Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery -- Day 41 , April 17 , 2014 --Abbott Says Best Flight 370 Search Leads Will Soon Be Exhausted ........ Families of the missing travelers anger boils over --- DISTRUST DEEPENS: 26 key questions MH370 families want from 'LYING AGAIN' Malaysian government ....... Meanwhile the underwater search continues without success ....... ......
Abbott Says Best Flight 370 Search Leads Will Soon Be Exhausted
Updated April 16, 2014 7:16 a.m. ET
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott appeared in Perth on April 3 with Malaysia's Najib Razak. In an interview, Mr. Abbott said searchers would need to rethink their approach to finding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 if a remote-controlled vehicle finds nothing on the floor of the Indian Ocean. Associated Press
SYDNEY—The best leads in an underwater search for Malaysia Airlines3786.KU +4.65% Flight 370 will be exhausted in about a week, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Wednesday, as searchers battled to overcome technical issues that have hampered early efforts to scan the Indian Ocean's seabed.
Mr. Abbott said authorities would need to rethink their approach if a remote-controlled vehicle fails to locate wreckage from Flight 370 in a narrow area of ocean where searchers earlier this month picked up the strongest electronic signal out of a series of pings consistent with aircraft black box flight recorders. (Follow the latest updates on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.)
Australian authorities have repeatedly cautioned that the subsea search for plane wreckage will be long and difficult, with officials saying that a seabed search of the broader area where pings were detected could take weeks. Little is known about the seabed some 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) below the surface of the Indian Ocean. They expect to encounter thick silt that may hide debris, including the black boxes, on the ocean floor and potentially strong ocean currents that could slow the movements of the Bluefin-21 underwater vehicle.
On Wednesday, a second attempt to scan the seafloor was cut short. The Bluefin-21 was forced to resurface so searchers could rectify a technical glitch, just a day after an earlier mission was aborted after the vehicle breached its limit of operating in waters up to 4,500 meters deep. An analysis of sonar data compiled on each search failed to identify any new leads.
"My determination for Australia is that we will do whatever we reasonably can to resolve the mystery," Mr. Abbott said. "If the current search turns up nothing, we won't abandon it, we will simply move to a different phase."
He reiterated his confidence that searchers were looking in the right place for Flight 370, based on the electronic signals—the longest of which lasted more than two hours—detected by equipment towed by Australian naval vessel ADV Ocean Shield on April 5 and April 8, around the time that the black boxes' 30-day battery life was due to expire.
A near-monthlong search of the sea surface led by Australia, which has involved aircraft and ships from countries such as China and the U.S., has turned up only garbage. The operation has also pursued several other false leads, including satellite images purporting to show possible plane debris and underwater signals that were unrelated to Flight 370's black boxes.
That air and sea search for floating debris is nearing its end, Australia's Defense Minister David Johnston said in an interview, and any final decision will be made on advice from senior military and search officials. A total of 14 aircraft and 11 ships scanned the ocean surface Wednesday.
"It is obviously becoming less and less optimistic," Mr. Johnston said of the aerial search. Any potential debris field is likely to have "dissipated to the four winds," or sunk, he said.
A decision to call off the aerial search would allow nations to count the cost of their involvement up to now. Officials have declined to put a total amount on what it has cost each country to deploy ships, aircraft and military crews to Australia to assist in the search effort. Australian Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who is leading the search operation, said Monday: "All of the countries that are contributing to this are running up big costs."
Authorities have several options available if the current underwater search by Bluefin-21 turns up nothing. They could order a second sweep of the seabed in a tight area where the first signals believed to have come from Flight 370's black boxes were detected. The search could also be expanded to a wider area around a series of transmissions heard on four occasions covering 500 square miles. U.S. Navy commanders have said a search on that scale could take six to eight weeks to complete.
Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said a later phase could involve a search along a wide arc of sea extrapolated from a partial digital "handshake" between Flight 370 and an InmarsatISAT.LN -0.14% PLC satellite. That strip of sea is more than 370 miles long and 30 miles wide, according to search maps.
Authorities are increasingly relying on private contractors as the focus of the search for Flight 370 shifts underwater. Phoenix International Holdings Inc., a U.S.-based technology company, already has a contract with the U.S. Navy to provide underwater detection equipment, including the black box locator and Bluefin-21.
With authorities uncertain about the depths of the ocean, other organizations are ready to provide submersibles that can go deeper than Bluefin-21. According to David G. Gallo, director of special projects at the U.S.-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, two Remus 6000 underwater vehicles together costing US$20,000 a day to operate could be flown to Perth if required. Those submersibles were used in 2011 to locate the black boxes of Air France 447, which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean two years earlier.
Mr. Dolan, Australia's top air-accident investigator, said a prolonged undersea search and salvage mission using privately owned equipment could cost up to 250 million Australian dollars (US$234 million). Mr. Johnston also said the underwater search may ultimately end up being run mainly by private companies, although he declined to estimate what that could cost.
"Ultimately it may well be that there is a civilian contractor to come and pick up the pieces if we have no success," said Mr. Johnston.
Payment of search and salvage contractors would likely need to be negotiated between Malaysia, who operated the aircraft, the U.S., where the plane was built, and China, where the majority of passengers came from, Mr. Johnston said.
17 April 2014| last updated at 08:17AM
MH370 Tragedy: Robot sub makes first complete search
PERTH: A robotic submarine has completed its first full 16-hour mission scanning the floor of the Indian Ocean for wreckage of the missing Malaysian airliner after two previous missions were cut short by technical problems and deep water, authorities said today.
The Bluefin 21 had covered 90 square kilometres (35 square miles) of the silt-covered sea bed off the west Australian coast in its first three missions, the search coordination centre said today.
While data collected by the sub from its latest mission, which ended overnight, was still being analysed, nothing of note had yet been discovered, the centre said.
A total of 12 planes and 11 ships were to join what could be the final day of the surface ocean search for debris from the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.
Today’s search would cover a 40,300-square-kilometer (15,600-square-mile) patch of sea about 2,200 kilometres (1,400 miles) northwest of the Australian city of Perth, the centre said.
When the sea bed search began this week, authorities announced that the days of the fruitless surface search were numbered as the chances of success dwindled.
But a sample of an oil slick found this week about 5.5 kilometres (3.4 miles) from where underwater sounds that could be from an aircraft black box beacon were heard has been shipped to Perth for analysis, the centre said.
17 April 2014| last updated at 11:06AM
MH370 Tragedy: Uncharted depths provide reality check
KUALA LUMPUR: Hopes that Malaysia’s missing jet might soon be found are yielding to the sobering realisation of the immense challenge of searching an uncharted seafloor at depths that push deep-sea technology to its limits.
“I have compared it to sending a man to the moon. We know how to do it, but we can’t just do it in three weeks,” said Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer at the University of New South Wales.
Twice in two days, an advanced US Navy mini-submarine has had to abort its search of the remote Indian Ocean for wreckage from the Boeing 777, which vanished on March 8.
The unmanned Bluefin-21 bounced back to the surface on Tuesday after hitting its maximum depth of 4,500 metres (15,000 feet), and Wednesday’s search was cut short due to technical trouble.
The hitches have raised the spectre of a prolonged, difficult search that may require even more sophisticated equipment to be deployed.
For nearly a month, the search effort has focused on a vast and lonely stretch of ocean where the Malaysia Airlines jet is believed to have crashed after inexplicably veering far from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight path.
Underwater signals detected in the last ten days — thought to be from the plane’s “black box” — raised hopes that wreckage could soon be found.
But these beacons, with a normal lifespan of around 30 days, have since gone silent — forcing investigators to look below the surface in a targeted area encompassing 40 square kilometres.
In a dark, extremely deep and little-known seascape far off Western Australia, it is a daunting prospect, experts say.
“It has not been mapped — in fact most of the deep ocean has not been mapped,” Charitha Pattiaratchi, an oceanographer at the University of Western Australia, said of the search area.
“It is very cold and dark with high pressures — 450 times that at the surface.” Experts cannot even agree on the nature of the seascape, variously described as flat, rocky or coated in super-fine silt that could envelop and hide wreckage.
The US Navy estimates the Bluefin-21 may need “anywhere from six weeks to two months to scan the entire search area”. Nothing has been detected yet.
Authorities may need to take a step back and begin seafloor mapping by ships at the surface to get an idea of the environment below, said Ian Wright, director of science and technology at Britain’s National Oceanography Centre.
“It would give you an idea, for instance, of which areas were hard substrate, volcanic ridges, faults, those sorts of things,” Wright said.
Afterwards, submersibles could be sent down for a closer inspection of more defined areas.
There is a gathering sense that the Bluefin-21 might not be up to the enormous task of searching a large undersea expanse at depths more than 2,000 feet lower than where the Titanic came to rest.
Angus Houston, the Australian head of the search operation, acknowledged Monday that “much larger”, and deeper-diving, equipment may be needed.
“They are being looked at as we speak,” he said, adding that partners in the international search will need to discuss “who has the capabilities to do this work” at such depths.
xperts said that moving more advanced machinery into place will take time, and the mission will remain arduous — particularly the eventual recovery of anything from the seafloor.
“There are two ways you can work at those depths. The first is manned submersibles. Very few countries have that capability,” said Wright.
A “likelier option” is the use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) that can go as deep as six kilometres, he said.
An ROV was used to pluck the flight data recorders of Air France 447 from the bottom of the Atlantic in 2011 at depths of around 3,000 metres.
“There’s only a small number of ROVs available which will operate at (the MH370 search area’s) depth. It’s pretty extreme,” Wright said.
Air France showed it can be done but it took nearly two painstaking years even though searchers had a better idea of where it crashed.
David Mearns, a US marine scientist who led the search that in 2008 located the Australian naval vessel HMAS Sydney — sunk in battle during World War II — said MH370 would eventually be found.
But families, authorities, the media and a fascinated world need to be patient, he said.
“I believe the hardest part is done. They have found it,” he said in reference to the beacon signals heard earlier.
“The next part is not going to be easy. It’s complex and challenging. But it’s now a manageable task.” --AFP
As far as we know, MH370 has one fixed ELT and two portable ELT. All ElT has passed the latest maintains check (Malaysia airlines has promised to ask when they did the last check and what has been checked)
1. How many ELT are there on the plane? Including fixed and portable. We have heard two versions. We would like to insure how many?
2. Did Malaysia Airline have regular maintains check for ELT? When was latest check for MH370 ‘s ELT? What is the maintainous interval? And we need to see results of maintainous check. If not possible to see the result during the investigation. We would like to know what has been checked.
3. How your 406 MHz is certified. Your licences?
4. Is it possible to break the ELT at high impact? Where is the 406 MHz ELT exactly located on MH370? (tail of the flight or on the celling of business class)
5. Is the ELT protected in the compartment within the fuselage? Surrounding by metal? will the signal be weaken if the metal shield_
6. Is the cable and blade antenna 9G certified? How much impact is need to active ELT? Does the ELT active in Asiana accident and France Air 447?
7. Are 121.5 MHz 243 MHz useless when aircraft crash in water?
8. The manufacturer of the ELT, the signal of 406MHz supposed to be detected by satellite.
9. Is the 406 MHz is a separate service beside the 121.5 and 243 MHz?
10.If the crew has been trained on how to use ELT?
11. Can ELT unlock and bounce to the surface of water?
12.When plane is trying to land on the sea, can ELT can be activated?
1. The serials number of the black box on MH370. Manufacturer?
2. What kind of characteristic signal does MH370’s black box pinger send? Is it a pulse, with a peak at 37.5 kHz? The width, the shape of the pulse?
3. What is the sample that Boeing has sent to Australia to compare with the detected pinger? Was it from a normal black box signal or the specific black box on boeing 777, or even the exact black box mount on MH370?
4. How many items can the Flight Data Recorder provide? 25, 57 or 88?
5. How long time can the Cockpit Voice Recorder provide? When did Malaysia Airline start to prolong 2 hours record?
6. Can the detected frequency 33.3kHz can illustrate the coverage environment of the black box? Can the location of the black box also te illustrated?
7.Can the investigation team make an experiment on checking the 33.3kHz is caused by the weaken battery? And how long can 33.3 kHz can be detected under the weaken power situation?
1. What protocol does ICAO do when flight missing. What did Malaysia Airline do when MH370 missing. What organization are Malaysia in.
2. We want MH370’s logbook
3. We need Malaysia Civil Aviation Control MH370 Voice Record.
4. Inmarsat in Malaysia , NTSB ，Chief engineer Zaharie personal contact phone number. Directly contact information.
5.Have the searching and rescue team got final result from the searched areas? Are they ensure any impossibility on thosed closed area, if not why close all the other areas?
6. Can Malaysia Government specify the right of kins, especially the right to know the facts of a cases or the details of an incident?
7.We require the ATC audio.
From: The Committee of MH370 families - http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_12ece77a00101eh9v.html