunkle et al. have argued the case for 40S and could be right”. Please could you refer me to where this case is made. I’m not sure that I’m familiar with it. Unless Tom Kunkle is Globusmax?
I see @DennisW has already answered your request.
The paper can also be found in the Archive under the subject Hydroacoustic Analysis:
28th December 2014 – Guest Paper from Tim Kunkle, Ed Fenimore and Richard Stead – The Mathematical Search for MH370.
Having done some googling, I see that this appears to refer to a LANL publication
Title: MH370 Flight Path Reconstruction Using Monte Carlo Estimations
Author(s): Kunkle, Thomas D. ; Fenimore, Edward E. ; Stead, Richard J.
Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find a working link to the original paper.
Thanks, Dennis. Quite a decent piece of work considering how early it was. Their path model appears to be rhumb line (true track) not great circle and it doesn’t include weather. So that aspect is a bit crude. Their FMT is also too early – BFO at 182815 (once thermally settled) means the aircraft can’t have turned before then. I was interested to see that they have a different take on fuel model range/endurance and that this view appears to based on B777-200ER data not speculation. I guess that they must not have included the TAT adjustment (since they don’t do Wx) or the airframe-specific PDA. Between them, those factors will give/take about 4-5% (20-25 mins) gross endurance difference. I’ll need to dig into that to understand how they arrived at this conclusion.
Paul Smithson found a piece of probable 370 debris too. While I personally disagree with 40° S as a crash site, being a fellow finder gives him a lot of credibility with me, so I take his analysis seriously as well.
Here is a photo montage of the unidentified debris Paul Smithson found in Tanzania on the left, compared with unidentified debris Blaine Gibson found in Madagascar on the right. Both items appear to be aircraft cabin interior panel fragments.
is there any good explanation or at least idea, why the flightlevel droped dramatically from normal FL390 to FL100 right after waypoint IGOGU and from than on to climb again to FL390? It doesn’t make much sense to me… other than: 3000m (FL100) is a perfect high for skydiving.
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I produced those graphics over a year ago for the paper I wrote together with Bobby Ulich, Victor Iannello and Andrew Banks. Back then we thought that a low level flight was necessary for four reasons. Some of these reasons have meanwhile been questioned:
1. A low flight would be below the radar horizon of the Indonesian military radar at Sabang. Meanwhile it has become clear that Indonesia had problems getting spare parts and maintaining the radar. The radar may possibly have not been operational on the night of 7th March 2014.
2. In order to match the Inmarsat satellite BFO data during the SATCOM call between 18:39:55 UTC and 18:40:56 UTC on the depicted flight path a descent was required at a rate of 1,840 fpm.
3. In order to meet the 2nd Arc at the time of 19:41:03 UTC without requiring some form of holding pattern, the aircraft needed to fly much slower than a typical cruising speed. At FL100 the Air Speed would be much slower and fits the timing of meeting the 2nd Arc at 19:41:03 UTC.
4. There was an eye witness account by Kate Tee of having observed a low flying aircraft from a sailing boat, which the depicted flight path of MH370 matched. Meanwhile it is not certain that this eye witness account is reliable.
As a result I am re-analysing this phase of the flight and I will inform you of any new developments in due course.
@Richard. I had not seen Chari Pattiaratchi’s 2019 video on his drift work:
At the 6th minute he describes the ‘surface drift’ as being 2-3% of wind at 10 metres and ‘Stoke’s drift’, 3%. That Stoke’s drift by itself is more than the CSIRO’s total of 1.2% for low windage items.
Still, he indicates that his main beaching sites and timings were accurate, though for crash latitudes a little north of the CSIRO’s.
In this he does single out the flaperon’s arrival at La Réunion but he does not say how he modelled its drift rate and direction. I infer there was no special treatment.
He makes no mention of WA beachings though a flow of trials is split by the WA SW point, at the video’s 18:40.
Also he does not describe the genesis of the model used, by the Pawsey supercomputing centre.
Generally then it does look as though the drift outcomes are very accommodating of assumptions and different models.
@BG370. Do you know if there is any more recent work underlying his/your recent search recommendations?