CSIRO releases new MH370 drift modelling report

A new report released by the CSIRO today further confirms the most likely location of MH370 is in the new search area identified by the First Principles Review, conducted in November last year.

Replica flaperons at  sea

Dr David Griffin from the CSIRO said the new report features data and analysis from ocean testing of an actual Boeing 777 flaperon.

“Testing an actual flaperon has added an extra level of assurance to the findings from our earlier drift modelling work,” said Dr David Griffin.

“Earlier drift modelling was conducted using replicas of the flaperon found on La Reunion Island. Those replicas had been made of wood and steel, and were designed to float and behave like the original.”

The original MH370 flaperon found on La Reunion is still being examined by the French judiciary. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the USA was able to assist in sourcing a genuine flaperon of the same model. This flaperon was cut down to match photographs of MH370’s flaperon, and then testing was done in the waters near Hobart.

“We wanted to see if the genuine flaperon drifted straight downwind like the replicas, or off at an angle, and at what speed through the water,” said Dr Griffin.

“We’ve found that an actual flaperon goes about 20 degrees to the left, and faster than the replicas, as we thought it might. The arrival of MH370’s flaperon at La Reunion in July 2015 now makes perfect sense.

“Knowing how the flaperon, and the other parts of MH370 that have been found, respond to wind and waves is just as important as knowing the currents of the Indian Ocean.

“We add both together in our model to simulate the drift across the ocean, then compare the results with observations of where debris was and wasn’t found, in order to deduce the location of the aircraft.”

The new report’s findings support the conclusions of the first report. It indicates that the most likely location of MH370 is in the new search area identified and recommended by the First Principles Review report, and most likely at the southern end of that, near 35 degrees South.

“We cannot be absolutely certain, but that is where all the evidence we have points us, and this new work leaves us more confident in our findings,” Dr Griffin Said.

The new report (CSIRO Report 2) and previous report (CSIRO Report 1), which CSIRO produced on behalf of the ATSB, are available on the ATSB’s website.

Related: MH370
Last update 21 April 2017

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