New clues reveal the demise of MH370. Since the crash of MH370 in the Indian Ocean a considerable amount of physical evidence has been gathered. 36 pieces of floating debris have been found and delivered to the Malaysian authorities for investigation. Official reports are still awaited for 3 items. 19 items of floating debris probably originating from MH370 have been found washed ashore in Madagascar, which is situated in the Indian Ocean at the latitudes where the South Equatorial Current interacts with the island.
Now another item of floating debris has been discovered in a fisherman’s back yard which was found washed ashore on the Antsiraka Peninsula South Beach in Madagascar in March 2017 after the tropical storm Fernando had passed by. The debris item had barnacles on it when it was found. 4 items of MH370 debris have been found on the same beach. The location was predicted by the University of Western Australia (UWA) oceanographic model.
The debris item is likely the remnant of the left main landing gear trunnion door. The debris item is almost certain to be from MH370 and is similar to other items of floating debris found in the Western Indian Ocean and subsequently shown to be from a Boeing 777 or more specifically from the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft with the registration 9M-MRO used for the flight number MH370.
The debris item was torn from its fixings and has suffered considerable damage. The possibility that there is an indent typical of the base plate of an attachment or drive rod indicates that the debris item is likely part of a movable panel. The slicing damage to the debris item penetrates right through the item and is the result of a significant force. Whatever the cause of the slicing damage, the fact that the damage was from the interior side to the exterior side of the debris item leads to the conclusion that the landing gear was highly likely extended on impact.
The level of damage with fractures on all sides and the extreme force of the penetration right through the debris item lead to the conclusion that the end of the flight was in a high speed dive designed to ensure the aircraft broke up into as many pieces as possible. The crash of MH370 was anything but a soft landing on the ocean. Expert analysis showed that the flaps were not partially extended as would be the case for a sea ditching. The realistic possibility that the landing gear was lowered shows both an active pilot and an attempt to ensure the plane sank as fast as possible after impact.
The combination of high speed impact and extended landing gear show a clear intent to hide the evidence of the crash. The recovered MH370 floating debris speaks to how the plane crashed, and the oceanographic drift analysis speaks to where. Neither can tell us who was flying the aircraft or why. It is hoped that the debris item will undergo a professional examination and analysis leading to an identification and provenance of the item.
A full report by Blaine Gibson and Richard Godfrey can be downloaded at the following link (35 pages, 100 MB): here
21st December 2022 – A major update to the report answering the many questions we have received, with the use of high resolution photos, can be downloaded at the following link (14 pages, 113 MB): here
Peter Foley, the former ATSB Program Director for MH370 has stated: “Australia should back new search for MH370.”
In a recent article in The Guardian, Peter Foley is quoted: “I want to see the Australian government push for another search and support a search when and if one gets up and running,”
The Guardian article can be viewed here:
Re:“I want to see the Australian government push for another search and support a search when and if one gets up and running,”
Given that MH370 initially went missing somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam in the Singaporean Flight Information Region, it might be more apptopriate to urge the Chinese and Singaporean governments to jointly call for a renewed search for the wreckage, which is most probably in the area off the west Australian coast.
The active support of the Malaysian and Australian governments, defence forces and commercial sectors would certainly make the process smoother and more efficient.
I have been interested in the MH370 disappearance since inception and recently watched the Netflix doc. When the story broke I followed along by capturing a article or two and saving them in a power point. One article, I believe was from the New York Times had the flight path plotted to the last radar contact in coincidence with a graph showing altimeter data. It showed the plane leveling off at a normal cruising height of 35,000′ then after 1:30am moving up to 45,000′, then rather abruptly descending to 23,000′ and finally back level at 29,500′ all with the span of 45 minutes. Near the end, of course, the plane disappears from radar. I don’t think the altimeter data is mentioned in the document, although I may have missed it or maybe its not valid. If it is valid, it would be nice to know how the timing of the ringing cell phone calls fit in with the altimeter data. Your insightful answer will be greatly appreciated. Thanks
@Paul G Wilen,
Welcome to the blog!
We know from the ADS-B and ACARS data sources that before diversion MH370 was at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.
The Malaysian Safety Investigation Report (SIR) records a number of variations in altitude after diversion based on primary radar data. Primary radar gives you a bearing and a range. Altitude must be inferred from this data.
The SIR states “Between 1724:57 UTC [0124; 57 MYT] to 1737:35 UTC [0137:35 MYT] the “blip” made heading changes that varied between 8° and 20°, and a ground speed that varied from 451 kt to 529 kt. The Military data also recorded a significant height variation from 31,150 to 39,116 ft.
The Military data further identified the “blip” on a heading of 239° at 1737:59 UTC [0137:59 MYT] parallel to Airway B219 towards VPG (VOR Penang). Heading of this “blip” varied from 239° to 255° at a speed from 532 to 571 kt. The height of this “blip” was recorded between 24,450 ft and 47,500 ft.
At 1752:31 UTC [0152:31 MYT] the “blip” was observed to be at 10 nm south of Penang Island on a heading of 261°, speed of 525 kt and at a height of 44,700 ft.
At 1801:59 UTC [0201:59 MYT] the data showed the “blip” on a heading of 022°, speed of 492 kt and altitude at 4,800 ft. This is supported by the “blip” detected by Military radar in the area of Pulau Perak at altitude 4,800 ft at 1801:59 UTC [0201:59 MYT].
At 1803:09 UTC [0203:09 MYT] the “blip” disappeared, only to reappear at 1815:25 UTC [0215:25 MYT] until 1822:12 UTC [0222:12 MYT], about 195 nm from Butterworth, on a heading of 285°, speed of 516 kt and at an altitude of 29,500 ft.”
In my view some of these many altitude changes could simply be an artefact from the raw primary radar data, which has never been released to the general public.
The Copilot’s mobile phone was detected by a tower at the BBFARLIM2 base station at Bandar Baru Air Itam on Penang Island at 17:52:27 UTC. according to the SIR the aircraft was at 44,700 feet at 17:52:31 UTC.
The particular issue of the co-pilot’s mobile phone was discussed in this comment:
The general issue of ringing cell phones has been dealt with before in this comment:
MH370 was operating within the Singapore FIR, in that portion of the airspace which has been delegated to Malaysia KL ACC. The area is shown in the Malaysian Safety Investigation Report in Figure 1.18B on page 234.
The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 commenced on 8 March 2014 and continued for 1,046 days until 17 January 2017 when it was suspended in accordance with a decision made by the Governments of Malaysia, Australia and the People’s Republic of China.
On 5 May 2014, the Ministers from Malaysia, the People’s Republic of China and Australia met to consider next steps and agreed to take all decisions regarding the search together as a Tripartite:
Malaysian Minister of Transport, the Hon Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai
Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP
People’s Republic of China Minister of Transport, the Hon Mr Li Xiaopeng.
Ministers agreed that Australia would take the lead in the underwater search operation in the southern Indian Ocean with support from Malaysia and China.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on behalf of Australia, led the underwater search operations in the southern Indian Ocean, including analysis of the search area. Peter Foley was the ATSB Program Manager in charge of the MH370 search and as such fully aware of the tripartite agreement between Malaysia, Australia and China and the delegation of the Singaporean airspace to Malaysia.
I think that the airspace is only delegated by Singapore to KL ACC for civilian air traffic control purposes. Singapore retains responsibility for search and rescue.
Unfortunately, there was a delay of several hours between the time when MH370 failed to request permission to enter Vietnamese air space and was turned back to Malaysia by the captain, the first officer or a third party.
It was only after Hong Kong ATC requested information from Singapore ATC about the whereabouts of MH370, and Singapore ATC relayed that message to KL that the alarm was raised and a search and rescue initiated. albeit in the area where contact was lost, on the assumption that the plane had crashed between Malaysia and Vietnam.
That’s why I suggested that by encouraging the Singaporean and Chinese governments to jointly initiate a new investigation into the reasons why the plane did not contact Ho Chi Minh ATC, and the exact circumstances of the turnback, it might help to re-invigorate, and, if necessary, upgrade the tripartite agreement to search for the wreckage off the Australian coast.
Thanks for continuing to search for closure on behalf of the victims and their loved ones.
When will Ocean Infinity begin their new search?
Hi Richard :
In my previous comment I accidentally forgot to conclude the sentence to say that the delay was between the disappearance/turnback and the initiation of a search and rescue operation.
Welcome to the blog!
I expect Ocean Infinity to start their new search for MH370 towards the end of 2023 or at the beginning of 2024.
Armada 7801 is the first of Ocean Infinity’s new fleet of ships and was launched last year in Vietnam on 9th May 2022. Following sea trials off the coast of Vietnam, Armada 7801 departed on 19th November 2022 on its maiden voyage to Norway arriving on 5th January 2023 at the VARD Søviknes shipyard.
Ocean Infinity has taken the delivery of the first ship, which is expected to go into service on offshore data acquisition tasks in the coming months following its final installation work. The first of eight highly advanced, 78-meter vessels will enable Ocean Infinity to perform tech-enabled lean-crewed operations for a safer and greener maritime future.
In partnership with Ocean Infinity, VARD has designed a unique, multi-purpose platform that will allow for onshore remote-controlled, lean-crewed and eventually uncrewed operations. VARD Electro is equipping the ships with advanced marine electronics for remote operations from its SeaQ product range. Additionally, VARD’s daughter company, Seaonics AS is supplying modular moon-pool launch and retrieval systems that can be adapted to various marine operations.
The Armada fleet are 78m long and have plenty of deck space and two moon-pools, making them ideally suited for various extended payload operations that require precision, such as ROV and AUV deployments and logistics. The Armada fleet use a redundant dynamic positioning system (DP2), which can keep station even with the failure of an active component.
Meanwhile, Armada 7802 is on its way from Vietnam to Norway for the final equipment installation. It is expected that this final equipment work will be carried out in Vietnam for future vessels, one of which is planned for the renewed search for MH370.
Victor Iannello was already questioning whether MH370 debris had been planted in 2016. In a comment on 21st February 2016 Iannello stated: “The failure of the underwater search to date increases the probability of a scenario that includes a BFO spoof and a flaperon plant, but in no way proves it.”
Victor Iannello then stated on 23rd February 2016: “I am also concerned about the Chinese fishing vessels that were observed in recent months in the search area. It’s something to keep in mind if subsea evidence is now found. Of course, if a nearly intact fuselage is found, there is little chance that it was planted.”
This is before Blaine Gibson found the remnant of the Horizontal Stabiliser “No Step” on 27th February 2016, which resulted in further statements from Victor Iannello and DonThompson.
Victor Iannello: “It does not look like a part that has travelled across the Indian Ocean on a two year journey”.
Don Thompson: “No parts on a B777 have this construction”.
These remarks resulted in the Marnie O’Neill article in news.com.au on 4th March 2016 quoting Victor Iannello and Don Thompson and titled: “New MH370 conspiracy: Was Mozambique debris planted?” Marnie O’Neill goes on to say: “BIZARRE circumstances surrounding the discovery of possible new MH370 debris has sparked a new conspiracy theory”. Marnie O’Neill admits in her article that her sources are Victor Iannello and Don Thompson, but it appears that both were retracting their original statements after the damage was done. First ask the question, was debris planted and underline the so-called bizarre circumstances, then retract the statements about the appearance and construction of the debris.
The same false and misleading statements are being put out by Victor Iannello, Don Thompson and Mike Exner now in reaction to the latest debris find. However, it was interesting to find out that this campaign has been going on for the last 6 years and from the very first MH370 debris item found in Reunion to the most recent find in Madagascar.
In light of the subsequent official confirmation that the Flaperon was confirmed as being from MH370 and the official conclusion that ‘No Step’ and the Right No.7 Flap Fairing ‘676EB’ are almost certain to be from MH370, the statements from Victor Iannello, Don Thompson and Mike Exner are ridiculous and derisible.
It makes you wonder why this group of people are so determined to undermine the physical evidence from MH370, even to the extent of suspecting Chinese fishing vessels for planting subsea evidence. It is a real shame for this group, that the yacht “Team Vestas Wind” which crashed in the Cargados Carajos Islands on 29th November 2014 did not have any Flaps, Flaperons or Horizontal Stabiliser.
As Bill Clingman observes: “Yes, many times I have heard about turbine fan blades tearing through someone’s yacht, when the jet engines come apart.”
Do you still have your dropbox file mentioned here
by any chance ?
Welcome to the blog!
The file you are looking for is dated 21st February 2015 and is looking a little historic now, as it was written almost 8 years ago!
There were different versions, but here is a link to the latest version of the original file on my dropbox:
@Richard: that’s very kind, thank you!
Comparing a typical Airport Radar to WSPR
Radar is Single Site Mono-Static Single Frequency, where the transmitter and receiver are colocated.
WSPR is Multi Site Multi-Static Multi Frequency, where the transmitters and receivers are separately located and use various frequencies (typical frequency range 3 MHz to 30 MHz).
Radar uses a power around 1 Million times greater than WSPR (e.g. 1 MW vs 1 W).
WSPR propagates over 20,000 km, which is 100 times further than Radar (e.g. 20,000 km vs 200 km).
Radar uses a frequency (e.g. 2.8 GHz) around 100 times greater than WSPR (typically max. 30 MHz).
WSPR has a Time on Target of up to 110.6 seconds.
Radar has a Time on Target of up to 1 second.
WSPR has a Time on Target over 100 greater than Radar.
Radar uses a pulse width of 1 µs to illuminate the target aircraft at a maximum of 1,200 pulses per second for up to one second time on target, which equals a 1,200 µs illumination time.
WSPR has a Coherent Integration Time of 110.6 seconds illuminating the target aircraft.
WSPR has around 100 Thousand times greater illumination time at a Million times less power.
Radar has an illumination energy of 1,200 µs x 1.1 MW = 1,320 Joules (Watt seconds).
WSPR has an illumination energy of 110.6 secs x 1 W = 110.6 Joule (Watt seconds).
Radar has a maximum 10 times the illumination energy than WSPR.
Of course, the detection mechanism of WSPR Software Defined Radio (SDR) receivers using a low baud rate Frequency Shift Keying (FSK) modulation scheme, forward error correction, 162 bit pseudo-random sync vector and Fast Fourier Transforms (FFTs) followed by software calculations of SNR and Drift, is very different from classic radar.
WSPR processing also removes short and medium term ionospheric fluctuations.
Many thanks for the confirmation that there are plenty of examples on the B777, in fixed panels as well as moveable surfaces, with fibreglass and with carbon fibre, of 1” panels and the explanation as to why that is the case. Victor Iannello appears to be quoting another retired Boeing engineer and obviously not yourself.
As you point out the hinges went through several modifications. One of the modifications was fixing the hinges right through to the front surface of the Trunnion Door as opposed to just the rear surface housing.
The shape of the B777 Main Landing Gear Strut Door has also changed over the years. Please compare the following photos:
Victor Iannello claimed: “The B777s that were operated by Malaysian Air at that time had undersides that were painted grey, not white, as seen in the next photo of 9M-MRO.” Iannello shows this deceiving and misleading picture with the underside of the wing all in shadow to support his false claim:
The reality is the fuselage underside is dark grey and the wing underside is light grey or off-white:
I agree with you the Flaperon is a very light grey in colour or an off-white. But the Flaperon is not dark grey like the underside of the fuselage as claimed by Iannello! Here are pictures of a new Flaperon and the MH37O Flaperon debris, showing that they are essentially the same colour:
For example, the Outboard Flap and “No Step” are also the same colour as you say, in order to make the parts interchangeable between aircraft.
The new debris item is the same light grey or off-white. Here are two pictures, one in the shade and one in the daylight:
What is your view of the provenance on this new item of debris please?
Did I miss a post? Please do not quote me without printing my full comments. You seem to like to pull a sentence or two from a response, whether from me or a re-quote from Victor, and use it to your advantage. If you do not show all sides of an argument, you loose all credibility.
The MLG Strut door shape has not changed. It has to fit in the same hole in the fixed trailing edge panels aft of the rear spar and forward of the Inboard Flap. There is nothing to argue about. The first picture you use as an example of the shape changing is a view looking aft at the part of the door that is forward of the strut. The second picture is a view looking forward at the aft half of the door. The pictures provide nothing to the conversation.
As I said before, all three doors have had the same shape from the start of the 777 program until the start of the 777-8/-9.
For the trunnion door, the bolts securing the hinges to the composite go all the way through the composite. The heads are flush on the aerodynamic outside surface, with the nuts resting on the hinge fittings. There is no physical way the bolts or bolt holes would not be visible in the pictures of the new item if it was a trunnion door. This has been theorized by at least one other person.
For your argument about the color, it’s light gray. That is the color of the wing trailing edge. But the only way to settle the argument is to put the new part next to the flaperon or outboard flap segment and take a picture. And that will never happen. Oh well.
One last item that’s been bugging me. The four penetrations in the panel. They cannot be from turbine or compressor blades. First off, if the blades were still attached to the ring, there would be progressively smaller penetrations adjacent to the four from adjacent blades on the ring. If the blades had separated from the ring and were flying through the air, it’s hard to imagine them staying exactly parallel to each other while separating from the ring, or while penetrating the panel, producing slits the same width as the blades.
It’s more likely the penetrations were caused by a broken strut, hitting the panel several times, as could be imagined as waves pound on the hull of a broken boat stuck on a reef. Hopefully we will get an answer from those that know the boat’s construction.
At some point, someone inside Boeing will tell you this is not a trunnion door.
The meeting on WSPR technology was a great success. There were a significant number of participants from all over the globe and from various time zones. Some participants had 2 foot of new snow outside their window, others were sweltering in 34°C (93°F) and high humidity. With multiple presenters (Prof. Simon Maskell, Dr. Hannes Coetzee, Dominik Bugmann and myself), the Google Meet technology was stretched to the limit. Internet connections generally held globally, with one short exception.
Dr. Robert Westphal and his collaborator Dr. Karl Herrmann were not able to attend, but their early pioneer work and ongoing research are held in high honour, despite the strong opposing winds that caused them to retreat from public life. Rob is the father of the idea to use WSPR to track MH370.
There is definitely a momentum building in using WSPR to detect and track aircraft and in using WSPR to help identify the crash location of MH370. I personally found the meeting very encouraging. The meeting over ran, as there was such great interest in our work evidenced by a large number of very good and perceptive questions being asked and answered. In hindsight, we should have recorded the meeting.
Prof. Simon Maskell observed: “I thought it was particularly reassuring that the questions that we can’t answer easily are precisely those that we are working towards generating compelling answers for.” It was also clear, that it is perfectly acceptable in scientific circles to say, that we don’t know the full answer to that question yet, but we also have the same question and are working on the answer, and we will let you know our findings in due course.
Dr. Hannes Coetzee outlined the major differences between classical radar and WSPR technology. A typical airport radar has a pulse width of 1 µs and the energy illuminating any object is small despite the transmission power of 1.1 MW and pulse rate between 300 and 1,200 pulses per second. WSPR has a coherent integration time of 110.6 seconds and a transmission power of typically 1 W, resulting in a similar order of magnitude of energy illuminating the target aircraft. Hannes also pointed out the WSPR processing removes short and medium term ionospheric fluctuations.
Dominik Bugmann showed how WSPR signals from his radio shack in Switzerland can be received in Australia with the WSPR protocol confirming receipt of the signal and how the receiving station software determined the signal to noise ratio and frequency drift deviations. He also demonstrated how the interim landing points of a multiple hop ionospheric propagation aligned with the target aircraft position and the great circle paths of multiple intersecting anomalous WSPR links.
The participants thanked us for the great work and the obvious thousands of hours invested in WSPR technology and using that to help solve the mystery of MH370. It was once again evident to all participants that the combination of Inmarsat satellite data, Boeing aircraft performance data, 39 items of likely or confirmed MH370 floating debris, the UWA drift analysis data and our work using WSPR technology all point to the same crash location around 30°S to 32°S.
It was equally clear that the MH370 crash location could be just outside of the previously searched areas in this latitude range. However, the absence of the IFE connection expected at around 00:21:06 UTC (approximately 90 seconds after 00:19:37 UTC) as well as the analysis of the BFO data by Ian Holland of the DSTG, which shows an accelerating rate of descent of between 14,800 fpm and 25,300 fpm at 00:19:37 UTC, may well both separately set a limit to the maximum possible distance of the crash location from the 7th Arc. In summary, this information narrows the area for any future underwater search for MH370 and increases the probability of finding the main wreckage of MH370.
A new article by Geoffrey Thomas at airlineratings.com on the WSPR technology meeting:
In conclusion Geoffrey Thomas states: “It is highly likely that this work will be the basis of the next search.”
If the wreckage can be located it will help to anchor a lot of the speculation around the causes of the deviation of MH370 from its scheduled flightpath.
Those who are actively hostile to the WSPR tracking potential seem to fall into two camps:
In the one camp are those who genuinely believe, for whatever reasons, that the aircraft crashed elsewhere, and that the WSPR analysis is at best a distraction and at worst part of a very sophisticated cover-up.
In the other camp are those who, for one reason or another, do not want the wreckage to be found.
Meanwhile, cluster-analysis of civilian and military communications traffic during the time from MH370’s last known contact with air traffic controllers and the time of the turnback could help to clarify the causes of the catastrophe and the key agencies involved.
Perhaps ChatGPT or its commercial/military AI brethren could help out here?
You ask: “Did I miss a post?”
I have posted every comment from you, so I don’t think you should have missed a post.
You state: “Please do not quote me without printing my full comments.”
I have posted every comment from you in full.
You state: “The first picture you use as an example of the shape changing is a view looking aft at the part of the door that is forward of the strut.”
“The second picture is a view looking forward at the aft half of the door. The pictures provide nothing to the conversation.”
So please tell me, is the Trunnion door angled or not? And if it was redesigned, when did this happen?
You state: “For your argument about the color, it’s light gray.”
Thank you for confirming the colour is light grey. I note that this colour is not dark grey as falsely purported elsewhere.
You state: “The four penetrations in the panel. They cannot be from turbine or compressor blades. First off, if the blades were still attached to the ring, there would be progressively smaller penetrations adjacent to the four from adjacent blades on the ring.”
Thank you for confirming that point. The blades were still attached to the ring and therefore the four penetrations were parallel, but vertically and horizontally displaced and progressively smaller.
You state: “It’s more likely the penetrations were caused by a broken strut, hitting the panel several times, as could be imagined as waves pound on the hull of a broken boat stuck on a reef. Hopefully we will get an answer from those that know the boat’s construction.”
How do you answer the fact that “the boat” (aka Team Vestas Wind) was only a drift time of 56 days from the Team Vestas Wind crash location in the Cargados Carajos Shoals to Antsiraka South Beach, Madagascar versus the timing of the find on 17th March 2017 and 839 days after the crash of the yacht on 29th November 2014.
However the timing of the find of the new debris item does align with a drift time from a crash location of MH370 defined by a 30 nmi circle centred on 30.000°S 98.700°E and a 15 nmi circle centred on 30.570°S 98.750°E. There were 14 items of debris found in 2016 and 2017 in the same timeframe as the new debris item, which have been officially analysed and either confirmed, almost certain, highly likely, likely or possible to be from MH370.
“At some point, someone inside Boeing will tell you this is not a trunnion door.”
That’s great! I look forward to it.
But then the question remains, if the debris item is not a remnant of the Trunnion Door, then what is the provenance of the latest debris item?
A closer examination of the recent debris find in Madagascar proves that it is from a Boeing aircraft and cannot be from marine provenance. The key difference is the lightning protection system used on Boeing aircraft with composite materials, which is fundamentally different to the lightning protection system used in marine applications with composite materials.
A significant proportion of the airplane structure of a Boeing 777 is made of composite materials to reduce weight and improve resistance to corrosion. Composite materials are layers (or plies) of high strength fibres (carbon fibre or fibreglass) in a mixture of plastic resin. Aircraft components made of composite materials use laminations or combine layers of the composite materials with a honeycomb core to form a sandwich construction.
Here is a diagram showing the large number of Boeing 777 components using composite materials:
The list of components using composite materials on the Boeing 777 includes control surfaces, high lift devices, panels, fairings and doors.
The honeycomb is sometimes metallic, but much more often is the non-metallic “Nomex” material. In the attached list of floating debris items recovered from MH370, there are 28 items which use the non-metallic “Nomex” honeycomb.
An example of the metallic honeycomb is “No Step” (Item 7 in the above list of debris reports and SIR reference 3):
An example of “Nomex” is the Cabin Floor Panel found in Sandravinany, Madagascar and identified from the Boeing placard “BAC27WPPS61” identifying the floor panel manufacturer Gill Corporation (Item 38 in the above list of debris reports and SIR reference 31).
Similar composite materials are used in marine applications for high performance yachts, but there is a key difference in the lightning protection system. Air is a poor conductor of electricity and salt water is a good conductor of electricity and therefore the lightning protection systems differ fundamentally.
Aircraft Lightning Strike Protection.
The Lightning Strike Protection (LSP) on airplanes may include wire bundle shields, ground straps as well as composite structure expanded foils, wire mesh, aluminium flame spray coating, embedded metallic wire, metallic picture frames, diverter strips, metallic foil liners, coated glass fabric, and bonded aluminium foil.
Here is a Boeing document giving an overview of their extensive LSP systems (larger documents may have to be downloaded first to be readable as thumbnails images in Dropbox can be blurred):
For aircraft 96% of lightning strikes occur within clouds as shown in Figure 2 in the attached Boeing document.
The majority of lightning strikes occur during climb or descent and between 5,000 feet and 15,000 feet as shown in Figure 3 in the attached Boeing document.
The key areas where lightning strikes enter an aircraft are shown in Figure 9:
Horizontal stabiliser tips.
Vertical fin tips.
Ends of the leading edge flaps.
Trailing edge flap track fairings.
Water waste masts.
Air data sensors (pitot probes, static ports, angle of attack vane, total air temperature probe).
Various techniques are employed to provide a safe passage for the lightning strike from the entry point to an exit point or multiple exit points. Composite materials used in aircraft manufacture are poor conductors and therefore include a layer with a wire mesh, typically aluminium or copper, to ensure conductivity.
Marine Lightning Strike Protection.
The Lightning Strike Protection systems for marine applications involving vessels using composite materials are designed to provide a conductor path from point of lightning strike, usually at the highest point of the vessel, to the water.
Here is a Marine Lightning Protection Inc. document giving an overview of their extensive LSP systems (larger documents may have to be downloaded first to be readable as thumbnails images can be blurred):
Electrodes are mounted and connected to immersed ground studs as shown in the attached Marine Lightning Protection Inc. document. The LSP is not designed to provide high conductivity from lightning strike entry points to exit points in the air above the water line, but rather using direct connection with cables and conducting strips to the water line and below the water line to the keel.
Providing exit terminals around the perimeter of the hull is the key to an effective marine system design since, in addition to dispersing the current more uniformly around the boat, it also enables the lightning down conductors to be routed externally to all wiring and conducting fittings.
On a yacht, the lightning conductor from the mast base connects to both the chain plate and the loop before passing down to network of electrodes just above the waterline, and from there via an immersed conducting strip to a keel bolt. Electrodes at bow and stern provide more exit terminals from the loop to the water. Thus a conducting grid covers the interior of the boat and exit terminals are distributed over the hull near the waterline.
The Dexmet Corporation are exclusive suppliers of LSP to Boeing. The Dexmet MicroGrid product comprises precision expanded metal foils which are used for lightning strike protection in all Boeing composite aircraft structures requiring lightning protection.
Here are two Dexmet Corporation documents giving an overview of their extensive LSP systems and their application in the aerospace industry as well as their status as exclusive supplier to Boeing (larger documents may have to be downloaded first to be readable as thumbnails images can be blurred):
Dexmet has a wide range of MicroGrid products, that can be cut and bent to fit any Boeing component. Dexmet expanded aluminium and copper MicroGrid materials are incorporated into the surface of Boeing composite structures, which require lightning strike protection. The lightning strike energy is dissipated over the surface of the component, which prevents damage to the composite material below:
The recent debris item has an aluminium wire mesh embedded in the composite material between the black surface and the honeycomb core.
The first photo shows an exposed area of honeycomb core, but underneath an aluminium wire mesh layer embedded in the epoxy resin of the next composite material layer:
The honeycomb structure being non-metallic requires a lightening protection system and the Dexmet MicroGrid layer can be seen in the close up picture in the layer below the honeycomb core:
This proves that the latest debris item is an aircraft panel and not a marine panel.
This proves that the latest debris item is an exterior panel from an aircraft in a lightning exposed location and not an interior panel such as a cabin divider.
The location of where the piece of debris was found in Antsiraka Beach in Madagascar, where a total of 20 items of floating debris from MH370 have been found in Madagascar and 4 on the same Antsiraka Beach, confirms the likelihood that this new item of floating debris is also from MH370. Out of the items washed ashore in Madagascar and officially analysed, 6 items have been determined to be almost certain, highly likely or likely from MH370 by the authorities.
Considering that MH370 (aircraft registered as 9M-MRO) ended its flight in the South Indian Ocean, the location of this recent find is consistent with the drift path modelling produced by the University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). This suggests that the part is likely from MH370 given that the likelihood of it originating from another source is quite remote.
About your 25 January 2023 at 14:08 post.
It seems that the 2019 debris found by Blaine and you call the “roundel” has the same mesh gauge that the 2022 one (look at this pic https://i.ibb.co/c6rGs7P/Comp-Canevas-D-bris-Blaine19-22.jpg ).
Do you think that it is the same mesh? And thus, eventually, the 2019 “roundel” was also from MH-370? Or at least from a plane?
I have studied the collage of photos you shared yesterday comparing the roundel debris with the new debris item found in Madagascar, but the pictures are low resolution and I am not able to see any clear evidence of an embedded aluminium wire mesh layer.
The close up photo of the new debris item I shared yesterday is 2,560 x 1,600 pixels and you can see the aluminium wire mesh clearly. The photo collage you shared yesterday is only 640 x 294 pixels for all 3 photos and I am unable to tell with certainty whether there is an embedded aluminium wire mesh. Unfortunately I do not have any high resolution pictures of the roundel debris.
Judging by the long shadow cast in the first picture by the reel tape measure and the short shadow cast by the debris item, the debris item appears to be quite thin. As I pointed out in an earlier comment, the almost black circular roundel does not fit the colour and font of the MAS logo either.
One possible provenance of the roundel debris is a remnant of a nose landing gear door. There are 4 doors in total in the nose, forward and aft, left and right.
Here is a link to the Boeing drawing:
The forward and aft doors are opened when the nose landing gear is raised or lowered. The forward door shuts once the nose landing gear is locked in position, but the aft door remains open when the landing gear is lowered:
The marking “RO” is clearly visible on both the left and right aft door:
The “O” is of the right size, but the colour is a mid blue rather than almost black. There is also a red line on the door aft of the “R” on the right hand side and aft of the “O” on the left hand side, which is not visible on the debris item.
Thank you for your answer and the research for a connection between the “roundel” debris and 9M-MRO.
I apologize for the low resolution of my pictures but I didn’t find a Hi-Res for the “roundel” and I wanted to show both at the same scale to show that the grid sizes (around 10 stitches by inch) were the same. Do you know where the “roundel” debris is now? Perhaps Blaine has (or can have) some better pic?
Anyway, looking for pics or drawings of mesh used to protect planes against lightning on Internet, all the ones I found show a mesh just under the paint. I understood it have to be as near of the surface as possible to be efficient.
But the mesh of the recent one seems to be on the other side of the honeycomb. Could the black side be the external surface and its paint washed away?
A new article by Geoffrey Thomas at airlineratings.com on the recent debris find in Madagascar and a new detailed analysis:
In summary Geoffrey Thomas sees the analysis as confirming that “the latest debris found is almost certainly from MH370.”
Several months ago I had the honour of meeting Blaine Gibson:
Blaine Gibson has found and reported more items of floating debris than anyone else. In total he has reported 21 items of floating debris from MH370 of which 14 are confirmed by the authorities as possibly, likely or almost certain from MH370 and 7 which could not be confirmed as from MH370.
Blaine Gibson asked Prof. Charitha Pattiaratchi an Oceanographer from the University of Western Australia (UWA) where he should look and then went to those locations in Madagascar and Mozambique to search the beaches. Blaine also asked the local fishermen, where debris usually comes ashore in those locations.
As explained in Figure 9 in the Boeing document on LSP to which I referred in my post yesterday there are different requirements for different zones on the Boeing 777 aircraft.
Here is a link to Figure 9 in the Boeing document:
There are 3 different zones, which are further sub-divided, according to the likelihood that they are areas where points of entry of lightning are expected, areas where a conduction path is required or areas where points of exit of lightning are expected.
LSP must provide a continuous conductive path of low resistance over the entire aircraft exterior, with additional protection in zones where lightning is most likely to attach. Zone 1A (the radome or nose, wingtips, nacelles and extremities of the empennage) is required by the U.S. FAA Federal Aviation Regulations (Parts 23, 25 and 27) to withstand 200,000 amps of initial lightning attachment and first return strokes. Zones that rarely see a direct strike (such as the fuselage) are required to handle less amperage and must simply conduct current between lightning attachment points.
Dexmet products range from ultra light weight 0.010 lb/ft2 to a more typical 0.040 lb/ft2, which are appropriate for Zone 1A, up to heavy weight products 0.327 lb/ft2 for rivet lines.
In a Zone 2 area such as the wing upper and lower areas behind the engines and in the vicinity of the main landing gear, the requirement is to provide a continuous conductive path and hence it is not required that the aluminium wire mesh layer embedded in the epoxy resin is in the outermost layer.
As for your questions regarding the roundel debris item, I was not involved in that analysis, which was done by Exner and Thompson and they concluded that the roundel debris was of marine provenance, which is contradicted by your recent comparison of the two debris items and your hypothesis that the roundel debris also may have a wire mesh LSP layer.
To precise my intentions, I didn’t make the hypothesis that the “roundel” show “anti-lightning” mesh. I just made the hypothesis that both debris, because they show the same grid under the same honeycomb, could have the same origin or, at least, show the same fabrication process.
And my first goal was to show that the recent debris was no more from 9M-MRO than the first, which was not retained from a plane when discovered. It is from this French forum: http://www.crash-aerien.news/forum/post676904.html#p676338 (posted January 4th)
But, effectively, my post COULD show both debris are coming from 9M-MRO IF the first one was proved to originate from a 777.
Thank you for your dedication and hard work towards the MH370 case.
I would like to see you have your own YouTube channel and discuss MH370. Hopefully this is something you would consider.
You are missing the point. The recent debris cannot be from the Team Vestas Wind yacht because:
1. No yacht or boat would ever be built with a layer of the aviation specific metallic lightning strike protection mesh, as the panels on a boat are not the issue in marine lightning strike prevention.
2. Antsiraka Beach in Madagascar is only a drift time of 56 days from the Team Vestas Wind crash location in the Cargados Carajos Shoals but the timing of the debris find on 17th March 2017 is 839 days after the crash of the yacht on 29th November 2014.
However the landing gear doors including the trunnion door on the Boeing 777 and other adjacent panels just behind the engines would incorporate the lightning strike protection materials in them, as both the engines and the main landing gear strut are metal and a great target for lightning strikes.
In addition the timing of the find of the new debris item does align with a drift time from a crash location of MH370 defined by a 30 nmi circle centred on 30.000°S 98.700°E and a 15 nmi circle centred on 30.570°S 98.750°E. There were 14 other items of debris found in the same area of Northern Madagascar in 2016 and 2017 in the same timeframe as the new debris item, which have been officially analysed and 11 items are either almost certain, highly likely, likely or possible to be from MH370.
@Richard (27 January 2023 at 10:19 post),
I have not written that the debris came from Vistas Wind on this blog. I had written on the French forum for which I gave a link, IF the debris is (are) from a boat (and not from plane) Vistas Wind was a possibility.
Anyway, I am not convinced that the debris show a metallic grid. From the color, it can’t be copper or copper alloy, and have to be aluminum or aluminum alloy. But I don’t see any corrosion: salt water and aluminum are not very good friends!
It would be very easy to know if there is a metallic mesh in the debris: just use a metal detector! The ones used by beachcombers would be the better because many of them could “tell” what kind of metal it is… if one is there. And thus make the difference between low conductance carbon and high conductance mesh. Are the debris accessible to someone?
Just a thought,
One oceanographer I spoke with speculated that it might have done a lap of the Indian Ocean.
As to the boat, it drifted off, navigation warning issued, barnacles unidentified.
You did include a link on this blog to your statements on the Team Vestas Wind being a good candidate (“Le Vestas wind serait un bon candidat”) for the provenance of the debris and the builder is Farr Yacht Design (“Le constructeur est Farr Yacht Design”).
You state: “I have not written that the debris came from Vistas Wind on this blog”. That is true, you stated “Vestas Wind” on the other blog and “Vistas Wind” on this blog in both your references to Vestas, just like Exner renamed “Vestas” to “Vistas” in all his references on Iannello’s blog.
You state from the colour (American “color”) it cannot be copper. But I never said it was copper, I said that it was aluminium (American “aluminum”).
You state: “But I don’t see any corrosion: salt water and aluminum are not very good friends!”. But I pointed out the aluminium wire mesh is embedded in epoxy resin, so it will not corrode if the seal on the epoxy resin remains intact and the aluminium is not exposed to salt water.
The debris is long since in the hands of the authorities, so I suggest you put your request to use a metal detector to them. As far as I know, Blaine Gibson does not travel with a metal detector in his baggage.
David Griffin an Oceanographer at CSIRO, Australia points out that “in addition to knowing where things are found in Africa, the other key thing is were things have not been found and that is Australia.”
You can see his statement in the National Geographic documentary starting at 38:25:
Debris picked up in the Indian Ocean gyre and carried back westward by the west wind drift will more likely come ashore in Australia. West wind drift is a cold southern hemisphere ocean current that runs west to east, generally between 40 and 60 degrees south latitude. David Griffin points out that at these latitudes debris is more likely to come ashore in Australia and this led him to the conclusion that the crash location of MH370 has to be further north than 35°S.
The example you show of Abby Sunderland’s yacht turning up off Kangaroo Island, South Australia at 36°S confirms David Griffin’s hypothesis. Abby Sunderland was picked up and rescued by the French ship Ile de la Reunion on 12 June 2010, midway between Madagascar and Western Australia at 40.8°S 74.6°E and her boat was found at 36.2°S 137.2°E 11 nmi off Vivonne Bay over 8 years later and 5,342 km away.
However, the timescales do not fit with recent debris find in Madagascar. The yacht was abandoned on 12JUN2010 and found on 03JAN2019 which is 3,127 days later. The debris recently found in Madagascar was only adrift for 839 days, which is a much closer match to other MH370 floating debris items (mean 836 days, standard deviation 182 days).
More specifically, while drifting times have a fairly certain lower limit, I believe that they have a very uncertain upper limit.
So there is no basis to argue that ‘X should have taken only T days to get from P to Q’.
I agree that the ocean is a fundamentally turbulent system, full of eddies, meanders and gyres. But I disagree that it is uncertain or unlimited. Both the UWA HYCOM model and the CSIRO model have lower and upper limits for how far floating debris will travel from a particular location in a given time starting on 8th March 2014.
The 39 items of floating debris from MH370 took on average 836 day to reach the point of discovery, but that ranges from 508 days for the flaperon to St. Andre, Reunion to 1,626 days for a panel to Riake Beach, Madagascar.
My point is that 839 days from the Cargados Carajos shoals to Madagascar is nothing like 56 days according to the models, it is a multiple of around 15.
My point is that 3,127 days from the rescue location of Abby Sunderland to Kangaroo Island that you quote is nothing like 839 days actual time, it is a multiple of around 4.
The speculation you quote that the recent debris find might have done a lap of the Indian Ocean does not fit the models, but it does fit, quite precisely, the average time of MH370 floating debris to reach the point of discovery.
i prefer to go with the answer that is at least the right order of magnitude, rather than speculation.
In the photos of the latest item of debris to be recovered, is the metallic foil that we see underneath the honeycomb material actually NOT the top exterior layer of lightning strike protection expandable metallic foil, but, rather, some sort of lightning static discharge material foil intended to either protect the landing gear from static discharge after a lightning strike or is intended to protect the composite landing gear doors after a lightning strike to the landing gear?
First, It is my understanding that: (a) the lightning strike protection expandable metal foil or mesh material is actually baked into the surface of exterior composite parts on a B777. This means that we cannot see the lightning strike protection material in the photographs of the debris because it has become at one with the Borg, as they say. The lightning strike protection material has been incorporated into the top exterior layer of the aircraft part. It is also my understanding that: (b) testing can show us immediately whether the surface layer of an item of debris contains lightning strike protection. Is this your understanding as well?
Second, reading through the Standard 625 Appendix G: Inspection after Abnormal Occurrences – Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), it notes that lightning strikes can damage an aircraft in two ways:
“(14) Lightning Strikes. Lightning strikes usually cause damage at two points on an aircraft: strike damage where the discharge enters the aircraft; and static discharge damage subsequent to the strike.”
After a lightning strike, “the following inspections shall be carried out:
(iii) If the landing gear was extended when the lightning strike occurred, examine the lower parts of the gear for static discharge damage. Check for residual magnetism and demagnetize where necessary; …”
What materials are used in exterior aviation composite parts to shield or protect the part from static discharge after a lightning strike? I am referring to something other than electrostatic discharge caused by friction with the air as the plane moves through it. Could the shiny metallic mesh layer in this latest item of debris be a static protection layer?
Lightning is an electrostatic discharge and seeks the path of least resistance or conversely the path of greatest conductivity. Examples of good electrical conductors are metals, alloys, electrolytes, graphite, sea water and ionised air. For legacy aircraft built from highly conductive aluminum, even a 200,000 Ampere electrical discharge can be quickly conducted away. For modern aircraft made with less-conductive carbon fibre composites or nonconductive fibreglass, lightning strike protection in the form of a conductive layer is critical. To create a conductive path, metal in the composite aircraft’s outer skin is placed in contact with metal bonding straps or other structures that connect the outer conductive surface to a metallic ground plane, such as an engine or metal conduit in the fuselage.
When lightning strikes an aircraft it usually enters and exits at the extremities, such as the nose cone, wing tips and rudder. Because the airplane flies more than its own length during the time it takes a strike to begin and finish, the entry point will change as the lightning flash reattaches to other spots aft of the initial entry point. During the initial stages of a lightning strike on an airplane, a glow may be seen on the nose or wing tips caused by ionisation of the air surrounding the leading edges or sharp points on the airplane’s structure. This ionisation is caused by an increase in the electromagnetic field density at those locations.
A stepped leader may extend off the airplane from an ionised area seeking the large amount of lightning energy in a nearby cloud. Stepped leaders are paths of ionised air containing a charge emanating from a charged airplane or cloud. With the airplane flying through the charged atmosphere, leaders propagate from the airplane extremities where ionised areas have formed. Once the leader from the airplane meets a leader from the cloud, a strike to the ground can continue and the airplane becomes part of the event. The aircraft can effectively become a part of the electrical circuit between two cloud regions of opposite polarity. Lightweight mesh embedded in the aircraft structure and metal bonding straps connecting the various components provide a path of least resistance for the lightning strike.
Lightning damage shows itself as pitting to structure, burns caused by resistive heating, or small holes in the aircraft structure caused by melt through. It is even possible that lightning damage results in missing structure at the airplane’s extremities, such as the vertical stabiliser, wing tips, and horizontal stabiliser edges. Airplane structure can also be crushed by the shock waves present during the lightning strike. Another indication of lightning strike is damage caused to bonding straps. These straps can become crushed during a lightning strike due to the high electromagnetic forces.
Boeing will know exactly which 9M-MRO aircraft components have lightning protection systems incorporated. The close up picture of the recent debris item that I previously published clearly shows the aluminium mesh embedded in epoxy resin. It may be “baked in” to one of the layers in the composite material, but it is still visible as the epoxy resin is translucent. Epoxy resins are usually clear, colourless, and fully transparent:
The “shiny metallic mesh layer” is likely to be an aluminium wire mesh designed as a highly conductive layer in the composite material for the purposes of lightning strike protection. If you open the dropbox link above, you can zoom in a long way on the aluminium wire mesh, as it is a high resolution photo.
Aluminum is the first choice for the wire mesh, because of its low weight, but the risk of galvanic corrosion in contact with carbon fibre laminates is a concern, and an isolation ply of fibreglass adds weight. If moisture penetrates the composite skin, aluminum corrosion can occur. Copper eliminates the galvanic reaction risk, but weighs at least twice as much as aluminum. As you can see from the photo, the epoxy resin layer is intact, no moisture has penetrated to the aluminium and there is no evidence that corrosion has occurred. Boeing or their supplier Dexmet will be able to confirm whether this type of aluminium wire mesh was used on the Boeing 777-200ER registration 9M-MRO. This will then in turn also help narrow down the possible provenance of the debris item.
The fact that the aluminium wire mesh layer is closer to the black surface than the light grey surface may also provide a further clue to the provenance of the debris item. It would appear that the item was not located close to the extremities of the aircraft requiring the aluminium wire mesh layer to be close to the exterior light grey surface. It appears more likely that the item was located where lightning strikes seldom enter or exit or in an area on the aircraft that is only exposed to lightning strike when the metal strut of the main landing gear is exposed to lightning strike. Landing gear is typically lowered between 1,000 feet and 2,000 feet above ground level. Lightning strikes below 2,000 feet account for only 5% of the total, but the main landing gear truck presents a large target with a lot of metal parts, which weighs 7.5 tons and, with the telescoping legs compressed, stands 4.5 m tall (14 feet 9 inches).
It is incredible and devastating to me that we still have not found this aircraft. I had just started my first year of university when the plane went missing, I am now in my second year of my PhD, and the plane’s final resting place is still a mystery.
Thank you for your continued work on finding the plane. It is clear to me that you are doing this out of a strong moral belief that it is simply the right thing to do, and not out of an egotistical desire to be “right” about anything in particular. I hope, that with all the evidence and technology now available to us, we will find the plane soon.
@Michael Hale aka Mickey Smiths,
On 14th January 2023 I welcomed you to my blog and commented with 7 reasons why I disagree with your conclusion that MH370 is to be found at 40.5°S 86.9°E:
You have failed to give any answers to my questions.
You prefer instead to send me emails saying that I am a “fraud”, a “joke”, that “I should go away quietly”, that my “work has no merit”, that I am “bogus”, “childish”, “discredited”, “amateur” and a “conman”.
I note that you also state: “I know where MH370, you DO NOT! Nor does the ATSB, the Malaysians, the IG, Victor Iannello, Jeff Wise, that fool professor from UWA or even the French.”
You further state: “The ATSB are a joke too. I know, I bore the brunt of their unintelligence, lack of commonsense & lack of legitimate scientific investigative procedures. Plus, some of them think you are legit.. that can’t be good !”
Your claim is unfounded: “I worked it out. No one else worked it out. Victor Iannello doesn’t understand it.”
Your conclusion is unfounded that my “research is childish & without merit (many people have shown you this already, inc. Iannello [he’s a ****er]”. (expletive deleted – editor).
You are a disgrace to your wonderful city of Perth and excellent country of Australia.
You are banned from my website.
So far what is the status of the new debris found, has it been officially identified, has it been conclusively linked to an aircraft, a couple of months back you sent the photos of the new part to Boeing to have them determine it’s official origin, have they been in touch with you, how long will it take for them to complete their analysis ?
I emailed the AAIB in Malaysia on Friday 17th February 2023 asking the same question, whether there is any update.
I received a reply from the AAIB in Malaysia by return saying that the AAIB has contacted the Madagascar authority and it is in the process of repatriation of the debris back to Malaysia. The AAIB also requested that since the report has been forwarded to Boeing, they would appreciate it if Boeing could extend a copy of their analysis report on the said debris to the AAIB.
I then emailed ATSB and Boeing, copying the AAIB on Monday 20th February 2023 asking the same question, whether there is any update.
I received a full confidential reply by return yesterday from the ATSB and Boeing, which was copied to the AAIB in Malaysia.
I have asked the ATSB permission yesterday to publish their reply in full on my website and was told that it must be approved by their Communications manager.
I await their authorisation to publish.
Re: 2nd February 2016 – Paul Smithson publishes Head for Home – A Theory of MH370’s Disappearance and Final Resting Place.
I have a reference to his paper at link http://www.findmh370.com/Head_for_Home_2_Feb_2016.pdf but the link is broken, and it appears that his website http://www.findmh370.com/ does not exist any more.
Do you have a copy of that 16Mb PDF, and if so could you make it available by creating a link against it in your chronology page and/or your archive page please.
I have added a link to the paper by Paul Smithson in the Archive section as requested.
Thankyou Richard – got it at last !
@Richard, you previously requested my permission to include my old report on your website. I declined, informing you that I no longer subscribed to key aspects of the thesis. I do not wish it to be disseminated and request you to remove it from your archive.
I have removed your paper from my archive as requested.
My apologies but I have no record of you previously refusing permission in the 61 emails I have received from you.
I would like to point out that the official position of the ATSB is as follows:
“The ATSB has not had a formal involvement in any search for the missing MH370 aircraft since the conclusion of the first underwater search on 17 January 2017.
Australia coordinated the initial underwater search at the request of the Government of Malaysia. Further, under international agreements and protocols, any future search/es would be initiated by the Government of Malaysia, as the state of registry and operation of the aircraft and as the ICAO Annex 13 investigators.
The ATSB has not been tasked with any further role to review evidential material. The Malaysian Government is the most appropriate authority to assess any new data or material, and the ATSB advises anyone in possession of possible evidence to contact the Malaysian Government.
The ATSB continues to express our deepest sympathies to the families of the passengers and crew on board MH370.”
@Michael Hale aka Mickey Smiths,
You first commented on my website on 14th January 2023:
I responded the same day as follows:
On 22nd February 2023 I banned you from my website.
In response I have received the following 11 emails from you with threats, false accusations, denials, bad mouthing me in the media and with the authorities such as the ATSB:
“You are a conman!”
“I never used an expletive when mentioning Iannello (I have screenshots of all my submissions on your website). You may want to remove that ASAP !“
“If you know what’s good for you you’ll edit that post ASAP !“
“I stand by all my submissions on your website as you have wasted everyones time ! Iannello sent me an email where he referred to your WSPRnet analysis as ‘silliness’! I’ll be happy to send you the email if you like?!“
“Did I submit a query to your blog on the 14th January? That must’ve slipped my mind. I never came back to your blog after that as I didn’t remember having ever been here, until this latest stoush when I’ve gotten stuck into you. However, I do stand by all my submissions to you since then. There’s no going back now anyways, so just edit that post where you make out I used an expletive to describe Iannello (cos you know I didn’t, & so do I). That’s a good little boy.”
“I never sent you emails saying those things as I don’t have your email address. They have been submitted on your website via your Submit a Comment section. Like I said, I stand by everything I submitted. I will be very happy to prove you wrong too in the not too distant future. In fact I won’t have to prove you wrong, you will be proving yourself wrong if they ever search where you suggest they should search. Fate, as they say, is in your hands (& everything that has gone before). Hope you can handle it.”
“Just had another look at the screenshots & everything else that I submitted (I copied & pasted if not screenshotted, for my own benefit), & I definitely didn’t use an expletive to describe Iannello. I’ll ask you politely to edit that post & remove any reference to Iannello & me using an expletive to describe him ! Everything else is fine & can stay. Thank you.”
“Ah, so you did watch my video (hence the ‘7 reasons why you disagree’ reference). You should’ve commented on the video, not in your blog, as I was never likely to come back here. I did actually come back not realising (forgetting) I had been here a month before (my bad). Iannello outdid you, he quizzed me on 10 things he felt were wrong in the video. I thought he actually wanted me to rebuff his 10 objections but I was wrong. He had stated his 10 objections & there was to be no rebuttal. If you had’ve commented on my video I would’ve seen it & come back to your blog back in January. Oh well, your bad.”
“I see you haven’t removed that reference I allegedly made about Iannello (suggesting I used an expletive in describing him). I’ll be getting some airtime here in Oz so I will be showing the world that you are a conman, first & foremost, but also deceitful liar. I’ve told the ATSB what you’ve been up to too, although I’ve had nothing back.”
“If you don’t take down that alleged reference to Iannello I will be forced to take action. Up to you? Everything else is fine, cos it’s the truth! Like I said, everything is screenshotted (I always cover my tracks).”
In particular you claim that you never used an expletive in reference to Victor Iannello.
An expletive is a rude or offensive word used to express anger, pain, annoyance, etc.
A tosser (English insult) implies that the person masturbates excessively. Also see wanker. While the word wanker is a more general and term for expressing disdain for somebody, the word tosser describes a person with a tendency to show off or brag in an excessive and embarrassing way.
Here is a copy of the offending unredacted email, which you claim does not exist:
“Aren’t you embarrassed about your earlier work being so wrong (& your current work being so wrong too) that people will just see you for what you are, a conman?! Kudos on the continued work in assisting with the search for MH370 though, but your research is childish & without merit (many people have shown you this already, including Iannello [he’s a tosser]).”
I received the following statement from Boeing and the ATSB with their permission to publish:
“Boeing advised on 15 Dec 2022 that their review showed that the part in the photos is likely not part of a 777 main landing gear trunnion door, due to the curvature of the panel in the photo being larger than what we would expect for a trunnion door. The layout of the structural composite plies are also not what we would expect for this component. At this time, Boeing is not able to confirm the part was from a 777 airplane.
On 19 Dec 2022 ATSB were advised by independent researchers that the new debris was likely from a high tech racing yacht competing in the Volvo Ocean Race that ran aground on a reef near Mauritius in Nov 2014 – “Vestas Wind’. It was further advised that this new debris item resembled, in some ways, another previously unidentified item Blaine Gibson had discovered in 2019 near the same location. That one was also originally found by a fisherman circa 2016. On 03 Jan 2023 ATSB were further advised that Farr Yacht Designs (Vestas Wind manufacturer) had confirmed that the debris article reported by Gibson and Godfrey December 12th was almost certainly from the aft deck of the Vestas Wind. They also believed the other piece Blaine turned up a couple of years ago from the same beach area, different fisherman, was also from Vestas Wind deck panel.
On 10 Jan 2023 ATSB advised Boeing of this additional information and no further action has been taken by ATSB or Boeing.
The ATSB has not had a formal involvement in any search for the missing MH370 aircraft since the conclusion of the first underwater search on 17 January 2017. Australia coordinated the initial underwater search at the request of the Government of Malaysia. Further, under international agreements and protocols, any future search/es would be initiated by the Government of Malaysia, as the state of registry and operation of the aircraft and as the ICAO Annex 13 investigators. The ATSB has not been tasked with any further role to review evidential material. The Malaysian Government is the most appropriate authority to assess any new data or material, and the ATSB advises anyone in possession of possible evidence to contact the Malaysian Government.
The ATSB continues to express our deepest sympathies to the families of the passengers and crew on board MH370.”
With reference to the ATSB statement:
“The Malaysian Government is the most appropriate authority to assess any new data or material, and the ATSB advises anyone in possession of possible evidence to contact the Malaysian Government.”
For the avoidance of doubt, we have been in regular contact with the AAIB and in particular Colonel Marzuki (RMAF) of the AAIB since 20th December 2022. Both he and the AAIB have received our full report, updates and have been copied on all relevant emails.
My team find it strange that the AAIB in Malaysia has to ask me to pass on information from Boeing in the USA and the ATSB in Australia.
I have received the following 5 statements from Britton Ward, Vice President & Senior Naval Architect of Farr Yacht Design Limited following the contact with him in social media by Mike Exner.
(a) “We have absolutely no interest or agenda with the MH370 investigation and we have not made any public comment that could be ‘retracted’.”
(b) “Based on the images I was sent all I could state is that the materials used in the panel construction appeared consistent with the materials and processes used in the build of a VO65.”
(c) “I have not seen the samples in person and without a thorough visual inspection and more research I would never make a declarative statement of their provenance.”
(d) “We were not involved in the salvage operation nor have ever made any statement about debris drift. … I was not provided with any information on the source of the images, nor where and when the samples were recovered.”
(e) “That any second hand comments I may have made about a set of images of carbon composite panels could have any bearing on … the MH370 investigation … is absurd.”
It appears that Mike Exner has not told the ATSB the whole truth and nothing but the truth of his exchange with Farr Yacht Design Limited.
1. How does the ATSB explain the complete mismatch of the drift time? Antsiraka Beach in Madagascar is only a drift time of 56 days ± 20 days from the Team Vestas Wind crash location in the Cargados Carajos Shoals but the timing of the debris find on 17th March 2017 is 839 days after the crash of the yacht on 29th November 2014. The arrival time of the recent debris item does align with a drift time from a crash location of MH370 near the 7th Arc. There were 14 other items of debris found in the same area of Northern Madagascar in 2016 and 2017 in the same timeframe as the new debris item, which have been officially analysed and 11 items are either almost certain, highly likely, likely or possible to be from MH370.
2. How does the ATSB explain the fact that the recent debris item has lightning strike protection, whereas marine debris does not have lightning strike protection? Boats like the Team Vestas Wind yacht sit on salt water, which is a good conductor and require only a connection between the highest point of the boat and a keel bolt. Aircraft fly in the air, which is a poor conductor and therefore require a conductive layer throughout all components exposed to lightning strikes or on the path between a point of entry and a point of exit of the lightning. Lightning protection systems for marine applications involving craft using composite materials are designed to provide a conductor path from point of lightning strike at the highest point of the vessel to the water. Sea water has an electrical conductivity of only 4.6 S/m, but there is enough around a boat to discharge the lightning current. You protect a boat like you protect a building, by providing conductive wires or down conductors from the highest point to an electrical ground. In marine lightning protection systems, electrodes are mounted and connected to immersed ground studs in the sea water. The down conductors provide an outer cage of conductivity around the boat. Any composite materials used on a boat will not have a conductive aluminium wire mesh layer.
3. How does the ATSB explain the layer of aluminium mesh embedded in epoxy resin adjacent to the layer of carbon fibre reinforced plastic in the attached picture of the debris item? Is this not a conductive layer to ensure a safe path for an electrical current from a lightning strike? Aluminium has an electrical conductivity of 3.5 x 107 S/m and CFRP has an electrical conductivity of only 106 S/m.
4. How does the ATSB explain the 4 almost parallel slicing puncture cuts right through the recent debris item? An analysis using an electron microscope might be revealing.
5. How does the ATSB explain the clearly delineated different smooth and rough surface areas on the recent debris item? A chemical analysis of the surface treatments applied to the recent debris item might be revealing.
In its advisory circular 21-53 of December 2015 the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority gave detailed advice about electromagnetic interference.
Whether or not the latest piece of debris is from 9M MRO or not, it might be that the aircraft’s lightning protection system had become compromised, over time, by the repair to the wing tip, following an accident in 2012.
Additionally, it is known that the co-pilot’s phone was switched on during the flight. Depending on the location on the plane of the co-pilot’s phone, and of the many other phones, laptops, etc,, there might have been some unintended interference in the operation of the electronic and communications systems of the plane.
And while a lot of attention was given to the lithium-ion batteries and mangosteens in the hold, proportinately less attention was given to the large consignment of walkie-talkie accessories.
All of these communications devices, as well as the plane’s electronic systems could have been adversely affected by a lightning strike that was not effectively managed.
Alternatively, it is possible that such a lightning strike could have occurred on a previous flight, with the effects only becoming apparent forty minutes after MH 370 left Kuala Lumpur.
None of these possibilities seems to have been considered by the MH 370 safety report team, who considered that the repaired wing tip did not affect the onboard systems of the plane.
While of themselves these suggestions are not ‘credible new evidence’, they might help to re-focus the public narrative around MH 370, moving away from the heavy reliance on the sensationalist, headline-hogging ‘rogue pilot’ theory, to include the possibility of the more measured ‘tragic accident followed by ineffective emergency response’ scenario.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), lightning hits airplanes once every 1000 hours of flight time. Airplanes that fly short routes in areas with high incidence of lightning activity are likely to be struck more often than long-haul airplanes operating in more benign lightning environments.
This means a commercial transport passenger plane is hit by lightning on an average once or twice per year. Aircraft are designed and built to have conducting paths through the plane to take the lightning strike and conduct the currents. There was no report of a lightning strike in the previous flight of 9M-MRO from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur earlier on 7th March 2014.
The only technical issues noted from previous flights were the need to replenish the crew oxygen level, to check the alignment of the left runway turn off light and the need to repair a hole found on the right engine acoustic panel approximately 1 inch by 1 inch at some point in the next 500 flight hours.
9M-MRO underwent a routine A1 check on 23rd February 2014.
What disturbs the most is the ability to turn transponders off, as was the case early in this flight. Transponders should remain in service always. there can be no reason for turning a transponder off, except.a criminal intent.
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As you point out there are two transponders on a Boeing 777. If one were to fail, then it would be switched off and the second transponder would be used. The likelihood that both transponders would fail in flight is extremely remote.
Aircraft may be asked to switch their transponder to standby after landing and during taxiing. This is done to avoid clutter in airports that track aircraft movements whilst on the ground.
MH370 also sent normal ACARS messages until the last message at 17:07:29 UTC. Position reports were programmed to be sent every 30 minutes, but the position reports expected at around 17:37:29 UTC, 18:07:29 UTC and subsequently were not received. The ACARS system either failed or was disabled.
The fact that both transponders were switched to the standby position in the case of flight MH370 coupled with the fact that the ACARS system also failed or was disabled in the same timeframe is highly unusual. Both transponders and the ACARS system failing at the same time is highly improbable. It is much more likely that both transponders and the ACARS system were disabled.
I agree with your conclusion that this indicates a criminal intent.
I am not an aviation expert or have knowledge of how it all works in reference to the transponders or radar. I know that tracking something on radar is a tangible item. After MH370 went dark, were there any credible reports of sightings of something out of the ordinary like an explosion or a plane falling from the sky? At night, a light across the sky isn’t a big deal, but if that light does something strange, then it is noticed.
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You have to be in the right place at the right time to notice something strange in the Indian Ocean’s 70 Million square km.
The are no reliable eyewitness reports that we (the public) know of. However, we do have a wide range of eyewitness reports in different parts of the globe, which cannot be substantiated, and most are in conflict with the data, and mutually exclusive. Perhaps the most notable and possible is sailor Kate Tee, but like most of the eyewitnesses, we just do not know what she really saw and when she saw it, and even she did see it, it does not help too much (because it is before Arc2 on the way to the SIO). The most tangible evidence we have (besides the radar) is the Inmarsat satellite pings and the debris finds.
Another item of floating debris potentially from MH370 was found back in 2017 in Mauritius by Owen Griffiths and handed in to the local authorities.
There is striking resemblance to the item of floating debris potentially from MH370 which was found back in 2017 in Madagascar by a local fisherman and handed in to the local authorities by Blaine Gibson in 2022.
Look at the clearly delineated section on the right of each photo, which is the same width and obviously a different surface texture from the rest of the item in both cases.
Here are the two pictures with the same section outlined on both the Madagascar debris and the Mauritius debris.
There is no way the yacht Vestas Wind crash caused floating debris to wash ashore in Madagascar and Mauritius, both in 2017, from the Cargados Carajos Shoals in 2014.