“The Inmarsat satellite signal path overlapped near
Pinger # 2 search grid - is that where MH370 is?”
- Mark Wood, retired U. S. Navy Captain
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia with a population of some 1.6 million.
Early Saturday, March 8, 2014, at 12:41 AM local time, Malaysian Airliner MH370 took
off for a routine 2,700 mile flight to Beijing. But at 1:19 AM over the Gulf of Thailand,
MH370 disappeared when the transponder shut off. Inmarsat-3 F1 geostationary satellite
picks up data that indicates that MH370 went either north or south along the red arcs.
Possible black box pings were heard in the Indian Ocean southwest of Perth, Australia,
where underwater drone searches as of April 23, 2014, had not found any
wreckage. Map of search for MH370 by Soerfm, Wikipedia.
Boeing 777-2H6ER 9M-MRO, the aircraft used for flight MH370.
Credit: Rodger McCutcheon, Auckland Photo News.
April 25, 2014 Albuquerque, New Mexico - MH370 Malaysian airline pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, on Friday, March 7, 2014, traveled from his Kuala Lumpur home 15 miles to Putrajaya to attend the trial of his friend, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Captain Shaw was enraged when Ibrahim was sentenced to five years in jail on a homosexuality charge.
After sentencing at 9 PM, angry Zaharie Shaw drove to the Kuala Lumpur Airport. As the clock went past midnight to 12:41 AM Saturday, March 8th, Captain Shaw took off in MH370. He and his crew numbered 12; there were 227 passengers for a total of 239 people bound for Beijing, China, 2,700 miles away. The 777's fuel tanks were full and could cruise at 35,000 feet for seven hours.
About 41 minutes later at 1:30 AM, air traffic control lost contact with MH370 over the Gulf of Thailand. Was there a catastrophic mechanical problem? Or was the transponder deliberately shut off at 1:30 AM for nefarious reasons? Or?
Malaysian Prime Minister, April 24, 2014:
“MH370 is a bizarre scenario.”
On April 24, 2014, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told CNN the plane's disappearance is “a bizarre scenario which none of us could have contemplated,” but would not say definitely that the plane is lost at the bottom of the Indian Ocean or that the 239 people are dead. He emphasized his sensitivity to the loved ones of those missing for weeks, but also raised this question: How could a plane that was supposed to head toward Beijing end up so far in the opposite direction “half-way to Antarctica?”
Some of the other big mysteries are why the roller coaster flight up to 40,000 feet and then down to 4,500 feet? Why did the co-pilot have his cell phone on the whole time? What was the reason for the sharp turn to the west and down toward Perth, Australia? Why has there been no MH370 debris where pings were picked up by the Inmarsat satellite? Do the four ping areas reveal an overlap that pinpoints where the pinging black box should be?
Joining me to analyze these mysteries from a quarter century of skilled U. S. Navy airborne navigation, search and rescue and anti-submarine warfare experience is retired Navy Captain Mark Wood, now 64. Mark graduated in 1971 from Georgia Tech in Atlanta with a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Aerospace Engineering. The next year he trained as an overwater navigator qualified in celestial navigation and after being designated as a Naval Flight Officer was assigned to a U. S. Navy P-3C squadron at Moffett Field in California. For the next twenty-five years, Mark flew over 3,000 flight hours in three P-3 squadrons as a mission commander and tactical coordinator ultimately becoming both an Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of two U. S. Naval Air Reserve units. After earning a Master's Degree in Ocean Engineering, Mark spent over seven years involved with the design, installation and repair of a variety of U. S. Navy submarine towed array sonars, U. S. Navy fixed array sonars and deep water remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). He has also been on the faculty of Florida Atlantic University where he taught ocean engineering and underwater sound and served as the staff engineer at the Florida Institute of Oceanography where he had responsibility for the operation of the State of Florida's University System Deep Water Research Vessels.
We began our discussion about the bizarre MH370 disappearance and what could possibly have been behind the 777 airliner climbing on radar to 45,000 feet and then back down to 4,500 feet?
Play MP3 interview.
Mark Wood, 64, retired, made U. S. Navy Captain in 1992 after
distinguished 25-year-career in U. S. Navy airborne navigation,
search, rescue and anti-submarine warfare.
Why Roller Coaster Flight Path?
Mark Wood, 64, retired U. S. Navy Navigator and Captain: “It was 1 o'clock in the morning, I think, local time. Most of the people probably were already beginning to doze or go to sleep for a night flight. They (pilots?) could gradually decrease the cabin altitude, incapacitate the emergency oxygen system in the cabin, stay on oxygen in the cockpit and gradually people would fall asleep, become unconscious and ultimately die.
Since the plane continued to fly and there was no emergency call from the flight crew that they were having a problem, no doubt this was a deliberate event and going to that altitude was done to incapacitate the passengers so that they would not cause them any problems.
AT THAT ALTITUDE, ONE MINUTE IS ALL THEY WOULD HAVE HAD BEFORE THEY WERE DEAD AND THE ONLY PERSON OR PEOPLE, WHO COULD HAVE SURVIVED WOULD HAVE BEEN THOSE WHO HAVE OXYGEN MASKS.
Yes, and then rapidly descended to go down below 5,000 feet. They did that for two reasons: one is to get below radar; but the other is to get some warmth back in because they weren't going to survive the cold even if they had oxygen masks on.
And we're just hearing that the co-pilot's cell phone was on and they made it sound like he tried to make a call, but was not close to an antenna. If the pilot and co-pilot got into an altercation and one or the other was trying to save the plane, it might have been that he had no choice, but to try and call somebody on cell phone because he wasn't able to get to the radios. It (co-pilot's cell phone) could have been turned on accidently or — my feeling is — it was an attempt to communicate with somebody that something was not right. And what that tells me is that the pilot and co-pilot were not acting together. It was one or the other that had taken over the plane.
All we can assume is that it was for a hijacking. The reason I say that is if it were for a suicide attempt, it was not necessary to climb to 40,000 feet. All, whoever was in charge, had to do was nose over and fly it right into the water between Malaysia and Vietnam. And that wasn't done. They continued to fly through a number of hours. So, there was some purpose for it (MH370) to go where it went, unless the person was completely deranged. And until we get the black boxes and hear any of the conversation that took place, we won't know that.
Why the Sharp Turn West At
1:19 AM Saturday, March 8, 2014?
MH370 at 1:19 AM Malaysian time made a sharp left turn toward the west after the
last radio words to Malaysian control tower: “Good night Malaysian three seven zero.”
WOULD YOU SPECULATE WHY MH370 MADE THAT SHARP TURN GOING WEST (AND THEN SOUTHWEST)?
Whoever took over the plane didn't want to have any contact at all — either radar or communication with Vietnam. So the way to do that was to turn away. The initial way to turn was towards the west because they were going into an area that was probably more rural, maybe had poor radar coverage. There weren't a lot of big cities as opposed to flying back towards the East and then south, which would have taken them back over Kuala Lumpur, which isn't where you would want to go. So I can understand that would be a place where there was probably a smaller likelihood of being tracked on radar until they got down to where the military radar picked them up near one of the islands off the western coast of Malaysia.
DO YOU THINK IN SPECULATION THAT THE GOAL MIGHT HAVE BEEN TO DO SOMETHING IN PERTH, AUSTRALIA, WITH THAT PLANE?
If the intent was to go to Australia, the only thing that I can think of is to have done some sort of damage, not unlike a 9/11 scenario.
If one would ask why would they do that? The radical Islamic movement has not been welcome in Australia, as in many other countries, and it might be that this was somebody's idea of making a statement. I can't think of any other reason why they would have flown in that direction because the only other alternative is to run out of fuel and put the plane in the water.
MH370 Captain Zaharie Shah Was “Fanatical Supporter”
of Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim
U. K. Mail Online April 23, 2014: “Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a father-of-three, was said to be a 'fanatical' supporter of the country's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim - jailed for homosexuality just hours before the jet disappeared.
It has also been revealed that the pilot's wife and three children moved out of the family home the day before the plane went missing. It comes as FBI investigators say the disappearance of MH370 may have been ‘an act of piracy’ and the possibility that hundreds of passengers are being held at an unknown location has not been ruled out.”
MH370 Malaysian airline pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah,
53, on Friday, March 7, 2014, traveled from his Kuala Lumpur
home 15 miles to Putrajaya to attend trial of Malaysian opposition
leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was sentenced to five years in jail on a homosexuality charge. After sentencing that enraged Captain Shaw,
at 9 PM Friday, the pilot drove to the Kuala Lumpur Airport. At 12:41 AM Saturday, March 8th, he took off in MH370. Shah and his crew numbered 12; there were 227 passengers for a total of 239 people aboard bound for Beijing, China, 2,700 miles away. The plane was filled with seven hours of fuel
to cruise at 35,000 feet. About 41 minutes later at 1:30 AM, air traffic
control loses contact with MH370 over the Gulf of Thailand. Was there a catastrophic mechanical problem? Or was the transponder deliberately
shut off at 1:30 AM for nefarious reasons?
PERTH IS THE ONLY REALLY SOMEWHAT LARGE CITY ON THE WESTERN COAST OF AUSTRALIA AND IF THEIR INTENT WAS TO DO DAMAGE, DO YOU THINK IT IS POSSIBLE THAT IT WAS LINKED WITH THE PILOT, HIS POLITICS AND WHAT HE DID?
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia.
It is the fourth most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 1.97 million.
I guess one thing that is sort of surprising is since this friend who was in Malaysian politics — who was put in jail by the Malaysian government — one would think they (hijackers) would take actions against the Malaysian government and fly into a building or something like that in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur, founded in 1857, is the federal capital and most populous
city in Malaysia. The estimated population was 1.6 million as of 2010.
So the fact that it didn't take that option
and went down towards Australia, one would think that could be a motive and it would be interesting to see if there was any relationship between the gentleman who was put in jail — whether or not he had traveled to Australia? Did the Australian government help with evidence that caused him to go to jail? It doesn't make any sense to just fly south into the Indian Ocean and know you are going to run out of gas.
SO, PERTH IS THE ONLY OBVIOUS TARGET ON THE WESTERN AUSTRALIA COAST.
Yeah, I would think so. I know there's a Royal Australian Air Force Base up on the northwestern coast, but that's not something that would be known to most people.
[ Editor's Note: Wikipedia - RAAF Base Pearce (ICAO: YPEA) is the main Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base in Western Australia. It is located in Bullsbrook, north of Perth. It is used for training by the RAAF and the Republic of Singapore Air Force. Pearce is the busiest RAAF base in the country in terms of total aircraft movements, including civil movements at the Joint User bases. Although its primary role is pilot training, it remains the only permanent Air Force base on the west coast, and thus has a significant logistics role.
RAAF Gingin is a small airfield located near Pearce that is also used for flying training. The airfield is owned by the Air Force and is managed by RAAF Base Pearce. An airliner mock-up has been built on base to serve as an anti-hijacking training aid for the Australian Special Air Service's counter-terrorism squadron, also known as Tactical Assault Group (West). It is used to practise airliner entry and hostage rescue drills. ]
If in fact the motive was to do something like this - have an Australian 9/11, you want to make the biggest impact you can.
Why No Obvious MH370 Debris
Where Pings Were?
WHY DO YOU THINK THERE HAS NOT BEEN ANY OBVIOUS MH370 DEBRIS WHERE THE PINGS HAVE BEEN?
Having spent a large portion of my Navy career doing maritime patrol, you would be surprised when you are flying at even several thousand feet at a couple hundred knots, it's difficult to even see something as big as a 12-foot-diameter life raft that's bright yellow. You've got wind and wave action. You've got white caps that are confusing. Things can bob up and bob down in a trough and you fly right over it and you don't see them until the third or fourth time that you fly right back exactly over the same location. That in itself complicates the problem.
The other thing is that this aircraft in my estimation did not explode, say like TWA Flight 800 off Long Island where you had massive amounts of debris that floated and stayed in an area for a long period of time. So most likely, this MH370 went down in one piece, whether because it ran out of fuel? Or because the pilot finally decided to put it in the water. The area that it went down was basically the size of an airplane hitting the water and at the speed that it went and hit, I would think that what would happen is that the wings would have been ripped off upon impact and the fuselage would have gone down like a lawn dart and not broken enough into lots of pieces that would have come up and floated around the surface. That's not to say that there would not have been seat cushions or life vests or suitcases or even bodies, but I think most of the debris they will probably find — if they find the aircraft — it will probably still be in the fuselage.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO THE WINGS IN THAT SCENARIO?
Well, the impact of a plane hitting the water, even if it just ran out of fuel, nosed over and went down, you're probably talking about several hundred knots at a minimum — maybe even as much as 300 knots and the wings would have been definitely ripped off the fuselage. The engines would have been ripped off. There's nothing that would keep an engine floating. The landing gear, the engines, would go right to the bottom. The wings, they would have been torn up to the point that the integrity of the fuel tanks would have been lost and they would have filled with water and sank.
THAT TAKES US DOWN NOW UNDERNEATH THE SURFACE TO WHEREVER THE LOCATOR WENT AND THOSE PINGS. YOU HAVE SENT ME ANALYSIS OF WHERE YOU THINK MAYBE THEY SHOULD BE LOOKING. CAN YOU TRY TO EXPLAIN FOR A GENERAL AUDIENCE WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT SOUND CHANNELS, PINGERS AND WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?
I spent 25 years in the Navy flying in P3s as a tactical coordinator and mission commander and our primary mission was anti-submarine warfare. We chased submarines based on the acoustic information that we would receive. In ocean depths, sound can travel great distances in what is called a deep sound channel. A deep sound channel is almost like a waveguide when you think about electronics. Speed of sound changes with temperature and depth.
Inmarsat Satellite Signal Path Overlapped Near
Pinger # 2 Search Grid - Is That Where MH370 Is?
So what I did in assuming that the signal strength on that ping was similar for pings they picked up at Positions 1, 3 and 4. I assumed they probably picked them up at around the same range away from the black box. And if you draw a circle that's about 12.5 kilometers in radius around each of those three pings, those three circles intersect in one spot and they intersect in a position that's about 3.5 kilometers to the east of Ping # 2.
Pinger sounds detected and grid searches conducted west of Perth, Australia. Click to enlarge.
There is a yellow line that goes from northeast to southwest that passes almost directly through the intersection of those three circles. And that is the (yellow) computer-generated arc from the Inmarsat signal — the satellite was pinging the aircraft — and it's the arc we've heard about where Inmarsat said, ‘We believe it's on the southern arc.’'
The straight yellow line is the computer-generated arc from the Inmarsat satellite signal
that was pinging MH370. Inmarsat concluded the plane was “on the southern arc.” Click to enlarge.
So, if in fact that plane was on that arc, to me it's more than coincidence that it crosses right where those three circles intersect. The Inmarsat satellite signal path overlapped near
Pinger # 2 search grid - is that where MH370 is?
DO YOU THINK THAT THEY ARE GOING TO FIND THIS PLANE DOWN WHERE YOU HAVE THE YELLOW ILLUSTRATION AT PINGER # 2?
If in fact the signals that they received are from the Malaysian Flight 370 black box, then yes, I think that's where they are going to find it. But with everything else that's happened, I wouldn't be surprised if they don't find it.
IT'S LIKE AMELIA EARHART ON STEROIDS.
[ Editor's Note: Wikipedia - Amelia Mary Earhart at age 39 in 1937 was attempting to fly around the world in a Lockheed Model 10 Electra, when on July 2, 1937, she disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.]
It's bad enough to have to deal with the tragedy, but where is it? That has made the human tragedy of this that much greater.”