Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation News

A Year On, What Flight Simulators Can't Prove About Flight MH370 208

NBC News, a year after the loss of Malaysian Airlines flight 370, has an interesting piece about various scenarios that would explain the plane's disappearance. From the article: The theory that the pilots turned west because of an emergency is undermined because they did not head back toward Kuala Lumpur, according to retired NTSB senior investigator Greg Feith. ... Feith said that turning off the communications and taking the aircraft to the remote Indian Ocean was a course of action consistent with someone trying to purposefully lose an airliner. "It's 20,000-plus feet deep there," Feith said. "It's going be very difficult to find." He added that "the first thing you're going to do" as a pilot during an emergency is "don the oxygen mask" and "confess to ATC [air traffic control], 'We've got an issue, we need to return.'" Feith, who investigated other so-called "murder-suicide" airline crashes while at the NTSB, said that he has "always postured at least that this was an intentional act by one or both pilots."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

A Year On, What Flight Simulators Can't Prove About Flight MH370

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08, 2015 @12:23PM (#49209921)
    was running systemd . It got so pissed
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If only Harrison Ford had been piloting the plane...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 )

      no it was hacked
      http://www.bbc.com/news/magazi... [bbc.com]

      Wrigley says that the pilot can always turn off autopilot if the plane starts making unexpected course changes. If someone did hack into the aircraft and take over the plane using the flight management computer, they would have had no means of keeping that control. "If an aircraft flight management system could be hacked by remote control, it would cause a lot of confusion on the flight deck, but I can't imagine that any pilot would just sit back and watch wh

      • Nonsense.

        I is not just the auto pilot that is computerized. The entire control system is. That is what "fly by wire" means. Electric wires. Get your software in at the right level and you own the plane. (I used to fly an old Tiger Moth, it flew by a different type of wire!)

        Pilot suicide is a boring theory. It was a virus developed by the NSA that accidentally escaped into the wild.

        • It was a virus developed by the NSA that accidentally escaped into the wild.

          Nah. The autopilot became self-aware and, realizing its purpose, it committed suicide.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          There is always the political statement route. Simply fly the plane to Diego Garcia and let the cowardly US military shoot it down. The pilot did have that map on his at home flight simulator and was practising on it (which would tend to indicate an intent to land rather than crash) and regardless of what anyone says, some one had to have cleaned up the wreckage and the Australian government made a really, really rather surprising amount of noise about searching for the plane as far away from Diego Garcia

  • How is this still a thing? Terrorist or not, pilots are suicidal just like everyone...the end.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Maybe, but you dont exactly need a 747 full of people who have nothing to do with you or your tendencies to commit suicide. All you need is systemd
    • Re:Just let go. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08, 2015 @12:42PM (#49210025)

      How is this still a thing?

      Because the plane hasn't been found.

      • How is this still a thing?

        Because the plane hasn't been found.

        Ok let's extend the question: How much more time and effort should we put into finding the plane before it no longer becomes worth it?
        My view is that we should have stopped looking 10 months ago.

        • by jrumney ( 197329 )

          My view is that we should have stopped looking 10 months ago.

          Why? Was it less important than the Air France plane that was found after almost 2 years of searching?

          • by quenda ( 644621 )

            Why? Was it less important than the Air France plane that was found after almost 2 years of searching?

            The AF447 debris was spotted the next day, and bodies and wreckage recovered within a week. It took 2 years to find the black boxes, but they had useful data on the cause of the crash. The Malaysian black boxes are almost certainly of no use.

            Anyway, you are making a big assumption that the GP thinks the AF blackbox search was worthwhile.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              The AF 447 flight data recorders are leading directly to large and substantial changes to pilot training on stall recovery, high altitude stalls, and unreliable flight instruments. The two year search was worth it just for that.

            • The Malaysian black boxes are almost certainly of no use.

              I wouldn't say of no use. Were the pilots conscious upon crashing? Were the pilots trying to execute a ditch, or trying to crash and kill? Perhaps they made a (failed) attempt at a Mayday call prior to ditching, which would be recorded, and may include clues to the nature of the emergency.

              • An interesting question is whether a malicious pilot would have the ability to destroy the black box.

          • Re:Just let go. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @11:47PM (#49212665)

            You're implying that I don't think that the Air France plane was worth abandoning after 2 months too.

            Looking for things isn't cheap. Looking for things on the bottom of the ocean is actually very expensive. I don't think we got our moneys worth on the Air France plane, and unless we find positive evidence that MH317 was abducted by aliens and we establish first contact as a result, we won't get our money's worth on MH317 either.

            There's a point of diminishing returns especially when we're talking about the safety of statistically the safest form of travel by a very VERY large margin. They money would be better spent in programs that could deliver a better return on investment.

        • Re:Just let go. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @11:42PM (#49212635) Journal
          Until we find wreckage, we have no idea what happened to the plane, nor how to prevent it from happening again.
        • If we stopped investigating crashes after 2 months, we would have a lot more planes with serious safety issues in the air.
          • Re:Just let go. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday March 09, 2015 @12:11AM (#49212761)

            Yes likely. So put a dollar value on the safety issues. We have statistically the single safest form of transport. You're far more likely to die on the way to the airport than on the plane itself. How much money should we spend on making it even safer?

            Its the same thought process as anti-terror. Terrorism is a rounding error statistically in the ways that you are likely to die. Yet we spend billions on anti-terror while roads with huge potholes, blind corners, kill people every day and yet their repair remains unfunded.

            We have my own government telling us on a daily basis that times are tough and we need to make tough decisions and that we shouldn't expect healthcare or university to remain cheap, we should expect the pension to be reduced and to live tougher lives, all while writing a blank check to determine what happened to a plane carrying a number of people who were statistically undertaking possibly the safest activity they could to get from a to b.

            Yes this is all statistics. But here's one certainty: When they find MH317 they won't find anything that will make air travel earthshatteringly safer.

            We have long ago reached the point of diminishing returns.

          • Investigate yes. But I dare say the number of planes not found after 2 months is pretty damned small.

    • Re:Just let go. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @12:44PM (#49210039)

      It's not terrorism because the purpose of terrorism is to affect political change through fear and violence. There was no video threat or claiming of responsibility, so no political motivation, so no terrorism.

      • There was no video threat or claiming of responsibility...

        ...yet.

        • in a world where ISIS has a social media internet propaganda arm with professional camera skills, if a terrorist attacks a plane and releases a video a year later he would be endlessly mocked.

      • Re:Just let go. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pz ( 113803 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @10:49PM (#49212445) Journal

        The best theory I've heard is the follows (don your aluminum-foil hats!) --

        Suppose you were a terrorism-for-hire organization, or a straight-up terrorist organization that was planning another big strike against a major superpower. Either one works for this theory. And suppose you had some new, amazing high-tech way of taking over a 777 by remote control. What would you do to either (a) test your system, or (b) impress a potential client? Such an ability would be HUGELY valuable, but only if it remained secret. You'd probably select a flight operated by a developing country that would not nominally have been under the same level of scrutiny as one from the first world, and one that could quickly be taken out of normal radar coverage. You'd take the plane over, disable its communication, move it about against the pilot's will (but still within radar range so that the demonstration could be recorded), and then send it off to crash well outside of radar range in a very deep part of the ocean where it might never be found, so evidence of your nefarious actions would not come to public scrutiny.

        You'd be able to demand a pretty high price in the elite international terrorism market with such a demonstration. So while the act of diverting MH 370 might not in itself have been an act of terrorism, it still might have been executed by terrorists.

        It's far fetched, yes, but it fits the facts better than any other theory I've heard. (Suicide by two non-suicidal pilots? Fire that magically disables communication without affecting navigation? Hijack with modern hardened cockpit access? Etc.)

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Why would a suicidal pilot go through so much trouble to hide it was a suicide? Was he trying to make sure the insurance paid out to his family? He'd have had to kill the co-pilot to pull it off, unless the co-pilot also thought suicide was a good idea. There are so many simpler ways to commit suicide.
      • There are so many simpler ways to commit suicide.

        When I worked in the retail industry and occasional during high stress seasons, daydream thoughts of ending my misery crept into my head. They never just involved just ending my misery, but ending the misery of all the people causing my misery as well, (read all the jerks in the mall at Christmas time).

        Now take a crazy person, one that does not just simply fantasize about ending their tormentors, but actually does it, I can see why they didn't want a "si

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

          As a pilot and an aircraft mechanic, I can tell you it is insanely easy to put an aircraft in an unrecoverable flight condition if one chooses to do so, regardless of how the other pilot feels about it. Nothing shy of fully automating the cockpit and firing all the pilots will change that.

          And how easy is it to fly the wrong way for hours without the other pilot figuring it out? Turning off transponders and missing "required" radio checks?

      • Basically because he has a big ego. He thinks "Hey dudes, see if you can find this plane, losers". Go out in fame, or infame.

  • With a similar anniversary of flight 17 [wikipedia.org] shot by Russia-sponsored assholes [cbslocal.com] in Eastern Ukraine (by mistake), Russian propaganda [kioski.yle.fi] is spreading lunatic rumors about America shooting down MH370 [blogs.com].

    They don't have to convince anybody with such accusations. They just need to make enough noise to make the perfectly credible accusations against them look similarly lunatic to the short attention-span majority of the world's population...

    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      They don't have to convince anybody with such accusations. They just need to make enough noise to make the perfectly credible accusations against them look similarly lunatic to the short attention-span majority of the world's population...

      Thats partly right, but overstated. I'd say they merely need to cast doubt - no need to make both cases equally (in)credible.
      And more importantly, the propaganda is intended for domestic consumption, not "the world".

    • American has it own share of assholery
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I... [wikipedia.org]

      And of cause the russkies shot down a few airliner themselves too.

  • by minstrelmike ( 1602771 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @12:54PM (#49210099)
    There was an article in Wired quite awhile ago by a pilot. He said if there was a sudden change in direction, it was probably because the -experienced- pilot who was familiar with all the airports in the area, was looking for a safe airport. In that direction was a 7,000 foot runway. He theorized there was a nosewheel fire, the pilot turned and then everyone was overcome by smoke so the plane continued on untl running out of fuel.

    http://www.wired.com/2014/03/mh370-electrical-fire/ [wired.com]
    • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardpriceNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday March 08, 2015 @01:05PM (#49210159)

      Except there are procedures for clearing a cabin of smoke, even with an ongoing fire.

      • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @01:42PM (#49210317)

        Except there are procedures for clearing a cabin of smoke, even with an ongoing fire.

        That's like saying no one could ever be trapped in a burning building because it has sprinklers, fire escapes, and an evacuation plan,

        Even firefighters get trapped and killed -- and they're professionally trained to work around out of control fires, and to bring them under control.

        • Its nothing like that comparison - the pilots would never be overcome by the smoke, they have an independent oxygen supply and as I said before there are procedures to clear the cabin of any ongoing smoke issue.

          So no, being overcome by smoke and the plane flying on as a result is not one of the active possibilities. There were multiple systems on the aircraft which could have, independently, raised the alarm that there were issues on board. But no alarm was raised, indeed systems were turned off rather than

          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            the pilots would never be overcome by the smoke, they have an independent oxygen supply

            And it can't malfunction? I'm not saying its likely that's what happened, but we can't really rule it out of hand.

            Interesting eh?

            Yes, the whole thing was a very strange and interesting and tragic event.

          • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
            Yeah, and thing happen. The WTC sprinklers were damaged by the fire, such that they couldn't work to fight a fire. Sometimes the problem breaks things to make things worse.
      • by Dereck1701 ( 1922824 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @01:42PM (#49210319)

        You assume that those procedures are always going to work after....... a fire! Its not inconceivable that a fire on an airliner could damage vital components possibly related to the environmental, radio and even control systems. Don't get me wrong its an unlikely situation where the radio AND avionics/air handling/navigation systems and their backups (if any) are effected simultaneously but when you have 36.5 million commercial air flights per year its bound to happen eventually.

        • Not only that, but think of the people on board a plane. Most flight attendants will go their entire career with nothing more dangerous than some turbulence. Sure, they're trained for emergencies in theory, but when something really bad happens in the middle of the ocean at 30,000+ feet, especially for the first time, even trained people will freak the fuck out.

          And that's the trained people. Imagine the general public realizing something is wrong. They're not all going to sit there quietly with smiles on th

        • And yet if there were a fire on board that was so catastrophic that it wiped out all of those systems (one of which is, by the way, simply cracking a cabin door open at altitude), the plane should have been unflyable and should have crashed much closer to its last known position.

          Take a look at Swiss Air flight 111 - massive fire onboard and yet the pilots were in full contact with ATC right up until the last five minutes, with evidence that the Captain was fighting the fire in the cockpit at the point the a

      • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @05:06PM (#49211201)
        That's something I always wondered about with MH370. It used to be that the procedures after smoke in the cabin prioritized trying to locate the source of the smoke and extinguish the fire in-flight. Recently, it's been shifting more towards getting the plane on the ground ASAP [flightsafety.org] (page 33 of PDF).

        Except none of the reporters covering this story seem to be capable of actually researching a story. The obvious question to ask when considering the fire hypothesis is, "what were Malaysia Airlines' in-flight fire procedures?" How did they train their aircrew to react in case of a fire? Did the procedures the crew were supposed to follow still prioritize trying to locate and fight the fire? In which case the Wired article seems implausible. Or were they newer procedures which emphasized landing the plane ASAP? In which case the Wired article might be spot on.

        Still, the biggest flaw in the fire hypothesis IMHO is that the airliner continued to fly for ~7 hours after the "incident". Fires devastating enough to debilitate the crew typically do not go out by themselves. They burn enough equipment to make the aircraft unflyable [wikipedia.org], or compromise the structural integrity of the aircraft leading to in-flight break-up [wikipedia.org] with passengers and cargo falling out the bottom.
    • There would be a radio call first if everything was legit.
    • There is an extensive thread about this on the Professional Pilot rumour network [pprune.org] and they favour Hypoxia [wikipedia.org]

    • Except it turned back toward Malaysia, but then turned again generally westward and followed a crooked channel out to sea, along a path that a Malaysian pilot would know isn't covered by air traffic radar, but would not know is covered by military radar.

      Foul play is beyond question. The questions are who and why.

      • Foul play is beyond question. The questions are who and why.

        Yeah there was an interview with a former chief pilot of Malaysia Airlines, and he seemed pretty convinced the captain stole the plane. In particular, the way the aircraft overflew Penang, which was the captain's home city. A day before the flight his wife and kids had gone back to their house in Penang.

    • was a 7,000 foot runway

      Yeah thats Palau Langkawi but while the runway is long, everything else is wrong with that destination. The runway is only really usable from the west, and terrain to the east would make an abort for a heavy aircraft problematic. There is only a small hospital on the island, a couple of police stations and a few ambulances. Its not really set up for night operations either. A return to KLIA would have been the standard way to go, its a bit longer but the aircraft was loaded with fuel and may have needed to

  • Kim Jong Un needed new engineers to build his automatic cheese maker.

  • by laughingskeptic ( 1004414 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @03:39PM (#49210827)
    It bugs me that from the beginning the MH370 disappearance does not seem to first be being approached as a possible criminal act. Were there any outrageous insurance claims following the flight? Were known drug kingpins contacted about losses that wouldn't normally be reported? Was there something on that plane worth (to an appropriately depraved mind) killing all of those people for?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I am the pilot of MH370.

    I know the pilots' security routine: quick metal detector gate and a light symbolic patdown. Smuggling the ceramic knife ($5 at Kitchens-R-Us) in my shoe will be easy.

    I will execute at international ATC handoff, so it takes time for them to notice neither tower has my plane. I will excuse myself to the bathroom, retrieve the knife, and return to slit the co-pilot's throat. I will not be intercepted or talked down from my destiny, so I will shut down all the comms I can.

    I will turn

  • by Cochonou ( 576531 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @04:07PM (#49210967) Homepage
    He added that "the first thing you're going to do" as a pilot during an emergency is "don the oxygen mask" and "confess to ATC [air traffic control], 'We've got an issue, we need to return.'"

    This is quite a surprising statement. In an emergency, the pilot priorities are:
    1 - Aviate -- Maintain control of the aircraft
    2 - Navigate -- Know where you are and where you intend to go
    3 - Communicate -- Let someone know your plans and needs
    in that precise order, and not in any other order. They are trained to proceed like this.
    • I would still put

      0 - Respirate at the top in a pressurised aircraft.

      And since the crew did turn west, we need to explain why. Did they have a navigation failure? Thats strange with the Malay peninsula lit up around them.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Negative.

      Tell me what the plane that went down in the Hudson did? Communicate, aviate, navigate. At least until the decision to go in the Hudson was made, after which there was no need to communicate, and it because Aviate-only. But while crashing (after engine failure), he had a conversation with ATC. That's more important than anything else, despite being last on the list.

      That list is for the Cessna fliers who never have, and never will fly anything else. Nothing you say to ATC matters. There's no
      • Tell me what the plane that went down in the Hudson did? Communicate, aviate, navigate. At least until the decision to go in the Hudson was made, after which there was no need to communicate, and it because Aviate-only. But while crashing (after engine failure), he had a conversation with ATC. That's more important than anything else, despite being last on the list.

        Indeed. Now compare this to other recent high profile crashes: AF447 (Rio-Paris, crashed in the middle of the pacific) - no mayday. QZ8501 (S
        • For that AF447 flight, I should have written: crashed in the middle of the atlantic. Sorry for the mistake.
    • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

      He added that "the first thing you're going to do" as a pilot during an emergency is "don the oxygen mask" and "confess to ATC [air traffic control], 'We've got an issue, we need to return.'"

      This is quite a surprising statement. In an emergency, the pilot priorities are:

      1 - Aviate -- Maintain control of the aircraft

      Broadcasting isn't first priority, though donning an O2 mask in the event of unbreathable atmosphere would be right at the top of the list. There have been crashes in the past when this was not done, and any competent crew should be donning masks if there is any reason to think the air might not be breathable, which would include smelling smoke or a pressurization alarm.

      Broadcasting an SOS is a very high priority, even if you haven't gained complete control of the aircraft, even if all you have a chance to

      • Calling Mayday properly requires selecting the Guard frequency to transmit on. Everybody normally flies commercial and military aircraft with the guard receiver selected so anybody around will hear the shout... and perform relay duties if required. But to make a proper Mayday call requires actually selecting the emergency frequency on the radio to transmit on. Some aircraft also allow the pilot to set the Crash Position Indicator transmitter going as well in advance of the crash so the satellite systems can
  • Rockwell Collins CMU-900 overheat cut off radio and the pilots made the trun for the best nearest airport before being over come by the fire.

    • Did it also cut off ADS-B and ADS-C?

      Palau Langkawi might have been closer by a few minutes but its not set up for night operations, doesn't have substantial medical or emergency facilities, and has a big hill at the eastern end of the runway. The logical action would be to return to KLIA. To do that they would have to overfly the Cameron Highlands again, but its only 6000 feet high.

  • As I understand it, doppler shift data from the satellite link points to a southerly trajectory, but the transciever in the satellite ground station compensates for doppler, leaving only noise. So much that we assume about the aircraft assumes the doppler data is correct, but it depends on a few Hz of shift.

    • by ChumpusRex2003 ( 726306 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @05:46PM (#49211359)
      There are several sources of Doppler shift and compensation. There is Doppler shift between aircraft and satellite, and between satellite and ground station. The ground station automatically compensates for all the Doppler shift between GS and satellite.

      The Doppler shift between aircraft and satellite is partially compensated by tracking the Doppler shift in transmissions from the satellite to the aircraft. Without compensation by the aircraft, Doppler shift would be in the region of 300-400 Hz, which exceeds the bandwidth of the channel allocation. The compensation is subject to local oscillator error in the aircraft transceiver, hence individual aircraft will apply the compensation slightly differently.

      Although the degree of compensation varies between aircraft to aircraft, it could be fitted with a standard linear regression. This method was apparently verified by Inmarsat on several other aircraft with similar transceivers, and was calibrated based upon transmissions with known locations/velocities.
  • My theory is that there was a flash fire that pretty much instantly went from "Do you smell smoke" to "Ahhh my face is melting" then one of the brave pilots managed to dial in a rough turn to home into the autopilot before either fleeing the cockpit or dying. Then the plane filled with toxic smoke and sailed along with a dead bunch of occupants until it ran out of fuel. The autopilot then greased a perfect landing in the ocean keeping the plane largely intact where it slid peacefully to the sea floor.

    Thi

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27

Working...