Aug 242016
 

Tea Party 1

Despite a drop in popularity since its high point in the 2010 midterm elections, the tea party has stood by their policies and hopes to make an impact in the 113th Congress. (Source: GRU)

(Raycom News Network, RNN) – “It’s not surprising the political pendulum has swung back and forth between the two major parties during the past few election cycles.

Democrats had considerable momentum after the 2008 election, but conservatism curtailed that political energy soon after President Barack Obama took his oath of office in 2009.

The “tea party” was at the forefront of this new conservative surge. Supporters of the movement defined it as a “reaction of the American people to fiscally irresponsible actions of the federal government, misguided stimulus spending, bailouts and takeovers of private industry.”

Its prestige on the national stage, along with its candidates, took a hit in 2012. But members still have a focused message as Obama starts his second term and Congress marks its 113th session.

Although the tea party is not an independent political party, many of the movement’s characteristics are based on Republican and Libertarian ideals. Most tea party candidates appear on ballots as Republicans.

“The tea party raises the conversation about smaller, less bureaucratic, and entrepreneurial-minded government,” said Republican commentator and author Oliver McGee. “They simply don’t want the federal government running like the post office.”

McGee is the author of Jumping the Aisle: How I Became a Black Republican in the Age of Obama.

Jumping The Aisle

Dr. Oliver McGee is the author of ‘Jumping the Aisle: How I Became a Republican in the Age of Obama.’

(Source: Oliver McGee)

According to McGee, many of the tea party’s primary goals deal with lower taxes, reduced spending and debt reduction. It has also caused others to focus on their interpretation of certain American rights.

“The Constitutional principles are alive and well, from gun control to states rights to the Grand Old Party principles of low government and low taxes,” McGee said. “More people are carrying the Constitution with them as a result of the tea party movement.”

McGee added the tea party also continues to make national security one of its major legislative interests, supporting legislation that prioritizes a strong national defense.

“This also involves creating a new supply of education capable of managing a strong defense, particularly in the advances of technology, engineering and mathematics,” McGee said.

However, the tea party’s taxation and budgeting goals have met their fair share of opposition.

A number of political action committees and liberal groups have been established to combat tea party goals. One of the most notable during the 2012 election season was Take Down the Tea Party Ten, a campaign spearheaded by CREDO SuperPAC.

“Two years ago, we witnessed the tea party’s rise to power; the disturbing and misguided anger, the assault on the middle class badly masquerading as economic populism, and an alarming anti-woman sentiment that we literally could not believe was being so actively expressed in the year 2012,” Take Down the Tea Party Ten said in a statement.

“We could not let this toxic ideology persist in our Congress. And on election night we dealt it a major blow.”

Another complaint about the tea party is its set of 15 “non-negotiable core beliefs,” a list of bullet points rounding up of the group’s ideologies. Examples include “illegal aliens are here illegally,” “gun ownership is sacred,” and “English as our core language is required.”

Take Down the Tea Party Ten had a simple goal: defeat 10 of the most “dangerous” tea party members of Congress. The group raised almost $3.5 million towards that campaign effort.

Five out of the 10 targeted congressmen were voted out of office on Election Day, including Rep. Alan West (FL-18), Rep. Frank Guinta (NH-1), Rep. Chip Cravaack (MN-8), Rep. Joe Walsh (IL-8) and Rep. Dan Lungren (CA-3).

Take Down the Tea Party Ten was unable to unseat one of its most high-profile targets – Rep. Michelle Bachmann (MN-6). However, she won her bid for reelection against Democrat and hotel executive Jim Graves by slightly more than a percentage point, despite outspending him 12-to-1.

“Bachmann has worked to put Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block, but she and her husband operate a ‘Christian counseling clinic’ that has received more than $137,000 in federal Medicaid funds while practicing controversial and medically unsound ex-gay conversion therapy,” Take Down the Tea Party Ten claimed.

The 10 targeted representatives were considered major players in the group, but the tea party leadership is decentralized.

“The tea party is not necessarily looking for one key leader like [Rep. John] Boehner or Obama,” McGee said. “They have distributive leadership because freedom and independence themselves are decentralized.”

Negative publicity became one of the largest hurdles for the tea party to overcome, as left-leaning super PACs, special interest groups and politicians publicly denounced its politicians’ platforms.

Some members of the tea party had problems communicating their message effectively to the public as well. However, McGee said this is a struggle that many movements have faced.

“What [the tea party] is learning is the power of mass communication,” he said. “America is ultimately about storytelling and how the message is being communicated. And [struggles] always happen when you look at movements.”

Despite the loss of some of its most notable representatives, returning tea party members targeted by the liberal super PAC included Rep. Steve King (IA-4), Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-6), Rep. Jim Renacci (OH-16), Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-7), and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick(PA-8).

These congressmen, joined by other lawmakers who share the tea party’s ideologies, will likely push for legislation that embodies their values in the 113th Congress.

Several tea party congressmen did not return requests for an interview, including Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA-6) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-1).”

With permission, Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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Mar 032016
 

boeing_777-200er_smokey

UPDATE: Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Operational Update

March 16, 2016

“A South African citizen reported finding debris, suspected to be from an aircraft, in Mozambique. Arrangements are being made for the debris to be transported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) laboratories in Canberra,” the ATSB said in an operational update, “along with the debris that was found in Mozambique by an American citizen last week.  Both items will be examined by investigators from Australia and Malaysia, as well as specialists from Boeing, to confirm if they come from an aircraft and establish their origin.”

Officials from Malaysia are continuing discussions with French authorities about debris found on La Réunion. 

“Current advice is that it is unlikely to be from an aircraft,” the ATSB says and NBC News confirms.

UPDATE: Meeting To Determine Way Forward For MH370

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Malaysia Ministry of Transport

“Authorities from Malaysia, Australia and China will hold a meeting to determine the next step in the search for missing flight MH370, as the deadline for halting the hunt for the plane approaches, according to a brief press release by the Malaysian Transport Ministry on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, marking the second anniversary of the missing Malaysia Airlines Systems (MAS) flight MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER, and becoming the greatest mystery in the history of commercial international aviation safety and security.

The Australian-led hunt for wreckage from the flight is expected to finish its high-tech scanning of a designated swathe of sea floor in the remote Indian Ocean by July 2016.

Speaking on the two-year anniversary of the disappearance of the plane, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says “he still holds out hope of finding the Malaysia Airlines aircraft,” which crashed en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, including six Australians.

The Malaysian Prime Minister said today that “a meeting would be held to determine the next step, if the plane is not found by mid-year. So far, only a piece of wing, known as a flaperon, discovered in July last year has been confirmed by authorities to belong to the missing Boeing 777.”

Earlier, Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester said “finding the aircraft would give answers to the world, in particular the families of missing loved ones.”

Mr. Najib said the discovery of debris – the flaperon – on the island of Reunion last July 29, 2015 provided further evidence that “flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

Provided in Appendix B is the MAS MH370 Second Interim Statement on the investigation on the second anniversary of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, prepared by the Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370. Click here for MAS MH370 First Interim Statement and Factual Information.

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Search for MH370 - English version

Video Credit: Joint Center Coordination Agency (JACC). This ‘Search for MH370’ video posted November 17, 2014 aims to explain the activities and complexity of the international search effort to date on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, the second anniversary of missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, for families affected by the aviation tragedy, and the general public.

UPDATE: MH370: Head Of Search Says Plane Will ‘Very Likely’ Be Found

Monday, March 7, 2016

Malaysia Ministry of Transport

PETALING JAYA: “The Australian official in charge of the two-year search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 says the plane will be found this year, The Guardian reported.

Martin Dolan, head of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), was quoted as saying that the plane would “very likely” be found in the next four months, as search efforts entered its final phase.

Four ships had scoured more than 85,000 square kilometers of a long but narrow “seventh arc”, totaling 120,000 square kilometers of seafloor.

“We’ve covered nearly three-quarters of the search area, and since we haven’t found the aircraft in those areas, that increases the likelihood that it’s in the areas we haven’t looked at yet,” Dolan told The Guardian.

MH370 vanished on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people onboard, mostly Chinese.

It is thought to have crashed after diverting from its course but a huge undersea hunt in the southern Indian Ocean, led by Australia, has so far found no sign of it.

A wing fragment was discovered on an island thousands of kilometers from the search area last July, 29, 2016 and later confirmed to be from MH370, the first proof that the plane went down. Two new pieces of debris have been found in the past week, but it is not yet known if they are from MH370.”

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MH370 Takeoff 9M-MRO

Photo Credit: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, registered as 9M-MRO

Malaysian Transport Minister, Liow Tiong Lai, says to Reuters there is a “high possibility” that an aluminum-alloy honeycomb or carbon-fibre composite airliner horizontal stabilizer debris of an airliner tail section wing washed ashore on Saturday, February 27, 2016 on the east coast of Africa between Mozambique and Madagascar, near second debris found on the eastern shore of La Réunion Island on Thursday, March 3, 2016, could allegedly be from a Boeing 777 jet, pending further assessment and examination by Australian and United States safety investigators and Boeing engineers. Still, experts remain cautious and unsure until the next few days.

Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, nonetheless, confirmed in a press release on Wednesday, March 2 that “the Mozambique horizontal stabilizer debris would be sent to Australia, but added that it would remain under Malaysian custody.”

THIS JUST IN: A resident on the French Indian Ocean island of La Réunion Island, who last year found a “flaperon” part from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER, said on Sunday, March 6, 2016 to French news service, AFP, and The Associated Press, “he had come across a second possible piece from the missing plane,” reports The Star, NBC News, Sydney Morning Herald, and The Guardian (U.K.).

Johnny Begue, who found the “flaperon” part, while cleaning a beach on July, 29, 2015, told AFP “he handed over the new suspected object to police immediately” after finding the debris on Thursday, March 3, 2016.

He said “he was out jogging by the eastern sea shore of La Réunion Island, when he found the object measuring about 40 by 20 centimeters (or 15 by 8 inches), which had a blue mark on the surface and was grey underneath.” Begue added: “it was of the same lightweight “honeycomb” construction as the flaperon piece.”

Eastern Shore of La Reunion Island

Photo Credit: Zhang Chuanshi/Xinhua Press/Corbis “Another piece of debris, which could be related to MH370 has been found on the eastern coast of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean,” The Guardian (U.K.) reports.

The flaperon Begue found on July 29, 2015 remains the only piece of debris identified and confirmed as a part of MAS flight MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER.

Begue said, “he has been combing the island’s shores ever since.”

Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ASTB) Martin Dolan said on Sunday, March 6, Australian safety investigators welcome all debris found by anyone anywhere and that once found should be turned over to authorities immediately for further examination and potential identification and determination as to whether or not any such debris found is in fact a part of the MH370 airliner.

Meanwhile, Montreal Convention mandates any legal tribunal action to claim damages from a commercial airline must be made within two years from the date the aircraft arrived or should have arrived. In the case of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, the Boeing 777-200ER vanished from military radar en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing two years ago on March 8, 2014, carrying 227 passengers and 12 MAS crew aboard. International Business Times reports, “the families of 12 passengers aboard missing MAS flight MH370 filed suits against the carrier on March 4, 2016 in a frantic rush to pursue claims before a [Montreal Convention] two-year deadline for legal action expires.” 

Five defendants, MAS (the now asset-free holding entity), MAB (Malaysia Airlines Berhad, the new “value-based” carrier emerging, which is discussed at the end of this piece), Ketua Pandaran Jabatan, DCA (Department of Civil Aviation), The Royal Malaysia Air Force and the government of Malaysia,” said the lawyer representing the families, Sangeet Kaur Deo.

Sangeet said, “the families were seeking unspecified damages for negligence, breach of contract and breach of statutory duty,” reports International Business Times.

MAB holds that “it has no liability on MH370, since it was set up eight months” after MAS’ Boeing 777-200ER vanish, which has been officially declared as an accident and all lives lost.

Flight MH370 is the only missing Boeing 777 airliner in the world, since the aircraft was launched by Boeing back in 1997, which does feature manufactured carbon-fibre composites and Alcoa-developed aluminum-alloy tail section wing control surfaces to reduced the overall structural weight of Boeing 777 aircraft, which is specifically described in more detail below in this piece.

Photo Credit: AFP, NBC, University of Western Australia/JACC/ATSB/Malaysia Airlines/Boeing/Australian Government/Imarsat

Malaysian transport investigators, working alongside United States aviation safety officials and Boeing engineers on Wednesday, March 2, have examined online photos of the debris and they have suggested the possibility that it is an aluminum-alloy honeycomb or carbon-fibre composite jet horizontal stabilizer perhaps from a Boeing 777 airliner’s tail section wing, reports NBC News and The Telegraph (U.K.).

Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester said to The Associated Press on Thursday, March 3, “the location of the debris in Mozambique matches investigators’ drift modeling and would therefore confirm that search crews are looking in the right part of the Indian Ocean for the main underwater wreckage.” Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai also said “the location of the debris lines up with investigators’ predictions.”

Photo Credit: American Blogger Blaine Gibson

Photos of the debris appear to show a jet part (shown above) “made of fiberglass composite on the outside, with aluminum honeycombing on the inside,” a U.S. official has said to The Associated Press, who spoke on condition of anonymity, because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, reports Fox News, and the part also “appears to show the fixed leading edge of the right-hand tail section of a Boeing 777.” 

The new Mozambique horizontal stabilizer debris found has markings “NO STEP,” which has prompted experts to speculate it could be from a Boeing 777’s horizontal stabilizer, allegedly attached to the tail section wing of the missing MH370 airliner, particularly given the close proximity in which this new debris was found in relation to a barnacle-encrusted flaperon wreckage of MH370 washed ashore off La Réunion Island last year on July 29, 2015.

Photo Credit: NBC News

However, Mr. Lai added “it is yet to be confirmed and verified” that the new Mozambique horizontal stabilizer debris was from Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH370, missing now for two years next Tuesday, March 8, 2016, while it was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing that ill-fated early morning when it suddenly vanishes from military radar and satellite in space. Carrying 239 passengers and Malaysia Airlines crew on board, the Boeing 777-200ER is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean off the western coast of Australia near Perth, and about 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) to the east of Mozambique.

Photo Credit: American Blogger Blaine Gibson

Is the Mozambique Debris from MH370?

At the moment, experts remain cautious and officials are unsure the part is from missing flight MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER, largely because three large jets are known to have crashed in the past off the east coast of Africa between Mozambique and Madagascar near La Réunion Island.

According to the Australian News Service, “the object, believed to be from the horizontal stabilizer of an aircraft, was found by American blogger Blaine Gibson (shown above), 58-year-old lawyer from Seattle, who is conducting a private investigation into the plane’s disappearance.”

“Mr. Gibson, according to the Australian news service, upon discovering debris on Saturday, February 27, 2016, “had invited a handful of investigators to privately view images of the part on his Facebook page over the weekend, but news of the find only became public overnight,” Gibson said in an interview with The Associated Press. Gibson added: “he had wanted no publicity about his discovery until after the piece was assessed by investigators, but that news of the finding leaked.”

“The part, which has been described as a “fibre glass skin aluminum honeycomb cored panel” with no identifying features other than the printed words ‘NO STEP’,” a marking typically seen near the exit door of a commercial jet wing.

The consensus of MH370’s Independent Group (IG), including Dr. Victor Iannello (U.S.), Mike Exner (U.S.) and Don Thompson (Ireland), appears to be that it is unlikely that the Mozambique horizontal stabilizer debris found came from the missing MH370 Boeing 777.

“The found item is an aluminum honeycomb panel and, as such, is not a construction that is consistent with composite components employed on a B777,” MH370 IG member Don Thompson (Ireland) posted to Reddit.

“Neither did it look like it had been in the ocean for two years, or even lying on a sandbar where allegedly found as there was no sign of sand filling the honeycomb structure.”

“I was struck by the condition of the part,” another MH370 IG member, Dr. Victor Iannello (U.S.), wrote.

”It had no barnacles, little or no algae, and no water line. The condition of the part was nothing like the flaperon that was recovered. As (Don Thompson) said, the construction is composite skin with aluminum honeycomb core, which leads me to believe it is not from a B777.”

Dr. Iannello added: “I have not been able to identify a part on the B777 of similar construction, but I don’t have access to all the drawings of a B777, so I can’t say for certain that it is not from a B777.”

Carbon-Fibre Composites and Alumimum-Alloy Structural Design of Boeing 777 Aircraft

To fill in more specific technical structural specification to MH370’s Independent Group speculation on the Mozambique debris, let’s consider the following details to shed further light on the mystery debris find, acknowledging my consultation of longstanding civil aviation expert, Philip Birtles’ finely illustrated reference treatise on the Boeing 777.

Carbon-fibre composites and Alcoa-developed aluminum-alloy tail section wing control surfaces reduces the overall structural weight of Boeing 777 aircraft.

Only about ten percent of a Boeing 777 airliner structure is non-metallic, namely composites largely in the tail surfaces and the wing trailing edge control stabilizing surfaces, flaperons, spoilers, fixed wing leading edges, engine nacelles, wing to fuselage fairings, and main undercarriage doors.

The major portion of the Boeing 777’s primary structure is manufactured using composites in the tail assembly. The main assembly box of the fin is a carbon-fibre-reinforced structure, consisting of front and rear spars and ribs. The fin skin panels are also made from carbon-fibre composites.

The main and front spars are manufactured using carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic with only the rear auxiliary spar manufactured using aluminum. The all-important rudder, containing a pair of spars and ribs, are constructed from carbon-fibre composites covered by carbon-fibre epoxy sandwich skins.

Only the small dorsal din is typically manufactured from aluminum frames and skins. Use of composites on the Boeing 777 is intended to save about 2,595 pounds (or 1,180 kilograms) of structural weight.

Photo Credit: American Blogger Blaine Gibson/NBC News

In addition to this, an advanced lightweight aluminum lithium alloy material is used to construct the primary structure of a Boeing 777, which includes the front and rear spars, upper and lower spar chords, webs, skin panels, stringers and ribs of the airliners’ overall structural design.

More specifically, an Alcoa-developed aluminum alloy, 7155T77, is typically employed for construction of the upper wing skin for enhanced compression load capacity. The Alcoa aluminum alloy is also used to construct the upper wing stringer systems to stiffen the skin panels.

In similar fashion, the lower wing skins are typically manufactured using a 2,000 series aluminum alloy best designed to carry higher tension loads on the Boeing 777 wings.

Use of advanced lightweight aluminum lithium alloy is intended to save an additional 3,190 pounds (or 1,450 kilograms) of weight of the airliner.

Speculatively speaking, it appears that the Mozambique debris has breakage of the metal around fasteners on the aluminum-alloy honeycomb construction, but this isn’t quite enough just yet to definitive conclude the debris is a Boeing 777 wing or tail stabilizer.

MH370 Debris Image 4

What’s in the Oceanography Science Supporting the La Réunion Island and Alleged Mozambique MH370 Debris Finds?

Fox News says, “authorities have long predicted that any debris from the plane that isn’t on the [southern Indian] ocean floor would eventually be carried by currents to the east coast of Africa.”

“The possibility of debris washing up on La Réunion island [and now nearby Mozambique] is a scientific possibility. Although the currents today are significantly different to those seen 16 months ago, the Indian Ocean Gyre could move debris from the southern Indian Ocean in a counterclockwise direction towards Africa, spitting it out near the island of Reunion [and now nearby Mozambique],” Mashable reported back in early-August 2015.

On whether it was possible for either a flaperon or tail section wing horizontal stabilizer to have floated on oceanic water for over 4,000-6,000 kilometers before ending up on La Réunion Island [and now nearby Mozambique], Zaaim Redha said it was plausible based on sea current modeling by oceanography experts.

“Going by how the earth rotates, it’s highly possible that the piece of debris could have floated (over a long distance), because the ocean current can be really powerful.”

Australian oceanic science investigators of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization reported on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 that the Boeing 777-200ER flaperon discovery “matches with predictions from updated debris flow computer models.”

“Their drift model computer simulation was run from March 8, 2014 to July 30, 2015, to see if the flaperon could have drifted to La Réunion [and now nearby Mozambique] from the search zone somewhere along the 7th arc.”

The debris flow modeling below does show consistency with the 7th arc theory established by the British satellite firm, Inmarsat, which has and will further assist investigators in making adjustments to their current search area as the hunt for the Boeing 777-200ER airliner continues.

Photo Credit (via Mashable), Australian national science agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

Bottom line in MH370 Search: Good facts, good law of scientific plausibility; Bad facts, bad law of scientific plausibility.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport has published a 47-page article, containing hundreds of lines of communication logs between the jetliner and the British company Inmarsat’s satellite system, and detailing how the U.K. firm Inmarsat helped to pinpoint the southern corridor flight path taken by MH370. 

The 47-page article reports that Inmarsat informed Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport on March 13, 2014 that routine automatic communications between the Inmarsat satellite and MH370 could be used to determine several possible flight paths.

The United Kingdom (U.K.) Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) then presented Inmarsat’s findings on March 24, 2014, indicating the southern corridor as the most likely flight path of MH370.

Based on the analysis of data communicated to the ground station by the Inmarsat satellite moments before the Boeing 777-200ER airliner’s oceanic crash, investigators concluded that the flight had ended in the southern Indian Ocean. 

Be that as it may, a nearly $150 million dollar search lead by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) initially covered 60,000 square kilometers (23,000 square miles) of sea floor before being subsequently extended to another 60,000 square kilometers, a deep sea search area expected to be completed by July 2016.

French, Australian and Malaysian officials have confirmed in mid-August 2015 only a barnacle-encrusted flaperon wreckage debris (shown below) coming from the missing MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER has been found on the shore of La Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean off the southern coast of Africa at Madagascar on July 29, 2015.

Shortly thereafter, on August 5, 2015, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, upon affirming that the maintenance record seal on the flaperon provided the definitive proof, announced the debris found on La Réunion is from MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER. He said,

“An international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370. We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24th March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean.” — Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, August 5, 2015

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Malaysian PM Says Debris Is MH370

Following the above announcement, Malaysia Airlines stated in a press release: “We expect and hope that there would be more objects to be found, which would be able to help resolve this mystery.”

Photo Credit: American Blogger Blaine Gibson/NBC News

So far, search teams have scoured more than 80 percent of the priority “hot-spot” search of the southern Indian Ocean sea bed in the area, where MH370 is predicted to reside.

As the full French report has yet to be released, persistent open questions remain surrounding the search for MH370, now including radar anomalies, as the ATSB’s latest “hot-spot” search analysis has so far found no wreckage of the missing airliner hull at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean off the western coast of Australia near Perth. If no trace of any new evidence of the jet has been found in the latest “hot-spot” area, the ASTB and Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) have announced they expect to continue its search for MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER until July 2016.

Members of the respected MH370 Independent Group, working with ATSB officials, say in contraction to the French and Malaysian officials, “damage to the flaperon will allow us to estimate the speed and angle at which the plane entered the water and whether or not it was controlled by a pilot as it descended. The barnacle species and its level of growth may provide a more precise ‘splash-point’,” reports the Australian News Service.

Several questions in particular raised by MH370’s Independent Group stand out, regarding the aircraft forensics of the La Réunion Island flaperon:

  • “Has the barnacle species attached to the flaperon been definitively determined? What is the habitat for this species? Is it consistent with a part that has drifted from the southern Indian Ocean to La Réunion Island?”
  • “What does the failure analysis reveal regarding how the flaperon became separated from the wing and how it sustained the damage to its trailing edge?”
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Oliver McGee: MH370 "Aircraft Forensics" of Reunion Debris, Fox News

Official findings of Malaysia are highly anticipated inside its United Nations (UN) International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) mandated MH370 progress report, due out next week timed upon MH370’s Second Anniversary on Tuesday March 8, 2016.

Voice 370, a group representing MH370’s ‘next-of-kin’, issued a statement accusing the Malaysian government of denying them “existing rights in law, including also access to justice mechanisms, for the benefit of a private business, namely Malaysian Airlines System Berhad (MAS).”

“The egregious behavior of the Malaysian government has gone mostly unnoticed by the world press, but it deserves to be highlighted, investigated and broadcast far and wide,” Sarah Bajc, the partner of American MH370 passenger Philip Wood, said in an email accompanying the statement.

“After almost two years we still know nothing concrete about what happened to MH370, though we are SURE there is information that has been withheld. Besides the terrible crimes of negligence and obstruction, for allowing the plane to disappear, then impeding the investigation of the disappearance of 239 people, the Malaysian government has also prevented the pursuit of reparations by affected families,” Bajc added.

Photo Credit: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, Registration #9M-MRO

MH370 Search Continues Along the ATSB’s Priority “Hot-Spot” in the Southern Indian Ocean

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from military radar early morning on March 8, 2014 en-route to Beijing International Airport from Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 227 passengers and 12 MAS crew members, becoming the greatest mystery in the history of commercial international aviation safety and security for two years on March 8, 2016.

Australian investigators of the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC), and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) coordinates a massive undertaking of several huge sea vessels (shown below) scouring the southern Indian Ocean floor for the missing airliner, resting therein, ATSB and JACC officials confidently believe. 

Malaysia Missing Plane

Australian authorities, including deputy prime minister Warren Truss (shown below) speaking to reporters in Canberra, Australia on Thursday, December 3, 2015, confirmed two new search vessels had arrived in the “hot-spot” search area. 

Photo Credit: ATSB/JACC

Three-quarters of a “hot spot” search area that is within the well-known “priority search area” (shown above) has been scoured during November coming into December, deputy prime minister Warren Truss (shown above) says to numerous media outlets now widely reporting.

The ATSB and JACC have confirmed this new ‘Gentle Landing‘ analysis exist, but says “the highest probability” that the Boeing 777-200ER will be found within a 700 square kilometer “hot-spot” inside the “priority search area”, comprising a 120,000 square kilometer arc in the southern Indian Ocean off the western coast of Australia at Perth, nonetheless, is not explicitly supported by evidence of a “controlled ditching scenario” the ATSB discusses in a December 3, 2015 report that describes in detail the “hot-spot” as “an arc running southwest, roughly 700 square kilometers,” The Guardian (U.K.) reports.

According to the ATSB report, investigators of the Australian Defense Science and Technology (DST) Group have penned an upcoming Springer-Verlag book entitled, “Bayesian methods in the search for MH370,” detailing their complete analysis in establishing the 700 square kilometer “hot-spot” search area.

Photo Credit: ATSB/JACC

mystery_mh370_header

Specifically, “a probability density function (PDF) defines the probable location of the aircraft’s crossing of the 6th arc models of the British firm Inmarsat satellite communications data and a model of aircraft dynamics. These results were then extrapolated to the Inmarsat-based 7th arc (at 08:19 (24:19 GMT) shown below along with all seven time signatures handshakes from the Inmarsat satellite on the early morning of March 8, 2014). The analysis indicated that the majority of solutions only contained one significant turn after the last recorded radar data,” the ATSB report summarizes, which is “inconsistent with a controlled ditching scenario,” the agency argues.

Seventh Arc Google Globe Map

Photo Credit: Inmarsat, Boeing, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)

The bureau said that “a controlled ditching scenario requires engine thrust to properly control the direction and vertical speed at touchdown and to provide hydraulic power for the flight controls including the flaps.”

MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER flew early morning March 8, 2014 for 7 hours and 38 minutes, as “fuel exhaustion was probable,” ATSB concludes.

“It is likely that the right engine flamed out first followed by the left engine,” ATSB said in the report, adding that the left engine “could have continued to run for up to 15 minutes after the right engine flamed out.”

Still, a ‘Gentle Landing‘ hypothesis of some experts allegedly supports a scenario that the massive Boeing 777-200ER rests on the deep sea floor of the Indian Ocean largely intact.

Else, where are the numerous floatable devices washing ashore from a lone broken-apart Boeing 777-200ER airliner hull resting on the deep sea oceanic floor known to exist worldwide?

Led by former head of the Australian defense and retired Air Force Chief Marshal, Sir Angus Houston, the over $150 million dollar international search effort has involved more than two dozen countries contributing planes, ships, submarines, satellites, Bayesian probabilistic search methodologies, oceanic current and debris drift models (shown below), and aircraft forensics of barnacle-encrusted flaperon debris.

Photo Credit: CBS News/NASA/Australia Maritime Safety Authority

As confidence now runs high on the probability of finding the Boeing 777-200ER wreckage laying in the “hot-spot” search area of the southern Indian Ocean floor, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China has provided 20 million Australian dollars of additional funds to complete the MH370 search.

Malaysia Airlines Downsizes From B777 Long-Haul to B737 Short-Haul Carrier in MH370/MH17 Dual-Crisis Aftermath

The last Boeing 777, performing as a Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) flight, took off Monday, January 25, 2016 at noon (local time) from Amsterdam en route to Kuala Lumpur. This marked an end of four decades of this signature scheduled flight in the Southeast Asia region operated by the Malaysian flag carrier. This also was an end to 19 years of service for the carriers original fleet of 15 Boeing 777-200ER airliners before the loss of two from the 2014 dual-crises of the missing MH370 aviation tragedy on March 8, 2014 and the shot-down MH17 aviation disaster on July 17, 2014.

Also at noon Monday, January 25, 2016, another Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) Boeing 777-200ER flew into Kuala Lumpur International Airport from Guangzhou in China. As the new Malaysian flag carrier maintains this flight schedule, the Boeing 777-200ER airliner “is being downsized to a Boeing 737-800 – a predominantly short-haul jet with about half the capacity,” reports The Independent (U.K.) on Monday.

As a new “value-based” air carrier, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) aims for profitability by 2018 in the lucrative southeast Asia air travel market in the next 5-10 years, according to Boeing-Airbus international airline industry projections. MAB’s downsizing towards profitability is a focus of this section, as we also say so-long here to MAB’s fallen MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration #9M-MRO and also goodbye to the Grand-Ole Lady of MAB — its two-decade cash-producer, formerly 15 Boeing 777-200 large-capacity passenger airliner fleet.

Turning back to civil aviation historian Philip Birtles (1998), “in early 1996 Malaysia Airlines Systems (MAS) ordered a total of 15 B777s, including five of the stretched B777-300s, with options on two more B777s and a commitment to acquire 35 further aircraft as required. The first MAS B777 – designated B777-2H6 – was WA064, Registration #9M-MRA, and made its first flight on March 26, 1997 [nearly seventeen years prior to MH370’s ill-fated early morning on March 8, 2014]. On delivery flight this aircraft broke the great circle distance record, when it flew non-stop from Seattle to Kuala Lumpur, a distance of 12,457 miles (or 20,044 kilometers). The opportunity was then taken to continue around the world, back to Seattle, beating the eastward round-the-world record with an average speed of 553 miles per hour (or 889 kilometers per hour), covering the 23,210 miles (37,345 kilometers) in a time of 41 hours, 59 minutes.”

Four months after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER international search initially commenced, another Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 was shot down. According to a final report, flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was downed by a Buk surface-to-air missile fired from war-torn Hrabove, Ukraine on July 17, 2014, in which 283 passengers and 15 crew members died on board. 

The October 12, 2015 MH17 crash final report by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) of The Netherlands, headed by Chairman Tjibbe Joustra, followed a previously released preliminary MH17 investigation report on September 9, 2014, sketching out the causes of the aviation disaster that has impacted Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB).

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MH17 Crash - English Spoken

Video Credit: about the Dutch Safety Board’s investigation into the causes of the crash of flight MH17 on July 17, 2014 in the eastern part of Ukraine and the Board’s investigation into flying over conflict zones. The video was based on the Dutch Safety Board’s investigation reports, which were published on October 12, 2015.

DSB chairman Joustra said the warhead that downed MH17 fits the profile of a Russian-built automatic computerized Buk ground-to-air missile. However, Russian officials who participated in the investigation said “it was not possible to confirm the warhead or type of system,” according to Joustra (via CNN).

The new air carrier has been operational, since September 1, 2015, with a new RM6 billion (or US$1.9 billion) business model and management team, led by Christoph Mueller, CEO of Malaysia Airlines Systems Berhad (MAS) and CEO-Designate of the new “value-based” airline, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), aiming for profitability estimated by 2018 (which is briefly reviewed now as one says goodbye to Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) Boeing 777 fleet here).

Malaysia Airlines Logos 333

Execution of a New Competitive Business Plan

By way of background, Malaysia Airlines on Thursday, August 28, 2014, released a new business plan, asking for nearly 6,000 staff cuts, curtailed long-haul routes, and a US$1.66 billion dollar restructuring strategy, as it reported a 75 percent wider loss in April-June 2014 second-quarter earnings, as operations further stalled from passenger bookings continuing to slide in response to the air carrier’s dual-crisis from the loss of 537 souls on board MH370’s aviation tragedy and MH17’s aviation disaster in the past nearly 15 months.

The April-June 2014 second-quarter earnings reflected the impact of the MH370 aviation tragedy on the Malaysia air carrier’s income and cash financials. Malaysia Airlines further forecasted poor second-half earnings, signaling the air carrier’s “average weekly bookings had declined 33 percent, with numerous flight cancellations immediately after the shooting down of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 17, 2014,” reports Reuters and the New York Times.

On Friday, August 29, 2014, Malaysian officials and Malaysia’s sovereign wealth investment company, Khazanah Nasional, announced that top-level management for the Malaysian flag carrier would then remain in place, whereupon later a significant shakeup of the senior management was put in place. 

The Malaysian cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak, on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 approved the air carrier’s business restructuring plan, which also called for focusing the airline’s core southeast Asia regional routes, while retaining a number of its historically profitable international flights to China and Australia to help feed traffic to its routes pulling in and out of its hub at Kuala Lumpur, a person familiar with the plan said on Thursday, August 28, 2014 to the Financial Times.

The flag-carrier’s workforce transition follows as Malaysia Airlines at the end of April 2015, supposedly in reconsiderations of its business assets, has offered for sale or lease all six of its Airbus A380s, its two Boeing 747-400Fs, four Airbus A330-200Fs, and four Boeing 777-200ERs (then at that time leaving just only nine such Boeing airliners assets (now retired as of Monday, January 25, 2016 and downsized to Boeing 737-800 short-haul airliners) – excluding the loss of the MH370 and MH17 Boeing 777-200ERs – among the Malaysian national air carrier’s fleet), reports respected aviation industry site Leeham News, as the flag-carrier seeks to restructure its daily operational losses that reach as high as US$1.6 million in the first half of 2014. Leeham News’ Scott Hamilton says liquidating the freight airliner fleet – encompassing two Boeing 747-400Fs and four Airbus A330-200Fs – essentially “wipes out MASCargo (Malaysia Airlines Cargo).”

Prompted by inquiries from Australian Business Traveller, Malaysia Airlines issued a statement saying the airline “is currently still working to finalize the Business Plan. Exploring fleet options to enhance viability of long-haul sectors is one area being looked into.”

However, the airline “refused to confirm or deny that it plans to sell or lease any Airbus A380s” (shown below).

Incoming Malaysia Airlines Berhad CEO Christoph Mueller has added “recent speculations on the airline offering some of its fleet for sale or lease is too premature, when nothing concrete has been achieved.”

Mr Mueller has recruited a former easyJet and Flybe executive, Paul Simmons, as Chief Commercial Officer, The Independent (U.K.) reports.

Malcolm Ginsberg, Editor of Business Travel News, said to The Independent (U.K): “People have short memories. If the management can be allowed to manage, then Air Asia and Singapore Airlines might quickly find they have real competition on their hands.”

I made a similar southeast Asia airline industry competitive strategy assessment as Mr. Ginsberg several years back on August 30, 2014, appearing on Al Jazeera English, Inside Story, asking “Malaysia Airlines: Can It Survive?” 

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Oliver McGee on Aljazeera, Malaysia Airlines: Can It Survive? 8-30-14

“Malaysia Airlines needs to operate and utilize its fleet at an optimum level besides maximizing revenue on the route it flies. The market needs to give Malaysia Airlines room to explore various options in determining the most viable strategy,” Mueller counsels.

Why, because managing airlines and airplanes is big global business.

MAS, emerging into the new company MAB, is swimming through deep sea waters of crisis management recovery in partnership as a government, a sovereign wealth fund, and a global business enterprise. Mueller and the MAB senior leadership is expecting escalating hyper-competitive strategic engagement among airlines operating in the southeast Asia region.

And, the MAB team is preparing for heightened market and operational risks, and even some innovation risks, particularly in the areas of flight routes management, workforce transition and redevelopment, pilot training and certification, aviation safety and security regulatory oversight, crash investigation and crisis management expertise, fleet assets utilization, and customer experience and brand loyalty outreach and engagement, rapidly emerging in the coming 5-10 years among the airline industry players in the southeast Asia commercial passenger air travel marketplace.

The Malaysian air carrier said the MH17 aviation disaster halted “all the hard work and effort” to regain market confidence the top-level crisis management team had put in place upon the onset of the missing MH370 aviation tragedy still ongoing. The dual-crisis has been devastating to the flag carrier’s business, as passenger loads in the first half of 2014 dropped from over 80 percent to 74 percent, although good recovery of passenger loads has been achieved in 2015. Meanwhile, in the first half of 2014 moving into 2015, the air carrier’s operating expenses rose 2 percent on higher fuel costs, maintenance costs, and labor costs. However, substantial staff cuts from about 19,000 to around 13,000 has considerably dropped the flag carrier’s fixed operating costs, which makes profitability more easily reachable in the near future, perhaps even aggressively by 2018.

Photo Credit: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, Registration #9M-MRO

However, the flag-carrier’s restructuring steps have been slowed, most likely from favorably lower oil prices in the last half of 2014 going well into 2015, which have provided some relief of the air carrier’s daily cash burn and direct operating expenses.

Maybank aviation analyst Mohshin Aziz recently expressed concerns to CNN Money about this relief in the face of advancing through the last half of 2014 the overall restructuring of Malaysia Airlines. Aziz believes “there are few signs yet that Kazanah is following through on the hard decisions. And, there may be one simple reason for that: the plunging price of oil.”

“Oil prices have just about halved and right now just about every route is making money. The momentum on the need to reform in a great hurry is definitely not there anymore,” said Aziz.

What is generally known by experts about the airline business, nonetheless – it’s a five days of working cash business.

The air carrier lost US$360 million last year in 2013, amounting to three times its losses in 2011, and the flag-carrier lost $260 million, burning nearly US$2.16 million in cash a day in the first half of 2014, while at the same time losing US$1.6 million a day in its operations.

“The company hadn’t turned a profit since 2008, and in the three years to 2013, cumulative losses totaled US$1.3 billion,” CNN Money confirms.

Malaysia Airlines has been losing nearly one million dollars a day well before the MH370 and MH17 aviation crises hit the ailing firm. The Malaysian government has been significantly subsidizing the air carrier to keep it afloat.

Historically, the Malaysian air carrier has been one of Southeast Asia’s safest and most secured airlines. However, escalated competitive rival forces in the region have put a squeeze play on financials and 2-5-year market declines of Malaysian Airline Systems BHD securities

The company has not made an annual profit since 2010. Unfortunately, the firm became trapped in the 1990s between high-end premium Singapore Airlines, and low-cost entrepreneurial Asian air carriers. like AirAsia, and its long-haul business, AirAsia X, both having hubs operating from inside Malaysia.

Shares in Malaysian Airline Systems BHD fell sharply right after the first moments of the MH17 aviation disaster, down 11% on July 17 by the mid-day break in volume trading in Kuala Lumpur, as already negative investor sentiment deepened, acknowledged CBCNews.

In all, unadjusted stock price has dropped by 35 percent during 2014. In fact, Malaysia Airline’s unadjusted stock price has fallen more than 36 percent, since August 2013.

Since the disappearance of MH370, the stock price has continued to slide sharply. 

Moments after the MH17 aviation disaster occur on July 17, 2014 Malaysia Airlines stock fell a dramatic 13 percent in just moments of trading on the Malaysian stock market. 

Continuing to strategically restructure past the 2014 dual aviation safety and security crisis of MH370/MH17, and to settle the flag carrier’s legal liabilities, the new “value-based” airline, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), aims for profitability estimated by 2018, says Mr. Mueller.

Boeing 777 9M-MRO

Photo Credit: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, Registration #9M-MRO

Liow: MH370 families advised to file their claims under Montreal Convention before March 8

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 was officially declared on Thursday, January 29, 2015, an accident and all lives presumed lost on the southern Indian Ocean floor, authorities said, after history’s largest and costliest oceanic airliner search for nearly eleven months as of Monday, February 9, 2015. Officially, this cleared the way last year for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to pay compensation to victims’ relatives, while the search for the massive Boeing 777-200ER airliner continues, reports Reuters.

“We officially declare Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 an accident … and that all 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives,” Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said in a statement.

“The announcement is in accordance with standards of annexes 12 and 13 of the International Civil Aviation Organization,” said the Malaysian DCA director-general. “It will allow families of the passengers to obtain assistance through compensation,” he said.

In a Malaysia Ministry of Transport statement (shown full below), Transport Minister Liong Tong Lai cautioned, “as we approach the second anniversary of this unfortunate [flight MH370] event, I have been informed by Malaysia Airlines System Berhad (MAS) that less than 60 compensation claims have been settled in relation to the 227 passengers and 12 crew on board the flight, whereas to date, 169 families have commenced final compensation process.”

The next-of-kin remain considerably concerned about the status of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) assets and operations transferred to Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) under the restructuring plan reviewed above.

“Multiple suits have been filed in the United States, Australian and Malaysian courts in the past few weeks and more are expected, as the two-year deadline [on Tuesday, March 8, 2016] approaches,” according to International Business Times adding, “International convention states that families are automatically eligible for around £113,000 ($160,000) in compensation per passenger.”

Malaysia Airlines (MAS), as the national flag-carrier, last year reached an “out-of-court” settlement of the first legal claim by the family of a gentleman, who was a passenger on flight MH370, a lawyer handling the claim said to the French press service, AFP, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015.

Jee Jing Hang, an online web-based business owner, was one of 227 passengers and 12 Malaysia Airlines (MAS) crew aboard. In October 2014, Mr Hang’s family brought a lawsuit, benefitting his two living sons, aged 11 and 14 when the lawsuit was filed, against Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and the Malaysian government, including its Department of Civil Aviation and Department of Immigration, and the Royal Malaysia Air Force Chief, agencies altogether involved in investigating the missing MH370 flight. The premise of the plaintiff’s lawsuit argued “for negligence and breach of contract,” against the air carrier, as it “failed to bring its passengers to its destination,” according to AFP.

“The court was informed that all the parties in the suit had come to an amicable settlement,” Gary Edward Chong, a lawyer for Mr Hang’s family told AFP, of which “terms of the settlement could not be disclosed.”

Liow-Tiong-Lai-MOT-Transport-Minister-Ministry-of-Transport 2

APPENDIX A

MEDIA STATEMENT

YB DATO’ SRI LIOW TIONG LAI, MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, MALAYSIA

MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT (MOT), PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA

Friday, March 4 2016

Liow: MH370 families advised to file their claims under Montreal Convention before March 8

“It has undoubtedly been a difficult and trying twenty-four months for the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

As we approach the second anniversary of this unfortunate event, I have been informed by Malaysia Airlines System Berhad (MAS) that less than 60 compensation claims have been settled in relation to the 227 passengers and 12 crew on board the flight, whereas to date, 169 families have commenced final compensation process.

With regard to the passengers of MH370, according to Article 35 of the 1999 Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (Montreal Convention), the right to damages against MAS shall be extinguished if an action is not brought within a period of two years from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived in Beijing, that is on 8 March 2014.

Therefore, as previously stated by MAS, the limitation period under the Montreal Convention ends on 8 March 2016. This right to claim damages under the Montreal Convention is available to the families and next-of-kin of the passengers of MH370.

Hence, I urge all the families and next-of-kin, regardless of nationality, to file their claims under the Montreal Convention against MAS by March 8, 2016 to preserve their legal rights as provided under the Convention.

The Government of Malaysia remains ever conscious that the families and next-of-kin of the passengers and crew of MH370 need to be accorded their legitimate rights as provided under the relevant international instruments and domestic laws.”

APPENDIX B

Second Interim Statements on MH370 Safety Investigation

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Provided below is the MAS Flight MH370 Second Interim Statement (Footnote 1) on the investigation on the second anniversary of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, prepared by the Malaysian ICAO (Footnote 2) Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370. Click here for MAS Flight MH370 First Interim Statement and Factual Information.

“1. This 2nd Interim Statement1 has been prepared under Chapter 6, paragraph 6 of ICAO2 Annex 13 to provide information on the progress of the investigation on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, registered as 9M-MRO, pending the completion of the Final Report as required under ICAO Annex 13. A Final Report will be completed in the event wreckage of the aircraft is located or the search for the wreckage is terminated, whichever is the earlier.

2. The Beijing-bound international scheduled passenger flight, with a total of 239 persons (227 passengers and 12 crew) on board, departed KL International Airport (KLIA) at 1642 UTC on 07 March 2014 [0042 MYT on 08 March 2014]. Less than 40 minutes after take-off, radar contact with the aircraft was lost after passing waypoint (Footnote 3) IGARI.

3. As a Contracting State of ICAO and in accordance with Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, and under Regulation 126(1) (Footnote 4) of the Malaysian Civil Aviation Regulations 1996 (MCAR), on 25 April 2014, Malaysia established an independent international Air Accident Investigation Team, known as ‘The Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370’ (the “Team”) to investigate the disappearance of flight MH370. The Team, headed by the Investigator-in-Charge, comprises 19 Malaysians and 7 Accredited Representatives of 7 safety investigation authorities (Footnote 5) from 7 countries.

4. On 08 March 2015, the 1 st Interim Statement and the Factual Information on the Safety Investigation for MH370 were released (Footnote 6) to the public on the first anniversary of the disappearance of MH370.

5. To-date, the MH370 wreckage has still not been found despite the continuing search in the South Indian Ocean. However, a flaperon was recovered in the French island of Réunion on 29 July 2015 and was determined to have been a part of the MH370 aircraft.

6. At this time, the Team is continuing to work towards finalizing its analysis, findings/conclusions and safety recommendations on eight relevant areas associated with the disappearance of flight MH370 based on available information. New information that may become available before the completion of the Final Report may alter these analysis, findings/ conclusions and safety recommendations.

7. The eight areas being reviewed by the Team are as follows:

  1. Diversion from Filed Flight Plan Route;
  2. Air Traffic Services Operations;
  3. Flight Crew Profile;
  4. Airworthiness & Maintenance and Aircraft Systems;
  5. Satellite Communications;
  6. Wreckage and Impact Information (following the recovery and verification of a flaperon from the aircraft);
  7. Organization and Management Information of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Malaysia and MAS; and
  8. Aircraft Cargo Consignment.

The Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370″

“Footnote 1 If the report cannot be made publicly available within twelve months, the State conducting the investigation shall make an interim statement publicly available on each anniversary of the occurrence, detailing the progress of the investigation and any safety issues raised.
Footnote 2 ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations charged with coordinating and regulating international air travel. The Convention establishes rules of airspace, aircraft registration and safety, and details the rights of the signatories in relation to air travel. Today, there are 191 Contracting States in ICAO.
Footnote 3 Waypoint – A specified geographical location used to define an area navigation route or the flight path of an aircraft employing area navigation. Waypoints are identified as either: Fly-by waypoint – A fly-by waypoint requires the use of turn anticipation to avoid overshoot of the next flight segment; or Fly-over waypoint – A flyover waypoint precludes any turn until the waypoint is overflown and is followed by an intercept maneuver of the next flight segment.
Footnote 4 For the purpose of carrying out an investigation into the circumstances and cause of any accident to which these Regulations apply, the Minister shall appoint persons as Inspectors of Air Accidents, one of whom shall be appointed by him as a Chief Inspector of Air Accidents.
Footnote 5 Air Accident and Incident Investigation Organizations:
  • Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) of Australia,
  • Civil Aviation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CAAC),
  • Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité d l’aviation civile (BEA) of France,
  • National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) of Indonesia,
  • Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) of Singapore,
  • Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) of United Kingdom, and
  • National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of United States of America.
Footnote 6 The 1st Interim Statement and the Factual Information remain available on the MH370 Safety Investigation websites of the Ministry of Transport (MOT) Malaysia and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC): “
  • http://mh370.mot.gov.my
  • http://www.mh370.gov.my  

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Jan 282016
 

global flight tracking of aircraft 8

An 8-year-old aviation enthusiast penned a letter to Delta Air Lines CEO Richard H. Anderson with an idea on how to track and recover missing aircraft lost at sea, as first reported by Consumerist, and later by Fox News and The Daily Mail (U.K.)Cover Photo Credit: Flightaware.com

Not only did the young inventor receive some notice from Delta, but also he was promised that his idea would be considered and forwarded on to experts addressing global flight tracking standards, including the new ones recently established on November 12, 2015 by the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization. 

Youngster Benjamin Jensen, of Ogden, Utah, son of two United States Air Force veterans, kept in touch with Delta’s CEO Anderson after viewing a television program called “Why Planes Disappear,” which highlighted the secret of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

“Benjamin has an interest with planes and aircraft, not particularly surprising, given his mom and dad has both served in the United States Air Force,” The Daily Mail (U.K.) praises of the boy’s creative endeavors.

Photo Credit: Delta Airlines CEO Richard H. Anderson

According to Consumerist, Benjamin expressed that he came up with a big idea to find crashed planes that plunge in the ocean. The young aviation inventor proposed that airlines could implement a crashed aircraft recovery system that mount inside the hull “ejectable neon orange balloon(s) that ascent up to the oceanic surface, when the plane crashed in the sea,” akin to what we saw in the blockbuster movie, Airport 77. The balloon(s) would not be sufficiently light to float up into the air, but just to the oceanic surface.

Photo Credit: Consumerist/Facebook

Moreover, Benjamin suggests the crashed aircraft recovery system of hull-mounted balloon(s) would have reinforced rubber to withstand a tremendous amount of weight. Additionally, the creative boy proposed airline companies could place a radio frequency transmitter in the balloon(s) to located them on the vast oceanic surfaces across the world and increase our chances in recovery of submerged aircraft hulls and wreckage debris on the sea floor.

Photo Credit; Consumerist/Facebook

Benjamin decided to sketch out his plan (shown above) – which involved giant orange balloon(s) inflating and floating to the surface in the event of a plane crash – and send it in a letter to Delta CEO Richard H. Anderson.

Young aviation enthusiast, Benjamin, got an answer from John E Laughter, Delta’s Senior Vice President of Safety, Security and Compliance, writing on behalf of Anderson, along with a care package of gifts from Delta, including a couple of model planes, marked pens, pencils, and so much more.

Photo Credit: Delta Airlines, Senior Vice President of Safety, Security and Compliance, John E Laughter

Photo Credit; Consumerist/Facebook

Delta Senior Vice President Laughter stated that he worked with numerous Delta people, The Federal Aviation Administration and airplane manufacturers to provide solutions to problems which include airline tracking during an emergency. He also included that there are many experts thinking about ideas just like young Benjamin sent to the Delta CEO and his team of leaders and mentors. He also assures that he will share the plan by the young boy inventor with other aviation safety experts around the world.

Read more about young Benjamin Jensen’s story inside Consumerist, and The Daily Mail (U.K.), and also inside Delta executives consider 8 year old’s idea to improve plane safety | Fox News.

New United Nations Standards for Global Flight Tracking of Aircraft is Here to Receive Young Aviation Enthusiast Benjamin Jensen’s Big Idea.

Commercial passenger air travel industry groups released a report on global flight-tracking recommendations and standards on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 with adoption by February 2015. 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) held a news conference at its Geneva headquarters Wednesday, December 10, 2014, announcing the report recommendations on real-time global flight-tracking of aircraft for its 240 member airlines. IATA’s 240 member airlines encompass 84% of international passenger air traffic.

In February 2015, the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO) convened its High-Level Safety Conference in Montreal, Canada, and approved a concept of airline operations for real-time global flight-tracking of aircraft, and to move forward in developing global flight-tracking standards. Here is the planning report of recommendations from the ICAO High-Level Safety Conference in Montreal.

Photo Credit: Free Malaysia Today

ICAO published its Normal Aircraft Tracking Implementation Initiative (NATII) report in September 2015, regarding the structure of Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS), an initiative first proposed during the 2014 Multidisciplinary Meeting on Global Flight Tracking, according to Aviation Today, and the performance-based 15-minute aircraft tracking standard, first discussed during the February 2015 High Level Safety Conference in Montreal.

“NATII reporting group [at the Qantas Crisis Management Center in Sydney, Australia in June 2015 and the Montreal Communications and Aircraft Tracking Service Providers’ workshop in May 2015] has recommended extending the applicability period amongst the International Air Transport Association’s(IATA) 240 member airlines (comprising 84 percent of all international commercial passenger air travel) to 2018; And, the NATII reporting group determined that mandating airlines to maintain position reporting every 15 minutes could cause large-scale disruptions at times, when the tracking technology fails or becomes unavailable,” reports Aviation Today.

“High-frequency (HF) communications require fine tuning of the correct frequency prior to establishing contact. This takes time and, on occasion, it was determined would impede reporting at regular intervals,” the NATII report states.

The NATII group cautions further saying: “Additionally, manual reporting (i.e. VHF voice, HF voice, manual [Aircraft Communications and Reporting System] ACARS) introduced a level of uncertainty regarding the accuracy of the manual reports. In other words, the manual report could indicate that the aircraft was in one location, when it actually was in a different place.” 

Aviation Today added: “Satellite and communication service providers have indicated that the overall network capacity needed to facilitate continuous 15-minute flight tracking is not likely to be a limiting factor, according to the NATII document. However, the report does note that some service providers expressed a need to plan for the potential increased network traffic.”

Photo Credit: Space Safety Magazine

Be that as it may, ICAO reached agreement November 12, 2015 on its global flight-tracking standards with full international airlines industry application proposed by November 2016. 

Following the disappearance and tragic loss of Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777-200ER flight MH370 in March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard, of which only a flaperon wreckage debris have been found on La Réunion Island off the southern coast of Africa on July 29, 2015, ICAO has agreed to using global satellite tracking for all international commercial passenger airlines. This has spurred worldwide discussions on global flight tracking and the need for coordinated action by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and various international aviation transportation technological organizations and trade groups.

The new global flight tracking standards call for countries to use specific radio frequencies for the monitoring of aircraft through satellites, rather than having to rely solely on radar-technology from the ground.

The target date for the full implementation of the new ICAO recommended technological standards is 2017, calling for aircraft capable of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) signals communicating with satellites for movement tracking.

Currently, aircraft only send transmissions to other aircraft and to different air traffic control stations, which limits the ability to pinpoint aircraft locations across the world, especially as they travel over extremely remote regions, like the Sahara Desert or the South American Amazon jungle, or over Transatlantic, Transpacific and Transpolar remote oceanic areas.

Photo Credit: WRC-15 Plenary Session on Global Flight Tracking of Aircraft

In terms of specifics, the United Nations ICAO reached its agreements on November 12, 2015 at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference was dedicated to the allocation of radio frequency spectrum for global flight tracking in civil aviation, and to setting global standards for technology used in communications. Moreover, participating nations at WRC-15 agreed to dedicate the radio frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz for satellites and space stations to receive transmissions from aircraft. 

“In reaching this agreement at WRC-15, International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has responded in record time to the expectations of the global community on the major issue concerning global flight tracking,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao in a statement. “ITU will continue to make every effort to improve flight tracking for civil aviation.” ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies.

According to their website, “World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) are held every three to four years. It is the job of WRC to review, and, if necessary, revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and the geostationary-satellite and non-geostationary-satellite orbits. Revisions are made on the basis of an agenda determined by theITU Council, which takes into account recommendations made by previous world radiocommunication conferences.”

By more specific definition (in reference to the illustrative depiction below for laypersons, via BBC News and CBC News), the frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz has been allocated to the aeronautical mobile-satellite service (Earth-to-space) for reception by space stations of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) emissions from aircraft transmitters.

This radio frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz is currently being utilized for the transmission of ADS-B signals from aircraft to terrestrial stations within line-of-sight. The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) has now allocated this frequency band in the Earth-to-space direction to enable transmissions from aircraft to satellites. 

This extends ADS-B signals beyond line-of-sight to facilitate reporting the position of aircraft equipped with ADS-B anywhere in the world, including Transatlantic, Transpacific and Transpolar oceanic regions and other remote areas of the world. 

WRC-15 recognized that as the “standards and recommended practices” (SARP) for systems enabling position determination and tracking of aircraft are developed by the United Nations ICAO, the performance criteria for satellite reception of ADS-B signals will also require additional recommendations by ICAO. 

ICAO’s Global Operational Data Link Document (GOLD) defines Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) as a surveillance technique, that has been employed for 20 years to track aircraft across Transatlantic, Transpacific, and Transpolar oceanic regions, and that uses onboard aircraft systems to automatically provide position, altitude, speed, intent and meteorological data sent in a report to an Air Traffic Service Unit (ATSU) or Airline Operational Center (AOC) ground system for surveillance and route conformance monitoring. 

U.K.-based satellite service provider, Inmarsat, and Airservices Australia studies report that “ADS-C could be used to comply with the 15 minute normal global flight tracking requirement for suitably equipped aircraft.”

Consequently, “Airservices Australia has adopted the 14-minute reporting requirement as part of its standard operating procedure,” the Inmarsat-Airservices Australia report states. 

In ICAO’s special meeting on global flight tracking, which took place in Montréal, May 12-13, 2014, ICAO encouraged ITU to take urgent action to provide the necessary spectrum allocations for satellites to support emerging aviation needs. In October 2014, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea, instructed WRC-15 to consider global flight tracking in its agenda.

“In reaching this agreement at WRC-15, ITU has responded in record time to the expectations of the global community on the major issue concerning global flight tracking,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ITU will continue to make every effort to improve flight tracking for civil aviation.”

“The allocation of frequencies for reception of ADS-B signals from aircraft by space stations will enable real-time tracking of aircraft anywhere in the world,” said François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “We will continue to work with ICAO and other international organizations to enhance safety in the skies.”

Of course, not all aviation tracking experts would agree with that. Regulators and airlines were criticized for their slow response time to French recommendations for tracking airlines after an Air France flight AF447 Airbus jet crashed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil in 2009.

The deadline for the installation of satellite tracking technology is set for a year from now in November 2016. Thereafter, aircraft traveling across the globe will send their location at least once every 15 minutes or more in the event of an aviation safety emergency and/or security breach via real-time satellite tracking.

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APPENDIX

Road Map to United Nations ICAO Global Flight-Tracking Standards (2014-2018), as chronicled in Aviation Week (edited for most recent standards updates).

March 8, 2014 • MH370 disappears from radar over the Gulf of Thailand en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China.

April 1, 2014 • Malaysian Minister for Communications and Multimedia called upon ITU to develop leading edge standards to facilitate the transmission of flight data in real-time. He was speaking at the opening of the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference taking place in Dubai.

March 31- April 2, 2014 • International Air Transport Association (IATA) convenes Operations Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and creates Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF) to focus on identifying near-term options for global tracking of aircraft, including a concept of operations (Conops).

May 12-13, 2014 • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) holds Special Meeting for Global Flight Tracking in Montreal, Canada, and reaches consensus to track all airline aircraft. • IATA agrees to early voluntary implementation; ICAO to develop standards in parallel, while developing global standard on a parallel track. • ICAO special meeting in Montréal encouraged ITU to take urgent action to provide the necessary spectrum allocations for satellites to support emerging aviation needs.

May 26-27, 2014 • International Telecommunications Union (ITU) holds Expert Dialogue on real-time monitoring of flight data in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. • ITU asked to provide necessary spectrum allocations for emerging flight-data monitoring needs and work with ICAO to implement it. Expert Dialogue on global flight tracking took place in Kuala Lumpur.

June 11-13, 2014 • IATA ATTF holds first formal meeting and launches effort to define current state of flight-tracking with member and non-member airlines, air navigation service providers.

September 2014 • IATA ATTF presents preliminary Conops for global flight-tracking to ICAO in Montreal, Canada.

October 2014 • ITU Plenipotentiary Conference meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea, instructed WRC-15 to consider global flight tracking in its agenda.

December 10, 2014 • IATA communicates ATTF findings to member airlines.

February 2015 • ICAO held high-level safety meeting in Montreal, Canada and approved Conops from ATTF and move forward in developing a global flight-tracking standard.

September 2015 • ICAO published its Normal Aircraft Tracking Implementation Initiative (NATII) report, regarding the structure of Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) and the performance-based 15-minute aircraft tracking standard.

November 11, 2015 • The frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz has been allocated to the aeronautical mobile-satellite service (Earth-to-space) for reception by space stations of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) emissions from aircraft transmitters. The World Radio communication Conference is in session, 2-27 November at the International Convention Centre Geneva (CICG).

November 12, 2015 • United Nations reached the agreement at the World Radio Communication Conference in Geneva. The conference was dedicated to the allocation of radio frequency spectrum for global flight tracking in civil aviation, and to setting global standards for technology used in communications, and nations agreed to frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz for satellites and space stations to receive transmissions from aircraft. 

November 2016 • ICAO to officially publish global flight-tracking standards for international airlines industry application.

2017 • Full implementation of the new ICAO recommended technological standards, calling for aircraft capable of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) signals communicating with satellites for movement tracking.

2018 • Normal Aircraft Tracking Implementation Initiative (NATII) reporting group has recommended extending the applicability period amongst the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) 240 member airlines (comprising 84 percent of all international commercial passenger air travel) to 2018.

2018 • According to Aviation Today: “The European Parliament is currently considering new measures to mandate flight tracking for aircraft operating within European airspace. In July, European Union (EU) member states approved a draft-implementing act that would establish new forward-fit flight tracking requirements on new production aircraft flying in European airspace. Existing aircraft would not be required to be retrofitted with technology to meet the new requirements.”

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Photo Credit: Harvard University

“The University of Missouri system’s president, Timothy Wolfe, resigned Monday morning in the face of growing protests by black college students, the threat of a walkout by faculty, and a strike by football players, who said he had done too little to combat racism on campus,” reports USA Today and the New York Times moments ago.

Photo Credits: Harvard University and Yale University Commons

Further still, after President Wolfe announced his resignation, R. Bowen Loftin, the chancellor of the University of Missouri’s flagship Columbia campus, will resign at the end of the year, the Associated Press reported alongside the New York Times late Monday afternoon.

President Wolfe and Chancellor Loftin faced increasing pressure to resign their leadership posts after what critics said “was a sluggish and inadequate response to a string of racially charged incidents on the overwhelmingly white college campus,” according to TPM LiveWire Breaking News.

This is now a tsunami crisis in stakeholder management and presidential and chancellorship succession in higher education and its coordinated response to diversity and inclusion on campus (alongside other pressing issues of college affordability, student learning and assessment, internationalization and globalization on campuses, cash management and investments, fundraising and endowment growth, strategic partnerships, joint venturing and alliances, and board governance).

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni stakeholders’ anger and frustration is real about how the value of diversity and inclusion on modern college campuses matters most in the modern age of demography shift and heightened engagement across government, industry, philanthropy, and “The Ivory Tower.”

So, given at the end of this piece are 20 strategic lessons on what does it take to be the college boss through the lens of several university presidential titans, who may have or who may have not weathered the storms of raising the value of diversity and inclusion in “The Ivory Tower.”

Inside this piece also are some pearls of wisdom that may be relevant to the challenging constituent events taking place on the modern college campus in the age of demography shift in heightened communications through “smart” technology, whereby a simple “Tweet” about a racial incident can go viral and eventually cause the resignation of a university president, lacking some historical perspective of these 20 pearls of wisdom on how to #BetheBoss on a modern college campus.

Yale Univ Student Rally

Photo Credit: Isaac Stanley-Becker for The Washington Post. Students rally at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., on Monday, November 9, 2015.

Above all else, essentially, college presidents have basically three powers: to sign, to appoint, and most of all, to persuade.

Yale University’s president, Peter Salovey, spoke Thursday, November 5, 2015 to minority students in a closed-door meeting, saying the university had “failed” them. Salovey later said on Monday, November 9, 2015 at a Yale student rally on campus that he welcomed students’ efforts to improve Yale University and clarified his view that Yale has failed its minority students, as later that afternoon tsunami events out west were unfolding surrounding the presidential and chancellor leadership succession of the University of Missouri System.

“What I said on Thursday is if there are students who don’t feel welcome here, we need to accept that as an area where we can do better,” Salovey said in a brief interview to reporters, including The Washington Post. “And we must do better.”

“People really have to feel like they can express themselves, whatever their views are, in an environment that is open to them,” he said.

College politics of prolific public perception is profoundly at play now in the age of social media and advances in wireless communications technologies on campus.

Yale College Dean John Holloway

Jonathan Holloway, the dean of Yale College, (shown above via The Washington Post, and Yale’s only black dean, who is also the Edmund Morgan Professor of African American Studies), also said recently in The Washington Post, he has been in touch with the university’s general counsel’s office about several videos created via smartphones during a recent confrontation between students and administration, as “there is a university rule that prohibits filming without prior permission within Yale’s gates,” Holloway said. 

On Thursday, November 5, Yale University students gathered to protest over faculty members’ e-mails regarding culturally sensitive Halloween costumes. One student confronted Nicholas Christakis, the master of Silliman College. Several video clips of the encounter at Yale’s Silliman College were immediately posted on YouTube by the nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Filmed by FIRE organization’s CEO and president, Greg Lukianoff, who spoke in Silliman on Thursday evening on the topic of free speech on college campuses, the videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.

“I honestly don’t know what to do in our smartphone culture with this,” Holloway said. “And so I’ve posed that as a question to the attorney to figure out what can we do.”

Spokesman, Nico Perrino, said FIRE has not been contacted by Yale’s attorneys.

Meanwhile, the social impact of our smartphone culture continues on modern college campuses, as marches and walkouts across the nation are taking place this week by students, faculty, staff, and alumni in protest of “what they see as officials’ lenient approach to racial abuse in schools,” according to Reuters.

In recent related series of event, Reuters reports Hunter M. Park, “a 19-year-old white Missouri man (also a sophomore computer science major at Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T) in Rolla, which is part of the University of Missouri System) is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, November 12 charged with making threats on social media to shoot black students at the University of Missouri’s flagship Columbia campus, just days after the school’s top two administrators resigned after protests over their handling of racial incidents at the school.

In the nation’s capitol, “messages were posted online threatening to murder students at the historically black college Howard University in Washington on Thursday, November 11,” says Reuters. School officials, which had an “all hands on deck” high-level meeting Thursday morning, decided not to close the campus, but have increased security around the DC-metropolitan campus.

“Sympathetic gatherings have taken place at Yale University, Ithaca College in New York, Smith College in Massachusetts and Claremont McKenna College in California,” according to Reuters. “At Yale on Wednesday, November 11, more than 1,000 students, professors and staff gathered to discuss race and diversity at the elite Ivy League school. The forum was held two days after about 1,000 students briefly shut down traffic around the university in a rally to protest an alleged Halloween incident in which a fraternity turned away black students from a party.”

#Mizzou Fallout Forces Resignations of a University President and a Flagship Campus Chancellor

Monday, November 9, 2015, the Missouri Students Association released a letter submitted to the University of Missouri System Board of Curators, seeking University of Missouri President Timothy Wolfe’s “immediate removal,” saying that “the University of Missouri met the shooting of Mike Brown with silence … our students were left stranded, forced to face an increase in tension and inequality with no systemic support. Over the last sixteen months, the quality of life for our students has only worsened” and that Missouri President Wolfe had “enabled a culture of racism.”

“His resignation was just one of many demands from students, who say the university isn’t doing enough to handle racism and discrimination on the campus in Columbia. Another demand is to increase black representation among University of Missouri-Columbia staff and faculty members to 10 percent by the next academic calendar year. The school would have a lot of hiring to do to comply: It would take around 400 more black faculty or staff members to get representation that high,” reports FiveThirtyEightPolitics on ESPN. “Black students are less likely than students of other races or ethnicities to stay enrolled in the university after one year and are ultimately less likely to graduate,” according to data provided to FiveThirtyEight by the university.

What we are learning from the resignations of Missouri president, Timothy Wolfe, and of Missouri’s flagship Columbia campus chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, on Monday, November 9, is that responsibility and accountability for diversity and inclusion now clearly resides at the top inside the campus administration building.

Photo Credit: Supporters of the student protest group, “Concerned Student 1950 (named after the first year black students were allowed at the school),” form a perimeter of 1,950 students in locked arms (above), as students stage a “sit-in” protest (below) on the University of Missouri’s flagship Columbia campus.

Sit-ins by activists African-American students, supported by students, faculty, staff, and alumni from all walks of life, in the age of “#BlackLivesMatter“, “#SportsLivesMatter“, and the “clash of generations” (between Millennials aged 18-24, Generation Ys aged 25-34, Generation Xs aged 33-44, Baby-Busters aged 45-54, Baby-Boomers aged 55-64, and Greatest Generations aged 65 and older), alongside Saturday afternoon boycotts by college football and basketball players and marching bands, are dramatically affecting college brands and reputations, institutional advancement, communications and public relations, annual donor-giving campaign dollars, and lucrative sports television revenues given to campuses.

Moreover, such protests are voicing loudly that racism, sexism, even ageism is not tolerated on the modern campus by any groups of constituents and stakeholders. And that no longer is “just talking diversity” inside college brochures enough. But now, “actually walking diversity” is the real measure of the social, technological, educational, economic and political (S.T.E.E.P.) value of diversity on campus.

Football is big money and some change on modern college campuses.

“The Missouri athletic department’s annual operating revenue grew nearly 10 percent to $83.7 million during the 2014 fiscal year, but outstanding debt climbed by nearly $60 million and expenses also increased,” according to data obtained by The Star that is submitted annually by Mizzou to the NCAA.

Had thirty-two black football players just boycotted one game this weekend against Brigham Young University, “it would have cost the school almost $1 million,” reports The Root.

“Thirty-two black men just ousted the head of a system that employs 25,000 people and educates over 77,000 students, just by saying, “No”,” writes activist, Michael Harriot, inside The Root.

Harriot adds: “Harvard Law-degree-wielding president of one of the largest and most comprehensive universities in the country [resigning clearly says] … what should be scary to the status quo is the possibility of the pervasive rage becoming as focused and united as what just happened in Columbia, Missouri, by just saying “No.” “

“And, all it took was 32 black men.”

By the way, have you seen a Texaco Star sign anymore lately?

Diversity and inclusion matters now under the corporate seal. And, it’s not only affecting huge government and industrial interests, but also economic interests inside “The Ivory Tower.” 

“Mizzou’s student-athletes just put every university president across the nation on notice,” writes Jason Johnson, professor of political science at Hiram College in Ohio, inside The Root.

“Thousands of influential Mizzou alumni couldn’t care less about social justice, racism or the protection of African-American students. They like football and tailgating every Saturday. And, if firing Wolfe and addressing some racism gets them back in the parking lot with a beer and a brat watching black men run up and down a field this Saturday, so be it,” Johnson argues.

Professor Johnson goes on further to conclude: “At the end of the day, there are lots of people who can serve as a college president, but there aren’t nearly as many who can break four tackles for a score on third and 7. Let’s just hope that other prominent college football teams see the power that was shown by the Missouri Tigers today: that if you stay organized and unified, you don’t have to just run the field; you can run your school.”

Strategic knowledge leadership among the world’s best colleges and universities reflects modern presidential and board responsibility and accountability of making a real difference in diversity and inclusion with integrity and trust of self-expression and generosity amongst all stakeholders across the campus community.

Photo Credit: Columbia University Graduation Ceremony

Diversity and Inclusion is Strategic Leadership and Intent of the Modern College Presidential Boss

Strategic competitive positioning in academic and research capacity building and knowledge production and depositories among the world’s top-ranked colleges and universities stack up along four primary fronts:

  1. Brokerage creates knowledge and value, including identifying the relative difference among ourselves that distinguishes an institution and trading on it under a powerful university seal in the global marketplace;
  2. Cohesion delivers knowledge and value, involving establishing an academic environment of diversity and inclusion that attracts and retains extraordinary faculty united with a continuous supply of exceptional students;
  3. Branding, reputation, and trust transfers knowledge and value, allowing a climate of innovation to flow freely throughout the physical and online learning spaces and diverse culture of the university in the advancement of a general liberal education for the benefit of agriculture, industry, commerce, and The Arts;
  4. Partnerships sustain knowledge and value, allowing diverse strategic contracts of alliances, joint-ventures, acquisitions, warrants, options, and philanthropic giving to feed both organic and inorganic investments and growth of the university and its endowment steadily and soundly through perpetuity.

Photo Credit: Duke University

A Vision for the Value of Diversity and Inclusion on the Modern College Campus

Altogether, the above attributes properly balance and uniquely prepare modern college presidents for this strategic leadership opportunity in three essential ways:

  • To honor the faculty, staff, students, and alumni and their history inside the college as a sound institution and community of learning;
  • To manage the college’s education integrated with research capacity building and growth, as one of the country’s top research organizations – particularly given the college’s strategic leadership inside the federal directorates, as one of the nation’s most valuable integrated education and research assets – and finally,
  • To position a college education and research enterprise with a strategic vision for making the often challenging choices amongst competing stakeholders required in interdisciplinary teaching and research oversight in modern higher education. 

Furthermore, strongest most enduring college presidents are eager to participate in the collaborative and cross-cultural governance of a growing higher education and research enterprise, while helping the university build its social, technological, economic, and political value to the college’s local region, the nation, and the world.

Photo Credit: Stanford University

Hence, what it takes to be the servant college boss is sound stewardship of a longstanding institution of excellence, whose intent is to empower and enable faculty, staff, students, and alumni, to generate and fulfill new possibilities and purposeful living.

A modern college stewarded by a sound presidential boss creates new knowledge and provides academic programs and services that produce extraordinary learning and results not only for its stakeholders and constituencies, but also for the ascent of humankind.

Upon examining the compelling case for the college’s mission, what is revealed to us, as taxpayers and/or college donors, is the power of one’s transformation through combined education and leadership preparation for the college’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and for the surrounding local community, the nation and the world.

Photo Credit: University of Notre Dame

The college presidential boss proposes to advance the college’s educational and service-oriented enterprises out of values shaping deeply what we believe the college is, as a transformational academic unit of distinguished teaching, research, outreach and engagement, innovation, and technology transfer to a good society: 

Making a Difference:

Colleges have a profound privilege of causing transformation of students as global leaders, the transformation of its faculty as conversation leaders and knowledge producers, the transformation of its staff as facilitators of quality service, and the transformation of its alumni in protection and as shapers of society, humanity, and our world. 

Self Expression and Generosity:

Colleges are historical places of fundamental freedom of intellectual thought; giving of itself abundantly in duty and service to community and the nation and to students from all walks of life.

Creation of Knowledge: 

Colleges generate potential from promise itself, shaping society today, and most of all, respecting its legacy of shaping thought in America with the ultimate purpose in the development of future leaders for a global duty and citizenry through the creation and dissemination of knowledge. 

Responsibility and Accountability: 

Colleges are leadership communities of excellence with an inherent responsibility and unconditional accountability to ensure the potential and promise, and ultimately, the success of its students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Integrity and Trust:

Colleges are whole and complete organizations of duty and quality service of higher education that must be true to its purpose to accomplish with integrity its academic and training mission, to function consistent with its values, and to manage the trust in service to its students, faculty, staff, alumni, governance, society, humanity, and the world.

Photo Credit: One Hundred Years of Harvard-Yale Football

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APPENDIX

20 Pearls of Wisdom and Lessons on College Presidential Leadership

Below are 20 additional strategic lessons on what does it take to be the college boss through the lens of several university presidential titans, who may have or who may have not weathered the storms of raising the social, technological, education, economic, and political (S.T.E.E.P.) value of diversity and inclusion inside “The Ivory Tower.”

Photo Credit: Nicholas Murrary Butler

1. A Different Kind of Captain

“The college president is “a captain of the army of faith in the Republic.” These captains “are a characteristic product of American life and of American opportunity … Rules and formulas cannot be devised to produce them … The history of American higher education for well-nigh a century is written largely in terms of the personality, the strivings and the accomplishments of these Captains. Strike them from our record … and the history of American Higher Education would be meaningless.”

Nicholas Murray Butler, 1919, Nobel Peace Laureate (1931), 12th President of Columbia University (1905-1945), President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1925-1945)

2. The Multiversity President

The president must be “a friend of the students, a colleague of the faculty, a good fellow with the alumni, a sound administrator with the trustees, a good speaker with the public, an astute bargainer with the foundations and federal agencies, a politician with the state legislature, a friend of industry, labor and agriculture, a persuasive diplomat with donors, a champion of education generally, a supporter of the professions …, a spokesperson to the press, a scholar in his own right, a public servant …, a devotee of opera and football equally, a decent human being, a good husband and father, an active member of a church … No one can be all these things. Some succeed at being none.”

Clark Kerr, 1963, 12th President of the University of California (1958-1967), First Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley (1952-1957)

Photo Credit: Duke University

3. The Presidency as Illusion

“[The academic presidency is] a reactive job, a parochial job … [It is] important to the president [but] the presidency is an illusion … Important aspects of the role seem to disappear on close examination … It is probably a mistake for a college president to imagine that what he [she] does in office affects significantly either the long-run position of the institution or his [her] reputation as president.

Presidents occupy a minor part in the lives of a small number of people. They can act with a fair degree of confidence that if they make a mistake, it will not matter much.”

Michael Cohen and James March, Leadership and Ambiguity, 1974, 1986

Photo Credit: Harvard University Cross Country Team

4. The Presidency Today

“It has probably always been too simple a matter to think of the president as a pilot … Still … the allegory of the captain, the ship, the sea, the voyage, remains appealing. There is romance in it, and danger; uncertainty and possibility; change and challenge; and fortune good or bad …

“That old voyager, Charles W. Eliot [21st President of Harvard University,(1869-1909), known as the “grand old man” of Harvard University – its transformer, if not its founder], might well conclude today that the office he did so much to develop has been greatly modified since his time. It is more difficult, more daunting, and a good bit less powerful … But, surveying the greatly altered scene, Eliot might still discern … some substantial room to maneuver, some significant role for the pilot. He might join with [William Rainey Harper, First President of the University of Chicago (1891-1906), “Young Man in a Hurry“] now … in saying of the position that “the satisfaction which this brings no man [or woman] can describe.” He could find convincing reasons to avow again that the presidency – despite everything and whatever one’s choice of metaphor – is still unique, still a job that demands a leader, still an office that makes a difference, still a profession that has no equal in the world.”

Joe Crowley, “No Equal in The World,” 1994

Photo Credit: Duke University

5. The President of Grey Towers (Chicago)

“The university has become a place of “cold desolateness,” headed by a president who is “absurd … an absolutist [and] a grotesque little man.”

Anonymous, 1923

6. The President “Presides Over a Tropical Jungle”

“The president, critics say, is “an autocrat, a dollar-making capitalist, a great mogul, a grand seigneur, a mikado, and hetman all combined in one. He [She] is viewed as an austere figure sitting on a throne behind closed doors and summoning now and then the trembling vassals of his [her] realm … He [She] watches for heresies with the sleepless zeal of the Holy Inquisition, and without mercy brings vengeance on the head of the unfaithful.”

In reality, he [she] “presides over a tropical jungle … full of queer animals … Some run about, seeking whom they may devour. Others sit quietly in corners, shrinking from observation, searching curiously for unknown things … It is a vast magnificent, and historic tangle. About all that the mighty gentleman … can do, is to stand on a height above it and squirt perfume on the ensemble.”

Somnia Vana, 1922

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

7. “Last Words of a College President”

“I walked and sat erect for thirty years, A proud merchant of correct ideas, Cold gladness and unsullied decorum, I fashioned cautious men without souls, And brittle women with measured passion. Behold a traitor, To his Creator.”

American Mercury,” 1948

Photo Credit: The Ivory Tower

8. The Mystery Novel President

“In academic detective novels, presidents are customarily portrayed as: “Academically, intellectually, socially, legally, and morally rotten, [and as] encyclopedias of corruption.”

Wister Cook, “Death by Administration: Presidents, Deans, and Department Heads in Academic Detective Novels,” 1988 [via, Joseph N. Crowley, “No Equal in the World: An Interpretation of the Academic Presidency,” 1994]

Photo Credit: Princeton University Nassau Hall

9. The Spirit of J. Thoreau Marshall Reigns

“As acting president of fictional Washagon University inside Robert Grudin’s novel about life among that peculiar new breed of faculty … , J. Thoreau Marshall “emerges as neither decent nor much of a mover.” Nonetheless, his rise to power was inevitable:

“Terrified of being at a loss for words, he wrote out his lectures which, sauced with redundancy, seasoned with non sequitur and served up at metronomic pace in a pained nasal monotone, induced narcosis in all who heard them.

“In committee meetings, he was notably inarticulate, dead to nuance and phobic to original ideas.

“His other relationships were of a similar ilk, To his students he was autocratic and unfair, to his advisees distant and obtuse, to his colleagues earthbound and hollow.

“It was eventually apparent that these characteristics, displayed consistently and noted by all, ideally qualified Marshall for academic administration, and before long he was welcomed into a confraternity whose members by and large, shared his talents and propensities.

“When he was appointed Washagon’s provost, Marshall demonstrated “the timeworn obligations of his profession: bullying his subordinates and cringing before his superiors, stifling talent and rewarding mediocrity, promoting faddishness and punishing integrity. It is no surprise that Marshall is given the acting presidency, when the president becomes ill.” “

Robert Grudin, “Book,” 1992 [via, Joseph N. Crowley, “No Equal in the World: An Interpretation of the Academic Presidency,” 1994]

Photo Credit: Andrew Dickson White

10. “No Cessation of Duties”

“This is a dog’s life … no cessation of duties, which have always been most irksome … rebuffs — the cold shoulder — unsuccessful pleading and unheeded begging … A year or two more of this life as president will break my health hopelessly.”

Andrew Dickson White, 1871-72, First President of Cornell University (1866-1885), 16th United States Ambassador to Germany (1879-1881), First President of the American Historical Association (1884-1885)

Photo Credit: William Rainey Harper

11. “The Bigness of the Task”

“There were “times of great depression, when one contemplates in all its details the bigness of the task … the demands made … the number and magnitude of the difficulties involved. So numerous are the affairs of a great university; so heavy are they … so delicate and difficult … so arduous … so heart engrossing and mind disturbing.”

William Rainey Harper, First President of the University of Chicago (1891-1906), “Young Man in a Hurry

Photo Credit: Andrew Dickson White

12. Presidents On The Press

“Twenty years ago I began my official connection with Cornell University by answering defamatory attacks … in your columns, and now I seem fated to end it in the same way.”

Andrew Dickson White, in a letter to the New York Times, 1885, First President of Cornell University (1866-1885), 16th United States Ambassador to Germany (1879-1881), First President of the American Historical Association (1884-1885)

Photo Credit: William Rainey Harper

“I wish very much that there could be enacted a law in the state of Illinois inflicting the death penalty upon irresponsible reporters for the misleading way in which they misrepresent the truth … We are helpless in the hands of the press …”

William Rainey Harper, First President of the University of Chicago (1891-1906)

Photo Credit: Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro (right) and World-Renowned, Distinguished Ballet Artist, Mikhail Baryshnikov (left)

13. Unwise Fate Awaiting The New President

“Consider that “cruel … unnecessary … unwise fate awaiting the new president, who must make his peace with malcontents, … be patient under opposition, … explain misunderstandings, … contradict misstatements, … supplement the inefficiency of others, and … furnish enthusiasm enough not only to carry himself over all obstacles … but to warm blood in the veins of others, whose temperature never yet rose above thirty-four degrees.”

“One of the Guild,” 1900

Photo Credit: The Ohio State University Oval

14. Presidential Complaints and “The Wailing Wall”

“The university president is “one of the most burdened … harassed … put-upon people in American life.”

William H. Cowley, 1949, Correspondence of William H. Cowley, 11th President of Hamilton College (1938-1944)

Photo Credit: Dwight D. Eisenhower

“My schedule “for the first months … has grown to appalling proportions. If current indications provide any index of what my future life there is to be, I shall quit them cold and go to some forsaken spot on the earth’s surface to stay.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1948, 13th President of Columbia University (1948-1953), 34th President of the United States (1953-1961)

Photo Credit: Dwight D. Eisenhower

“The picture of the president emerging from presidential descriptions is of a “small, lonely, Chaplinesque figure.”

“Annual presidential meetings are like “a convocation of morticians” gathered at a “wailing wall.”

Frederic Ness, “An Uncertain Glory,” Professor of English, United States Naval Academy, 1971

Photo Credit: Charles M. Vest

15. A Model of Leading the Value of Diversity Through The Presidency is Here

“I grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia and attended public schools there where I learned many valuable things. I learned that every human being is important, has something to offer, and can be a friend and colleague.” Read more here.

Charles M. Vest, 2006, 15th President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1990-2004), President of the National Academy of Engineering (2007-2013)

Photo Credit: University of Pennsylvania

16. The Presidency According to the Presidents and the Press

“An impossible job” (1913)

“Why college presidents wear out” (1945)

“The [presidential] race is extinct” (1956)

“The reeling presidency” (1976)

“The impossible job of the college president” (1988)

“The most difficult job in the world” (1990)

“The short unhappy life of academic presidents” (1990)

“The hardest job in California” (1991)

“The terrible toll in college presidents” (1994)

“Wanted: Miracle workers” (1991)

“The hunt for water walkers” (1990)

“[The job needs] someone who can walk on water.”

“[The job needs] someone who doesn’t only walk on water, but who can skip on it.”

“[The job needs] somebody who can walk on water, but who can do so without scaring the fish.”

“[The president needs an] ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound.”

Photo Credit: Charles W. Eliot reading with his grandson (1910)

17. The Rule of Seven

“The best number of members for a university’s principal governing board is seven; because that number of men [women] can sit round a small table, talk with each other informally without waste of words or any display or pretense, provide an adequate diversity of points of view and modes of dealing with the subject in hand, and yet be prompt and efficient in the despatch of business. In a board of seven the different professions and callings can be sufficiently represented.”

Charles W. Eliot, 1908, 21st President of Harvard University (1869-1909), Known as the “grand old man” of Harvard University – its transformer, if not its founder. 

Photo Credit: H. Patrick Swygert (right) and then-U.S. Presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) (left), 2007

18. The Raison D’etre for The Institution

“Its mission, transcends everything, because without that you’re simply just raising money but for no good purpose. And by the way, don’t think you’re going to be successful at it, as well, if you cannot articulate some form of vision … And I think historically black colleges and universities at large are still about two things: opportunity for youngsters who might not otherwise have an opportunity for education, post-secondary education, and secondly, to be about the business of the greater African Diaspora. What are those issues affecting us? Whether it’s health care disparities, whether it’s environmental issues, whether it’s traditional civil rights issues, human rights issues, that’s what they should be about – what we are about.”

H. Patrick Swygert, 15th President of Howard University, 2008

Photo Credit: Stephen Joel Trachtenberg (right), former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and then-U.S. Senator (D-New York) (left)

19. More of a Politician Than a Corporatist

“The course of a university president’s day is never the same twice in a row; no tired bureaucrats need apply … A university president has to be more of politician than a corporate leader.”

Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, “Big Man on Campus: A University President Speaks Out on Higher Education,” 2008, 15th President of The George Washington University (1988-2007), 3rd President of the University of Hartford (1976-1987)

Photo Credit: Stephen Joel Trachtenberg (left) poses next to his official George Washington University presidential portrait (right)

20. A Titan

“Angry now the breakers are: Gleam their white teeth in the sun, Where along the shallow bar, Fierce and high their ridges run. 

But the pilot-captain, lo! How serene in strength is he! Blithe as winds that dawnward blow, Fresh and fearless as the sea.

Now the shifting breezes fail, Baffling gusts arise and die, Shakes and shudders every sail, Hark! the rocks are roaring nigh.

But the pilot keeps here keel, Where the current runneth fair, Deftly turns the massive wheel, Light as though’t were hung in air.

Hark! the bar on either side! Hiss of foam, and crash of crest, Trampling feet, and shouts – they glide, Safely out on ocean’s breast.

Then, the Pilot gives his hand, To his brother, close beside: “Now, ’tis thine to take command, I must back at turn of tide.” “

Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887), American poet and educator, 1875

Photo Credit: Edward Rowland Sill

_________

 

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Metrojet Airbus A321 Reg #EI-ETJ -- 7

Russian Metrojet Airbus A321-231 crashed minutes after takeoff, fatally resulting in the death of 224 people, in mountainous Sinai Peninsula (Egypt) on Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 04:12 Zulu (Greenwich Mean Time, GMT) or 12:12 am ET.

Photo Credit: 1993 REUTERS/Kim Philipp Piskol. Metrojet’s Airbus A321-231, Registration number EI-ETJ, performing as flight 7K-9268taxis at Antalya, Turkey before the tragic crash.

Operated by Russian air carrier, formerly known as Kogalymavia, Kolavia (Moscow-Domodedovo), and branded as MetroJet, according to the Egyptian aviation ministry, Metrojet’s Airbus A321-231, Registration number EI-ETJ, was performing flight 7K-9268 en route from Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) to St. Petersburg (Russia) with 217 passengers and 7 Metrojet crew on board, Russia’s Rosaviatsia (Civil Aviation Authority) confirms.

Speculatively and preliminarily speaking, ahead of detailed analysis of the flight deck recorders or “black-boxes” recovered today from the extensive crash site wreckage at Al Arish (Sinai, Egypt) on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, a technical malfunction in the airliner’s International Aero Engines AG V2533-A5 turbofan engines is only at first-glance attributed to the aerodynamic stalling of the Airbus A321-231 (losing altitude from 31,000 feet at nearly 6,000 feet per minute) about 23 minutes after takeoff from a Red Sea resort popular with Russian tourists, Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation has said.

IAE International Aero Engines AG “manages engineering, sales, production, customer support and aftermarket services for the V2500® series engine – one of the most successful commercial jet-engine programs in production today.”

“Approximately 190 airlines and lessors from about 70 countries operate the V2500 series engine. To date, the V2500 series engine has accumulated over 125 million flight hours,” according to the IAE website.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Wednesday, November 4 spoke of a “significant possibility” that Metrojet flight 7K-9268 was “caused by a bomb and Britain immediately suspended all flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh, the Red Sea resort where the flight originated,” Daily Mirror (U.K.) reports in an extensive rolling timeline of developments in this ongoing crash investigation by the French BEA, Egyptian government officials, Russian Metrojet airline officials, and British and U.S. intelligence.

“Egyptian officials have condemned Britain’s travel ban as an overreaction. Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is in London on a state visit, facing what is likely to be a tense meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron,” says the Daily Mirror (U.K.).

However, until the Airbus A321-231 cockpit voice recorders (CVRs) and the flight data recorders (FDRs), known as “the black boxes” are fully analyzed by the French BEA investigators, nobody really knows what happen during the final moments of Metrojet flight 7K-9268 on Saturday, October 31.

The Telegraph (U.K.) and French television channel France 2 is reporting on Friday, November 6 that the black boxes “distinctly show the sound of an explosion during the flight”, according to an investigator who had access to them.

They said: “the explosion would not be secondary from engine failure.”

In other words, “there is no sign of mechanical malfunction during the initial part of the flight,” France 2 reported. “Everything is fine during the first 24 minutes, then in a fraction of a second there is a blackout and no more cockpit conversation, convincing investigators there was a bomb on board,” according to France 2.

On Saturday, November 7, 2015, Egypt’s Air Accident Investigation Commission (EAAIC) in a news conference stated, according to the Aviation Herald:

  • “The wreckage is distributed over a length of more than 13 kilometers consistent with in-flight breakup with several parts of the wreckage missing.
  • Initial observation of the wreckage does not yet allow for a definitive determine of the exact cause of the in-flight break up.
  • The flight data recorder (FDR) was successfully downloaded and preliminary review of the data suggests the recording stopped 23 minutes and 14 seconds after Metrojet flight 7K-9268 Airbus A321-231 was airborne. The last FDR recorded altitude was 30,888 feet MSL, last FDR recorded airspeed was 281 knots, the autopilot 1 was engaged, the aircraft was still climbing.
  • The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was successfully downloaded and a first listening by French BEA investigators has been completed. The CVR transcript is currently being compiled, a noise has been heard in the last second of the CVR recording. A spectral analysis (or spectrum analysis – a statistical and signal processing mathematical algorithm that estimates the strength of varying frequency components of a time-domain noise signal) – is being performed to determine the frequency nature and location of this noise (now widely reported as an alleged explosion). 
  • Parties reporting facts outside of the investigation should provide their evidence to the accident investigation commission (Editorial note: this appears to be a reference to British and US Intelligence suggesting the aircraft was brought down by a bomb).”

The head of the Egyptian technical committee investigating the crash has confirmed that the recording from the plane’s black box reveals a sound in the last second of the recording, The Telegraph (U.K.) adds and CNN confirms further.

Ayman el-Mokkadem said: “Initial observations… do not allow for identifying the origin of the in-flight break-up” of the Airbus A-321 last Saturday 23 minutes and 14 seconds after it took off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

He said: “A noise was heard in the last second of the recording by the cockpit voice recorder” and “a spectral analysis will be done to determine the origin of this noise”.

When answering a question about what the sound represented he said: “The sound is not the only evidence – we need to have a lot of evidence to indicate that something specific happened.”

“All the scenarios are open, it could be a fatigue at the plane body, or an explosion of something…,” said Ayman el-Mokkadem. 

Current expert theories speculating about how the Airbus A321-231 airliner broke apart at 31,000 feet in clear weather cruise flying align along two fronts proposing either engine malfunction and failure or alleged bomb on-board perhaps inside the luggage compartment, originating from a significant security breach at the originating airport in Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt). 

On Thursday, November 5, it appears the U.K. Prime Minister David Kameron alongside U.S. Intelligence officials are going forward on the probable cause of the crash as a “most likely bomb on board theory,” pushing swiftly on their aviation security investigations, ahead of the aviation safety investigation, comprising the French BEA analysis of the Airbus A321-231 black boxes, which could reveal a probable cause of significant engine malfunctioning failure, The Telegraph (U.K.) reports in its extensive rolling timeline of current developments in the crash investigation by the French BEA, Egyptian government officials, Russian Metrojet airline officials, and British and U.S. intelligence.

France’s air accident investigation agency, BEA, told CNN on Friday, November 6 that “Egyptian officials will make an announcement about the crash investigation within the next 24 hours.”

An Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said on Twitter that “the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation will hold a new conference at 5 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) Saturday.”

On Friday, November 6, “Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to suspend Russian air traffic with Egypt until the cause of the crash can be determined,” the Kremlin said.

“Putin has accepted the recommendations of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee to suspend flights with Egypt. … The President has also instructed to provide assistance to Russian citizens to return from Egypt. In addition, the President has instructed to engage with the Egyptian side to ensure the safety of air traffic,” the Kremlin said.

A separate source, also not authorized to speak on the record, said on Thursday, November 12, that “based on the facts so far, one of the working theories is that a bomb was planted at or near the fuel line or where it attaches to the engine, with the fuel burning off the explosive. This theory would explain the apparent lack of residue immediately found,” the source says, according to Fox News.

Fox News was told both scenarios point to an “airport insider.”

Adel Mahgoub, chairman of the state company that operates Egypt’s civilian airports, said “except for three Ukrainian passengers all on board were Russian citizens.”

An Egyptian cabinet statement said the 217 passengers included 138 women, 62 men and 17 children.

Russian television showed scenes of relatives and friends gathering at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport, awaiting word on the fate of their loved ones. 

Our collective thoughts, prayers, and sympathies remain with the families, friends, and loved ones of those 224 persons lost, as they try to endure in deep anguish for their terribly devastating losses, surrounding today’s Metrojet flight 7K-9268 crash.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared November 1, 2015, a national day of mourning, according to a statement posted on the Kremlin’s website.

Relatives_of_passengers (Telegraph UK)

Photo Credit: The Telegraph (U.K.). In St. Petersburg (Russia) Pulkovo Airport, grieving relatives of victims on board learn of the fate of Metrojet’s Airbus A321-231, Registration number EI-ETJ, performing as flight 7K-9268.

Two of the passengers on the Metrojet flight, Elena Rodina and Alexqander Krotov, were newlyweds, a friend of the couple told the Associated Press at a hotel near the airport. They were both 33.

Yulia Zaitseva said Rodina “really wanted to go to Egypt, though I told her ‘why the hell do you want to go to Egypt?’”

“We were friends for 20 years,” she said. “She was a very good friend who was ready to give everything to other people. To lose such a friend is like having your hand cut off.”

She said Rodina’s parents feel “like their lives are over.”

Roughly three million Russian tourists, or nearly a third of all visitors in 2014, come to Egypt every year, mostly to Red Sea resorts in Sinai or in mainland Egypt.

“It is too premature to detect the impact this will have on tourism. We need to know what happened first,” Tourism Ministry spokeswoman Rasha Azazi told the Associated Press.

Immediate question among the flying tourists is whether it is indeed safe to fly given today’s rare aviation safety circumstances, surrounding the crash of Russian Metrojet flight 7K-9268 in Sinai (Egypt). 

The answer is yes, of course, supported by a poignant U.S. federal government statistics. 

For air and space transport (including air taxis and private flights), the National Safety Council (NSC) says the relative risks of flying are extremely favorable odds of 1 in 7,178 for a lifetime against one receiving death or injury as a result of flying in a commercial passenger airliner. These relative risks of flying are compared by the NSC to the odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident at 1 in 98 for a lifetimeUSA Today reports.

Google Map of Crash Event

The Airbus A321-231 vanished from radar as the airliner was flying to 30,700 feet out of Sharm el Sheikh over the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt on Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 04:12 Zulu (Greenwich Mean Time, GMT) or 12:12 am ET. 

The crew told air traffic control in the region they had technical problems.

The flight was reported to be at 31,000 feet, when it disappeared from the radar screens after 23 minutes of flight. Flight-tracking service FlightRadar24 said the plane was losing altitude at about 6,000 feet per minute before the signal was lost, Reuters reported.

Specifically, “FlightRadar24 acquired a signal from the aircraft shortly after takeoff and tracked it until 04:13:22 Zulu (12:13 am ET). At the time of last contact, FlightRadar24 were receiving a signal from the aircraft to three of its receivers, all of which stopped receiving data from the aircraft at the same time. The chart below represents the final data FlightRadar24 received from the aircraft. At no time did we receive a 7700 squawk from Metrojet flight 7K-9268.” 

Flightradar24 Tracking of Metrojet 7K-9268

The Russian air carrier, Metrojet, whose Airbus A321-231 crashed in the Sinai region on Saturday, says the aircraft was in good shape and the pilot was experienced.

In a statement on its website, Moscow-based Metrojet says the Airbus A321-231 received required factory maintenance in 2014.

The statement also identified the captain of Metrojet flight 7K-9268 was Valery Nemov, who reported technical problems from the flight deck and requested to return to Sharm el Sheikh over the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. 

Egyptian media reports, referring to an Egyptian government meeting, that the flight crew reported trouble with the IAE A.G. V2533-A5 turbofan engines, then subsequently lost control of the aircraft, and flight deck communication ceased.

This is confirmed by Egypt’s Civil Aviation Authority’s, Mohamed Hossam Kemal, who told media at a news conference today that there was no Mayday Call from the flight deck, and communication with the Airbus A321-231 was normal until the airliner disappeared from radar.

“The plane did not request a change of route,” Kemal said (via Reuters).

It is being preliminarily surmised in media reports that a probable cause of the crash is the Airbus A321-231 slowed significantly at 31,000 feet and may have gone into an aerodynamic stall, as a result of “technically malfunctioning” turbofan engine stall and surge.

Such a clear-weather, high-altitude cruise flight occurrence of “literally falling out of the sky” is most extremely rare.

Officials say they recovered the aircraft’s flight’s recorders, or “black box,” Fox News reports, which will confirm exactly what occurred during the communication-silence “hot cockpit” final moments of Metrojet flight 7K-9268.

Egypt’s Accident Investigation Commission has initiated an official crash investigation into Metrojet flight 7K-9268. The chairman of the commission stated “preliminary facts point towards a technical failure.”

Turbofan engines could in very rare instances perhaps encountered deeper combustion instability, and even more critical, axial-flow compressor instability, resulting in “engine surge” – an engine air flow reversal pre-induced by “rotating stall” – an engine thrust reducer. Such engine dynamic instabilities are altogether rare catastrophic turbofan engine events during airborne takeoff, and again most extremely rare during high-altitude cruise at 31,000 feet, which typically induces aerodynamic stall of an airliner (see a brief detailed explanation for laypersons of these rare catastrophic turbofan engine instabilities in the Appendix section).
 
During such circumstances of engine surge instability, the pilots would then immediately have to shut off the turbofan engine, and immediately attempt to land the airliner with a single turbofan engine, provided it is in functioning operation. This is how these massive jumbo commercial passenger airliners are designed, manufactured, and tested to do.
 
Lufthansa and Air France announced they are going to “avoid over-flying the Sinai until the cause of the crash has been determined.” In addition, warnings have been issued until further notice by the United States Federal Aviation Administration to U.S. air carriers, as well as, by Germany to German air carriers to operate all flights above 26,000 feet, while air traveling over the Sinai.

Metrojet’s Airbus A321-231, powered by IAE A.G. V2533-A5 turbofan engines, was originally built and delivered/leased to Middle East Airlines (MEA), Registration number F-OHMP, on May 27, 1997, later it was leased to Onur Air, Registration number TC-OAE, and finally, the Russian Metrojet air carrier under its last Registration number EI-ETJ on May 27, 1997. The airliner had been also briefly in service with Saudi Arabian Airlines and Kolavia, and had accumulated approximately 55,772 flight hours in 21,175 flight cycles.

Metrojet flight 7K-9268 Captain Valery Nemov had 12,000 air hours of flying experience, including 3,860 hours flying Airbus A321 airliners.

Airbus said the aircraft was 18 years old and had been operated by Metrojet since 2012, Reuters reported. The plane had accumulated around 56,000 flight hours in nearly 21,000 flights.

Russian media said the airliner was a charter flight under contract with the Brisco tour company in St. Petersburg.

Ayman al-Muqadem, an Egyptian official with the government’s Aviation Incidents Committee, said the plane’s pilot, before losing contact, had radioed that the aircraft was experiencing technical problems and that he intended to attempt a landing at the nearest airport.

It was not immediately possible to independently confirm that technical problems caused the plane to crash.

The wife of the co-pilot of Metrojet flight 7K-9268 said her husband had complained about the plane’s condition,” according to a Russian TV channel (via Associated Press).

State-controlled NTV ran an interview Saturday with Natalya Trukhacheva, identified as the wife of Metrojet flight 7K-9268 co-pilot, Sergei Trukachev. She said that a daughter “called him up before he flew out. He complained before the flight that the technical condition of the aircraft left much to be desired.”

Earlier, Egyptian Aviation Incidents Committee, Ayman al-Muqadem told local media that the plane had briefly lost contact but was safely in Turkish airspace. The aircraft crashed at a site near the al-Arish airport, Ayman al-Muqadem said.

Egyptian authorities have said the aircraft had successfully undergone technical checks while at Sharm el-Sheikh’s airport. A technical committee from the company was headed to Sharm el-Sheikh to collect security camera footage of the Airbus A321-231, while it sat at the airport, including operations to supply the airliner with fuel and passenger meals, as well as security checks, he said.

The scattered wreckage of the Airbus A321-231 airliner was later located by military forces in the mountains of the Sinai about 20 nautical miles south of el-Arish (Sinai, Egypt, shown on the map above) on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Read more also on CNN.

A security officer at the crash site who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity described it as “tragic.”

“A lot of dead on the ground and many who died (were) strapped to their seats,” the officer said. “The plane split into two, a small part on the tail end that burned and a larger part that crashed into a rock. We have extracted at least 100 bodies and the rest are still inside.”

Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail (below) visited the crash site today with several cabinet ministers on a private jet, Egypt’s tourism ministry said, according to Reuters. He told a news conference today, “there did not appear to be any unusual activity behind the crash, but the facts would not be clear until further investigations had been carried out.”

metrojet_a321_crashsite 5

metrojet_a321_crashsite 3

Metrojet Airbus A321 Reg #EI-ETJ -- 3

Photo Credit: Alamy Live News. Metrojet’s Airbus A321-231, Registration number EI-ETJ, performing as flight 7K-9268, flying out of Moscow earlier this month.

The Russian Embassy in Cairo along with Egyptian security and military officials told the Associated Press there were no survivors and that all on board have died in the tragic crash.

Reuters quoting an Egyptian Official, who requested anonymity, involved in the ongoing rescue operation, says “the aircraft has broken up in two major parts, a small part being the tail plane caught fire, the other larger part impacted a rock.”

There are now reports of bodies being recovered. “The bodies of 150 victims, some still strapped to their seats, had been pulled from the wreckage,” Sky News reported, as 50 ambulances have been dispatched to the crash site.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail reported that 129 bodies have been recovered and flown by helicopters to Cairo.

Metrojet Airbus A321 Reg #EI-ETJ -- 6

Photo Credit: Planespotters.net. Metrojet’s Airbus A321-231, Registration number EI-ETJ, performing as flight 7K-9268.

There is no evidence of hostile or missile activity around the flight path of the Airbus A321-231. Russia’s Transport Ministry called a video surfacing in the Internet claiming to show the shoot down of Metrojet flight 7K-9263 by Islamic State as “not credible and fabricated.”

An Egyptian aviation ministry statement said, “Egyptian military search and rescue teams found the wreckage of the passenger jet in the remote mountainous Hassana area 44 miles south of the city of el-Arish, an area in northern Sinai where Egyptian security forces are fighting a burgeoning Islamic militant insurgency led by a local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group.”

The group claimed responsibility for downing the jet, Sky News reported.

The Wilayat Sinai group claimed on Twitter Saturday that “the fighters of the Islamic State were able to down a Russian plane over Sinai province that was carrying over 220 Russian crusaders. They were all killed, thanks be to God.” The statement was also posted on a website that serves as an unofficial news agency for the terror group, Sky News reported, adding that the claim has not been verified and it is unclear whether Sinai militants have the capability to attack a plane flying at a high altitude. 

Separately, Russia’s top investigative body opened its own investigation into the crash. 

Militants in northern Sinai have not to date shot down commercial airliners or fighter-jets. There have been persistent media reports that they have acquired Russian shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft missiles. But these types of missiles can only be effective against low-flying aircraft or helicopters. In January 2014, Sinai-based militants claimed to have shot down a military helicopter; Egyptian officials at the time acknowledged the helicopter had crashed, but gave no reason.

Click here for more on Sky News.

The Associated Press is credited to this report.

B-1-2_v2500-cutaway-high

Photo Credit: 2014 International Aero Engines (IAE) A.G. V2533-A5 series turbofan engine (cutaway)

Appendix

How do aircraft engines achieve catastrophic mechanical failure and how can this be mitigated?

Air enters the IAE A.G. V2533-A5 turbofan engine (cutaway shown above) through the front fan section (indicated in the photo below on a Pratt and Whitney JT9D-7R4D) at a mass flow rate of about a ton of air per second.

Five parts of this massive volume of air passes bypasses over the engine core into an exit nozzle past the turbine section, producing a substantially large amount of exit thrust. Whereas, one part of the inlet fan volume of air passes into the engine core begin at the compressor section.

From here air then continues to flow into the combustion chamber (where it is mixed with fuel for combustion).

Subsequently, those combusted, hot gases pass into the turbine section (which not only produces additional exit thrust force of the engine, but also the turbine section serves to turn the engine core shaft, which turns the compressor blades inside the compression section and also the fans blades inside the fan section, and thus, start all over again the dynamic loop of how an aircraft engine properly operates).

The rotor blades in the turbine get very hot at about 1,800 degrees Kelvin or even more, so it is necessary to cool the turbine blades based on limiting thermal restrictions on material science. The tangential on-board injector’s job is to channel cool air from the compressor section into passages between the turbine blades in the turbine section.

Here is a cut-away of an actual IAE A.G. V2533-A5 turbofan engine in a museum, marked it up to help us see where the main engine components of the fan, compressor (including the air-fuel combustion chamber), and turbine sections are (including the identified portion of a Pratt and Whitney JT9D-7R4D engine that landing on Church and Murray Street, below the World Trade Center fire on 9-11):

PW_jt9d_cutaway_high 2

The operating range of aircraft turbofan engine compression systems is limited by two classes of aerodynamic instabilities (Fig. 1) known as rotating stall and surge [1].

Rotating stall is a multidimensional instability in which regions of low or reversed mass flow (i.e., stall cells) propagate around the compressor annulus due to incidence variations on adjacent airfoils [2–5].

Surge is primarily a one-dimensional instability of the entire pumping system (compressor, ducts, combustion chamber, and turbine). It is characterized by axial pulsations in annulus-averaged mass flow, including periods of flow reversal through the machine.

In high-speed compressor hydrodynamics across compressible flow regimes [6], rotating stall is generally encountered first, which then (loosely) “triggers” surge (often after a few rotor revolutions [2]).

This work [13] proposes schemes to passively control compressible rotating stall of high-speed compressors.

Nonetheless, with either instability, the compression system experiences a substantial loss in performance and operability, which sometimes result in catastrophic mechanical failure.

An experience-based approach for avoiding such performance loss is to operate the compressor at a safe range from the point of instability onset (i.e., imposing a stall margin). The stall margin ensures that the engine can endure momentary off-design operation. The margin also reduces the available pressure rise and efficiency of the machine.

It is proposed here [13] that incorporating tailored structures and aeromechanical feedback controllers, locally-sensed by unstable compressible perturbations in annulus pressure, and actuated by non-uniformities in the high-speed flow distribution around the annulus, can be shown to inhibit the inception of a certain class of modal (long wave) stall of high-speed compressor devices. As a result, the stable operating range will be effectively extended allowing higher compressible performance and operability.

The fundamental proposition here [13] is high-speed stall onset just does not happen—it is triggered by an interdependent compressibility chain of critical Reynolds (boundary layer) and Mach (kinetic-thermal energy transfer) events. The commencement of these interdependent Reynolds and Mach events can be passively controlled, once their proportional sensitivity are monitored, sensed, and mechanically mitigated adequately in balance of performance, operability, weight, and reliability integrated with more conventional schedule-type control to justify the risk of such passive approaches offered herein.

In theory, fundamentals of a number of sensor-actuator schemes for rotating stall control were originally proposed early-on in Hendricks and Gysling [7]. In practice, a passive stall control program [13] could potentially be integrated with conventional control schedules of adequate change of fuel valve position, bleed valves, and re-staggered stator programs developed appropriately for profitable usage on compression systems operating in a highly-sensed compressible flow environment.

B-1-2_V2500_Engine_704x396

Photo Credit: Pratt & Whitney V2533-A5 series turbofan engine

Fundamental References for Additional Readings in the Field of Aircraft Engine Propulsion Stability

  1. ????Emmons, H. W., Pearson, C. E., and Grant, H. P., 1955, ‘‘Compressor Surge and Stall Propagation,’’ Trans. ASME, 77, pp. 455–469.

  2. ????Greitzer, E. M., 1976, ‘‘Surge and Rotating Stall in Axial Flow Compressors, Part I & II,’’ ASME J. Eng. Power, 99, pp. 190–217.

  3. ????Greitzer, E. M., 1980, ‘‘Review: Axial Compressor Stall Phenomenon,’’ ASME J. Fluids Eng., 102, pp. 134–151.

  4. Greitzer, E. M., 1981, ‘‘The Stability of Pumping Systems, The 1980 Freeman Scholar Lecture,’’ ASME J. Fluids Eng., 103, pp. 193–242.

  1. ????Day, I. J., 1993, ‘‘Stall Inception in Axial Flow Compressors,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 115, pp. 1–9.

  2. ????Gysling, D. L. et al., 1991, ‘‘Dynamic Control of Centrifugal Compressor Surge Using Tailored Structures,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 113, pp. 710–722.

  1. ????Gysling, D. L., and Greitzer, E. M., 1995, ‘‘Dynamic Control of Rotating Stall in Axial Flow Compressors Using Aeromechanical Feedback,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 117, pp. 307–319.

  2. ????Moore, F. K., 1984, ‘‘A Theory of Rotating Stall of Multistage Compressors—Parts I – II – III,’’ ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 106, pp. 313–336.

  1. ????Moore, F. K., and Greitzer, E. M., 1986, ‘‘A Theory of Post Stall Transients in Axial Compression Systems: Part I—Development of Equations,’’ ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 108, pp. 68–76.

  2. ????Greitzer, E. M., and Moore, F. K., 1986, ‘‘A Theory of Post-Stall Transients in Axial Compression Systems: Part II—Application,’’ ASME J. Eng. Gas Tur- bines Power, 108, pp. 231–239.

  3. ????Haynes, J. M., Hendricks, G. J., and Epstein, A. H., 1994, ‘‘Active Stabilization of Rotating Stall in a Three-Stage Axial Compressor,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 116, pp. 226–239.

  1. ????Longley, J. P., 1994, ‘‘A Review of Non-Steady Flow Models for Compressor Stability,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 116, pp. 202–215.

  2. McGee, O. G., and Coleman, K. L., 2013, “Aeromechanical Control of High-Speed Axial Compressor Stall and Engine Performance—Part I: Control-Theoretic Models,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 135, March 2013. Coleman, K.L., and McGee, O.G., 2013, “Aeromechanical Control of High-Speed Axial Compressor Stall and Engine Performance—Part II: Assessments of Methodologies,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 135, May 2013.

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Oct 302015
 

Dynamic Airways B767-200ER N251MY FLL

A Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D left turbofan engine burst into flames on a taxiing Dynamic International Airways Boeing 767-200ER, carrying 101 passengers and flight crew, just prior to its departure at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (in Dania Beach, Florida USA) en route to Caracas, Venezuela. 

Photo Credit: Flicker.com, Dynamic Aviation Group Boeing-767-300ER, Registration Number N251MY

The 29-year-old Boeing 767-200ER airliner, Registration Number N251MY, operating as flight 2D-405 on Thursday, October 29, 2015, was taxiing on the ground before departure at about 12:34pm ET, holding short of Fort Lauderdale Airport’s runway 28R after contacting the local air traffic control tower.

Suddenly, the flight crew of another aircraft, taxiing behind Dynamic International Airways flight 2D-405, advised the flight deck of the Boeing 767-200ER airliner that there was a massive Jet A-1 fuel leak from the left Pratt & Whitney turbofan engine (JT9D-7R4D).

Pratt & Whitney developed the first high bypass ratio turbofan engine (JT9D-7R4D) to power a wide-body airliner, originally designed for application to the first Jumbo Boeing 747-100 airliner.

Boeing 767 Fort Lauderdale Fire

Immediately, the flight deck of the Boeing 767-200ER airliner acknowledged the fuel leak and then requested to return to the ramp.

That was when the other advising flight deck airliner, taxiing behind flight 2D-405, alerted the Boeing 767-200ER flight deck that the new condition of their aircraft was their left turbofan engine was now on fire!

Boeing 767 Fort Lauderdale Fire 2

According to Reuters, at 12:34pm ET the Boeing 767-200ER airliner was evacuated via slides in about 3 minutes. 

Luis Campana, a 71-year-old rancher, along with his wife and sister, were three of the 101 passengers and crew on-board Dynamic International Airways flight 2D-405 traveling to Venezuela’s Guarico state.

“It was a real scare,” Campana told Reuters at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. He said, “he had been sitting near the front of the plane, as the pilot put the thrust on to taxi up the runway.”

“The engine exploded. As we were getting out of the plane down the chute, the smoke was beginning to enter and the engine was in flames,” he said.

Twenty-one people were injured, one seriously, most of whom were treated at a hospital and released, said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles.

Don Dodson, the director of operations for Dynamic Airways, said airline officials had set up a crisis center, flown in additional airline representatives to help passengers and arranged for a relief flight to take passengers to their final destinations.

Emergency services responded in two minutes at 12:36pm ET, according to Mike Jachles of the Boward County Fire Rescue, upon which firefighters extinguished the fire using foam seven minutes later at 12:41pm ET.

The National Transportation Safety Board has initiated its investigation of the Boeing 767-200ER fire that injured several passengers on the tarmac at the South Florida airport Thursday, according to Greg Meyer of the Boward County Aviation Department.

The plane had no previous incidents or issues, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The Boeing 767/269 — manufactured in 1986 and owned by Utah-based airplane leasing company KMW Leasing in Salt Lake City — lost 45 to 50 gallons of fuel, damaging the asphalt. Taxiway repairs should be complete later Friday or Saturday, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport Director Kent George said (via Fox News).

“More than 100 passengers had to evacuate using emergency slides. Some ran from the plane into the terminal as fire crews rushed to put the fire out,” Fox News reported.

Kent George, Director of the Broward County Aviation Department, said (via Fox News), “the flames never entered the cockpit.”

Dyanmic Airways Logo

Dynamic International Airways, according to the limited liability company founded in 2008, is a certified Part 121 Carrier, operating fleet of seven Boeing 767-200ER aircraft that typically carries up to 250 people. The air carrier is based in Greensboro, North Carolina that connects Fort Lauderdale, New York, Venezuela and Guyana.

In past Dynamic International Airways operated mostly for other carriers and tour operators under their wet lease agreements.

In 2014 the airline started its own passenger service on multiple international markets including China, Saipan, Guam, Hong Kong, Guyana and Brasil.

Only recently, Dynamic International Airways announced it has launched its low-cost service between Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Caracas, Venezuela.

“For Venezuelans hoping to travel abroad, the options have been severely reduced to little-known carriers such as Dynamic or domestic carriers, which due to the country’s economic crisis, have struggled to import replacement parts,” according to Fox News.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee. “Firefighters walk past a burned out engine of a Dynamic Airways Boeing 767, Thursday, October 29, 2015, at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Dania Beach, Florida. The passenger plane’s engine caught fire Thursday as it prepared for takeoff, and passengers had to quickly evacuate on the runway using emergency slides, officials said. The plane was headed to Caracas, Venezuela.”
 
How we all can relate to this Dynamic International Airways Boeing 767 engine safety breach? 
 
Immediate question among the flying public is whether it is indeed safe to fly given today’s rare engine safety circumstances, surrounding the departure of Dynamic International Airways flight 2D-405.
 
The answer is yes, of course, supported by a poignant U.S. federal government statistics.
 
For air and space transport (including air taxis and private flights), the National Safety Council (NSC) says the relative risks of flying are extremely favorable odds of 1 in 7,178 for a lifetime against one receiving death or injury as a result of flying in a commercial passenger airliner. These relative risks of flying are compared by the NSC to the odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident at 1 in 98 for a lifetime, the USA Today reports.
 
Be that as it may, my father was a firefighter. He impressed upon me that firefighters and ground crews at these airports must work fast to put such hot fires out, as a result of exploding Jet A-1 engine fuel, having a flash point greater than 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit), with an autoignition temperature of 210 degrees Celsius (410 degrees Fahrenheit).
 
Dynamic International Airways Boeing 767-200ER’s engine fire today on the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport runway was an extremely hot Jet A-1 engine fuel fire at burn temperatures reaching as high as 2,500 degrees Kelvin (2,230 degrees Celsius, or 4,040 degrees Fahrenheit), including open air burn temperatures climbing as high as 1,030 degrees Celsius, or 1,890 degrees Fahrenheit.
 
Moreover, fast cabin evacuation inside the Dynamic Airways’ Boeing 767-200ER of all the 101 passengers and crew was remarkably achieved in three minutes or 180 seconds – about twice the 90 seconds mandated by FAA regulations – that fortunately saved the lives of all passengers and flight crew on-board flight 2D-405.
 
So today, congratulations goes out to the Dynamic Airways 2D-405 flight crew for their fine execution of passenger evacuation of the cabin at the moment of the flight deck determination of a fire inside the left Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D turbofan engine.
 
Additional salute goes out to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport ground crews and controllers, as well as, some heads up eyewitness warning on the ground (from the flight deck of a nearby taxiing airliner) of leaking Jet A-1 fuel from that Boeing 767-200ER’s left turbofan engine causing this massive fire and thick black smoke bellowing high into the sky (shown via Reuters below).

We can all emotionally recall, we had seen a similar massive fire with thick black smoke bellowing high in the sky, resulting from extremely hot Jet A-1 engine fuel inside the World Trade Center fire fourteen years ago on 9-11-2001.  

Therein, that tall building’s constructed steel melted, when it reached  a temperature of 800 degree Fahrenheit, as a result of forced mixing with a highly flammable Jet A-1 engine fuel, which burns at an extremely hot temperature approaching 2000 degrees Kelvin.

When Jet A-1 fuel burns uncontrollably, it induces a thick bellowing cloud of black smoke. 

WTC Tower on 9-11
 
Photo Credit: “It is an easily verifiable truth that Flight 175, as the Boeing 767 that it was, carried two Pratt and Whitney JT9D-7R4D turbofan engines run on hot Jet A-1 engine fuel. “Flight 11” struck the North Tower –as seen above– at 8:46 AM. “Flight 175” struck the South Tower at 9:03 AM. At that moment upon hitting the South Tower, the flaming Pratt and Whitney JT9D-7R4D engine fell onto the street below landing broken apart at the corner of Church and Murray Street in lower Manhattan.
 
Unfortunately, fast evacuation from tall buildings is much tougher and slower, than fortunately, the faster evacuation from commercial aircraft – mandated by FAA to be under just 90 seconds!
 
So, air passengers please read those seat-back cards in front of you that the flight attendants are instructing you to do during pre-flight safety procedures. 
 
Most of all, do determine in your mind your nearest route to an exit, including your emergency evacuation plan. 
 
Those passengers seated at the exits are federally-required by law to assist all passengers and flight crew in the event of an emergency evacuation of all commercial passenger aircraft.
 
dynamic_b762_n251my_fort_lauderdale_151029_2
 
An additional truth about rare sudden aircraft turbofan engine fires is that we are extremely lucky the Dynamic Airways Boeing 767-200ER’s Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D turbofan engine fire did not occur later upon takeoff. 
 
Therein, the turbofan engines could perhaps have further encounter deeper combustion instability, and even more critical, axial flow compressor instability, resulting in “engine surge” – an engine air flow reversal pre-induced by “rotating stall” – an engine thrust reducer, altogether leading to a rare catastrophic turbofan engine fire during airborne takeoff (see a brief detailed explanation for laypersons of these rare catastrophic turbofan engine instabilities in the Appendix section).
 
The pilots would then immediately have to shut off the left turbofan engine, and immediately attempt to land the Boeing 767 with the single right turbofan engine in functioning operation. This is how these massive jumbo commercial airliners are designed, manufactured, and tested to do fortunately.

Still, experts present another scenario of truths associated with the Boeing 767-200ER’s Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D engine safety breach of an undetected fuel leak prior to takeoff.

The accident could have been catastrophic had the jet taken off with a fuel leak, Greg Feith, a former crash investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, told Reuters.

“Once the aircraft is airborne, it becomes a flying blowtorch,” Feith said. “The fire intensifies and you don’t know what system or structure it’s going to burn through.”

Fire could damage a wing and fuselage, or cripple hydraulic and electronic control systems, Feith said, potentially making an emergency landing impossible. It could also ignite fuel tanks in the wings, especially if fuel vapor were present, he said.

Appendix

How do aircraft engines achieve catastrophic mechanical failure and how can this be mitigated?

Air enters the Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4D turbofan engine through the fan section (indicated in the photo below) at a mass flow rate of about a ton of air per second.

Five parts of this massive volume of air passes bypasses over the engine core into an exit nozzle past the turbine section, producing a substantially large amount of exit thrust. Whereas, one part of the inlet fan volume of air passes into the engine core begin at the compressor section.

From here air then continues to flow into the combustor (where it is mixed with fuel for combustion).

Subsequently, those combusted, hot gases pass into the turbine section (which not only produces additional exit thrust force of the engine, but also the turbine section serves to turn the engine core shaft, which turns the compressor blades inside the compression section and also the fans blades inside the fan section, and thus, start all over again the dynamic loop of how an aircraft engine properly operates).

The rotor blades in the turbine get very hot at about 1,800 degrees Kelvin or even more, so it is necessary to cool the turbine blades based on limiting thermal restrictions on material science. The tangential on-board injector’s job is to channel cool air from the compressor section into passages between the turbine blades in the turbine section.

Here is a cut-away of an actual Pratt and Whitney JT9D-7R4D turbofan engine in a museum, marked it up to help us see where the main engine components of the fan, compressor (including the air-fuel combustion chamber), and turbine sections are (including the identified portion that landing on Church and Murray Street, below the World Trade Center fire on 9-11):

PW_jt9d_cutaway_high 2

The operating range of aircraft turbofan engine compression systems is limited by two classes of aerodynamic instabilities (Fig. 1) known as rotating stall and surge [1].

Rotating stall is a multidimensional instability in which regions of low or reversed mass flow (i.e., stall cells) propagate around the compressor annulus due to incidence variations on adjacent airfoils [2–5].

Surge is primarily a one- dimensional instability of the entire pumping system (compressor, ducts, combustion chamber, and turbine). It is characterized by axial pulsations in annulus-averaged mass flow, including periods of flow reversal through the machine.

In high-speed compressor hydrodynamics across compressible flow regimes [6], rotating stall is generally encountered first, which then (loosely) “triggers” surge (often after a few rotor revolutions [2]).

This work [13] proposes schemes to passively control compressible rotating stall of high-speed compressors.

Nonetheless, with either instability, the compression system experiences a substantial loss in performance and operability, which sometimes result in catastrophic mechanical failure.

An experience-based approach for avoiding such performance loss is to operate the compressor at a safe range from the point of instability onset (i.e., imposing a stall margin). The stall margin ensures that the engine can endure momentary off-design operation. The margin also reduces the available pressure rise and efficiency of the machine (see Fig. 2).

It is proposed here that incorporating tailored structures and aeromechanical feedback controllers, locally-sensed by unstable compressible perturbations in annulus pressure, and actuated by non-uniformities in the high- speed flow distribution around the annulus, can be shown to inhibit the inception of a certain class of modal (long wave) stall of high-speed compressor devices. As a result, the stable operating range will be effectively extended allowing higher compressible performance and operability.

The fundamental proposition here [13] is high-speed stall onset just does not happen—it is triggered by an interdependent compressibility chain of critical Reynolds (boundary layer) and Mach (kinetic-thermal energy transfer) events. The commencement of these interdependent Reynolds and Mach events can be passively controlled, once their proportional sensitivity are monitored, sensed, and mechanically mitigated adequately in balance of performance, operability, weight, and reliability integrated with more conventional schedule-type control to justify the risk of such passive approaches offered herein.

In theory, fundamentals of a number of sensor-actuator schemes for rotating stall control were originally proposed early-on in Hendricks and Gysling [7]. In practice, a passive stall control program [13] could potentially be integrated with conventional control schedules of adequate change of fuel valve position, bleed valves, and re-staggered stator programs developed appropriately for profitable usage on compression systems operating in a highly-sensed compressible flow environment.

PW_jt9d_cutaway_high 3

Fundamental References for Additional Readings in the Field of Aircraft Engine Propulsion Stability

  1. Emmons, H. W., Pearson, C. E., and Grant, H. P., 1955, ‘‘Compressor Surge and Stall Propagation,’’ Trans. ASME, 77, pp. 455–469.

  2. Greitzer, E. M., 1976, ‘‘Surge and Rotating Stall in Axial Flow Compressors, Part I & II,’’ ASME J. Eng. Power, 99, pp. 190–217.

  3. Greitzer, E. M., 1980, ‘‘Review: Axial Compressor Stall Phenomenon,’’ ASME J. Fluids Eng., 102, pp. 134–151.

  4. Greitzer, E. M., 1981, ‘‘The Stability of Pumping Systems, The 1980 Freeman Scholar Lecture,’’ ASME J. Fluids Eng., 103, pp. 193–242.

  1. Day, I. J., 1993, ‘‘Stall Inception in Axial Flow Compressors,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 115, pp. 1–9.

  2. Gysling, D. L. et al., 1991, ‘‘Dynamic Control of Centrifugal Compressor Surge Using Tailored Structures,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 113, pp. 710–722.

  1. Gysling, D. L., and Greitzer, E. M., 1995, ‘‘Dynamic Control of Rotating Stall in Axial Flow Compressors Using Aeromechanical Feedback,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 117, pp. 307–319.

  2. Moore, F. K., 1984, ‘‘A Theory of Rotating Stall of Multistage Compressors—Parts I – II – III,’’ ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 106, pp. 313–336.

  1. Moore, F. K., and Greitzer, E. M., 1986, ‘‘A Theory of Post Stall Transients in Axial Compression Systems: Part I—Development of Equations,’’ ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 108, pp. 68–76.

  2. Greitzer, E. M., and Moore, F. K., 1986, ‘‘A Theory of Post-Stall Transients in Axial Compression Systems: Part II—Application,’’ ASME J. Eng. Gas Tur- bines Power, 108, pp. 231–239.

  3. Haynes, J. M., Hendricks, G. J., and Epstein, A. H., 1994, ‘‘Active Stabilization of Rotating Stall in a Three-Stage Axial Compressor,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 116, pp. 226–239.

  1. Longley, J. P., 1994, ‘‘A Review of Non-Steady Flow Models for Compressor Stability,’’ ASME J. Turbomach., 116, pp. 202–215.

  2. McGee, O. G., and Coleman, K. L., 2013, “Aeromechanical Control of High-Speed Axial Compressor Stall and Engine Performance—Part I: Control- Theoretic Models,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 135, March 2013. Coleman, K.L., and McGee, O.G., 2013, “Aeromechanical Control of High-Speed Axial Compressor Stall and Engine Performance—Part II: Assessments of Methodologies,” ASME J. Fluids Eng., 135, May 2013.

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Oct 142015
 

Malaysia Airlines Logos 333

Crash investigators of the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) in its final report today confirm a Russian-built Buk ground-to-air missile downed MH17. The DSB released its findings at 1:45 pm local Dutch time, 7:45 am ET on the causes of the Boeing 777-200 crash in war-torn Hrabove, Ukraine on July 17, 2014, in which 283 passengers and 15 crew members died on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17’s Boeing 777-200 en route from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur. 

Today’s MH17 crash final report by the DSB of The Netherlands, headed by Chairman Tjibbe Joustra, follows a previously released preliminary MH17 investigation report on September 9, 2014, sketching out the causes of the aviation disaster that has impacted Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB).

Video Thumbnail
MH17 Crash - English Spoken

Video Credit: about the Dutch Safety Board’s investigation into the causes of the crash of flight MH17 on July 17, 2014 in the eastern part of Ukraine and the Board’s investigation into flying over conflict zones. The video was based on the Dutch Safety Board’s investigation reports, which were published on October 12, 2015.

DSB chairman Joustra said the warhead that downed MH17 fits the profile of a Russian-built automatic computerized Buk ground-to-air missile. However, Russian officials who participated in the investigation said “it was not possible to confirm the warhead or type of system,” according to Joustra (via CNN).

The new air carrier has been operational, since September 1, 2015, with a new RM6 billion (or US$1.9 billion) business model and management team, led by Christoph Mueller, CEO of Malaysia Airlines Systems and CEO-Designate of the new “value-based” airline, aiming for profitability estimated by 2018 (which is briefly reviewed at the end of this piece).

MH17 Reg 9M-MRD

Photo Credit: Taken on July 28, 2013, at Shanghai Pudong Airport, by Steven Richardson, aviation analyst at FlyersPulse.com, of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, Registration Number 9M-MRD, which is reported by Malaysia Airlines as the crashed aircraft of Flight 17.

A total of 193 Dutch nationals and 38 Australian nationals were on board Flight MH17. Besides 44 Malaysians, nationals from the Netherlands, Australia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Philippines, Canada and New Zealand were among the 283 passengers and 15 Malaysia Airlines crew on board MH17.

Our thoughts, prayers, and sympathies still remain with the families, friends, and loved ones of those 298 persons lost, as they continue to wait in deep anguish for the most complete closure to their lingering questions in search of the most definitive answers and justice surrounding the MH17 aviation disaster.

After more than 15 months of searching and waiting for those answers, this history-making aviation safety and security breach is still raising even more questions, as to why this MH17 aviation disaster happened on the morning of July 17, 2014 to this particular Southeast Asia air carrier in the wake of a little over four months after the stunning disappearance of the Boeing 777-200ER airliner that frames the ongoing mystery of the MH370 aviation tragedy on the morning of March 8, 2014.

Scope of Dutch Safety Board (DSB) MH17 Crash Investigation.

The DSB investigation is operated in accordance with the standards and recommended practices in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13.

The largest number of 193 passengers on board flight MH17 were Dutch. As a result of international protocols and norms in aviation crash events, involving safety and security breaches, The Netherlands has taken the international lead in the overall safety investigation and findings report of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The nation-state (Ukraine) in which the Boeing 777-200 airliner safety breach occurred has delegated the investigation to the Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the investigation and coordinating the international team of investigators. The group of international investigators consists of aviation safety and security representatives of The Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, United States, Russia, and Ukraine.

This MH17 causal report contains the complete circumstances surrounding the aircraft hull “high-energy” foreign object impact and explosion, a comprehensive technical analysis of the airliners’ flight data recorders (or “black-boxes”), an investigation into the decision-making process with regard to flight routes over war-torn Hrabove, Ukraine on July 17, 2014, and a scientific forensic analysis of the remains of the 283 passengers and 15 Malaysia Airlines crew members.

The final report also contains factual information obtained from safety investigative teams having accessible evidence of the MH17 crash site, including on-board flight records and radar stations, MH17 black-box flight data, as well as, satellite imaging and other visual sources. 

The following areas of interest substantiate the wealth of factual information and recommendations (quoted in the Appendix Section of this piece) inside the massive final report regarding:

  • detailed analyses of data, including black-box flight data recorders and other sources, recorded on-board the Boeing 777-200 airliner;
  • detailed analyses of recorder air traffic control surveillance data and radio communication;
  • detailed analyses of the meteorological circumstances;
  • forensic examination of wreckage, if recovered and possible foreign objects, if found;
  • results of the pathological investigation;
  • analyses of the in-flight break up sequence;
  • assessment of Malaysia Airlines operator’s and State of Occurrence’s management of flight safety over a region of conflict or high security risk;
  • detailed analysis of eleven (11) aviation safety and security recommendations to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Air Transportation Association (IATA);
  • any other areas that are identified during the ongoing MH17 crash investigation.

The MH17 crash findings released today builds the most complete picture of how the Boeing 777-200 airliner, Registration Number 9M-MRDwas brought down on the morning of July 17, 2014 over war-torn Hrabove, Ukraine.

The DSB’s main objective is to establish the causes of the MH17 crash and to offer recommendations for safety of international commercial passenger flights.

In addition, DSB stresses inside its preliminary and final reports that the safety council does not have any authority to “apportion blame” and to “place blame, liability or responsibility for the tragedy” on any nation or specific group or persons. The Board further adds such issues must remain within the scope of the Dutch prosecutorial authorities.

A critical overarching question addressed inside the DSB preliminary and final reports is:

What happened exactly? Why was Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777-200 airliner performing its flight MH17 precisely across the much-troubled war-torn Harbove, Ukraine region, where an armed conflict was being fought? What extent the occupants of flight MH17 consciously experienced the crash?

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has said Malaysia would continue with its own safety investigation and criminal probe into the MH17 aviation disaster through the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), alongside the Dutch team of safety investigators, including further assessments into the preliminary and final reports of the Dutch Safety Board.

“We hope the final report can help in obtaining sound evidence to bring the criminals to the international court,” Lai has said.

Main Conclusion – Preliminary findings of “high-energy objects” now concluded by DSB as a Buk ground-to-air missile downing MH17.

Based on the preliminary findings to data, no indications of any technical or operational issues were found with the aircraft or crew prior to the ending of the black-box flight data recording of MH17 at 13.20:03 hours UTC.

The damage observed in the forward section of the Boeing 777-200 airliner appears to indicate that the aircraft was penetrated by a large number of high-energy objects from outside the aircraft. It is likely that this damage resulted in a loss of structural integrity of the aircraft, leading to an in-flight break up.

“High-energy objects,” as suggested in the preliminary findings of the DSB on September 9, 2014, penetrated the aircraft as it flew over war-torn Hrabove, Ukraine.

It has been determined by the DSB in their preliminary report that a Boeing 777-200, operated by Malaysia Airlines as flight MH17, broke up in the air, as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of “high-energy” objects that penetrated the airliner’s fuselage from outside. The Board found no indications that the MH17 crash was caused by “a technical fault or by actions of the crew.”

“The cockpit voice recorder, the flight data recorder and data from air traffic control all suggest that flight MH17 proceeded as normal until 13:20:03 (UTC) after which it ended abruptly. A full listening of the communications among the crew members in the cockpit recorded on the cockpit voice recorder revealed no signs of any technical faults or an emergency situation. Neither were any warning tones heard in the cockpit that might have pointed to technical problems. The flight data recorder registered no aircraft system warnings, and aircraft engine parameters were consistent with normal operation during the flight. The radio communications with Ukrainian air traffic control confirm that no emergency call was made by the cockpit crew. The final calls by Ukrainian air traffic control made between 13.20:00 and 13.22:02 (UTC) remained unanswered,” the DSB preliminary report concluded.

The Dutch preliminary report added: “The pattern of wreckage on the ground suggests that the aircraft split into pieces during flight (an in-flight break up). Based on the available maintenance history the airplane was airworthy, when it took off from Amsterdam, and there were no known technical problems. The aircraft was manned by a qualified and experienced crew.”

The DSB went on to summarize the findings of the crash site debris field: “The pattern of damage observed in the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft was consistent with the damage that would be expected from a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside” … “The fact that there were many pieces of aircraft structure distributed over a large area indicated that the aircraft broke up in the air.”

Photo Credit: Dutch Safety Board (DSB), The warhead, points 1-3 mark the parts of the warhead recovered on the crash site.

Nearly a year later on August 11, 2015, the DSB took possession of parts recovered from the MH17 crash site in Hrabove, Ukraine, that the DSB preliminarily determined could possibly have originated from an advanced computerized BUK ground-to-air missile. Upon further investigation by the DSB to determine the cause of the crash, and by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which conducted the criminal investigation, the final MH17 causal report definitively links the discovered parts to an advanced computerized Buk warhead ground-to-air missile. The MH17 final report further concludes that the discovered parts of the Russian-built Buk ground-to-air missile was indeed the “high-energy” impact which caused the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17, 2014.

MH17 Wreckage 4

Extent of Flight MH17 Boeing 777-200 Hull Damage on the 298 Passengers and Crew.

Damage observed on the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the Boeing 777-200 airliner appears to indicated that there were impacts from a large number of high-energy objects, now concluded by the DSB as originating from a Russian-built Buk ground-to-air missile, from outside the aircraft.

The pattern of damage observed in the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft was not consistent with the damage that would be expected from any known failure mode of the Boeing 777-200 airliner, its engines or systems.

The fact that there were many pieces of aircraft structure distributed over a large area, indicated that the aircraft broke up in the air.

The DSB concluded that “pre-formed fragments” or “high-energy objects” from the warhead explosion at the forward fuselage and cockpit section killed three crew members instantly. In the aft section of the Boeing 777-200 airliner no such damage was placed upon the other occupants in the cabin section.

“As a result of the impact, they were exposed to extreme and many different, interacting factors: abrupt deceleration and acceleration, decompression and associated mist formation, decrease in oxygen level, extreme cold, strong airflow, the aeroplane’s very rapid descent and objects flying around,” the report said.

“The Dutch Safety Board did not find any indications of conscious actions performed by the occupants after the missile’s detonation. It is likely that the occupants were barely able to comprehend the situation in which they found themselves.”

Brief summary of the Dutch Safety Board Preliminary and MH17 Crash Final Report findings are quoted below for reader convenience in the Appendix and on the Safety Board’s website.

Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) sheds staff, routes and planes in US$1.9 billion restructuring and recovery to profitability by 2018.

Malaysian wealth fund, Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Bhd), has appointed formerly PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Dato’ Mohammad Faiz Azmi, as Administrator of Malaysian Airline System (MAS). On August 30 2014, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, MAS’s lone shareholder, unveiled a restructuring plan to recover MAS from being “technically bankrupted,” according to incoming Christoph Mueller, CEO of Malaysia Airlines and CEO-Designate of the new airline.
 
The restructuring plan called for job cuts, a capital infusion of nearly RM6 billion (or US$1.9 billion), and the creation of a new firm to recover the airline from its dual crisis as a result of the MH370 aviation tragedy of March 8, 2014 and the MH17 aviation disaster of July 17, 2014.
 
Under the MAS Act, the Administrator serves in the essential capacity of oversight in the transfer of selected assets and liabilities to the new company, MAB, which replaces MAS, as Malaysia’s new flag carrier, as of September 1, 2015 with a new business model and a new management team.
 
The hyper-competition amongst low-cost “value-based” air carriers in Southeast Asia and the Middle East is projected to escalate rapidly in the next 5-10 years. These emerging market changes has also yield some current reductions in routes and plane assets, as part of the restructuring and recovery of the new Malaysian air carrier.
 
According to the Center for Asia-Pacific Aviation over the past year between September 1, 2014 to September 1, 2015 (via Bloomberg), one of every ten MAB routes have been eliminated for a global reduction of 16 percent in passenger load capacity, amounting to about one million less passengers flying on MAB jets, since September 2013 peaks prior to the flag carrier’s dual aviation crises in 2014.
 
Specifically, six MAB routes has been cut to just five to Australian cities for a reduction of 39 percent passenger load capacity; one of every five MAB routes have been cut across North-South Asia for a reduction of 42 percent passenger load capacity; one of every four MAB routes removed across Europe (routing only to London, Paris, and Amsterdam) for a reduction of 26 percent passenger load capacity. Only Southeast Asia has a one percent increase in passenger load capacity on MAB. In April 2014, a month after the MH370 aviation tragedy and three months before the MH17 aviation disaster, the lone North American MAS flight to Los Angeles was cancelled permanently.
 
In addition, MAB has made commitment to lease out two of its wide body Airbus A380 airliner assets, and on October 9, 2015, MAB signed capital  leases for external asset utilization of four smaller Airbus A350 airliners expected to be delivered by 2017 a year before MAB management’s planned profitability by 2018, according to Bloomberg.
 
MAS has also terminated its entire staff and re-employ two-thirds of the 20,000 workers under new conditions, amounting to 6,000 in staff cuts for a now leaner flag carrier of the size of its premium deep-pockets competitor in the region, Singapore Airlines.
 
“When Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965, the airline became a bi-national airline and was renamed Malaysia-Singapore Airlines before both partners went their separate ways in 1972 and Malaysian Airline System (MAS) took to the skies on October 1 of that year,” reports Malaysia Chronicle.
 
According to the labor force reduction crafted by Khazanah, “those who were offered and accepted employment at MAB will be paid a sign-on payment of two months pay with their first month’s salary at MAB and another two months upon completing 18 months service at MAB as part of its retention payment.”
 
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APPENDIX

Brief Summary of the Dutch Safety Board MH17 Crash Final Report Findings

General Information

Aircraft Type and Registration: Boeing 777-2H6ER, 9M-MRD

Number and Type of Engines: 2 x Rolls-Royce Trent 892B

Location: Near Hrabove, Ukraine

Date and Time (UTC) 17 July 2014 at 13.20 hours

Type of Flight: Scheduled passenger flight

Persons on Board: Crew = 15 (4 flight deck crew, 11 cabin crew); Passengers = 283

Injuries: Crew = 15 (fatal); Passengers = 283 (fatal)

Nature of Damage: Aircraft destroyed

Crew

According to the information received form Malaysia Airlines the crew was properly licensed and had valid medical certifications to conduct the flight.

Aircraft

According to the documents, the aircraft was in an airworthy condition at departure from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, there were no known technical malfunctions.

MH17 Black-Boxes

No evidence or indications of manipulation of the recorders were found.

No aural alerts or warnings of aircraft system malfunctions were heard on the Cockpit Voice Recorders. The communication between the flight crew members gave no indication of any malfunction or emergency prior to the occurrence.

The engine parameters were consistent with normal operation, during the flight. No engine or aircraft system warnings or cautions were detected.

No technical malfunctions or warnings in relation to the event flight were found on the Black-Box Flight Data Recorder data.

Air Traffic Control and Airspace

At the time of the occurrence, flight MH17 was flying at a flight level of 33,000 feet in unrestricted airspace of Dnipropetrovs’k in the eastern part of Ukraine. The aircraft flew on a constant heading, speed and altitude, when the Flight Data Recording ended. Ukraine air traffic control, then immediately, issued an emergency that restricted all access to the airspace below flight levels of 32,000 feet.

The last radio transmission made by the crew began at 13.19:56 hours and ended at 13.19:59 hours UTC.

(Note: Ukraine local time – Central European (Summer) Daylight Saving Time – was 2 hours ahead of UTC, that is UTC+2).

  • At 13.19:53 hours, radar data showed that the aircraft was 3.6 nautical miles north of centerline of airway L980, having deviated left of track, when Dnipro Control directed the crew to alter their route directly to waypoint RND due to other traffic. The crew acknowledged at 13.19:56 hours. At 13.20:00 hours UTC, Dnipro Control transmitted an onward air traffic control clearance to proceed directly […], no acknowledgement was received.

The last radio transmissions made by Dnipropetrovs’k air traffic control center to flight MH17 began at 13.20:00 hours UTC and ended at 13.22:02 hours UTC. The crew did not respond to these transmissions.

No distress messages were received by the Dutch air traffic control.

According to the radar data, three commercial aircraft were in the same Control Area as flight MH17 at the time of the safety breach occurrence. All were under control of Dnipro Radat. At 13.20 hours UTC the distance between the closest aircraft and MH17 was approximately 30 kilometers.

Causes of MH17 Crash

“On July 17, 2014, at 13.20 (15.20 CET) a Boeing 777-200 with the Malaysia Airlines nationality and registration mark 9M-MRD disappeared to the west of the TAMAK air navigation waypoint in Ukraine. A notification containing this information was sent by the Ukrainian National Bureau of Air Accident Investigation (NBAAI) on July 18, 2014, at approximately 06.00 (08.00 CET).

(Note: Ukraine local time – Central European (Summer) Daylight Saving Time (CET) – was 2 hours ahead of UTC, that is UTC+2).

The NBAAI was notified by the Ukrainian State Air Traffic Service Enterprise (UkSATSE) that communication with flight MH17 had been lost.

A signal from the aeroplane ́s Emergency Locator Transmitter had been received and its approximate position had been determined.

The aeroplane impacted the ground in the eastern part of Ukraine. The wreckage was spread over several sites near the villages of Hrabove, Rozsypne and Petropavlivka. Six wreckage sites were identified, spread over about 50 kilometers.

Most of the wreckage was located in three of these sites to the south-west of the village of Hrabove. This is about 8.5 km east of the last known position of the aeroplane in flight. At two sites, post-impact fires had occurred.

All 298 persons on board lost their lives.

The in-flight disintegration of the aeroplane near the Ukrainian/Russian border was the result of the detonation of a warhead.

The detonation occurred above the left hand side of the cockpit. The weapon used was a 9N314M-model warhead carried on the 9M38-series of missiles, as installed on the Buk surface-to-air missile system.

Other scenarios that could have led to the disintegration of the aeroplane were considered, analyzed and excluded based on the evidence available.

The airworthy aeroplane was under control of Ukrainian air traffic control and was operated by a licensed and qualified flight crew.”

Flight route over conflict zone

“Flight MH17 was shot down over the eastern part of Ukraine, where an armed conflict broke out in April 2014. At first this conflict took place mainly on the ground, but as from the end of April 2014 it expanded into the airspace over the conflict zone: Ukrainian armed forces’ helicopters, transport aeroplanes and fighters were downed.

On July 14, the Ukrainian authorities reported that a military aeroplane, an Antonov An-26, had been shot down above the eastern part of Ukraine. On 17 July, the authorities announced that a Sukhoi Su-25 had been shot down over the area on 16 July.

According to the authorities, both aircraft were shot down at an altitude that could only have been reached by powerful weapon systems. The weapon systems cited by the authorities, a medium-range surface-to-air missile or an air-to-air missile, could reach the cruising altitude of civil aeroplanes. Consequently they pose a threat to civil aviation.

Although (Western) intelligence services, politicians and diplomats established the intensification of fighting in the eastern part of Ukraine, on the ground as well as in the air, it was not recognised that as a result there was an increased risk to civil aeroplanes flying over the conflict zone at cruising altitude. The focus was mainly on military activities, and the geopolitical consequences of the conflict.”

Ukraine’s airspace management

“With regard to airspace management Ukraine is responsible for the safety of aeroplanes in that airspace. On 6 June 2014, the airspace above the eastern part of Ukraine was restricted to civil aviation from the ground up to an altitude of 26,000 feet (FL260).

This enabled military aeroplanes to fly at an altitude that was considered safe from attacks from the ground and eliminated the risk that they would encounter civil aeroplanes, which flew above FL260. The authorities automatically assumed that aeroplanes flying at a higher altitude than that considered safe for military aeroplanes, were also safe.

On July 14, 2014, the Ukrainian authorities increased the upper limit of the restricted airspace imposed on civil aviation to an altitude of 32,000 feet (FL320). The exact underlying reason for this decision remains unclear.

The Ukrainian authorities did not consider closing the airspace over the eastern part of Ukraine to civil aviation completely. The statements made by the Ukrainian authorities on July 14, 2014 and July 17, 2014, related to the military aeroplanes being shot down, mentioned the use of weapon systems that can reach the cruising altitude of civil aeroplanes.

In the judgment of the Dutch Safety Board, these statements provided sufficient reason for closing the airspace over the conflict zone as a precaution.”

Choice of flight route by Malaysia Airlines and other airlines

“Malaysia Airlines assumed that the unrestricted airspace over Ukraine was safe. Thesituation in the eastern part of Ukraine did not constitute a reason for reconsidering the route. The operator stated that it did not possess any information that flight MH17, or other flights, faced any danger when flying over Ukraine.

Not only Malaysia Airlines, but almost all airlines that used routes over the conflict zone continued to do so during the period in which the armed conflict was expanding into the airspace. On the day of the crash alone, 160 flights were conducted above the eastern part of Ukraine until the airspace was closed.”

Other states and the state of departure (the Netherlands)

“The Chicago Convention provides states with the option of imposing a flight prohibition or restrictions on airlines and issuing recommendations related to the use of foreign airspace.

Some states, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, use this option with regard to their resident airlines.

Although flight MH17 took off from Dutch soil the Netherlands did not bear any formal responsibility for the flight, because it concerned a non-Dutch airline. The fact that Malaysia Airlines was operating the flight as KLM’s code share partner did not provide any legal authority either.

During the period in which the conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine expanded into the airspace over the conflict zone, from the end of April 2014 up to the crash of flight MH17, not a single state or international organization explicitly warned of any risks to civil aviation and not a single state prohibited its airlines or airmen from using the airspace over the area or imposed other restrictions. 

At the Dutch Safety Board’s request, the Dutch Review Committee for the Intelligence and Security Services (CTIVD) examined whether the Dutch intelligence and security services possessed any information that could have been important for the safety of flight MH17.

The services had no indication that the warring factions intended to shoot down civil aeroplanes. The services did not have any information that the groups that were fighting against the Ukrainian government in the eastern part of Ukraine possessed medium or long-range surface-to-air missiles.”

Possibilities for improvement

“The crash of MH17 demonstrates than an unrestricted airspace is not, by definition, safe if the state managing that airspace is dealing with an armed conflict. The reality is that states involved in an armed conflict rarely close their airspace. This means that the principle of sovereignty related to airspace management can give rise to vulnerability.

In the Board’s opinion, states involved in armed conflicts should give more consideration to closing their airspace as a precaution. More effective incentives are needed to encourage them to do so.

Airline operators may not assume in advance that an unrestricted airspace above a conflict zone is safe. The fundamental principle currently adopted by operators is that they use the airspace, unless doing so is demonstrably unsafe. In their risk analyses, operators should take greater account of uncertainties and risk-increasing factors, such as when a conflict expands into the airspace. The current regulations do not stipulate that operators shall assess the risks involved in overflying conflict areas.

Operators themselves should gather more information to be able to perform an adequate risk assessment. This information can largely be acquired by consulting open sources, but in the case of conflict zones operators also need confidential information from states with intelligence capabilities.

Vital in this respect is the sharing of information between states, between states and operators and between operators. Not only the gathering of information, but also combining information in the fields of safety and security, as well as on developments on the ground and in the air proves important. In this regard, international regulations (the Chicago Convention) are currently too divided across these different fields. It was established that there are gaps between the various responsibilities, for which a solution should be found.”

Summary of MH17 Crash Final Report Recommendations

Level 1: Airspace management in conflict zones

To ICAO:

1. “Incorporate in Standards that states dealing with an armed conflict in their territory shall at an early stage publish information that is as specific as possible regarding the nature and extent of threats of that conflict and its consequences for civil aviation. Provide clear definitions of relevant terms, such as conflict zone and armed conflict. 

2. “Ask states dealing with an armed conflict for additional information if published aeronautical or other publications give cause to do so; offer assistance and consider issuing a State Letter if, in the opinion of ICAO, states do not sufficiently fulfil their responsibility for the safety of the airspace for civil aviation.

3. “Update Standards and Recommended Practices related to the consequences of armed conflicts for civil aviation, and convert the relevant Recommended Practices into Standards as much as possible so that states will be able to take unambiguous measures if the safety of civil aviation may be at issue.

To ICAO Member States:

4. “Ensure that states’ responsibilities related to the safety of their airspace are stricter defined in the Chicago Convention and the underlying Standards and Recommended Practices, so that it is clear in which cases the airspace should be closed. The states most closely involved in the investigation into the crash of flight MH17 could initiate this.

Level 2: Risk assessment

To ICAO and IATA:

5. “Encourage states and operators who have relevant information about threats within a foreign airspace to make this available in a timely manner to others who have an interest in it in connection with aviation safety. Ensure that the relevant paragraphs in the ICAO Annexes concerned are extended and made more strict.

To ICAO:

6. “Amend relevant Standards so that risk assessments shall also cover threats to civil aviation in the airspace at cruising level, especially when overflying conflict zones. Risk increasing and uncertain factors need to be included in these risk assessments in accordance with the proposals made by the ICAO Working Group on Threat and Risk.

To IATA:

7. “Ensure that the Standards regarding risk assessments are also reflected in the IATA.

Operational Safety Audits (IOSA)

To states (State of Operator):

8. “Ensure that airline operators are required through national regulations to make risk assessments of overflying conflict zones. Risk increasing and uncertain factors need to be included in these assessments in accordance with the proposals made by the ICAO Working Group on Threat and Risk.

To ICAO and IATA:

9. “In addition to actions already taken, such as the website (ICAO Conflict Zone Information Repository) with notifications about conflict zones, a platform for exchanging experiences and good practices regarding assessing the risks related to the overflying of conflict zones is to be initiated.

Level 3: Operator accountability

To IATA:

10. “Ensure that IATA member airlines agree on how to publish clear information to potential passengers about flight routes over conflict zones and on making operators accountable for that information.

To operators:

11. “Provide public accountability for flight routes chosen, at least once a year.”

More extensive detailed summary findings of the massive DSB’s MH17 final report may be seen at Aviation Herald.

Photo Credits: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, Registration Number 9M-MRD, which is reported by Malaysia Airlines as the crashed aircraft of Flight 17.

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Aug 172015
 

Flight Path of Trigana Air Crash 3

An Indonesian Trigana Air turboprop with 54 people on board crashed in remote mountains near the Indonesian-Papua New Guinea border. Trigana Air Service flight IL267 ATR 42 turboprop (Registration Number PK-YRN, shown in the photo below), carrying 54 people, lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control just before 3pm (0600 GMT Indonesian local time) shortly after taking off from Sentani airport in Indonesian province of Papua’s capital Jayapura on a flight en route to the village of Oksibil, an extremely remote mountainous region at the Indonesian-Papua New Guinea border.

Flight Path of Trigana Air Crash 2

Performing as Trigana Air flight IL267, the turboprop aircraft departed Jayapura about half an hour before it disappeared from Indonesian air traffic control. The 45 minute flight carried all Indonesians, including 44 adults, 5 children, and 5 Trigana Air crew, and including 5 people on board from parliamentary staff traveling to Oksibil to attend an annual ceremony of Indonesia’s independence. Flight IL267 was expected to arrive at its destination about 7 hours and 30 minutes ago local time, according to the Indonesia search and rescue agency via social media.

“The plane was totally destroyed and all the bodies were burned and difficult to identify,” Henry Bambang Soelistyo, Indonesia Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Head, told The Associated Press on Tuesday, August 18, 2015. “There is no chance anyone survived.”

“Rescuers have so far recovered 53 bodies from the wreckage of the Trigana Air Service turboprop plane,” Soelistyo added. “The remains will be transported by helicopter to the province capital of Jayapura for identification.”

An infant is the one remaining passenger still missing, Transportation Ministry spokesman Julius Adravida Barata told Reuters.

Soelistyo said “searchers had recovered the (first) black-box, which investigators hope will provide clues as to what caused the accident.”

On August 20, 2015, BASARNAS reported the second black box has been recovered and turned over to aviation crash investigators of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Council. All 54 victims have been recovered from the crash site. The remains have already been identified and have been handed over to their families for final arrangements with all of our collective heartfelt prayers and sincere condolences.

In Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday, August 18, 2015, Indonesia president, Joko Widodoexpress his deepest sorrow for the 54 passengers and Trigana Air crew lost on flight IL267.

Video Thumbnail
Photos Show Site of Indonesian Plane Crash

“According to the information, the Trigana Air aircraft that lost contact was found at Camp 3 of the OK (Oksibil) Bape District in the Bintang Mountain regency. The information provided by the local residents said that the flight crashed into Tangok mountain. The detail of this finding is still under investigation.” – Indonesia air transportation official, Director General Suprasetyo Air Transportation reported in Sunday’s news conference (via Reuters)

Flight Path of Trigana Air Crash

Transport ministry spokesman J.A. Barata confirmed the plane had lost contact and said it was supposed to arrive at Oksibil airport just after 3pm (0600 GMT Indonesian local time).

“We are not sure what happened to the plane yet and we are coordinating with local authorities,” he told the French new service AFP on Sunday, August 16, 2015.

“The weather is currently very bad there, it’s very dark and cloudy. It’s not conducive for a search. The area is mountainous,” Indonesian transport spokesman Barata added.

“Nearby villagers in Indonesia’s Papua have reported a crash,” Trigana Air official says after plane went missing on Sunday. Trigana Air Service Operation Director Beni Sumaryanto said, “the airline had received reports of a crash from a village in the forested and mountainous district of Oksibil, adding that search teams would check that area in the morning,” Kompas and Detik portals earlier reported (via Reuters).

On Monday, August 16, 2015, Indonesian Air Force initiated construction of a helipad and helicopter services through Freeport-McMoRan, a mining company, says CNN International, to assist in the evacuation of Trigana Air flight IL267 victims from the rough crash site found in the heavily forested remote area (seen below) in the Bintang highlands village of Oksibil in the Papua province in eastern Indonesia, according to Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency.

“Officials deployed two ground teams to the site, which is at an altitude of 2,600 meters (8,500 feet), but suspended efforts to get there because of thick fog,” CNN International reports on Monday.

Photo Credit: Remote Crash Site of Trigana Air Service flight IL267 ATR 42 turboprop (Registration Number PK-YRN), near Oksibil, Indonesia

Officials do not know either if any of the 49 passengers and 5 Trigana Air crew have survived and are waiting for rescue below, or if any detection the ATR 42 aircraft’s black-boxes pings can be confirmed for immediate recovery.

“If it collided into a mountain, there has never been a case of survivors. But who knows, let’s wait,” said Major-General Heronimus Guru, operations director at Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (via Reuters on Monday, August 17).

Due to nightfall currently at the crash site and limited visibility in the mountainous area, Trigana Air search and rescue operations for the 54 people on board is now suspended and will continue tomorrow morning at 6am local time.

Trigana Air crash site is a remote mountainous region, making search and rescue challenging.

Turning now towards a brief look at the impact on “people over the devices” surrounding Sunday’s aviation safety incident, Oksibil airport is near an extremely mountainous village of Oksibil at about 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) above sea level with about 4,087 villagers living in the remote area, according to the 2010 Indonesia Census agency. The Oksibil airport is the Indonesian Papua province villagers’ lifeline, mainly because there are no transportation roadways and railways in the remote regional border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Photo Credit: The Village of Oksibil, Indonesia, courtesy of southeast Asia voyager and traveler, Blogger Wahyu Wijanarko

A security flashpoint currently exists along the border, as a result of Free Papua Movement separatists groups having low-level resistance with Indonesian security forces. Such frontier-like aviation transportation conditions are extremely unusual in relation to the diversity of Indonesian aviation service, as seen in the island of Java which includes Jakarta or the island of Bali which includes Denpensar.

Photo Credit: Oksibil Airport, Oksibil, Indonesia, courtesy of southeast Asia voyager and traveler, Blogger Wahyu Wijanarko

Transportation into the village of Oksibil is governed under the Pegunungan Bintang regency, which operates through a development fund that is typically deplete in fully covering for airline services, the only link to the outside world in the Oksibil area. To subsidize transportation development funding for Oksibil airport, as well as all four remote airports in the area along with an estimated couple dozen airstrips to the most remote villages, having 200-300 inhabitants spread throughout the surrounding area, Pegunungan Bintang regency budgeted US$62 million for transportation services in fiscal year 2013.

Although now a confirmed point at the moment, yet an interesting media depiction of the extreme remoteness of the exclusivity of Trigana Air Services to the Oksibil Airport flight destination, Indonesia’s postal office has told the BBC News that Trigana Air flight IL267 was allegedly carrying four bags of cash, totally nearly 6.5 billion rupiah (which is about US$486,000 or £300,000 British pounds), as part of the post office’s regular periodic delivery to keep the household management and economy running for local villagers living in the remote places in and around Oksibil of the Papua province.

“The government cash for poor families was to help offset a spike in fuel prices, and was to be distributed to about 6,000 impoverished residents during a celebration marking Indonesia’s independence,” Franciscus Haryono, the head of the post office in Jayapura, said Monday, August 17, 2015. 

“Our colleagues carry those bags to be handed out directly to poor people over there,” the head of Jayapura’s post office, Franciscus Haryono, told BBC News.

Four postal workers were on Trigana Air flight IL267 to protect the funds during its journey into Oksibil Airport.

Photo Credit: Oksibil Airport, Oksibil, Indonesia, courtesy of southeast Asia voyager and traveler, Blogger Wahyu Wijanarko

Although villagers concerns continue to persist about receiving adequate telephone and fax services, the people of Oksibil can access free online web services for virtual transportation communications using Bappeda connection.

Southeast Asia voyager and traveler, , who lives in Yogyakarta in Java, Indonesia, and works at PT Global Intermedia Nusantarasay, blogs:

“Central Papua region can (be) accessed only by airplane, there is no way to reach it using car, even more (using) a ship! The problem is lack of infrastructure and (flying into) extreme topographic conditions (of) mountains.

“The consequence of this transportation system is the price(s) of commodities (are) extremely high compared with their price(s) in Jayapura. For example, in some region(s) in Central Papua gasoline price(s) can reach (as high as) IDR 50,000 per liter, or about US$15 per gallon … the biggest (airliners able to land in the surrounding region) (are) Boeing 737-300s operated by Trigana Air Service.”

“The one thing that (Wahyu Wijanarko) likes (in visiting) Oksibil is the people. (Pegunungan Bintang regency) focuses on infrastructure development … including improvements of the (Oksibil) airport and runway … the local government also gives electrical power (still using a generator) to the people of Oksibil from 18.00-23.00 GMT+9 hours (that is from 6-11pm Indonesian local time plus 9 hours to U.S. standard time).”

A dicey aviation safety record for Trigana Air Service.

Trigana Air has had 14 serious aviation safety incidences, since the airlines’ inception in 1991. In 2007 the European Union prohibited Trigana Air from operating in the European Union due to aviation safety concerns.

Flight Path of Trigana Air Crash 7

A dramatic safety incident most recently was on February 11, 2010, when according to Aviation Herald, a Trigana Air Service Aerospatiale ATR-42-300, registration PK-YRP, performing flight TGN-168 from Berau to Samarinda (Indonesia) with 46 passengers and 6 crew, experienced the failure of the left-hand engine (one of two Pratt & Whitney PW120 turboprops, like those on Trigana Air Service flight IL267 ATR 42 (Registration Number PK-YRN) crash early Sunday morning, August 16, 2015), which prompted the Trigana Air Aerospatiale ATR-42-300 crew to divert to Balikpapan.

The crew however was forced to land gear up in a field at Bone village, about 41 road kilometers from Balikpapan along the Balikpapan-Samarinda road about 18 nautical miles from Balikpapan’s Sepinggan Airport.

One passenger received serious injuries (fractures), all other persons on board escaped without injuries, as shown inside the roped-off area surrounding the saved Aerospatiale ATR-42-300 airliner in the crash site photo above.

Several months later on April 21, 2010, the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Council released their preliminary report stating, “the airplane was on final approach to Samarinda’s runway 04, when the left-hand “Engine Control Unit” (ECU) light illuminated, followed by low torque and low engine oil pressure indications.

“The captain decided to shut the engine down, (then) initiated a “go-around,” and (finally) decided to divert to Balikpapan.

“The airplane was about to climb to 4,000 feet and reached 3,800 feet (at) about 16 nautical miles from the Balikpapan airport, when the right-hand ECU light illuminated, followed by low oil pressure and low torque indications.

“The right-hand engine subsequently failed.

“The crew radioed a “MAYDAY” and decided to perform a forced landing in a clear field 16 nautical miles from Balikpapan.

“After the airplane came to a stop, the crew initiated an evacuation. One passenger received serious injuries.”

“The airplane received substantial damage,” Aviation Herald reports (see photo below of the damaged interior of the ATR-42-300 airliner), “the main landing gear received substantial damage, the nose gear penetrated the cabin and was found in the passenger cabin. Mud was thrown through(out) the cabin, and the 4 propeller blades of the right-hand propeller were substantially damaged.”

Generation-old airliner fleet for performing challenging flight terrains to remote villages.

Trigana Air flight IL267 equipment model employed for Sunday morning’s 45 minute ATR 42 turboprop flight, is nearly a generation old (about 30 years in service), and was delivered to its first operator back in 1988.

Reuters reports, in fact according to the airfleets.com database,  Trigana Air airliner fleet “includes 10 ATR aircraft and four Boeing 737 Classics. These have an average age of 26.6 years, according to the database.”

Such remote mountainous route airlines, such as Trigana Air Service, that tackle these challenging flight terrains to small villages, such as Oksibil, Indonesia, typically deploy older aircraft to perform their flights, purchased on the secondary markets at lower costs. Flying in remote Indonesia is challenging, because of complex terrains, monsoon thunderstorms, thick fog, and isolated airports with limited facilities.

A key scientific and technological innovation that is possible at this stage of aviation safety and security, not only in the exploding southeast Asia commercial passenger air travel market, but also across transatlantic, transpacific, and transpolar commercial, in general, air travel centers upon Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), a precise satellite-based surveillance and airliner positioning system, which is already being implemented by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration at various U.S.-based international airlines around the world.

ADS-B system needs to be mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with the system extended to tracking aircraft worldwide through satellites, rather than just relying on conventional air traffic control ground stations, largely non-existent in remote regions, like Oksibil, Indonesia. This would absolutely give the fullest coverage over transatlantic, transpacific, and transpolar oceans and remote regions of the world, like the Brazilian Amazon, the Sahara Desert, and the southeast Asian mountainous terrains and jungles.

Of course, others like myself, have called for streaming limited flight data and aircraft performance conditions, literally putting “The Black-Box in The Cloud,” while being mindful of certain information classified to airlines and aircraft manufacturers, so we can immediately know within hours where lost aircraft are crashed and the location of their black-box flight data.

Is flying in Southeast Asia becoming risky?

One of my thousands of followers on Twitter, Kerry Barrett (@Kerry Barrett) poignantly brought to my attention a very relevant question on what non-pilots and air transportation consumers think, when they hear breaking news about another airliner lost in the ocean or remote regions of the world or about another airplane stalling or encountering an ‘engine flameout‘.

And, what does an airliner lost or an aircraft stall actually mean to the flying public, as they try to understand the stunning pictures of the TransAsia Airways flight GE235 crash into the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, the extraordinary final three minutes of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia on Sunday, December 28, 2014, or today’s Trigana Air flight IL267 ATR 42 turboprop loosing contact with Indonesian air traffic control over a remote mountainous terrain or jungle in Indonesia.

Such extreme events in rapid succession begs the question “is flying in Southeast Asia becoming risky?”

According to USA Today: “It turns out flying in Asia is actually riskier than in any other region but Africa. Why? Regulatory regimes there are less advanced than in the United States and Europe (Japan is considered as safe as the west). Another factor is that international regional airlines, such as TransAsia Airways (or even Trigana Air Service), tend to use less-experienced pilots than major airlines.”

“It’s not like they’re the wild west, like you might get in some African countries, but they are 10 to 20 years behind,” said Justin Green, a New York aviation lawyer with Kreindler & Kreindler. “If you’ve never heard of the airline that your travel agent is booking you on, you should do some research.”

Unfortunately, the airliner crash case studies are slowly stacking up in the last year. Recapped in the appendix section below are several instances tangential to today’s Trigana Air aviation safety incident that raises some concern among aviation experts about the critical state of aviation safety in the most essential southeast Asia region for international air travel.

Countries and regions with the highest number of fatal civil airliner accidents from 1945 through November 30, 2014 (excluding MH370, MH17, AirAsia QZ8501, and TransAsia GE235) are:

United States, 773; Russia, 326; Canada, 177; Brazil, 176; Colombia, 173; United Kingdom, 103; France, 101; Mexico, 96; India, 94; Indonesia, 94; China, 74; Italy, 67; Venezuela, 61; Philippines, 60; Bolivia, 60; D.R. Congo, 60; Germany, 58; Peru, 56; Spain, 51; Australia, 48.

In just the past year (2014-15), we have lost the lives of over 788 international passengers and flight crews in Southeast Asia (including 54 lives allegedly missing on Trigana Air IL267 lost on Sunday, August 16, 2015, which amounts to about three times more than all fatal civil airliner accident in the last 68 years between 1945-2013) on five compelling global aviation crash events.

These include:

  • and now a Trigana Air flight IL267 ATR 42 turboprop (Registration Number PK-YRN) that has lost contact with Indonesian air traffic control on Sunday, August 16, 2015.

Trigana Air ATR 42 Plane

Photo Credit: Trigana Air flight IL267 ATR 42 turboprop (Registration Number PK-YRN)

According United States Department of Transportation; Federal Aviation Administration (Office of Aviation Policy and Plans), statistics show average estimated annual growth in passenger traffic to and from the United States transported by U.S. and foreign flag air carriers between 2014 and 2034, by region.

During this time period, passenger U.S. air traffic to or from Latin America is estimated to grow by around 4.7 percent per year. Passenger air traffic in the Asia-Pacific region is predicted to grow by about 4.2 percent per year. The Atlantic Oceanic air traffic is projected to grow by nearly 4.1 percent per year. And, the Canadian trans-border is believed to grow by about 3.8 percent per year.

Forecasts are based on historical passenger statistics from the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) and Transport Canada, and on regional world historical data and economic projections from Global Insight, Inc.

International commercial passenger air travel is expected to explode in the next decade (according to both federal government, and Boeing and Airbus industry projections), particularly in Southeast Asia. This region is highly dependent upon air travel across deep seas and remote oceans for millions of people in the Southeast Asia and Oceania region.

Role of human factors in automated flight management efficiency and decision-making.

Human factor errors are typically the result of ninety percent of catastrophic aviation accidents, according to years of research by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council’s (ASC), Factual Data Collection Group Report reveals that TransAsia flight GE235 Captain Liao Jian-zong “failed the simulator check in May 2014, when he was being evaluated for promotion. Assessors found he had a tendency not to complete procedures and checks, and his “cockpit management and flight planning” were also found wanting,” according to Reuters.

Instructors commented that Captain Liao Jian-zong was “prone to be nervous and may make oral errors during the engine start procedure” and displayed a “lack of confidence”, the ASC report cited.

Reuters added: “issues cropped up again during training for the ATR 72-212A in November, when an instructor said Liao Jian-zong “may need extra training” when dealing with an engine failure after take-off.”

“After the crash, Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration put TransAsia’s 61 ATR pilots through oral proficiency tests on how to handle an aircraft during engine failure.”

“All but one of the pilots passed the tests, although some needed more than one attempt. The lone failure was demoted in rank to vice captain from captain,” Reuters reports.

During a press conference on Thursday, July 2, 2015, TransAsia president Fred Wu said “the airline would buy an ATR flight simulator, bring in outside experts to evaluate pilots, and launch a safety improvement program with Airbus.”

Photo Credit: French-built TransAsia Avions de Transport Regional ATR 72-212A, registration B-22816 and Manufacturing Serial Number MSN 1141

It is essential to have pilots involved in the flight management automation design. “Humans aren’t good monitors of rare events, and monitoring can be a boring job especially for a long haul flight. In some cases pilots have wanted to remove just part of the automation and utilize the remaining features, but are unable to do so, because ‘all or nothing’ are the only options,” says the longstanding authority in the field of human factors in modern aviation, Orlady, H. and Orlady, L. (1999) in Human Factors in Multi-Crew Flight Operations.

A very real problem involved with the almost complete automation present is pilot complacency and over-reliance upon automation. This pilot response occurs in normal operations and also is reflected in the pilot’s reliance on the system to automatically make the correct response during abnormal operations and flight management efficiency inside the crisis of a crash event. Flight crews tend to rely upon the automation to the point that the normal checks that are inherent in good manual operations are sometimes disregarded (Orlady and Orlady, 1999).

Now is the time for consensus on recommendations on the future of international aviation safety and security.

With a deeper integrated focus on “the people just as much as the devices,” in a year and a half (over 17 months), since March 8, 2014, according to Aviation Herald, we have lost the lives of 1,101 international passengers and flight crews on eight compelling global aviation crashes, comprising:

  • the oceanic loss of a Boeing 777-200ER airliner, flown as Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 8, 2014, where the loss of 239 passengers and crewon board are now officially declared an accident and all lives lost;

mh370theft_00

  • a shocking local automobile dash video splashed across international media that recorded a real-time double engine flame-out crash in the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan of a Regional ATR 72-212A airliner (see case study in Appendix B), moments after takeoff from nearby Taipei International Airport, operating as TransAsia flight GE235, on February 4, 2015, killing 43 persons on board;
  • a TransAsia flight 222, involving a Regional ATR72 airliner at Makung on July 23, 2014, impacted buildings on approach with stormy weather trailing behind a typhoon, which is now believed to be the likely cause of the airliner crash on a Taiwanese island that killed 48 people on board and injured 10 on the plane and five on the ground. The small Regional ATR-72 airliner, operated by Taiwan’s TransAsia Airways, was carrying 58 passengers and TransAsia crew, when it crashed, while trying to land in the Penghu Island chain in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China late Wednesday night on July 23, 2014, according to the Aviation Herald. The plane was flying from the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan. The victims included 46 Taiwanese and two French medical students, who were interns in Taiwan;
  • a crash Southeast of Gossi, Mali of a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 airliner, operating as Air Algerie flight 5017 on July 24, 2014, causing 110 fatalities of passengers and crew on board;
  • a crash in the French Alps of an Airbus A320-200 airliner, performing as Germanwings flight 4U9525, whereby 150 passengers and crew died.

  • a lost airliner in the Indonesia mountains of a Trigana Air flight IL267 ATR 42 turboprop (Registration Number PK-YRN), carrying 54 people, early Sunday morning, August 16, 2015.

Loosing these 1,101 passenger and crew lives aboard international commercial airliners this past year and a half is the most we have encountered in close succession like this in nearly six and a half decades.

What has happened to our once stellar world of commercial passenger airline safety in this new world slowly grappling from the aftermath of MH17 and MH370, and most recently, Germanwings 4U9525 and Trigana Air IL267?

Photo Credit: IATA Director General Tyler addresses delegates, as he opens the 69th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Cape Town

Commercial passenger air travel industry groups released a report on global flight-tracking recommendations and monitoring standards on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 with adoption at ICAO’s “Second High-level Safety Conference” at its headquarters in Montreal Canada on February 2-5, 2015.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) held a news conference at its Geneva headquarters Wednesday, December 10, 2014, announcing the report recommendations on global flight-tracking for its 240 member airlines. IATA’s 240 member airlines encompass 84% of international passenger air traffic.

ICAO’s “Second High-level Safety Conference” included “various topics covering three major themes: reviewing the current situation, the future approach to manage aviation safety and facilitating increased regional cooperation. In particular, the Conference attendees discussed emerging safety issues, including the global tracking of aircraft and risks to civil aviation arising from conflict zones.”

Attendees included experts and strategic decision-makers of international civil aviation, which convened to “build consensus, obtain commitments and formulate recommendations deemed necessary for the effective and efficient progress of key aviation safety activities,” according to the conference’s website.

Here, airline chiefs, aviation experts, and government officials approved a concept of operations for global flight-tracking, and moved forward in developing a global flight-tracking and monitoring standard, carefully stepping forward beyond February 2015, which should now be accelerated well before a proposed February 2016 plan released by ICAO in the wake and aftermath of the Germanwings flight 4U9525 aviation tragedy.

Given this, consensus must be reached on recommendations of human factor errors of complacency, over-reliance, and over-confidence bias (a “winner’s curse“) in flight management efficiency and flight systems automation, global flight tracking of commercial passenger airliners, jet black-box data streaming, and ejectable flight data recorders.

All of this calls for further consensus to be reached quickly among airline chiefs, aviation experts, and government officials, who have just completed their discussions at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) “Second High-level Safety Conference” on February 2-5, 2015 at its headquarters in Montréal, Canada.

– END –

__________

Appendix A

Case of Indonesian AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash.

Indonesia has a patchy aviation safety record. On December 28, 2014, an AirAsia flight QZ8501 (Registration Number PK-AXC) Airbus A320-200 airliner en route from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore crashed in the Java Sea during stormy weather, killing all 162 people on board.

AirAsia Underwater Crash

Photo Credit: AirAsia flight QZ8501 (Registration Number PK-AXC) Airbus A320-200 airliner, via Oka Sudiatmika (Wikimedia Commons)/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Technical speculation suggest at this point the severe weather-related conditions may have most allegedly caused some degree of human factor errors, mostly likely revealed from the flight deck conversations and flight performance data and information gained from AirAsia flight QZ8501’s Airbus A320-200 black-boxes (one shown below) still to be completely analyzed and transcribed for the crash final report expected to be released early next year.

airasia-black-box

Photo Credit: AirAsia flight QZ8501 (Registration Number PK-AXC) Airbus A320-200 Flight Data Recorder

However, the AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash final report could allegedly reveal additional future learning factors of aviation, navigation, and communication that in this extreme case was driven by the extraordinary monsoon-like cumulonimbus cloud conditions, extending at such high altitudes at 44,000 feet (beyond normal commercial passenger aircraft operating ranges), allegedly creating such a perfect storm event for a naturally catastrophic air disaster upon a commercial passenger airliner.

Known in the Southeast Asia region as the most dangerous inter-tropic cumulonimbus cloud storm conditions with mixtures of extremely high and low air masses, flying temperatures faced inside these clouds can drop as low as minus 100 degrees fahrenheit (F) below freezing akin to temperatures in Antarctica, the Earth’s southernmost continent, containing the geographic South Pole. 

Pilots in the region know that during almost every flight they will be flying around avoiding critical thunderstorms. Previously flown 13,500 flights for over 23,000 flight hours, AirAsia flight QZ8501’s Airbus A320-200, departed at 5:34 am (local time) on December 28, 2014 from Juanda International Airport (Surabaya, Indonesia) en route to Singapore Changi Airport, is the world’s best-selling single-aisle airliner and the most technologically advanced digital “glass cockpit” airliners too.

Twenty-two minutes into the flight, the Airbus A320-200 airliner is cruising at 32,000 feet on complete auto-pilot, comprising of seven digital computers inside this airliner’s “glass cockpit,” which literally flies the aircraft by itself without any input from the pilots.

In the meantime, severe thunderstorms was building in moments of minutes above the Java Sea thousands of feet below the aircraft, then suddenly within a few minutes these thunderstorms climbed several thousands of feet above AirAsia flight QZ8501’s Airbus A320-200 airliner.

At 6:12 am (local time), air traffic control received a final request from flight QZ8501’s cockpit “to make a left turn and climb” several thousand feet to avoid the sudden thunderstorm consuming the aircraft. Their request was denied due to the high volume of nearby aircraft cruising in the range of 34,000-38,000 feet, undergoing similar flight alterations to maneuver around the huge thunderstorm in the same area in order to avoid possibilities of encountering rough turbulence and other storm-related issues inside the cockpit, although never really a problem inside an Airbus A320-200 flying at cruise speed.

At 6:16 am (local time), Indonesia Ministry of Transportation radar picks up QZ8501 cruising at 32,000 feet. Two minutes later disaster happens to 155 passengers and seven AirAsia crew on board. Suddenly, through a simple course correction of the Airbus A320-200 auto-pilot controls, the airliner departs from its forward flight path, making a sharp left turn in a steep climb to 37,000 feet, slowing down to just 400 miles per hour, onto 38,000 feet, before aerodynamically stalling out in forward speed and dropping from radar at 6:18 am (local time), eventually plunging into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia.

Here is where the greatest potential human factor error occurs in automated flight management efficiency and decision-making. It is pilot fear of flying into an intimidating severe thunderstorm of unknown origin or to what extent is the storm’s severity. Such a storm looks like a huge 360 degree dark black cloud of complete and severe lightning with torrential rain slamming onto the airliner’s fuselage and wings with a great deal of bending and twisting forces. This is a black weather zone having no-end in sight outside the pilot’s cockpit windows.

According to years of research by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, fifty percent of all fatal air accidents in the last fifty years result from human factor encounters with these kinds of severe thunderstorm incidents. These storms have huge high turbulent energy plunging into an airliner. Of course, this affects human decision-making piloting under such sudden weather crisis.

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee chief Tatang Kurniadi told reporters back in January, “if one wing engine had stalled, the plane could spin out of control as it plummeted toward the water.”

However, he said that “only the data from the black boxes would ultimately determine what happened to flight 8501, and he declined to say whether the plane had in fact stalled.”

Mr. Tatang said “the comments made by Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan to Parliament in January “were based not on data from the black boxes, but on the ground radar.” Indonesia investigators have now confirmed the transportation minister’s comments made in January 2015.

Mardjono Siswosuwarno, chief investigator of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, said the flight data recorder, which was recovered from the Java Sea along with the cockpit voice recorder earlier this month (January 2015), had provided a “pretty clear picture” of what happened in the final minutes of AirAsia flight QZ8501.

Captain Plesel was in charge from take-off until the cockpit voice recording ends, Siswosuwarno said.

“The second-in-command was the pilot flying,” Siswosuwarno said to reporters in Jakarta, adding that “the captain was monitoring the flight,” and that “this was common practice.” He also said that “the plane was in good condition.”

“Things may have gone wrong in a span of just three minutes and 20 seconds, triggering a stall warning that sounded until it crashed into the Java Sea,” investigators of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee further elaborated in a news conference in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday, January 29, 2015, via CNN International.

According to Reuters, Captain Iriyanto was out of his seat and conducting an unusual procedure on the Flight Augmentation Computer (FAC) when his co-pilot, Remy Plesel, lost control. By the time Iriyanto returned, it was too late to save the plane.

The FAC is a “fly-by-wire” device of the Airbus A320 airliner that uses a computer to control a flight process in order to increase airliner flight safety and reliability, as well as flight management efficiency, while reducing the need for human intervention.

In other words, the FAC is designed to ensure normal operation of the aircraft within specific computerized flight safety envelops independent of any alleged human factor errors resulting from possible pilot inputs. FAC “fly-by-wire” devices can supposedly in extremely rare instances affect “operator” decisions, whose primary responsibility shifts from being the “performer” in flight operations to being the “onlooker” in flight management efficiency.

Whereby, the concerns of “complacency” can potentially arise in flight management decision-making with increasing level of automation in modern aviation, particularly in flight and air traffic control operations.

Iriyanto reportedly had previously flown on the Airbus A320 and experienced a faulty FAC, which he apparently went to fix. Reuters was unable to offer independent confirmation of the faulty device.

After trying to reset the device, pilots pulled a circuit-breaker to cut its power, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, February 6, 2015.

“You can reset the FAC, but to cut all power to it is very unusual,” one A320 pilot, who declined to be identified, told Reuters. “You don’t pull the circuit breaker unless it was an absolute emergency. I don’t know if there was one in this case, but it is very unusual.”

Pulling the circuit breaker is also an unusual move, because the captain would have had to rise from his sea.

President Joko Widodo said the crash exposed widespread problems in the management of air transportation in Indonesia.

Transasia AT72 Plane Crashing 5

Appendix B

Case of Taiwanese TransAsia Airways ATR 72-212A Turboprop: “Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle.”

French-built TransAsia Avions de Transport Regional ATR 72-212A (a much larger aircraft than Indonesian Trigana Air ATR42 Turboprop), registration B-22816 and Manufacturing Serial Number MSN 1141, performing as TransAsia Airways flight GE235 from Taipei Songshan to Kinmen (a small resort island near the coast of Taiwan) with 53 passengers and 5 TransAsia Airways flight crew on board, departed Songshan’s runway 10, upon which the airliner was involved in an accident, crashing into the nearby Keelung River in Taipei, early Wednesday morning, February 4, 2015 at around 10:45 am (local time).

Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council’s (ASC), Factual Data Collection Group Report, which neither assigns responsibility, nor suggests recommendations, showed that Captain Liao Jian-zong was operating GE235’s Regional ATR 72-212A airliner at the time of the crash.

According to Reuters, Captain Liao Jian-zong had “failed simulator training in May 2014, in part because he had insufficient knowledge of how to deal with an engine flameout on take-off.”

Taiwanese air transport crash investigators state in the report that the right-side Pratt and Whitney turboprop engine went idle on TransAsia Airways flight GE235, only 37 seconds after taking off from nearby Taipei International Airport. After this right-side turboprop engine malfunctioned, the flight data recorder revealed, “fuel to the only functioning turboprop engine on the left-side was manually cut off.” This critical finding was also discovered in a The Wall Street Journal report back in February 2015.

The turboprop engine aircraft is now generally believed to have incurred an ‘engine flameout‘ moments before the crash in into the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, according to early preliminary analysis of the flight data recorder and independent air-traffic control voice recordings of the TransAsia Airways ATR 72-212A airliner.

In an attempt to re-start both turboprop engines, Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council believes the pilots may have shut off the plane’s left-side turboprop engine upon encountering a right-side engine malfunction immediately 37 seconds upon becoming airborne at takeoff in Taipei.

“Wow, pulled bak the wrong side throttle”

Unfortunately, the pilots did not have enough time before the ATR-72-212A airliner crashed into the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan, as air-traffic control lost communication with the plane’s pilots four minutes after takeoff from Taipei’s Songshan Airport.

According to CNN International and The Wall Street Journal reports, supposedly a pilot on a recording of radio conversations between air traffic control and TransAsia Airways flight GE235 says,

“GE235. Mayday, Mayday. Engine flameout.”

The recording released Wednesday, February 4, 2015 was verified by an independent website, which records air traffic control feeds from around the world.

Photo Credit: French-built TransAsia Avions de Transport Regional ATR 72-212A, registration B-22816 and Manufacturing Serial Number MSN 1141

Nonetheless, regarding the operating conditions surrounding the February 4, 2015 TransAsia Airways flight GE235 crash into the Keelung River in Taipei, the Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council reported that “there were two captains, Captain Liao Jian-zong (age 42, a Airline Transport Pilots License (ATPL)-rated certification, had 4,914 hours total, of which 3,151 hours on ATR-72-500 aircraft, and 250 hours on ATR-72-600 airliners) was pilot in command occupying the left-hand seat being pilot flying. 

Captain B serving as first-officer (age 45, an ATPL-rated certification, had 6,922 hours total, of which 5,687 hours on ATR-72-500 aircraft, and 795 hours on ATR-72-600 airliners) occupied the right-hand seat and was pilot monitoring. 

A first-officer complemented the crew occupying the observer’s seat, the first officer (age 63, an ATPL-rated certification, had 16,121 hours total, of which 7,911 hours on MD-80s airliners, and 5,306 hours on ATR-72-500 aircraft) was in conversion training to ATR-72-600 airliners with 8 hours on the aircraft type.”

The crew had signed the flight papers, that showed no unusual circumstances.

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Aug 142015
 

Malaysia-Airlines-Flight-370-Indian-Ocean

The missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER airliner is believed to be “largely intact,” resting on the mountainous Indian Ocean floor, as a “MH370 Gentle Landing Theory” now emerges among experts from what can be surmised from the breakage from the airliner hull and 12-24 month reproductive breeding of seashell or barnacle biological life on the La Réunion wreckage from MH370.

JUST IN (July 31, 2016): MH370 on Australian Channel 9’s 60 Minutes

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Details: Not Found

So says Canadian air crash expert Larry Vance, former investigator-in-charge of the Canadian Aviation Safety Board and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, who has led more than 200 air crash investigations.

Vance tells Australia’s 60 Minutes (in the above video) that an absence of any wreckage or debris was one factor suggesting MH370 landed in controlled circumstances (as outlined in the piece a year ago, August 14, 2015 below).

“Somebody was flying the airplane at the end of its flight,” he said.

“Somebody was flying the airplane into the water. There is no other alternate theory that you can follow.”

“At a press briefing in Kuala Lumpur for local journalists on Thursday, August 4, Malaysia transport minister Liow Tiong Lai confirmed that data recovered from the home flight simulator of the captain who piloted MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, included a flight path to the southern Indian Ocean.
 
“But the minister also said that thousands of destinations were found on the simulator. According to the New York Times report, the minister did not say when the Indian Ocean track was entered into the simulator and he cautioned that it was too soon to draw conclusions from the finding.”
 

Regarding the flaperon recovered on La Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean (discussed further below): “The force of the water is really the only thing that could make that jagged edge that we see. It wasn’t broken off. If it was broken off, it would be a clean break. You couldn’t even break that thing.”

He said the fact the flaperon had apparently been deployed for landing also indicated that someone was piloting the plane when it hit the ocean.

“You cannot get the flaperon to extend any other way than if somebody extended it,” he said.

“Somebody would have to select it.”

Peter Foley, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) program director of the search, told Australia’s 60 Minutes that the type of damage the flaperon sustained provided evidence for the controlled landing theory.

Mr Foley was asked: “If there was a rogue pilot, isn’t it possible that the plane was taken outside the parameters of the search area?”

He replied: “Yeah — if you guided the plane or indeed control-ditched the plane, it has an extended range, potentially.”

“There is a possibility… somebody [was] in control at the end and we are actively looking for evidence to support that.”

So says also a year ago, satellite communications expert, Zaaim Redha Abdul Rahman, speaking to Malaysian government Bernama news service in an interview recently on August 12, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, confirms International Business Times, New Zealand HeraldThe Huffington Post (U.K.), Business Insider Australia, Daily Mail (U.K.), and Express (U.K.). As well as now several experts this week on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 say in the Daily Mail (U.K.), “investigators hunting for flight MH370 will officially blame a rogue pilot for the disaster if the plane is not found in the current search zone,” including related statements and questions I posed early-on to French and Australian aviation safety investigators Thursday, August 6, 2015 on Fox News.

New ATSB Search Map 2-15-2016

Photo Credit: The Daily Mail (U.K.)/Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Wednesday, February 17, 2016: “The rogue pilot theory does not alter the plane’s final flight path because that has been verified by satellite data. But it means that someone at the controls could have glided the plane hundreds of miles past the current search zone after it ran out of fuel. The ASTB estimates the new crash zone would be three times bigger.”

Martin Dolan, the former chief commissioner of the ATSB, told The Times: “We’re not at that point yet, but sooner or later we will be and we will have to explain to governments what the alternative is.”

“And the alternative is, frankly, that despite all the evidence, the possibility that someone was at the controls of that aircraft and gliding it becomes a more significant possibility if we eliminate all of the current search area [now scheduled for completion in June 2016].”

An emergent “MH370 Gentle Landing Theory” is that the massive airliner sank into the Indian Ocean in one piece “after probably floating for a while,” moments surrounding the airliner’s disappearance from air traffic controls and military radar, while performing as Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early morning on March 8, 2014 with 227 passengers and 12 Malaysia Airlines crew on board.

Our thoughts, prayers, and sympathies still remain with the families, friends, and loved ones of those 239 persons lost, as they continue to wait in deep anguish for any definitive answers still emerging surrounding the MH370 aviation tragedy.

After more than 23 months of searching and waiting for answers, this history-making aviation safety and security mystery is now not just “an aviation-changer, it is a world-changer,” says the Smithsonian Institution.

So, an emergent “MH370 Gentle Landing Theory” is quite hopeful yet interestingly probable to contemplate at this moment of the international MH370 crash investigation.

“The ASTB estimates the new crash zone would be some three times bigger, The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports. “The theory does not automatically lay blame at the Captain and co-pilot, as it allows for someone else to have entered the cockpit to commandeer the jet. The rogue pilot theory does not alter the plane’s final flight path because that has been verified by satellite and radar data.”

The Sydney Morning Herald does qualify that the only stories Malaysian Bernama news agency primarily puts out are those sanctioned by the government in Kuala Lumpur.

MH370-debris 2

On July 29, 2015 an aircraft wing part, called a flaperon, was discovered on the shores of the French governed La Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

A probable scenario I explained on Fox News (below) is that the flaperon was attached to the Boeing 777-200ER airliner (Registration Number 9M-MRO) at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean for some time before it was broken off and pulled to La Réunion’s shore by the oceanic currents.

That would mean in the last moments of flight MH370 the Boeing 777-200ER airliner probably would have “glided down” atop the ocean surface to a floating rest — as a result of the airliner exhausting its fuel in a probable “one-then-the-last” engine flameout — only the actual missing black-box recorders could confirm.

In other words, the massive Boeing 777 airliner entered the ocean gently. That means the airliner was flying near horizontal, as it exhausted its fuel and slowly spiraling down in its last engine flameout.

Putting this another way, the jet perhaps spiraled slowly somewhat out of control into the southern Indian Ocean, as each of the plane’s engines would shutdown upon exhausting their fuel supply “one after the other.”

At this instance, the airliner was probably gliding and not moving extremely fast in order for the aircraft hull to stay intact. Else we would see so much more MH370 drift debris washing ashore by now! 

Video Thumbnail
Oliver McGee, MH370 Malaysia PM Announcement, Fox News 8-6-15

After analyzing data between the plane and a British firm Inmarsat satellite, officials believe Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was on autopilot the entire time it was flying across a vast expanse of the southern Indian Ocean, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) former Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan said.

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 (see Appendix A below).

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.

In a flight path analysis released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on Wednesday, October 8, 2014, the details report what experts still believe they hope is where MH370 resides at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean, further confirming the Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss’ statement earlier that week, “not as much a question of where but when,” we would reach a final outcome of the MH370 missing airliner mystery.

In the meantime, Australia’s deputy prime minister said on Monday, August 3, 2015, “the country still plans to end the hunt for the missing aircraft after the current 46,000-square-mile search zone has been covered, unless the wing part found in La Réunion yields hard clues that alter the current thinking on the fate of Flight 370,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Aircraft Ocean Landing 24

Photo Credit: Missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration Number 9M-MRO

“Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went into a slow left turn and spiraled into the Indian Ocean, when its fuel ran out, an interim report concluded October 8, 2014, pointing investigators towards the southern section of the current search zone,” reports NBC News.

Flight simulations recreating the final moments of MH370, suggest the Boeing 777-200 entered “a descending spiraling low bank angle left turn” and hit the ocean “a relatively short distance after the last engine flameout,” the ATSB said in that report.

As Business Insider Australia reported on August 7, 2015, “while investigators initially thought that the plane might have gone down quickly in a tight spiral, the debris that washed up on Reunion Island near Madagascar in the Indian Ocean last week suggests that the aircraft might have glided along after running out of fuel and descended slowly into the water … the “flaperon,” was likely “broken off by the engine pod ripping off as it was dragged through the water on the initial impact,” Tracy Lamb, an aviation safety consultant and former Boeing 737 pilot, told Bloomberg on August 5, 2015.

“The speculation among pilots right now is that it must have come down at a relatively shallow angle,” Lamb said.

Former US National Transportation Safety Board investigator Greg Feith told Bloomberg that since the piece is not “crushed,” experts “can deduce it was either a low-energy crash or a low-energy intentional ditching.”

Zaaim Redha, principal consultant at Zeta Resources Sdn Bhd, a satellite communications consulting and engineering services, has also now concurred: “I believe that when the aircraft went out of fuel, it glided downwards and landed on the water with a soft impact … that’s why I believe the plane is still largely intact.”

MH370-debris 12

“It (the flaperon) was only slightly damaged and was just encrusted with barnacles. Its appearance indicates that it was not violently torn off from the aircraft’s main body…it does seem that it got detached pretty nicely at its edges,” Zaaim Redha explains.

“If MH370 had crashed with a really hard impact, we would have seen small pieces of debris floating on the sea immediately after that. Furthermore, the flaperon that was recovered (from La Réunion Island) wouldn’t have been in one piece…we would have only seen bits and pieces of it,” he said.

“It’s possible that the (MH370) aircraft may have been submerged deep inside the ocean for quite some time before the flaperon (a part of the plane’s wing) got detached itself,” Redha adds.

“Similarly, other parts would also become detached and float with the help of the strong water current, before being washed up on the shores of islands like La Réunion,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jean Paul Troadec — former head of the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA), France’s counterpart to the National Transportation Safety Board — who led the BEA during the investigation into the crash of Air France Flight 447 — said on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, experts will try to determine three things.

“If there is a reference number on the debris, a correlation can be made immediately,” Troadec explained to NBC News. He added “experts also will be looking at the length of time the fragment has been in the ocean.”

“The seashells or barnacles will play an important role in determining how long this piece of plane has been submerged underwater,” Troadec said. “Seashells grow at a certain rhythm and depending on their size can tell investigators if they have been breeding 12 months or 2 years.”

“The investigators in France would also be on the lookout for other organisms such as tube worms, coralline red algae or shellfish that could also provide clues,” according to The Associated Press.

Troadec said investigators also will be studying the debris to figure out how it broke apart from its aircraft.

French military aviation lab in Toulouse, where it will be examined, “possesses very sophisticated electronic microscopes that can help experts determine whether the piece broke off because of an explosion, a fire or on impact of something,” Troadec explained. That process, he added, could take weeks.

“No plane could continue to fly without this piece,” Troadec said.

Photo above taken by Steve Richardson, Aviation Analyst for FlyersPulse.com on a Delta Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, en route from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport on September 9, 2009.

Appearing below on Fox News Happening Now on Friday, July 31, 2015, I explain the “aircraft forensics” linking the flaperon debris to MH370, which was found on July 29 on the French island of La Réunion, in full concurrence with the above statements of Jean Paul Troadec — former head of France’s Bureau of Investigation and Analysis. 

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Oliver McGee: MH370 "Aircraft Forensics" of Reunion Debris, Fox News

“A months-old US intelligence report that surfaced recently speculates the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 might have been deliberately flown off course,” according to an unnamed source cited by ABC News — ABC News’ source said (via. Business Insider Australia), “the assessment was based on information that US intelligence officials obtained about the foreign investigation into the MH370 case,” which so far hasn’t yielded any public answers about what happened to the plane. This theory reportedly comes from evidence of the plane changing course multiple times, The Telegraph (U.K.) reports.

On August 5, 2015, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, upon affirming that the maintenance record seal on the flaperon provided the definitive proof, announced the debris found on La Réunion is from MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER. He said,

An international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370. We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24th March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean.” — Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, August 5, 2015

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Malaysia PM Confirms Plane Debris Belongs To MH370

Given that the La Réunion flaperon is indeed from flight MH370, then there is one simple fact emanating.

MH370 must have “come down south of 10 degrees South in the Indian Ocean,” says Dr. Paul Scully-Power, a renowned Australian oceanographer, who also took his experiments on the 13th flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

“Because, if it came down anywhere further north, then any wreckage would have flowed in the opposite direction,” Power says in concurrence with experts of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Ocean Currents Drift Analysis of the World

This blows away many of the conspiracy theories, including hijacking and northern hemisphere resting places of the massive Boeing 777 airliner.

Hence, we should perhaps give some more credibility to any alleged eyewitness sightings or accounts of a falling airliner somewhere between the 5th and 7th arc theories, as consistent as possible with the British Inmarsat satellite findings.

The ATSB report narrows the slice of ocean in which there is strong probability the Boeing 777-200ER airliner wreckage of MH370 resides in a 400-mile stretch of the southern Indian Ocean. Drawing upon scenario planning of autopilot flight patterns, human factors error, and probable aircraft attitudes and speeds prior to crashing, and operating from the assumption the airliner turned south into the Indian Ocean after flying over the Strait of Malacca, the ATSB report focuses on a 350 nautical mile (400 statue mile) stretch of ocean as the most likely underwater search plan going forward.

Aircraft Ocean Landing 22

Photo Credit: Missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration Number 9M-MRO

“The possibility of debris washing up near La Réunion island is a scientific possibility. Although the currents today are significantly different to those seen 16 months ago, the Indian Ocean Gyre could move debris from the southern Indian Ocean in a counterclockwise direction towards Africa, spitting it out near the island of Reunion,” Mashable reports.

On whether it was possible for the flaperon to have floated on water for over 4,000 kilometers before ending up on La Réunion Island, Zaaim Redha said it was plausible based on sea current modeling by oceanography experts.

“Going by how the earth rotates, it’s highly possible that the piece of debris could have floated (over a long distance) because the ocean current can be really powerful.”

Australian oceanic science investigators of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization reported on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 that the Boeing 777-200ER flaperon discovery “matches with predictions from updated debris flow computer models.”

“Their drift model computer simulation was run from March 8, 2014 to July 30, 2015, to see if the flaperon could have drifted to La Réunion from the search zone somewhere along the 7th arc.”

The debris flow modeling below does show consistency with the 7th arc theory established by the British satellite firm, Inmarsat, which has and will further assist investigators in making adjustments to their current search area as the hunt for the Boeing 777-200ER airliner continues.

drift models australia

Photo Credit (via Mashable), Australian national science agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

Confirmed and/or suspected MH370 debris recovered off the coast of southern Africa [via, BBC News]

MH370 Debris 1-4 Found

“1. A section of wing called a flaperon, found on Reunion Island in July 2015 – confirmed as debris in September 2015

2. Horizontal stabilizer from tail section, found between Mozambique and Madagascar in December 2015

3. Stabilizer panel with “No Step” stencil, found in Mozambique in February 2016

4. Engine cowling bearing Rolls-Royce logo, found in March 2016 in Mossel Bay, South Africa

MH370 Debris 5 Found

5. Fragment of interior door panel found in Rodrigues Island, Mauritius in March 2016

MH370 Debris 6 Found

6. Fragments including what appears to be a seat frame, a coat hook and other panels found on Nosy Boraha island in northeast Madagascar.”

Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport has published a 47-page article, containing hundreds of lines of communication logs between the jetliner and the British company Inmarsat’s satellite system, and detailing how the U.K. firm Inmarsat helped to pinpoint the southern corridor flight path taken by MH370. 

The 47-page article reports that Inmarsat informed Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport on March 13, 2014 that routine automatic communications between the Inmarsat satellite and MH370 could be used to determine several possible flight paths.

The United Kingdom (U.K.) Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) then presented Inmarsat’s findings on March 24, 2014, indicating the southern corridor as the most likely flight path of MH370.

Based on the analysis of data communicated to the ground station by the Inmarsat satellite moments before the Boeing 777-200ER airliner’s oceanic crash, investigators concluded that the flight had ended in the southern Indian Ocean. 

Some Open Science and Technology Questions in the Crash Investigation of Flight MH370 Over the Next 12-24 Months?

So, my further private discussions with Australian oceanographer Scully-Power raised additional issues as to what else can we suggest to ask of the MH370 investigation going forward in the next 12-24 months? 

1. Did the flaperon float on the southern Indian Ocean surface or was it a submerged drift, as it traveled 2650 miles from western Australia east to Reunion?

Answer: We deem the difference between surface float or submerged drift would affect oceanic windage and current oceanic drift calculations across the southern Indian Ocean.

2. Did the flaperon float or drift horizontal or vertical?

Answer: We conclude the biological seashells or barnacles distribution on the La Réunion flaperon would suggest a vertical float or drift.

This is important because, if vertical, the flaperon would act as a “wind vane” following the currents exactly and with much less influenced by the strong “hurricane-like” oceanic winds across the southern Indian Ocean.

3. Was the discovery of the flaperon announced as soon as it was found?

Answer: We suggest that this would impact any back prediction of the drift currents. 

4. One remaining key question is what is the average debris drift speed in the Indian Ocean South Equatorial Current?

Answer: Since it was 515 days until the Reunion flaperon was found, we conclude then that would indicate a MH370 debris drift speed of about ¼ of a knot (or about 0.13 meters per second or just 0.3 miles per hour) across the southern Indian Ocean. 

This is probably about right. An accurate confirmation of this approximate MH370 debris drift speed we suggest is an open scientific question for public understanding that could be posed to the French and Australian aviation safety investigators and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) oceanic science experts.  

5. Finally, a key scientific and technological innovation that is possible at this stage of the MH370 mystery emerges.

Answer: It centers upon Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), a precise satellite-based surveillance and airliner positioning system, which is already being implemented by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration at various U.S.-based international airlines around the world.

ADS-B system needs to be mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with the system extended to tracking aircraft worldwide through satellites, rather than just relying on conventional air traffic control ground stations. This would absolutely give the fullest coverage over transatlantic, transpacific, and transpolar oceans and remote regions of the world, like the Brazilian Amazon and the Sahara Desert.

Of course, others like myself have called for streaming limited flight data and aircraft performance conditions, literally putting “The Black-Box in The Cloud,” while being mindful of certain information classified to airlines and aircraft manufacturers.

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Oliver McGee, MH370 "Aircraft Forensics", Sky News Tonight, London

Well, be that as it may, I discuss above on Sky News Tonight on Thursday, July 30 and Fox News Happening Now on Friday, July 31 what I call “aircraft forensics,” which is now being conducted linking the wreckage finding in La Réunion to MH370.

Careful analysis of the seashell-covered Boeing 777-200ER composite flaperon wreckage found on La Réunion may tell a story of what happen during the last moments of flight MH370, answering several open questions:

  1. Was it a fast impact or a slow impact into the Indian Ocean?
  2. What angle did the flaperon break off from the composite right wing?
  3. What can be seen under a microscope about the composite material and metallurgical science and forensics of the Boeing 777-200ER airliner during the final moments of the crash into the Indian Ocean?
  4. Are their any traces of a fire or explosion that can be gleamed from the flaperon wreckage found on Réunion island?
  5. Do the barnicals on the flaperon wreckage provide any clues as to what portion of the southern Indian Ocean did MH370 crash?
  6. Will microscopic analysis of these barnicals by oceanic scientist reveal any clues about the trace forensics of a path to the final resting place of the Boeing 777-200ER’s hull on the Indian Ocean floor? 

There is a very fine science of aircraft forensics from just a small piece of a flaperon that holds many clues to the whereabouts of MH370 and to the final moments of this mysterious Boeing 777-200ER airliner crash – historically the only one lost amongst all 80 large airliners lost since 1948.

“Accident investigators may be one step closer to solving one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries. They are facing pressure to confirm whether a piece of aircraft debris found on a remote island in the Indian Ocean belongs to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. But establishing a link with the lost Boeing jetliner would only be a first step. Experts would then try to gain information about the last moments of the flight and attempt to reconstruct how and where the airplane went down. When investigators start analyzing the debris, Malaysian officials are expected to participate, and the U.S. safety board is likely to have someone in the laboratory as an observer,” Gerald Baker, Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief writes on LinkedIn Pulse.

Bottom Line Takeaway: It now appears that MH370 entered the southern Indian Ocean, according the British Inmarsat satellite firm’s 7th arc theory, currently being held by Australian and Malaysian aviation safety officials.

Steve Richardson (2) MH370 9M-MRO

Photo Credit: Missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration Number 9M-MRO

Since August 7, 2015, France is continuing its air and sea searches off its southern Indian Ocean territory of La Réunion until the start of next week for debris from missing flight MH370, the island’s top official said on Wednesday, August 12, 2015.

“Coordinated searches will continue until the beginning of next week,” the island’s top authority said in a statement, adding that air and sea searches so far had yielded “no significant elements.”

 La Réunion’s chief official said “the searches would be shifted to the periphery of the initial area scoured, especially to the south.”

Since Monday, August 10, 2015, there have been over 45 hours of daytime land searches on La Réunion island and 15 hours of daylight maritime and air searches.

– END –

__________

Photo Credit: Australian Transport Minister, Warren Truss (shown pointing to the then-new (and still current) MH370 search area in the southern Indian Ocean, as of June 26, 2014).

Appendix A

UPDATE (JUNE 26, 2014): As Next phase of MH370 search headed south.

Experts believe the missing MH370 flew on autopilot until it ran out of fuel, as an 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.

After analyzing data between the plane and a British firm Inmarsat satellite, officials believe Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was on autopilot the entire time it was flying across a vast expanse of the southern Indian Ocean, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan said.

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.”

But exactly when the Boeing 777 began running on autopilot is still not known.

“Autopilot theory would explain plane’s ‘orderly path’,” says Australian Transport Minister, Warren Truss.

“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.”

Efforts to find the Boeing 777-200 airliner is now focusing on an area near to where the original search off Australia’s west coast began, upon the March 24 shocking revelation of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, announcing the airliner ended its journey on March 8 in the southern Indian Ocean.

“We are now shifting our attention to an area further south of [the 7th] arc – broadly in the area where our first search efforts were focused,” Truss said.

Photo Credit: Geoscience Australia

Appendix B

Recovering MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER Requires New International Cooperation and Complexity

Under the Annex 12 and 13 rules of the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) — that governs traditional air crash  investigations — the conventional procedure after recovery of MH370 debris would have been to bring together Boeing experts and Malaysian aviation safety investigators to determine next steps of the accident probe.

But now, since it has been confirmed that the Boeing 777-200ER has indeed crashed in the southern Indian Ocean by the Malaysian prime minister, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Australian Joint Agency Coordination Center has to complete its underwater scouring of nearly 75,000 square miles of search area off the western coast of Australia at Perth.

Resolving modern aviation’s greatest mystery requires answers to two main questions: What happened aboard Flight 370 to make it veer sharply off course and disappear from radar? And where did the massive Boeing 777-200ER end up inside the southern Indian Ocean, spanning across current drifts from the French island of La Réunion off the coast of Madagascar to the western coast of Australia at Perth.

Several international cast of officials involved in the investigation brings forth not only new international cooperation, but also a new degree of complexity among government officials, aviation safety investigators and experts in Malaysia, Australia, France, China, United Sates and United Kingdom. 

Malaysia leads the overall investigation, as the sovereign flag-carrier of flight MH370, which departed the early morning of March 8, 2014 from Kuala Lumpur, moments before mysteriously vanishing from air traffic control and military radar.

Australia oversees the underwater search for the Boeing 777-200ER hull, since the airliner is now “conclusively confirmed” by international investigators to have crashed in a remote portion of the southern Indian Ocean, now known as the current 46,000 square mile “priority search area” off the continent’s western coast at Perth.

France, four of whose citizens were aboard the flight, takes a larger role in the Boeing 777-200ER crash investigation, when airliner’s flaperon washed upon a remote part of its territory, known as La Réunion off the coast of Madagascar near the southwestern coast of Africa. French authorities had already opened their own criminal investigation last year into possible manslaughter and hijacking in the loss of MH370.

“The French tend to be pretty aggressive” when it comes to asserting the authority of prosecutors, said Robert Francis, a former vice chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Because investigators suspect the plane went down as a result of an intentional act, Flight 370 has been “far removed from an average aircraft accident,” Mr. Francis, who has years of experience working with the French government, said in an interview. Therefore, he said, French law-enforcement officials “shouldn’t have a great deal of difficulty defending what they have done,” Wall Street Journal reports.

China, which had 155 citizens on the missing flight MH370, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, holds the biggest stake in all decisions made about the search for the Boeing 777-200ER, including one might suppose, Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak’s go-ahead press announcement on Wednesday, August 5, the La Réunion debris “conclusively confirmed” was indeed MH370 that crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, despite cautious hesitation by French and United States officials. 

United States and United Kingdom government agencies — as well as experts from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Boeing Company, and the British satellite firm, Inmarsat — will contribute to the investigations until MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER is found, the aircraft hull recovered and re-assembled, and the causes of the mysterious crash are determined.

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Aug 052015
 

MH370-debris 2

Malaysia PM 2

Malaysia’s PM Najib Razak, announced the debris found on La Réunion is from MH370’s Boeing 777. He said today,

An international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370. We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24th March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean.” — Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, August 5, 2015

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Malaysia PM Confirms Plane Debris Belongs To MH370

“This is a remote, inhospitable and dangerous area, and on behalf of Malaysia I would like to thank the many nations, organizations and individuals who have participated in the search,” the Malaysian prime minister said moments ago.

He also said the first physical debris evidence of MH370 is in the city of Balma, France, near the city of Toulouse for examination by civil aviation investigators.

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak also promised relatives of passengers that Malaysia will not give up searching for the plane.

MH370-debris 18

Debris found on the island of Reunion is very likely from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The design of the plane part known as a flaperon matches a Boeing 777, and the characteristics of the flaperon match the technical specifications provided by Malaysia Airlines for that part.” Paris Deputy Prosecutor Serge Mackowiak, speaking to reporters on August 5, 2015.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports moments ago: A person involved in the investigation said, however, that “experts from Boeing and the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), who have seen the object — a piece of what is known as a flaperon — were not yet fully satisfied, and called for further analysis.”

“Their doubts were based on a modification to the flaperon part that did not appear to exactly match what they would expect from airline maintenance records,” according to the person, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and requested anonymity.

Well, be that as it may, speculatively speaking, unfortunately some airlines at times supposedly make minor modifications to aircraft parts to keep their fleets flying that might be supposedly unexpected from normal airline maintenance records.

French and Malaysian officials, nonetheless, proceeded forward with their official statements today, despite the Boeing and United States NTSB experts’ caution, though, mainly because no other Boeing 777 neither has been lost in the southern Indian Ocean, nor has any such large airliner been lost worldwide since World War II.

Here’s Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak’s statement:

PRIME MINISTER DATUK SERI NAJIB TUN RAZAK’S STATEMENT ON MH370, Wednesday August 5, 2015

“On 8 March 2014, flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared. The days, weeks and months that followed have been a period of torment for the families of those on board.

The plane’s disappearance was without precedent. At every stage, we followed the tiny amount of evidence that existed. But, despite the efforts of 26 nations and the largest search in aviation history, from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean, the plane could not be located.

Neither could investigations by the world’s leading aviation experts answer why MH370 veered off course and went dark. While the plane’s disappearance remained a mystery, we have shared the anguish of those who could find no comfort.

Last week, on 29th July, we were informed by the French authorities that part of an aircraft wing had been found on Reunion, the French island in the Indian Ocean.

Today, 515 days since the plane disappeared, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370.

We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24th March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

This is a remote, inhospitable and dangerous area, and on behalf of Malaysia I would like to thank the many nations, organizations and individuals who have participated in the search.

The burden and uncertainty faced by the families during this time has been unspeakable. It is my hope that this confirmation, however tragic and painful, will at least bring certainty to the families and loved ones of the 239 people onboard MH370. They have our deepest sympathy and prayers.

I would like to assure all those affected by this tragedy that the government of Malaysia is committed to do everything within our means to find out the truth of what happened. MH370’s disappearance marked us as a nation. We mourn with you, as a nation.

And I promise you this: Malaysia will always remember and honor those who were lost onboard MH370.”

— END —

Appearing below on Fox News, America’s News HQ on Saturday, August 1, 2015, I predicted Malaysian officials would be making today’s announcement linking the La Réunion Boeing Triple Seven flaperon debris to MH370.

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Oliver McGee on MH370 Wreckage, Fox America's News HQ (8-1-15)

First Definitive Piece of Physical Evidence Recovered from Flight MH370

Debris now believe to be part of the only large airliner of its kind lost in oceanic waters since 1948 washed up Wednesday, July 29, 2015 on the French island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar, a volcanic island of 850,000 people. The wreckage is now certainly part of a Boeing 777-200ER, the top Malaysian official, prime minister Najib Razak, and aviation experts now have confirmed.

MH370 is believed to be the only Boeing 777 to have crashed south of the equator since the jet came into service 20 years ago.

Below is an excellent detailed infographic pulled together by and derived from numerous aviation safety authorities, experts, private-sector, and public-sector organizations, circulating across the media, for the benefit of public understanding that clearly and briefly chronicles the underlying facts and current evidences and further investigations surrounding the search for MH370.

Photo Credit: University of Western Australia / Australian Joint Agency Coordination Center / Australian Transport Safety Bureau / Malaysia Airlines / Boeing / Australian Government / Inmarsat / AFP

In the past several years only three such Boeing Triple Sevens have been in an aircraft crash, including Asiana flight 214 in San Francisco back in 2013, where three fatalities occurred, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, where 298 passengers and Malaysia Airlines crew were killed.

And now this Boeing 777 wreckage surfacing, which has potentially created the biggest breakthrough in the search for flight MH370, missing since March 8, 2014, where 239 passengers and Malaysia Airlines crew have been officially declared as lives lost from an accident by the Malaysian flag carrier back in January 2015. National carrier Malaysia Airlines was operating a Boeing 777 on the ill-fated flight, which vanished from air traffic control and military radar early morning on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, igniting these past seventeen months the most baffling mystery in aviation history.

The flaperon debris on La Réunion is the first piece of physical evidence that the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean.

“Confirmation that the debris came from MH370 would also finally disprove theories that the airliner disappeared somewhere in the northern hemisphere,” Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan said.

“If the find proved to be part of the missing aircraft, it would be consistent with the theory that the plane crashed within the 120,000 square kilometers (46,000 square miles) search area, 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) southwest of Australia,” he said.

Aviation safety expert, John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, speaking to The Associated Press: “It’s going to be hard to say with any certainty where the source of this was,” he said. “It just confirms that the airplane is in the water and hasn’t been hijacked to some remote place and is waiting to be used for some other purpose. … We haven’t lost any 777s anywhere else.”

MH370 Takeoff 9M-MRO

Photo Credit: Missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration Number 9M-MRO

Recovering MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER Requires New International Cooperation and Complexity

Under the Annex 12 and 13 rules of the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) — that governs traditional air crash  investigations — the conventional procedure after recovery of MH370 debris would have been to bring together Boeing experts and Malaysian aviation safety investigators to determine next steps of the accident probe.

But now, since it has been confirmed that the Boeing 777-200ER has indeed crashed in the southern Indian Ocean by the Malaysian prime minister, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Australian Joint Agency Coordination Center has to complete its underwater scouring of nearly 75,000 square miles of search area off the western coast of Australia at Perth.

Resolving modern aviation’s greatest mystery requires answers to two main questions: What happened aboard Flight 370 to make it veer sharply off course and disappear from radar? And where did the massive Boeing 777-200ER end up inside the southern Indian Ocean, spanning across current drifts from the French island of La Réunion off the coast of Madagascar to the western coast of Australia at Perth.

Several international cast of officials involved in the investigation brings forth not only new international cooperation, but also a new degree of complexity among government officials, aviation safety investigators and experts in Malaysia, Australia, France, China, United Sates and United Kingdom. 

Malaysia leads the overall investigation, as the sovereign flag-carrier of flight MH370, which departed the early morning of March 8, 2014 from Kuala Lumpur, moments before mysteriously vanishing from air traffic control and military radar.

Australia oversees the underwater search for the Boeing 777-200ER hull, since the airliner is now “conclusively confirmed” by international investigators to have crashed in a remote portion of the southern Indian Ocean, now known as the current 46,000 square mile “priority search area” off the continent’s western coast at Perth.

ASTB Priority Seabed Search Area

Photo Credit: Geoscience Australia

France, four of whose citizens were aboard the flight, takes a larger role in the Boeing 777-200ER crash investigation, when airliner’s flaperon washed upon a remote part of its territory, known as La Réunion off the coast of Madagascar near the southwestern coast of Africa. French authorities had already opened their own criminal investigation last year into possible manslaughter and hijacking in the loss of MH370.

“The French tend to be pretty aggressive” when it comes to asserting the authority of prosecutors, said Robert Francis, a former vice chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Because investigators suspect the plane went down as a result of an intentional act, Flight 370 has been “far removed from an average aircraft accident,” Mr. Francis, who has years of experience working with the French government, said in an interview. Therefore, he said, French law-enforcement officials “shouldn’t have a great deal of difficulty defending what they have done,” Wall Street Journal reports.

China, which had 155 citizens on the missing flight MH370, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, holds the biggest stake in all decisions made about the search for the Boeing 777-200ER, including one might suppose, Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak’s go-ahead press announcement on Wednesday, August 5, the La Réunion debris “conclusively confirmed” was indeed MH370 that crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, despite cautious hesitation by French and United States officials. 

United States and United Kingdom government agencies — as well as experts from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Boeing Company, and the British satellite firm, Inmarsat — will contribute to the investigations until MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER is found, the aircraft hull recovered and re-assembled, and the causes of the mysterious crash are determined.

It looks like part of a Boeing 777 … if the flaperon is of MH370, it is in line with the current movement in the Indian Ocean.” – Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (shown above)

Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai pleaded on Sunday, August 2 for more caution in speculating about the finding of aircraft wreckage on La Réunion island near Madagascar last week on Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

Malaysian investigators arrived in La Réunion island Sunday for closed-door meetings on all day Monday to discuss the flaperon, identified by aviation experts as part of the right composite wing of a Boeing 777-200ER, which has been sent to a French military laboratory near Toulouse for checks, French police sources said. This laboratory is the same one that conducted the extensive analysis of Air France flight AF447 wreckage and debris recovered from the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil back in 2009.

Tiong Lai said on Sunday, August 2, Malaysian authorities await confirmation to officially identify the wreckage as MH370 from the aviation safety investigation in Paris headed by the director of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), working in collaboration with the French aircraft crash investigation agency (BEA).

“Although from this picture, it looks like part of a Boeing 777, this is only seen by the naked eyes. This matter can only be confirmed after thorough investigation,” said Tiong Lai to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang on Sunday, August 1.

He added: “if the wreckage is of MH370, it confirms the theoretical prediction of the currents movement in the Indian Ocean … We are still awaiting confirmation if the wreckage is of Boeing 777 or MH370.”

That is has now been determined officially by Malaysia and announced by the country’s prime minister.

The small French island of La Réunion near Madagascar off the southwestern coast of Africa is roughly 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) east across the southern Indian Ocean from western Australia at Perth, where the primary search efforts have been ongoing by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Australian Joint Agency Coordinating Center. Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this week currents could have carried wreckage very far from western Australian oceanic waters east to southern African oceanic waters.

Photo Credit: CBS News / NASA / Australia Maritime Safety Authority

“If the flaperon is of MH370, it is in line with the current movement in the Indian Ocean. As we can see, the ocean current movement will show a pattern of flows. But we do not want to speculate and wait confirmation from the French authorities,” said Tiong Lai.

On Friday, AFP reported that Deputy Transport Minister, Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi had confirmed that the object found on La Réunion Island was of a Boeing 777-200ER.

In the meantime, Australia’s deputy prime minister said on Monday, August 3, 2015, “the country still plans to end the hunt for the missing aircraft after the current 46,000-square-mile search zone has been covered, unless the wing part found in La Réunion yields hard clues that alter the current thinking on the fate of Flight 370,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Photo Credit: Jean Paul Troadec — former head of the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA)

Aircraft Forensics of a Boeing 777-200ER Flaperon

According to the Wall Street Journal: The United States National Transportation Safety Board said “it dispatched one of its experts to France to help with the analysis of the part” at a military laboratory near Toulouse, scheduled to begin Wednesday, August 5, 2015.

“Boeing Company representatives also are expected to be at the lab Wednesday, according to industry officials. The company hasn’t confirmed whether it believes the part in question came from Flight 370. But Boeing officials helped Malaysia in its initial determination, based on photographic evidence, that the part came from a Boeing 777,” Malaysian officials said.

Photo above taken by Steve Richardson, Aviation Analyst for FlyersPulse.com on a Delta Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, departing from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport on September 9, 2009.

Meanwhile, Jean Paul Troadec — former head of the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA), France’s counterpart to the National Transportation Safety Board — who led the BEA during the investigation into the crash of Air France Flight 447 —said on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, experts will try to determine three things.

“If there is a reference number on the debris, a correlation can be made immediately,” Troadec explained to NBC News. He added “experts also will be looking at the length of time the fragment has been in the ocean.”

“The seashells or barnacles will play an important role in determining how long this piece of plane has been submerged underwater,” Troadec said. “Seashells grow at a certain rhythm and depending on their size can tell investigators if they have been breeding 12 months or 2 years.”

“The investigators in France would also be on the lookout for other organisms such as tube worms, coralline red algae or shellfish that could also provide clues,” according to The Associated Press.

MH370-debris 12

Troadec said investigators also will be studying the debris to figure out how it broke apart from its aircraft.

French military aviation lab in Toulouse, where it will be examined, “possesses very sophisticated electronic microscopes that can help experts determine whether the piece broke off because of an explosion, a fire or on impact of something,” Troadec explained. That process, he added, could take weeks.

“No plane could continue to fly without this piece,” Troadec said.

Photo above taken by Steve Richardson, Aviation Analyst for FlyersPulse.com on a Delta Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, departing from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport on September 9, 2009.

Appearing below on Fox News Happening Now on Friday, July 31, 2015, I explain the “aircraft forensics” linking the flaperon debris to MH370, which was found on July 29 on the French island of La Réunion, in full concurrence with the above statements of Jean Paul Troadec — former head of France’s Bureau of Investigation and Analysis. 

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Oliver McGee: MH370 "Aircraft Forensics" of Reunion Debris, Fox News

British firm Inmarsat satellite tracking data from the missing Boeing 777-200ER has yielded a nearly $100 million dollar scouring of 75,000 square miles of the floor of the southern Indian Ocean by the Australian government. The flaperon debris discovered on the French island of La Réunion is about 2,650 miles east from the current priority search area in the southern Indian Ocean.

“The possibility of debris washing up near La Réunion island is a scientific possibility. Although the currents today are significantly different to those seen 16 months ago, the Indian Ocean Gyre could move debris from the southern Indian Ocean in a counterclockwise direction towards Africa, spitting it out near the island of Reunion,” Mashable reports.

Australian oceanic science investigators of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization reported on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 that the Boeing 777-200ER flaperon discovery “matches with predictions from updated debris flow computer models.”

“Their drift model computer simulation was run from March 8, 2014 to July 30, 2015, to see if the flaperon could have drifted to La Réunion from the search zone somewhere along the 7th arc.”

The debris flow modeling below does show consistency with the 7th arc theory established by the British satellite firm, Inmarsat, which will further assist investigators in making adjustments to their current search area as the hunt for the Boeing 777-200ER airliner continues.

drift models australia

Photo Credit (via Mashable), Australian national science agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

Some Open Science and Technology Questions in the Crash Investigation of Flight MH370 Over the Next 12-24 Months?

The massive Boeing 777 airliner entered the ocean gently. That means the airliner was flying near horizontal as it exhausted its fuel and spiraling down in its last engine flameout, upon which the airliner was gliding and not moving extremely fast in order for the aircraft hull to stay intact. Else we would see so much more MH370 drift debris washing ashore by now! 

Hence, we should perhaps give some more credibility to any alleged eyewitness sightings or accounts of a falling airliner somewhere between the 5th and 7th arc theories, as consistent as possible with the British Inmarsat satellite findings.

Given that the Reunion flaperon is indeed from flight MH370, then there is one simple fact emanating.

MH370 must have “come down south of 10 degrees South in the Indian Ocean,” says Dr. Paul Scully-Power, a renowned Australian oceanographer, who also took his experiments on the 13th flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

“Because, if it came down anywhere further north, then any wreckage would have flowed in the opposite direction,” Power says in concurrence with experts of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Ocean Currents Drift Analysis of the World

This blows away many of the conspiracy theories, including hijacking and northern hemisphere resting places of the massive Boeing 777 airliner.

So, my further private discussions with Australian oceanographer Scully-Power raised additional issues as to what else can we suggest to ask of the MH370 investigation going forward in the next 12-24 months? 

1. Did the flaperon float on the southern Indian Ocean surface or was it a submerged drift, as it traveled 2650 miles from western Australia east to Reunion?

Answer: We deem the difference between surface float or submerged drift would affect oceanic windage and current oceanic drift calculations across the southern Indian Ocean.

2. Did the flaperon float or drift horizontal or vertical?

Answer: We conclude the biological seashells or barnacles distribution on the La Réunion flaperon would suggest a vertical float or drift.

This is important because, if vertical, the flaperon would act as a “wind vane” following the currents exactly and with much less influenced by the strong “hurricane-like” oceanic winds across the southern Indian Ocean.

3. Was the discovery of the flaperon announced as soon as it was found?

Answer: We suggest that this would impact any back prediction of the drift currents. 

4. One remaining key question is what is the average debris drift speed in the Indian Ocean South Equatorial Current?

Answer: Since it was 515 days until the Reunion flaperon was found, we conclude then that would indicate a MH370 debris drift speed of about ¼ of a knot (or about 0.13 meters per second or just 0.3 miles per hour) across the southern Indian Ocean. 

This is probably about right. An accurate confirmation of this approximate MH370 debris drift speed we suggest is an open scientific question for public understanding that could be posed to the French and Australian aviation safety investigators and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) oceanic science experts.  

5. Finally, a key scientific and technological innovation that is possible at this stage of the MH370 mystery emerges.

Answer: It centers upon Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), a precise satellite-based surveillance and airliner positioning system, which is already being implemented by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration at various U.S.-based international airlines around the world.

ADS-B system needs to be mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with the system extended to tracking aircraft worldwide through satellites, rather than just relying on conventional air traffic control ground stations. This would absolutely give the fullest coverage over transatlantic, transpacific, and transpolar oceans and remote regions of the world, like the Brazilian Amazon and the Sahara Desert.

Of course, others like myself have called for streaming limited flight data and aircraft performance conditions, literally putting “The Black-Box in The Cloud,” while being mindful of certain information classified to airlines and aircraft manufacturers.

Bottom Line Takeaway: It now appears that MH370 entered the southern Indian Ocean, according the British Inmarsat satellite firm’s 7th arc theory, currently being held by Australian and Malaysian aviation safety officials.

Steve Richardson (2) MH370 9M-MRO

Photo Credit: Missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration Number 9M-MRO

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UPDATE via Mashable: Thursday, August 6, 2015:

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss released a statement Thursday local time, cautiously acknowledging statements from the Prime Minister of Malaysia and French authorities, and stating “in all probability” the wreckage found on La Réunion is from Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370.

He advised the Australian government is awaiting information from the investigation team in France before making a conclusive statement.

“The French-led investigation team is continuing to finalize its considerations of the wreckage and we will await further detail from them,” Truss said.

“Our expert from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) remains in France and will continue to aid the international investigation team.”

Australia has been leading an extensive search for the plane in the unexplored depths of the southern Indian Ocean, and the government advised it will be continuing this mission.

Truss added: “The finding of wreckage on La Réunion is consistent with our current search area. For this reason thorough and methodical search efforts will continue in the defined search area.”

“The Australian Government will continue to work to keep the next of kin of passengers and crew informed of developments as they happen.”

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Appendix

Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, August 2, 2015, Statement

Below is the Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, August 2, 2015, statement officially identifying the flaperon found on La Réunion Island on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 as that of a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.

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MH370 Wing Wreckage 3

UPDATE: Sunday, August 2, 2015, Malaysia Confirms Wreckage Found on La Réunion is a Boeing 777-200ER; Tuesday, August 4, 2015, via NBC News, Wall Street Journal.

Debris now believe to be part of the only large airliner of its kind lost in oceanic waters since 1948 washed up Wednesday, July 29, 2015 on the French island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar, a volcanic island of 850,000 people. The wreckage is almost certainly part of a Boeing 777-200ER, a Malaysian official and aviation experts now have confirmed.

MH370 is believed to be the only Boeing 777 to have crashed south of the equator since the jet came into service 20 years ago.

In the past several years only three such Boeing Triple Sevens have been in an aircraft crash, including Asiana flight 214 in San Francisco back in 2013, where three fatalities occurred, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, where 298 passengers and Malaysia Airlines crew were killed.

And now this Boeing 777 wreckage surfacing, which has potentially created the biggest breakthrough in the search for flight MH370, missing since March 8, 2014, where 239 passengers and Malaysia Airlines crew have been officially declared as lives lost from an accident by the Malaysian flag carrier back in January 2015. National carrier Malaysia Airlines was operating a Boeing 777 on the ill-fated flight, which vanished from air traffic control and military radar early morning on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, igniting these past seventeen months the most baffling mystery in aviation history.

liow tiong lai mca

It looks like part of a Boeing 777 … if the flaperon is of MH370, it is in line with the current movement in the Indian Ocean.” – Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (shown above)

Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai pleas on Sunday, August 2 for more caution in speculating about the finding of aircraft wreckage on La Réunion island near Madagascar last week on Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

Malaysian investigators are expected in La Réunion island Sunday for closed-door meetings on all day Monday to discuss the flaperon, identified by aviation experts as part of the right composite wing of a Boeing 777-200ER, which has been sent to a French military laboratory near Toulouse for checks, French police sources said. This laboratory is the same one that conducted the extensive analysis of Air France flight AF447 wreckage and debris recovered from the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil back in 2009.

Tiong Lai said Malaysian authorities await confirmation to officially identify the wreckage as MH370 from the aviation safety investigation in Paris headed by the director of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), working in collaboration with the French aircraft crash investigation agency (BEA).

“We are still awaiting confirmation if the wreckage is of Boeing 777 or MH370. That is yet to be determined.

“Although from this picture, it looks like part of a Boeing 777, this is only seen by the naked eyes. This matter can only be confirmed after thorough investigation,” said Tiong Lai to reporters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang on Sunday, August 1.

He added: “if the wreckage is of MH370, it confirms the theoretical prediction of the currents movement in the Indian Ocean.”

The small French island of La Réunion near Madagascar off the southwestern coast of Africa is roughly 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) east across the southern Indian Ocean from western Australia at Perth, where the primary search efforts have been ongoing by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Australian Joint Agency Coordinating Center. Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this week currents could have carried wreckage very far from western Australian oceanic waters east to southern African oceanic waters.

mh370 debris search map

Photo Credit: CBS News / NASA / Australia Maritime Safety Authority

“If the flaperon is of MH370, it is in line with the current movement in the Indian Ocean. As we can see, the ocean current movement will show pattern of flows. But we do not want to speculate and wait confirmation from the French authorities,” said Tiong Lai.

On Friday, AFP reported that Deputy Transport Minister, Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi had confirmed that the object found on La Réunion Island was of a Boeing 777-200ER.

In the meantime, Australia’s deputy prime minister said on Monday, August 3, 2015, “the country still plans to end the hunt for the missing aircraft after the current 46,000-square-mile search zone has been covered, unless the wing part found in La Réunion yields hard clues that alter the current thinking on the fate of Flight 370,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

French Directeur_BEA Jean Paul Troadec

Aircraft Forensics of a Boeing 777-200ER Flaperon

According to the Wall Street Journal: The United States National Transportation Safety Board said “it dispatched one of its experts to France to help with the analysis of the part” at a military laboratory near Toulouse, scheduled to begin Wednesday, August 5, 2015.

“Boeing Company representatives also are expected to be at the lab Wednesday, according to industry officials. The company hasn’t confirmed whether it believes the part in question came from Flight 370. But Boeing officials helped Malaysia in its initial determination, based on photographic evidence, that the part came from a Boeing 777,” Malaysian officials said.

Meanwhile, Jean Paul Troadec — former head of the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA), France’s counterpart to the National Transportation Safety Board — who led the BEA during the investigation into the crash of Air France Flight 447 —said on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, experts will try to determine three things.

“If there is a reference number on the debris, a correlation can be made immediately,” Troadec explained to NBC News. He added “experts also will be looking at the length of time the fragment has been in the ocean.”

“The seashells or barnacles will play an important role in determining how long this piece of plane has been submerged underwater,” Troadec said. “Seashells grow at a certain rhythm and depending on their size can tell investigators if they have been breeding 12 months or 2 years.”

“The investigators in France would also be on the lookout for other organisms such as tube worms, coralline red algae or shellfish that could also provide clues,” according to The Associated Press.

Troadec said investigators also will be studying the debris to figure out how it broke apart from its aircraft.

French military aviation lab in Toulouse, where it will be examined, “possesses very sophisticated electronic microscopes that can help experts determine whether the piece broke off because of an explosion, a fire or on impact of something,” Troadec explained. That process, he added, could take weeks.

“No plane could continue to fly without this piece,” Troadec said.

Appearing below on Fox News Happening Now on Friday, July 31, 2015, I explain the “aircraft forensics” linking the flaperon debris to MH370, which was found on July 29 on the French island of La Réunion, in full concurrence with the above statements of Jean Paul Troadec — former head of France’s Bureau of Investigation and Analysis.

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Oliver McGee: MH370 "Aircraft Forensics" of Reunion Debris, Fox News

Below is the Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, August 2, 2015, statement officially identifying the flaperon found on La Réunion Island on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 as that of a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.

mot1

mot2

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Wreckage of an airplane flaperon of the right composite wing likely that of Malaysia Airlines MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER was found on the island of La Réunion in the southern Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar. 

The debris was found off the coast of St. Andre, a community on the island, according to Adjutant Christian Retournat. “It is way too soon to say whether or not it is MH370. We just found the debris this morning,” Retournat said.

However, breaking moments ago on Associated Press confirms U.S. and French air safety investigators — including a Boeing air safety investigator — have “a high-degree of confidence” that online media photos of aircraft debris found in the southern Indian Ocean near La Réunion island is a component known as “a ‘flaperon‘ from the trailing edge of a Boeing 777 right composite wing, the same model as the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared last year.”

Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak, has confirmed that the debris found on La Réunion is “very likely” to be from a Boeing 777, but it is still too early to speculate whether it is from MH370, The Guardian (U.K.) reports.

In a statement he said the debris will be taken to the French city of Toulouse for examination by civil aviation investigators.

He also promised relatives of passengers that Malaysia will not give up searching for the plane.

Here’s Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak’s statement:

Initial reports suggest that the debris is very likely to be from a Boeing 777, but we need to verify whether it is from flight MH370. At this stage it is too early to speculate.

To find out as fast as possible, the debris will be shipped by French authorities to Toulouse, site of the nearest office of the BEA, the French authority responsible for civil aviation accident investigations.

A Malaysian team is on the way to Toulouse now. It includes senior representatives from the Ministry of Transport, the Department of Civil Aviation, the MH370 investigation team, and Malaysia Airlines.

Simultaneously, a second Malaysian team is traveling to where the debris was found on Reunion.

The location is consistent with the drift analysis provided to the Malaysian investigation team, which showed a route from the southern Indian Ocean to Africa.

As soon as we have more information or any verification we will make it public. We have had many false alarms before, but for the sake of the families who have lost loved ones, and suffered such heartbreaking uncertainty, I pray that we will find out the truth so that they may have closure and peace.

I promise the families of those lost that whatever happens, we will not give up.”

Xavier Tytelman, a French former military pilot and aviation security expert, was contacted on Wednesday morning by a man on La Réunion Island, near Madagascar, who found the flaperon wreckage of the Boeing 777-200ER’s right composite wing, according to The Telegraph (U.K.). Tytelman believes it could be from MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER, Registration Number 9M-MRO, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, when it suddenly and mysteriously vanished from radar early morning on March 8, 2014. now missing for nearly a year and a half (or about 17 months).

“If it is from a jetliner,” it could be a flap and not a wing, according to Jon Ostrower, reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Ostrower, who covers Boeing and related aerospace stories, says the missing Boeing 777-200ER airliner, flown as Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, on the early morning hours of March 8, 2014, before suddenly vanishing from air traffic control and military radar, “has a single-piece outboard and a two-piece inboard flap system.”

“We all think it is likely that the wing is that of a Boeing 777 – the same plane as MH370,” Tytelman said to The Telegraph (U.K.).

Writing on his blog, Tytelman said that the photos of the aircraft right flaperon wing wreckage have raised a huge amount of discussion over a code part of the wreckage, 657BB and 657AT (inboard), 657DB, 657EB, 657CT (outboard), (according to the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft maintenance manual), amongst aviation pilots on an online forum website, AvGeek.

“The code is not that of a plane number plate, nor a serial number on machinery,” Tytelman wrote.

He added: “But if the flaperon does indeed belong to MH370, it’s clear that the reference will be swiftly identified. In a few days, we will have a definitive answer.”

Here’s the 260-page manual showing the parts serial numbers to the numerous parts of the Boeing 777, via The Guardian (U.K.) running timeline. It includes this diagram of a flaperon of a Boeing 777-200ER right composite wing with the part numbers, 657BB and 657AT (inboard), 657DB, 657EB, 657CT (outboard), said to have been seen on the debris washed up on La Réunion island. Boeing officials now have a high-degree of confidence that the composite wing wreckage is a Boeing 777, because of this part number confirmation with their aircraft maintenance manual.

Photo Credit: Boeing manual photograph

“The extensive barnacles collected on the plane debris may indicate that it had been in the ocean for a significant period of time,” according to India Today.

The discovery was made by employees of a company responsible for cleaning the shoreline of the island, India Today reported. 

La Réunion, a volcanic French island with a population of nearly 850,000, is about 39 miles long and 28 miles wide. It is located about 500 miles east of Madagascar.

Speculation on the cause of flight MH370’s disappearance has been surrounded primarily on a “possible mechanical or structural failure, a hijacking or terror plot, or rogue pilot action, as scientists say it is plausible that ocean currents carried a piece of the wreckage as far as La Réunion,” AFP reports.

The Daily Mirror has an excellent map that depicts several theories as to the whereabouts of flight MH370 after it disappeared from radar.

The airliner flap wing wreckage is roughly 3,800 miles south from where MH370 was last spotted, off the southern tip of Vietnam. Here, according to The Daily Mirror map, “military radar detects what could be the airliner heading towards the Andaman Islands.”

However, the wreckage discovered off the island of La Réunion assumes a “maximum Breguet range of flight MH370 on available fuel,” as seen on The Daily Mirror map.

According to oceanic scientists’ drift analyses, prevailing hurricane-like currents inside the Indian Ocean remarkably could have conceivably carried the airliner right composite wing wreckage, or more specifically, the ‘flaperon‘ from the trailing edge of a Boeing 777-200ER’s right composite wing thousands of miles from the priority search area, off the western coast of Australia, east to Réunion island, off the coast of Madagascar and the southern African continent.

Since 1948, only three of some 80 other aircraft lost have been found after extensive searches – Eastern Airlines Flight 980, lost January 1, 1985 and found in 2006; Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, lost October 13, 1972 and found 72 days later; and Air France Flight AF447, lost June 1, 2009 and found June 1, 2009 and found May 2011.  

“MH370 was one of only three Boeing 777s to have been involved in major incidents, along with the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine last year and the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco airport in 2013 that left three dead,” French news service AFP reports.

Given there have been no other Boeing 777 airliners reported to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean since 1948, one might surmise with a high-degree of certainty that this is indeed debris from flight MH370 lost on March 8, 2014.

Disappearances of Large Airliners Since 1948

Photo Credit: Bloomberg Visual Data

“At flight MH370’s last tracked position, the airliner was traveling at 539 miles per hour. At that speed it could have flown a Breguet range of just over 4,000 miles.”

This range is where the priority search area for MH370 wreckage had focused, which is currently off the western coast of Australia at Perth. An international team of experts used British firm Inmarsat satellite data to determine that flight MH370 crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

Below Photo Credit: Graphic News, Australian Maritime Safety Authority, via The Telegraph (U.K.)

“According to the official account of MH370’s final hours, the missing plane probably did make a sharp left turn to fly west … soon after it lost radio contact with air traffic controllers … MH370 then flew south before running out of fuel and crashing into the ocean about 1,000 miles off the Australian coast, according to an analysis based on satellite tracking data,” as reported in The Week (U.K.).

Photo Credit: Missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration Number 9M-MRO

MH370 Search Continues Now That Wreckage Has Been Found.

Two vessels, Fugro Discovery and Fugro Equator, are continuing their extensive search operations, covering nearly a 75,000 square mile priority search area inside the southern Indian Ocean. Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) is supervising the massive search for MH370 in this western region of the Indian Ocean, along with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). According to the JACC and ATSB in their latest update last week, over 21,000 square miles of the 46,332 square miles of search area have been scoured.

Flight 370 departed from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for Beijing, China early on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board. A search over tens of thousands of square miles of ocean in a number of different regions, failed to turn up a single trace of the jet.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 “will be found in the next year,” Martin Dolan, ATSB chief commissioner said to reporters last week on Thursday, July 23, 2015. He said a week later on Thursday, July 30, the finding in La Réunion “doesn’t rule out our current search area over 4,000 kilometers (or 2,500 miles) from La Réunion, and the discovery did not mean other parts would start washing up on La Réunion.” 

“Over the last 16 or 17 months, any floating debris would have dispersed quite markedly across the Indian Ocean,” Dolan added.

According to International Business Times, “an unprecedented international search for the plane has crossed 500 days, but has so far yielded no concrete clues as to the whereabouts of the jet.”

“Once we started looking and defining the search area, it became quite clear it could take up to two years,” Dolan said, according to U.K.’s Daily Express. “We still remain confident it will be found in the next year.

The Associated Press reports, “a comprehensive report earlier this year into the plane’s disappearance revealed that the battery of the locator beacon for the plane’s flight data recorder had expired more than a year before the jet vanished. However, the report said the battery in the locator beacon of the cockpit voice recorder was working.”

“Investigators hope that if they can locate the two recorders they can get to the bottom of what has become one of aviation’s biggest mysteries. The unsuccessful search for Flight 370 has raised concern worldwide about whether airliners should be required to transmit their locations continually via satellite, especially when flying long distances over the ocean.”

Discussing on Thursday evening’s Sky News Tonight, I’ve called for limited flight-data streamlining literally putting the “black-box in the cloud” and for looking further into these four grand-challenge technologies for the future of international aviation safety and security: (1) The Cloud, (2) Big Data, (3) Advanced Wireless Communications, and (4) Social Media (especially for aviation crisis management, not only for providing accurate information for grieving families and loved ones, but also for government officials and airline executive in handling aviation disaster recovery).

The Boeing 777-200ER flaperon wreckage that washed up on La Réunion island in the southern Indian Ocean arrived for analysis at a French laboratory Saturday, according to one AFP journalist, as Malaysian authorities are certain the part came from missing flight MH370.

“Transported in a convoy of vehicles under police escort, the wing part from a Boeing 777 arrived at about 5:30 pm (1530 GMT) at the defense ministry laboratory specializing in plane crash investigations near Toulouse in southwestern France.” AFP reports. Malaysian and French experts will begin their analysis of the part on Wednesday, August 5, 2015.  

AFP adds: “The lab near Toulouse, which specializes in plane crash investigations, also studied 650 pieces of debris from the Air France 447 flight that went down in the South Atlantic in June 2009 while traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, killing 228.”

“Four Malaysian officials including the head of civil aviation are in Paris together with officials from Malaysia Airlines for a meeting on Monday, August 3, 2015 with three French magistrates and an official from France’s civil aviation investigating authority BEA.”

“I believe that we are moving closer to solving the mystery of MH370. This could be the convincing evidence that MH370 went down in the Indian Ocean,” Malaysia’s deputy transport minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi told AFP. He added: “photographs showing the flaperon bearing the part number “657BB” proved it was from a Boeing 777.”

MH370 Wing Wreckage 4

Aircraft Forensics of a Boeing 777-200ER Flaperon

Boeing said in a statement Friday that it would send a technical team to France to study the plane part.

French AFP news service also warned that “one small piece of plane debris is unlikely to completely clear up one of aviation’s greatest puzzles.”

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said while the part “could be a very important piece of evidence”, using reverse modeling to determine more precisely where the debris may have drifted from was “almost impossible”.

Well, be that as it may, I discuss on Sky News Tonight on Thursday, July 30 and Fox News Happening Now on Friday, July 31 what I call “aircraft forensics,” which is now being conducted linking the wreckage finding in La Réunion to MH370. Careful analysis of the barnical-covered Boeing 777-200ER composite flaperon wreckage found on La Réunion may tell a story of what happen during the last moments of flight MH370, answering several open questions:

  1. Was it a fast impact or a slow impact into the Indian Ocean?
  2. What angle did the flaperon break off from the composite right wing?
  3. What can be seen under a microscope about the composite material and metallurgical science and forensics of the Boeing 777-200ER airliner during the final moments of the crash into the Indian Ocean?
  4. Are their any traces of a fire or explosion that can be gleamed from the flaperon wreckage found on Réunion island?
  5. Do the barnicals on the flaperon wreckage provide any clues as to what portion of the southern Indian Ocean did MH370 crash?
  6. Will microscopic analysis of these barnicals by oceanic scientist reveal any clues about the trace forensics of a path to the final resting place of the Boeing 777-200ER’s hull on the Indian Ocean floor? 

There is a very fine science of aircraft forensics from just a small piece of a flaperon that holds many clues to the whereabouts of MH370 and to the final moments of this mysterious Boeing 777-200ER airliner crash – historically the only one lost since 1948.

“Accident investigators may be one step closer to solving one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries. They are facing pressure to confirm whether a piece of aircraft debris found on a remote island in the Indian Ocean belongs to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. But establishing a link with the lost Boeing jetliner would only be a first step. Experts would then try to gain information about the last moments of the flight and attempt to reconstruct how and where the airplane went down. When investigators start analyzing the debris, Malaysian officials are expected to participate, and the U.S. safety board is likely to have someone in the laboratory as an observer,” Gerald Baker, Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief writes on LinkedIn Pulse.

mh370_ascent

Photo Credit: Missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration Number 9M-MRO

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Officially Declared An Accident

The Malaysian government has officially declared the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident and all of its passengers and crew presumed dead.

Officially, this cleared the way for Malaysia Airlines to pay compensation to victims’ relatives, while the search for the massive Boeing 777-200ER airliner continues, reports Reuters.

“We officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident … and that all 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives,” Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said in a statement.

“The announcement is in accordance with standards of annexes 12 and 13 of the International Civil Aviation Organization,” said the Malaysian DCA director-general. “It will allow families of the passengers to obtain assistance through compensation,” he said.

Malaysia Airlines, as the national flag-carrier, reached an “out-of-court” settlement of the first legal claim by the family of a gentleman, who was a passenger on flight MH370, a lawyer handling the claim said to the French press service, AFP, on Tuesday, June 2, 2015.

In October 2014, Mr. Hang’s family brought a lawsuit, benefitting his two living sons, aged 11 and 14 when the lawsuit was filed, against Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government, including its Department of Civil Aviation and Department of Immigration, and the Royal Malaysia Air Force Chief, agencies altogether involved in investigating the missing MH370 flight. The premise of the plaintiff’s lawsuit argued “for negligence and breach of contract,” against the air carrier, as it “failed to bring its passengers to its destination,” according to AFP.

“The court was informed that all the parties in the suit had come to an amicable settlement,” Gary Edward Chong, a lawyer for Mr Hang’s family told AFP, of which “terms of the settlement could not be disclosed.”

UPDATE on Monday, June 1, 2015: Malaysia Airlines “technically bankrupt”, via BBC News, ABC News

Coming out of nearly a year and a half long dual crisis of the MH370 aviation tragedy on March 8, 2014 and the MH17 aviation disaster on July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines is now “technically bankrupt”, the newly appointed chief executive of the flag-carrier, Christoph Mueller, told reporters in his first news conference on Monday, June 1, 2015, adding the air carrier’s decline “started long before the tragic events of 2014,” as he announced a restructuring program and plans to cut about 6,000 jobs.

“Analysts have long blamed the airline’s failure to compete on poor management, unwise business decisions, government meddling, and unfavorable service and supplier contracts stemming from Malaysia’s crony capitalism,” according to ABC News.

Mueller did not say whether any rebranding of the flag-carrier would involve a change in name, logo or other alterations, or whether costly long-haul flights to Europe (excluding the air carrier’s flagship London flights) would be either eliminated or reduced in frequency of departures or “size of aircraft on those routes.”

The flag-carrier’s restructuring program and plans for building cash flows and increasing profitability will invoke various tools of alternative contracting, such as joint ventures, strategic alliances, and partnerships.

“The blueprint called for the renegotiating or resetting of major contracts, and a major revitalization of technology, training, and business operations,” ABC News reports.

Christoph Mueller, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysian Airline System Berhad (MAS), Photo Credit: Malaysia Airlines

“Mr Mueller warned in May a major overhaul was necessary as the airline was weighed down by “uncompetitive cost levels” that he said were 20 per cent higher than its rivals,” according to ABC News.

The Malaysian national air carrier said in a statement its immediate priority was to “stop the bleeding” in 2015, then to stabilize next year and start growing again by 2017.

Photo Credit: Missing MH370 Boeing 777-200ER, Registration Number 9M-MRO

Malaysia Airlines is tapping off a year-long US$1.8 billion restructuring, including new company name change, flight route cuts, senior management reorganization, and fleet assets liquidation, by slashing “6,000 out of 20,000 staff, though reports are now suggesting the figure could be closer to 8,000,” CNN Money and Time confirms.

The workforce transition of the Southeast Asia flag-carrier will be managed by a newly-appointed senior administrator. According to an official statement released on Monday, May 25, 2015, “the appointment by Khazanah, Malaysia’s sovereign fund and the sole shareholder of Malaysian Airline System Berhad (MAS), is backed by the Malaysian Airline System Berhad (Administration) Act 2015 (MAS Act) enacted by the Government of Malaysia. Under the MAS Act, the Administrator plays a critical role to facilitating the transfer of selected assets and liabilities to Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), which will replace MAS as Malaysia’s new national carrier (by September 1, 2015).” 

“MAS continues to operate throughout the period up to and including August 31, 2015, after which MAB will operate the business of the airline from September 1, 2015 onwards,” the national air carrier’s official statements confirm.

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Appendix

What is a Flaperon?

According to Wikipedia, “a control surface that combines an aileron and flap is called a flaperon.”

“Flaperons are a mix of Flap and Aileron to allow these control surfaces to improve flight efficiency or aerobatic capability,” defines airfieldmodels.com.

A flaperon is a type of aircraft control surface that combines aspects of both flaps and ailerons. In addition to controlling the roll or bank of an aircraft, as do conventional ailerons, both flaperons can be lowered together to function similarly to a dedicated set of flaps,” Wikipedia defines.

Consider these photos taken by Steve Richardson, Aviation Analyst for FlyersPulse.com on a Delta Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, departing from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport on September 9, 2009. You will notice the flaperon on the left composite wing changes positions in the take off sequence depicted below.

First, sitting in your window seat over the left composite wing, when you look out at the wing, you will see the following on the trailing edge from the outside-in:

  1. Aileron (furthest outside along the Boeing 777-200ER left composite wing in the photo below) is extended to act as a flap on take-off. An aileron, also hinged on the trailing edge, is used to roll the aircraft left and right.
  2. Flap (shown next inward in the photos below is deployed for take-off, because the Boeing 777-200ER left composite wing needs extra lifting surface). The flaps keep the aircraft flying at slower speeds, but also increase drag. The flaps are normally raised during flight for efficiency. They are mounted on the trailing edge (the back) of a Boeing 777-200ER wing to allow take off and landing at shorter distances.
  3. Flaperon (encircled in red in the photos below as the small square flap on the Boeing 777-200ER left composite wing, notice how it changes positions in photo sequence).
  4. Double Slotted Flap (closest on the inside in the photos below) is a two-piece flap extending the left composite wing out to its maximum lifting surface for landing sequences of the Boeing 777-200ER airliner. 

Specifically, the photo below shows the flaps (and flaperon) of a Boeing 777-200ER, which is deployed just prior to takeoff.

The Boeing 777-200ER then begins take off roll in the photo below. Notice how the flaperon on the left composite wing changes position.

The Boeing 777-200ER is now airborne with flaps (and flaperon) deployed. Notice how the flaperon on the left composite wing continues to change position.

Flaps (and flaperon) is retracted as the Boeing 777-200ER airliner is prepared for flight cruise. Note that the flaperon serves as an aileron on the left composite wing, because the extra lift on the composite wing during takeoff is not needed during flight cruise.

Now that the Boeing 777-200ER airliner is in flight cruise, the flaperon is deployed as an aileron on the left composite wing. It will be used again as a flap during the final landing sequence of the Boeing 777-200ER airliner. 

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Jul 172015
 

An artful business clinic at Chicago’s Booth School addresses board responsibility in strategic corporate leadership and management. What can be called a “Batts Strategic Board Management” clinic, taught by a corporate director extraordinaire, Warren L. Batts, this exceptional knowledge and learning experience has inspired many (including me) towards a calling in corporate governance, not only at the Booth School, but also at the Wharton School and UCLA Anderson School.

Inside his strategic board management clinic, Batts tosses his “kitchen cabinet” at us filled with an extensive amount of comprehensible concepts of strategic leadership at the highest levels of big business enterprises.

Below we discuss with you a brief taste of three fundamental ideas many have taken away from “Batts Strategic Board Management,” through insights he shared with us from his long-time colleague and friend, The Late John G. Smale, who also outlined eight essential business responsibilities for modern boards to excel in steering global corporations nowadays.

The single most important responsibility of the board is to establish a winning strategy for the corporation.” – Warren L. Batts

Mr. Warren L. Batts, 82, serves as the Chairman of Chicago Children’s Memorial Medical Center. He serves as the Chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Since 2001, he has been a Director of Methode Electronics Inc. (Mr. Batts is shown standing immediately right of the NYSE bell in the above photo of Methode Electronics’ ringing of the NYSE morning bell on Wednesday, October 17, 2014). He served as the Non-Executive Chairman at Methode Electronics Inc., since September 15, 2004 until September 13, 2012.

A member of the Advisory Board at CTPartners Board Consultants, Mr. Batts serves as a Director of Chicago Climate Exchange Inc.

In the past, Mr. Batts headed Mead Corporation from 1978 until 1980 and was chief executive of Premark Corporation from 1986 until 1996. He then led Tupperware Corporation from 1996 until 1997. Batts also served on the boards of Allstate, Sears, Roebuck and Co., Sprint Corporation, British Columbia Forest Products, Temple Inland, and International Minerals and Chemicals.

Mr. Batts is currently an adjunct professor of strategic management at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is a graduate of Georgia Tech and he holds a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Inside the clinic of “Batts Strategic Board Management,” I felt as if I was sitting on the board of directors of a Fortune 50 company, flying at 38,000 feet, while simultaneously pulling all the value levers of strategic leadership – brokerage (creating value),cohesion (delivering value), reputation and trust (transferring value), and partnerships(sustaining value).

I also came away with understanding more fundamentally what constitutes a “great firm,” a term purposefully and deliberately used in the title of this piece. To briefly flush out why, probably what is appropriate at this point is a metaphorical sidebar illustration of the facts of such a “great firm.”

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Supreme Governor of The Church of England, and the Royal Legacy of the House of Windsor, is an institution of strategic leadership by right or privilege exclusive to The Royal Prerogative, but not of personage. For Her Majesty is a “great firm” of asset-richness in value, yet comparably limited in her cash spending on the endowment of her inherited Crown Estate.

The Queen in securing Her Royal Prerogative is given an annual allowance by her government amounting to nearly US$60 million plus US$20 million in private income from commercial rents. In 2014, she nearly over-spent her cash to a tune of US$75 million, nearly placing a slight deficit against her annual cash reserves of the firm.

Photo Credit: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge (shown left), and her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh (shown right), and her son Prince Charles of Wales, known alternatively in Scotland as Duke of Rothesay and in South West England as Duke of Cornwall (shown just off photo far right), watch a Royal Air Force flypast to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain from a balcony at Buckingham Palace, in London, Friday, July 10, 2015. On July 10, 1940, during World War II, the Battle of Britain began as the Luftwaffe started attacking southern England. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

According to financial experts, Her Majesty’s allowance comes from the Crown Estate, which holds property assets valued at over US$12 billion on behalf of the Monarch. These firm assets produce annually about US$428 million in earnings.

(One of the oldest trusts in America, Harvard University, in contrast to The Crown Estate, as a great firm, has invested holdings in 2014 valued at US$42.8 billion).

Note that The Queen does not own the firm assets (including the Royal Art Collection, the Crown Jewels, and the Palaces, such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle), which altogether constitutes one of the largest property portfolios in the United Kingdom.

Rather, all of the asset holdings are held in trust for the reigning monarch, which is a “great firm” of tradition, reputation and trust, serving as a going concern since 1066. Continuing this ten century tradition of The Royal Prerogative, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II gets about 15 percent of the firm’s value as a beneficiary of The Crown Estate Trust.

An essential takeaway fully appreciated now in this tradition of the “great firm” is modern boards of great corporations (and their associated philanthropic charitable trusts, working in partnership for their beneficiaries) must focus on strategic integration simultaneously across two fronts: maximizing value to shareholders (the property owners), while at the same time, paying attention to the values of stakeholders (the keepers of the firm’s reputation and trust and its transferrable value through the corporation’s employees, customers, suppliers, and the communities where the company operates).

This focus on strategic integration of firm interests has become especially acute in the age of demography shift and heightened engagement of stakeholders and increased activism of shareholders.

There is one axiom that will remain true regardless of how fast the marketplace, technology and society itself may change. That axiom is that people, not physical assets, are any organization’s most valuable resource.” – John G. Smale, former Chairman of the Board of Directors, General Motors Corporation, October 21, 1993, also former member of the Board of Directors of Eastman Kodak, J.P. Morgan, and Procter & Gamble.

The Late John G. Smale, 84, “as chief executive led Procter & Gamble through a period of extraordinary growth, and then helped engineer a turnaround of General Motors as its chairman,” according to the New York Times.

Mr. Smale, the national newspaper wrote upon his passing, “ran Procter & Gamble from 1981 until 1990. During his tenure the company strengthened its position internationally, pushing aggressively into Eastern Europe and Asia. He also oversaw a series of major acquisitions, including the US$1.2 billion purchase of Richardson-Vicks in 1985. The largest deal in Procter & Gamble’s history at the time, it brought the company well-known brands, including Vicks cold medicine, Olay skin care products and Pantene shampoo.”

A 1949 graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Mr. Smale started out his career expertise in brand management in 1952, managing Procter & Gamble’s new Cresttoothpaste brand. He eventually garnered a first-of-its-kind, prestigious and extremely lucrative in value transferred, American Dental Association endorsement of the toothpaste brand.

Rising up through the internal ranks of Procter & Gamble for nearly three decades, and eventually reaching his nine-year legacy, as chief executive through the “seven fat years” of the 1980’s, Mr. Smale oversaw a doubling of Procter & Gamble’s overall revenue to over US$24 billion with earnings to US$1.6 billion. In 1982, he was named to the board of directors of General Motors, eventually becoming the automobile manufacturer’s chairman in 1992.

Mr. Batts shared with us extremely valuable insights Mr. Smale gave to his audience at the Commonwealth and Commercial Clubs of Cincinnati, Ohio on October 21, 1993, in which Smale suggested the roots of failure of all organizations, including businesses, governments, nations, civilizations and societies, exists years before the result.

Mr. Smale said, “there are very few “Acts of God” behind these failures. The fault is not in the stars, it is in ourselves.”

Poignantly, Smale offered his practical view of industry leadership held by a firm along three threads: intellectual, capability, and results.

1. Intellectual Leadership

When a firm is an intellectual leader, it establishes the pace of innovation across the industry, be it establishing new untapped gaps in the market and/or creating new products that consumers can experience.

What first comes to mind here is the technology juggernaut, Apple, in which Steve Jobs has completely shifted how millennial consumers quickly experience and adopt a firm’s innovative products.

Procter & Gamble did the same in innovating brands in the consumer products industry in the 1930s; Alfred Sloan did the same in shifting consumer behavior for the auto industry in the 1950s; George Eastman did the same in shaping family experiences for the camera industry in the 1960s; Thomas Watson did the same in defining what it means to have high performance computing inside key punched IBM computers in the 1970s; Bill Gates did the same teaming up with IBM to produce revolutionized computer software for the banking industry in the 1990s.

Altogether, these mega-firms in their unique times, considered the trends but jumped at addressing the risks and uncertainties, to radically created a new paradigm and vision of their products in the marketplace. They also specifically addressed how a diverse group of consumers desire to engage their innovative products. This intellectual leadership and strategic vision forced established industry leaders to rethink how they were doing their businesses, and thus, leaving these industrial rivals with only two choices: “to either adapt or give up their leadership.”

In the final analysis of whose in front of the industry, an intellectual leader is aknowledge leader and an innovative leader.

2. Capability Leadership

Next, a firm being as a capability leader of an industry is all about doing things right to the best of their ability, as opposed to doing the right things, aligned to the vision of the intellectual leader of the industry.

Here, the capability leader of the industry “develops an edge in product design, manufacturing or marketing … an edge that becomes the standard by which all competitors are measured,” defined Smale. He further suggested the industry’s capability firm is the one you use, when you are benchmarking your own firm’s capabilities.

When Sears, Roebuck and Company shifted from its 1940s catalogs to its 1960s super mall retailing, they re-invented how retailers benchmark themselves on consumer shopping during the peak holiday season. Eventually, the “Softer Side of Sears” campaign in the 1990s refocused industry upscale specialty stores, deep-discounters, and “everyday low prices” retailing.

Complacency of the 1990s Sears campaign, ultimately, radically shifted the industry further up the supply chain to “absolutely the lowest prices always” of WalMart (and Meijer in the Cornbelt Midwest). The super inventory management approach of WalMart’s warehouses in shopping primarily shifted the retail industry towards the desires of millennial consumers living in the rural suburban “edge” cities.

Now, downtowns are no longer consumer shopping experiences of the huge department stores (Chicago’s Marshall Fields, Columbus’ Lazarus, Cincinnati’sShillito’s, Little Rock’s Dillard’s, Cincinnati’s H&S Pogue’s, New York’s Gimble’s, to name a few now gone by the wayside).

This fundamental quote on strategic leadership and management by an ‘American Salesman in London,’ a century ago, just about sums it all up about what this capability leader possessed in establishing the global retailer, London’s Selfridge

A boss says ‘Go!’ A leader says ‘Let’s Go!’ ” – Harry Gordon Selfridge (1909)

What was before Henry Ford’s mass production and “factory physics” operational capabilities in the 1930s, an automobile manufacturer being a capability leader nowadays is doing things right, differently. Such an auto firm capability leader has now shifted to lean manufacturing processes of “smart cars” leveraging information, touch computers, and advanced communications technologies, as the primal basis of automobile industry competition in the millennial age.

Have you been inside a General Motors Buick lately? It looks and feels like a BMW or Mercedes, but at half the price.

In the end, a capable leader is an able leader and the most competitive one in front of the industry.

3. Results Leadership

Finally, a firm being a results leader of an industry focus on “the art of putting all elements of vision and capability together to produce superior results on the bottom line in market share, profitability, cash flow, and return on investment,” counseled Smale.

He adds: “It is the most visible aspect of leadership and probably the most tangibly rewarding.”

Results leadership encompasses three perspectives:

  • Hindsight – Respect all aspects of the organizational mission and its history by motivating, acknowledging, and honoring the people that have shaped the results of the organization.
  • Oversight – Show the pathways for the organization to achieve its results goals and objectives through enrolling others using sound executive judgment.
  • Foresight – Craft a vision for a promising future of the organization’s mission that clearly establishes what’s possible as superior results.

‘Bridging the Trust Gap’ starts with ‘The End in Mind.’ That is, Being in the future of possibilities. Doing what enrolls others. Saying whatever acknowledges good results.”

Most of all, a results leader is the most visible leader shaping the future status and sustainability of the industry.

Role of the Board of Directors in Ensuring Industry Leadership

Smale believed, “the Board of Directors bears a unique responsibility and must play a unique role in trying to ensure that the company’s management and its culture are able to anticipate and adapt to change.”

A highly excelled board is where the buck stops on executive judgment, acting in empathy as “an independent auditor of management’s progress, and asking the tough questions that management might not ask itself.” And finally, adhering to an excelling board’s duty of service in care, trust, and loyalty, plus most of all, the board’s duty of independence.

Smale’s own view of the responsibility of a board is “to represent the owners’ interest in the successful perpetuation of the business.”

Competitively advantaged companies create a culture of competency by the nature of the board’s strategic questions and request for information from its strategic management, as the board monitors and oversees management’s responsibilities. Yet, the board stands apart from management’s daily engagement of the successful perpetuation of the corporation as a going concern.

Several principle procedures allow corporate directors to function in order to ensure the integrated intellectual, capability, and results leadership of the firm across their industry.

Smale outlined eight essential business responsibilities for modern boards to excel in steering global corporations nowadays.

  1. There clearly should be a majority of outside directors, and as a general safeguard, the Chairman and CEO should not be the same director.
  2. The independent directors should select a lead director, so the board of directors don’t move later than they should, and to help move up the timetable of board intervention when required.
  3. The independent directors should meet alone in executive session on a regularly scheduled basis … at least twice a year. Such meetings should be perceived as part of the board of director’s normal procedure in meeting its responsibilities, not as extraordinary or threatening events.
  4. The independent directors should take responsibility for all board procedures, create its own operating policies and committee structure, and review its own performance.
  5. The board of directors should have the basic responsibility of its own constituency, meaning selection of its own members based on the evaluation of the skills and characteristics required by the board at the time.
  6. The board of directors should conduct in executive session regularly scheduled reviews of the performance of the CEO and the key executives of the company, examining performance of the business, accomplishment of long-term strategic business objectives, development of management, just to name a few objective criteria.
  7. The board of directors must understand and fully endorse the company’s long-term strategies, as an independent business judgment of the soundness of the company’s strategy for the future.
  8. The board of directors must ensure that it spends an adequate amount of time and attention on its most important single responsibility: the selection of the CEO, where “proper fit” towards achieving the company’s strategy for the future is key.

As Aristotle said more than two millenniums ago, “Whom the gods want to destroy, they send forty years of success.” –– The challenge for the great companies that are the backbone of America’s competitiveness in today’s interdependent world is to escape that fate.” – John G. Smale

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Jul 042015
 

Transasia AT72 Plane Crashing 5

TransAsia flight GE235 pilot mistakenly switched off the airliner’s only working engine moments before crashing in February, killing 43 people, says officially the Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council in its latest report released Thursday, July 2, 2015.

Photo Credit: Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council, TVBS TAIWAN / Agence France-Presse (AFP) / Getty Images. Final moments showing idle right-side Pratt & Whitney turboprop engine before the pilot error-induced left-side engine shut-off of TransAsia Airways flight GE235 Regional ATR 72-212A airliner, which had 58 passengers and crew on board, subsequently clipping a bridge and hitting a taxicab before crashing into the Keelung River in Taipei on February 4, 2015. Fifteen people survived.

Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council’s (ASC), Factual Data Collection Group Report, which neither assigns responsibility, nor suggests recommendations, showed that Captain Liao Jian-zong was operating GE235’s Regional ATR 72-212A airliner at the time of the crash.

According to Reuters, Captain Liao Jian-zong had “failed simulator training in May 2014, in part because he had insufficient knowledge of how to deal with an engine flameout on take-off.”

Taiwanese air transport crash investigators state in the report that the right-side Pratt and Whitney turboprop engine went idle on TransAsia Airways flight GE235, only 37 seconds after taking off from nearby Taipei International Airport. After this right-side turboprop engine malfunctioned, the flight data recorder revealed, “fuel to the only functioning turboprop engine on the left-side was manually cut off.” This critical finding was also discovered in a The Wall Street Journal report back in February 2015.

What was the circumstances of Flight GE235’s turboprop engine flameout?

A turboprop engine flameout is “a run-down of a jet engine caused by the extinction of the flame in the combustion chamber. It can be caused by fuel starvation, compressor stall, insufficient oxygen (at high altitudes), foreign object damage (such as caused by birds, hail or volcanic ash), severe inclement weather, mechanical failure and very cold ambient temperatures,” according to Wikipedia.

For quick reference by laypersons, offered by the Aircraft Performance Toolkit for Air Traffic Controllers, by definition, “a turboprop engine propels the aircraft using a propeller, as well as, an air jet. The air jet is produced in the same manner as the jet of the turbofan. The main driving force comes from the propeller. The turbine in the engine extracts more energy compared to a jet because it must power the propeller as well as the compressor.”

“The amount of propeller thrust varies up to 90% of the total thrust depending on type. The air, compressed and burnt with injected fuel, is discharged through a turbine transmitting its energy to the compressor and via a gearbox to the propeller.”

“The turboprop uses a gas turbine (jet engine) to turn a propeller. There are two main parts to a turboprop propulsion system, the jet engine and the propeller. The jet engine found in turboprops is very similar to a jet engine, except that instead of expanding all the hot exhaust gases through the nozzle to produce thrust, most of the energy of the exhaust gases is used to turn the turbine.”

Data from the flight and cockpit recordings discussed in detail inside the latest Taiwanese ASC factual data report confirms that the pilot indeed in error cut-off fuel to the left-side Pratt and Whitney turboprop engine that would normally keep the airliner flying, and not in the stall mode before crashing as shown below.

Photo Credit: TVBS Taiwan, via AFP — Getty Images

By now all the world has seen the stunning photo and YouTube video, showing a TransAsia Airways plane clipping a road before crashing near Taipei, Taiwan in February.

Video Thumbnail
Plane TransAsia crash in Taipei [live camera]

Images taken from video provided by TVBS and flight GE235’s final path trajectory given inside the Taiwanese ASC report shows the French-built ATR 72-212A plane’s final moments in the air captured on car dashboard cameras do not appear to show flames, as it turned sharply with its wings going vertical and clipping a highway bridge, before plunging into the Keelung River in Taipei, according to the island’s official news agency, CNA.

Taiwanese ASC reported that “video surveillance from dash-board cameras of vehicles were helpful to the investigation in addition to surveillance videos from two tall buildings nearby. The videos show the aircraft passed near one of the buildings (without contact), the first contact of the aircraft was with the taxi.”

“Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle,” Captain Liao Jian-zong, 42, was heard to say on voice recordings, flying the aircraft in the left seat inside the “hot cockpit,” as the captain first officer monitoring in the right seat quickly attempted to recover the ATR 72-212A airliner upon the loss of the one remaining left-side turboprop engine seconds before the crash.

Unfortunately, Captain Liao Jian-zong, flying the aircraft in the left seat, reduced the throttle on the only working turboprop engine, the Taiwanese ASC report concludes. Cockpit recordings appear to show that Captain Liao Jian-zong “did not appear to realize his mistake until it was too late,” Reuters identifies from the ASC report.

Liao Jian-zong tried to restart the flamed out turboprop engine before the captain first-officer monitoring this flight in the right seat, shouted: “Impact, impact, brace for impact.”

“Those chilling words were the last heard on the data recordings,” according to the Taiwanese ASC’s factual data investigation report on the TransAsia flight GE235 crash on February 4, 2015.

Earl Chapman, of Canada’s Transportation Safety Bureau, told reporters back in February that the plane’s Pratt & Whitney turboprop engines were known for their reliability.

“This engine type has millions of flight hours behind it with a very good safety record. So, it’s fairly unremarkable in that respect,” he added.

French-built TransAsia Avions de Transport Regional ATR 72-212A, registration B-22816 and Manufacturing Serial Number MSN 1141, performing as TransAsia Airways flight GE235 from Taipei Songshan to Kinmen (a small resort island near the coast of Taiwan) with 53 passengers and 5 TransAsia Airways flight crew on board, departed Songshan’s runway 10, upon which the airliner was involved in an accident, crashing into the nearby Keelung River in Taipei, early Wednesday morning, February 4, 2015 at around 10:45 am (local time).

Photo Credit: Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council

Frantic rescue of fifteen survivors from Keelung River in Taipei.

Rescuers scrambled to pull survivors from the submerged wreckage of the ATR-72-212A twin-engine turboprop aircraft, which went down into the Keeling River shortly after takeoff from the international airport of the Taiwanese capital.

Photo Credit: WALLY SANTANA/ASSOCIATED PRESS. Emergency personnel try to extract passengers from the plane on Wednesday morning, February 4, 2015.

Taiwanese rescuers used a massive crane to hoist the French-built ATR 72-212A plane from the shallow, murky river after survivors were brought to safety on rubber rafts or scrambled to the Keelung River bank on their own.

Photo Credit: Wally Santana / Associated Press. The main fuselage from TransAsia Airways flight GE235 is hoisted away in Taipei on Thursday, February 5, 2015.

One injured person was reportedly found in a park along the river, Taiwan News reported. Wu Jun-Hong, a Taipei Fire Department official coordinating the rescue, said he was not “too optimistic” that more survivors would be found.

Earlier Friday, February 6, 2015, Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration said TransAsia Airways would be grounded for additional new international flight routes for a year. The Southeast Asia regional air carrier had already been grounded from new international flight routes after a crash involving one of its airliners in July 2014 killed 49 people. TransAsia Airways flight GE235 crash extends the grounding period to February 4, 2016, the Taiwanese regulatory agency said.

Photo Credit: JIN LIWANG/ZUMA PRESS. TransAsia Airways flight GE235’s Regional ATR 72-212A airliner black-box was recovered in February and sent to a lab for analysis by Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council.

“Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle.”

The turboprop engine aircraft is now generally believed to have incurred an ‘engine flameout‘ moments before the crash in into the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, according to early preliminary analysis of the flight data recorder and independent air-traffic control voice recordings of the TransAsia Airways ATR 72-212A airliner.

In an attempt to re-start both turboprop engines, Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council believes the pilots may have shut off the plane’s left-side turboprop engine upon encountering a right-side engine malfunction immediately 37 seconds upon becoming airborne at takeoff in Taipei.

Unfortunately, the pilots did not have enough time before the ATR-72-212A airliner crashed into the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan, as air-traffic control lost communication with the plane’s pilots four minutes after takeoff from Taipei’s Songshan Airport.

According to CNN International and The Wall Street Journal reports, supposedly a pilot on a recording of radio conversations between air traffic control and TransAsia Airways flight GE235 says,

“GE235. Mayday, Mayday. Engine flameout.”

The recording released Wednesday, February 4, 2015 was verified by an independent website, which records air traffic control feeds from around the world.

Photo Credit: French-built TransAsia Avions de Transport Regional ATR 72-212A, registration B-22816 and Manufacturing Serial Number MSN 1141

On Thursday, July 2, 2015, the facts of this crash scenario was confirmed, as the Taiwanese ASC report provides this summary of events, as it unfolded early Wednesday morning on February 4, 2015 (all times in local time):

10:51:39 — GE235 began takeoff roll.

10:51:43 — Pilot Monitoring (GE235 Captain serving as First-Officer) called “no ATPCS armed,” and Pilot Flying (GE235 Captain Liao Jian-zong serving as Pilot) replied “ok continue takeoff.” (ATPCS means Automatic Take-off Power Control System)

10:51:51 — Pilot Monitoring called “oh there it is Automatic Take-off Power Control System armed.” The aircraft lifted off and climbed out. Autopilot was engaged after after-takeoff check completed. The aircraft turned right after 1,000 feet.

10:52:38 — After climbing through 1,200 feet master warning sounded. Engine and Warning Display (EWD) showed “ENGINE 2 FLAME OUT AT TAKE OFF” procedures.

10:52:41  Pilot Flying disengaged autopilot while the flight climbing through 1,300 feet.

10:52:43 — Pilot Flying announced “I will pull back engine one throttle” and Pilot Monitoring replied “wait a second cross check.” At this moment ENGINE 1 Power Lever Angle (PLA) record indicated a reduction from 75 degrees to 66 degrees.

10:53:00 — Pilot Monitoring replied “okay engine flameout check” and continued announcing “check up trim yes auto feather yes.”

10:53:06 — Pilot Flying said “pull back number one” and ENGINE 1 Power Lever Angle record showed a reduction to 49 degrees. Meanwhile, Pilot Monitoring said “okay now number two engine flameout confirmed.”

10:53:09 — Pilot Flying replied “okay”; however ENGINE 1 Power Lever Angle remained at 49 degrees. The aircraft reached its highest altitude of 1,630 feet and started to descend at 102 knots.

10:53:13 — Stall warning sounded with stick shakers activated. Pilot Monitoring called “okay push push back.”

10:53:15 — Pilot Flying said “shut” and Pilot Monitoring replied “wait a second throttle throttle.” Between 10:53:13 and 10:53:15, ENGINE 2 Power Lever Angle was advanced to 86 degrees and ENGINE 1 Power Lever Angle was retarded to 34.5 degrees (idle position).

10:53:19 — Pilot Flying said “number one,” followed by “feather shut off.” Meanwhile, Pilot Monitoring said “number feather.” Stall warning revived and stick pusher was in effect until 10:53:27.

10:53:22 — Pilot Monitoring said “okay” and Pilot Flying said “uh number one.”

10:53:24 — ENGINE 1 Condition Lever (CL) was in fuel shut off position. Six seconds later ENGINE 1 propellers were in feather position.

10:53:35 — Pilot Monitoring declared emergency on engine flameout to Songshan tower. Between 10:53:46 and 10:54:04, Pilot Flying attempted to reengaged autopilot twice but failed. The aircraft stalled again during the time.

10:54:05 — Pilot Monitoring said “both sides lost.” Two seconds later Pilot Monitoring said “no, engine flameout we lost both sides.”

10:54:09 — Pilot Flying announced “restart the engine” while the aircraft was at 545 feet with speed 105 knots.

10:54:20 — ENGINE 1 Condition Lever was advanced from fuel shut off position.

10:54:25 — Pilot Monitoring said “cannot restart it,” while the aircraft was at 401 feet with speed 106 knots. ENGINE 1 actual propeller shaft rotational speed corrected for engine temperature (NH1) recorded an increase to 30%.

10:54:27 — Pilot Flying said “wow pulled back the wrong side throttle,” while aircraft was at 309 feet with speed 105 knots.

10:54:34 — “Pull-up” warning issued by Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) sounded. The aircraft was at 83 feet with speed 108 knots.

10:54:35 — At altitude of 55 feet with speed 106 knots, aircraft increased its left bank from 10 degrees to 80 degrees and its left-wing collided with a taxi driving on an elevated expressway at the left bank of Keelung River. The left-wing continued to hit the fence of the expressway as well as a light pole, before it crashed into Keelung River.

Thomas Wang, executive director of the Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council, said in February “preliminary findings from the aircraft’s black boxes showed the right engine sounded an alarm seconds after taking off, moving into idle mode,” The Independent (U.K.) reports.

Remarkably, the British newspaper added:

“Data showed it had not shut down, or “flamed out,” as the pilot told the control tower in his last “mayday” distress call, but went idle with no change in the oil pressure.

Then, 46 seconds later, the left engine was shut down, apparently by one of the pilots, who then attempted a full re-start. The plane crashed into the Keelung River just 72 seconds later.

Their bodies were found in the cockpit still gripping the plane’s joystick with their legs badly broken, investigators said.

A survivor said the plane did “not feel right” from the moment it left the ground.

French aircraft manufacturer ATR has expressed its deepest sympathy to the families, friends and to those affected by the accident.

TransAsia Airways has reached a settlement with the families of seven passengers, and negotiations were underway with the rest, said TransAsia CEO Peter Chen. “Relatives of the victims of the crash were offered over $470,000 in compensation, but many of them rejected it, citing dissatisfaction with the amount and the method of payment,” International Business Times reports.

Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council leads the ongoing investigation to a final report in April 2016. The Taiwanese Council is the official source of all causal information surrounding the crash and safety recommendations for the future.

According to the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization regulations, TransAsia Airways flight GE235’s aircraft manufacturer, ATR of France will advise the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et Analyses (BEA), the safety investigation authority representing the Sovereign State of the aircraft manufacturer. ATR is a joint venture between Airbus and Alenia Aermacchi, a subsidiary of Italian aerospace firm Finmeccanica. 

Photo Credit: Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council

Is flying in Southeast Asia becoming risky?

One of my thousands of followers on Twitter, Kerry Barrett (@Kerry Barrett) poignantly brought to my attention a very relevant question on what non-pilots and air transportation consumers think, when they hear breaking news about an airplane stalling or an ‘engine flameout‘.

And, what does an aircraft stall actually mean to the flying public, as they try to understand the stunning pictures of the TransAsia Airways flight GE235 crash into the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, or the extraordinary final three minutes of the AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia on Sunday, December 28, 2014.

Such extreme events in rapid succession begs the question “is flying in Southeast Asia becoming risky?”

According to USA Today: “It turns out flying in Asia is actually riskier than in any other region but Africa. Why? Regulatory regimes there are less advanced than in the United States and Europe (Japan is considered as safe as the west). Another factor is that international regional airlines, such as TransAsia Airways, tend to use less-experienced pilots than major airlines.”

Nonetheless, the ASC reported that “there were two captains, Captain Liao Jian-zong (42, ATPL, 4,914 hours total, 3,151 hours on ATR-72-500, 250 hours on ATR-72-600) was pilot in command occupying the left-hand seat being pilot flying. Captain B serving as first-officer (45, ATPL, 6,922 hours total, 5,687 hours on ATR-72-500, 795 hours on ATR-72-600) occupied the right-hand seat and was pilot monitoring. A first-officer complemented the crew occupying the observer’s seat, the first officer (63, ATPL, 16,121 hours total, 7,911 hours on MD-80s, 5,306 hours on ATR-72-500) was in conversion training to ATR-72-600 with 8 hours on the aircraft type.” The crew had signed the flight papers, that showed no unusual circumstances.

“It’s not like they’re the wild west, like you might get in some African countries, but they are 10 or 20 years behind,” said Justin Green, a New York aviation lawyer with Kreindler & Kreindler. “If you’ve never heard of the airline that your travel agent is booking you on, you should do some research.”

Photo Credit: French-built TransAsia Avions de Transport Regional ATR 72-212A, registration B-22816 and Manufacturing Serial Number MSN 1141

Aviation expert David Learmount, operation and safety editor at Flight Global, says it is clear from the video footage that TransAsia Airways flight GE235’s French-built ATR 72-212A airliner was ‘fully stalled’.

In a blog post on the possible causes of the crash, Learmont writes:

“An aircraft stalls because it’s flying too slowly to generate sufficient lift from its wings and it starts to fall.

If an aeroplane is flying too slowly in level or descending flight, it is normally because there is insufficient power to keep the aircraft’s speed up. The question for the investigators is why was there insufficient power?

Reports are coming in that the pilots made a Mayday call declaring an engine flameout.

Both propellers were clearly turning, but that does not necessarily mean they were being supplied with sufficient power to fly safely.

If engine power is lost, the un-powered propeller can cause a lot of drag by windmilling, making the aircraft too difficult to handle. Under those circumstances the crew would normally “feather” the propeller to cut the drag.”

Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council on Friday, February 6, 2015 said flight GE235 issued five speed-loss warnings before crashing. This is the essence of the key cause of the crash, mainly because fundamentally non-dimensional engine thrust is a sole function of the turboprop engine flow velocity ratio. This is a ratio of the engine exit flow velocity of the air slipstream far downwind of the turboprop to the engine inlet flow velocity of the air slipstream far upwind of the turboprop.

Closely related to this is the non-dimensional engine thrust power, which is a sole function of the square of the turboprop engine flow velocity ratio. Without engine thrust power coming from either one of TransAsia Airways flight GE235’s French-built ATR 72-212A turboprop engines, aircraft stall is imminent, resulting in the stunning last photos and dash cam videos gone viral online and widely seen on international broadcast media.

Photo Credit: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES. The front section of the wreckage of the TransAsia plane is lifted onto the bank of the Keelung River, outside Taiwan’s capital of Taipei.

Role of human factors in automated flight management efficiency and decision-making.

Human factor errors are typically the result of ninety percent of catastrophic aviation accidents, according to years of research by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Taiwanese ASC report reveals that TransAsia flight GE235 Captain Liao Jian-zong “failed the simulator check in May 2014, when he was being evaluated for promotion. Assessors found he had a tendency not to complete procedures and checks, and his “cockpit management and flight planning” were also found wanting,” according to Reuters.

Instructors commented that Captain Liao Jian-zong was “prone to be nervous and may make oral errors during the engine start procedure” and displayed a “lack of confidence”, the ASC report cited.

Reuters added: “issues cropped up again during training for the ATR 72-212A in November, when an instructor said Liao Jian-zong “may need extra training” when dealing with an engine failure after take-off.”

“After the crash, Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration put TransAsia’s 61 ATR pilots through oral proficiency tests on how to handle an aircraft during engine failure.”

“All but one of the pilots passed the tests, although some needed more than one attempt. The lone failure was demoted in rank to vice captain from captain,” Reuters reports.

During a press conference on Thursday, July 2, 2015, TransAsia president Fred Wu said “the airline would buy an ATR flight simulator, bring in outside experts to evaluate pilots, and launch a safety improvement program with Airbus.”

Photo Credit: French-built TransAsia Avions de Transport Regional ATR 72-212A, registration B-22816 and Manufacturing Serial Number MSN 1141

It is essential to have pilots involved in the flight management automation design. “Humans aren’t good monitors of rare events, and monitoring can be a boring job especially for a long haul flight. In some cases pilots have wanted to remove just part of the automation and utilize the remaining features, but are unable to do so, because ‘all or nothing’ are the only options,” says the longstanding authority in the field of human factors in modern aviation, Orlady, H. and Orlady, L. (1999) in Human Factors in Multi-Crew Flight Operations.

A very real problem involved with the almost complete automation present is pilot complacency and over-reliance upon automation. This pilot response occurs in normal operations and also is reflected in the pilot’s reliance on the system to automatically make the correct response during abnormal operations and flight management efficiency inside the crisis of a crash event. Flight crews tend to rely upon the automation to the point that the normal checks that are inherent in good manual operations are sometimes disregarded (Orlady and Orlady, 1999).

To overcome this problem, the design of automation has required:

  • “The automated systems must also be able to monitor the human operator and the human must be able to monitor the automatics.

This emphasizes two real problems, first, humans are fallible and are not the perfect monitors because of human limitations. Secondly, even the highly capable computers available today can fail partially or completely and cannot anticipate all of the circumstances that might be encountered in a line operation. Therefore, the performance of the computers and the human operators must be monitored by each other. For example, the computers should be able to send warning signals when human operator has made an error, and at the same time, when the automation is making incorrect decisions, humans need to understand and be aware of it.”

  • “Each element of the system must have knowledge of the others intent.

A very basic principle in cross-monitoring, which must be effective in achieving maximum safety, is that it can only be effective if the monitor knows what the system is trying to accomplish. This principle requires good communication between the pilot flying and pilot-not flying for it is virtually impossible to be sure of intent without effective communication.”

“The issue of safety due to automation that arises due to the pilot or controller making rare errors can be reduced by having two pilots in the cockpit who are well-trained to monitor the automatics as well as monitoring each other’s operational performance during flight. This process of monitoring both the systems performance along with the pilots performance is further improved by the automated warning systems in the cockpit,” writes Orlady and Orlady (1999).

Photo Credit: French-built TransAsia Avions de Transport Regional ATR 72-212A, registration B-22816 and Manufacturing Serial Number MSN 1141

Case of 2014 AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash. Technical speculation suggest at this point the severe weather-related conditions may have most allegedly caused some degree of human factor errors, mostly likely revealed from the flight deck conversations and flight performance data and information gained from AirAsia flight QZ8501’s Airbus A320-200 black-boxes still to be completely analyzed and transcribed for the crash final report expected to be released early next year.

However, the AirAsia flight QZ8501 crash final report could allegedly reveal additional future learning factors of aviation, navigation, and communication that in this extreme case was driven by the extraordinary monsoon-like cumulonimbus cloud conditions, extending at such high altitudes at 44,000 feet (beyond normal commercial passenger aircraft operating ranges), allegedly creating such a perfect storm event for a naturally catastrophic air disaster upon a commercial passenger airliner.

Known in the Southeast Asia region as the most dangerous inter-tropic cumulonimbus cloud storm conditions with mixtures of extremely high and low air masses, flying temperatures faced inside these clouds can drop as low as minus 100 degrees fahrenheit (F) below freezing akin to temperatures in Antarctica, the Earth’s southernmost continent, containing the geographic South Pole. 

Pilots in the region know that during almost every flight they will be flying around avoiding critical thunderstorms. Previously flown 13,500 flights for over 23,000 flight hours, AirAsia flight QZ8501’s Airbus A320-200, departed at 5:34 am (local time) on December 28, 2014 from Juanda International Airport (Surabaya, Indonesia) en route to Singapore Changi Airport, is the world’s best-selling single-aisle airliner and the most technologically advanced digital “glass cockpit” airliners too.

Twenty-two minutes into the flight, the Airbus A320-200 airliner is cruising at 32,000 feet on complete auto-pilot, comprising of seven digital computers inside this airliner’s “glass cockpit,” which literally flies the aircraft by itself without any input from the pilots.

In the meantime, severe thunderstorms was building in moments of minutes above the Java Sea thousands of feet below the aircraft, then suddenly within a few minutes these thunderstorms climbed several thousands of feet above AirAsia flight QZ8501’s Airbus A320-200 airliner.

At 6:12 am (local time), air traffic control received a final request from flight QZ8501’s cockpit “to make a left turn and climb” several thousand feet to avoid the sudden thunderstorm consuming the aircraft. Their request was denied due to the high volume of nearby aircraft cruising in the range of 34,000-38,000 feet, undergoing similar flight alterations to maneuver around the huge thunderstorm in the same area in order to avoid possibilities of encountering rough turbulence and other storm-related issues inside the cockpit, although never really a problem inside an Airbus A320-200 flying at cruise speed.

At 6:16 am (local time), Indonesia Ministry of Transportation radar picks up QZ8501 cruising at 32,000 feet. Two minutes later disaster happens to 155 passengers and seven AirAsia crew on board. Suddenly, through a simple course correction of the Airbus A320-200 auto-pilot controls, the airliner departs from its forward flight path, making a sharp left turn in a steep climb to 37,000 feet, slowing down to just 400 miles per hour, onto 38,000 feet, before aerodynamically stalling out in forward speed and dropping from radar at 6:18 am (local time), eventually plunging into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia.

Here is where the greatest potential human factor error occurs in automated flight management efficiency and decision-making. It is pilot fear of flying into an intimidating severe thunderstorm of unknown origin or to what extent is the storm’s severity. Such a storm looks like a huge 360 degree dark black cloud of complete and severe lightning with torrential rain slamming onto the airliner’s fuselage and wings with a great deal of bending and twisting forces. This is a black weather zone having no-end in sight outside the pilot’s cockpit windows.

According to years of research by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, fifty percent of all fatal air accidents in the last fifty years result from human factor encounters with these kinds of severe thunderstorm incidents. These storms have huge high turbulent energy plunging into an airliner. Of course, this affects human decision-making piloting under such sudden weather crisis.

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee chief Tatang Kurniadi told reporters back in January, “if one wing engine had stalled, the plane could spin out of control as it plummeted toward the water.”

However, he said that “only the data from the black boxes would ultimately determine what happened to flight 8501, and he declined to say whether the plane had in fact stalled.”

Mr. Tatang said “the comments made by Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan to Parliament in January “were based not on data from the black boxes, but on the ground radar.” Indonesia investigators have now confirmed the transportation minister’s comments made in January.

 

Mardjono Siswosuwarno, chief investigator of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, said the flight data recorder, which was recovered from the Java Sea along with the cockpit voice recorder earlier this month, had provided a “pretty clear picture” of what happened in the final minutes of AirAsia flight QZ8501.

Captain Plesel was in charge from take-off until the cockpit voice recording ends, Siswosuwarno said.

“The second-in-command was the pilot flying,” Siswosuwarno said to reporters in Jakarta, adding that “the captain was monitoring the flight,” and that “this was common practice.” He also said that “the plane was in good condition.”

“Things may have gone wrong in a span of just three minutes and 20 seconds, triggering a stall warning that sounded until it crashed into the Java Sea,” investigators of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee further elaborated in a news conference in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday, January 29, 2015, via CNN International.

According to Reuters, Captain Iriyanto was out of his seat and conducting an unusual procedure on the Flight Augmentation Computer (FAC) when his co-pilot, Remy Plesel, lost control. By the time Iriyanto returned, it was too late to save the plane.

The FAC is a “fly-by-wire” device of the Airbus A320 airliner that uses a computer to control a flight process in order to increase airliner flight safety and reliability, as well as flight management efficiency, while reducing the need for human intervention.

In other words, the FAC is designed to ensure normal operation of the aircraft within specific computerized flight safety envelops independent of any alleged human factor errors resulting from possible pilot inputs. FAC “fly-by-wire” devices can supposedly in extremely rare instances affect “operator” decisions, whose primary responsibility shifts from being the “performer” in flight operations to being the “onlooker” in flight management efficiency.

Whereby, the concerns of “complacency” can potentially arise in flight management decision-making with increasing level of automation in modern aviation, particularly in flight and air traffic control operations.

Iriyanto reportedly had previously flown on the Airbus A320 and experienced a faulty FAC, which he apparently went to fix. Reuters was unable to offer independent confirmation of the faulty device.

After trying to reset the device, pilots pulled a circuit-breaker to cut its power, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, February 6, 2015.

“You can reset the FAC, but to cut all power to it is very unusual,” one A320 pilot, who declined to be identified, told Reuters. “You don’t pull the circuit breaker unless it was an absolute emergency. I don’t know if there was one in this case, but it is very unusual.”

Pulling the circuit breaker is also an unusual move, because the captain would have had to rise from his sea

President Joko Widodo said the crash exposed widespread problems in the management of air transportation in Indonesia.

Case of 2009 Air France flight AF447 crash. Notwithstanding, recent aviation disaster history confirms an excessively rapid ascent is indeed likely to cause an airplane to go into an aerodynamic stall.

In 2009, an Air France flight AF447 Airbus A330-200 disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean in bad weather, while flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

Investigators determined from the jet’s black boxes that it began a steep climb and then went into a stall from which the pilots were unable to recover, The Independent (U.K.) reports.

A synopsis of what occurred during the course of the doomed Air France AF447 Airbus A330-200 airliner’s final few minutes is here.

Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon said that it was too early to comment on possible similarities between the two crashes.

Photo Credit: SAM YEH / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE / GETTY IMAGES. Rescuers on Wednesday, February 5, lift the wreckage of the plane out of the river in Taipei. Early Thursday, February 6, officials said 35 people died and 15 injured. Eight people remain missing.

Now is the time for consensus on recommendations on the future of international aviation safety and security.

Countries and regions with the highest number of fatal civil airliner accidents from 1945 through November 30, 2014 (excluding MH370, MH17, AirAsia QZ8501, and TransAsia GE235) are:

United States, 773; Russia, 326; Canada, 177; Brazil, 176; Colombia, 173; United Kingdom, 103; France, 101; Mexico, 96; India, 94; Indonesia, 94; China, 74; Italy, 67; Venezuela, 61; Philippines, 60; Bolivia, 60; D.R. Congo, 60; Germany, 58; Peru, 56; Spain, 51; Australia, 48.

In just the past year (2014-15), we have lost the lives of over 734 international passengers and flight crews in Southeast Asia (which amounts to about three times more than all fatal civil airliner accident in the last 68 years between 1945-2013) on four compelling global aviation crash events.

These include the oceanic loss of a Boeing 777-200ER airliner, flown as Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 8, 2014, the shooting down over a war-torn eastern Ukraine region of a Boeing 777-200 airliner, performing as Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, a crash in the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia of an Airbus A320-200 airliner, operating as AirAsia flight QZ8501 on December 28, 2014, and a crash in the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan of a French-built ATR 72-600 (72-212A), flown as TransAsia Airways flight GE235 on Wednesday, February 4, 2015.

Photo Credit: French-built TransAsia Avions de Transport Regional ATR 72-212A, registration B-22816 and Manufacturing Serial Number MSN 1141

According United States Department of Transportation; Federal Aviation Administration (Office of Aviation Policy and Plans), statistics show average estimated annual growth in passenger traffic to and from the United States transported by U.S. and foreign flag air carriers between 2014 and 2034, by region.

During this time period, passenger U.S. air traffic to or from Latin America is estimated to grow by around 4.7 percent per year. Passenger air traffic in the Asia-Pacific region is predicted to grow by about 4.2 percent per year. The Atlantic Oceanic air traffic is projected to grow by nearly 4.1 percent per year. And, the Canadian trans-border is believed to grow by about 3.8 percent per year.

Forecasts are based on historical passenger statistics from the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) and Transport Canada, and on regional world historical data and economic projections from Global Insight, Inc.

International commercial passenger air travel is expected to explode in the next decade (according to both federal government, and Boeing and Airbus industry projections), particularly in Southeast Asia. This region is highly dependent upon air travel across deep seas and remote oceans for millions of people in the Southeast Asia and Oceania region.

Given this consensus must be reached on recommendations of human factor errors of complacency, over-reliance, and over-confidence bias (a “winner’s curse“) in flight management efficiency and flight systems automation, global flight tracking of commercial passenger airliners, jet black-box data streaming, and ejectable flight data recorders.

All of this calls for further consensus to be reached quickly among airline chiefs, aviation experts, and government officials, who have just completed their discussions at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) “Second High-level Safety Conference” on February 2-5, 2015 at its headquarters in Montréal, Canada.

APPENDIX

International Civil Aviation Organization

Working Paper

SECOND HIGH-LEVEL SAFETY CONFERENCE 2015 (HLSC 2015)

PLANNING FOR GLOBAL AVIATION SAFETY IMPROVEMENT

Montréal, Canada

2-5 February 2015

MONTREAL DECLARATION ON PLANNING FOR AVIATION SAFETY IMPROVEMENT

Whereas the Convention on International Civil Aviation and its Annexes provide the essential framework required to support for the safe operation of a global aviation system;

Whereas aviation safety is a prerequisite for the sustainable development of air transport which is a catalyst for the economic and social development;

Whereas Member States have a collective responsibility for aviation safety and its enhancement can only be possible through a cooperative, collaborative and coordinated effort among all stakeholders under the leadership of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO);

Recognizing the efforts of the international community towards the implementation of Conclusions and Recommendation of the High-level Safety Conference held in 2010;

Recognizing the actions taken by ICAO and the role of the Regional Aviation Safety Groups (RASGs), Member States and aviation safety partners in identifying and attaining of the objectives and priorities of the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) endorsed by the 38th Session of the Assembly;

Recognizing that Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) is the primary air navigation priority and that effective regulatory oversight is an essential requirement to achieve its safe implementation;

Recognizing that recent events showed the need for improvements in the timely identification and localization of aircraft in distress as well as the effective search and rescue efforts (SAR) and recovery operations;

Recognizing that the recent event of the downing of a civil aircraft have demonstrated the urgent need to provide accurate and timely information to States and airlines regarding risks to civil aviation arising from conflict zones and to enhance existing mechanisms to share such information;

Recalling that mutual trust between States, as well as public confidence in the safety of air transportation is contingent upon access to relevant and timely safety information;

Recognizing the role of aviation in public health emergencies and the importance of collaboration between the aviation and public health sectors in preparedness planning and response to public health events;

Recognizing the challenges faced by States in achieving a mature safety oversight system and implementing a State safety program (SSP) to attain the GASP objectives;

Recognizing the complexities in safely integrating remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) into their national air navigation systems;

Recalling that the safety framework must be fully utilized by all stakeholders and evolve into the implementation of proactive safety management practices to ensure its sustained effectiveness and efficiency in the changing regulatory, economic and technical environment of the 21st century;

Recognizing that the protection of certain accident and incident records, other information collected for the purposes of maintaining or improving safety and its related sources is essential to ensure the continued availability of information in support of accident investigation and safety management activities;

Recognizing that sharing of safety information is essential for the evaluation and identification of risks associated with operational safety at the State, regional and global levels;

Recognizing that regional frameworks are effective and efficient cooperation mechanisms to support States in addressing safety deficiencies;

Recognizing that enhanced resource mobilization strategies can support States in establishing effective safety oversight systems due to insufficient resources;

The Directors General for Civil Aviation, meeting in Montréal, Canada from 2 to 5 February 2015, on the occasion of the Second High-level Safety Conference:

(A) Commit to act upon the plans agreed during this Conference for aviation safety improvement by:

  • actively participating in the activities of the Regional Aviation Safety Groups (RASGs) that were established to facilitate the GASP objectives;
  • making use of all available resources to expedite full implementation of PBN regulatory oversight;
  • applying safety risk management principles on the SSP in their States and ensuring implementation of such principles in the safety management systems across the aviation system;
  • cooperating with each other to facilitate the effective implementation of the GASP new-, mid and long-term objectives;

(B) The Conference:

  1. Calls upon States to contribute technical expertise to the activities of the RASGs and to implement their safety initiatives while focusing on their priorities;
  2. Calls upon States and aviation safety partners to maintain the confidence of the public in the safe air transportation system by improving flight tracking, especially over oceanic and remote areas, and improving SAR procedures;
  3. Calls upon States to assist in the development of procedures that facilitate improved public health event management and response in the aviation sector;
  4. Calls upon States to take appropriate measures, based on their USOAP effective implementation, to progress the implementation of their SSP and indicate its progress to ICAO;
  5. Call upon States to refer to the ICAO guidance when developing or amending RPAS regulations and establish a formal means to educate users on the risks associated with their operation;
  6. Calls upon States, ICAO and aviation safety partners to cooperate with each other to facilitate the resolution of safety concerns of airlines operating internationally;
  7. Urge States, supported by ICAO, to implement new and enhanced provisions on the protection of certain accident and incident records, and other information collected to maintain or improve safety and related sources;
  8. Calls upon States, RASGs and other aviation stakeholders to support ICAO in the development of a global information sharing framework to collect and share harmonized information associated with operational safety;
  9. Calls upon States, RASGs, aviation safety partners and the industry to support the update of the GASP particularly as it relates to best practices in States and regions, sharing of safety information and development of safety roadmap(s);
  10. Calls upon ICAO to:
  • continue assisting States in implementing safety-related SARPS and an effective safety oversight system through additional guidance material, training and tools;
  • continue assisting States in implementing PBN;
  • define and update related guidance material on risk assessments of civil aircraft operations over or near conflict zones as well as develop and host a centralized repository of information available on conflict zones;
  • continue supporting States in achieving the GASP objectives by refining and harmonizing the identified SPIs to facilitate monitoring and measurement;
  • monitor the implementation of SSPs by Member States;
  • expedite the development of provisions to enable a harmonized approach to the regulation of RPAS and provide a forum for States to share their experiences and best practices;
  • adopt new and enhanced provisions on the protection of safety management information as well as accident and incident records and support States in their implementation;
  • develop a global information sharing framework to collect and share harmonized safety information and provide the means to adequately protect the resulting safety information;
  • support the implementation of the GASP through the development of safety roadmap(s) and its stable evolution using a data-driven approach;

(Note: The content for Topic 3.1 will be included following the discussion by the conference.)

In view of the above, the Directors General of Civil Aviation and the Conference have approved conclusions and recommendations to be acted upon by all involved.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

(Note: To be extracted from the final report of the conference.)

Done and adopted in Montréal, Canada on 5 February 2015.

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SpaceX Explodes Right After Launch (VIDEO)

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Jun 302015
 

Spacex 5

After a U.S. resupply rocket detonated shortly after launch on Sunday, NASA has released this video below of the mishap on Twitter.

As SpaceX CEO Elon Musk (above) looks on as the mishap unfolds, officials however, are still unsure of what caused the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to explode. Photo Credit: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk 

Photo Credit: NASA

United States SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the unmanned Dragon cargo capsule on board launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 10:21am ET on Sunday, June 28, 2015. After liftoff, the launch vehicle failed. Sunday’s loss marks SpaceX’s first failed mission to resupply the orbiting International Space Station.

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Video Credit: NASA: SpaceX Hit By ‘Launch Vehicle Failure’. SpaceX rocket carrying unmanned Dragon capsule explodes after liftoff. This June 28, 2015 grab from NASA TV shows the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the unmanned Dragon cargo capsule on board, appearing to explode shortly after launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. 

“We appear to have had a launch vehicle failure,” NASA spokesman George Diller observed. “The vehicle has broken up.”

“It was not clear how the disaster occurred or even when the rocket actually failed. Data stopped flowing from the rocket around 2 minutes and 19 seconds,” he said. No astronauts were on board.

Air Force officials said the rocket “experienced an anomaly (a deviation from nominal readings of what is standard, normal, or expected)” about 148 seconds into the spacecraft flight. Debris from the space vehicle breakup fell into the Atlantic Ocean without causing any damage or injury to persons on the ground, NBC Newsconfirms at the spacecraft site.

Photo Credit: Facebook, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk

California-based SpaceX is today continuing its quest to determine exactly what happened, noting that “everything appeared to go well in flight until the Falcon 9 rocket went supersonic.” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, said that “perhaps an anomaly occurred before the first stage shutdown,” further stating on Twitter, “there was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause.”

Sunday’s SpaceX explosion was a huge setback for NASA, as the agency is hinged to its contracting of private industry to transport cargo — and eventually astronauts — to the orbiting International Space Station laboratory. The seven previous SpaceX supply runs have succeeded their specified missions without a glitch.

“Having three [failures] this close together is not what we hoped for,” said Mike Suffredini, NASA’s space station program manager.

“This was a blow to us. We lost a lot of research equipment on this flight,” NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, William H. Gerstenmaier, told a press debriefing. “The explosion is also a setback for SpaceX, the space technology company, owned by Elon Musk, which has been attempting to compete with United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Investigations will now apparently keep other Falcon 9 rockets grounded for ‘a number of months’ “.

Photo Credit: SpaceX, NASA

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden spoke yesterday from Washington on the loss Sunday of the SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services 7 (CRS-7) mission.

“We are disappointed in the loss of the latest SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. However, the astronauts are safe aboard the station and have sufficient supplies for the next several months. We will work closely with SpaceX to understand what happened, fix the problem and return to flight. The commercial cargo program was designed to accommodate loss of cargo vehicles. We will continue operation of the station in a safe and effective way as we continue to use it as our test bed for preparing for longer duration missions farther into the solar system,” NASA Administrator Bolden, a former marine pilot, and one of the earliest former Space Shuttle black astronauts, said.

“A Progress vehicle is ready to launch July 3, followed in August by a Japanese HTV flight. Orbital ATK, our other commercial cargo partner, is moving ahead with plans for its next launch later this year,” Administrator Bolden added.

“SpaceX has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first six cargo resupply missions to the station, and we know they can replicate that success. We will work with and support SpaceX to assess what happened, understand the specifics of the failure and correct it to move forward. This is a reminder that spaceflight is an incredible challenge, but we learn from each success and each setback. Today’s launch attempt will not deter us from our ambitious human spaceflight program,” he said.  

Photo Credit: SpaceX, NASA

Fox News reports: “This is the second failed station shipment in a row.” In April 2015, a Russian Orbital Sciences Corporation’s “Antares” rocket cargo “ship spun out of control and burned up upon re-entry, along with all its precious contents.” And last October 2014, another contractor’s supply ship – an Orbital Sciences-ATK “Antares” rocket – “was destroyed in a launch accident.”

The U.S. resupply spacecraft SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the unmanned Dragon cargo capsule on board had been carrying replacement food, clothes and science experiments for items destroyed in the April and October spacecraft accidents.

NASA’s space station program manager, Mike Suffredini, said “the outpost had enough supplies on board to make it to October or so,” according to Fox News and NBC News. Suffredini said “the station’s residents — Scott J. Kelly of NASA and two Russians, Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko — currently have enough food and other supplies to see them through October. If the stockpile dwindles to a 45-day supply, NASA and its partners would have to consider bringing the crew back to Earth.”

Photo Credit: SpaceX, NASA

As confirmed by NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden’s statements on Sunday, the news networks adding: “Russia expects to take another crack at launching supplies on Friday, July 3 from Kazakhstan,” via Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome.

In addition, “a robotic Japanese HTV transport ship is due to follow in August,” NBC News reports.

“There’s really no commonality across those three events,” NASA Associate Administrator William H. Gerstenmaier said at a Sunday press conference. “This is a very demanding environment.”

Photo Credit: SpaceX Launch Control Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. 

Three resupply cargo mishaps en route to the International Space Station since April 2014 has caused critics of NASA’s thrust into commercialization of space to now ask some tough questions.

“Several members of Congress have been extremely skeptical about NASA’s plans to outsource both commercial cargo flights and commercial crew flights rather than taking a more active role in its own launch capabilities. These incidents may bolster their strength in budget and other regulatory fights to come – especially now when appropriations budgets in both houses have slashed funding for commercial crew programs and NASA is fighting to restore that funding,” Forbes reports.

NASA Associate Administrator Gerstenmaier said “the mishap also emphasized the need for full financing of the Boeing and SpaceX crew capsules, which are to start taking astronauts to the space station in 2017,” according to the New York Times, confirming further: “The Obama administration requested $1.2 billion for the 2016 fiscal year for the program, known as commercial crew, but a budget bill passed by the House of Representatives included $1 billion, and a budget bill in the Senate would provide even less: $900 million.”

“If we don’t get the funding, we can’t do the technical work,” NASA Associate Administrator Gerstenmaier said. “The technical work gets delayed or compressed. And this environment is not conducive to letting us compress or delay technical work.”

Photo Credit: Thirteen Previous SpaceX Rocket Launches of Flights 1-13 (2010-2014) All Depicted At Once.

Flight 1: DSQU (June 4, 2010)

Flight 2: COTS1 (December 8, 2010)

Flight 3: COT2+ (May 22, 2012)

Flight 4: CRS-1 (October 8, 2012)

Flight 5: CRS-2 (March 1, 2013)

Flight 6: CASSIOPE (September 29, 2013)

Flight 7: SES-8 (December 3, 2013)

Flight 8: THIACOM6 (January 6, 2014)

Flight 9: CRS-3 (April 18, 2014)

Flight 10: OG2Flight1 (July 14, 2014)

Flight 11: ASIASAT8 (August 5, 2014)

Flight 12: ASIASAT6 (September 7, 2014)

Flight 13: CRS-4 (September 21, 2014)

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Photo Credit: California-based SpaceX Headquarters, Hawthorne, California

Appendix: NASA Contracting of the Privatization of Space

NASA awarded nearly US$6.8 billion in contracts to defense contractor Boeing and upstart SpaceX in a September 16, 2014 announcement the agency aimed to privatized space travel for humans, to carry astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017, and to achieve NASA’s long-range goals to land humans on Mars by contracting out low-earth orbits.

Boeing has long built aircraft for the military and NASA, in addition to commercial airliners, but the Elon Musk-backed SpaceX has only recently begun transporting goods to the International Space Station.

NASA administrator Charlie Bolden, citing SpaceX contractors’ 2017 deadline for certification to NASA standards for low-earth orbit, called this move “the most ambitious and exciting chapter in the history of NASA and human space flight.”

“This wasn’t an easy choice, but it’s the best choice for NASA and the nation,” he added.

Other competitors included Sierra Nevada and Blue Origin, the latter of which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled SpaceX’s new seven-seat Dragon V2 spacecraft, in Hawthorne, California on May 29, 2014. The private spaceflight company’s new seven-seat Dragon V2 aims to ferry NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

Musk, the 44-year-old on Sunday billionaire founder of PayPal, the online pay service, and founder of Tesla, the electric car company, told reporters in September 2014 that the “goals of SpaceX are very long-term, which is to establish a city on Mars,” according to Bloomberg.

“SpaceX Falcon 9 flights are suspended while this incident is investigated, meaning that other planned SpaceX commercial flights for their customers will be delayed,”Forbes reports.

Appendix B: Pew Research Study – Public’s View on Privatization of Space

SpaceX Falcon 9 mission is not routine in the use of private, reusable rockets to service America’s space program.

America’s SpaceX and Russia’s Orbital Sciences are private space rocket launch companies that are rapidly growing, as a result of strategically partnering in NASA’s ongoing space programmatic priority toward privatizing more routine missions – such as the transport of supplies and eventually astronauts and science investigators to and from the International Space Station, says a 2011 Pew Research Center Study on the public’s view on privatization of space.

That study’s poll found that “nearly six-in-ten Americans say it is essential for the United States to continue to be a world leader in space exploration. At the same time, recent Gallup polling finds that Americans today have less admiration for NASA, with fewer giving the agency “excellent” or “good” marks for its performance.”

Pew Research Center’s blog by  adds: “NASA’s efforts at privatization have taken only a small part of its annual budget, which, this year totals $17.6 billion. So far, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences have been able to provide launch capabilities for a lot less than the space shuttle, but they also have less capacity than the shuttle in terms of payload.”

“Factoring in NASA’s financial assistance in developing the Falcon 9 rocket and the cost of the 12-launch contract, the space agency is paying SpaceX about $166 million per launch to the International Space Station. By contrast, estimates for the cost of sending the recently retired space shuttle to the ISS range as high as $1.5 billion, including the money spent developing and building the shuttles.”

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Jun 302015
 

Commercial passenger aircraft business of Boeing and Airbus is a high-stakes “duopoly” game of competitive strategy, a sinning business approach that is examined inside. Without bankrupting each other, each player is aiming to solely dominate the other’s board strategy in business, as the world’s largest most profitable aircraft manufacturer.

Photo Credit: bloga350.blogspot.com

Borrowing language from the military, sports, or even politics, such observers would say both of these aircraft manufacturing business duopoly players are “in it to win it” at all costs.

With annual business economic profits in the billions of dollars, this duopoly game is neither about winning or losing, nor how well Boeing and Airbus play the game. Rather, each of these firms’ successes interdependently reside in their ability to ensure the competitive rivals are “playing the right John Nash game” to maximize business economic profits for each firm’s shareholders.

Successful business strategy is about actively shaping the game you play, not just playing the game you find.” – Adam M. Brandenburger and Barry J. Nalebuff, authors of “The Right Game: Use Game Theory to Shape Strategy,” Harvard Business Review, July-August 1995.

airbus vs boeing 12

High-stakes competition took to the sky over Paris’ Le Bourget Exhibition Center, June 15-21, 2015, as Boeing and Airbus strategically maneuvered their Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350 aircraft innovations through stunning near vertical takeoffs and flight maneuvers over the Le Bourget field to pull airline customers to the contract order table.

Here, the duopoly game was on, as a strategic bet was placed on innovation with US$107 billion in aircraft orders on the table. Eventually, this was narrowly parsed between Boeing (at US$50.2 billion) and Airbus (at US$57 billion).

Prior to publication of the 1944 classic, Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, by Nobel Laureate mathematician, John von Neumann, and Nobel Laureate economist, Oscar Morgenstern, corporate boards and executives did not have the tools to make proper analyses of the strategic interaction between firm rivals, characterized by the Boeing-Airbus duopoly. Neumann-Morgenstern game-theoretic contributions were primarily applicable to industries composed of either many rivals for which interactions do not matter (as in perfect competitors), or no rivals at all (as in monopolies).

Modern theories of games and economic profit equilibria has now expanded to industries, having low numbers of strategically-interdependent rivals (or oligopolies), such as the Boeing-Airbus duopoly.

Later in this piece, we touch upon the remarkable conceptualization of a Nash general equilibrium game of economic profits, as Boeing and Airbus boards and executives are rudimentary simulated in making their strategic economic choices simultaneously, as well as, fundamentally illustrated and explicated as choices made sequentially (given associated factors of rivalry assessment and judgment during the game, like strategic commitment and credibility).

Invented by the late Princeton professor and Nobel Laureate John F. Nash Jr. (1928-2015), his game-theoretic equilibrium contributions have been applied to fields as far-reaching as industrial business, litigation, evolutionary biology, and political science.

Below we also go deeper into specifically addressing the economics behind the competitive strategy of these huge global businesses. Together, we discuss how do Boeing and Airbus know they are playing the right game with competitive bets on technological innovation and “know-how” (in Boeing’s 787s vs Airbus’ A350s) alongside market strongholds (with Boeing’s 737sMax vs Airbus’ A320s), displayed to airline customers in Paris. This competitive game becomes especially critical as the rivals are strategically interdependent upon each other in the global marketplace.

Photo Credit: Airbus’ A350 Family rollout answer in 2014 to Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner Family in 2013.

Choosing a Competitive Strategy in the Boeing-Airbus Duopoly Challenge

The board must be willing and able to recognize whether or not the company has a winning strategy – and, if not, to urge corrective actions … depending on the particular circumstances of the company and the industry in which it is operating.” – National Association of Corporate Director’s Blue Ribbon Commission on The Role of the Board in Corporate Strategy.

America’s Boeing and France’s Airbus have duopolistic control of the international aviation industry with Airbus having a slight edge on market share over Boeing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 Boeing announced CEO Jim McNerney (shown left photo above) would be stepping down. Replacing McNerney would be current president and COO Dennis Muilenburg (shown right photo above), Forbes, CNBC, and Reuters confirmed.

McNerney, who the aircraft manufacturer said in a statement has held the CEO post for the past 10 years, will remain the chairman of the board. Muilenburg will assume his new role on July 1, and McNerney will continue as an employee until February “to ensure a smooth transition,” according to a Boeing statement.

“It’s a little bit of a generational shift,” McNerney told CNBC on the day of the announcement. “This is a very long cycle business, where living with your decisions is important.”

“The source of reassurance that they can draw on is that we have crafted that strategy together, and in many ways there’s not going to be a change except generationally, and it’s time for that,” he added.

For his part Muilenburg reiterated that the company is sticking to its plan crafted under McNerney. “We have a strong strategy in place, and we’re going to continue to execute that with pace and confidence,” he said.

“The transition comes amid a historic boom in the commercial jet market and as Boeing faces tough challenges to build its defense business amid shrinking defense spending. Boeing is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year,” CNBC reports.

“McNerney oversaw a near doubling of revenue to a record $90.8 billion in 2014, and focused on improving Boeing’s profit margins by pressing suppliers to cut prices. He also secured long-term contracts with unions.”

Boeing is also most noted for its longstanding family of “Triple Sevens,” deeply penetrated in the airline marketplace. Airbus is most known for its A320 and A380 families, and its most recent A350 released in 2014, as a response to Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner released in 2013.

Notably, Boeing introduced “virtual manufacturing” innovations in pulling together the 787 aircraft assemblage from around the world (including Japan (wing trailing edges, wing boxes, fuselage sections), Australia (wing flaps), Sweden (cargo doors), France (passenger doors), South Korea (wingtips, tail cone), China (wing-to-body panel, leading edge of tail-fin, rudder), Italy (horizontal stabilizers, fuselage sections), Canada (landing-gear doors, fairings), United Kingdom (engines, landing gear), and United States (wing leading edges, engine mounts, tail-fin, nose section), altogether as shown below). Component sources for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner draw from Japanese firms (35%), Boeing (35%), Vought/Alenia (26%), and other partner firms (4%).

Photo Credit: www.lunchoverip.com

Variants of these competitive Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 innovative airliners are differentiated by fuselage length and Breguet range of the aircraft (as determined by factors of lift-to-drag ratio, payload-to-weight ratio, and propulsive fuel-burn efficiency).

Photo Credit: Airbus, Boeing, AFP, chiongtheskies.blogspot.com

Among the various tools Boeing and Airbus corporate board and executives have in order to gauge their competitive rivalry and strategy, economic scenario analyses and decision games are most beneficial in obtaining insights into the way Boeing and Airbus interact in specific events, like the 2015 Paris Air Show. Conducting revenue and economic profit analyses and assessing “win-win” or “win-lose” decision games are required in anticipation to establishing each company’s annual earnings and shareholder value for the year.

A crucial aspect of executive decisions is anticipating how these two rivals may react this year and in the next few years, particularly in pricing, investments in advanced innovative technologies and “know-how” (in modern research and developments as composite commercial aircraft for airframe weight reduction, engine fan size expansion for increase engine thrust power, specific fuel consumption, fuel efficiencies and cost savings, emissions and noise reduction), sunk costs into new facilities, capital reserves, and so forth.

A penetrating way in which the Boeing and Airbus boards and executives decide and make strategic judgments in this high-stakes game is to “get inside the minds” of each other, figure out what is in their “self-interest.” And then, maximize economic profit for their company’s shareholders accordingly.

Boeing and Airbus boards and executives, nonetheless, are extremely smart at making choices in this multi-billion dollar matchup. Boeing’s optimal choices will oftentimes depend on their assessments of Airbus’ expectations of what Boeing intends to do, which, in turn, depend on Airbus’ assessment of Boeing’s reassessment about what Airbus intends to do next.

So, here’s a question:

How do Boeing and Airbus boards and executives rationally analyze economic decision-making without falling irrationally into observable judgments inside predictable groupthink?

Boardroom and C-suite games that map out Boeing-Airbus strategic interdependent scenarios is most valuable in precisely such situations of securing billions of dollars of commercial passenger aircraft orders. Such high-stakes economic choices among Boeing-Airbus rivals are concerned with examining optimum decisions, when all decision-makers are presumed to be rational, and each is attempting to anticipate the actions and reactions of its Boeing-Airbus rival counterparts.

In the next section, we discuss the remarkable conceptualization of a Nash general equilibrium game of economic profits, as Boeing and Airbus boards and executives make their strategic economic choices simultaneously.

We also discuss factors (such as strategic commitment and credibility, entry deterrence, and asymmetric information) of a sub-game “backward induction” of economic earnings, as Boeing and Airbus boards and executives make their choices sequentially.

Photo Credit: The Essential John Nash, edited by Harold W. Kuhn and Sylvia Nasar, author of “A Beautiful Mind.”

How Nobel Laureate John F. Nash Shaped the Boeing-Airbus Duopoly Game at Paris’ Le Bourget.

According to modern industrial game-theorists, Harvard Business School professor, Adam M. Brandenburger, and Yale School of Management professor, Barry J. Nalebuff, the Boeing-Airbus duopoly is a complex mix of two types of gaming – (1) “rules-based“, wherein the firm’s rules of engagement on how they interact are changed (such as technological innovation exhibitions, social media preemption, contracts, loan covenants, or trade agreements), and (2) “jazz-based“, wherein the firms interact in unstructured improvisational styles without any external constraints on creating value for their shareholders.

Photo Credit: Vietnam Airlines crew performing a “near vertical takeoff” of a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner at the 2015 Paris Air Show.

Last week, Boeing decided to pre-empt the 2015 Paris Air Show with a pre-release of its flagship 787-9 Dreamliner, performing a “near vertical takeoff”. But also, at Paris’ Le Bourget, Boeing needed to decide whether to go all out with focusing on its best-selling Next-Generation Boeing 737s as its promotion aircraft to its customers.

Boeing also took in 30 orders for 787-9 Dreamliners at the 2015 Paris Air Show. At an average list price of about US$257 million in 2014, Boeing raked in about US$7.7 billion (or nearly US$8 billion) for its 30 orders of 787-9 Dreamliners at Le Bourget Exhibition Centre with air carrier, Garuda Indonesia, based in Jakarta, amounting to all 30 of the Boeing 787-9 orders.

Correspondingly, in response to Boeing’s 787-9 “near vertical” takeoff preemptive performance gone viral on social media prior to Paris, Airbus decided to go with its Airbus A350-900 (reinforcing its leading position as the world’s most modern, advanced wide-body aircraft). Or better still, Airbus also decided to go with focusing on its market leading Airbus A320 Family, which garnered an impressive 366 endorsements (comprising 103 firm orders and 263 commitments) worth US$41.4 billion.

Airbus took in 31 orders for A350-900s at the 2015 Paris Air Show. At an average list price of about US$305 million in 2014, Airbus took in about US$9.5 billion (or nearly US$10 billion) for its 31 orders of A350-900s at Le Bourget Centre, again with Garuda Indonesia (in Jakarta) requesting 30 A350-900 orders and the other one going to Air Lease Corporation (NYSE:AL), based in Los Angeles.

Pulling all of this together differently, Boeing and Airbus needed to decide whether the aircraft manufacturers are going either with technical “know-how” (Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners vs. Airbus A350-900s) or market stronghold (Boeing 737MAXs vs. Airbus A320s), as their competitive promotional advantage at the 2015 Paris Air Show.

Naturally, both Boeing and Airbus prefer going with their market strongholds, since this strategic move has the greatest amount of potential customer orders for their aircraft.

However, Boeing and Airbus prefer not to go head-on against each other by both choosing to go with market stronghold or technical “know-how” only, since that strategy in the Boeing-Airbus duopoly game would then create really higher pricing pressures on each aircraft manufacturer to stay committed to the competitive game.

So, what is the solution of the game?

Imagine the competition at the 2015 Paris Air Show in which Boeing and Airbus move simultaneously in the sense that each rival firm reaches a decision of what new innovative technology to exhibit without knowing what the other is doing.

Below is a simulation matrix of estimated order sales, in billions of US dollars, Airbus and Boeing (A,B) obtained from each strategic choice and emphasis in the customer orders game at the 2015 Paris Air Show:

Stronghold”          “Know-How

  (B737s)                      (B787s)”

  (49,40)                          (49,50)             

Stronghold (A320s)” 

  (57,40)                          (57,50)              

Know-How (A350s)” 

In the context of the technological innovation game, the Nash equilibrium is the pair of order sales strategies (one for Airbus, one for Boeing) such that:

  • Airbus’s (A-series emphasis) strategy maximizes its order sales, given Boeing’s (B-series emphasis) strategy;
  • Boeing’s (B-series emphasis) strategy maximizes its order sales, given Airbus’s (A-series emphasis) strategy.

The Nash equilibrium solution is (“Know-How”, “Know-How”), that is, Airbus and Boeing each invest in technological innovation and “know-how“. When Airbus invests in innovation and “know-how“, Boeing’s best choice is to similarly make such investments (finally yielding US$57 billion sales for Airbus and US$50.2 billion sales for Boeing).

The choice to invest in technological innovation and “know-how” maximizes order sales no matter what competitive strategy decision either Boeing or Airbus makes. In this case, we determine that investments in “know-how” was the dominate strategy at the 2015 Paris Air Show.

First, note that no strategic decision by Boeing or Airbus dominates another. If Boeing decides on technical “know-how“, Airbus would rather decide on market stronghold. Since above all, Boeing wants to avoid a head-to-head competition, because that would cause a price war seen by airline customers. However, if Boeing were to decide on market stronghold, Airbus would rather go with technical “know-how“.

In the language of game theorists, this Boeing-Airbus duopoly game is not “dominant solvable“, that is, the game is not solved through the elimination of dominated strategies.

When Boeing and Airbus each have a dominate strategy, that strategy held by each is not only reasonably good each for Boeing and Airbus acting alone, but also rationally good for the duopoly game too. This is the essence of a Nash equilibrium, named after its originator, the late Nobel Laureate mathematician John F. Nash Jr. (1928-2015).

Nash equilibrium is a pair of strategies such that Boeing and Airbus can do no better by unilaterally shifting strategies. Putting it another way, at Nash equilibrium, Boeing and Airbus each makes the best response to the other aircraft manufacturer’s strategy. Nash equilibrium is the most compelling solution of the Boeing-Airbus duopoly game, perhaps because it is the most self-interested and self-enforcing solution among the rival commercial aircraft manufacturers competing for the airline customer orders at the 2015 Paris Air Show. At Nash equilibrium, Boeing and Airbus expectations equals outcomes. In other words, expected market behavior and actual market outcomes converge.

In the Boeing-Airbus duopoly game, the Nash equilibrium does not necessarily maximizes the aggregate outcomes each aircraft manufacturers’ bottom-line. Boeing and Airbus would perhaps in some circumstances be better off refraining from pushing the technological innovation envelope out too far. However, their rational pursuits of shareholder value-maximizing self-interest, risk-aversion, and prudent uncertainty (innovation) management leads each firm to pursue a strategic action that may ultimate destroy joint value of the Boeing-Airbus duopoly.

This big business conflict between “collective-interest” and “self-interest” is known as the prisoners’ dilemma, perhaps but not generally, somewhat underlying somewhere underneath the Boeing-Airbus duopoly game. The prisoners’ dilemma (Appendix A) arises when Boeing and Airbus are pursuing their own self-interests, they each in turn, impose a cost onto the other that is not taken into account. In the technological innovation and “know-how” game, Airbus’ added investments hurt Boeing, and vice-versa, because such incremental investments drive down the market price. The prisoners’ dilemma is an essential characteristic to consider in equilibrium pricing and output decisions in the Boeing-Airbus duopoly game.

A notable big business game of an analogous structure to the “battle of the sexes” dilemma (Appendix B) is “standards setting“. This occurs when two oligopolistic firms, like Boeing and Airbus, aim to coordinate on one technological innovation or “know-how” standard, but each aircraft manufacturer prefers to adopt its own technology as the standard, as they have different preferences on where they want to coordinate to reach such a standard.

Photo Credit: Vietnam Airlines crew, landing a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner at Le Bourget field during the 2015 Paris Air Show.

How Commitments and Credibility Underpin the Sequential Moves in the Boeing-Airbus Duopoly Game at Paris’ Le Bourget.

Up to now, we have discussed how Boeing and Airbus won their US$107 billion high-stakes game by making their moves on technological innovation and “know-how” simultaneously in the sense that each aircraft manufacturer reached a decision “somewhat” without knowing what the other was doing.

The duopoly chess move of deciding if the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner or the Airbus A350-900 is going to be showcased at the 2015 Paris Air Show, brought out the fact that one rival (in this case Boeing) preempted the other rival (Airbus) by moving first on going viral on social media through Boeing’s collaboration with the Vietnam Airlines crew in performing a rehearsal of a “near vertical” takeoff last week prior to the 2015 Paris Air Show. Such preemptive moves are the essence of the sequential game being played in the Boeing-Airbus duopoly.

Backward Induction as a Sequential Response Move. To solve this style of sequential game, game theorists use “backwards induction”. Here, Airbus first observes what Boeing did in pre-releasing its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner “near vertical” takeoff last week. Then, Airbus decides what is best to do at Le Bourget, given what Boeing is doing in anticipation of the 2015 Paris Air Show. Airbus elected to focus most on its stronghold A320 Family, while exhibiting in all its grand style, jumbo size and scale, its British Airways A380 alongside its A350-900s. 

The bottom-line takeaway here is: Boeing knows that when they moved first last week, which was their preemptive best choice in the “near vertical takeoff of a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, Boeing also made a strategic commitment with huge credibility by immediately showcasing with 10 million views across social media that the aircraft manufacturer is first in the world in technological innovation and “know-how”.

Strategic Commitment and Credibility. In response at the 2015 Paris Air Show, Airbus most certainly showcased their global stronghold through their A320 Family of airliners, while sequentially responding with their technical “know-how” in their A380s and A350-900s – Airbus’ technological innovation response to the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Looking at this through the lens of less-rational inefficient behavior economics, Princeton University professor, Avinash K. Dixit, and Yale University professor, Barry J. Nalebuff, suggests a number of non-technical game-theoretic approaches in which Boeing and Airbus can commit irrationally in advance to each others sequential actions after the rivals have made their preemptive moves. Dixit-Nalebuff outline such irrational moves as writing contracts, building a reputation for never backing down, or burning bridges and making decisions that make it impossible to back down.

Photo Credit: Steep takeoff from Le Bourget field of a Bombardier CS300 during the 2015 Paris Air Show. Montreal, Quebec Canadian Bombardier CS300 is a single-aisle 160-seater, which sold no planes at the 2015 Paris Air Show, is a direct competitor to single-aisle Boeing 737s and Airbus A320 Family of airliners. 

Entry Deterrence into the Game. Still, another example of a sequential Boeing-Airbus duopoly game is entry deterrence, where an entrepreneurial aircraft manufacturer, like China or another southeast Asia deep pocket entrant, decides whether or not to crash the Boeing-Airbus duopoly game.

Four things are essential for success of any new entrant with Boeing and Airbus in the aircraft manufacturing industry, hyper-competitively speaking: (1) technical “know-how” (especially in aircraft virtual manufacturing, aviation maintenance, and advanced pilot engagement with digital glass cockpits), (2) sunk cost controls (including fixed costs controls of aircraft engine fuel efficiencies), (3) deep pockets and capital reserves, and (4) niche market strongholds (particularly in the southeast Asia region, where point-to-point air carriers flying across islands are expected to see an explosion is passenger loads in the coming decade).

Any new entrant knows that the Boeing-Airbus incumbents are most likely to accommodate the entrepreneurial aircraft manufacturer once it is widely seen in the market that the new entrant is committed and credible. Then, the problem facing the Boeing-Airbus incumbency is how to credibly commit to a strategy they know will not be optimal down the line (such as lowering prices into a deepest price war after the entrepreneurial aircraft manufacturer enters the industry). This would be designed to shift the entrepreneurial aircraft manufacturer’s strategy in the deteriorating value of the industry, and perhaps even under search threats, deter the entrant from entering the industry in the first place.

Think of the Boeing-Airbus duopoly game of entry deterrence analogous to that of the “nuclear deterrence game”, largely introduced in the late 20th century between the United States and the USSR. The United States needed to credibly commit to a strategy that was clearly irrational, such as blowing up the world within minutes for any minor invasion in Western Europe. If the United States could strategically commit itself in such a deep fashion, it could avoid a preemptive first-strike invasion in Western Europe by the USSR.

President Reagan went even further by strategically committing to a credible new entrant threat of developing a first-strike arsenal of nuclear weaponry from space in order to deter the USSR with national economic bankruptcy in any attempts to strategically respond. Remarkably, this US-USSR duopoly game of entry deterrence ended the Cold War.

The power to constrain an adversary may depend on the power to bind oneself.” – Thomas Shelling, “The Strategy of Conflict” (1960).

Asymmetric Information to Make the Market Inefficient. One deceptive sequential move is to raise the uncertainty and increase the inefficiency in the market regarding: (1) where are the Boeing and Airbus rivals at each quarter period of time in the marketplace, (2) will each rival back down, and (3) will Airbus believe Boeing’s preemptive release of a “near vertical takeoff” of a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner prior to the 2015 Paris Air Show.

Modern game-theoretic research is devoted to classical economist John Hicksian behavioral economic aspects of “asymmetric or incomplete information” about “win-lose” payoffs to rival oligopolistic firms, competing in inefficient markets, increasingly having enormous complexities of structured finance, derivatives, and Black-Scholes risk options in the sequential business game.

Photo Credit: British Airways crew landing at Le Bourget field in an Airbus A380 during the 2015 Paris Air Show.

Bottom-Line Business Takeaways.

The Boeing-Airbus duopoly game at the 2015 Paris Air Show has only one business solution: the rival firms won US$107 billion in aircraft orders for their top-line revenues.

If a business can’t make its top-line revenue targets, it’s hard for the firm to make its bottom-line earnings for its shareholders.

Nonetheless, the Nash equilibrium simultaneously moves and its sub-game sequential moves in the Boeing-Airbus duopoly game are not designed to produce exact numerical answers. This is because solutions of such high-stakes games are highly dependent on the assumptions made about the timing of the sequential moves in particular, along with the asymmetric information available to Boeing and Airbus that affect either the rationality and efficiency or the irrationality and inefficiency of the business decisions of their boards and executives. 

The extent to which Boeing can be assumed to have information about Airbus’ irrevocable decisions before taking Boeing’s decision to Le Bourget, crucially affects the outcome of the Boeing-Airbus duopoly game at the 2015 Paris Air Show.

The bottom-line business takeaway from this piece in assessing the Boeing-Airbus duopoly is game theory’s greatest utility in obtaining a deeper understanding about the economic structure of the competitive strategic interactions between Boeing and Airbus. This is essential not only to learn what the right way to play the Boeing-Airbus duopoly game is, but also to understand existing possibilities and consequences of legitimately breaking the rules of the game to achieve breakthroughs in technological innovation and “know-how” in the aircraft manufacturing business.

Most of all, if Boeing understands that its price competition with Airbus is a prisoner’s dilemma game of simultaneous moves or even a “battle of the sexes” game of standardization in their moves, it can change the rules of the game to remove the motivations and incentives both Boeing and Airbus have to engage in such price wars.

For readers interested in further study into the strategic topics of this piece, Transforming The Ivory Tower, How Scenarios of Possible Futures Provide Real Growth for Academic Organizations, discusses how to combine modern game theory with scenario planning to (1) anticipate and adjust core strategies as society’s actual future unfolds, and (2) develop a decision-making tool for complex strategic interactions in oligopolistic industrial organizations, such as Boeing and Airbus, as well as, governmental and academic institutions alike.

Photo Credit: Steep takeoff from Le Bourget field of an Airbus A380 during the 2015 Paris Air Show.

Appendix A: Prisoners’ Dilemma

Commonly seen on the long-running NBC drama series, Law & Order, produced by lawyer Dick Wolf, this situation involves two criminals who are arrested for committing a serious crime. The police have no proof of their involvement, except for a minor infraction. The prosecutor offers them a deal, whereby the one who implicates the other escapes all punishment, and the other gets a heavy prison sentence. If both criminals implicate the other, both end up in prison for a long time. The dominant strategy (or Nash equilibrium) is for each criminal to implicate the other. Consequently, they both end up getting relatively heavy prison sentences.

Appendix B: The Battle of the Sexes

Perhaps nowadays a “politically-incorrect” manner to describe this Nash equilibria game, a husband and a wife want to coordinate their choice for an evening out having fun on the town. The husband prefers to go to a night football game, and the wife wants to go to the theater. But, they both prefer to do together any of the two activities than to do their preferred one alone. This is coordinating to set a standard of fun for each during their evening out on the town.

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Jun 262015
 

Harvard

Photo Credit: Harvard Business School

Ever wonder who’s in the “college billionaires club” and why they stay so wealthy? How colleges invest as institutions matters most. Equally as much, how donors plan to give their gifts matters too. Just as important is how long do the college’s cash reserves hold up too under an endowment payout typically between 3-5%, as a rule, among this elite institutional billionaires cohort.

“Cash is king” inside the “college billionaires club”. So with that said, we discuss with you in this piece the key hidden secrets behind keeping the club’s balance sheets so healthy.

Photo Credit: Harvard University

A report from Moody’s Investors Service entitled,”Financially Leading Universities Poised to Further Widen Balance Sheet Advantage,” measured in the second quarter of this year, the total wealth of 503 public and private institutions in terms of cash and investments in 2014. The report found that America’s ten (10) richest universities holds nearly a third (33%) of the total institutional investor wealth of the sector. Whereas, the sector’s top 40 colleges hold almost two-thirds of the total wealth.

“This group of financially leading universities is differentiated from the rest of the sector by long-term highly diversified investment strategies, exceptionally strong philanthropic support, and healthy cash flows. Combined, these will contribute to ongoing wealth concentration in the higher education sector,” says Moody’s Analyst, Pranav Sharma.

America’s 50 richest colleges, as ultra-high net-worth (UHNW) institutional investors (which is described here as the “college billionaires club”), generally invest for “other people”, looking forward globally using not only “other people’s money”, but also their own.

These institutional investments are achieved through balanced portfolios of mutual funds, insurance and re-insurance capital, private and public equities, treasuries and municipal bonds, and alternative investments (e.g., structured finance, interest and various risk options, and/or warrants and derivatives), and REITs – real estate investment trusts – considering the old adage that sometimes “the best investment on earth is earth.”

Like across much of the U.S. population, the gap between the richest universities and the “rest of the pack” in the higher education sector is widening, with leading schools attracting a steady stream of investments, alongside generous donations.

Duke Univ Campus 8

Photo Credit: Duke University

Shaping the “Rule of 3” institutional investor wealth list among the academy, as of fiscal year 2014 in terms of cash and investments are: Harvard in first place by a wide margin with US$42.8 billion, alongside Stanford, as runner-up second with US$31.6 billion, and Yale rounding off the top three with US$25.4 billion.

In contrast, Howard University in Washington, DC, which tops the U.S. historically black colleges and universities wealth sector, comprising about 4 percent of the U.S. higher education market, holds about US$538 million in cash and investments.

Rounding out the top 10 list inside the “college billionaires club”, encompassing the 50 wealthiest U.S. universities as institutional investors in 2014, are:

#4 Princeton University at US$21.3 billion;

#5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology at US$15.2 billion;

#6 University of Pennsylvania at US$11.9 billion;

#7 Duke University at US$11.4 billion;

#8 Northwestern University at $US10.4 billion;

#9 Columbia University at $US9.9 billion;

#10 University of Notre Dame at $US9.5 billion.

How Do These Ten Riches U.S. College Institutional Investors Maintain Their Capital Reserves?

Moody’s says the ten riches U.S. colleges’ “diverse investment strategies and access to the best performing managers have played a pivotal role in a quick recovery since the financial crisis. By investing in less-liquid, higher-yielding assets, the group has stronger long-term investment returns. With very strong financial reserves relative to debt and operations, these universities can manage the volatility associated with these strategies. Based on FY 2014, the top 40 universities had a median cash and investments of $6.3 billion compared with $272 million for the remainder of the sector.”

These ultra-high net worth (UHNW) billionaire institutional investors tend to have huge capital reserves, which creates high-cash yield investments through structured financial instruments, such as interest-rate swaps, credit default swaps or foreign exchange rate derivatives, according to Simon Smiles, Chief Investment Officer of UBS Wealth Management.

In his discussions with UHNW billionaire institutional and individual clients across the world, Smiles says three questions are on the minds of billionaire college institutional investors and the trustees of their wealth trusts, “They want to know what they should do with their cash balances in a zero rate world of — apparently, after many false starts — rising inflation; what investment themes they should focus on over the longer term; and how they can generate investment returns less correlated to movements in global equity markets.”

Photo Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Smiles says UHNW billionaire college institutional investors are constantly on the lookout for high-yield alternative exotic investment strategies that not only protect, but also, substantially grow their wealth. Such wealth-creation means, known as “alpha” strategies, especially attractive to UHNW billionaire college institutional investors, involve investments that create cash out of risk advantages by selling derivatives and “exotic” financial instruments to structure low risk, higher cash yields, and greater returns on investments.

UHNW billionaire college institutional investors are also interested in stakeholder management issues across global communities, involving what is termed as “secular” investments, involving rising standards of living, urbanization, and population growth, and their impact on heightened protein consumption, not only in developed countries, but especially in under-developed countries and emerging economies across Asia, writes Smiles.

“As a result, the investment opportunities offered by this long-term secular investment trend are varied: public equities, private equity, and direct investments, such as agricultural land and fisheries,” Smiles typically advises his global high-net billionaire institutional and individual clients.

This presents a compelling case about how UHNW billionaire college institutional investors do make a difference along many institutional threads across our social fabric.

“These financially strong universities benefit from diverse revenue sources, which underpin greater operating stability and cash flow generation. Despite revenue diversity, financial performance of public universities is expected to moderate as state governments reduce operating appropriations, while placing constraints on tuition growth,” Moody’s finds. 

These findings shed a more favorable light on how a third of total institutional investments are remarkably held by these ten U.S. colleges, as an institutional investor cohort, when viewed through a more rational prism of data and information to gain deeper knowledge and insights about what it takes to be a UHNW billionaire college institutional investor nowadays in terms of demographics, education, business and finance, and investments.

Free Tuition to Students Attending the College Billionaires Club

As reported by Economic Policy Editor, Bryce Covert for Thinking Progress: In April 2015, “Stanford University announced that more accepted students won’t have to pay anything for tuition, which normally runs nearly $46,000 a year.

Students whose families make less than $125,000 a year and have assets worth $300,000 or less, including home equity but excluding anything that they have saved in retirement accounts, won’t have to pay tuition. Students whose families make less than $65,000 also won’t have to pay for room and board, which can run about another $14,100. Scholarships or grants will cover the costs instead, and the school has a $21 billion endowment. The thresholds were previously $100,000 for free tuition and $60,000 for free room and board.

Students will still have to contribute at least $5,000 a year from part-time work during the school year, working during the summer, and/or savings.

“Our highest priority is that Stanford remain affordable and accessible to the most talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances,” said Provost John Etchemendy in a press release. “Our generous financial aid program accomplishes that, and these enhancements will help even more families, including those in the middle class, afford Stanford without going into debt.” The school says that 77 percent of undergraduates leave without student debt.

That makes Stanford graduates somewhat unique, as about 70 percent graduate with debt, owing an average of $29,000 at the end of last year. Student loan debt has tripled over the last decade. Meanwhile, nearly a third of those who have started to pay back the loans are more than three months behind on payments.

But Stanford isn’t the only place offering free tuition. Princeton offers free tuition to parents who make less than $120,000 and free room and board to those who make under $60,000. Harvard and Yale make tuition free for families who make less than $65,000, while Harvard asks those who make between that level and $150,000 to contribute between 0 and 10 percent of their income.”

Here’s a nice idea proposed by Bryce Covert for finally addressing affordability and access to public land-grant higher education in America:

“Tuition at public colleges came to $62.6 billion in 2012, according to the latest government data. That’s less than what the government already spends to subsidize the cost of college through grants, tax breaks, and work-study funds, which comes to about $69 billion. It spends another $107.4 billion on student loans.”

“The federal government could take the $69 billion it currently spends helping students cover the cost of college through grants, tax breaks, and work-study funds and instead simply cover tuition at those schools for anyone who wanted to attend. That would give all students of all income backgrounds an affordable option, and it could also put pressure on private schools like Stanford and Harvard to reduce their tuition to compete, which has risen 13 percent over the last five years.”

Photo Credit: Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University

Where is charitable giving taking place around the world as of 2014?

Wealthy individuals amount to 72% of total charitable giving of US$358.38 billion in 2014 (compared to US$335.17 billion in 2013), up 7.1% overall (at US$23.21 billion), according to the 2015 Giving USA report. High net worth individuals are becoming more confident in giving to the secular causes they especially care about, as the mean net worth of charitable billionaires at US$3.1 billion and mean high cash balances on-hand at US$600 million continue to grow.

Total giving as a percentage of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) – an indication of the economy’s health – was 2.1% in 2014. Between 2013 and 2014, GDP increased in inflation-adjusted dollars at 2.2%, compared to inflation-adjusted total charitable giving at 5.4%.

According to Giving USA, total contributions by sources (as percentages of all charitable giving at US$358.38 billion in 2014, including in parenthesis percent increases (decreases) from 2013 giving levels) carves out as follows:

  • Individuals at 72% (totaling US$258.03 billion, up 5.7%, compared to up 4.2% from 2012 giving levels). This amounted to an additional US$13.88 billion given to others in need, the greatest contributing increase. This also amounted to about 58 percent of the US$23.21 billion increase between the 2013 and 2014 total charitable giving levels;
  • Foundations at 15% (totaling US$53.76 billion, up 8.2%, compared to up 5.7% from 2012 giving levels);
  • Bequests at 8% (totaling US$28.67 billion, up 15.5%, compared to up 8.7% from 2012 giving levels);
  • Corporations at 5% (totaling US$17.92 billion, up 13.7%, compared to down1.9% from 2012 giving levels).

Photo Credit: Stanford University

Three charitable sectors have surpassed in 2014 giving levels realized in 2013 prior to the heart of the recession: (1) Religion, (2) Gifts to Foundations, and (3) Gifts to Individuals.

Education and Health sectors saw in 2014 a slight drop in giving levels seen in 2013, mainly due to uncertainties inside university teaching hospitals and medical research initiatives, surrounding the federal government’s larger role in population-based care – known as The Affordable Care Act – coming in full-force in 2016.

Whereas, five charitable sectors remained steady in 2014 with 2013 giving levels: (1) Human Resources, (2) Public-Safety Benefits, (3) Arts, Culture and Humanities, (4) International Affairs, and (5) Environment and Animals

Here’s the Giving USA breakdown of 2014 contributions in parenthesis to recipient organization (by percentages of total charitable giving at US$358.38 billion in 2014):

  • Religion (32%, compared to 31% in 2013);
  • Education, particularly to higher education and K-12 (15%, compared to 16% in 2013);
  • Human Resources (12%, the same as 2013);
  • Gifts to Foundations (12%, compared to 11% in 2013);
  • Health (8%, compared to 10% in 2013);
  • Public-Safety Benefit (7%, the same as 2013);
  • Arts, Culture and Humanities (5%, the same as 2013);
  • International Affairs (4%, the same as 2013);
  • Environment and Animals (3%, the same as 2013);
  • Gifts to Individuals (2%, compared to 1% in 2013).

Photo Credit: Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro and World-Renowned, Distinguished Ballet Artist, Mikhail Baryshnikov

“All key economic factors associated with charitable giving grew in 2014 — such as the S&P 500 Index, U.S. Gross Domestic Product, and corporate profits — were generally stronger as compared with 2013,” the 2015 Giving USA analysis reveals.

The analysis adds: the rise in corporate giving in 2014 at 13.7% was largely due to higher growth in pre-tax corporate earnings at 8.3%. Corporate giving as a percentage of these pre-tax corporate earnings was just 0.7 percent in 2014.

Donations of