Malaysian 370, the Latest and Maybe the Final Word

This morning, the Malaysian Prime Minister gave out the news that sophisticated analysis of satellite data had placed Malaysia 370 in the middle of the Indian Ocean, 900 miles west of Perth, Australia. He claims a high degree of reliability in this analysis that read the pings from the plane, analyzed the timing of the pings and doppler effect as well,  to position the plane far from any course that would have made any sense. He said all 226 passengers and 13 crew members are presumed lost.  The problem I thought existed with this sort of analysis is that the satellite is in position over the equator and the plane was sending pings but that the analysis was not so sophisticated as to be able to read the exact position of the plane. A ping from position A would be read as a possible ping from positions along a circle. But maybe there is some merit here. The circle’s center is a point on the surface, perpendicular to the satellite. As the plane flies away from the center point, the angle increases, as it would in a northern course, or decrease if the plane flew towards the center point then increase as it flew away from that point, like south of the equator. So this does narrow things down a bit.

(I had predicted a controlled course to some Pakistani airfield, or, at least some airfield between Pakistan and North West China.)

The problem here is that there is no wreckage from this plane. A 777 flying into the sea would breakup unless it landed like that fellow Sulzberger  landed that plane in the East River several years ago. That was a river and this is the sea and 370 was arguably out of fuei and may have been falling from the sky. A Sulzberger type, slow, gradual, landing that leaves the plane floating on the sea, at least for a while, would have allowed at least a few passengers to exit through those exit doors I find myself sitting next too so often. I also assume that rafts would be released. However, none of this has been spotted, so we must assume 370 went in hot and broke up on impact. That event would litter the sea surface with the flotsam of such an impact. There has been none of that spotted, or, at least, nothing spotted has been confirmed to be part of 370.

We will have final resolution to this story soon. Unless, however, the plane landed perfectly, sank in one piece withhout allowing any passengers to exit, as would be possible in a perfect landing, and then sank to the 23,000 foot depth that is in that part of the Indian Ocean. That may be beyond the reach of the black box signals and may mean that we will never find this plane.

I hope we know soon, and I hope it is in some hanger in Pakistan. However, the evidence given today was based on physics and is presumed to be accurate.  We all want to know the truth here. Hopefully, we will  soon.

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