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#268048 - 03/13/14 06:59 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: Ian]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 857
Loc: Southern California
FAA regulations for transport class aircraft. Have fun perusing them.

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID...r25_main_02.tpl

The WSJ article has since been debunked.

In regards to the failure theories, the two most probably theories I've heard, human caused notwithstanding, are a fast moving cockpit fire and birdstrike.

It's not the first time that a plane has gone radome to beak at high altitude. The windshield is only required to rated for a 4 lb plucker, and birds like the bar headed goose or a variety of vultures found at high altitudes typically weigh more then that. Does anybody know how long somebody would remain functional with a sizable hole in the windshield at cruise conditions (510 kts, 35,000 ft alt, -55C temp)?

There was one famous incident where a White Pelican hit an Bombardier CRJ hard enough to knock some of the avionics out of the instrument panel.

I've yet to find an instance of meteorite strike on an aircraft, so I'm going to dismiss that as MUSHy thinking.

EDIT: Windshield failure at 17,300 ft alt.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_5390


Edited by Mark_R (03/13/14 07:06 PM)
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#268052 - 03/13/14 07:25 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: Mark_R]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 876
Loc: Colorado
Seems unlikely to have a birdstrike shut off the transponder.
But we're having to think of every possibility.

I saw a report of an AD on the 777 describing corrosion around an antenna mounting that might lead to decompression.
Then got to thinking that if the transponder antenna mount were torn away the lack of antenna would look like loss of transponder to the ground stations.

Combine with sloppy flight deck behavior such that no pilot could get to his mask in time then you have the Payne Stewart scenario of a plane flying on autopilot with no live souls on board until it runs out of fuel.

But you'd expect one of the countries along the route to pick up the ghost plane on radar - so this theory has holes in it.

I think the high-probability one is hijacking followed by unauthorized pilot flying toward some target (like the high towers in Kuala Lumpur?) with a 911 type crash in mind.
But since this flight went out over water at night, perhaps they inadvertently descended into the water while still trying to figure out how to aim for their target?

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#268053 - 03/13/14 07:26 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: Ian]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2892
Loc: Big Sky Country
Can any bird fly at 35,000 feet? I will have to google it!
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#268054 - 03/13/14 08:08 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: unimogbert]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 857
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: unimogbert
Seems unlikely to have a birdstrike shut off the transponder.
But we're having to think of every possibility.


I was thinking that the bird carcass richocheting around he cockpit could have damaged the radio stack. But, I'm not familiar enough to say with certainly

Originally Posted By: unimogbert

I saw a report of an AD on the 777 describing corrosion around an antenna mounting that might lead to decompression.
Then got to thinking that if the transponder antenna mount were torn away the lack of antenna would look like loss of transponder to the ground stations.

Combine with sloppy flight deck behavior such that no pilot could get to his mask in time then you have the Payne Stewart scenario of a plane flying on autopilot with no live souls on board until it runs out of fuel.

But you'd expect one of the countries along the route to pick up the ghost plane on radar - so this theory has holes in it.


That and there are duel upper and lower fuselage antennas. It would require both to be taken out before that the transponder signal was completely lost.

Originally Posted By: unimogbert

I think the high-probability one is hijacking followed by unauthorized pilot flying toward some target (like the high towers in Kuala Lumpur?) with a 911 type crash in mind.
But since this flight went out over water at night, perhaps they inadvertently descended into the water while still trying to figure out how to aim for their target?


Would a terrorist group claim responsability for a semisuccesfull hijacking? The plane was hijacked, but failed to reach it's target (i.e. flight 94).

That still leaves cockpit fire. There was one previously at Cairo that burned through the fuselage and resulted in an FAA Airworthiness Directive (2011-NM-279-AD). I don't know if Malaysia adopted it or the corresponding Boeing bulletins.

If there was a cockpit fire, it would explain the sudden left turn as an attempt to get the plane on the ground. The radar track took it close to Hat Yai International Airport in Thailand.

EDIT: Disregard last paragraph. Vietnam aiports were closer.


Edited by Mark_R (03/13/14 08:30 PM)
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#268055 - 03/13/14 08:33 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: RNewcomb]
AKSAR Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1208
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: RNewcomb
I still find it a little amazing that in the "surveillance" world we seem to live in today, when the governments of the world know who we email, our friends on Facebook, and who we talk to on the phone that we can still manage to lose something the size of a 777.


Perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised that we can't find it. Slate has an interesting article How to Disappear a Jetliner which talks about how planes are tracked:
Quote:
The shock generated by the Boeing 777 mystery is largely a product of how much we’ve come to take for granted the modern superabundance of information. ..... If you log on to a flight-tracking website, you can punch in the flight number of any commercial aircraft and see its current location and direction. Seems pretty foolproof.
----------------snip-----------
Centers track each flight in a variety of ways. The first is with good old-fashioned radio calls. Controllers call up pilots to give them instructions, inquire about their intentions, and relay information. The second source of information is radar, of which there are two kinds. Primary radar tells operators where a plane is located. ......secondary radar, which pings an electronic device called a transponder inside each aircraft, which then transmits its altitude. Controllers will then be able to see on their screen the number of each flight, its location, and its altitude, derived from secondary radar.
---------------snip--------------
Together, these last two systems provide a robust and interlinking network, but they share the same limitation: They’re limited in range to somewhere between 100 to 200 miles from the nearest ground station, depending on atmospheric conditions. “In general, once you go far enough out over the water, if you don’t have a satellite link, there’s no way to talk to the ground,” says Rob Thomas,....

In such cases, the flight remains in the system, and controllers continue to see its symbol moving across their screens, based on the information obtained from the flight plan and from the last actual contact between controllers and the plane. .... They’re out of contact, and their status within the system is based on assumption until they can actually get back in contact and confirm that everything’s A-OK.

A footnote to the article mentions that they also have voice comms via shortwave radio which has much longer range, but doesn't always work. And if for some reason the cockpit crew is unable to talk then shortwave also doesn't help.

Regarding the search itself, WaPo has an intersting graphic illustrating just how challenging a problem this search is.
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#268056 - 03/13/14 08:34 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: Ian]
JBMat Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 745
Loc: NC
As no one else is saying what some of us are thinking -

Scenario A - Hijack by external elements, plane is forced to fly to some remote spot and lands; or crashes at sea, straight in.

Scenario B - Hijack with pilot's help. Lands some remote place. Passenger's fate unknown, plane to be used at a later time for a terroristic mission.

Just thinking out loud.

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#268057 - 03/13/14 08:42 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: Ian]
LesSnyder Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1652
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
I would like to see the Vietnamese tracking on the aircraft... 40years ago they had arguably the best air defense system in the world...an obsolete Tall King radar should still track close to 300 nautical miles


Edited by LesSnyder (03/13/14 08:43 PM)

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#268058 - 03/13/14 09:26 PM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: Eugene]
James_Van_Artsdalen Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 449
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: Eugene
IIRC, and its been a while, is that RADAR isn't exactly hi-def, you simply see something vague which is why aircraft have transponders that reply with their ID. So if someone turns off that transponder the RADAR operators can't tell if its a plane or flock of birds or dense cloud0

Exactly. Lots of uncomfortable neighbors in that part of the world and there's a good chance they were on one or more country's military radars. But what showed up? Those systems are probably intended for smaller objects at a much lower altitude, and they may be aimed the wrong way. The radar manufacturer will be glad to help analyze "for a small fee". Couple all that with the fact that the military radars and their abilities and deficiencies are highly secret and that is a recovery and not a rescue operation and nobody is likely to talk much.

Quote:

Seems like they should make one transponder only accessible externally so they can't be turned off as I'm noticing that to be somewhat of a repeated theme in various hijackings and such.

In the USA we live in a remarkably safe part of the world. There are many parts of the world where it might not seem such a good idea to guarantee transponder broadcast.

There is so little data that virtually none of the theories are currently falsifiable. They generally have as many facts behind that them as "alien abduction".

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#268065 - 03/14/14 05:47 AM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: Mark_R]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Mark_R
The WSJ article has since been debunked.

The plot thickens. Although the Malaysian government still officially denies it, it seems that signals from the plane WERE being received long after it disappeared from radar screens. Confident enough that the US government is repositioning Navy ships in the Indian Ocean.

The WSJ article initially mentioned signals sent by the Rolls Royce engines, but apparently that was incorrect. Instead, the onboard ACARS system continued to ping a satellite for four to five hours although ACARS had apparently been turned off, too. The pinging is an automatic function that occurs even when the system is turned off and more detailed signals are no longer being relayed to the satellite.

Wow, what is going on here?

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#268066 - 03/14/14 06:18 AM Re: Lost Malaysian Plane [Re: Mark_R]
Leigh_Ratcliffe Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/31/06
Posts: 1355
Loc: United Kingdom.

I've yet to find an instance of meteorite strike on an aircraft, so I'm going to dismiss that as MUSHy thinking [/quote]

They poo-pooped meteor strikes until that one in Russia last year. It is improbable but not impossible.
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