It’s MH370

August 6th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar


Graphic from Bloomberg.

The confirmation the wreckage is MH370 will be bitter and sweet news for families. It will be good to have confirmation of what happened to it, but bitter to know the crew and passengers are definitely dead.

Looking at the area the plane flew to,¬†I think there is little doubt this was pilot suicide/homicide. There’s nothing out there.

If correct, that makes two cases in just one year. Very sad that airline safety used to be about protecting pilots from terrorists, but now will have to be equally about protecting passengers from (some) pilots.

Another missing plane

December 28th, 2014 at 6:39 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Search and rescue operations are underway after an AirAsia flight from Indonesian to Singapore with more than a hundred people on board lost contact with air traffic control.

Indonesian transport officials said the aircraft lost contact with the Jakarta air traffic control tower at 6.17am local time (11.17am NZT).

There were reports wreckage of the plane had been found east of Belitung Island in Indonesia.

AirAsia is a Malaysian airline. They say troubles always strike in threes. Very sad for the family and friends of the crew and passengers.

AirAsia were ranked the best low cost airline in the world in 2012. I think this is their first crash.

Cellphone use now ruled safe on flights

October 1st, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Making phonecalls and sending text messages on planes could soon be commonplace after international aviation authorities deemed cellphone “flight mode” unnecessary.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) issued guidelines over the weekend permitting European airlines to allow passengers to use electronic transmitting devices, such as cellphones and tablets, at all times – including take-off and landing.

A similar change on New Zealand flights would need to be given the green light by the Civil Aviation Authority.

It’s been obvious for years there is no measurable risk.

Personally I would not allow phone calls on flights as they are disruptive to other passengers (unless maybe airlines offer a section you can book where calls are okay). But if passengers can get a signal, they should be able to text and access the Internet.


August 3rd, 2014 at 6:20 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah probably used Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 to commit mass murder/suicide, according to a book by two Waikato authors.

The captain of MH370 may have even glided the out-of-fuel aircraft to its final end in the southern Indian Ocean and sunk it intact, say Geoff Taylor and Ewan Wilson, authors of Goodnight Malaysian 370 – the truth behind the loss of Flight 370.

The authors suggest Zaharie, who prided himself on his technical expertise and methodical nature, may have got satisfaction out of making the Boeing 777 virtually impossible to find in what they described as “the ultimate post-mortem triumph”.

The book, released on Amazon Kindle on Monday and in hard copy on August 10, was written after extensive research in Malaysia and interviews with family members and friends.

Wilson, a pilot and former chief executive of two airlines, said the book analyses every possible scenario of what could have happened to the ill-fated airliner that left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing at 12.41am on March 8.

“We were able to completely rule out any possibility of catastrophic structural failure, rapid depressurisation, electrical failure, fire or being shot down as possible causes for MH370’s loss,” said Wilson, who also has transport air investigation qualifications.

“They simply couldn’t have happened. Through a process of elimination, we were left with the uncomfortable and very tragic likelihood that Zaharie – because of some personality disorder, depression or emotional breakdown – killed himself and everyone on the aircraft deliberately.”

I have no expertise in this area, but it seems pretty obvious that one of the pilots was responsible.

However reckon they know what happened:

When it was first announced that flight MH-370 disappeared without a trace, there had been voices suggesting that the same plane will be later used in a false flag operation.

Personally, I tried to ignore the speculations thinking that no secret agency could ever conduct such an insanely-obvious operation, expecting that the rest of the world is stupid enough to buy it.

Boy, was I was wrong! …

If the US secret services got possession of the MH-370 jet, then it was a child’s play for them to set it up for a false flag operation suiting their needs. After the story of a passenger jet having been shot down by pro-Russian separatists broke loose, Russia lost a lot of credibility and support due to the US propaganda machine.

Conspiracy nutters are such fun.

Mad new airline safety procedures

July 10th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Passengers flying to and from British airports, and not just those on United States-bound flights, must ensure their electronic devices are charged.

Although New Zealand authorities have not been asked to implement the tough new safety measures, the Aviation Security Service said it was prepared to step up checks.

The ASS should say that they will not succumb to the paranoia from overseas. To ban you travelling with a cellphone if it has run out of power (which is very common) is madness. Think of the huge delays as every person has to power their phone on, and then has to either give up their cellphone or change flights if it has run out of power.

A spokesman for the department said: “In line with the US advice, passengers on some routes into and out of the UK may now also be required to show that electronic devices in their hand luggage are powered up or face not being allowed to bring the device on to the aircraft.

“Passengers … are therefore advised to make sure electronic devices being carried in their hand luggage are charged before they travel.”

Has anyone done a cost benefit analysis of the huge cost this imposes, against the very marginal benefit?

Tracking planes

April 4th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

An aviation industry group is creating a task force to make recommendations this year for continuously tracking commercial airliners because “we cannot let another aircraft simply vanish” like Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. …

The aviation mystery has highlighted the need for improvements in tracking aircraft and security, according to the International Air Transport Association, a trade association for the world’s airlines meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

“In a world where our every move seems to be tracked, there is disbelief that an aircraft could simply disappear,” said Tony Tyler, the director general of the group whose 240 member airlines carry 84 per cent of all passengers and cargo worldwide.

“We cannot let another aircraft simply vanish,” he said in announcing the high-level task force to make recommendations on tracking commercial aircraft.

I strongly agree with this, and not just ¬†because by the time this post appears I’ll be on board a Malaysia Airlines flight to (hopefully) Kuala Lumpar!!

I’d even go further and say modern aircraft should have drone capability where their airline can take over control via autopilot if a plane diverts from its intended route without good reason.

But the Air Line Pilots Association, the world’s biggest pilot union, warned that live-streaming of information from the flight data recorder, as an alternative to the current black boxes, could lead to the release or leak of clues that could make pilots look bad before all the facts about an accident are known.

The pilots union have a lot to answer for when it comes to safety. They’re the reason the black box only records the last two hours of conversation, which means for MH370 even finding the black box may not help us know what happened. Their concern about people judging pilots prematurely should be a distant second to safety.

MH370 confirmed crashed

March 25th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The devastated relatives of passengers on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 must assume the plane is “lost” and the flight crashed in the Indian Ocean, the Malaysian PM says.

The families were called to meetings this morning to be told the fate of flight 370, which vanished on March 8 with 239 people, including two New Zealanders, aboard while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

Those who could not attend received a text message or phone call from the airline confirming the terrible news.

New satellite analysis showed MH370 flew along the southern corridor and its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth, representatives of the UK Air Investigation Branch had told Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sights,” Najib said today.

“It is, therefore, with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that according to this new data flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

I think this almost rules out terrorism.

Either it was a freak accident that overwhelmed the pilots, or it was one of the pilots.

I’m unconvinced that something like a fire on board would kill the pilots, yet allow the plane to keep flying for seven hours.

Also there is the mystery of the fact that the deviations from  the flight path appear to have been programmed into the computer in advance.

At least the families of those on dead have some certainty now, but questions will remain until at least the black box is found. Even then it may say little as it only has the last two hours of cockpit conversation, in the bizarre interests of pilot privacy protection. Anything short of a clear motive for or confession from a pilot will mean it remains a mystery.

Who dun it?

March 19th, 2014 at 12:57 pm by David Farrar

Well I think it was either the pilot or co-pilot. I can’t imagine the plane could have been diverted without any distress signal, without at least one of them involved.

How awful for the families of those on board, and how intriguing for the rest of us as we all wonder how did it happen.

Terrorism less likely

March 12th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Interpol has identified the two men travelling on stolen passports on a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner.

Both were Iranians who boarded the plane at the same time.

Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble said last night the two men travelled to Malaysia on their Iranian passports, then apparently switched to the stolen Austrian and Italian documents.

He named them as Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, and Delavar Syed Mohammad Reza, 29, and said information discovered about them made terrorism a less likely cause of the plane’s disappearance.

The terrorism theory weakened after Malaysian authorities determined that one of the two men was an Iranian asylum seeker.

Malaysian police chief Khalid Tan Sri told reporters the 19-year-old Iranian man was believed to be planning to enter Germany to seek asylum. He said the man was not believed to be a member of a terrorist group.

He said the young man’s mother was waiting for him in Frankfurt and had been in contact with the police. He said she contacted Malaysian authorities to inform them of her concern when her son didn’t get in touch with her.

Still not sure why the stolen passports were needed, especially as they managed to leave Iran on their Iranian passports. The mystery continues, but sort of reassuring that terrorism is less likely.  Hopefully the plane wreckage will be located in the near future.

Stuff reports:

Malaysia’s military believes it tracked a missing jetliner by radar, flying low over the Strait of Malacca, far from where it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country’s east coast, a military source says.

In one of the most baffling mysteries in recent aviation history, a massive search operation for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, now in its fourth day, has so far found no trace of the aircraft or the 239 passengers and crew.

“It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” the military official, who has been briefed on investigations, said.

The Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, runs along Malaysia’s west coast. The airline said on Saturday (local time) that radio and radar contact with Flight MH370 was lost off the east coast Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.

The development injects more mystery into the investigation of the disappearance of Saturday’s flight, and raises questions about why the aircraft was not transmitting signals detectable by civilian radar.

The mystery deepens.


March 10th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

It must be anguishing for families and friends of those on MH370 to not only have to deal with the almost certain death of their loved ones, but to have no idea how the flight went down, or even where it has crashed.

Most crashes are at take off and/or landing. It is rare for a flight to crash with no communication from the cockpit. The speculationseems to fall into three categories:

  1. A catastrophic structural failure that tore the plane apart instantly, or at least the cockpit
  2. A terrorist event of some sort, or external attack
  3. For some reason the plane had diverted from its normal flight path and hit something

No 1 seems unlikely. The 777s have a good safety record.

No 3 can not be ruled out, but seems unlikely.

So the speculation is mainly focused on the second category. The fact that at least two people on board were travelling on stolen passports (maybe up to four people were) makes you wonder if it was a freaky coincidence, or it has some significance.

A fourth possibility is an extreme weather event, but it seems there were none in the area.

A sad and puzzling mystery. Let’s hope that eventually the plane is located and the black box holds some answers.

The end of flight mode?

February 22nd, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Economist reports:

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, a Democratic senator from Missouri, is perhaps best known for beating Todd Akin, a Republican with a bizarre theory about pregnancy and rape, at the 2012 election. That may soon change. If Ms McCaskill succeeds in her latest quest, she stands a chance of becoming a patron saint of business travellers for getting the ban on using in-flight portable electronic devices lifted.

Ms McCaskill, a member of the Senate’s transportation committee, is fed up with the slow pace of change at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). She has¬†warned the agency in a letter¬†that she is “prepared to pursue legislative solutions should progress be made too slowly” on allowing the use of electronic devices throughout a flight.¬†The FAA, which¬†has given various¬†evasive explanations¬†for the ban, is under the jurisdiction of the committee and so has reason to take this seriously.

There is no evidence that electronic devices such as phones and iPads cause a problem on aeroplanes. If there were, they would be banned on board. In any case, many people leave their phones on, or simply defy the rules. According to a recent survey cited in The Week,around 40% of passengers said they never turn off their phones during a flight, and a small number knowingly break the regulations by using their phones to talk or text.

The restrictions are silly. There is no technical necessity to switch an iPad off during take off, or even to have it in flight mode during the trip.