Investigators have concluded that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was probably not seriously damaged in the air and remained in controlled flight for hours after contact with it was lost, until it ran out of fuel over the southern Indian Ocean.
Their conclusion, reached in the past few weeks, helped prompt the decision to move the focus of the search hundreds of miles to the southwest.
The main evidence for the conclusion lies in a re-examination of Malaysian military radar data and in a more detailed analysis of electronic “handshakes,” or pings, that the aircraft exchanged with an Inmarsat satellite over the Equator, senior officials involved in the investigation said. The altitude readings from the radar now appear to have been inaccurate, officials said.
The radar tracked the aircraft as it turned sharply off its scheduled northeastward flight path over the Gulf of Thailand and flew west across Peninsular Malaysia and the Strait of Malacca. The plane then passed beyond radar range near the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Initial reports about the radar readings suggested that along the way, the plane soared as high as 45,000 feet, above its certified maximum altitude of 43,100 feet, and then zoomed down low over the mountains of Malaysia before climbing back to 23,000 feet or higher over the Strait of Malacca.
But a comprehensive international review has found that the Malaysian radar equipment had not been calibrated with enough precision to draw any conclusions about the aircraft’s true altitude. “The primary radar data pertaining to altitude is regarded as unreliable,” said Angus Houston, the retired head of the Australian military who is now coordinating the search.
Mr. Houston said in a telephone interview that it was clearly possible that at some point during the tracked part of the flight, the plane flew at 23,000 feet. But he said he doubted whether anyone could prove that the plane had soared and swooped the way the initial reports suggested.
Martin Dolan, the chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, agreed with Mr. Houston. “There’s nothing reliable about height,” he said.
Radar systems generally give accurate readings of an aircraft’s location, speed and direction without difficulty. Many military radar systems can also detect altitude, but in order to yield reliable readings, the equipment must be regularly and carefully recalibrated to fit local atmospheric conditions.
Mr. Houston and Mr. Dolan declined to discuss any details about the Malaysian radar readings, nor would they speculate about why the missing plane would have been in controlled flight across the Indian Ocean.
Other officials involved in the crash investigation have suggested that either of the plane’s pilots might have commandeered the aircraft in order to commit suicide, or that a smoke from a fire in the fuselage might have overcome the pilots and passengers but left the engines and autopilot working normally.
Some investigators are convinced that one of the pilots was involved, saying that no credible evidence has appeared for another explanation. But others say that the evidence suggesting pilot involvement is inconclusive and contradictory. Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s defense minister and acting transport minister, publicly denied British and Australian news reports on Monday that the pilot had been identified as the prime suspect.
If the plane did not soar and swoop, but maintained a steadier altitude, its fuel would have lasted longer, letting it fly farther south across the Indian Ocean before its tanks ran dry. So the dismissal of the radar altitude data prompted a change in the focus of the search.
Data from the electronic handshakes led investigators to conclude that the aircraft came down in the ocean west of Australia along what is called the seventh arc, the area of the final handshake with the plane. “Everyone agrees that is where the aircraft ran out of fuel,” Mr. Dolan said.
The Australian government started by searching near the northeast end of the seventh arc, partly because that location was consistent with an aircraft that was limping slowly through the sky because it was damaged, or one that had burned a great deal of fuel in altitude changes. Undersea sounds that were initially thought to be from the plane’s locator beacons also pointed to that area, though investigators later decided they were false clues.
Now the search will move hundreds of miles southwest along the arc, consistent with an aircraft flying steadily at a high cruising speed. Private telecommunications analysts who reviewed the handshakes also concluded that the more likely location of the plane was farther to the southwest.
The specifics are still being finalized, but the new search zone is likely to be a band roughly 400 miles long and about 60 miles wide, straddling the arc.
The width of the band is based on a crucial assumption: that when it ran out of fuel, the plane was being flown by its autopilot, which was unable to control the plane when the engines stopped. In that case, the plane would have stalled and fallen quickly into the ocean. If a skilled pilot was conscious and still at the controls, however, the plane could have glided more than 100 miles before it hit the water.
As CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CBC, BBC, CTV and all the rest are prepared to spout off theories without any solid confirmation, here is one from a source who wishes to remain unidentified from Northwest BC Canada.
This individual comes from a three decade long background of exposing the secrets the one percent and the military forces would rather have remained secret. He has recently revealed what happened to flight 370. ‘Film at Eleven’.
Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah prepared and practised with his home flight simulator and had determined the maximum speed and angle of decent the Boeing 777 could withstand.
As soon as the flight reached the extent of the Malaysian radar capability, when he knew they would no longer expect to see his radar signal, he wished the ground crews good night. He then turned off one tracking device, waited to see if anyone responded or raised alarm for 15 minutes, then turned off all communication devices. He locked the cabin door to prevent anyone from entering after asking his co-pilot to get him a drink or check on a system outside of the cockpit.
The Captain then immediately turned the plane southwest into a know flight path and climbed to over 40,000 ft. the maximum structural capability of the Boeing 777. He put on the pilot supplied air mask and kept the plane at over 40,000 ft until he was certain all the passengers and crew, including his co-pilot, were asphyxiated.
From his flight simulator experimentation he had already determined the precise coordinates where he would initiate his next action. To bring the plane down at the maximum speed and maximum angle of descent to make a direct hit on the fuel storage tanks at Diego Garcia.
As he initiated this direct course of action the American Military had not been concerned with the radar blip of this flight at 40,000 plus feet. They monitor vessels and flights which appear to be a threat or are invading their space. However they were suddenly brought into complete attention as their warning systems set off alarms.
The base at Diego Garcia attempted to make radio contact and immediately dispatching interceptors. Knowing full well this was an imminent threat, having no time to debate the issue and recognizing the aircraft was operating in what was basically ‘stealth’ mode, uncommunicative, the plane was shot out of the sky.
Becoming aware of which flight it was with the political and potential military repercussions, the US military ordered a complete lock down on all communications regarding the event and began dispatching crews to locate and pick up all the debris.
When the rest of the world became aware the flight was missing the US Navy offered all their resource to help them look for it in the South China Sea, then the Gulf of Thailand, Bay of Bengal and the Strait of Malacca. This kept the worlds attention focused away from the location they were cleaning up.
US 7th Fleet Commander William Marks told CNN “We wait for the Malaysians to tell us where to search and we go there.”
This is the most telling statement of all. Since when does the US take directions from Malaysia unless they are simply providing the rope to let them hang themselves.
The most powerful radar systems in the region are at Diego Garcia. A perfect target for such an attack, one the USA stopped and one they simply cannot reveal to the world due to the nationality of the passengers on board. They will continue to assist in the search while doing everything to ensure no one even mentions Diego Garcia in the mainstream media.
The American is withdrawing from the Afghanistan, one of their command and control system (used for controlling the pilotless drones) was hijacked by the Talibans when the American transport convoy was moving down from one of the hill top bases. The Talibans ambushed the convoy and killed 2 American Seal personnel, seized the equipment/weapons, including the command and control system which weighed about 20 tons and packed into 6 crates. This happened about a month ago in Feb 2014.
What the Talibans want is money. They want to sell the system to the Russian or the Chinese. The Russian is too busy in Ukraine. The Chinese are hungry for the system’s technology. Just imagine if the Chinese master the technology behind the command and control system, all the American drones will become useless. So the Chinese sent 8 top defense scientists to check the system and agreed to pay millions for it.
Sometime in early Mar 2014, the 8 scientists and the 6 crates made their way to Malaysia, thinking that it was the best covert way to avoid detection. The cargo was then kept in the Embassy under diplomatic protection. Meanwhile the American has engaged the assistance of Israeli intelligence, and together they are determined to intercept and recapture the cargo.
The Chinese calculated that it will be safe to transport it via civilian aircraft so as to avoid suspicion. After all the direct flight from KL to Beijing takes only 4 and half hours, and the American will not hijack or harm the civilian. So MH370 is the perfect carrier.
There are 5 American and Israeli agents onboard who are familiar with Boeing operation. The 2 “Iranians” with stolen passports could be among them.
When MH 370 is about to leave the Malaysian air space and reporting to Vietnamese air control, one American AWAC jammed their signal, disabled the pilot control system and switched over to remote control mode. That was when the plane suddenly lost altitude momentarily.
How the AWAC can do it ? Remember 911 incident ? After the 911 incident, all Boeing aircraft (and possibly all Airbus) are installed with remote control system to counter terrorist hijacking. Since then all the Boeing could be remote controlled by ground control tower. The same remote control system used to control the pilotless spy aircraft and drones.
The 5 American/Israeli agents soon took over the plane, switched off the transponder and other communication system, changed course and flew westwards. They dare not fly east to Philippines or Guam because the whole South China Sea air space was covered by Chinese surveillance radar and satellite.
The Malaysian, Thai and Indian military radars actually detected the unidentified aircraft but did not react professionally.
The plane flew over North Sumatra, Anambas, South India and then landed at Maldives (some villagers saw the aircraft landing), refuelled and continued its flight to Garcia Deigo, the American Air Base in the middle of Indian Ocean. The cargo and the black box were removed. The passengers were silenced via natural means, lack of oxygen. They believe only dead person will not talk. The MH370 with dead passengers were air borne again via remote control and crashed into South Indian Ocean, make it to believe that the plane eventually ran out of fuel and crashed, and blame the defiant captain and co-pilot.
On an enormous electronic map of the globe in the modernist headquarters of a satellite company here, two green hexagons the size of dinner plates hovered off the west coast of Australia, revealing signals from an armada of ships and planes converged in the hunt for any remains of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
The searchers were there in large part because the company, Inmarsat, had produced an innovative analysis of a series of fleeting radio signals from the plane — picked up by one of its satellites in the hours after the jet, carrying 239 people, disappeared from radar screens March 8.
Investigators say Inmarsat’s findings were critical to establishing that the Boeing 777-200 almost certainly crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. And more than a month since the flight took off, they remain among the few clues that investigators have as they try to piece together what happened.
The search vessels later moved to an area hundreds of miles northwest of Perth, where Australian and Chinese ships have detected multiple “pings” consistent with those of a plane’s underwater locater beacons — not far from where Inmarsat’s calculations helped narrow estimates of the plane’s last location. The most recent of those signals were detected prompting Australian officials leading the search to suggest that remains of the plane could be found soon.
Through it all, the staff in Inmarsat’s east London control room have kept constant tabs on the global flow of mobile voice and data transmissions carried by its network of 11 satellites orbiting 22,000 miles above the earth. Superimposed upon the 21-foot-long map dominating a wall is a color-coded mosaic of cells, each spanning several hundred square miles.
“The nature of our system is such that we can direct communications capacity quickly to anywhere on the globe,” said Inmarsat’s chief technology officer. “We are designed for that,” he added. “So when there is an event that we feel is going to require additional capacity or resources, we have a group of people that gets together and starts diverting resources to provide terminals, radio frequency and power.”
What Inmarsat’s system is not designed for is finding a missing jet.
One of the most surprising elements of Inmarsat’s contribution to the search, according to investigators, was that satellite links — which are used mainly for transmitting maintenance data, not for navigation or even to communicate with air traffic control — could even be used to tease out the plane’s last known location.
As a communications company with $1.25 billion in revenue and 1,900 employees in more than 60 locations, Inmarsat has grown accustomed to playing a vital supporting role in world events, including conflicts and disaster relief. But in the case of the missing Malaysian jet, the company has found itself thrust, somewhat uncomfortably, into the spotlight.
Known originally as the International Maritime Satellite Organization, Inmarsat was created in 1979 by the 88-member International Maritime Organization, an arm of the United Nations, and charged with providing a seamless global network for basic ship-to-shore voice and data communications, including free emergency services for ships in distress.
Over the next 30 years, its offering expanded to include hand-held satellite phones and other land-based mobile services as well as air-to-ground technology that today is installed on roughly 90 percent of the world’s fleet of transoceanic wide-body jets.
Unlike employees of better-known tenants of an area of east London known as the “Silicon Roundabout” — Amazon, Google, Facebook and Intel all have offices nearby — Inmarsat’s workers are less accustomed to seeing their company’s name in the headlines. Instead of beanbag chairs and Foosball tables, its common areas are decorated with scale models of satellites and multistage rockets.
Inmarsat was converted into a private company in 1999, and member states were granted shares that many quickly sold or transferred to national telecom operators. Several attempts at a public share offering failed after the global dot-com bubble burst in 2000, and the company was eventually bought by Apax Partners and Permira, two European private equity firms, for an estimated $1.5 billion. Inmarsat was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2005 in an initial public offering that valued the company at more than 1.3 billion pounds, or $2.4 billion, at the time.
Inmarsat’s market capitalization has since nearly tripled, to about £3.4 billion. Maritime communications still generate more than half of sales, while land-based services and bandwidth leasing — activities heavily dependent on government and military contracts — together represent about 30 percent of revenues. With a 48 percent share of the world’s mobile satellite communications market, Inmarsat is twice the size of its nearest competitor, Iridium of the United States.
Aeronautical services are Inmarsat’s smallest, but fastest growing, business; they generate revenues of $114 million in 2013, up 13 percent from 2012.
Even as the recent economic downturn has slowed international shipping traffic and many government contracts have dried up because of budget constraints, Inmarsat has been investing $1.6 billion in upgrading its satellite network to provide even greater capacity and higher data transmission speeds.
The first of this new generation of satellites, called Global Express, was launched into orbit in December, and it will be joined by two more this year. Capable of running 100 times faster than its current systems, Global Express could enable new services like airborne videoconferencing or 3-D in-flight movies — as well as real-time streaming of location and performance information from a plane.
It is the disappearance of Flight 370, of course, that has revived debate in the aviation industry about the feasibility of continuous tracking of the nearly 100,000 flights that crisscross the skies each day.
Most airlines have until now been reluctant, though, to assume the costs of using even the scaled-down satellite tracking technology that Inmarsat and some other companies already offer. And air safety authorities have been slow to consider requiring airlines to install such equipment.
The latest version of Inmarsat’s aircraft broadband system is already capable of sending intermittent positioning and other cockpit data alongside the in-flight Internet and satellite phone services sold to passengers. Roughly 5,000 planes are fitted with the technology, Mr. Pinto said. But because the system has not yet been certified by regulators as a safety feature — that is expected late next year — many airlines continue to rely on older, cheaper technology. The lack of positioning data from Flight 370 led to Inmarsat’s laborious attempt to estimate the plane’s trajectory, an analysis that had never been done before.
Inmarsat’s engineers say they have extracted as much information as possible from the plane’s final messages.