Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Updates March 25 , 2014 - Malaysia Chronicle slams Malaysia Government's competence and intentions -- ANOTHER BAD CALL BY 'INCOMPETENT' NAJIB: M'sia now suspected of SHADY CONSPIRACY with Inmarsat ....... Live Blog items of note ( The Guardian ) including the Daily Update from the Malaysian Transport Minister ( who takes shots at China in response to their criticism of Malaysian efforts ) , commentary on the latest developments of the day !

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 19:14


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The Malaysian government’s probe into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has set traditional rules for conducting major air-crash investigations on their head.
In the early phases of the effort, critics faulted Malaysian authorities for withholding or delaying the release of information, and then sometimes putting out conflicting details.
On Monday, the pendulum appeared to swing the other way, as the Malaysian government hastily assembled reporters for a 10 p.m. briefing, shortly after outside experts briefed Prime Minister Najib Razak about the conclusions of a new satellite-data analysis. At the late-night news conference Mr. Najib disclosed that the plane carrying 239 people had gone down in a remote part of the Indian Ocean.
He stressed the information was being released to inform families of the victims “at the earliest opportunity,” and “out of a commitment to openness and respect.” The prime minister indicated that an explanation of the specifics of the latest analysis—along with a host of other relevant details—would come the next day.
Unusually co-operative Inmarsat raises eyebrows
But less than two hours after his announcement, a senior official of Inmarsat PLC, the company that made the technical breakthrough, was giving multiple interviews to media outlets in various countries laying out other major elements of the probe—a move that would represent a major breach of the rules of virtually any air-accident investigation.
In the interviews, Inmarsat Executive Vice President Chris McLaughlin freely discussed some of the central unresolved issues of the investigation. They ranged from his view that the plane flew at cruise altitude for the final hours to unequivocal pronouncements that it ran out of fuel somewhere over the Southern Indian Ocean.
During one television interview, he said the massive international search for remnants of the Boeing 777-200 ER is “now looking in the right place.”
Against protocol & ethics
Such statements would be strictly prohibited in a typical air-crash investigation, where participating company officials are asked to provide behind-the-scenes technical expertise but ordered to refrain from all public comments.
Asked on CNN Monday evening the Malaysian authorities’ public statements could be trusted, former National Transportations Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall was critical.
“Regrettably, the Malaysian government is incompetent to handle this investigation,” Mr. Hall said.
Malaysian officials haven’t responded to the specific criticisms directed at them.
In the U.S., Mr. McLaughlin’s comments would have led to his and his company’s immediate removal from any NTSB investigation, according to the board’s procedures and rules. The U.K. and many other countries have similarly strict rules.
Boeing refused to be drawn into M'sian quicksand
Boeing Co. and Rolls-Royce PLC, which made the Malaysian aircraft and its engines, have kept their silence and repeatedly refused to answer questions, citing restrictions of the continuing investigation.
Yet in discussing the fate of Flight 370, Mr. McLaughlin on Monday indicated he was confident his team had projected the flight path to an accuracy of “plus or minus about 100 miles.”
The unorthodox direction of the Malaysian probe partly reflects the unprecedented facts and the international pressures at play.
Malaysia’s performance, however, is in contrast to the NTSB’s strict protocols and systematic style last summer, when it released daily updates about an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that slammed into a sea wall and broke apart while trying to land at San Francisco International Airport. - WSJ



Hishammuddin's dig at China's faulty satellite lead, came after China demanded that Malaysia turn over the satellite data used to conclude that the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. 
Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng told Malaysia's ambassador that China wanted to know exactly what led Malaysia to announce that the plane had been lost, a statement on the ministry's website said.
Hishammuddin made some barbed comments about the Chinese authorities at the end of the press conference, by suggesting that a false lead from Chinese satellite data had hampered the search.
Asked by a Chinese journalist why Malaysia had taken so long to release the satellite data from Inmarsat, he said: "Can I also remind you that we received satellite data from China involving 'sightings' in the South China Sea, which made us detract ourselves from the search and rescue to search areas we already searched, and it was found to be negative."

Introductory statement

As the search for MH370 continues, we remain focused on narrowing the search area.

With such strong co-operation from our international partners, the challenge is no longer diplomatic. It is now primarily technical and logistical.

Because the scale of the investigation is now much more complex, the release of technical and logistical information will be handled differently. As you have seen today, this means that Malaysia Airlines will take the lead in communicating with the families.

As the search area has narrowed, new challenges have arisen, including managing resources in a remote search and rescue effort. We continue to work closely with our friends and partners as we seek to marshal more specific resources in support of the operations in that area.

New data

Last night the Prime Minister announced that according to new analysis of satellite data, Inmarsat and UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) have concluded that flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

Today I will provide further details of how the data was analysed, as provided to us the UK AAIB. 

This information is quite technical in nature. So although I will give you as much information as I can, I will not be in a position to answer questions about this data analysis today.

However, we will accept written questions which will be answered as soon as possible. We will be providing this information as a press release at the end of this press conference. This is the information provided to us by the AAIB.

Further details

In recent days Inmarsat developed a second innovative technique which considers the velocity of the aircraft relative to the satellite. Depending on this relative movement, the frequency received and transmitted will differ from its normal value, in much the same way that the sound of a passing car changes as it approaches and passes by. This is called the Doppler effect. 

The Inmarsat technique analyses the difference between the frequency that the ground station expects to receive and one that is actually measured. This difference is the result of the Doppler effect and is known as the Burst Frequency Offset.

The Burst Frequency Offset changes depending on the location of the aircraft on an arc of possible positions, its direction of travel, and its speed. In order to establish confidence in its theory, Inmarsat checked its predictions using information obtained from six other B777 aircraft flying on the same day in various directions. There was good agreement. 

While on the ground at Kuala Lumpur airport, and during the early stage of the flight, MH370 transmitted several messages. At this stage the location of the aircraft and the satellite were known, so it was possible to calculate system characteristics for the aircraft, satellite, and ground station.
During the flight the ground station logged the transmitted and received pulse frequencies at each handshake. Knowing the system characteristics and position of the satellite it was possible, considering aircraft performance, to determine where on each arc the calculated burst frequency offset fit best. 

The analysis showed poor correlation with the Northern corridor, but good correlation with the Southern corridor, and depending on the ground speed of the aircraft it was then possible to estimate positions at 0011 UTC, at which the last complete handshake took place. I must emphasise that this is not the final position of the aircraft.

There is evidence of a partial handshake between the aircraft and ground station at 0019 UTC. At this time this transmission is not understood and is subject to further ongoing work.

No response was received from the aircraft at 0115 UTC, when the ground earth station sent the next log on / log off message. This indicates that the aircraft was no longer logged on to the network.

Therefore, sometime between 0011 UTC and 0115 UTC the aircraft was no longer able to communicate with the ground station. This is consistent with the maximum endurance of the aircraft.

This analysis by Inmarsat forms the basis for further study to attempt to determine the final position of the aircraft. Accordingly, the Malaysian investigation has set up an international working group, comprising agencies with expertise in satellite communications and aircraft performance, to take this work forward.

Technical background

The new analysis I have described above was convincing enough for the AAIB to brief the Prime Minister that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. Within a few hours, the families had been informed, and the Prime Minister announced the new development to the world.

As the Prime Minister stated, this type of analysis has never been done in an investigation of this sort.

There remains more work to be done, and we are grateful to Inmarsat, AAIB and the international investigations team, who are continuing to work with the Malaysian authorities. This is a developing situation, and as soon as we know more, we will share it.

Operational update

As a result of this new data analysis, the search and rescue operation in the northern corridor has been called off. We have also stopped the search and rescue operation in the northern part of the southern corridor, close to Indonesia.
All search efforts are now focused in the southern part of the southern corridor, in an area covering some 469,407 square nautical miles, as against the 2.24 million square nautical miles which we announced on 18th March. 

We are currently working to further narrow down the search area, using the four methods I mentioned previously: gathering information from satellite surveillance, analysis of surveillance radar data, increasing air and surface assets, and increasing the number of technical and subject matter experts.

On the assets deployed, 2 Korean aircraft left Subang airport for Perth this morning, to help in the multinational search operation.

No flights from Perth to the search area took place today, due to bad weather.

6 Chinese ships are currently in the search area. They are expected to arrive within the vicinity of MH370’s last known position by tomorrow morning. These ships include the ice breaker ‘Xue Long’.

HMAS Success is also currently in the search area.

The American Towed Pinger Locater – an instrument that can help find a black box - is currently en route to Perth and will arrive tomorrow. The system will be fitted onto the Australian ship Ocean Shield, which is due to dock in Perth on 28th March. The Ocean Shield, fitted with the Towed Pinger Locater, is due to arrive in the search area on 5 April.

Concluding remarks

The new analysis shared with the investigation by Inmarsat and the AAIB has focused our efforts on the southern part of the southern corridor.

Although yesterday’s news was incredibly hard for the family members, as our Prime Minister said, it was released out of a commitment to openness and respect for the relatives, two principles which have guided the investigation.

The press conference has come to an end. The main announcement was that the search for the debris is now focused solely on the southern Indian Ocean. A technical briefing on why the experts are so sure the plane crashed in the area was promised. 

China's president Xi Jinping has sent an envoy to Kuala Lumpur to consult with Malaysia on the missing passengers, according to theofficial news agency Xinhua

All search efforts are now focused on the southern flight corridor in the Indian Ocean. The northern search has been called off, together with the search operation close to Malaysia, Hishammuddin said. 

The calculation of the flight's velocity was based on the Doppler effect, Hishammuddin said. He promised to issue a press release explaining this in more detail.
One of the final "handshakes" with the plane is not fully understood, he said. 
Assessing the final position of the plane still needs more analysis, Hishammuddin said. "More work needs to be done ... this is a developing situation," he said. 

Hishammuddin said he will give more detail about how British experts and Inmarsat concluded that MH370 crashed into the Indian Ocean. 

Search to resume on Wednesday

The Australian authorities have announced that the search for the wreckage of MH370 will resume again on Wednesday after it was suspended today because of bad weather.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority just issued this statement [pdf]
A search and recovery operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft in the southern Indian Ocean will resume on Wednesday, March 25.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed on Tuesday the focus is now on search and recovery of any objects related to the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
A visual search will resume tomorrow when the weather is expected to improve after gale force winds and heavy swells resulted in the suspension of the search operation on Tuesday.
As many as twelve aircraft are expected to be involved in the search tomorrow, including seven military aircraft and five civil aircraft.
HMAS Success will return to the search area and conduct a surface sweep of an area identified on Monday afternoon by a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion as the location for several objects of interest.
A total of six countries are now assisting in the search – Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea.
India has also offered to join the search and recovery operation.
China’s polar supply ship Xue Long (Snow Dragon) and three other Chinese ships are expected to arrive in the search area on Wednesday.
Crew members of the Australian Navy ship, HMAS Success, look for any potential sightings for debris in the southern Indian Ocean during the search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.
Crew members of the Australian Navy ship, HMAS Success, look for any potential sightings for debris in the southern Indian Ocean during the search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. Photograph: Handout/Reuters

China's state broadcaster CCTV says Malaysia Airlines faces bankruptcy after the loss of MH370. Citing industry insiders it says the assumed crash could be a "dagger in the heart" to the flag carrier as the Malaysia government is reluctant to fund its losses. 

Opening summary

Welcome to our continuing coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight a day after the Malaysian prime minister announced that the plane was assumed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean.
Here's a summary of the latest developments:
• Malaysia Airlines has defended its decision to send a text message to relatives informing them that the plane was lost with no survivors. It insisted that relatives were contacted in person and by telephone before the message was sent.
• Australia has offered to waive visa fees to relatives of those lost on the flight. Confirming the move prime minister Tony Abbott said: "Should they come here, I want them to know they will be in the arms of a decent country."
• The British satellite firm Inmarsat has been explaining how it calculated that the plane had crashed in the Indian Ocean using satellite pings and "groundbreaking" maths. The firm and UK's Accidents Investigation Branch were cited by Malaysia's prime minister Najib Rajak who said such analysis had never been conducted before in an investigation of this sort. 

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