MH 370 May Not be in the Indian Ocean After All!

In this article, the theory based on doppler effect evidence that MH 370, lost since March 8th, was on a course to the south Indian Ocean is examined and questioned. This theory was propounded by engineers at Inmarsat who analyzed the eight pings from the plane, and deduced from claimed doppler effect evidence, that the plane flew on a southern course from its last known position over the Straits of Malacca and crashed into the Indian Ocean west of Australia.
The geolocated satellite is over the equator, 65 degrees east longitude. That is well west of India. The plot line of possible routes is actually an arc from the south Indian Ocean to Nepal.

This is a very important article that questions the Inmarsat theory that has not revealed any evidence of the plane’s fate. SeeFlotsam Evidence.
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Data Doesn’t Lie
The fuzzy math behind the search for MH370.
By Jeff Wise
A Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion aircraft searches for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight
MH370, over the Indian Ocean on March 31, 2014.
Photo by Rob Griffith/AFP/Getty Images

Five weeks into the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, more than $30 million has been
spent scouring great swatches of the southern Indian Ocean. Yet searchers have still not found a
single piece of physical evidence such as wreckage or human remains. Last week, Australian
authorities said they were confident that a series of acoustic pings detected 1,000 miles northwest of
Perth had come from the aircraft’s black boxes, and that wreckage would soon be found. But
repeated searches by a robotic submarine have so far failed to find the source of the pings, which
experts say could have come from marine animals or even from the searching ships themselves.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott admitted that if wreckage wasn’t located within a week or two “we stop,
we regroup, we reconsider.”

There remains only one publically available piece of evidence linking the plane to the southern Indian
Ocean: a report issued by the Malaysian government on March 25 that described a new analysis
carried out by the U.K.-based satellite operator Inmarsat. The report said that Inmarsat had
developed an “innovative technique” to establish that the plane had most likely taken a southerly
heading after vanishing. Yet independent experts who have analyzed the report say that it is riddled
with inconsistencies and that the data it presents to justify its conclusion appears to have been
fudged.

Some background: For the first few days after MH370 disappeared, no one had any idea what might have
happened to the plane after it left Malaysian radar coverage around 2:30 a.m., local time, on March 8,
2014. Then, a week later, Inmarsat reported that its engineers had noticed that in the hours after the
plane’s disappearance, the plane had continued to exchange data-less electronic handshakes, or “pings,”
with a geostationary satellite over the Indian Ocean. In all, a total of eight pings were exchanged.
Each ping conveyed only a tiny amount of data: the time it was received, the distance the airplane
was from the satellite at that instant, and the relative velocity between the airplane and the satellite.
Taken together, these tiny pieces of information made it possible to narrow down the range of
possible routes that the plane might have taken. If the plane was presumed to have traveled to the
south at a steady 450 knots, for instance, then Inmarsat could trace a curving route that wound up
deep in the Indian Ocean southwest of Perth, Australia. Accordingly, ships and planes began to scour
that part of the ocean, and when satellite imagery revealed a scattering of debris in the area, the
Australian prime minister declared in front of parliament that it represented “new and credible
information” about the fate of the airplane.

The problem with this kind of analysis is that, taken by themselves, the ping data are ambiguous.
Given a presumed starting point, any reconstructed route could have headed off in either direction. A
plane following the speed and heading to arrive at the southern search area could have also headed
to the north and wound up in Kazakhstan. Why, then, were investigators scouring the south and not
the north?

The photo mentioned above and the graphs mentioned in the following paragragh are included in the original article Here.

The March 25 report stated that Inmarsat had used a new kind of mathematical analysis to rule out a
northern route. Without being very precise in its description, it implied that the analysis might have
depended on a small but telling wobble of the Inmarsat satellite’s orbit. Accompanying the written
report was an appendix , called Annex I, that consisted of three diagrams, the second of which was
titled “MH370 measured data against predicted tracks” and appeared to sum up the case against the
northern route in one compelling image. One line on the graph showed the predicted Doppler shift for
a plane traveling along a northern route; another line showed the predicted Doppler shift for a plane
flying along a southern route. A third line, showing the actual data received by Inmarsat, matched the
southern route almost perfectly, and looked markedly different from the northern route. Case closed.
Courtesy Malaysia Airlines

The report did not explicitly enumerate the three data points for each ping, but
around the world, enthusiasts from a variety of disciplines threw themselves into
reverse-engineering that original data out of the charts and diagrams in the report. With this
information in hand, they believed, it would be possible to construct any number of possible routes
and check the assertion that the plane must have flown to the south.

Unfortunately, it soon became clear that Inmarsat had presented its data in a way that made this goal
impossible: “There simply isn’t enough information in the report to reconstruct the original data,” says
Scott Morgan, the former commander of the US Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. “We don’t
know what their assumptions are going into this.”

Another expert who tried to understand Inmarsat’s report was Mike Exner, CEO of the remote sensing
company Radiometrics Inc. He mathematically processed the “Burst Frequency Offset” values on
Page 2 of Annex 1 and was able to derive figures for relative velocity between the aircraft and the
satellite. He found, however, that no matter how he tried, he could not get his values to match those
implied by the possible routes shown on Page 3 of the annex. “They look like cartoons to me,” says
Exner.

Even more significantly, I haven’t found anybody who has independently analyzed the Inmarsat report
and has been able to figure out what kind of northern route could yield the values shown on Page 2
of the annex. According to the March 25 report, Inmarsat teased out the small differences predicted
to exist between the Doppler shift values between the northern and southern routes. This difference,
presumably caused by the slight wobble in the satellite’s orbit that I mentioned above, should be tiny
—according to Exner’s analysis, no more than a few percent of the total velocity value. And yet Page
2 of the annex shows a radically different set of values between the northern and southern routes.
“Neither the northern or southern predicted routes make any sense,” says Exner. Given the discrepancies
and inaccuracies, it has proven impossible for independent observers to validate Inmarsat’s assertion
that it can rule out a northern route for the airplane. “It’s really impossible to reproduce what the Inmarsat
folks claim,” says Hans Kruse, a professor of telecommunications systems at Ohio University.
This is not to say that Inmarsat’s conclusions are necessarily incorrect. (In the past I have made the
case that the northern route might be possible, but I’m not trying to beat that drum here.) Its engineers
are widely regarded as top-drawer, paragons of meticulousness in an industry that is obsessive about
attention to detail. But their work has been presented to the public by authorities whose inconsistency and
lack of transparency have time and again undermined public confidence. It’s worrying that the report
appears to have been composed in such a way as to make it impossible for anyone to independently
assess its validity—especially given that its ostensible purpose was to explain to the world Inmarsat’s
momentous conclusions. What frustrated, grieving family members need from the authorities is clarity
and trustworthiness, not a smokescreen.

Inmarsat has not replied to my request for a clarification of their methods. This week, the Wall Street
Journal reported that in recent days experts had “recalibrated data” in part by using “arcane new
calculations reflecting changes in the operating temperatures of an Inmarsat satellite as well as the
communications equipment aboard the Boeing when the two systems exchanged so-called digital
handshakes.” But again, not enough information has been provided for the public to assess the
validity of these methods.

It would be nice if Inmarsat would throw open its spreadsheets and help resolve the issue right now,
but that could be too much to expect. Inmarsat may be bound by confidentiality agreements with its
customers, not to mention U.S. laws that restrict the release of information about sensitive
technologies. The Malaysian authorities, however, can release what they want to—and they seem to
be shifting their stance toward openness. After long resisting pressure to release the air traffic control
transcript, they eventually relented. Now acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein says that if
and when the black boxes are found, their data will be released to the public.
With the search for surface debris winding down, the mystery of MH370 is looking more impenetrable
by the moment. If the effort to find the plane using an underwater robot comes up empty, then there
should be a long and sustained call for the Malaysian authorities to reveal their data and explain
exactly how they came to their conclusions. Because at that point, it will be all we’ve got.

Malaysian 370, Did the Pilots Do It?

The big question today about MH 370 is the degree to which one or both pilots were involved in the plane’s disappearance.
John Hinderaker, with whom I have discussed this issue at great length, has pubished this article in Powerlineblog.com.
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It is clear that Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was hijacked by an experienced pilot who knew
how to operate a Boeing 777. This report in the New York Times supports what was already an
overwhelming conclusion:
The first turn to the west that diverted the missing Malaysia Airlines plane
from its planned flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing was carried out
through a computer system that was most likely programmed by someone in
the plane’s cockpit who was knowledgeable about airplane systems, according
to senior American officials.
Instead of manually operating the plane’s controls, whoever altered Flight
370’s path typed seven or eight keystrokes into a computer on a knee-high
pedestal between the captain and the first officer, according to officials. The
Flight Management System, as the computer is known, directs the plane from
point to point specified in the flight plan submitted before a flight. It is not
clear whether the plane’s path was reprogrammed before or after it took off.
Suspicion has focused on pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah and first officer Fariq Ab Hamid for one
obvious reason: they were the only people on board the airline who, as far as is publicly
known, knew how to fly it. Certainly the airplane could have been taken over by one or more
Islamic terrorists, but it would have to be someone far better trained than those who carried
out the September 11 attacks–someone at or close to the level of a commercial airline pilot. A
list of the passengers on the flight has been made public, but little or no information about
them is known. China has said that it conducted background checks on the Chinese nationals
who were on board (around two-thirds of the passengers) and found no links to terrorist
groups. That at least reduces the likelihood of Uighurs being responsible.
There is another possibility that I have not seen discussed: here in the U.S., it is common for
airline employees to hitch rides on their airline’s flights when seats are available. Could there
have been another Malaysia Airlines pilot “deadheading” to Beijing on Flight 370, perhaps one
with links to extremist groups? I have seen no discussion of that possibility. Thus, while we
cannot rule out the possibility that there was another skilled pilot on board the airplane, at
present there is zero evidence to support that supposition.
Which brings us back to the pilot and co-pilot. As the only people on the airplane known to
have the skill and experience demonstrated by the hijacker(s), they are the prime suspects.
That said, nothing that has come out about Zaharie Ahmad Shah or Fariq Ab Hamid adds
materially to the case against them. Shah had a flight simulator in his home? So what? His
wife and children left home the day before Flight 370 took off? OK, but did they flee the
country or go to visit grandparents? He was a supporter of a prominent Malaysian politician
who opposed the current government? That cuts in the other direction; Shah supported a
“normal” political party, not a terrorist group. As former El-Al security chief Isaac Yeffet said ,
Shah does not fit the profile of a terrorist.
Neither does first officer Hamid. He was 27 years old and engaged to be married. No one has
described any connections with radical Islamic or other potentially terrorist groups. As with
Shah, no one has brought forth any evidence to suggest that Hamid may have been suicidal.
Attention has focused on Hamid because he allegedly spoke the last words from the
airplane–”all right, good night”–at around the time the transponders were turned off. If it
really was Hamid, and if the communication came after at least one of the transponders was
switched off, it would suggest that Hamid was most likely the hijacker. But there has been
confusion about the exact timing of the message, and it is not clear why officials at Malaysian
Airlines say they think the voice was Hamid’s. Even if one assumes they could distinguish
Hamid’s voice from Shah’s, it is not clear how they could confidently distinguish Hamid’s
voice from that of an unknown hijacker.
There was no known connection between Shah and Hamid, and apparently they were
randomly assigned to Flight 370. It is therefore extremely unlikely that both were involved in
the hijacking. If one of the pilots was the culprit, it appears that he would have had to
disable, in some way, the other pilot.
The case against the pilots, in short, is weak. But they will remain the prime suspects–really,
the only suspects–unless and until it comes to light that there was someone else on board
capable of flying the aircraft at a professional or near-professional level.
Meanwhile, the central mystery of Flight 370 remains: where is the airplane? Until we know
where the airplane was flown, we can only speculate about why it was hijacked. Until we
know why it was hijacked, we can only speculate about who did it. Finding the airplane may
or may not solve the puzzle of what happened to it, and why; but until the airplane is found,
any theory we can put forward will be speculative at best.

Where is Malaysian Flight 370, Updated Map Showing Airfields

James Fallows in the Atlantic has published a map of airfields where a 777 could land with safety.
Here or on the Atlantic website.
This is a color coded map showing runway length.
The news today that the plane flew under radar for the last segment of its flight makes this all the more probable.

Malaysian 370, Where is the plane?

Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was just over an our into a flight to Beijing when its transponder stopped sending positional and identifying signals. Some radar images from sources in Indonesia and Malaya indicate the plane may have changed course west and over flew Indonesia. The plane was fueled for a six hour flight.

This morning, a story was leaked that said the Rolls Royce engines sent reports to Rolls Royce for four hours following the last transponder ping. This allows the plane, from a position over the Straits of Malacca, to fly to Pakistan, for example, or deep into China.  The engines would only ping if operating; They would not ping from the ocean floor.

This leads to the thought that the plane has been hijacked and is sitting on some airport between Norhwestern Pakistan and Northeasten China. Adding to the mystery is the presence on the flight of passengers flying on one way tickets with stolen passports, a reason to suspect nefarious purpose for boarding the flight.  Indonesian sources have reported that radar images of an unidentifed plane overflew that Island near Penang.  The timing, radar image and absence of a transponder report are consistent with the theory that this was MH 370.  Of great significance is that no wreckage has been found. Planes are full of stuff that floats, but nothing has been found.  It is, therefore, very likely that the plane is on the ground, in one piece. We will find out soon.