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Engine Data Reveals That Flight 370 Flew On For Hours After It "Disappeared"

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the nailing-dow-the-time dept.

Transportation 382

Advocatus Diaboli writes "Aviation investigators and national security officials believe the plane flew for a total of five hours based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from the Boeing Co. 777's engines as part of a routine maintenance and monitoring program. As part of its maintenance agreements, Malaysia Airlines transmits its engine data live to Rolls-Royce for analysis. The system compiles data from inside the 777's two Trent 800 engines and transmits snapshots of performance, as well as the altitude and speed of the jet. Those snippets are compiled and transmitted in 30-minute increments, said one person familiar with the system." Update: 03/14 11:41 GMT by S : The WSJ has since updated its report to say the data was from the plane's satellite-communication system. However, Malaysian authorities have denied both scenarios, saying neither Boeing nor Rolls-Royce received data past 1:07am (the flight initially disappeared off radar at 1:30am).

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Already denied (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478667)

... by malaysian officials: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/13/malaysian-officials-deny-flight-mh370-missing-plane-flew-hours

Re:Already denied (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478725)

And the story has since been updated. There were no new ACARS messages with engine data, so that is consistent with the malaysian officials.

However, what the article now says it that the airplanes satellite link was trying to connect to the satellite, it just wasn't sending any data.

Re:Already denied (3, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | about 6 months ago | (#46479199)

The Malaysian Airlines 777 in question didn't have satellite ACARS capability, only VHF (and maybe HF too) radios carrying ACARS data. I'm not even sure it had any SATCOM equipment fitted at all. There was a recent airworthiness directive for 777-series aircraft about hull skin problems where SATCOM antennas are mounted on the top of the fuselage but it didn't apply to the Malaysian Airlines 777s since apparently they didn't have those antennas fitted.

If the HF and VHF radios on board were shut down for any reason then there would be no more ACARS data received by ground stations.

Re:Already denied (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478757)

Something's definitely going on that they don't want us to know about. They wouldn't be blanket-denying everything announced by third parties if they didn't have at least some idea of what happened.

Malaysia denies everything ! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478761)

Malaysia denies that it is a racist country.

Malaysia denies that its "democracy" is a sham.

Malaysia denies that its government is corrupt.

Malaysia denies that its official race-based policies has forced a lot of talented people leaving the country.

Malaysia denies everything.

So, is it a surprise that Malaysia denies this, as well ?

The Malaysian officers deny the burst mode transmission from the engine's monitoring module based on this statement: "The RR (Rolls Royce) representative in KL (Kuala Lumpur) has no idea of the transmission"

On the other hand, the report of the burst mode transmission kept on going for an additional four (4) hours AFTER the plane supposed to be "lost", is based on the communication between the RR HQ (for Jet Engine) and the Western security agencies.

Which one do you believe ?

Maybe it's just Little Country Syndrome? (3, Interesting)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 6 months ago | (#46478805)

Say they are doing their best to reassure the domestic population that they are in competent control of the disaster, but they're in over their heads...

Re:Maybe it's just Little Country Syndrome? (3, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | about 6 months ago | (#46479265)

Say they are doing their best to reassure the domestic population that they are in competent control of the disaster, but they're in over their heads...

Not quite.

MAS is owned by the Malaysian Government holdings company (either wholly or majority, I cant remember which) and the airline has recently had another period of unprofitably. This is less about assuring the Malaysian people of anything and more about trying to do damage control to the rest of the world. Sadly they're doing it in SE Asian style which is more about maintaining face than fixing issues.

In addition to this, MAS is getting a lot of competition from Malaysia's low cost airline Air Asia and anything else that could eat into the MAS's revenue is detrimental to the Malaysian Govt so they're dialling the damage control up to 11.

Re:Malaysia denies everything ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478831)

Not you, do some research and stop being a sheep.

The last data received from devices installed in the Rolls-Royce engines of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared Saturday were transmitted at 1:07 a.m. local time, Malaysia's acting defense minister told reporters Thursday. That would be a little more than 30 minutes after Beijing-bound Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur. The minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, appeared at a news conference with the airline's CEO.

CNN, though, was saying that correspondent Richard Quest had been told by "a senior aviation source ... that there was no technical data suggesting the airplane continued flying for four hours." (Update about ABC News and CNN reports added at 12:45 p.m. ET.)

Re:Malaysia denies everything ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478995)

Ah. Good ol' Dick Quest. Takes me back to college.

Malaysia - a country which is filled with lies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479161)

Malaysia is a country which is filled with lies.

Malaysia tells everyone that it is a very peaceful country. If you believe in what Malaysia says, read the account of this murder - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Shaariibuugiin_Altantuyaa

It's the murder of a lady from Mongolia, and the murder weapon was explosive, specifically C4.

Malaysia also denies that it sponsors Islamic terrorism. If you believe in what Malaysia tells you, read this - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuala_Lumpur_al-Qaeda_Summit

Al Qaeda had a summit in Kuala Lumpur, the capitol city for Malaysia. Osama Bin Laden attended that meeting, and that summit took place in Kuala Lumpur mainly because the government of Malaysia sponsored it.

If you are a Jihadist, and want to find sponsorship in spreading terrorism, please give Malaysia a visit.

But if you are not a Jihadist, please try to avoid Malaysia, for you may end up just like Ms. Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa, died by C4.

Re:Already denied (3, Insightful)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 6 months ago | (#46478993)

Frankly, with the amount of conflicting and inaccurate information/speculation coming from all corners about this matter, I'm just tuning out for a week or two until something more concrete is discovered.

Re:Already denied (1)

Clived (106409) | about 6 months ago | (#46479201)

Wonder if we are looking at a "Malaysia Triangle" incident here ?

Food for thought !

Says the WSJ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478677)

Doesn't everyone else deny this report?

Re:Says the WSJ (1)

jmichaelg (148257) | about 6 months ago | (#46478721)

New Scientist [newscientist.com] is carrying the story as well. Not clear if they're parroting the WSJ or if they have an independent source.

My dick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478681)

flies for hours after disappearing into ur MUM

Re:My dick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479045)

You know, I recently met a man with an asshole more rancid than you'd ever be able to imagine. Furthermore, his smelly, diseased ass was filled with parasite-infested feces. Upon finding all this out, my fetid-as-fuck cock knew what it had to do; it knew that it had to impregnate his feces! "Oh, yeah! Let's get this feces fiesta started!" I said. Before he could even move a single piece of feces, my disgusting cock slammed deep into his ass, right into the warm embrace of his fecal matter! I impregnated his feces just after shouting "I'm cumming! Get pregnant!" Man, what a day that was. What say you?

What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you? What say you?

Turns out, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478685)

Authorities quickly debunked this story this AM.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/03/13/289758523/officials-dispute-report-that-malaysian-jet-kept-flying-for-hours

Re:Turns out, no. (4, Insightful)

multi io (640409) | about 6 months ago | (#46478807)

Authorities quickly debunked this story this AM.

Denied, not debunked. Big difference.

Re:Turns out, no. (0, Troll)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#46479107)

RR Malaysia denied it, making it debunked. The US has indicated they "believe" it flew for hours, but has not indicated how they knew it. My best guess is that the US has some illegal military operation that caught it, and so the US tried feeding "parallel construction" to point Malaysia in the right direction with lies. But Malaysia is seeing through the lies, and not taking the hint. And that's somehow Malaysia's fault. Now RR Europe may have "new" information, which has not been given to the Malaysian investigators, but it's more likely another US lie.

If it actually happened as TFA asserts, why would RR Europe not tell RR Malaysia the details, so that RR Malaysia, actively involved in the investigation, could be giving correct information to the investigators? What possible reason would RR Europe have to leak the information to the US, to then leak to the press, while never letting the investigators, or even their own employee, know what's happened?

Re:Turns out, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479281)

I doubt they had specialist information we have seen them claiming special knowledge time and time again that has proven to be false (Eg, Syrian body count usa providing number of dead)

I would trust the Malaysians of the USA's "specialist information" The US is like an ageing old man whose memory is going.. "back in my day I had to walk 100 Miles in the snow..." or " We know better than you, we have no data but since we are better than you, your wrong"

Re:Turns out, no. (0)

The Cat (19816) | about 6 months ago | (#46478833)

If words were people, the word "debunked" would be shoved into a barrel of nitro-glycerin and thrown off a cliff before breakfast.

The word "creepy" would be found in an artillery impact crater nearby.

Re:Turns out, no. (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46478849)

Why?

Napkin time (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478709)

~500 mph * 5 hours = 2500 mile radius = 19.6 million square miles.

That's about 10% of the surface of the planet. They're going to need some sort of heading information; you can permanently hide a 777 in that much ocean/mountain/jungle/etc.

Anyone know if the radar hits were meaningful yet?

Re:Napkin time (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478975)

I think you need a new napkin. It's fair to think they flew in a reasonably straight line, so you don't have a circle of area, you have a donut. The width of the donut is the % deviation from "straight line" that you think is fair.

Re: Napkin time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479285)

"It's fair to think they flew in a reasonably straight line,"

That's exactly what they want you to think

Re:Napkin time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479295)

Why would you assume that? If the transponders were off, then it was probably hijacked, which means it probably went to a location where it could land safely, which certainly wouldn't be in Chinese or Vietnamese airspace. Most likely toward Pakistan.

Combined with the ringing phones ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478735)

that relatives called 4 hours after the plane was reported late makes this thing very suspicious. This plane is intact and will be used for something at a later date

Re:Combined with the ringing phones ? (4, Funny)

blackiner (2787381) | about 6 months ago | (#46478789)

Was this actually Oceanic flight 815?

Re:Combined with the ringing phones ? (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 6 months ago | (#46478919)

hahaha beat me to it

Re:Combined with the ringing phones ? (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 6 months ago | (#46478951)

No, it was a different flight, but it probably crash landed on the same island.

Re:Combined with the ringing phones ? (5, Funny)

aphelion_rock (575206) | about 6 months ago | (#46479233)

The aircraft is currently parked on a remote jungle runway in Sumatra taking Grand Theft Auto to a whole new level..

Re:Combined with the ringing phones ? (3, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 6 months ago | (#46479033)

Yes that is interesting. Although we are just going on hearsay to an extent. Is there PROOF that passengers' phones were ringing (i.e. those phones were definitely on the plane, and definitely rang)? Or is it just a case of some relatives believing what they want to believe (which I don't blame them for, in the traumatic situation they are in).

Furthermore there are other potential explanations for that, including phones auto-forwarded to other numbers or diverted to a malfunctioning voicemail or answering machine system when not in range of a tower. This is especially possible for internationally routed calls (which sometimes do some pretty weird things).

If it is true, it certainly does suggest that the plane remained flying (and at a low altitude) for some time after 'disappearing', or at least that the plane crashed somewhere within range of a cell tower and some phones survived the crash.

Re:Combined with the ringing phones ? (5, Informative)

mschuyler (197441) | about 6 months ago | (#46479091)

The phones weren't "ringing." the ring tone the relatives heard was supplied by Central Office Equipment to give the illusion that the phones were "ringing." That's what happens when someone picks up the phone and you say, "But it hadn't started ringing yet." Yes, it had. It's just that your simulation-ring hadn't reached you yet--two different tones. Think about it. There is only a single cable pair that hooks up a typical phone. How could you possibly "hear it ring"?

The cell network mimics the POTS network. It's just part of the "aural interface" phones have used for over a hundred years.

Re: Combined with the ringing phones ? (4, Informative)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 6 months ago | (#46479211)

One bit of info that *might* be of interest... cell phone towers beacon to announce their presence to phones, but individual phones actually *poll* towers every few seconds. The reply from the tower lets them know when there's an incoming call, deliver SMS & voicemail notifications, etc. In theory, at least, if the mobile phone of any passenger came within range of a cell tower it was allowed to poll, there's probably a log of it somewhere.

That said, if the jet was at cruising altitude, the likelihood of a phone on board *doing* that is almost nil, because tower antennas are generally aimed downwards... partly, to minimize interference from airborne mobile phones that could otherwise splatter noise over a 40-100 mile radius (the line of sight when your transmitter is 5+ miles up in the air).

Re: Combined with the ringing phones ? (4, Informative)

Nethead (1563) | about 6 months ago | (#46479255)

On original POTS circuits the ring tone was actually the 25Hz signal sent to the phone with the phone's bell coils supplying some of the ringback harmonics along with a ring generator. With a good ear you could estimate how many phone sets were ringing. The audio path was already set-up while the phone rang. If the called party was too near an AM broadcast transmitter you might even hers some of the program between rings. The off-hook condition on the called party just disconnected the ring generator at the CO and started any billing equipment.

Of course this all ended with the last of the Stroger and crossbar offices.

In five hours... (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 6 months ago | (#46478743)

You could fly from San Francisco (SFO) to Orlando (MCO) That's a pretty big search radius, if this story is true.

Here's What Will Happen (-1, Troll)

The Cat (19816) | about 6 months ago | (#46478745)

Some Important Person(tm) will emerge and recite a plausible explanation. A group of thundering assholes will then encircle the explanation on sites like this one and declare it "the way it is."

At that point all discussion will be over, and anyone who continues to study the incident, come to any other conclusion, offer any contradictory evidence or otherwise belabor the issue will be labeled a wacko and derided, harassed, shouted down and made fun of forever and ever amen.

You see, in America, critical thinking is prized right up to the point where an important person(tm) speaks. All subsequent critical thinking is conspiracy nut batshit tinfoil hat wearing wacko pluck-your-banjo-with-your-single-tooth teabagger loony.

The funny part is that in every single criminal prosecution in this country, every single prosecutor begins by forming what the thundering assholes would call a "conspiracy theory."

Re:Here's What Will Happen (5, Insightful)

Le Marteau (206396) | about 6 months ago | (#46478785)

The United States was founded on a conspiracy. Literally.

That the people are being conditioned to automatically consider anything labeled a "conspiracy" automatically laughable says a lot about the degeneration of the U.S.

Re:Here's What Will Happen (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 6 months ago | (#46478787)

Ah, the Important Person has spoken. The rest of us are the wackos this time!

Re: Here's What Will Happen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478811)

Shut up you nut batshit tinfoil hat wearing wacko pluck-your-banjo-with-your-single-tooth teabagger loony. This is not the conspiracy you are looking for.

Re:Here's What Will Happen (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46478821)

Nope.
It's a "conspiracy theory." when you have no actual data to back up a statement. Usually note be the ever expanding circle the conspiracy must encompass when you raise questions about the person uttering the conspiracy theory.

I'm sorry* reality doesn't coincide with your pet narrative. Doubly sorry* you seem to be aware of critical thinking, yet have no idea how to use it or what it actually is.

*I'm no really sorry.

Re:Here's What Will Happen (0)

The Cat (19816) | about 6 months ago | (#46478843)

I'm sorry* you misspell three-letter words.

*Nah, I'm not really sorry.

Re:Here's What Will Happen (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46478887)

Ah yes, the spelling ad hom and no actual refutation.
Brilliant!

Re:Here's What Will Happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478853)

"conspiracy theory" does not mean what you (have been conditioned to) think it means.

The lack or presence of data has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Re:Here's What Will Happen (1)

Optimal Cynic (2886377) | about 6 months ago | (#46478829)

All subsequent critical thinking is conspiracy nut batshit tinfoil hat wearing wacko pluck-your-banjo-with-your-single-tooth teabagger loony.

Maybe if that wasn't actually the case, the "critical thinkers" would get a bit more respect.

Re:Here's What Will Happen (4, Insightful)

Goody (23843) | about 6 months ago | (#46478857)

It's when a theory is implausible and the "critical thinkers" spend years obsessed with beating a dead horse they get labeled conspiracy nut tinfoil hat wearing wackos, like the 911 truthers, the we-didn't-go-to-the-moon people, or the nutbags who are still asking for Obama's birth certificate. Critical thinking is fine and welcome in this country. Obsessing about implausible made up scenarios driven by agendas or outrage isn't.

Re:Here's What Will Happen (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479141)

Such people are a distinct minority. There are people who believe in anything you can imagine. The fact that they are not ignored by the mainstream media but are in fact paraded in front of society for the purposes of mockery and as an example to all is telling.

The fact is, these imbeciles are used as material to condition people to automatically reject ANY possibility of ANY conspiracies, by their idiocy, when in fact most of history is the history of conspiracies.

keep an open mind, troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478747)

nothing wrong with the Boeing plane... must be terrorists, i hear they were trying to start fires on board earlier by putting in bad batteries.
oh also US government agencies are completely neutral when dealing with large US based corporations... unlike China

Re:keep an open mind, troll (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 6 months ago | (#46478867)

> i hear they were trying to start fires on board earlier by putting in bad batteries

Wrong plane.

Correction: Signal NOT from the engine monitors (4, Informative)

gnunick (701343) | about 6 months ago | (#46478749)

(From TFA):

Corrections & Amplifications

U.S. investigators suspect Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 flew for hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, based on an analysis of signals sent through the plane's satellite-communication link designed to automatically transmit the status of onboard systems, according to people familiar with the matter. An earlier version of this article and an accompanying graphic incorrectly said investigators based their suspicions on signals from monitoring systems embedded in the plane's Rolls-Royce PLC engines and described that process.

It wasn't the engines sending data (5, Interesting)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 6 months ago | (#46478771)

It was the SATCOM system of the plane itself, which has the capability of transmitting health and positional data of the entire plane's system for analysis by third-party service and maintenance providers. Airliners have the option to purchase service plans for that but Malaysia Airlines chose to only purchase a separate plane related to data the engine's themselves can transmit (from Rolls Royce, the engine's manufacturer).

Even though Malaysian Airlines didn't have an online service monitoring plan for this specific plane, the plane still performs periodic searches/connections to satellite data communication providers - akin to an unregistered cell phone searching and connecting to a cell tower but without licensed service. This periodic connection occurs approx once every hour on the plane, and by counting the number of attempts (4), authorities believe the plane was either flying or in-tact for at least 4 hours from the last secondary radar ping.

Re:It wasn't the engines sending data (1, Interesting)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 6 months ago | (#46478957)

Great explanation.

It sounds more like like the fuselage floating with battery power available for 4 hours, but time will tell on that one.

Re:It wasn't the engines sending data (5, Informative)

InvalidError (771317) | about 6 months ago | (#46479127)

I would be a little surprised if the engine monitoring and satellite link circuitry would be on battery backup since it is unlikely engines and passengers would have much use for satellite link after the plane hits water. For the satellite link to work, the antenna would also need to remain above water since submersion adds horrible attenuation to radio signals. Additionally, cabin electronics aren't water-tight so submersion in ocean water would ruin them in fairly short order.

Monitoring module only functions when engine is on (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479195)

The on board engine monitoring module is only *ON* when the engine is turned on.

When the engine is off, the transmission module goes to sleeping mode, relies on it's tiny battery backup on keeping the date/time current.

Saying that the module keeps on transmitting AFTER the plane has broken up is not only inaccurate, it's downright irresponsible !

The plane was pinging hours after it disappeared (2)

Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) | about 6 months ago | (#46478773)

A satellite transmitter on the plane was active for about five hours, indicating the plane was operational after its transponder shut down less than an hour after takeoff, said three U.S. government officials. The 777 can cruise at 500 miles (805 kilometers) an hour or more, meaning it may have flown for as far as 2,500 miles beyond its last point of contact if it was intact and had enough fuel. Link (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-13/missing-malaysian-jet-said-to-have-flown-with-beacon-off.html)

What about radar? (4, Insightful)

Brainguy (12519) | about 6 months ago | (#46478859)

Something I don't understand is how the plane disappeared from radar yet kept flying. Switching off a transponder does not make a plane disappear from radar, it just means there is a blip on the radar without the data a transponder provides. The fact that no one is bringing this up leads me to believe I'm missing something big here, because as far as I know the only way that plane could have disappeared completely from radar was if it disintegrated.

Re:What about radar? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478905)

Something I don't understand is how the plane disappeared from radar yet kept flying. Switching off a transponder does not make a plane disappear from radar, it just means there is a blip on the radar without the data a transponder provides. The fact that no one is bringing this up leads me to believe I'm missing something big here, because as far as I know the only way that plane could have disappeared completely from radar was if it disintegrated.

A blip is just a blip among presumably hundreds of other blips. Without a transponder, you're going to have a hell of a time identifying a particular blip as the aircarft that you're searching for.

Re:What about radar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478967)

I'm sure they can start a government spending^W IT program to correlate transponders to radar blips, and when one of them vanishes from the pair raise a red flag.

Re:What about radar? (1)

phrostie (121428) | about 6 months ago | (#46479039)

like this:

http://www.flightradar24.com/6... [flightradar24.com]

true, but radar only works in line of sight.
it doesn't see through mountains, islands, or the curvature of the earth.

Re:What about radar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479273)

Isn't the technology in use sufficiently advanced to link all those blips with their corresponding transponders, thereby giving them the ability to detect unidentified flying objects? Isn't the capability to discern normal air traffic from unknown air traffic a requirement of any air defense system?

If so, doesn't an unidentified flying object warrant some special attention that somebody would have noticed at the time it was happening regardless of whether they had knowledge of a missing flight, and wouldn't they then be able to tie the two events together when they learned of the missing flight?

I would assume that part of good air defense is knowing what these unidentified objects are, or at least keeping track of them. At least some data has been reported to have come from Malaysian air defense radar. So... how did they not know about this while it was happening, and how did they then lose track of it?

If it's due to inadequacies in their defense systems, they probably won't be readily volunteering that information in a press release.

Re: What about radar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479043)

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/03/13/world/asia/missing-malaysia-airlines-flight-370.html?referrer=

Re:What about radar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479089)

As far as I know there is no radar coverage over open water. Maybe along parts of the coast but that's about it. Aircraft use other mechanisms for sending position reports, sometimes via satellite.

Re:What about radar? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479105)

If the plane dropped in altitude and was flying lower to the ground, it would not show up on radar, yet is still capable of flying at about 75% of the normal speed (mostly due to difference in air resistance, I believe).

For example, the plane could have had some weird technical problems resulting in loss of altitude and bearing data, and the transponder being disabled with no way to communicate. Without being able to know their altitude, the pilots might have lowered themselves to the ground; either willingly (to aid in trying to figure out where the fuck they were) or not (many plane crashes are a result of weather fucking up the altimeters, resulting in the pilots flying too low). This might also explain why the plane started to show a slight banking, as if it were attempting to maybe turn around.

Re: What about radar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479305)

Does not explain lack of any mayday... Unless radio fried too

Re:What about radar? (1, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#46479163)

"RADAR" isn't used to track commercial planes. Every time you hear "RADAR" with respect to a transponder, the speaker is wrong. It's an active WiFi locator beacon. The "AP" sends out a broadcast request, and the beacons respond. If you turn off the beacon, or have a damaging electrical fire, you'll lose transponder communication, and never be seen on "RADAR". Military RADAR is RADAR, and doesn't have those limitations. Some RADAR systems are used in the US, with dual military/commercial use. Especially on the coasts. But almost nobody else does that. It's a waste of time and money.

Re:What about radar? (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about 6 months ago | (#46479187)

I blame TV. Apparently everyone thinks we are actively tracking every single object flying through the air everywhere, every second of every day...

The real puzzle (5, Insightful)

Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) | about 6 months ago | (#46478881)

Evidently the aircraft had enough power to run the pinging transmitter for over 4 hours after the transponder went dead (or was turned off). This implies that the aircraft also had enough power and structural integrity for at least some of its communication systems to work. But the experienced pilots did not make even one distress call or issue a single distress code. Why not? What prevented them from doing it?

Re:The real puzzle (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#46479011)

But the experienced pilots did not make even one distress call or issue a single distress code. Why not? What prevented them from doing it?

Gun?

Re:The real puzzle (3, Interesting)

jmichaelg (148257) | about 6 months ago | (#46479077)

The obvious implication is they were hijacked. The not so obvious explanation is hypoxia-induced dementia in the pilots.

I've yet to see anything that eliminates either possibility.

Re:The real puzzle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479179)

If the plane was hijacked, the hijackers decided to do an awfully strange thing with "their" plane, since they flew it aimlessly for hours before crashing it into the ocean. Maybe the pilots deliberately sabotaged the aircraft to avoid its use as a weapon.

Hypoxia seems like a more likely possibility. If many things failed simultaneously, it's believable that the cockpit would have decompressed as well and incapacitated the pilots. An unconscious pilot is much more likely to fly into the middle of nowhere until fuel exhaustion than a hijacker is.

Re:The real puzzle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479245)

Crashed? 4 hours of flying time gets you over other countries. Free plane and 'refugees'/slaves.

Re:The real puzzle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479353)

Flying over other countries also makes you show up on radar.

Re:The real puzzle (1)

HangingChad (677530) | about 6 months ago | (#46479215)

The not so obvious explanation is hypoxia-induced dementia in the pilots.

There's precedent for that scenario [wikipedia.org] . But it's hard to see that happening on a modern jetliner which has cabin pressure warnings.

Re:The real puzzle (1)

paskie (539112) | about 6 months ago | (#46479287)

Hard to see indeed, but warnings can be overlooked/ignored. C.f. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org] from 2005. It flew for another hour after most everyone fell unconscious before it crashed into a mountain.

Re:The real puzzle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479291)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helios_Airways_Flight_522

Re:The real puzzle (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 6 months ago | (#46479347)

There are ways for pilots to secretly send out a message when hijacked.

Re:The real puzzle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479311)

Hijack, it has happened on MANY flights before. Why assume a pilot is suicidal before considering a scenario that has occurred many times in the past?

No alien abduction theories?! (5, Funny)

panda2005 (1059940) | about 6 months ago | (#46478883)

Come on guys, it's been DAYS already! How come aliens still not in the picture???

Re:No alien abduction theories?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478947)

Aw man... No debris, no confirmed communications past transponder lights out, nobody saw any fireballs in the sky anywhere => aliens

Re:No alien abduction theories?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479003)

Disagree - aliens do not exist. It was a rapture.

Re:No alien abduction theories?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479071)

An airplane disappeared, ALIENS!. Maybe Georgio from Ancient Aliens has some insight in this mystery.

Re:No alien abduction theories?! (2)

jeffasselin (566598) | about 6 months ago | (#46479049)

It's not a real conspiracy theory if you can't bring the Knights Templar into it in some way.

Don't be silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479329)

One word: Hollow earth... It's still flying down there...

Don't know what to believe anymore (4, Interesting)

Thanosius (3519547) | about 6 months ago | (#46478889)

As someone else has already mentioned, this has been denied by Malaysian officials. Just like China has now said that those satellite images which were supposed to show plane debris did in fact not show debris, but indeed, said satellite images were "released by mistake". Just like that admiral of the Vietnamese Navy saying they had lost radar contact with the plain just over the Gulf of Thailand, but apparently it was just incorrect information (another mistake).

It seems clear that no-one knows where the fuck that plane is, but due to the pressure to find something, ANYTHING to satisfy the media as well as political pressure (not to mention relatives of those missing), anything that could be seen as a clue is pushed out as something important before it's even checked or verified.

At least it can be assumed that those on the flight must be well and truly dead by now, if only because the alternative would be more horrifying...

Re:Don't know what to believe anymore (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | about 6 months ago | (#46479225)

It is the media that has "the pressure to find something, ANYTHING to satisfy" themselves to fill the air time and hopefully get the "scoop". Those looking for the crash site (and I have zero doubt there is one) and the politicians do not benefit from wasting time propagating and dealing with incredible theories.

unbelievable (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478895)

In the US: know where every plane is every second
In Asia: fuck it
In the US: make your nuclear plant's backup pumps work
In Asia: fuck it
In the US: you can't melt down that motherboard here
In Asia: fuck it

Are you seeing a pattern?

There's a good chance they have a narrowed radius (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478903)

These SATCOM devices often have an array of antennas and may well be able to give information on where the last pings came from that reduce the search radius from the possible 2500 miles to something 'reasonable' like ~500 miles (assuming it didn't keep flying for more than an hour after its last ping). The idea being that the satellite knows roughly what area of land is covered by each antenna in its array.

Re:There's a good chance they have a narrowed radi (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 6 months ago | (#46479073)

Providing they store that information. Also for customers who didn't subscribe to the service.

Satcom (3, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | about 6 months ago | (#46478911)

The satcom device does not have to have been on the aircraft.

Re:Satcom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46478997)

Bruce is right - it was on the flying saucer.

We're through the looking glass here people!

YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT HAPPENDED TO MAX FENIG !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479063)

So I won't bore !!

Some overlooked facts suggest a new theory (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479075)

Ignoring all the speculation for a bit, let me present a few completely irrefutable facts that point to a different theory of what happened to the plane.

Fact 1: There are many active volcanoes in this region of the world.

Fact 2: There were virgins on the airplane.

Fact 3: The Great Old Ones have not arisen to destroy us all.

We should thank them for ensuring the continued existence of the human race.

Re:Some overlooked facts suggest a new theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479339)

> Fact 2: There were virgins on the airplane.

In *Malaysia*? You haven't been there in the last 20 years, have you?

ABC News: Comm systems shut down separately (4, Interesting)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about 6 months ago | (#46479115)

"Two U.S. officials tell ABC News the U.S. believes that the shutdown of two communication systems happened separately on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. One source said this indicates the plane did not come out of the sky because of a catastrophic failure.

The data reporting system, they believe, was shut down at 1:07 a.m. The transponder -- which transmits location and altitude -- shut down at 1:21 a.m."

-- ABC News, Thursday March 13, 2014 [go.com]

Curiouser and curiouser.

Why is everybody so hung up on terrorist? (4, Informative)

hamster_nz (656572) | about 6 months ago | (#46479139)

My money is on something like what heppend to flght ZU 522 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why is everybody so hung up on terrorist? (0)

Patent Lover (779809) | about 6 months ago | (#46479229)

I've been thinking the same thing. But I'm only going to bet Bitcoin.

Re: Why is everybody so hung up on terrorist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479331)

Does not explain disabled transponder...

Floating plane? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46479345)

How long can a 777 float on water?

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