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Malaysian Airlines 370 brings out the wackos


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Hans Kjäll. Managing Director & Senior Flight Safety Analyst at Nordic Safety Analysis Group :

Suggests this in relation to the search carried out 2500 km's sw of Perth :

If there was a fire that disabled the locators it could also have disabled the steering. The turn indicates an attempt to reach an airport in malaysia but the fire was too destructive. The plane then flew in a straight line for many hours (up to 8.5) and landed in the sea where the wreckage that is searched for may be what is indicated on the sat images. Various planes and a container ship are now searching this area.

I hope for the sake of family and friends that something conclusive turns up.

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I'm waiting to see if what the air assets have located is actual wreckage of MH370. I won't be satisfied until we have verifiable pieces of an aircraft.

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I'd just remind everyone that we still do not have any confirmed wreckage. We have satellite images which appear to show something.


When we have wreckage that is confirmed as being from an airliner then we can say there is a reasonable chance that it is from MH370.


When we have wreckage that is confirmed as being from a B777 the we can be reasonably certain it is the wreckage of MH370.


Once we have those items, only then we can start to speculate how it got there.


If I were one of the countries involved, though, and was intent on mounting a serious search, I would have submarines in the area trying to detect the FDR / CVR signal. The sub couldn't retrieve them and I would most certainly not tell other countries that I had those assets in the area but it would mean I could retrieve them at a later date (as part of a public recovery operation).


Why? Because the "black boxes" emit a sonar signal which is growing weaker by the day. If the aircraft went down in the South China Sea then it would be difficult to pick up that signal - despite the fact we know its frequency - because the South China Sea is a noisy place. Alternatively, the southern Indian Ocean is a relatively quiet place: limited traffic, large area. Factor in that the boxes are likely deep and therefore you want a sensor that is:


a. Sensitive & designed to pick up weak sonar signals, and


b. Able to go below any thermal layers which might hide and / or distort the location of any detected signals.


On the other hand, if you want to get wild conspiracy theories, then go visit the Deep Bullxxxx Forum. One of the few people there who makes sense is Dawn Meredith; note how she bases her assessments on facts and makes reasonable speculation based on limited knowledge.


Compare that to some of the loons there who speculate (e.g. Peter Lemkin) when they have no background in aviation at all*; their credo seems to be "if it is posted by an internet expert it must be true".


* I'd remind people I have over 20 years in military and civil aviation

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I think one of the early points that the malaysian authorities said was that they will explore all possible avenues which necessarily are speculative. Many have been discounted and others seem to have a general consensus though for the details absent anything else the black box is critical.

There's one sentence I don't get : "The sub couldn't retrieve them and I would most certainly not tell other countries that I had those assets in the area but it would mean I could retrieve them at a later date (as part of a public recovery operation)." - retrieve what?

Also, whatever they might find on the surface would have to be backtracked along currents. Maybe more ping buoys could have been dropped earlier over a larger area. Maybe they were. ? Are surface currents in this area predictable enough?

Another thing. Is the signal from the black box a regular ping or a signal burst?

I suspect procedures for future events will be overhauled with new technologies and protocols.

There should be a grid. A public grid covering the ocean at all times giving a readout of anything down there at all times. I think that could effectively drive the u boats away, which is a nice thought.

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There's one sentence I don't get : "The sub couldn't retrieve them and I would most certainly not tell other countries that I had those assets in the area but it would mean I could retrieve them at a later date (as part of a public recovery operation)." - retrieve what?

The FDR / CVR. A normal submarine could locate but not recover the "black boxes". That would require a specialist submersible.

Also, whatever they might find on the surface would have to be backtracked along currents. Maybe more ping buoys could have been dropped earlier over a larger area. Maybe they were. ? Are surface currents in this area predictable enough?

They dropped buoys to give them an indication of surface current. The objects were on the surface so they would need such data to determine where they might be when surface vessels get into the area. Likewise, that data can help indicate where an aircraft may have impacted the surface: any wreckage may have been drifting for weeks and so where it is now is not necessarily where it originated from.

Another thing. Is the signal from the black box a regular ping or a signal burst?

A regular ping.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, now that they have had at least a fleeting ping on the correct frequency, I would expect that a localisation will take place soon. The Brits have said they have a sub in the area and I would expect that both the Chinese and the US have submarine assets in the area but will not be telling anyone.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Report questions long-term safety of composite planes

ON 1 NOVEMBER the first aircraft with a pressurised fuselage and wings made from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) flew its first passengers from Tokyo to Hiroshima. The All Nippon Airways Boeing 787's composite structure makes it around 15 per cent lighter than a typical aluminium-based plane of that size, increasing fuel efficiency and making aviation greener.

But the media hoopla over the flight disguised some worrying questions about the long-term safety of composite aircraft. On 20 October, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report which, while accepting that the 787 has been certified as airworthy, questions the ability of the US regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, to ensure that inspectors are capable of assessing and repairing damage to composite structures over the long life of a plane.

"It is too early to fully assess the adequacy of FAA and industry efforts to address safety-related concerns and to build sufficient capacity to handle composite maintenance and repair," says the GAO.

Until now, only smaller, isolated pieces of secondary structure, such as tail fins and wing leading edges, have been made from composites. The GAO reviewed the scientific literature and interviewed engineers about the evidence underpinning the expansion of composite use to incorporate the whole fuselage. On damage and ageing issues it found the science wanting.

The GAO found that engineers don't know how such materials will behave when damaged, what such damage will look like, and how these factors change as the material ages. Because composite damage is hard to detect - indeed it can be effectively invisible - working out what risk a dent poses is difficult. Too few inspectors are being trained to diagnose such damage, the GAO report adds.

Boeing has no doubts. "We test, we analyse and we demonstrate that even in extreme conditions - which may never be experienced in a full life of service - the airplane is safe and durable," the firm said in a statement.

A composite is made by combining multiple layers of carbon fibres with an epoxy resin. It has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than aluminium and resists corrosion. But it has different fatigue problems: it tends to snap, rather than bend or stretch over time like a metal.

Although the Boeing 787 is deemed safe, the GAO says regulators must focus on assessing composite damage in service. "The long-term ageing behaviour of these composite materials is indeed an unknown," says Philip Irving, an aviation structures specialist at Cranfield University in the UK. "What is going to happen to these structures, which are often bonded as a single piece, in the 30-year lifetime of an aircraft?" Much is known about metal, he says. "There is almost nothing equivalent published on composite-structure damage, visibility and growth - and the necessary research is still under way," he says.

Some of that research is being done by the Commercial Aircraft Composite Repair Committee, says Boeing, an industry-wide effort involving regulators and manufacturers, including Airbus (which is building its own composite fuselage plane, the A350). In the meantime, Irving says ground staff will need to wield one of their most powerful tools to track down damage in composite planes: "Their eyeballs."

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  • New Scientist
Edited by Steven Gaal
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I can't believe I'm saying this, but the article posted by Steven has a point. Repairs on composite aircraft are far more difficult than aluminium aircraft. I think that there will be issues encountered as time goes by however I believe they'll be detected early enough since our detection methods have likewise advanced.

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Wait for us Brits to analyse the first few crashes/disasters. We've a great track record in improving plane safety over the decades. Such that I can't remember the last time a British airliner went tits-up.

As opposed to the Frenchies, whose antics in that field cost them how many concordes, and ended up mothballing all of them...?

:tomatoes

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  • 3 weeks later...

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