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Cautious optimism in search for MH370

By Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner

On 26 June 2014, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss announced a new high priority underwater search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. An international effort led by the ATSB is now mapping and will soon start searching this area.

The new search area is about 60,000 square kilometres in size and is located in the Indian Ocean, about 1800 km west of Perth, Western Australia. As with previous search areas, it is located along the seventh arc—a thin but long line which includes all the possible points where the last known communication between the aircraft and a communications satellite could have taken place.

Since the aircraft went missing, a specialist working group has been analysing the limited information available. The group has included specialists from around the globe, with representatives from the Air Accident Investigation Branch of the United Kingdom, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the National Transportation Safety Board of the United States, along with technical advisers including Inmarsat, Thales, Boeing and Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

The group’s work has shown how much international capability and expertise can be brought to bear when working on a highly complex problem in international aviation safety.

The group have been analysing signals from MH370’s system for transmitting monitoring and maintenance data – seven ‘handshakes’ between the aircraft and a ground station through a single satellite. Those handshakes were never intended to provide information about the location of the aircraft or the manner in which it was travelling. They do not report the aircraft’s speed, its height, or the direction in which it was travelling.

Instead, the analysts have drawn information from the physical characteristics of the signals themselves. They had already confirmed the range of points that the aircraft could have been at given times: the arcs that have been discussed previously.

It will not be a quick or easy task to search the sea floor, but the work has already begun.

By analysing the radio frequency of the signals and modelling the result, they have been able to estimate the possible speed and direction of the aircraft as it crossed each arc. It has been, as you can imagine, an incredibly complex task. Even a minor change had significant implications for the calculations. Despite these challenges, the specialists have determined all the more probable paths that the aircraft could have taken. The result is an area, around 200,000 square kilometres, along the seventh arc. From there, they have identified the new high priority search area of 60,000 square kilometres.

It will not be a quick or easy task to search the sea floor, but the work has already begun. The Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen and the Australian-contracted vessel Fugro Equator are conducting a bathymetric survey of the area. The Government of Malaysia has announced they will be joined by another vessel, the KD Mutiara. They are mapping the sea floor in preparation for the next phase of the search, in which the 60,000 square kilometres will be surveyed in detail.

To conduct a search like this requires specialist services, and the Australian Government has received tenders from organisations to conduct this work. In the coming weeks these tenders will be reviewed, and contract arrangements will be worked out. The capability resulting from the tender will be supplemented by two Malaysian-provided vessels and search equipment and the underwater search will begin. We anticipate that this intensive search will take up to 12 months to complete.

Written by Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner at 10:00 AM
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59 Comments :

Marc Horn said...

By analysing the radio frequency of the signals and modelling the result, they have been able to estimate the possible speed and direction of the aircraft as it crossed each arc.

This is still the same bull! BFO use assumptions of speed and direction as opposed to what you have stated here - I suggest go read your own reports (see link).

July 9, 2014 15:19
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

Based on various starting assumptions, the satellite working group analyses used combinations of aircraft altitudes, speeds and headings to generate candidate paths and calculated the BFO values at the arc locations for these paths. These values, compared with the recorded BFO values, provided a measure of correlation.

More information is available on this in our report 'MH370 - Definition of Underwater Search Areas' at page 22-25.

July 11, 2014 12:02
M E Marciniak said...

Respectfully Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner:

With all due respect Commissioner, I assure you that you are about to eat those words as they are so far from being correct, for example;

Inmarsat Handshakes, while not intended to provide the above listed info, you have missed the entire operations of what does provide the Data listed and much more as explained below;
1) INMARSAT handshakes are not what is described and Inmarsat themselves do not even understand what actually took place allowing the pings to take place as detailed below;
A) Inmarsat was only able to make that ping series being the SDU came back online;
B) SDU @ 1803 MH370 Flies over Phuket Cape triggers SDU to signal reconnection as MH370 acquires System acceptable Flight Plan Phuket to Perth; @ 1825 SDU requires Connection ICAO ATN/ATC mandated operations in SDU automatic Fail mode using ICAO mandated operations;
C) SDU @ 1825 ISU initial acknowledgement by design send Current Data on Flight Information including GPS source code into the ICAO ATN mandated System initiated Channel 8 'Spare Multi-Mode Tx/RX' Sending Data Direct 'Split-Site Multi-Mode' Channel 10-GPS Source Code Interface/Channel 4 Optional Interface {with channel 10};
D) SDU thereafter begins power sequence by design, After sending Current Data Flight Information;
E) SDU @ 1827 begins User Data Dump for previous downtime for 90 minutes offline Gulf of Thai info;
F) SDU @ 1828 Completes Data Dump thru ICAO ATN system by design; releases Transmission NOT satellite connection; Sat connection retain thru P channel by design;
G) SDU @ 1839 incoming SatCom / AirCom from ground 'No Answer' SDU by design begins 'Circuit Mode Data Transfer' Complete Data Dump, No Answer required; This also justifies Ping with 1 hour resets Ping Clock 4 1941;
H) SDU @1941 Inmarsat Ping 'Acknowledge System Still Connected' If not connected, Ping Can NOT be acknowledged Period! SDU retains connection thru P channel GPS source code sent ATN ICAO mandated system, sent to Multi-site- locations/systems;
I) SDU continuous connection maintained from 1825 thru next SDU same as (H) above for 2041; 2141; 2241 and (G) above for 2314 and (H) above for 0011;
J) SDU minimal time power interruption No power Sequence Required + Regardless if it was + SDU sends Current Data first for Flight Information + SDU sends Complete Data Dump on ALL Channels Multi Mode/ Multi Site Channel GPS Source Code Confirmed Transmission as designed ICAO ATN/ATC mandated system frequencies, Full Burst, NOT partial as designed;
K) SDU is designed and mandated by ICAO to have full access to the Satellite Sub-system, being Iridium maintained by SITA; Currently Inmarsat 4F-1 is this system in the MH370; if 4F-1 Fails to authorize transmission or unable to accept; Iridium takes connection and receives all data;
Inmarsat 4F-1 is mandated to accept info and Data, however Inmarsat may not understand this operation as it is un-monitored;
L) ICAO mandated ATN system was 1st created in 1980 and was designed for this very, this event to date has NOT taken place and many are NOT aware of it's full operations, All avionics equipment MUST comply and the SDU is designed with these function embedded within the system in the event it does occur, as in MH370 and the Data Logs show it's evidentiary Value as completing its operations as designed;

2) In addition, the BTO values have structure and Bit Periods within; These values increase the BTO value in the event such as 0019, which must be calculated for removal to determine TRUE measurement within total BTO value;
A) BFO value is NOT to be used on Geostationary Satellite; any reference to Geosynchronous is Simply WRONG and ignorant for adjustment to BTO with BFO as it deflects the entire TRUE value, no matter what Math is used to trick the numbers making them False;
B) SatGrp configured numbers untrue to actual operations of Designed Systems and it's values are False;
C) Boeing Flight Avionics Operations will NOT allow the B777 to fly off into the middle of NO-Where, Auto-pilot will determine a Path, as it did here Phuket 2 Perth and the last known ALT was 12100 feet by design; Autopilot will NOT climb back to 35000 ft unless commanded to do so; same with speed after ATN TCAS completes its safety maneuvers, B777 when FMS total default Fail Mode will seek nearest waypoint to circle or Airport as ATN grabbed the Phuket 2 Perth Path flying thru Thai into Straits into Indian Ocean triggering SDU back into ops after being cool down had completed and SDU auto Fail mode initiated. B777 would have continued to circle unless system acceptable path was acknowledged, as the Altimeter UAT and Terrain Mapping would NOT have allowed a crossing of Malay or Thai except thru Phuket Valley being acceptable for Terrain Mapping as it does NOT distinguish land from Water; and
D) B777 terrain Mapping would NOT have allowed aircraft to fly over Ridges at Sumatra;
E) B777 does not Bank in 90 degrees unless Emergency Descent Bank and autopilot takes control in flight to use the most sensible turn radius;
F) B777 flight path was initiated Phuket 2 Perth by design and the previous stated was functioned by design; You can NOT cheat the operations; or design functions!

If I may assist you in further Education on these matters, feel free to email, as they will be published in a full report and analysis showing documented evidentiary value vs your arrogant acceptance to the design functions and understanding the operations to concluding this matter causing further delay and hardship on the JACC; PM; DepPM; AMSA; Malay PM; DM; Families and the flying public.

Respectfully.

Get it right next time!
M E Marciniak
USA

July 9, 2014 16:32
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

The search for MH370 is based on the limited information available to the investigation. For the later part of the flight this is the analysis of signals transmitted by the B777 satellite communications terminal on 9M-MRO that used the Inmarsat Classic Aero System. This system provides voice and data services to the cockpit and cabin in this case through the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) satellite which links to the Perth Ground Earth Station. This limited data is all that is available. The IOR satellite position is nominally fixed above the equator, but actually moves in an elliptical path each day. The error margins associated with using a system designed for communications as a navigation system are discussed in our report. The consequence unfortunately is a potentially large wide search area.

The Australian Government and the ATSB continues to facilitate analysis that may prioritise the underwater search area in order to find MH370 as expediently as possible.

August 20, 2014 08:09
Brock McEwen said...

Re: Figure 3, page 5 of your June 26 report: the NW boundary is clearly Inmarsat's '7th arc' what are the definitions of the other two boundaries (SE and SW)?

Many thanks, and kindest regards,

July 11, 2014 03:25
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

In that figure, the north-west boundary is the sixth arc. At that time, the seventh arc was still being analysed, and so the sixth arc was used as a reference. The other two boundaries were extrapolated from  the aircraft’s predicated performance and endurance.

July 15, 2014 15:55
Barry said...

Something smells here. I will eat humble pie if wrong.

July 9, 2014 16:49
Gareth Davey said...

Why isn't the search area a circle around the location of the 7th (last) ping?  What's the basis for assuming the aircraft continued on a straight line after the last ping?

July 9, 2014 20:59
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

Based on various starting assumptions, the satellite working group analyses used combinations of aircraft altitudes, speeds and headings to generate candidate paths and calculated the BFO values at the arc locations for these paths. These values, compared with the recorded BFO values, provided a measure of correlation.

More information is available on this in our report 'MH370 - Definition of Underwater Search Areas' at page 22-25.

July 11, 2014 12:07
John Lambert said...

I cannot understand the rationale for the search. The model is that the flight continued until the plane ran out of fuel at height with the plane under autopilot control. In that circumstance the plane would have hit the sea at high speed and it would have broken up with floating debris - yet there is no debris? Doesn't this support the theory is wrong? Or is it proposed that the plane was under pilot control and flown onto the ocean in the same way the plane landed on the Hudson River NY?

July 10, 2014 11:51
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

The search in the Australian search and rescue zone commenced on 18 March (10 days after the aircraft went missing) resulting in a potentially very large debris area that the surface and air assets needed to search.

Refinements to analysis of satellite data and subsequent probable impact locations over the following weeks meant that the drifted search area till the end of April was over 3.8 million sq km. The search area was also a large distance from the Australian coastline which meant aerial searches had limited time on location. The fact that floating debris associated with MH370 has not been located cannot in itself support either theory.

On page 9 of our report 'MH370 - Definition of Underwater Search Areas' we note that a number of items were sighted by aircraft, especially from Area A, though the sightings were unable to be relocated by surface assets.

July 11, 2014 12:20
M E Marciniak said...

Respectfully Commissioner Martin Dolan, ATSB.

With all due respect Commissioner, There's nothing wrong with a little constructive criticism from time to time.

I do hope that my previous communication was not taken personal. My intent was not only to open your eyes of the Satellite Group propagation inclusive of Geosynchronous in error, but the Fact that many of us Independent and credible not affiliated conspiracy theories or other named groups in the media have been analyzing the Data and operations from the outset.

Here also, the Fact that we are analyzing in the same process as ATSB however may have information viable and a deeper understanding not because one is unequal to the other, simply because that person may very well have worked the entire operations in many aspects as you group has and propagated the False Values and removed them as not viable.

In addition, we may have also analyzed in a manner that only allows for working values from design specifications, in the process accumulated deeper into additional applications, some held as viable awaiting additional information to slide it forward into placement.

I was pretty upset when after fighting conspirators and crazy applications to math as if this was new for equating value, I followed it's foundation as designed for propagation in history.When the Hijack story broke, that was a yank in my chain, as the speculation and information of understanding and applied values to BTO as guess work from misunderstood SDU info, as well as BFO's applied to a GeoSat BTO auto corrected value shifting the SAR way to far, and having to deal with crazy conspiracies a blaze again, was just a kick in my ass.

As for the SDU, and the BTO/BFO cals 4 adjustment, You should should know that that manufactured specifications on Data transfer speed can NOT be used, as the Data was not transferred in Time advance to those specs in Fail Mode.

Additionally, The BTO's for SatCom AirCom are available, I just haven't given them to ya'll.

The BFO's also can be adjusted is time slots with a simple 2 step process to equal true, but to be applied to BTO values for propagation, maybe reflection and general guidance, but not for adjustment on BTO in any manner.

The specs to be followed I have available, and your numbers may look tight and right, but without checking your cals with these cals,its propagation unconfirmed and misapplied as to the applicable m/s and Hrz.

Also take note 0011 is note correct either, but 0019 is per 7/2/2014 email to JACC ATSB by me. and 1825 is also included in that mail.

That email only has a small portion of the cals. I am ready to send the sheet in as a simply function path that will either confirm or require review into ya'lls propagation without my needing to see it.

I would like the message lines from the Data logs omitted as well as the Data logs from the ICAO ATN/ATC Protocol Packet Data from I4F-1 when available for review and codec applications if available.

The Channel 10 is a GNSS channel GPS source code and requires I4F-1 not I3F-1 as well as multi-location transfer.

Anyway, Plz email me a link to send a dropbox 4 your to acquire the spec cal sheet needed, and should not be ignored.

Have a great Day Commissioner!

July 10, 2014 17:40
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

In addition to the comments you see posted here, we have also received several lengthy comments that are highly technical in nature. Those comments have been passed along to our MH370 satellite working group to feed into their process and respond direct to the commenter.

If you have information that you judge will provide insights into the location of the aircraft, you can email it to ATSBinfo@atsb.gov.au. It’s important to understand, however, that while the Government of Australia has accepted responsibility for conducting the search for the missing aircraft, the investigation of the event as a whole remains the responsibility of the Malaysian Government. Information that may provide insight into the causes of the disappearance, or which places the aircraft outside of the Australian search area should be referred to the Ministry of Transport, Malaysia www.mot.gov.my/en/Misc/Pages/ContactUs.aspx.

July 11, 2014 16:29
John Lambert said...

Martin
With Air France fight 447 they were finding bodies up to 15 days after the crash, and there have been cases of bodies found floating for much longer then that. And polyethylene, polypropylene and some other plastic components float well in seawater, as do plastic bottles of water, many leathers, many athletic shoes/ runners...
Given ships and plans were travelling over currents that at the time would have taken debris towards Australia, and where prevailing winds would have done the same, it still seems strange.

July 11, 2014 18:51
Enrique Martin said...

My respects and would like the following information if possible:

You could please tell me the estimated coordinates of the points of contact of the handshakes, the seven times that happened please.

You could tell me if considered a flight altitude of the aircraft.

If possible I would indicate flight speed estimated by the calculations of the satellite signal.

I estimate would indicate how much fuel had actually boarded the plane 9M-MRO acronym flight MH370. Know published load manifest, but did not see details of the fuel load on board and fuel remaining last flight before this flight which disappeared.

Thank you very much for the information I could send.

Speaking.

Enrique Alberto Martín Cuervo
Operations Coordinator
Humboldt Rescue Organization (ORH)
Caracas - Venezuela.
http://www.rescate.com
email: sarrescate@gmail.com
Tel: 0057-416-709-0239

PD: Excuse my English is not really good.

July 12, 2014 06:46
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

Unfortunately, there is no specific coordinate or point for the handshakes – the Satellite Working Group was able to project the seven rings by calculating the distance from the aircraft to the satellite. From there, they identified the arcs which represent where the aircraft could have flown to, but we cannot be certain where along the arcs the aircraft was located. At this stage, we are not releasing all of our work product, including the calculations for the rings. However, my colleagues in the satellite working group advise that you will find all the information you need to recreate the BTO ping rings from first principles in Appendix G of the report, 'MH370 - Definition of Underwater Search Areas', available at: www.atsb.gov.au/mh370.

During the period of the aircraft tracking to the south, there was no altitude or speed data available. While there was wind information available, it varied as a function of time, altitude and location. As a consequence, a variety of speeds and altitudes had to be assumed when calculating possible flight-paths using the satellite data.

The last ACARS transmission from the aircraft provided the total weight of the fuel on board at that time. After that, we have had to rely on estimates and calculation.

July 17, 2014 11:20
PM Shadoko said...

The published document 'MH370 - Definition of Underwater Search Areas - 26 June 2014' was very useful to people looking for the understanding of the search. This initiative appears to have the best motives and all people taking part in it and in its publication have to be thanked.

On some aviation forums, people trying to replicate the maths driving to the search zone have read this publication with the highest attention.

On the last page (page 58), there are two tables given as samples of the maths. The 11th line of the table 6 (BFO Sensitivity to Aircraft Latitude Errors) reads:
Downlink Doppler: -79.5 -75.1 -70.7 Hz Satellite movement.
Some have seen these data as erroneous because the aircraft latitude seems to have not any effect on the downlink between the satellite and the Earth station.

Could you validate (or invalidate) these data?
On first page of the document, an 'Addendum' table seems there for future revision(s) of the document. If there are some typos in the document, do you know if such a revision is foreseen?

July 12, 2014 09:28
M E Marciniak said...

Good work Commissioner and all ATSB, and let keep the progress going, there's always room for improvement.

Also, calculating the freq. for speed has been a long recognized process of approval as long as the correct portion is applied.

Let's keep in mind that the BFO while may be used for insight, it should not be used in this case for distance and offset of direction, as the correlation adds insight, the adjustment was previously automatically applied by Isat 3F-1 for propagation.

The insight alone from the correct BTO values, and the inclination of applied distance is indicative that MH370 was on a SSE/SE path heading to Perth traveling through the arc series from 23006 ID: 433 WMO: 23006
LAT: 3.97 LON: 89.606 Buoy~Over Coco (Keeling) Island with bearing 156~154 Degrees.

Have a great weekend!

July 12, 2014 10:33
Brock McEwen said...

Re: June 26 ATSB report, page 5, Figure 3: search zones S1, S2 and S3 are shown; their NW border is clearly the 6th Inmarsat arc. Can you please confirm the definition of the SE (curved) and SW (straight) borders - many thanks.

July 12, 2014 14:42
JamaicaJoe said...

Has ANYONE considered the possibility that the assumptions on BFO Bias are incorrect and are skewing the doppler calculations? Case in point, the oscillator in the SDU, while being highly stable, is only stable operating under a range of certain temperature extremes. If the aircraft had an on board fire, or decompression event, or fire followed by decompression, the temperature and thus the BFO Bias would be all over the map. (Pun intended)

July 13, 2014 08:40
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

That possibility was considered by the Satellite Working Group as they identified the search area.

July 17, 2014 11:25
Bruce Lamon said...

Mr. Dolan, thanks for taking these questions.

Early on the Chinese (March 22) and the French (March 26) published satellite images of floating objects of significant size found in the vicinity of the initial Australian search area. Were any of these objects ever relocated or otherwise analyzed to see if they came from MH370?

July 14, 2014 09:14
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

No recovered debris has been identified as originating from MH370, and the search effort has not found any debris associated with the satellite images or other visual detections.

July 17, 2014 11:27
Haxi said...

Mr. Dolan,

I have some questions about the ongoing bathymetric survey. It will be greatly appreciated if you can shed some light.

1. When Malaysia announced its own bathymetric asset, KD Mutiara, on July 7, the other two vessels Zhu Kezhen and Fugro Equator have been working for weeks. Was KD Mutiara a last-minute addition? Or was it in the original plan?

2. How is the bathymetric survey processing? How much of the area has been covered by the survey so far?

3. Is the date (late August?) available for the beginning of the new deep-sea search?

Thank you.

July 14, 2014 12:07
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

It was part of the original plan that the Malaysian Government would provide support to the search effort. KD Mutiara has been in refit, only just emerging.

The bathymetric survey is progressing according to the planned schedule, although progress is sometimes slowed by factors such as poor weather and sea conditions, and the requirement for vessels to occasionally return to port for refuelling and resupply. At this stage we anticipate the bathymetric survey will take around three months.

The beginning date of the new deep-sea search is not yet available. The tenders to conduct this work have been received and are being reviewed. Once the submissions have all been reviewed, and a successful tender selected, contract negotiations will begin, and once that has been completed, the deep-water search will commence.

July 17, 2014 11:30
Bruce Lamon said...

Mr. Dolan, a few extra questions about the June 26 report.

Why do the downlink Doppler values change with aircraft latitude in Appendix G, Table 6?

Why is there only partial compensation of the downlink Doppler provided by the EAFC function in the pilot receiver?

Is it true that the coordinates of pilot source and/or the pilot receiver were incorrectly configured in the pilot receiver?

Thanks.

July 16, 2014 10:20
Marc Horn said...

In the News Conference of the Australian Deputy Prime Minister (www.youtube.com/watch?v=G97RCynAzxM) of the 7th June in the background 'track' of the route MH370 took you showed the radar track that Inmarsat claimed ruled out the Northern option.

Specifically app 6 minutes 25 seconds it showed reappearance on radar, which then continued around to roughly West of the northern tip of Indonesia before changing to straight line ping rings up to app 6:33.

Why if as you have shown the reappearance on MH370 on radar why is there not a time, SOG and COG at the end of that radar track? and more specifically is that information not public, and worse why is it not being used as your last data point on which you base the proposed route?

Finally from the television statement it is clear that there is close to zero collaboration between authorities, and comes across as each one is doing their own thing. What on earth is the point of wasting public money so effectively?

July 16, 2014 22:20
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

The background radar track referred to in the YouTube video link was not part of the media briefing by the Deputy PM but was a background inserted by the television network news.

July 30, 2014 09:38
Kate said...

Can you tell me what the overall effect on the track would be if the altitude were lower than previously presumed, say about 10,000 feet?

Also, would a lower altitude have an effect on the estimated positions of the arcs?

July 17, 2014 03:02
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

The general effect if the altitude were lower was that the aircraft would not have the required performance to reach the 7th arc. A lower altitude of the aircraft does have a relatively small effect on each arc position – this is taken into consideration with arc width over the range of altitudes.

July 30, 2014 09:40
Brock McEwen said...

Re: June 26 ATSB report:

Was the March 17-27 performance and endurance data used to generate search zone S1/S2/S3 in Fig.3 consistent with that used to generate the NTSB most probable paths (per March 17-27 AMSA-issued search maps)?

If so, how do you explain the fact that one of the two NTSB paths runs West (i.e. outside) of S1?

If not, what was the difference?

July 17, 2014 08:47
Brock McEwen said...

Thank you for your response, Martin. One more question (thanks for your patience!):

Anticipating your response, I have worked to fit a performance model to the southern border of S1/S2/S3. I then take away fuel: the max range line moves NNW. This renders S3 infeasible far more rapidly than it does S2. It is impossible to take any amount of fuel away that would rule S2 out, yet keep S3 in.

So why did the ATSB on March 28 move the search from S2 INTO S3, after taking away fuel?

July 17, 2014 09:05
Enrique Martin said...

Mr. Martin Dolan.

Thanks for taking the time to respond, very kind of you.

By your answer I believe that they have a very serious and disturbing flaw, which undoubtedly be wrong and I hope, will make it very difficult locating flight MH370.

Particularly share with you the possibility almost certain that the aircraft is at the bottom of the sea, but to place it is necessary to generate scientific answers (mathematics - SAR), to estimate the parameters to be as close to the target in this case the Boeing 777 and sadly your answer, do not reflect what I expected and that allowed me to deduce that going well from the point of view SAR.

While I understand the reservoir of information, but not the least share and search operations (SAR), because here we assume that the more people are informed truthful mind what is sought and as quickly appear.

Of course it is not an obligation to report details to strangers, we understand it clearly, but the lack of answers to simple questions, opens for us a very big fan of doubts and I apologize for that.

It remains for me to wish him luck (although in SAR operations so there is technique and luck is for others), as per your answer I read that something is wrong from a technical point of view, which does not mean it is this work and that things are wrong, because if so you had not estimated the flight south, which undoubtedly is a valuable, important and decisive to try to locate the flight MH370 technical achievement, but lacks a bit more and thus I perceived it in your reply.

Best regards and thanks for your time.

Enrique Alberto Martin Cuervo
Operations Coordinator
Humboldt Rescue Organization (ORH)
Caracas - Venezuela
www.rescate.com
email: sarrescate@gmail.com

July 18, 2014 01:25
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

Since the public release of the report 'MH370 – Definition of Underwater Search Areas' on 26 June 2014, the ATSB has received a number of queries about some of the technical details contained in the report. The queries have been made directly to the ATSB or through the Chief Commissioner’s blog, InFocus.

As a result of the queries, the ATSB is today releasing an updated version of the report to clarify a number of technical aspects. The changes to the report are detailed in the Addendum on the inside cover.

Report available at: www.atsb.gov.au/mh370.aspx

August 13, 2014 15:30
Enrique Martin said...

Question: Did you apply break to what you write or publish but what You consider appropriate?.

Well I responded to what I wrote Commissioner Martin Dolan, with the greatest respect, consideration and only using technical arguments, You sent me an email in case I had information that could help the case of flight MH370, write them email, but nothing in the public forum of my answer.

Thank you, if you so prudent to consider a response to the fact narrated before not to publish what I said.

Thank you.

Enrique Alberto Martin Cuervo
Operations Coordinator
Humboldt Rescue Organization (ORH)
Caracas - Venezuela
www.rescate.com
email: sarrescate@gmail.com

July 20, 2014 01:20
Alexander Rybin said...

Greetings Ladies and Gentlemen.

I suppose lots of people interested in early location of the missing flight MH370 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) - Beijing (China) March, 8, 2014 (Boeing 777-200ER 9M-MRO of Malaysia Airlines).

Previously in March, 8 2014 Head of the World Center 'Absolute Knowledge of Vital Energy' ('Absolyutnoye Poznaniye Energhozhizni') Yaroslav Nikolaevich Bodounkov precisely specified the location of the missing plane, but the information was ignored. Now it is possible to determine the exact coordinates using detailed satellite maps. I report briefly, the flight was not hijacked or blown, and it was not pilot mistake or any other human factor. The crew was fighting to survival till the end. At the moment the plane lays in Pacific Ocean.

For detailed information of missing Boeing 777 9M-MRO and it's exact coordinates you can contact me.

Best regards,
Alexander Rybin the Administrator of the World Center
'Absolute Knowledge of Vital Energy'

Mobile in Russia:
+79222971835
+79506327929
E-mail : zastazva@gmail.com
omega_alex@mail.ru

P.S. I do not speak English good enough, so an interpreter will be needed

July 30, 2014 19:51
Marc Horn said...

In your reply you state this was not part of the DPM presentation. How on earth is that possible? It was live!
So what actually was a part of the media briefing?
The whole PR exercise was so orchestrated that I find it hard to believe that a stupid error as you claim can occur!

'RADAR DATA'
Inmarsat claimed on the 24 March that a radar track turning near North of the Andamans is how they have excluded the Northern option.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhRO-0Lx_kQ

If, as you are denying that the radar track shown is part of ATSB information, then why have you not presented the radar evidence that Inmarsat claim discounts the northern route - someone is lying and there are probably over 1000 direct victims of this tragedy being mislead.

1 - Is there further radar evidence as claimed by Inmarsat.
2 - If there is additional radar data why has this not been made publicly available and why is there not a last position and COG and SOG, as it is so critical in the assumptions of the calculated flight paths.
3 - If there is further radar data available has it been suppressed as it does not fit the ping rings?
4 - If there is not further radar data available why did Inmarsat lie about it and,
4a - Why is there no effort going into the Northern options.

(BFO cannot be used to eliminate the Northern route).

July 30, 2014 22:28
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

The last radar data available is at 18.22 as shown in Figure 2 of our report. The Southern route is supported by analysis of subsequent satellite communications Burst Frequency Offset data after this location. The analysis of the BFO providing a southern route has been independently collaborated. Unfortunately, a flight path animation presented by a news network does not constitute additional radar data. 

August 20, 2014 08:29
Brock McEwen said...

Hi Martin - sorry to push - you've clearly been incredibly busy.

Here are links to illustrations of my attempt to replicate your March 17-27 fuel model, and the form your March 28 fuel update would have taken, in case it helps you understand my point, and/or formulate an answer:
http://bit.ly/WIb2Ng
http://bit.ly/1nI3V0Q

July 30, 2014 23:39
Sensible said...

'Cautious Optimism' = They think they know more or less the position of the aircraft debris, but they aren't releasing the information until they are able to locate the debris, bring it to the surface and verify that it is in fact MH370.

No more 'wild goose' chases or getting everybody worked up about nothing.

Simples.

Good Luck!

July 31, 2014 02:55
Brock McEwen said...

Just to clarify my question above, Martin, in case it helps you answer it: here are the south latitudes at which two of your endurance arc-generating flight paths MUST have crossed Inmarsat arcs 2-6, per your published Mar 17-27 methodology (start @NW tip Sumatra, constant speeds, straight legs):

460kts (2568nmi path; end @Mar17-27 search zone):
2 deg 14′ 9 deg 50′ 17 deg 32′ 25 deg 11′ 36 deg 35′
Range to spare (per S2 width): 330nmi
Range to spare (if reduce range 11%): 10nmi

390kts (2177nmi path; end @Mar28 search zone):
0 deg 59′ 7 deg 30′ 14 deg 3′ 20 deg 27′ 29 deg 48′
Range to spare (per S3 width): 248nmi
Range to spare (if reduce range 11%): (19nmi)

Reduce range MORE: both sites infeasible
Reduce range LESS: both sites remain feasible

Doesn't this prove mathematically that your endurance model - as you've described its construction and calibration, as of the relevant dates - would have COUNTER-indicated the search move you commissioned on March 28?

July 31, 2014 14:47
Rodney Thomson said...

Are the ATSB far away from making a decision in the RFT for the underwater search?

Also, a few weeks after the close of the tender, the Malaysian government reported they have made available 2 vessels, and AUV and a synthetic aperture sidescan sonar for the search.

Will the successful tenderer be managing this equipment or will ATSB be searching independently?

July 31, 2014 15:20
Sandie said...

'Cautious Optimism' says it all.

Has a tail wind been determined at any stage of the aircraft's track? In which case it could have travelled further.

July 31, 2014 19:29
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

Wind information across the altitude spectrum has been taken into consideration in the aircraft performance and track analysis. 

August 20, 2014 08:40
Brock McEwen said...

Hi Martin - any luck getting together an answer to my simple question (July 17, 9:05)? I can rephrase, if it helps:

If you take fuel away - as you claim to have done just prior to your March 28 release - the performance arc (SE border of S1/S2/S3, Fig.3, p.5, June 26 report) must retract back along the set of paths that generated it. Because (math). If you gradually retract this arc, you must - MUST - rule out the spot you moved the search TO before you can rule out the place you moved FROM. Because (math). Please explain. Please.

August 7, 2014 10:36
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

The performance limits/range of the aircraft were estimated using the remaining fuel reported at the last ACARS position at 17.06 and various assumed flight speeds and altitudes. Figure 20 shows the performance limit bounds. The most probable paths intersection with the 7th arc and subsequent defined search area on Mar 28 was based on the best match paths to the BTO/BFO data (at various speeds/ altitudes and consequently fuel burn) using the Doppler model at the time. Despite increased fuel burn calculations near Malaysia the speed/altitude combination BTO/BFO match path moved North into S3. Refinement of the Doppler model has been occurring throughout the search for MH370 and continues as further information about the BFO contributions (Figure 21) is determined. The Doppler model is the driving force used in calculating probable flight paths and therefore defining the search area.

August 20, 2014 08:59
Brian Anderson said...

Unfortunately the updates do nothing to instil any confidence in the accuracy of the work done by ATSB. The update relating to the 'partial compensation' by the EAFC is little short of obfuscation. It is certainly not the truth. The truth relates to the V1.27 firmware released by the manufacturer in 1999.

While the amendments to Table 5 and Table 6 improve the understanding of the numbers, and resolve the dilemma of the changing Downlink Doppler, Table 6 now has a variety of errors compounded. The numbers do not add up. The Error is incorrectly computed, the heading are wrong.

So sad, when there are people with the skills and knowledge ready and willing to donate their time and energy to help, but frustrated by the lack of data and information, and transparency.

August 14, 2014 10:42
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

I am pleased that the ATSB’s update to Tables 5 and 6 were able to improve your understanding of the numbers. The purpose was to assist your group and others by quantifying the components of the Downlink Doppler parameter in Tables 5 and 6 of our June 26 report. Unfortunately during the creation of the new Table 6 some of the numbers and headings were inadvertently transcribed from Table 5. These have now been corrected back to those in our June 26 report.

We consider the ATSB’s clarification of partial compensation provided in the updated report, provides a good explanation of the issue with the EAFC receiver in Perth. However, I regret it does not meet your expectations and I will elaborate with information provided by our search strategy team to assist in your understanding.
‘As stated in our report, the equipment was only designed to operate in the Northern hemisphere and does not allow the entry of negative latitudes. Your inference that a subsequent firmware upgrade could have improved the performance of the receiver is not relevant in our analysis and calculations (since it was not installed).

By treating the ‘satellite + EAFC’ as a black box and measuring the output from it, the specific configuration/implementation of the EAFC isn’t relevant. The position of Burum, the satellite (+ motion) and Perth are all known, so the Doppler can be predicted for the Burum pilot and compared against the measured output from the ‘black box’, allowing the calibration to be applied to the messages originating from the AESs. This approach was taken primarily as the satellite component can’t be predicted. As a direct measurement of the output of the EAFC is available and the pilot input is known, then the calibration factor to apply can be determined without any EAFC assumptions or configuration knowledge being required. This approach was described in the updated report.’

I hope this further clarification and explanation from our busy group improves the knowledge and skills of your people enabling them to continue their work with the correct information.

August 20, 2014 09:02
Brock McEwen said...

Thanks for your tireless efforts, Martin.

Unfortunately, my own question was not addressed by the August 13 update. Let me rephrase, for clarity:

If starting at the NE tip of Sumatra, and passing through each Inmarsat arc on cue, then...

a 460 knot path hits arc 6 at 36 deg 35′ (middle of Mar17-27 search zone) with (per S2 width) 329 nmi to spare. Total distance: 2568+329=2897nmi

a 390 knot path hits arc 6 at 29 deg 48′ (middle of Mar28-Apr1 search zone) with (per S3 width) 248 nmi to spare. Total distance: 2177+248=2425nmi

Drop 11% range for less fuel: S2 OK, S3 NOT OK
Take away more: neither OK
Take away less: both OK

This is not my model. It is YOUR simple model, calibrated to YOUR published inputs. The March 17-27 feasibility zone makes perfect sense, and fits independent models; yet your March 28 search zone is clearly COUNTER-indicated by ALL models - including your OWN.

Can you shed light?

Thanks in advance for your time and attention.

August 14, 2014 12:18
Marc Horn said...

The update is even worse with its errors than what has been published to date!
This clearly highlights what clearly is looking like a cover up of the errors of Inmarsat and the incompetence of the ATSB.

Why is there this refusal to honestly answer the questions asked both here and specifically on ??
http://www.duncansteel.com/archives/899

Why are comments not being published?

If the objective is to solve the mystery so that the victims may get closure this is not the way to go about it!

August 16, 2014 03:52
Brian Anderson said...

It seems that my contribution of a couple of days ago was unacceptable. I’ll try again. After pointing out the computational and other errors in Table 6, I note that the table has now been updated. Too bad it hasn’t corrected all the errors though. The term “Heading” is used in Table 5, when it really means Track. Table 6 is referring to Latitude, yet the label “Heading” remains, incorrectly, as do the incorrect +/- 25 deg [and the strange True] Parameters.

It is quite incorrect to lay the blame for the “partial compensation” in the EAFC receiver on the incorrect design and the age of the equipment. Look at the operating description in the equipment manual. You are, in fact, pointing the finger at the wrong company. The real question relates to the V1.27 firmware release in 1999. Please check that out, and avoid the obfuscation.

August 16, 2014 07:23
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

The ATSB’s update to Tables 5 and 6 were provided to improve the public’s understanding of the numbers. The purpose was to clarify and quantify the components of the Downlink Doppler parameter in Tables 5 and 6 of our June 26 report. Unfortunately, during the creation of the new Table 6 some of the numbers and headings were inadvertently transcribed from Table 5. These have now been corrected back to those provided in our June 26 report and I apologise if it caused you any confusion or distress.

We consider the ATSB’s clarification of partial compensation provided in the updated report provides a good explanation of the issue with the EAFC receiver in Perth. It is a shame that you consider the table transcription error and explanation an obfuscation. As stated in our report, the equipment was only designed to operate in the Northern hemisphere and does not allow the entry of negative latitudes. The inference that a subsequent firmware upgrade could have improved the performance of the receiver is not relevant in our analysis and calculations. The technique that Inmarsat used to address the issue was described in the updated report and detailed in other responses to other supporters of your group above.

August 20, 2014 09:05
John Sampson said...

Anybody interested in a non-terrorist and non-hijacking technical explanation for the MH370 accident and its aftermath should review the material at http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2 (and its internal links).

Labelled 'An MH370-Analysis of likelihoods', and written by an experienced pilot, it reviews the various theories bruited about by press/media and pundits and then, (at para #11 and particularly in its links), proposes a far more credible explanation for all of the MH370 'mystery' developments - including a reason for the MH370 track into the Southern Indian Ocean. And it is a theory that is 'causally' based upon a previous 777 incident - and its technical follow-up (Report on that is a sizable PDF download at one of the links).

One aspect of the analysis is the reasoned recommendation that, based upon the likely 9M-MRO configuration and flight profile, any search area should cover up to 350kms further south of that now planned.

http://tinyurl.com/or9b

August 17, 2014 18:26
Brian Anderson said...

Thank you for the latest, 18 Aug, updates. But now the term “Track” has been expunged from Table 5, and replaced with “Heading”. Isn’t it true that at the time quoted, 17:07, the aircraft Track was 25deg. So how was the Heading determined?

In fact, isn’t this table a test of the “Sensitivity to Aircraft Track Errors”? Analysis of the BFO can only indicate the aircraft relative velocity, which can then be resolved into speed and [ground] track. Since the wind cannot be inferred from the BFO data the aircraft Heading cannot be determined. The effect of wind has not been added into the calculation in Table 5, and therefore the term Heading is misleading and it should be replaced by Track in each instance.

August 14, 2014 17:40
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

A comment from the search group:
‘We retained the term "Heading" from our initial report on June 26 since it is referred to in the text of Appendix G a number of times. The purpose of the 13 August update was to clarify and quantify the components of the Downlink Doppler parameter in Tables 5 and 6 of our June 26 report for those that misunderstood it.

Additionally, the updated report was to assist your people and others' confusion with the ‘partial compensation’ term. The update was a minor clarification. Please feel free to use the term 'Track' instead of 'Heading' in Table 5 where appropriate.

August 20, 2014 09:11
Barry Carlson said...

Some time ago, I came to the conclusion that 9M-MRO had turned to the north prior to the 1839 BFO resulting from an unanswered incoming phone call. The aircraft tracked toward waypoint IGREX then west into the Chennai FIR before turning south and passing near to or over Car Nicobar (VOCX) and arriving on the 1941 arc about 90NM to the south.

I reasoned that from about that point, the Wilkins Runway, Antarctica (YWKS) waypoint had been entered into the FMC, and the LNAV provided the Great Circle track.

http://countjustonce.com/mh370/mh370-map-1.html

Strange as it may seem, the ATSB assessment for the Priority Bathymetric Survey is centered exactly where the GC track to YWKS crosses the 7th arc. If YWKS has never featured in your considerations, then I assume it would now be a further confidence booster in validating the work done to date.

August 19, 2014 07:37
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

Thank you, Barry, for your insight. You will be pleased to hear that the search strategy group did consider YWKS as a possible waypoint. The location of the search area however, is based on the analysis of the satellite communications data.

August 20, 2014 09:13
Tony Verow MD said...

Kudos to you Mr. Dolan.
Thank you for your prompt and open responses to the varied queries on this blog. Cheers!

Tony Verow MD
Durango, CO 81301 USA

August 19, 2014 10:53
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the conversation. My apologies for the delay in addressing some of your questions. Many of the questions were highly technical so I took the time to consult with our specialists before responding.

The comments and questions have helped us to clarify some of the technical aspects of our report into defining the underwater search areas. You can now find the updated report on the MH370 page of our website.

August 20, 2014 09:17