Jul 302015
 

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.

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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.

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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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