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Malaysia Airlines Flight Goes Missing En Route to China - Flight MH370

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  • Originally posted by MIT EE View Post
    This is a pretty unique case. Here, part if not all of the electrical system continued to be operational as evidenced by the hourly pings to the Inmarsat satellite. The aircraft continued to fly on auto pilot, again evidencing that part of the electrical system was operational. However, the communication system (no mayday sent), transponder and ACARS failed simultaneously. Perhaps, these systems were on a separate electrical circuit? Boeing would know what was on which circuit breaker and they should be able to determine whether or not a circuit breaker tripped knocking these systems out.

    What would have been somewhat helpful in this case is what I advocate. Continuous streaming of the FDR and CVR data via satellite. The additional information you would have had here is the 41 minutes of flight data before it went AWOL. Maybe, that would not have made a difference in this case but maybe it would have shed clues as to, for instance, who was in the cockpit when the transponder stopped functioning.
    Continuous streaming of CVR/FDR data is obviously the best solution and given that the surface of the earth is around 70% water 30% land means any solution almost certainly has to be satellite based considering the curvature of the planet. These steps alone are not sufficient to prevent another MH370 situation as the systems can be manually switched off and have physical circuit breakers which, as the name suggests, breaks the circuit rendering the equipment useless. What would help is a more computerised circuit breaker system. Think of it like your desktop computer or laptop, where there is a reset function but not a shut down function. This would surely satisfy the need to be able to reboot a system in the even of a failure but prevent the user from shutting down the system altogether, save for exceptional circumstances where the computer detects a problem that would not be resolved by anything other than complete shut down. Obviously there would be an "engineer-only" function similar to satellite and cable set-top-boxes where an engineer can login and diagnose issues or change important values, but not in-flight.

    Essentially what I'm suggesting is a software based circuit breaker system with user limitations.
    Last edited by iazoniccc; 2014-03-26, 14:27.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by MIT EE View Post
      This is a pretty unique case. Here, part if not all of the electrical system continued to be operational as evidenced by the hourly pings to the Inmarsat satellite. The aircraft continued to fly on auto pilot, again evidencing that part of the electrical system was operational. However, the communication system (no mayday sent), transponder and ACARS failed simultaneously?? Perhaps, these systems were on a separate electrical circuit? Boeing would know what was on which circuit breaker and they should be able to determine whether or not a circuit breaker tripped knocking these systems out or in some bizarre twist of fate they did fail simultaneously.

      What would have been somewhat helpful in this case is what I advocate. Continuous streaming of the FDR and CVR data via satellite. The additional information you would have had here is the 41 minutes of flight data before it went AWOL. Maybe, that would not have made a difference in this case but maybe it would have shed clues as to, for instance, who was in the cockpit when the transponder stopped functioning.
      Would a a good place to get to, but KISS (Keep It Stupidly Simple) applies here - A battery powered GPS tracker that sends updates by satellite every 5 minutes, the aircraft route would have been visible while still in flight, and they would have known exactly where to search ... where the track ended. you would hope that the black box locators would allow them to be found very quickly if you know where the track ends. A simple solution should not need much engineering to design or take a long time for approval by FAA, etc. Also would not be resisted by pilots who don't want a spy in the cockpit.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by MIT EE View Post
        This is a pretty unique case. Here, part if not all of the electrical system continued to be operational as evidenced by the hourly pings to the Inmarsat satellite. The aircraft continued to fly on auto pilot, again evidencing that part of the electrical system was operational. However, the communication system (no mayday sent), transponder and ACARS failed simultaneously?? Perhaps, these systems were on a separate electrical circuit? Boeing would know what was on which circuit breaker and they should be able to determine whether or not a circuit breaker tripped knocking these systems out or in some bizarre twist of fate they did fail simultaneously.

        What would have been somewhat helpful in this case is what I advocate. Continuous streaming of the FDR and CVR data via satellite. The additional information you would have had here is the 41 minutes of flight data before it went AWOL. Maybe, that would not have made a difference in this case but maybe it would have shed clues as to, for instance, who was in the cockpit when the transponder stopped functioning.
        If this is a unique case then, presumably, it cannot used as an argument for the general case. So I see no necessity for any new equipment. In any case the only convincing argument for additional equipment is only convincing has a basis in safety.

        Another position reporting system does nothing to increase the safety of a particular flight. The only change that these functionality provides is to make the search for the wreckage cheaper and faster.

        Pre incident CVR / FDR data might be useful, not as a safety measure for this flight, but, for the safety for aviation in general.

        I do not interpret the lack of a mayday as evidence that the VHF system was off. At all times pilots aviate, navigate, and communicate in that order. In fact communication is a low priority. The only reason that, after satisfying the first two requirements, to communicate is to get airspace / clearance.
        Last edited by Exadios; 2014-03-26, 15:15.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by iazoniccc View Post
          Continuous streaming of CVR/FDR data is obviously the best solution and given that the surface of the earth is around 70% water 30% land means any solution almost certainly has to be satellite based considering the curvature of the planet. These steps alone are not sufficient to prevent another MH370 situation as the systems can be manually switched off and have physical circuit breakers which, as the name suggests, breaks the circuit rendering the equipment useless. What would help is a more computerised circuit breaker system. Think of it like your desktop computer or laptop, where there is a reset function but not a shut down function. This would surely satisfy the need to be able to reboot a system in the even of a failure but prevent the user from shutting down the system altogether, save for exceptional circumstances where the computer detects a problem that would not be resolved by anything other than complete shut down. Obviously there would be an "engineer-only" function similar to satellite and cable set-top-boxes where an engineer can login and diagnose issues or change important values, but not in-flight.

          Essentially what I'm suggesting is a software based circuit breaker system with user limitations.
          You will forgive me when I say that the thought of your desktop computer doing anything critical in an airliner cockpit horrifies me.

          I don't think you understand the fire potential that any electronics equipment can present - and that includes your set top box. I suspect that your first response when your set top box catches fire is not to call the engineer to login and diagnose the problem!

          I should say, yet again, that there is no evidence whatever that any equipment was turned off.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by peterhr View Post
            Would a a good place to get to, but KISS (Keep It Stupidly Simple) applies here - A battery powered GPS tracker that sends updates by satellite every 5 minutes, the aircraft route would have been visible while still in flight, and they would have known exactly where to search ... where the track ended. you would hope that the black box locators would allow them to be found very quickly if you know where the track ends. A simple solution should not need much engineering to design or take a long time for approval by FAA, etc. Also would not be resisted by pilots who don't want a spy in the cockpit.
            So, from that, can we assume that you will have an engineered and approved device available soon?

            Comment


            • Why not simply have a device which can only be turned off by 3 key switches, one held by the pilot, one by the co pilot and one by the chief steward? Or some similar combination?

              Comment


              • Originally posted by anterian View Post
                Why not simply have a device which can only be turned off by 3 key switches, one held by the pilot, one by the co pilot and one by the chief steward? Or some similar combination?
                I remind you that there is no evidence that anything was turned off on this flight. And, if equipment was turned off, there is no evidence that there was any malicious intent. So what issue is your suggestion addressing?

                Also keep in mind that there are very few conditions that are more serious than a fire on board an aircraft.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Exadios View Post
                  You will forgive me when I say that the thought of your desktop computer doing anything critical in an airliner cockpit horrifies me.

                  I don't think you understand the fire potential that any electronics equipment can present - and that includes your set top box. I suspect that your first response when your set top box catches fire is not to call the engineer to login and diagnose the problem!

                  I should say, yet again, that there is no evidence whatever that any equipment was turned off.
                  Indeed there is no place in the flight deck for my desktop pc, I suppose what I am trying to say is that what i have outlined earlier provides an additional layer of security to any post-accident investigation, like this one.

                  If we're calling a spade a spade, these pieces of equipment probably didn't fail simultaneously. While it remains a far-out possibility, there is also no evidence it was damaged by fire.

                  Indeed electricity can cause a fire, disconnecting its supply will not extinguish an existing fire, it is the source of ignition. As long as the fire has fuel and oxygen, it will continue on its path. If my set top box caught fire I cannot extinguish it simply by pulling the plug.

                  A computerised circuit breaker system would obviously have the ability to detect a fire and shut down the component, while at the same time preventing the same component from being shut down without good cause.

                  Also would like to raise an issue with your previous comments about safety and streaming data/GPS. Human beings have been known to survive aircraft crashes before, who's to say there were no human soul's to have survived this impact only to be killed by the ocean? If SAR had known the exact location they could have got straight to the last known coordinates and possibly found survivors.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Mac Attack View Post
                    CBS evening news reported (their time 25 Mar ~19:10) that the [US Navy's] Towed Pinger Locator 25 is being dispatched and would not be operational at the search site until 15 April..... can this be true?
                    Aren't the flight recorder pings only supposed to last 30 days. Isn't this past the 30 days?

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by smay69 View Post
                      Aren't the flight recorder pings only supposed to last 30 days. Isn't this past the 30 days?
                      The pinger is designed to last a minimum of 30 days, it is a minimum recommendation, not a maximum endurance limit. The pinger could last longer, it's not set in stone.

                      Anish Patel, president of beacon manufacturer Dukane Seacom Inc. told CNN

                      "After 30 days, the battery will continue providing power and the beacon will ping, but the output will quickly drop, Patel says.
                      "As the battery 'wears down' the pinger output decreases until the battery reaches a point that no ping is emitted," Patel wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "The pings get lower and lower in 'volume' as the battery weakens."
                      "Our predictive models and lab tests show 33-35 days of output before we drop below the minimal value," he wrote. "Depending on the age of the battery, it could continue pinging for a few days longer with progressively lower output levels, until the unit shuts down."

                      http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/20/wo...irlines-pings/
                      Last edited by iazoniccc; 2014-03-26, 15:55.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by iazoniccc View Post
                        The pinger is designed to last a minimum of 30 days, it is a minimum recommendation, not a maximum endurance limit. The pinger could last 31 days, could last 40 days, it's not set in stone.
                        Or it could last less than 30 days.

                        There is some evidence that the pinger on Air France 447 do not work at all. After the searchers recognized that possibility they feed that into their model and, because of the revised recommendation, found the wreckage a week later.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by iazoniccc View Post
                          Indeed there is no place in the flight deck for my desktop pc, I suppose what I am trying to say is that what i have outlined earlier provides an additional layer of security to any post-accident investigation, like this one.

                          If we're calling a spade a spade, these pieces of equipment probably didn't fail simultaneously. While it remains a far-out possibility, there is also no evidence it was damaged by fire.

                          Indeed electricity can cause a fire, disconnecting its supply will not extinguish an existing fire, it is the source of ignition. As long as the fire has fuel and oxygen, it will continue on its path. If my set top box caught fire I cannot extinguish it simply by pulling the plug.

                          A computerised circuit breaker system would obviously have the ability to detect a fire and shut down the component, while at the same time preventing the same component from being shut down without good cause.

                          Also would like to raise an issue with your previous comments about safety and streaming data/GPS. Human beings have been known to survive aircraft crashes before, who's to say there were no human soul's to have survived this impact only to be killed by the ocean? If SAR had known the exact location they could have got straight to the last known coordinates and possibly found survivors.
                          I suggest that you design and engineer such a system and present it to the certifying authorities for approval.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Exadios View Post
                            I remind you that there is no evidence that anything was turned off on this flight. And, if equipment was turned off, there is no evidence that there was any malicious intent. So what issue is your suggestion addressing?

                            Also keep in mind that there are very few conditions that are more serious than a fire on board an aircraft.
                            It seems that one objection to an automatic GPS reporting device is that it could still be turned off either intentionally/maliciously or by a total power failure. A trickle charged sealed unit I would think overcomes this objection. My remark was not specific to this flight other that it points out the need for such a device.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Exadios View Post
                              I suggest that you design and engineer such a system and present it to the certifying authorities for approval.
                              Yes, the generic response. Out of morbid curiosity Mr. Exadios, do you have a proposal of your own? I note you failed to respond to my facts contradicting some of your previous posts?

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by anterian View Post
                                It seems that one objection to an automatic GPS reporting device is that it could still be turned off either intentionally/maliciously or by a total power failure. A trickle charged sealed unit I would think overcomes this objection. My remark was not specific to this flight other that it points out the need for such a device.
                                I'm still trying to understand which problem automatic position reporting is meant to solve. For instance, how many people on this particular flight that are now dead would be alive id this equipment had been installed? The answer is zero.

                                In fact I can only think of 2 possible instance in the last 30 years where this sort of equipment might have saved lives. No doubt there are some others but they are extremely rare.

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