Jun 292014
 
Photo Credit: Malaysia Airlines, Boeing 777-200ER, Reg. #9M-MRO, Taking off from LAX in blue skies, October 2013.

Photo Credit: Malaysia Airlines, Boeing 777-200ER, Reg. #9M-MRO, Taking off from LAX in blue skies, October 2013.

MH370 investigators probing the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200 airliner have uncovered probable cockpit tampering.

A remarkable finding confirmed today by MH370 investigators of the missing Boeing 777-200 (Register Number 9M-MRO shown in the photo) says Australian officials now believe that the airliner “suffered a mysterious power outage during the early stages of its flight, which experts [now] believe could be part of an attempt to avoid radar detection,” reports The Telegraph (U.K.).

One may surmise, nonetheless, about a clearer possibility of something happening of a catastrophic nature inside the cockpit and cabin of the Boeing 777-200, operating as flight MH370 during the early morning moments of March 8.

The Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak hinted on March 15, the government believed it was possible a “deliberate action by someone on the plane” was behind the MH370 mystery.

Later, the Inmarsat satellite compelling evidence then led to the March 24, 2014 shocking revelation at Putra World Trade Center (Kuala Lumpur) of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, announcing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 ended its journey on March 8 in the southern Indian Ocean.

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Given Malaysia Airlines flight MH370’s disappearance on March 8 and given this today’s shocking new evidence by the ATSB, “This is now the greatest mystery in aviation security history,” as I said on March 11 in “Boeing 777 airplanes do not vanish or fall out of the sky,” on March 12 in Government Security News, and on March 13 on Fox News Hannity.

Experts now firmly believe the missing MH370 airliner went on further flying on autopilot until it ran out of fuel, because the trauma on-board caused the passengers and crew to remarkably become immobilized without oxygen.

This is the prime assumption Australian safety investigation officials are pronouncing in establishing that an underwater search must go further south to find the Malaysia Airlines jet’s most likely resting place, South China Morning Post and The Guardian (U.K.) report.

According to an ATSB official report, “the plane’s satellite data unit made an unexpected “log-on” request to a satellite less than 90 minutes into its flight from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, to the Chinese city of Beijing.” says The Telegraph (U.K.) today. The reports further concludes “the log-on request – known as a “handshake” – appears likely to have been caused by an interruption of electrical power on board the plane.”

“A log-on request in the middle of a flight is not common,” said ATSB confirms further. “An analysis was performed which determined that the characteristics and timing of the log-on requests were best matched as resulting from power interruption.”

David Gleave, an aviation safety expert from Loughborough University, said the interruption to the power supply appeared to be the result of someone in the cockpit attempting to minimize the use of the airliner’s systems. Such actions, he believes, was consistent with an attempt to turn off the airliner’s communications and various other on-board systems from inside the airliner’s cockpit in an attempt to avoid radar detection.

“A person could be messing around in the cockpit which would lead to a power interruption,” he said. “It could be a deliberate act to switch off both engines for some time. By messing about within the cockpit, you could switch off the power temporarily, and switch it on again, when you need the other systems to fly the aeroplane.”

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Inmarsat, the company has confirmed the aviation safety expert’s assessment, but say it does not know why the Boeing 777-200 airliner experienced a power failure.

“It does appear there was a power failure on those two occasions,” Inmarsat’s Chris McLaughlin, told The Telegraph (U.K.). “It [the airliner’s power outage] is another little mystery. We cannot explain it. We don’t know why. We just know it did.”

Satellite provider Inmarsat and investigators calculated the early Indian Ocean search areas based on automatic satellite “handshakes”, initiated by an Inmarsat ground station in Perth, but also from phone calls made from the ground to the cockpit satellite phone that went through the same ground station, according to Australian news website news.com.au.

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After analyzing data between the plane and an Inmarsat satellite, ATSB officials believe Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was on autopilot the entire time it was flying across the southern Indian Ocean, ATSB Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan said.

ATSB investigators searching for flight MH370 now believe a catastrophic event, leading to oxygen starvation, is the most likely scenario in the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200 airliner.

The Australian-led search team say that the plane was flying on autopilot on a consistent course, when it finally crashed into the southern Indian Ocean, when its engines flamed out.

ASTB Chief commissioner Dolan said it was “highly, highly likely” that MH370 was on autopilot for hours before it crashed, because of the orderly path the plane took.

“Certainly for its path across the Indian Ocean, we are confident that the aircraft was operating on autopilot until it ran out of fuel,” Dolan said.

Asked whether the autopilot would have to be manually switched on, or whether it could have been activated automatically under a default setting, Dolan replied: “The basic assumption would be that if the autopilot is operational it’s because it’s been switched on.”

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“Autopilot theory would explain plane’s ‘orderly path’,” says Australian Transport Minister, Warren Truss (shown in photo pointing to the new MH370 search area in the southern Indian Ocean).

“We could not accurately nor have we attempted to fix the moment, when [the Boeing 777-200 airliner] was put on autopilot,” Truss said. “It will be a matter for the Malaysian-based investigation to look at precisely when [the airliner] may have been put on autopilot.”

More compelling evidence of a catastrophic event on-board MH370.

The Australian report released by Australian authorities has revealed that the Boeing 777-200 attempted to log-on to Inmarsat satellites at 2.25 am, three minutes after it was detected by Malaysian military radar, says The Telegraph (U.K.).

This was as the plane was flying north of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The aircraft had already veered away from the course that would have taken it to its destination of Beijing, but had not yet made its turn south towards the Indian Ocean.

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The aircraft experienced another such log-on request almost six hours later, though this was its seventh and final satellite handshake and is believed to have been caused by the plane running out of fuel and electrical power before apparently crashing, somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean. The other five handshakes were initiated by the satellite ground station and were not considered unusual.

Asked by The Telegraph (U.K.), whether the power interruption could have been caused by a mechanical fault, Mr Gleave said: “There are credible mechanical failures that could cause it. But you would not then fly along for hundreds of miles and disappear in the Indian Ocean.”

Another aviation expert interviewed by The Telegraph (U.K.), Peter Marosszeky, from the University of New South Wales, agreed, saying “the power interruption must have been intended by someone on board.” He said “the interruption would not have caused an entire power failure but would have involved a “conscious” attempt to remove power from selected systems on the plane.”

“It would have to be a deliberate act of turning power off on certain systems on the aeroplane,” he said. “The aircraft has so many backup systems. Any form of power interruption is always backed up by another system.

“The person doing it would have to know what they are doing. It would have to be a deliberate act to hijack or sabotage the aircraft.”

An international team in Malaysia investigating the cause of the crash has not yet released its findings. Malaysian officials have longed believed the plane was deliberately flown off course. The plane disappeared on March 8 with 239 passengers aboard but an international air, sea and underwater search has failed to recover any wreckage or debris of the lost Boeing 777-200.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) released a 55-page report on Thursday, comparing various catastrophic accident event scenarios of possible causes of MH370’s disappearance with aviation incidences of recent well-established cases, like Air France flight 447. The ATSB report suggests the lack of communication and fixed flight path consistent with autopilot navigation support a claim of a catastrophic event occurring inside the cabin of the missing Boeing 777-200, as the airliner plunged into the Indian Ocean.

MH370 would have had to be deliberately veered away from its original northeastern course to fly south to the current search areas, explored by Australian investigation officials, reports International Business Times and Reuters.

“Given these observations, the final stages of the unresponsive crew [and/or] hypoxia event appeared to best fit the available evidence for the final period of MH370’s flight, when it was heading in a generally southerly direction,” the ATSB report said, with ” a loss of radio communications, a long period without any en route maneuvering of the aircraft, a steadily maintained cruise altitude, and [airliner] fuel exhaustion and descent.”

Human judgement is the cause of nine of ten aviation safety mishaps. Oftentimes, some external factor comes into play that may cause on-board human operators of airliners, either perhaps or perhaps not, beyond their control to lose their best judgement under crisis. Clearly, today’s shocking ATSB finding suggests MH370 cockpit in deliberate malaise and panic inside the fog of rapidly performing its duties under severe safety and security crisis.

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Two independent crisis scenarios. Two different cultures under crisis. The ATSB’s new evidence further supports its catastrophic event theory, as their reports compare in detail the last chaotic moments of Air France flight AF447’s Airbus 330-200 airliner back on June 1, 2009 with Malaysia Airlines flight MH370’s Boeing 777-200 airliner back on March 8, 2014 under crisis (see a similar round up of such crisis scenario analyses of these two airliners inside my LinkedIn Pulse Airlines & Aviation article, “Five-Year Anniversary of AF447: MH370 Déjà vu?” and my recent article, “Catastrophic event doomed MH370, say officials.”

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The ATSB also announced a new 23,000 square mile (60,000 square kilometer) search area along the “seventh arc,” (shown on the global arcs map that is also shown inside the ATSB report), where MH370 lost contact with an Inmarsat satellite in the southern Indian Ocean. The region is about 1,200 miles off the coast of Perth, Western Australia. The new search now embark upon for recovery of MH370 is expected to take up to a year. The Inmarsat satellite data gave search investigative authorities the seventh arc. This only tells how far MH370 was from the Inmarsat satellite, but not geographically where the airliner was during its last moments on the early morning of March 8.

Searchers will map the southern Indian Ocean region’s seabed, where they already conducted a surface search three weeks right after MH370 disappeared on March 8.

Recent pilot’s analysis of the findings inside the ATSB 55-page report is revealing.

The ATSB newest findings also concludes that “the plane’s in-flight entertainment system delivered a satellite message 90 seconds after the first power failure but not after the second failure hours later.” This, the ATSB says, “could indicate a complete loss of generated electrical power shortly after the seventh handshake”.

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The ATSB new findings arrive a week after it was confirmed that MH370’s pilot, Zaharie Shah, 53, had flights to small islands in the Indian Ocean in his home flight simulator. Investigators named him as the prime, yet unlikely suspect in their investigation. Investigators noted that Shah had no commitments following MH370s flight, unlike his copilot or crew, says International Business Times and Reuters.

An official police investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has identified Captain Zaharie as the prime suspect — if it is proven human intervention was involved in the possible catastrophic chaos on-board the Boeing 777-200 airliner’s last moments on March 8, 2014.

Meanwhile, reports the Australian news website news.com.au, “Malaysia Airlines only twice attempted to make phone contact with its unresponsive airliner over six hours as it flew to its doom, causing vital clues to its final location to be lost and painting a woeful picture of air safety in the region.”

The revelations surface from trained pilot’s close examination of the ATSB 55-page report into MH370’s disappearance, released on Thursday.

Qantas pilot, Captain Richard Woodward, a highly-experienced pilot who flies A380 airliners, as well as test-pilots Boeing 777 airliners, said to Australian news website news.com.au, “if ground crew or air-traffic control had inundated MH370 with phone contact attempts it would have given a clearer picture of where the plane went down.”

The MH370 pilots’ last communications with ground staff was at 1.22 am (Malaysian time) on March 8. Then after, no other communications were exchanged between ground staff and the Boeing 777-200 cockpit until another hour and 17 minutes. Remarkably, after this communication, no further attempt was made to ring the plane’s satellite phone.

Given no initial response about the state of the Boeing 777-200 airliner, no one on the ground tried to ring the plane again for another five hours. The next call came at 7.13 am Malaysian time, stunningly after the flight was supposed to have landed in Beijing, China.

“If they’d been calling the plane, the satellite would have tried to log on and the aircraft pinger would have tried to respond,” said Captain Woodward.

“That would have given you a distance from the station and they would have got a more accurate idea where the aircraft went. The very act of the pinging would have narrowed down where to look.”

“Five hours is a long time (not to call) if you’re trying to search for the airplane,” said Captain Woodward.

“You’d be trying every available means. I’m absolutely surprised there’s only two attempts to call on the satellite phone.

“If you’d lost contact with an airliner you’d be calling them on every frequency. You’d definitely be trying to call them on the satellite phone (as well as VHF and HF and by data link, similar to SMS).”

We have very little clear evidence that any catastrophic event or cockpit crisis emergency procedures or cockpit distress calls that would have been naturally initiated immediately after the airliner disappeared off all radar maps, including “notifying other jets within 300 nautical miles to attempt to make contact with MH370 and warning other aircraft that a jet was potentially off-course,” Australian news website news.com.au says.

Captain Woodward also said to Australian news.com.au, “based on the ATSB’s view that hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, killed everyone aboard, as it flew south, that nothing would likely be revealed on the jet’s cockpit voice recorder if it was ever found.”

He said the Boeing 777-200 flight recorder, commonly known as the ‘black-box’, was on a loop that wiped itself clean every couple of hours.

Any emergency distress calls or catastrophic crisis communication calls of ‘maydays’ from the cockpit or “potential statements of exaltation by hijackers would not exist, because everyone was dead,” suggests the veteran pilot.

“All the cockpit recorder will reveal is silence,” said Captain Woodward.

Captain Woodward does not rule out intervention from pilots or hijackers, because he believes if there was a fire aboard, the pilots would have had plenty of time to put on oxygen masks and declare a fire emergency ‘mayday’ call to ground staff or possibly to air traffic control communications or even possibly a distress call to a nearby airliner’s communication system, as such an airliner in the vicinity was traveling within a 300 nautical-mile radius of the doomed Boeing 777-200 airliner.

Captain Woodward says “the pilots could have been overcome by hijackers but, given difficulties of accessing the cockpit’s secure door, it was more likely the result of aberrant behavior by the flight crew.”

“I’m leaning towards to fact a rogue pilot, probably the captain, planned all this,” he says.

MH370 deviated from its course at 1.25 am, three minutes after the last voice contact with pilots. It flew south-west over Malaysia and then took a second deliberate turn south over the Indian Ocean.

The first turn would fit the circumstance of pilots trying to turn back to Kuala Lumpur with a problem, such as with a fire. However, military radar data from Malaysia indicates a second deliberate turn was made after this, setting the plane on course for the southern Indian Ocean.

Captain Woodward believes someone would have needed to have intervene at a human level to make this second “positive” decision to alter the automatic pilot, Australian news.com.au reports.

The ASTB report also showed that no one in the cockpit used aircraft waypoints to set the Boeing 777-200 airliner’s course south over the Indian Ocean.

“This would seem to quash suspicions that pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah had pre-programmed the jet to crash,” says Australian news.com.au.

It does not, however, rule out the possibility that someone used the autopilot to send the plane south.

He says this was what the ATSB Chief, Martin Dolan, was hinting at last week. “He was obtuse,” said Captain Woodward, “but what he meant was for the autopilot to go into that mode it had to be done by a human.”

The search area — based on the Boeing 777-200 airliners likely performance and the satellite interactions — has now shifted further south in the Indian Ocean off the western coast of Australia.

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