Thursday, March 20, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery March 21-22 , 2014 -SHOCKER! Malaysia finally admits doomed plane was carrying DANGEROUS HIGHLY INFLAMMABLE CARGO ..... Final communication from missing jet MH370 reveals two odd points: Telegraph ..... Meanwhile , the search down under resumes March 21 , 2014 ...... the degree of difficulty under the weather and sea conditions makes finding the needle in the haystack even more difficult .....

Here's where things stand.....



http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.:mh370-plausible-theories-and-their-flaws





Saturday, 22 March 2014 06:51

MH370: Plausible theories and their FLAWS

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MH370: Plausible theories and their FLAWS
AGONISING WAIT- No clear answers yet for families of passengers, crew
COUNTLESS theories have surfaced on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370.
Some are plausible, some are absurd. There is, unfortunately, no clear answer as the families of the 239 passengers and crew, and the rest of the world wait in agony. Even the most logical hypotheses about what happened to the Boeing 777 have holes.
Here is a look at some of the leading, plausible theories -- and their flaws.

MALICIOUS PILOT ACTION

Investigators are looking at the histories of pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, who has been flying for MAS since 1981, and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, who just started flying a 777.
Zaharie had built his own flight simulator at home. Many aviation enthusiasts have similar setups.
Investigators are now trying to restore files deleted from that simulator.
Why suspect the pilots? The plane's transponder stopped signalling its location to air- traffic controllers and other planes at the perfect moment: the handoff from Ma- laysia's controllers to those in Vietnam.
In the final radio contact from the plane, the co-pilot told Malaysian controllers: "All right, good night."
Vietnamese controllers were never contacted and the transponder shut off. The plane abruptly turned and then kept flying for up to seven hours.
The way several key communication and tracking devices in the cockpit were disabled -- at different times -- also places suspicion on the pilots.
The idea of pilots using a plane to kill themselves and commit mass murder is scary, taboo within the industry but not unprecedented.
A SilkAir crash in 1997 and an EgyptAir crash in 1999 are both believed to have been the result of deliberate actions by pilots.


TERRORIST HIJACKING


This theory was prominent early on after it was discovered that two Iranians on board -- one 18, the other 28 -- were travelling on stolen passports. Investigators haven't found anything linking either to terror groups; it is believed they were trying to illegally immigrate to Europe.
Ever since the 2001 terror attacks in the US, it's much harder for an unauthorised person to enter the cockpit. Cockpit doors have been reinforced, and procedures have been put in place to ensure nobody gains entry when a pilot exits. And passengers and crew have shown a willingness to confront anyone trying to take over or damage a plane.
Could someone have been allowed into the cockpit? It's against protocol, but does happen. Back in 2011, Flight 370's co-pilot and another pilot allegedly invited two women boarding their aircraft to sit in the cockpit for an international flight. During the journey, the pilots smoked and flirted, one of the women said this month.
Still, no credible group has taken credit for the disappearance, and intelligence agencies say they haven't noticed any chatter in terrorist circles regarding the jet.



Sudden catastrophe


Aviation experts initially suspected that something sudden and horrific happened. Perhaps a bomb on board, or some type of failure with the engines or airframe. But if that were the case, debris would have been found in the spot where the transponder went off. Also, the Boeing 777 had just one crash in its 19-year history -- last year's Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco. If there was a sudden breakup, pieces of the plane would have been visible on radar.



Fire



An electrical fire, or perhaps a fire from hazardous cargo, could have knocked out communications equipment and prevented crew members and passengers from calling for help. Some people have speculated that smoke incapacitated the pilots. It's possible, but flight attendants and passengers would have had time to try to enter the cockpit and take control of the plane. -AFP








http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index:shocker-msia-finally-admits-doomed-plane-was-carrying-dangerous-cargo-highly-flammable-lithium-batteries


Saturday, 22 March 2014 09:14

SHOCKER! M'sia finally admits doomed plane was carrying DANGEROUS HIGHLY INFLAMMABLE CARGO

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SHOCKER! M'sia finally admits doomed plane was carrying DANGEROUS HIGHLY INFLAMMABLE CARGO
Malaysian Airlines today confirmed that flight MH370 had been carrying highly flammable lithium-ion batteries in its cargo hold, re-igniting speculation that a fire may have caused its disappearance.
The admission by CEO Ahmad Jauhari comes four days after he denied the aircraft was carrying any dangerous items and nearly two weeks after the plane went missing.
He said the authorities were investigating the cargo, but did not regard the batteries as hazardous - despite the law dictating they are classed as such - because they were packaged according to safety regulations.
The revelation has thrown the spotlight back on the theory that the Boeing 777 may have been overcome by a fire, rendering the crew and passengers unconscious after inhaling toxic fumes.
Lithium-ion batteries - which are used in mobile phones and laptops - have been responsible for a number of fires on planes and have even brought aircraft down in recent years.

Malaysian Airlines today confirmed that missing MH370 (pictured on an earlier flight) had been carrying highly flammable lithium-ion batteries in its cargo hold four days after denying it had any dangerous goods on board
Malaysian Airlines today confirmed that missing MH370 (pictured on an earlier flight) had been carrying highly flammable lithium-ion batteries in its cargo hold four days after denying it had any dangerous goods on board
Lithium-ion batteries like this one used in laptops were being carried in the cargo hold of the flight, it was revealed by Malaysia Airlines (file picture of unconnected battery)
Lithium-ion batteries like this one used in laptops were being carried in the cargo hold of the flight, it was revealed by Malaysia Airlines (file picture of unconnected battery)

According to US-based Federal Aviation Administration, lithium-ion batteries carried in the cargo or baggage have been responsible for more than 140 incidents between March 1991 and February 17 this year, it was reported by Malaysiakini.
In rare cases, aircraft have been destroyed as a result of fires started from the devices, although they have been cargo planes in both incidents.
In one case, UPS Airlines Flight 6 crashed while attempting an emergency landing in September 2010 en route from Dubai to Cologne in Germany.
Flight MH370 disappeared from radar screens two weeks ago on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.
The second day of a new search, concentrating on a desolate area in the southern Indian Ocean, failed to locate two possible pieces of debris from the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.
Aircraft and ships scoured the seas around 2,500kilometres off the coast of the Australian city of Perth, for 10 hours before darkness fell. Australian officials have vowed to continue the search tomorrow.
Billie Vincent, the former head of security for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, said the revelation re-affirmed his belief that flames started in the cargo hold, destroying the aircraft's communication systems then filling the cabin with toxic fumes.
This, he says, would have overwhelmed the passengers but may have given the pilots a chance to divert the aircraft for an emergency landing.
He told Air Traffic Management: 'The data released thus far most likely points to a problem with hazardous materials.
'This scenario begins with the eruption of hazardous materials within the cargo hold – either improperly packaged or illegally shipped – or both.'
It is thought the missing plane climbed to 45,000ft - a move Mr Vincent believes may have resulted from the pilots not being able to see the controls properly.
CHANGING RESPONSES FROM CEO
What Ahmad Jauhari said four days ago:
When asked at a press conference if there was any dangerous cargo on board, he replied: 'We had a load of mangosteens headed to China.
'It was a large quantity - about three to four tonnes of mangosteens,' he said to laughter from the media.
What he said today:
'We carried some lithium-ion small batteries, they are not big batteries and they are basically approved under the ICAO (The International Civil Aviation Organisation) under dangerous goods.'
Reversal: When asked four days ago if there was any hazardous cargo on aboard, Mr Jauhari said no, adding that it was carrying 'three to four tonnes of mangosteens'
Questioned: Mr Jauhari Yahya (left) and Department Civil Aviation Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman update the media on the progress of the investigation
Questioned: Mr Jauhari Yahya (left) and Department Civil Aviation Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman update the media on the progress of the investigation
Responding to a question at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Jauhari said: 'We carried some lithium-ion small batteries, they are not big batteries and they are basically approved under the ICAO (The International Civil Aviation Organisation) under dangerous goods.
'They (lithium-ion batteries) are not dangerous goods per se, but in terms (of) they are (being) declared as dangerous goods under ICAO.'
He insisted they were checked several times to ensure they complied with the guidelines.
'Airlines do that all the time, it is not just Malaysia Airlines. These goods are being flown by many airlines as cargo anyway, (which) is based on ICAO’s ruling,' he added.
When asked earlier this week if there was hazardous cargo on board, Mr Jauhari said no, adding that it was carrying 'three to four tonnes of mangosteens'.
'We've got a lot of hope': Captain Russell Adams, the pilot of the Australian P3 Orion updates the media on the search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean after landing back at Pearce air base in Perth
'We've got a lot of hope': Captain Russell Adams, the pilot of the Australian P3 Orion updates the media on the search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean after landing back at Pearce air base in Perth
A long way south: The southern search zone is one of the most remote places on Earth
A long way south: The southern search zone is one of the most remote places on Earth
Heartache: Relatives wait for new information on the search for MH370 at a hotel in Beijing
Heartache: Relatives wait for new information on the search for MH370 at a hotel in Beijing

Hope: A man returns a message posted along with others in the shape of a heart which are dedicated to families and passengers of MH370. Australian search teams still believe they may find survivors
Hope: A man returns a message posted along with others in the shape of a heart which are dedicated to families and passengers of MH370. Australian search teams still believe they may find survivors

The United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority blamed the crash, which killed the crew, on the batteries which it believed may have 'auto-ignited' and filled the flight deck with smoke.
The batteries have also caused problems in the cabin including a flight attendant and two passengers who were burned when they handled a mobile phone and spare battery in September 2012.
Six months earlier, a lithium battery caught fire inside one passenger's personal air purifier.
The incident prompted to the ICAO to introduce a new rule last year stating that any cargo with more than two lithium-ion batteries be packaged under hazardous goods regulations.
Malaysia Airlines has not responded to a call from MailOnline.
Today the transcript of the last communication between the flight deck of the missing plane and ground control emerged.
The final 54 minutes of dialogue between Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid and air traffic controllers is captured from take off until the moment Hamid uttered the last message: 'Alright, good night.'
Two minutes later the plane's transponder was disabled.
The transcript shows the moment the plane took an unexpected turn west, over north Malaysia coincided with the point at which air traffic controllers in Kuala Lumpur handed over to their Vietnamese colleagues in Ho Chi Minh City.
Former British Airways pilot Stephen Buzdygan told The Telegraph, if he was planning to steal an aeroplane, that would be the moment to choose.
He said: 'There might be a bit of dead space between the air traffic controllers … It was the only time during the flight they would maybe not have been able to be seen from the ground.'
From the first sign-in at 12.36am local time, when the plane was on the ground in Kuala Lumpur, co-pilot Hamid gave regular and routine updates, alerting air traffic controllers to the plane's location, ascent and altitude.
'The communication up until the plane went to the changeover [to Vietnam] sounds totally normal,' Mr Mr Buzdygan said. 'I’ve done it hundreds of times. It is perfectly normal.'
 
Revelation: The transcript of the last 54 minutes of communication between co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid (left), Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah (right) and ground control revealed the point at which the plane diverted off course, turning west was when air traffic controllers in Malaysia handed over to colleagues in Vietnam
IF BATTERY PACKS FAIL THEY ARE PRONE TO BURSTING INTO FLAMES
Lithium-ion batteries are found in everyday items including laptops, mobile phones, iPods and other electrical products.
They are very common, because pound for pound, they are one of the most energetic rechargeable batteries available.
The batteries do have the ability to burst into flames, and while it is uncommon, when they ignite they can cause an extreme fire.
Lithium-ion batteries are very sensitive to high temperatures. Heat can cause the battery packs to degrade much faster than they normally would.
If the battery fails there is a chance the pack could burst into flames.
They can pose a danger and safety hazard since they contain, unlike other rechargeable batteries, a flammable electrolyte and are kept pressurised.
Radar also confirmed the flight later dropped to 23,000ft which, according to Mr Vincent, is a diversion altitude set by manufacturers to limit the spread of the fire.

Search mission: A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion search plane passes over the Norwegian car transport ship Hoegh St Petersburg, as it scours the ocean for any sign of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight

Search mission: A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion search plane passes over the Norwegian car transport ship Hoegh St Petersburg, as it scours the ocean for any sign of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight

An updated image released by the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority today, detailing the search area planned for today
An updated image released by the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority today, detailing the search area planned for today
Search planes today scoured a remote patch of the Indian Ocean but came back empty-handed after a 10-hour mission looking for any sign of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.
Australian officials pledged to continue the search for two large objects spotted by a satellite earlier this week, which had raised hopes that the two-week hunt for the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board was nearing a breakthrough.
But Australia's acting prime minister, Warren Truss, tamped down expectations.
'Something that was floating on the sea that long ago may no longer be floating - it may have slipped to the bottom,' he said.
'It's also certain that any debris or other material would have moved a significant distance over that time, potentially hundreds of kilometers.'
Two pieces of wreckage that are possibly from the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 - one estimated to be 78ft in size - have been found to the west of Australia, it was announced today. Pictured: Satellite pictures released by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority of the object thought to be related to the search for MH370
Two pieces of wreckage that are possibly from the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 - one estimated to be 78ft in size - have been found to the west of Australia, it was announced today. Pictured: Satellite pictures released by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority of the object thought to be related to the search for MH370
Aircraft and ships from China headed to the desolate southern Indian Ocean to join the new search for the Malaysia Airlines flight, which disappeared into the ether two weeks ago.
A satellite spotted two large objects in the area earlier this week, raising hopes of finding the Boeing 777 that vanished on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board.
Surveillance planes have been scouring the area - about 2,500 kilometres southwest of the Australian city of Perth - the size of the English Channel.
But after ten hours the second day of the search proved unsuccessful.
Australian officials pledged to continue the effort. even as they tried to tamp down expectations.
'It's about the most inaccessible spot that you could imagine on the face of the Earth, but if there is anything down there, we will find it,' Prime Minister Tony Abbott said at a news conference in Papua New Guinea.
'We owe it to the families and the friends and the loved ones of the almost 240 people on Flight MH370 to do everything we can to try to resolve what is as yet an extraordinary riddle,' he added.
Unsuccessful: A second day searching an area of the southern Indian Ocean revealed no sign of the two suspected pieces of debris
Unsuccessful: A second day searching an area of the southern Indian Ocean revealed no sign of the two suspected pieces of debris
Two Chinese aircraft are expected to arrive in Perth on Saturday to join the search. They will be followed by two Japanese aircraft on Sunday.
In Kuala Lumpur, where the plane took off for Beijing, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein thanked the more than two dozen countries involved in the overall search that stretches from Kazakhstan in Central Asia to the southern Indian Ocean. He called the whole process 'a long haul'.
The search area indicated by the satellite images in the southern Indian Ocean is a four-hour round-trip flight from western Australia, leaving planes with only enough fuel to search for about two hours.
The images were taken March 16, but the search in the area did not start until Thursday because it took time to analyse them. -Daily Mail


and.......



http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index:attention-drawn-to-pilots-mystery-phone-call-made-just-before-aircraft-disappeared





Saturday, 22 March 2014 06:53

Attention drawn to pilot's MYSTERY PHONE CALL made just before aircraft disappeared

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 Attention drawn to pilot's MYSTERY PHONE CALL made just before aircraft disappeared
SEPANG - Malaysia Airlines (MAS) chief operating officer (CEO) Ahmad Jauhari Yahya was asked today about details of a phone call said to have been made by the pilot during the flight before disappearing from radar.
To the question, the CEO replied that the investigating team is looking into it.
"The investigation team is studying the call, and details about it. Details would be released after they go through it," he said.
He added that the luggage manifest is also with the team and he would be checking with them if that information can be released to the media.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the investigation into the passenger manifest did not reveal anything suspicious.
"The investigating team has gone through the list and it did not reveal anything out of the ordinary.
"Upon police investigation, the Ukraine police have confirmed that the background checks on the Ukrainian passenger have come back clear," he said.
However, he added as a personal favour he had requested for the investigation team to go through the passenger manifest once again
On the police investigation, Hishammuddin said that Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar will release more information once there is additional information. -Sundaily















http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/special/2014-03/22/c_133205051.htm


Final communication from missing jet MH370 reveals two odd points: Telegraph

English.news.cn   2014-03-22 06:35:17   


LONDON, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The final 54 minutes of communication between the co-pilot of the Malaysia Airlines MH370 and the control tower has revealed two odd points, the British daily Telegraph reported on Friday.
The first odd point was a message delivered by the cockpit at 1.07 a.m., saying that the plane was flying at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, the daily reported.
"This message was unnecessary as it repeated a call that had already been delivered six minutes earlier," it said.
The other odd point was that the plane lost communications and turned away from its planned course to Beijing at the exact moment when the air traffic control was handed over from Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia to Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam, leading to suspicion that it was a deliberate act, according to the paper.
The daily said the fresh details revailed in the communications add to speculation over of the fate of the jet -- "whether it was the victim of a sudden accident or a hijacking."
The transcript of the communication, which the Telegragh published online fully, "suggests that if the pilots were involved in a plot they were very careful to hide their true intentions," according to the paper.
MH370 was reported missing on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
Related:
CANBERRA, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Search operations in the Southern Indian Ocean for a missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft resumed, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) announced on Saturday, saying that the current search area, about 2,500 kilometers southwest of Australia, was identified based on satellite data on Thursday.
The AMSA said so far no sightings have been reported, and the current search area was identified based on satellite images provided by the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organization ( AGO).  Full story
PERTH, Australia, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The lead Royal Australian Air force (RAAF) search plane has returned from the remote Southern Ocean on Friday with a squadron captain reporting no trace or possible sightings of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370.
Landing at Pearce Airbase, 50 km south of Perth, RAAF Flight Lieutenant Russell Adams stepped directly off the AP-3C Orion search and rescue aircraft at 7.30 p.m. AEST and told the gathering journalists that despite improved conditions, his squadron had made no progress in the withering search for signs of the Malaysia airlines flight that vanished without trace two weeks ago.  Full story

BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- China's oceanic administration on Friday set up a working group to manage icebreaker Xuelong's search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Xuelong(Snow Dragon) is set to head for the southern Indian Ocean before 6 p.m. Friday local time from the western Australian port of Fremantle, where it arrived to resupply on Friday morning. Full story
ABOARD XUELONG, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Chinese icebreaker Xuelong is set to head for the southern Indian Ocean on Friday to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Upon arrival at the western Australian port of Fremantle for replenishment on Friday morning, the long-serving Antarctic research vessel received orders from the State Oceanic Administration of China to join the hunt. Full story
ABOARD HAIXUN 01, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Chinese vessel "Haixun 01" is searching for the lost Malaysian jet in waters near Christmas Island in the southern Indian Ocean on Friday.
The vessel was about 110 nautical miles west of the island at 9 a.m. Beijing time, and will sail southward to continue searching together with another vessel, "Nanhaijiu 101," a Xinhua reporter on board the ship said. Full story
CANBERRA, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the coordinating organization in the operation of searching missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, released on Friday the timetable for five aircraft involved in the search.
AMSA said a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-3 Orion departed for the search area at around 9.15 a.m. (2215 GMT Thursday). A civil Gulfstream jet, the latest aircraft tasked by AMSA in the search operation, and a second RAAF P-3 Orion are due to depart for the search area at approximately 11 a.m. (0000GMT). Full story


































In case you missed it earlier, we’ve put together a graphic of the search area and its knowns and unknowns – you can see the full graphic herewhich includes a step-by-step sidebar of how the search would progress should debris from MH370 be confirmed.




Southern Indian Ocean search area
Southern Indian Ocean search area Photograph: The Guardian via Malaysia Airlines/Malaysia Govt/Australian Govt



Though the Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, has reiterated that satellite imagery showing two large objects floating in the south Indian Ocean is a “tangible breakthrough”, some experts are trying to dampen expectations.
A new AP report quotes Jason Middleton, an aviation professor at the University of New South Wales, who says “the chances of [the objects] being debris from the airplane are probably small, and the chances of it being debris from other shipping are probably large”.


Australian maritime authorities have released a map showing the total area its aircraft have been able to search so far, amounting to around 304,000 square kilometres. RAAF aircraft have been joined in the search by six merchant ships, with one Norwegian automobile carrier still in the area, and another on its way.




AMSA map showing the area covered by this week's search



The British satellite company, Inmarsat, says it had indications the missing Malaysia airlines flight may have crashed into the Indian Oceanas early as 9 March, two days after the aircraft disappeared.
“Inmarsat shared their data with a partner company the following day, on March 11, and with Malaysian investigators on March 12,” ABC News reports.
It was a week before the search moved from its initial focus on the South China Sea and Malacca Straits to the Indian Ocean, which would have given any debris from the plane lots of time to drift from its potential crash site.
But an Inmarsat spokesman, Chris McLaughlin, has defended Malaysian authorities, saying the company’s reports were one small piece of information in the torrent faced by investigators.
“No, it’s not our place to be concerned. Our position was we shared data and an idea that could be tested against other data with the correct authorities on the Tuesday. We can’t possibly know what other data was in the investigation or what routes the Malaysian government were following.”



Latest Developments


Good morning and welcome to our continuing coverage of the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, now focused on a remote stretch of ocean about 2,300 km south-west of Perth.
Here’s the latest:
  • The search for two objects spotted on satellite images which Australian authorities believe could belong to the missing flight, will shortly resume in the south Indian Ocean.
  • Four search aircraft will be scanning the area, joined by a Norwegian commercial ship which carried on searching overnight despite thick fog and rough seas.
  • Australia’s defence minister cautioned “this may well be nothing”, though a Maritime Safety Authority official said the images are “probably our best lead right now”.
  • Malaysian authorities have described the images as a “credible lead”, but acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein added: “Search and rescue operations will continue” in other search corridors.
  • The objects, one estimated to be 79ft (24m) long, could have drifted dozens of miles, experts warnedThe remote area is known for poor weather and strong, unpredictable currents.
  • Families of missing Chinese passengers insisted loved ones could still be alive. Chinese authorities have sent police and ambulances to the Beijing hotel where many relatives are waiting.






http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/malaysia/10710250/Malaysian-Airlines-MH370-live.html

****




15.40 The Wall Street Journal says that four days went by before officials acted on satellite data showing flight MH370 flew for several hours away from the area being covered by the international search.

15.33 The BBC is reporting that British satellite company Inmarsat said there were very strong indications 10 days ago that the plane would be found either in the southern part of the Indian Ocean or in Central Asia, and not in the South China Sea or the Malacca Straits where Malaysian authorities continued to search.

Inmarsat says it learned on 11 March that the plane had continued to fly for seven hours or more but Malaysian authorities continued to search in the South China Sea and Malacca Strait. The company has gone public with the information because of concerns over the way the search operation has been handled.


****


14.27 The FBI is still helping Malaysian authorities analyse data from a flight simulator belonging to the captain of the missing plane, after initial examination showed some data logs had been deleted early last month.
A Malaysian official with knowledge of the investigations into the pilots said three simulator games that 53-year-old pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah had played were being looked at according to Reuters.


****


13.56 Reuters have got a bit more information on what the discovery could mean. If the plane had run out of fuel, it would not necessarily have plummeted but its behaviour would have depended on whether there was someone in control and their intentions, pilots said.
Modern aircraft are designed to use the rush of wind to drive a small emergency turbine that keeps hydraulics and some electrical power running if the engines run out of fuel.
If the debris is from the plane, investigators would face a daunting task to retrieve the "black box" data and voice recorders needed to help understand what caused the disaster.
University of Western Australia Professor of Oceanography Charitha Pattiaratchi said that, based on currents in the area, if the debris is from the plane it probably would have entered the water around 300-400 km (180-250 miles) to the west.
The search area covered an ocean ridge known as Naturalist Plateau, a large sea shelf about 3,500 metres (9,800 feet) deep, Pattiaratchi said. The plateau is about 250 km (150 miles) wide by 400 km (250 miles) long, and the area around it is close to 5,000 metres (16,400 feet) deep.
"Whichever way you go, it's deep," Pattiaratchi said.
Faint electronic "pings" picked up by one commercial satellite suggest the aircraft flew on for at least six hours. That would be consistent with the plane ending up in the southern Indian Ocean.


****


13.26 Concerning the timing of the pictures, they were captured on March 16 but "due to the volume of imagery being searched, and the detailed process of analysis that followed, the information was brought to the attention of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority" this morning.
13.21 The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's statement says that four aircraft today covered an area of 23000 square km. The Höegh St Petersburg is already on the scene with another merchant ship also en route to the area. A total of six merchant ships have assisted in the search since a shipping broadcast was issued on Monday night.
13.15 The BBC reports that Australian Defence Minister David Johnston has been quoted as saying something definite should be known about the possible discovery of debris within "two or three days".
13.04 According to AP, Australian officials have said that the search for possible objects from the missing plane has ended for Thursday.





US reluctance based on prior issues with China - could be a plausible reason for US backseat in the probe......


http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?cid=1101&MainCatID=11&id=20140319000138




US 'holding back' in MH370 search to avoid leaking intel to China

  • Staff Reporter
  •  
  • 2014-03-19
  •  
  • 16:50 (GMT+8)
A US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon military aircraft prepares to assist in search and rescue operations for flight MH370 on March 18, 2014. (Photo/CFP)
A US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon military aircraft prepares to assist in search and rescue operations for flight MH370 on March 18, 2014. (Photo/CFP)
The United States could be withholding information in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 out of fears that military or technological secrets could be leaked to China, reports iFeng, the website of Hong Kong's Phoenix Television.
Flight MH370 has been missing since the early hours of March 8 when it disappeared from radar contact en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing along with 239 people on board, the majority of them Chinese nationals. The massive international search involving 26 countries is continuing in two potential flight corridors — a northern corridor from northern Thailand through to the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and a southern coridor from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean — identified using satellite signals received nearly seven hours after the jet lost contact with ground control.

The iFeng report alleges that Boeing, the US manufacturer of the plane, and Rolls-Royce, its engine maker, had indeed received flight-time diagnostic data from the missing B777-200 for up to four hours after it disappeared as claimed by media reports last week, but were prevented by US authorities from divulging the information as it contained military secrets it wants to keep from China.

To avoid being sanctioned by US authorities, Rolls-Royce and Boeing had no choice but to publicly deny holding the information, though at the same time they intentionally leaked their technological capabilities to media outlets to avoid damaging their prospects in the Chinese market, iFeng said.
According to the iFeng report, there is a precedent for why US companies are wary of releasing technical expertise to China. During the 1980s, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the main contractor of the Chinese space program, cooperated with American aerospace and defense contractor Hughes Aircraft Company on satellite technology. When the two sides exchanged information in the hope of determining why a particular launch failed, the US company divulged key technical knowledge to the Chinese company that helped the latter advance its satellite technology by 10 years. The US government subsequently issued heavy penalties against Hughes and put the entire industry on alert when dealing with Chinese aerospace counterparts.
The US has therefore deliberately taken a back seat in the investigation into flight MH370 because it is concerned about demonstrating its military and technological might to rivals such as China, iFeng said. The US should have by far the most data on the whereabouts of the missing plane as it has military bases in Singapore, the Indian Ocean and Thailans, the report said, adding that the United States also uses military radar in Afghanistan and Pakistan and is an ally of Australia in the south. Combined with its weather satellites, marine satellites and spy satellites, it is difficult to understand why the US has not taken the lead in the search and investigation, iFeng said.
On the other hand, China has maintained a high profile in the search in the South China Sea, the Strait of Malacca and the Indian Ocean with its top military vessels while also announcing the use of 10 satellites in the hope of tracking down new clues.
While the opportunity arose by accident, it has allowed Chinese vessels and aircraft to venture into previously prohibited waters. At the same time, observing the United States has made China realize the gap it still has to make up if it intends to challenge its main competitor's military or technological capabilities.

Chinese military expert Zhang Zhaozhong says the US may have already independently initiated their own investigation into the missing plane and will likely be the ones to solve the mystery in the end.
Zhang said, while Malaysia is coordinating the overall search efforts, the US has remained very collected amid the chaos because it "knows too much." In the post-911 world, US authorities may well hold detailed information on both pilots and all the plane's crew, including their emails, telephone logs and internet activity, Zhang added.
Malaysia Airlines commercial director Hugh Dunleavy revealed to the families of passengers on March 13 in Beijing that the US National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have already set up their own independent inquiry into flight MH370.





http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/21/mh370-search-for-missing-plane-resumes-at-daybreak-live


( 3/21/14 Updates.....) 



Latest developments

As the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 continues here’s a summary of how things stand now:


Here’s a further update on eventswith responses from a number of meteorology experts and imagery analysts about the prospects of finding the objects believed to be linked to the plane:
Satellite and meteorology experts have expressed doubt about the prospect of finding objects in the Indian Ocean believed to be linked to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, citing the possibility that the debris could have drifted hundreds of miles since it was first detected.
Australia’s prime minister, Tony Abbott, announced on Thursday that a “credible” sighting had been made in the Indian Ocean, about 2,500 kilometres (1,550 miles) south-west of Perth, of objects that could be related to the search, based on satellite imagery from five days ago. Four aircraft have been tasked to search the area by Australia’s maritime search agency.
The images were captured by DigitalGlobe, a commercial satellite operator that attributed the finding to the WorldView-2 satellite from an image dated to 16 March.
Martin Babakhan, a meteorologist and lecturer at Australia’s University of Newcastle, said that since the satellite images were taken the objects found could have moved “about 200 or 300 kilometres from the original location” in a westerly direction, closer to Australia.
“I was looking at that ocean all week and that particular region has a very, very strong current. The weather can vary very quickly. There are extreme weather conditions there that would make any search difficult,” he said.
Janette Lindesay, an associate professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, also said the objects could have moved hundreds of miles, and added that while the possible debris would be drifting generally west, it may have been buffeted by other winds and drifted north or south, making the search even more difficult.



To give a clearer indication of the weather conditions in the area, Martin Babakhan, a meteorologist and conjoint lecturer at the University of Newcastle, provided a number of slides that he had extracted from various sources to outline the current conditions. Here’s one that is an infra-red display of the conditions around Australia. He adds by way of explanation:
The infra-red satellite image showing red patches are storms developing along the trough near the west coast. The green patches are of scattered low clouds (stratocumulus, stratus, fog).
So while Australian search agencies have added that the weather at the moment is clear, the forecast for Sunday is believed to be much less favourable for the searchwhich has now been altered to a primarily visual operation.


Weather patterns around Australia on 21 March 2014.
Weather patterns around Australia on 21 March 2014. Photograph: /Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies Space Science and Engineering Centre







Here’s the latest search map from the Australian Maritime Search Agency. As you can see the search area is gradually moving towards the east. As several meteorological experts have explained, the reason for this change is because there is a strong westerly current in this part of the Indian Ocean.


Australia's updated search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight on 21 March.
Australia's updated search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight on 21 March. Photograph: /AMSA














The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued the following statement, detailing today’s search efforts:
Search operations in the Southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft will continue today in the Australian Search and Rescue Region.

Today’s search will utilise four military aircraft, including two RAAF Orions, tasked by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to search a 23,000 kilometre area, about 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth.

A merchant ship remains in the search area. Another merchant ship is en route to the area and is expected to arrive tonight.

A total of six merchant ships have assisted in the search since a shipping broadcast was issued by AMSA on Monday night.

The current search area has been identified based on satellite data imagery from the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO) provided to AMSA on Thursday morning.

Analysis of the imagery by AGO identified two objects possibly relating to the missing aircraft. The images have been assessed as being credible but it is possible they do not relate to the search for MH370.

The Royal Australian Navy HMAS Success is also en route to the search area and is due in the area on 22 March. 
To date, no sightings have been reported.