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The Almighty Buck Transportation Technology

Most Expensive Aviation Search: $53 Million To Find Flight MH370 233

mdsolar (1045926) writes "The search and investigation into missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is already the most expensive in aviation history, figures released to Fairfax Media suggest. The snippets of costings provide only a small snapshot but the $US50 million ($54 million) spent on the two-year probe into Air France Flight 447 — the previous record — appears to have been easily surpassed after just four weeks.... The biggest expense in the search has involved ships, satellites, planes and submarines deployed first in the South China Sea and the Malacca Straits, and then in the remote reaches of the southern Indian Ocean."
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Most Expensive Aviation Search: $53 Million To Find Flight MH370

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  • Re:But Terrizm! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2014 @10:19PM (#46666933)

    I am a pilot, have had two non-trivial electrical fires. It's the simplest explanation, and explains shutting of or failing ACARS and the xpdr while the engines kept reporting data. Not saying "that's what happened" but "that's the most plausible explanation"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2014 @10:59PM (#46667159)

    There's actually a term for this. It's called a Googlewhack.

    I think you can get a trophy, or at least your name on a website.

  • Re:Tracking` (Score:4, Interesting)

    by S.O.B. ( 136083 ) on Friday April 04, 2014 @11:30PM (#46667297)

    I'm sure similar arguments were made when the original black boxes were made mandatory on aircraft.

    A new Boeing 777-200ER is about $260M []. A Canadian has developed an enhanced black box that constantly sends data back to the airline. The cost would be $100,000 which is only 0.04% of the cost of the aircraft and $85,000 more that the boxes they would replace. There would also be satellite data transfer charges which would be only a few thousand dollars for a flight like MH370 or about $20 per passenger on the flight. You could even limit the data transfer to trans oceanic flights to minimize the impact on low cost and domestic carriers.

    Of course, all those costs would come down if every new aircraft was equipped like this. I'm sure the families of the MH370 would consider this minimal cost money well spent.

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @12:18AM (#46667461) Journal

    Assuming the first thing the pilots did wasn't turn off the communications system to try and prevent the fire from spreading.

    The VERY FIRST thing you would do is alert the ground you had a problem. Not turn off all hope of getting help. There is no fire that is STOPPED by turning off a radio!

    And even if it were the case the pilots were the stupidest people on earth AND acting in direct violation of aviation emergency procedures in order to take an action that would not help anyone, it STILL doesn't explain flying calming in a straight line for seven hours after with a raging fire eating at the planes controls and superstructure and fuel tanks. Sorry man, CNN's Black Hole is more likely than your Faerie Fire.

    No cutting off power and your locator is the first step in a fire [].

    These are standard operating procedures as you need to shut it all off to find the short. Besides what is ground control going to do? You need to do a quick change course to the nearest airport while you find and shut down the damn thing before everyone dies!

    Another is to try to suffocate the fire if it is a tire fire by flying at 45,000 feet. Check. Next if the crew gets oxygen afixiation the next step is to cruise at 12,000 feet if the fire is still going. Check. All good so far. ... now here is the mystery. Let's say it was a fire. The captain and crew are incapacitated from carbon monoxide. The fire would take down the whole aircraft. It would burn through the wires for the computer auto pilot and crash the plane well before 7 hours. Or the structure would fail as it would burn through the luggage and explode the fuel compartment.

    Also the path is changed again in the final arc. Why? Wouldn't it logically be on the same new path and be half way between Australia and Africa if the crew did die? That is west of perth alright but WAAY farther west. What in the mathematically geometry that says it is in the search area? Distance wise why wouldn't it be on the other side of the arc southwest instead of southeast?

    Also if the plane is flying lower you have more friction if it still was at 12,000 feet. So wouldn't it logically be farther north as it would run out of fuel quicker too?

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @03:49AM (#46668005) Journal

    There are way too many fishy things that happened to flight MH370

    1. There was an "airspace territory gap" of 3 to 4 minutes in between the airspace of Malaysia and that of Vietnam, over South China Sea.

    The last communication from that plane was from the co-pilot, not the pilot. And his message was "Goodbye Malaysia, Goodbye MH370" and that message was uttered just before the transponder and all comm channels were shut.

    Once the transponder and all the comm channels were severed the aircraft remained silent for another 7 to 8 hours

    2. After the transponder been switched off and all the comm channels cut, the plane took a turn to the West, purposely flying just south of the border of Southern Thailand the Northern Malaysia.

    And during that trip from the South China Sea to the northern tip of the Malaccan Strait the aircraft was flown up to 45,000 feet, way over the limit of the safety limit for Boeing 777, and the aircraft flew at that altitude for a full 23 minutes.

    At that height, passengers in the fuselage will experience a lack of oxygen.

    Even if the emergency oxygen respiration devices dropped down and the passengers put them on, that oxygen supply would only last for 10 minutes - Which meant, all people inside the fuselage would have extreme difficulties getting oxygen for 13 long minutes

    Many of them would die. Those didn't would have passed out.

    3. When the plane reached the northern tip of the Malaccan Strait it dropped down to 25,000 feet, and then turned north to the Andaman Sea.

    At that place, the plane "hug" the Northern Sumatran coastline and flew from the North East side of the Sumatran Island to the North West.

    And from that juncture, the plane could have go Northward, or South.

    4. Now they are saying the plane went South, based on the "Ping" signals that they received.

    Since that "Ping" signal is not a complicated signal, it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to "clone" that signal - and if there was someone behind the hijacking of that plane, they could have done so.

    5. Why ? Well ... to lead the investigators into a false trail, a wild goose chase.

    There was a comment embedded in the following link allude to such a plot - http://www.themalaysianinsider... []

    Let me quote part of that comment:

    ... the possibilities that the aircraft had safely landed in an undisclosed location, and the people (individual or teams of people) who were responsible for the hijacking of that plane either ripped that "ping device" out and then carried that "ping device" (which was still "pinging") on another aircraft and then flown it to the middle of nowhere in the southern Indian Ocean, and then, either drop that "ping device" down into the ocean, or simply shut that "ping device" down, so i couldn't ping no more.

    One more possibility is that those people might have "cloned" the "ping signals" using another device that broadcast that "ping signal", and then, when that Boeing 777 had landed safely on that undisclosed location, they immediately flew that "clone ping device" and, did what I have outlined above.

    They did that to divert attention, and to create a false lead to the world which will come looking for that plane.

    What happened to this Boeing 777 has so many gaping holes yet to be answered - like

    * Why it flew for 7 to 8 hours without anyone actively looking for it ?

    * Why they purposely switched off the transponder and the comm channels but left that "ping device" kept on broadcasting the "ping signals" ? Is it part of the plan to mislead the investigator ?

    * Where is that plane right now ? Where could it possibly had landed ? Thailand ? Laos ? The Philippines ? Malaysia ? Indonesia ? Myanmar ? Bangladesh ? Cambodia ?

  • Re:But Terrizm! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @06:33AM (#46668425)

    There's one thing I will agree with: to figure out the fate of the plane we have to get inside the pilot's head and try to figure out what he's doing. The trick here is that based on the available facts, we have to stop thinking in terms of someone who's trying desperately to save the plane and his passengers, and try to understand someone's whose goal is to do the opposite.

    One thing to think about- where would you crash a plane if your goal was not simply to crash a plane, but to conceal its fate? Whoever took the plane seems to have wanted its resting place to remain a mystery. They must have known that the path of the plane would be tracked by military radar, so by heading northwest until they were off radar, and then turning southeast, they must have wanted to mislead searchers about the direction of the flight. And by sending the plane into the deeps of the Indian Ocean, they must have hoped that the wreckage would never be found. But one thing didn't make sense here. If you were going to go to this kind of length to lose a plane forever, where would you crash it? Not southwest of Australia; the sea there is deep but its a fairly broad and flat ocean floor. Yes the search area here is huge and the seas are rough, but if the wreckage ends up on a flat expanse of seafloor, it's going to be pretty easy to spot on sonar. It would take a long time to find, but eventually it would be found. No, you wouldn't want an abyssal plain. You'd go for the deepest, most rugged stretch you could find. You'd pilot the plain straight into an ocean trench.

    Then a curious thing happened. The search area was changed, again, for something like the third time. The new data suggests the plane didn't fly as far, and instead of crashing southwest of Australia, it crashed almost due west of Australia. At first this seems to suggest the search will be easier. But if you look on the maps, you'll see that the new search area overlaps an ocean trench- the Diamantina Trench, the deepest point in the entire Indian Ocean. Its maximum depth is 8,000 meters/26,000 feet. Eight kilometers. Five miles. Its rugged terrain, which will conceal the plane and scatter any noise from the sonar beacon. Plus, the Navy's pinger locator can only go about 6,000 meters down, and the range of the black box ping signal is only about a mile, so if the plane is at the deepest part of the trench, it's may well be out of the range of sonar equipment. On top of everything, the terrain is going to be unstable; unlike a flat abyssal plain where the sediments accumulate slowly and don't shift, the mountainous terrain of the Diamantina Trench will be subject to slumps and debris flows, with avalanches of fine mud that could easily bury a plane.

    Up until now, it seemed like a good bet that the plane would be found, eventually. After all the Titanic was sitting on the seafloor for the better part of a century before it was discovered. But if the pilot really did crash the plane into the Diamantina Trench, there's a real chance that it's lost for good.

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