Isnin, 10 Mac 2014

The True Detective Missing Malaysia Airlines

With each passing hour the mystery surrounding the disappearance and presumed loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 gets more strange…and speculation is rampant.

The Vietnamese Navy is reporting that the plane crashed off Tho Chu Island in the South China Sea between Vietnam and Malaysia. The flight, carrying 239 passengers–including two infants and 12 crew members–departed Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 am, local time, bound for Beijing. The aircraft was scheduled to land at Beijing International Airport at 6:30 am, local time.

I must preface all of this by saying that speculation is dangerous in trying to quickly establish the probable cause of the disappearance and presumed crash of the Malaysia Airline Boeing 777. but with each passing hour, certain things can be ruled out:

1. Weather. There were no reports of severe weather in the area
2. No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the loss of the plane
3. No widespread debris field has yet been found.
4. Nothing has yet emerged about the mechanical history of this particular tail number — no past history of structural or pressurization problems.

Numbers three and four are particularly interesting. Had the plane suffered a severe structural/pressurization failure at cruising altitude, had it broken apart, there would likely be a widespread debris field (much like Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland in 1988). So far, none has been discovered.

And yet, a a highly rare, catastrophic breakup at altitude could possibly explain why the cockpit crew was unable to broadcast any sort of an emergency.

Modern jet aircraft do not suddenly fall out of the sky. As any air accident investigator can tell you, no plane ever crashes for any one reason. It’s two, perhaps three reasons — occurring either in short order or simultaneous.

But this much is known: There has been no sighting of a widespread debris field. And that is the most curious thing for investigators. No radio transmission or emergency broadcast from the plane before it disappeared, which raises some very interesting questions. If the plane suffered a sudden and catastrophic fuselage or pressurization problem at altitude, it would have broken up in the air, and the debris field would be massive. (As in Pan Am 103). It also would then explain why there was no radio call or other emergency transmission made from the crew.

But planes don’t just fall from the sky. No one factor causes this. It’s a combination of two, or three things that — in concert — create a situation where the pilots cannot recover. But what were the factors here? Tons of speculation, which can be dangerous, but investigators systematically must rule things out before they can ever rule anything in.

While it is very, very early in the investigation, this is what they are beginning to discount: weather issues. That’s it. Every other theory is still in play.

In the meantime, Boeing and Malaysia Air are both now poring over the entire service records of this particular 777 to see if there was any prior mechanical issues or a pattern or problem with air pacs or pressurization.

But the real focus right now (in addition to pursuing the “fake passport” report), is leading investigators directly to the area of cockpit crew “human factors.”  One of the things investigators in Malaysia are looking at intensely are the backgrounds of both the pilot, the copilot and the relief pilot on that flight. what were the dynamics of their personal lives? There have been previous incidents with other airline crashes where one of the pilots wanted to kill himself. He waited until the other pilot left the cockpit to go to the lavatory, then locked him out and pushed the yoke all the way down, and in less than three minutes the plane impacted the ground at around 400 mph (or in this case, the sea). Again, the reason why investigators are so interested in this theory is the total lack of communication from the plane prior to impact.

Of course, there is nothing definitive or concrete yet on any of these investigative tracks. and. no signals received from the plane’s ELT (emergency locator transmitter) which normally has a battery life of 48 hours (and we’re at that expiration time at this writing).

We will continue to monitor events. But I want to caution everyone that — once again — in order to arrive at a probable cause of what really happened, the investigators have to continue to rule out so many possibilities before they can ever rule in anything. - pgb

What happened to Flight MH370

RECOVERY teams have resumed the search for the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared two days ago with 239 people on board. Flight MH370 lost contact with ground controllers in the early hours of Saturday morning somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam in fine weather, disappearing from radar screens just 40 minutes into its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Families of the passengers have been told to "prepare themselves for the worst".

No signal from the plane's black box has been detected and as yet no debris has been found, although the radar reportedly showed the plane may have turned back in mid-air. Objects spotted by a Vietnamese navy plane have been dismissed as unrelated, while test results from an oil slick found in the same area are due back this afternoon and should show if the oil comes from the plane or not. So what are the theories being pursued by investigators?

Mid-air disintegration

A lack of concentrated debris suggests the plane may have disintegrated at 35,000ft, according to investigators. The fact that there was no distress signal or communication from the flight deck also suggests a sudden, unexpected incident. If the plane had broken up on impact with water, experts believe the wreckage would be more intact and therefore easier to find. John Goglia, a former board member of the NTSB, the US agency that investigates plane crashes, said the lack of a distress call suggested that the plane either experienced an explosive decompression or was destroyed by an explosive device. "It had to be quick because there was no communication," he told Reuters.

Terrorist attack

A mid-air disintegration could have been caused by an explosion, but there is currently no evidence to suggest foul play. A hijacking has not been ruled out by the investigations team and questions remain over how two passengers managed to board the aircraft using stolen passports belonging to Austrian and Italian nationals. Interpol has confirmed it knew about the stolen passports but said no authorities checked its stolen documents databases before the Boeing jetliner departed. The passengers, whose real identities are being investigated by Malaysian authorities, both had tickets to Amsterdam aboard the Dutch carrier KLM, and were scheduled to leave Beijing at 11.55am local time on Saturday, reports The Guardian.

Mechanical issues

One source involved in the investigation in Malaysia agreed that so far it looks like the plane disintegrated in the air, but said there was no evidence yet of foul play and that the aircraft could have broken up due to mechanical issues. However, the model, the Boeing 777-200, has had an impressive safety record for long-haul aircraft over almost two decades in service, while take-off and landing remain the most common sites for aircraft incidents. The first fatal 777 crash was only eight months ago when an Asiana Airlines plane missed the runway in San Francisco, while a British Airways 777 also landed short of the runway at Heathrow in 2008. This particular aircraft had flown more than 53,000 hours without problem, bar a collision on the ground in 2012 that damaged a wingtip.

Deliberately downed

Another theory is that the plane was deliberately steered into the sea, under duress by a hijacking or by a pilot committing suicide. The latter factor has never been formally acknowledged in a major incident, but was widely believed to have been behind the 1999 EgyptAir crash which killed 217 people and a SilkAir crash in Indonesia that claimed 104 lives two years earlier. · -msn


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