air crashes

Feb 17, 2016

China to make only three ultra sharp MH370 searches before ATSB quits scene

The ATSB is ready to accept the possibility that missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was in a controlled glide in the final moments of its doomed flight almost two years into the

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

[caption id="attachment_59354" align="aligncenter" width="555"]An indicate ATSB map as to how much larger gliding could make the search zone An indicative ATSB map as to how much larger gliding could make the search zone[/caption] The ATSB is ready to accept the possibility that missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was in a controlled glide in the final moments of its doomed flight almost two years into the southern Indian Ocean. If that was the case, and all the other fundamental assumptions are correct, the current priority search area might have to be three times as large as it is. This concession by the Australian managed search for the jet is made by the chief commissioner of the ATSB, Martin Dolan, in a paywalled interview in The Times. The already extended priority sea floor search zone for the jet was based on the aircraft flying on a predetermined heading without further pilot input after first being deliberately diverted onto a west and then northwesterly course toward central Asia in the early morning of 8 March 2014 when it was en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board. If however there was control until very late in the flight, and it was glided even after the power to both engines stopped because of fuel exhaustion, it could have flown maybe 100 kilometres or more than modelled, vastly increasing the number of possible paths to an even larger area of the ocean than the 120,000 square kilometres that are being searched. The Times report refers to the eventuality that Australia would publish a report explaining why the search had failed that would included recognition of the controlled end of flight scenario should nothing be found in the defined zone. The search partners, Australia, Malaysia and China, have agreed that the current ATSB managed Malaysia instructed sea floor search will end on the exhaustion of this area pending no material discoveries of sunk wreckage or credible new leads. That end of the ATSB search is generally estimated to come by the end of May, subject to the sea state generated by the weather, which will deteriorate as the southern winter draws nearer. The ATSB search has in fact contemplated controlled flight scenarios in the past. It took about a year of lobbying by UK pilot Simon Hardy for his calculated end of flight scenarios, which involved ditching the jet while it had enough fuel left to deliver full control to a pilot, to be acknowledged. Captain Hardy's optimal resting place for the wreckage was sonar scanned by the search late last year without result, although the calculations involved were accorded serious respect and consideration, and the margin for error is such that it might yet have come down within tens of kilometres of where he expected it could have ended. Unpowered gliding is another matter. The risk of loss of control toward the end of such a descent to the sea surface is considered very high, and the satellite ping data, as described by the ATSB  last year, suggested that after both engines failed, one some minutes after the other, the Boeing 777-200ER began to fall out of control toward an impact, and that the jet might even have been inverted before impact thus breaking the signal line of sight between a computer system antenna on the fuselage and an Inmarsat communications satellite parked in a geosynchronous location over the west Indian Ocean. If as The Times report says, the area in which MH370 might have come down is about three times larger than the priority search zone, then there would only be a one in three chance that the jet lies within it,  rather than somewhere surrounding it. Which raises an interesting speculation as to what China might do, once the Australian search ends. It might continue the search rather than go home. Most of the victims of the loss of MH370 were China nationals, and the derision with which Beijing held the conduct of the Malaysian authorities early in the saga is on the public record. By coincidence or otherwise, The Times story came out at the same time as an unusually early release of the JACC/ATSB Wednesday search update. This is what the very brief update says about the Chinese ship and its sharp synthetic aperture ultra deep water scanning sonar towfish.
Dong Hai Jiu 101 has departed Fremantle to transit to the calibration range where the towfish will be trialed. It will then return to Fremantle to land personnel embarked only for the trials, before departing around 18 February for the first of three swings in the search area.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

40 thoughts on “China to make only three ultra sharp MH370 searches before ATSB quits scene

  1. Tango

    Well that pretty well puts the icing on the cake.

    As noted more than once by myself, there are far too many assumptions for the location to be remotely accurate.

    Roughly yes, but roughly is a huge amount of ocean.

    May they rest in peace.

  2. Keto Vodda

    So why should so many countries contribute to an obviously useless search for so long?

  3. Dan Dair

    Instead of saying;
    “You know, we made a bunch of assumptions, based on the information Malaysia supplied us with.
    After a solid review, we think we’ve been looking in the wrong place all along.!”

    The JACC/ATSB seem to have decided that they DON’T WANT to carry on.
    They have ‘engineered’ a false trail (not unlike the Malaysians before them).
    By tripling the search area it will, in the public eye, give them a an excuse not to continue the search.

    It is inevitable that MH370 will eventually be found at some time in the future, either by accident or when the underwater remote technology improves to the extent that they can be ‘fire & forget’ capable.
    (See loss of BSAA Lancastrian G-AGWH, Stardust)

    I would like to hope that those involved in the obfuscation & deceit are still alive to be imprisoned, or at least ‘lose face’.?

  4. Jacob HSR

    Keto Vodda #2,

    Because I have felt that aircraft should constantly stream data to satellites rather than depending on on-board data recorders.

    And with streaming data to satellites, we can also avoid disasters such as Iran Air Flight 655.

  5. Dan Dair

    The very idea that anyone would fly that far South before attempting an unpowered controlled landing on water is just so much Guff.!

    We almost know for certain that the supposed overflight of Malaysia & surrounding States & islands didn’t happen.?

    Therefore, for some reason the aircraft must have turned South more or less immediately after it went ‘dark’, & then carried on that way.

    That being the case, why would anyone with any control over the aircraft, assuming it had been badly disabled, not attempt to turn-around or ditch close to where they were supposed to be.?

    If it was a suicidal member of the aircrew, why deliberately fly it anywhere obscure when you could;
    Make a ‘statement’ & crash into something spectacular, or
    Crash it right away so that you don’t have hours & hours to ‘brood’ over your actions before you die.?

    As a trained & experienced pilot, by the time you get to the end of the fuel & you are deep, deep into the Southern Indian Ocean, you will know fine well that there is absolutely no chance of being rescued.
    Consequently, why would you even try to make a controlled ditching.?

    Absolutely none of the reasons or explanations given so far by any of the search or investigation teams make any logical sense whatsoever.
    (Responding with, because the pilot was a ‘nut-job’, is neither reason or explanation.
    We have only to look at the GermanWings tragedy, to know what a selfish & suicidal act looks like.?))

  6. Sam Jackson

    IMO it was a great mistake handing over the search to ATSB, with AMSA in charge the bulldust meter was in the low to mid range. Credibility was essential, honesty imperative and expertise mandatory. I wonder where the Chinese vessel will venture once the ‘official’ search is complete? It is after all an independent vessel, owned by a sovereign nation working in international water. Watch and wait seems to be the brief for now.

  7. comet

    Boeing should now be forking out cash, just like Airbus financed the search for AF447.

  8. Mayan

    Dan Dair has a point. Every other suicidal pilot has gone for the gold by making a very big, very public mess of their plane. Assuming it was suicide, what would make this one different?

    And if it were a political protest, then wouldn’t someone with the wit to become a pilot also have the smarts to ensure that the protest would be known?

  9. Curious Onlooker

    The cultural importance of not losing face and insurance for the family makes it different. If its never found it cannot be proved to be caused by the pilot.

  10. Dan Dair

    Curious Onlooker,
    Part of the problem is that what is only a point-of-view, has become an established fact.

    As far as I’m aware, there are no facts or circumstances which actually support the ‘suicidal, rebel/rogue pilot’ story.?

    This ‘pilot-suicide’ story was concocted by the Malaysian authorities without any apparent justification.?
    (I’ll happily defer to anyone who has any prescient information to divulge)

    If you ignore the (apparently fabricated) story about pilot-suicide, you are left with pretty-much of nothing to go on as a reason for the loss.
    ‘If it’s never found it cannot be proved to be caused by the pilot’
    Equally, if it’s never found, the ‘official line’ (& accepted fact) of pilot-suicide can never be disproved.
    Consequently, if it’s never found, in the public eye it will continue to be accepted by the man-in-the-street or the (lazy) mass-media as the ‘factual’ cause of the loss.

  11. Ventus45

    So, THREE – and ONLY three swings = trips = deployments.

    I think we can assume from this, that the ship has been tasked with a defined list of “difficult sites” to check out, which will take three trips total, and when completed, project finishes, ie, will be wound up, at least as far as Australia’s ATSB, and MALAYSIA is concerned.

    Presumably, at that point, the “agreements” in the ATSB document lapse. Then, presumably, all three countries are “released” from any need or reason to “co-operate”.

    So, if China decided to “go it alone”, with it’s own independent search, it would be under no obligation whatsoever to tell anybody anything, even if they later found it.

    Given China’s attitude to the search for the last eighteen months, it is pretty clear that they have been absent because they believe they were being ignored and lied to.

    With that as the background, it would be highly unlikely that the Chinese would “give” Malaysia or Australia the proverbial “time of day” if they did later find it outside the 120,000 square kilometre zone themselves.

    Indeed, they may choose to keep any find a state secret, so that they could later marshal their own recovery assets in secret, and do a recovery under cover of a “fishing fleet” or similar, and “exclude” all other parties, regardless of what the UN, ICAO, or anyone else said about it.

    That would be very interesting, politically.

    So, now the question becomes, what will the Dong Hai Jiu 101 do after it completes it’s three swings ?

    Will it return to China ? OR:-

    Given that China always thought that the aircraft went further south west of the ATSB area, Will it then send the Dong Hai Jiu 101 back out, and conduct it’s own search ?

  12. James O'Neill

    Ben, are you aware of a report published on 10 February in World News Daily Report of a man in Taipei Adventist Hospital found unconscious on the banks of the Tangshui River, suffering from amnesia and severe dehydration.
    His fingerprints were taken and he has been identified as Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of MH370 allegedly crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
    I cannot verify the accuracy of the report, but it carries an interview with the treating doctor. There is no obvious reason to suggest the report is a hoax. If found to be true it raises some interesting questions does it not?

  13. Fred


    World News Daily Report is hardly a reputable source of news and the report to which you referred is a hoax. The disclaimer on the WNDR website states: “All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle”.

  14. wagga

    James: is your friend.

  15. Tango

    Its really a shame you guys don’t get suicide.

    when done per mass murder its also insandity.

    If you understood someone who was insane you too would be doing insane things that no one else undertand.

    If there a rule tghat all suicides have to act the same?

    Aparnlty people also do not get how big an area that is.

    Start walking, walk across Australia, that’s the width.

    turn around, fly to Northern Australia, then walk south till you hit the ocean down there, that’s how far it is.

    If its accidently found it will be 200 years from now (assuming we don’t do ourselves in first)

    In the meantime, Australia has spent 100 million on ?

    I will keep remind the readers, a fishing boat sank down in the same area (further South), one fly over, so sad, too bad, they are gone, and that was it. Why not a search for them?

    Australia only obligation was to go look for wreckage, not run a sea floor search. Why it was done only politico can tell you, they are insane of course so it makes no sense.

    Of course the capt in the hospital could tell you all about it.
    the rest is just PR spin.

    Just so we can say, yep, it crashed?

    Even in the US 100 million is serious money (well to most of us) and Australia proportionally its more like a billions. Phew.

  16. The hood

    I thought just a month ago that a controlled landing was deemed preposterous by you Ben? Now it is a possibility. I thought it was always a possible scenario

  17. Dan Dair

    “Its really a shame you guys don’t get suicide”
    IMO, a very worrying statement.
    I would think it was actually very good that we don’t.?

    “Is there a rule that all suicides have to act the same?”
    Absolutely not.
    However, experience tells us that people who commit suicide generally have some medical history which might be a clue (at least after the fact) or some kind of ‘stresser’ which provoked them to take that action. Be that as a cry for help, an end-of-their-tether event or something which caused them to want to make high-profile reaction to what they saw as an unjust situation.?

    As far as I’m aware, none of the flight-crew of MH370 had any of these indicators.?

    Let me be clear,
    I am not saying that it was definitively not pilot-suicide.
    What I am saying is that there is nothing at all which actually points to pilot-suicide,or than the fact that the Malaysian authorities said it.
    Captain Zahirie was fine the day before & then suddenly & out of nowhere, he’s so nuts he does something completely out of context which defies any explanation…….
    I respectfully suggest not.!

    The infamous B737 rudder ‘hard-over’s were all blamed on pilot-error until one did it & the crew survived the event.
    With the greatest respect to air accident investigators everywhere, when a specific circumstance or set thereof, can not be found, the default setting is inevitably pilot-error.

    IMO, without the wreckage and full disclosure of all the ATC & radar recordings, plus possibly disclosure of all the flight-crews medical records, no definitive & sensible conclusion regarding the loss of this aircraft can possibly be reached.

    If you’re content with pure guesswork, so be it.!
    I’d be much happier if it was left unresolved until the investigative authorities could be (very near) certain.

  18. Dan Dair

    I made a typing error which is corrected here in capitals;

    ‘Let me be clear,
    I am not saying that it was definitively not pilot-suicide.
    What I am saying is that there is nothing at all which actually points to pilot-suicide, OTHER than the fact that the Malaysian authorities said it’

  19. Ben Sandilands

    The hood,

    What is preposterous is that you can’t read. When I report what the ATSB or anyone else says, why does it become something I say.

    But, for the sake of those with problems with letters and meanings, the criticism I did make of Bailey’s stories was that they failed to engage over the end of flight satellite data analysis by the Australian Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group.

    They fit best with a loss of control shortly before impact, whether or not MH370 had been up to active control up to that point. If your reading skills extend to the most recent reports in The Australian, you might have noticed that paper has finally picked up on this subtle point.

  20. Tango

    Dan Dair:

    First you say its a good thing we are not insane.

    Never said other wise. Read carefuly, it you understood what was going through the mind of a known suidie (Germanwings pilot) you too would be insane.

    So called sane people then attempt to atirube motives and rational acts to that insane kperson.

    A sane person not only can’t uncertand it, if you are insane then you live in a self cobntrute world with rules of its own. Said rules are not sane, but they are the rules they live by.

    And not, someone who comits suicide does not leave tracks and traces. Many times yes if you back track.

    I had the sad personal experience of knowing someone who did. Forntaly she was not insane, she only took her own life. A very wonderfull person with a wonder4full family, no medical. She had demons and I can’t imangein the pain she was in to leave her two very wonderull daughters.

    You will note that I do not attribute anything to whoever did the act, but the reality is clear, regardless of conspiracy theory, my understanding is others have seen the radar tapes, the aircraft turned back, flew up the straights of Malacca and then turned South.

    A damaged aircraft cannot do that, so it had to be human action and only suicide explains it, mass murder, insane as there was no big splash motive (9.11 killers)

    that leaves out fanatics and narrows it down to a know pax list of which there was no one who could fly said aircraft which then narrows it down to crew.

    One of the crew was very in depth about aircraft ops and systems.

  21. Tango


    Can you sort out the Radar aspect? I believe I read that authorities other than Malaysia have seen the tapes.

    Correct me if I am wrong.

    If I had known it was going to be this nutty I would have saved each reference.

  22. Ben Sandilands


    When KL confirmed that the flight had diverted across the Malaysia Peninsula it said it had shown the radar tapes to the NTSB for its opinion, and that opinion had informed their interpretation that the object of interest was indeed MH370.

    The NTSB has never disagreed with those claims.

    However on 1 May 2014, when a redacted version of the interim report by the Malaysia authorities into MH370 was released the acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein posted on Facebook that cabinet had known on the morning of 8 March 2014 that the jet had in fact flown over the peninsula.

    Which in turn led to the realisation that the KL authorities had for reasons unknown set out to mislead the then much wider field of search partners by constantly insisting that the search effort by extended further to the north and to the east into the South China Sea and further west and so forth.

    This occurred before KL confirmed that Inmarsat had drawn their attention to the evidence that the jet had flown for seven hours 39 minutes and for most of the time, in a southerly direction.

    I can’t however stop doing the other things I’m doing to go over the finer records concerning radar traces. It would take over every minute of my day, and I just can’t keep going back and doing these things. This is an unpaid one man effort, I also have to make a living, and today for example I will be largely dividing my time between a Boeing briefing in Sydney which involves more travel time than flying from Canberra to Perth, and a different unrelated activity.

  23. Dan Dair

    There seems to have been a hell of a lot of deferring to the Malaysian point of view.

    As Ben says, the Malaysians said the NTSB had seen the radar tapes.
    The NTSB has never denied this, but equally has apparently never confirmed it either.?
    The ATSB has never publicly taken issue with any of the Malaysian statements, yet there seems to be a great deal of disparity between what the Malaysians have said happened & what the digital data says.?

    The issue of the mental state of any of the flight crew remains a stumbling block for me.
    There seems to have been no adverse medical history ‘trail’ to follow, otherwise I’m sure we’d have heard about it by now.

    I do not purport to know about serious mental illness, but I am pretty sure that you don’t go from well to ‘completely nutty’ overnight, without some serious outward signs.

    Assuming that interpretation is accurate, I’d have thought that any of the numerous aviation staff they would have interacted with prior to take-off that morning, would have reported any personality or mannerism changes, even if it was after-the-fact.?

  24. Mayan

    Tango, when you say “if you are insane then you live in a self cobntrute world with rules of its own” you are buying into a tautology that anyone who attempts suicide, whether successful or not, is insane. One can easily imagine a great many situations where someone who wants to kill themselves is sane. Indeed, there is a political movement to institutionalise suicide (euthanasia) which has as a core tenet that those who seek it can be sane.

    That someone might have become trapped in a set of circumstance with no way out that they can imagine is not insanity. An outsider might say that person overlooked certain other things, but that does not means the person is insane.

    What we do see in the known pilot suicides (in which they murdered their passengers) is that they went out with a bang, not a whimper. Leaving aside slurs of insanity, why would any other pilot in that situation act differently?

    Killing only oneself would seem to be an act of despair, of no options. Killing oneself and plane load of others is an expression of rage. Angry people don’t slink off the stage.

  25. Tango

    My apologies, I did indeed mix up the two conditions and situation. Someone who commits suicide is not insane, they are in pain beyond belief.

    A mass murder can commit suicide, that person is insane and what the links are or are not I have not a clue.

    Mayan: You make unsupported connection between a few incidents and then assume that applies to everyone. Is the a book they have to follow? If indeed the pilot took it off course and killed the passengers, what reason rational that was done by is insane and neither you nor I not anyone else will ever know.
    Turning you comments back on you, who made the bigger long term splash, Germanwings or MH370? Flying a plane off into never never land has created one of aviation’s biggest mysteries and when was last time we heard about Germanwings. MH370 will go down as aviation most bizarre unsolved cases. That’s masking a statement even if its grossly insane and sick. 90 years after Emilia Earhart disappeared they are still talking about it and looking. This will be the same.
    This has been going on for a couple of years now and not to mention it will go down in the annals. If not for a system that was unknown we would not even have a clue (other than the flaperon that washed ashore)

    So we have independent analysis of the radar tapes, we have a track that works out though not precise end game (and nothing to do with Malaysian authorities for info) , we have a flaperon that washed ashore almost to the week they predicted it would (also non Malaysian) and where it would (if anything did)

    Ben: My apologies, thank you for the response. I did get and early on the part Malaysia played and the lies they told and continue to tell.

    The only thing I do know is dictators lie, quasi dictators lie (Malaysia is someplace in that mix) and someone who gets 750 million that is not a bribe is a gross liar of biblical proportiond.

    ALL: The NTSB is not noted for being a silent partner to anyone or anything. They are a fully independent part of the US government and are NOT part of the FAA or State Department.

    If they have not said anything then I will accept the radar tracks.

    And no I do not buy anything the Malaysian have said if its not been corroborated.

    Looks back at my posts, they are in the same leagues as any other dictatorship. I have gone on record they should be taken to task by all nations involved. that does not means some of the facts are not true.

    Their conduct is beyond reprehensible, its criminal and they should be tried at the Hague.


  26. Dan Dair

    I appreciate all that you’ve said in the previous post & I had no intention of being derogatory towards you.

    However, Simon Gunson has frequently referred to the problems relating to the radar analysis.
    I do not purport to speak for him & I have no doubt he will speak for himself if I am in any way in error,
    but from memory, he has said that the tracking shows MH370 at 26,000′ & then at 38,000′. The time difference between the two heights is inconsistent with the flight capabilities of a fully laden & fuelled Boeing 777.
    Also, there are waypoints tagged by the radar record which require the aircraft to exceed Mach 1 to be at both points within the specified timeframe.

    I did not make this analysis myself, but Simon is extremely passionate & believable in the points he makes.

    the radar tapes are the only thing which is keeping you supportive of the status-quo of the final position of the aircraft, I would suggest you review for yourself the numbers Simon uses.

    I side with Ben in being extremely sceptical of anything the Malaysian authorities have said.
    I side with Simon in believing that the flight around the Malaysian peninsula & the associated states & nations is a lie.

    MH370 did not fly north at any point, it leaves more fuel to fly further South within the available timeframe.

    I don’t ‘know’ for a fact,
    but I do find this version the most compelling.

    It would be nice to think that those in authority might be prepared to reconsider their starting parameters.?

    Your reflections upon these points would be interesting & possibly illuminating.

  27. Simon Gunson

    After Australia abandons the search China will search the area which their own scientists suggested on 24 March 2014. Along an axis between 45.30S, 85.30E and 43.40S, 88.30E.

    It will be egg on face for Martin Dolan who shut his mind to many legitimate clues.

    MH370 glided nowhere. The massive electrical failure between 18:03 and 18:25 UTC so severely disrupted MH370’s avionics that the interpretation of satellite handshakes is all wrong. Factor into that the effect of hypoxic flight and intense cold inside the cabin and the changes in electrical resistance that would cause, then you have a shortened BTO transmission bias.

    The real 7th Arc is hundreds of miles further out from the satellite. Decompression also rules out the Straits Detour and this means MH370 flew further south.

  28. Simon Gunson

    @ Dan Dair

    No I have not said MH370 flew at 26,000ft and also at 38,000ft. I do not recall the context you refer to but I suspect I was discussing back in 2014 some of the minimum heights required for airspeeds claimed by Malaysia for an overflight from Kota Bharu and Penang.

    If you wish me to address your comment so we can discuss it with accuracy please post a link to where I have said this?

    Fact is I reject all the radar claims after 17:21 except the Vietnamese sightings of MH370 at BITOD. So if you are quoting me making a critique of Malaysian radar claims then you are quoting my hypothetical analysis of flaws in the evidence. Not what I actually believe.

    I believe MH370 was turned back from circa BITOD on autopilot at 35,000ft, suffered an electrical fire and decompression. If you want to know what I believe, then you should ask me, not paraphrase me.

  29. Dan Dair

    Simon Gunson,
    As I stated, it was from memory
    I am quite content for you to personally correct my errors….
    I intended no slur upon yourself or the extensive work you’ve obviously put into this subject.

    I recall you talking about MH370 having to exceed it’s maximum possible speed to achieve certain distances within the available timeframe.

    I might very well have been crediting you with someone else’s posting relating to the height differences and the inability of a fully laden & fuelled B777 to achieve the necessary rate of climb.

    If that is the case, I apologise to both of you.!!!

  30. Simon Gunson

    Dan Dair

    Sorry to be so prickly with you, but I dislike being misquoted or quoted inaccurately.

    The point at which satellite evidence discloses MH370 flew towards INMARSAT at approximately 4,000 knots was between 18:25 and 18:28 UTC. This is based on the jump in BTO values from 51,700 microseconds to 7,540. BTO is the signal path time delay which can be translated mathematically into MH370’s radius from the satellite.

    Since MH370’s BTO value at 18:25 can be calibrated to within 275nm of IGARI, to make the jump to approximately 436nm from IGARI at 18:28 requires a speed of something like 4,000 knots.

    However it is far simpler to conclude that the massive electrical failure before 18:25 UTC has distorted both BTO and BFO data values.

    The SDU antenna has a High Gain antenna powered by the Left AC Bus relay which was not powered from 18:03 to 18:25 UTC. But the SDU also had a Low Gain Antenna powered by the Right AC Bus relay. If the power to the left relay was interrupted within 60 seconds a relay switch would have been closed automatically to permit it being powered through the Right AC Bus relay.

    In fact both Main AC Bus relays were unpowered when MH370 was said to be tracked making precise navigation manouveres through the Straits of Malacca.

    That was impossible because with both main Buses disabled there was no power to the AIMS navigation brain.

    With or without a rogue pilot MH370 could not have turned around Penang on a course to precisely intercept waypoint VAMPI, nor turn again to precisely intercept waypoint MEKAR. It is not just the precise heading but also the precise distance flown and timing required at VAMPI to intercept MEKAR. All this was impossible.

  31. Simon Gunson

    It is well known by now that through facebook I became acquainted and now good friends with Zaharie’s sister Sakinab. Through her I have been in contact with other members of the family too.

    I told Sakinab just 24 hours ago that if I ever found evidence which convinced me Ari committed murder then I would cease to defend him. I did not become friends with her with the aim of disproving suicide.

    I was genuinely convinced by multiple conflicting radar claims from the Malaysians themselves that they were lying. I became convinced the radar evidence was faked within 24 hours of hearing the claim MH370 had flown to 45,000ft.

    Once I started to discard fake radar claims an electrical fire decompression scenario became obvious.

    Incidentally JACC had two engineers from Thales Raytheon review all the available Malaysian radar tapes and on 24 June 2014 Air Marshal Angus Houston declaring that the data was unreliable and did not say what the Malaysians said. His comments were reported in the Malaysian Chronicle which has since removed the article.

    I think if you want the facts about radar tapes you need to ask Houston directly.

  32. Simon Gunson

    Ben Sandilands,

    Bravo for all your hard work and thank you. I think by this point MH370 has become more of a passion than a job for all of us.

    Malaysia has a radar simulator system called the SELEX ATON-S and the Lido Hotel image is actually a screen grab from that system. That system by the way replicates an SSR radar, not the Thales Raytheon GM400 installed at Kota Bharu, yet the Lido Hotel image was represented on 11 March 2014 by RMAF Gen. Rodzali Daud as coming from the military radar at Butterworth – which is a GM400.

    The screen tracing shown in the March 2015 “Factual Information” report is also from a SELEX ATON-S simulator.

    I think the facts are screaming at us that Malaysia fabricated false radar data on their ATON-S radar simulator and have given fleeting glimpses to the NTSB which have never been subjected to forensic analysis.

  33. Simon Gunson

    Florence de Changy interviewed Zaharie’s friend Peter Chong and sister Sakinab a few months ago and is poised to publish her book to coincide with the anniversary.

    I think there will be quite a few juicy revelations in there for those willing to read it and also some hard evidence about the Maldives sighting that have not been seen in public.

    There are also some things going to be quoted from me that I would probably retract now, but only minor errors mentioning my theory around the CMU.

    There is also some interesting reading about her investigation of the Distress call from MH370.

  34. Dan Dair

    Simon Gunson,
    Re. Posting #30.

    My earlier (mis-quoting) posting was not aimed at you, but at Tango.
    He (?) described himself as content with the radar evidence because the NTSB has seen it.?

    In referencing your postings regarding MH370 needing to far exceed the maximum speed capability of a B777, I was trying to make the point that the radar evidence as it currently exists in the public domain can not possibly be accurate.

    Again, in referencing the other work here relating to the inability of a laden B777 to meet the necessary climb-rate to have been at the heights stated in the radar At The Times Stated In The Radar Record, I am trying to show the flaws in the radar record.

    If there are such evident flaws in the radar evidence provided by the Malaysian authorities, I think it is reasonable to assume that they do not provide an accurate (or even actual) record of the flight of MH370 on that particular day.?

  35. Simon Gunson


    Sorry, I am used to being under attack from all sides and responded before I had fully read your comment.

    The 2015 Report Factual information itself states that MH370 could not climb above 39,000ft at 17:21. To fly at the speed alleged between Kota Bharu and Penang (594kt) required MH370 had to fly at 40,000+ft.

    At this altitude it would have been seen by Thai radar at Hat Yai and Indonesian radar at Lhokseumwae, yet neither radar sites tracked this alleged flight.

    Add to this that electrical failure disabled both Left and Right AC Bus relays before 18:25 means MH370 had no navigation. No pilot, not even an autopilot could have flown the alleged route west if the AIMS navigation system was disabled.

    Tango hasn’t a leg to stand on and is merely defending his own prejudices.

  36. Fred


    Would you please explain the logic behind your statement “To fly at the speed alleged between Kota Bharu and Penang (594kt) required MH370 had to fly at 40,000+ft”?

  37. Simon Gunson

    I used an IAS/mach/TAS conversion chart to convert VMO to TAS with OAT at FL350 of -44C

  38. Fred

    Thanks Simon. At those altitudes the aircraft would be limited by MMO (0.87), not VMO, so the TAS would be much less. Once the aircraft becomes limited by MMO, the maximum TAS is 479 knots with a temperature of -44°C, and 469 knots with a temperature of -55°C. The maximum TAS the aircraft can ever achieve occurs at the crossover altitude, where VMO = MMO. That occurs at about 31,000 ft, where the maximum TAS would be about 485 knots at ISA, or 495 knots at ISA+10. In other words, the aircraft cannot achieve a TAS of 594 knots at ANY altitude. It can obviously achieve a ground speed of 594 knots or above with a significant tailwind, but the wind in the equatorial latitudes is never that strong.

  39. Simon Gunson


    594knots is the Groundspeed Malaysia claims in their report as tracked by radar at Kota Bharu. I never claimed 594 knots was TAS, you did.

    VMO 330kt stays the same as air density reduces with altitude.

    You have to input the correct VMO Indicated Air Speed into the calculation chart matched to the correct air temperature.

    You are quite correct that the Boeing 777 could not fly that fast, at least not without a massive tailwind and in any case Jetstreams do not flow from east to west either.

    So you see the alleged radar sightings are scientifically lacking in credibility.

  40. Fred


    My apologies, I misread your earlier comments.

    The point I was trying to make is that the aircraft can’t maintain VMO at altitudes above about 31,000ft. Let’s say a B777 is climbing at VMO. Although the aircraft is maintaining a constant indicated air speed, its Mach number is increasing as it climbs due to the decreasing temperature. The Mach number will reach MMO (0.87) at about 31,000ft. Above that altitude, it can no longer maintain VMO because if it does so it will exceed MMO. In other words, the speed is limited by MMO at altitudes above about 31,000ft. If the aircraft continues climbing at MMO, its indicated air speed will decrease and will be much less than VMO.

    I don’t have the speed data to which you refer, but a ground speed of 594 knots seems unlikely.

    By the way, it’s unusual, but jet streams do occasionally flow from east to west!

Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details