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Old 03-16-2014, 01:00 PM   #81
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Apparently the transponder was turned off just after the plane left Malaysian air traffic control and prior to the time it would have been taken over by Vietnamese air traffic control. The article in the NY Times today also said that the plane flew as high as 45,000 feet. 2,000 feet above its service ceiling. Possibly a quick way to take everyone out that did not have oxygen on. Loss of consciousness in less than 10 seconds if cabin pressure lost. Faster if lost suddenly or if one actually tried to move. Temperature at that altitude is about -70 degrees F. All conjecture but doesn't seem likely that this will end well. Especially since experts suspect that the southern path is far more likely given the high density of military radars along the northern track. Nowhere to land along the southern track. It does show that fallibility of people in that fighters were not scrambled as the then unidentified plane flew back over Malaysia.
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:18 PM   #82
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...in that fighters were not scrambled as the then unidentified plane flew back over Malaysia.
I don't understand what fighter planes can do re: a hijacked plane other than to see where it is going and maybe shooting it down if it's going to be used as a bomb. But, can they do more than that?
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:22 PM   #83
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...

If a satellite picks up a transmission it will know the exact time it received the signal and knowing the time means knowing the longitude. One of the early X prizes was from the UK to the first person to produce an extremely accurate clock that was sea worthy so that ships at sea could calculate exactly where they were by measuring the time relative to Greenwich. (Latitude can be calculated from the star positions)
But it takes more than time to determine longitude. You need accurate time and you need to observe some reference point (sun, star, planet) and a chart that tells you where that object would be seen at that point in the sky at that time.

For example, if you dropped me off somewhere in the world with nothing but a watch set to GMT, I wouldn't know my longitude with any accuracy until I observed something like high noon. If high noon was at 'midnight' on my watch, I'd be at 180 degrees longitude (I think, or maybe I'd be lost?).

But I agree that the story of determining longitude is a fascinating one.

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Old 03-16-2014, 01:29 PM   #84
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Al,
The picture is accurate. I was involved in trying to find an F-111 that went down north of Las Vegas. We, about four of us in the back end of a C-130, spent hours doing just that. Finding a crash sight on land, from the air, is often more difficult than the water. Especially if there is no fire involved. The F-111 was found about a year later by some hunters. It had snowed the day after the crash and the plane was covered up.

I think it is entirely possible it may be a long time before they find this plane.
OK, I'll accept that. I'm surprised that there isn't a plane designed for looking down.

Human vision is pretty good at catching a flicker or glint on the periphery, or noticing that little something that is different. So I'd want to optimize that by giving the observer a big field of view. Bob, in the photo above, is perhaps seeing only 1% of the surface of the ocean through his binoculars -- that's a percentage that I just made up, BTW.

Of course I don't know anything about this stuff.

---------------------

I don't see anything of value from a hijacking or comandeering, unless there was some plan that went wrong.

If it was terrorism, why haven't there been any credible claims of responsibility?

Here's the only suicide scenario I could see: The suicidal pilot kills the rest of the flight crew (or locks them out of the cockpit), but then can't bring himself to crash. He goes up to 45,000 feet to put the passengers out of their misery, and then just waits for the plane to run out of fuel. Possible, but not likely.

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Current reports indicate that the left turn was a pre-programmed path. Either the computer went haywire and somehow overwrote the previously programmed flight path with this new flight path in-flight...
I don't see this as impossible. Ever butt-dial a friend? You sit on your phone, and it dials one of your speed-dial entries. It's terribly unlikely that sitting on it would cause it to dial your friend's number, 719-483-9874, but one button-press is all that would be needed. IOW, the failing computer butt-dialed the new course.
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:42 PM   #85
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Sidebar: There are some real stupid statements being made by the talking heads!
You say this as though you're surprised........ Isn't that what you'd expect based on their routine behavior?
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:02 PM   #86
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:23 PM   #87
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But it takes more than time to determine longitude. You need accurate time and you need to observe some reference point (sun, star, planet) and a chart that tells you where that object would be seen at that point in the sky at that time.

For example, if you dropped me off somewhere in the world with nothing but a watch set to GMT, I wouldn't know my longitude with any accuracy until I observed something like high noon. If high noon was at 'midnight' on my watch, I'd be at 180 degrees longitude (I think, or maybe I'd be lost?).

But I agree that the story of determining longitude is a fascinating one.

-ERD50
From what I saw, they determined the planes distance to the satellite from the pings received from the plane. The TV news report showed a balloon (the satellite) attached to a string (the distance) then made a circle with the string to show all the possible locations based upon distance.
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:29 PM   #88
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... But pilot suicide? I just don't see it.
Why not? Here's a list of suspected pilot suicides:

ASN News » List of aircraft accidents caused by pilot suicide

Suicide is often (not always one could argue) an irrational act. How can we rule out irrational behavior?



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OK, I'll accept that. I'm surprised that there isn't a plane designed for looking down.

Human vision is pretty good at catching a flicker or glint on the periphery, or noticing that little something that is different. So I'd want to optimize that by giving the observer a big field of view. Bob, in the photo above, is perhaps seeing only 1% of the surface of the ocean through his binoculars -- that's a percentage that I just made up, BTW. ...
A typical mag power for binoculars is ~ 10x. So the field of view would be 1/10th (OK, I guess the size of the lens plays into this, but same general concept), and any object would be 10x more visible. It would take a bit more than 10x the time to scan the same area (you'd need to overlap a bit), but they apparently think that is a good trade off. And maybe they scan w/o binoculars first, if they see nothing then they zoom in with binoculars.

I guess I'm not quite ready to assume they don't know how to do this stuff. It's not new to them.




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Current reports indicate that the left turn was a pre-programmed path. Either the computer went haywire and somehow overwrote the previously programmed flight path with this new flight path in-flight...
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I don't see this as impossible. Ever butt-dial a friend? You sit on your phone, and it dials one of your speed-dial entries. It's terribly unlikely that sitting on it would cause it to dial your friend's number, 719-483-9874, but one button-press is all that would be needed. IOW, the failing computer butt-dialed the new course.
I have no idea what it would take to overwrite a pre-programmed flight path, so there's just no way I could speculate on what is or is not possible/likely.
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:33 PM   #89
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From what I saw, they determined the planes distance to the satellite from the pings received from the plane. The TV news report showed a balloon (the satellite) attached to a string (the distance) then made a circle with the string to show all the possible locations based upon distance.
OK, thanks. So the round trip time gives them a distance from the satellite, which as you say, forms a circle. It wouldn't differentiate latitude from longitude.

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Old 03-16-2014, 02:46 PM   #90
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Ocean's a big place. I remember having the Coast Guard come to us. They had our location, LORAN was the current technology. Not as accurate as what we have today. We had probably drifted some since our last conversation too.

Point is they couldn't find us. They were at least a mile off, asked if we were sailing vessel. No you just passed our bow on your port side. They were there shortly, but it's much harder than it seems.

My thoughts go out to all the families, friends, impacted by this terrible event.
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Old 03-16-2014, 03:30 PM   #91
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Stupid Talking Head:

... it may have been shot down by a FLARE or missile. I have never heard of a flare shooting down and air craft. Certainly not at the altitude the aircraft was flying.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:11 PM   #92
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Here is a map of what are supposed to be the possible locations of the plane as of last contact. Note that the northern arc is mostly over China, although other countries are also possible, and that the southern arc intersects the heavily populated island of Java, although the majority is over open ocean.

If you are looking for a hidden airstrip on a remote island as in a spy thriller, a good candidate would be Christmas Island, just south of Java.

This map shows possible search corridors for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:25 PM   #93
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Stupid Talking Head:

... it may have been shot down by a FLARE or missile. I have never heard of a flare shooting down and air craft. Certainly not at the altitude the aircraft was flying.
Well, it sure was not an AMRAM either, since no one scrambled to find the NORDO unidentified blip. Besides the rumormongers seem to assert that an ACARS ping was done while landed.

Gotta love meadia blowhards.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:38 PM   #94
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If the plane turned once to go west, why couldn't it turn again and head back east? Or north, for that matter.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:46 PM   #95
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because it believed in 'go west young man go west' Maybe that was showing in coach.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:59 PM   #96
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If the plane turned once to go west, why couldn't it turn again and head back east? Or north, for that matter.
It defintely could have. That's why there is an arc of possible locations. The points farthest away from Malaysia assume that the plane didn't turn around. The ones closer to Malaysia, such as Java, could only be reached from a flight path that did a lot of turning and backtracking, ending up not too far away from where it started after a 7 1/2 hour flight.
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:29 PM   #97
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What if....they landed somewhere with the passengers still alive ( or some of them, anyway..)

Whoever has the plane loads it with a nuclear device or other explosives AND some of the live passengers and takes off for some terror destination, knowing that every country in the West is now scanning the skies for such a possibility....

And....they succeed in heading to the US or Israel or wherever and now there is an ethical dilemma about shooting it down with civilians on it?? ( providing it is detected by radar and fighters are scrambled to intercept it.....)

What a cluster that would be.....

Sometimes I think it crashed right near where it first lost contact ( before the "turn).....

Or....did anyone actually see it take off?
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:21 PM   #98
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What if....they landed somewhere with the passengers still alive ( or some of them, anyway..)

Whoever has the plane loads it with a nuclear device or other explosives AND some of the live passengers and takes off for some terror destination, knowing that every country in the West is now scanning the skies for such a possibility....

And....they succeed in heading to the US or Israel or wherever and now there is an ethical dilemma about shooting it down with civilians on it?? ( providing it is detected by radar and fighters are scrambled to intercept it.....)

What a cluster that would be.....

Sometimes I think it crashed right near where it first lost contact ( before the "turn).....

Or....did anyone actually see it take off?
I don't know the policies in other countries, but if a jetliner in US airspace is known to be under the control of bad guys, many reports indicate there is a very definite series of steps to be taken if it does not comply with instructions to follow intercepting fighters to a relatively remote airfield and land immediately. To shoot it down would be tragic for those aboard, but letting it fly into a crowded building, sporting event, etc could do much more damage. Any innocents unfortunate enough to be aboard such a plane would be wise to take any steps they can to alter the situation. "Let's roll".

Regarding the nuke thing: Highly unlikely. I'm sure most of these groups could think of many, many lower-risk ways to get such a weapon to a target.
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:52 AM   #99
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Now, they are zooming in on the co-pilot who communicated the last words heard from the plane. I'd assume it is pretty common for co-pilot to communicate to ground on routine matters?
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:17 AM   #100
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Yes, I believe that communication with ATC is normally done by whichever pilot is not flying the plane at that time.
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