Further statements on MH370

Posted in General at 8:17 am by timfarrar

The Independent Group has today (September 26) issued a new statement on MH370.
The previous statement dated September 9 is available here.

In summary, we continue to believe that the ‘most probable’ end point is located further to the south than any of the currently announced potential search areas.


  1. Dr. Bobby Ulich said,

    September 28, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Hi Tim,

    I have identified the particular route flown by MH370. The 7th arc crossing point is at (40.24S, 83.53E). This is about 300 NM SW of your Independent Group’s estimate.

    Readers can view my white paper at:


    1. This route is a great circle route that can be set by selecting a single aviation waypoint in the Flight Management System (the normal navigation mode after takeoff and climb).

    2. That waypoint is Maimun Saleh Airport on Weh Island. It is the nearest airport to 9M-MRO when it went out of radar range.

    3. This route begins at the last radar contact point and continues at the same bearing.

    4. It is a simple route, requiring only one turn and no speed changes.

    5. The turn begins at 18:27:00 and ends at 18:28:36. This time period is consistent with the BFO data at 18:28:10 that indicates a turn is underway.

    6. The RMS radial error in the seven arc crossings is less than 1.5 NM, which is equivalent to ~13 microseconds RMS noise (and truncation error) in the BTO’s. This is actually twice as good as the value suggested by the ATSB based on the repeatability at Kuala Lumpur International Airport before takeoff.

    7. The true air speed is constant within ~1 knot from 18:22 (the last radar contact) to 22:41 (the 5th arc crossing). This stability is expected since the true air speed should be very constant when the auto-throttle is used. [ The average speed drops at 00:11 (the 6th arc) and even more at 00:19 (the 7th arc) due to fuel exhaustion, first in one engine, and then in both engines. ]

    8. The average true air speed for my route is 503 knots, which is consistent with no change in speed from the average true air speed flown during the post-diversion portion of the radar track (i.e., from 17:22 to 18:22 the average true air speed was 500 +/- 6 knots [2 sigma]).

    9. The RMS BFO error (the difference between predicted and measured BFO’s) is 4.9 Hz +/- 1.6 Hz (1 sigma). This is consistent with the ATSB estimate of 5 Hz.

    10. The BFO Bias for my route is 149.5 Hz +/- 1.6 Hz (1 sigma), which agrees with the ATSB’s best estimate of 150.0 Hz.

    In summary, the Maimun Saleh Airport route is the only proposed route that hits a nearby waypoint, has very steady true air speed, and matches both the BTO and the BFO data.

    In addition, the BFO data are not used at all to determine (fit) the route. My fitting method only used the BTO data and the last radar contact position, time, and bearing. The perfect consistency of this route with all the BFO properties (values, noise level, and bias) strongly argues that this route is correct. I believe it is the unique route followed by MH370.

    I have also performed an analysis of the end-point longitude errors caused by uncertainties in the final radar data and in the turn rate I assumed in fitting the Maimun Saleh Airport route.

    I created a table showing the end-point location shifts caused by errors in the assumed parameter values. Here is a link to the table and an explanatory write-up (Addendum 1 – Error Sensitivity Analysis):


    The estimated error along the arc due to the uncertainties described above is +/- 10 NM.

    Dr. Bobby Ulich

  2. Alex Siew said,

    October 6, 2014 at 12:01 am

    A few comments on the timeline presented in Jeff’s latest post on his blog.

    1. The Malaysians said on March 8th MH370 was last seen on civilian radar (as a blip derived from primary ATC radar) at 1.30am or 1730 UTC, with the blip then at around 120 NM off Kota Bahru (town on the northeast coast of Malaysia) which works out to be around BITOD.

    2. The list of actions taken the night of March 8th, which list was released together with the Preliminary Report on May 1st, shows Ho Chi Minh City ATC had said 3 times that night in the calls between the 2 ATCs, that MH370 was last seen at BITOD. The Vietnamese did not give a time when the plane was at BITOD, the List of Actions shows they first called KL ATC at 1.38am or 1738 UTC.

    3. The chronological sequence of events compiled by a member of the IG and included in Jeff’s latest post, referred to a narrative or timeline by the South China Morning Post (SCMP). This narrative shows beginning at 1.30am or 1730 UTC “Malaysian Air Traffic Control (ATC) recognised it lost contact with flight MH370 from Malaysian ATC radar..”.

    4. Thus, the evidence is substantial that the final ATC (primary) radar fix occurred at 1.30am or 1730 UTC. There is no reason to exclude the final ATC primary radar fix from the timeline.

    5. The time of the last confirmed radio communication with MH370 is just after 1.30am or 1730 UTC, not 1.19am or 1719 UTC. It is not disputed MH88 was tasked by Ho Chi Minh ATC to try to reach MH370 on the emergency frequency after MH370 failed to radio in to HCMC ATC as part of the handsover. The pilot of MH88 said he manged to establish such contact with MH370 at just after 1.30am (1730 UTC) and heard mumblings from who he thought was the co-pilot of MH370. The Malaysians confirmed this radio contact in their 6th Media Statement released on March 9th 2.28am on their official DCA/MAS website where it is stated that “..It has been more than 24 hours since we last heard from MH370 at 1.30am…”.

    6. The last UNCONFIRMED radio communication from MH370 was at 1.43am or 1743 UTC, which was the time of the SOS call from MH370 said to have been picked up by the 7th Fleet, as reported in the Chinese press on March 8th, including by the reputable China Times, citing the US Embassy at Beijing as the source. These reports have not been confirmed but have also not been denied or retracted.

    7. Given that the 2 ATCs responsible for tracking MH370 that night, KL ATC and HCMC ATC, have both said to the effect that MH370 was still at BITOD at 1.30am or 1730 UTC, people can draw their own conclusions as to whether the blip at MEKAR at 2.22am or 1822 UTC, was some other plane or MH370.

  3. Alex Siew said,

    October 6, 2014 at 2:10 am

    I have in comments in the preceding thread on MH370 on this blog articulated some thoughts on what appears to be a cover up involving some countries and the various aviation regulating authorities. In this post, I will share some thoughts on the timeline of this cover up.

    The evidence shows MH370 suffered an electrical failure with consequent loss of engine power, at around IGARI at around 1.21am or 1721 UTC. The plane glided unpowered from IGARI onwards, passing BITOD at around 1.30am or 1730 UTC and would have hit sea level a further 60 NM or so away, at around 1.43/1.44am or 1743/1744 UTC.

    I have in previous comments outlined the evidence showing that this electrical failure was most probably caused by a lightning strike of high intensity.

    The South China Sea was and is part of the US 7th Fleet’s turf. The US have among others, bases in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. At any point in time, the US would have some ships patrolling the South China Sea. At the time MH370 disappeared from radar at 1.30am or 1730 UTC over the South China Sea mid way between Malaysia and Vietnam, both the USS Pinckney and USS Kidd were at the South China Sea.

    Although the 7th Fleet attributed the pick up of the SOS call at 1.43am to the base at Thailand, all indications are that it was actually USS Pinckney which picked up the call. This SOS call would have been made by MH370 when the plane was close to sea level at around 30 NM from the southern coast of Vietnam. If this call was picked up, chances are that it was picked up by a ship and in particular a military ship with state of the art radio and radar equipment which happened to be within range. The US would not want to disclose that it was a ship which picked up the call as this would mean disclosing the whereabouts of the ship, which may very well have been in Vietnamese waters then.

    The pilots of MH370 were reported to have yelled in the SOS call that they had to ditch and that the cabin was disintegrating. The whole of the SOS call including the parts which were garbled would have been recorded and then analysed and deciphered.

    The statements issued by the 7th Fleet in the immediate aftermath of the plane’s disappearance show that the Americans had thought the plane had crashed just off the southern coast of Vietnam, which would be the expected crash location if the plane had lost power at IGARI and glided at its reported glide ratio of 18:1 to 20:1 for around 100 NM on the path it was on then (IGARI to BITOD). Thus, the first statement issued by the 7th Fleet at 8.13am or 0013 UTC on March 8th said USS PInckney was en route to the southern coast of Vietnam. On March 11th, the US 7th Fleet spokesman confirmed the Americans’ thinking in a phone interview by the New York Times, saying they thought the plane had crashed just off the coast of Vietnam.

    By March 10th, the Americans had also reviewed their satellite evidence. This from a report by Reuters on the 10th:

    “…Also raising doubts about the possibility of an attack, the United States extensively reviewed imagery taken by spy satellites for evidence of a mid air explosion, but saw none, a US government source said. The source described US satellite coverage of the region as thorough…”.

    The Americans had only ruled out a mid air explosion. They never said their satellites did not detect MH370 on its way down from IGARI. If MH370 was hit by a lightning strike, the heat resulting from such a strike would be detectable by satellites.

    I would contend that the Americans had figured everything out and decided on the cover up, latest by March 12th, American time. On March 13th, Wolf Blitzer tweeted that he had been informed the day before that the US 7th Fleet would be redeploying the 2 US destroyers, USS Kidd and USS Pinckney from the then search area at the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea. USS Kidd was redeployed to the other side of Peninsular Malaysia while USS Pinckney was sent to Singapore for what was said to be ‘maintenance’ but in all likelihood an intelligence debriefing.

    Ron Black has commented in his Google+ blog regarding the ‘strange behaviour’ of USS Pinckney and the apparent communication lockdown imposed on those on board the ship. People can draw their own conclusions why the Americans had to resort to prohibiting those on board that ship from talking to their families or others during that critical period.

    Inmarsat said they gave their data and analysis to the AAIB and the British security agencies on March 11th UK time. All this information would have been shared with the Americans at such time, if not sooner.

    The Inmarsat people would not have been so dumb as to not realise that the changing BTOs and BFOs could simply be a reflection of the movement of their satellite against a stationary ie crashed plane. We can assume the Americans would not be so dumb either. In addition, the Inmarsat people and by extension the Americans by such time would have the full data from the messages from MH370 including those transmitted at around 1.21am or 1721 UTC, which messages in all likelihood revealed that the plane had suffered various power and system failures at such time.

    The Inmarsat/AAIB analysis was said to have been sent to the Malaysians on March 12th (UK time). The Malaysians said they spent the next few days verifying the analysis with the Americans. By March 14th (US time), Bloomberg was already reporting that the Americans thought the plane had crashed off Perth. The ‘official storyline’ that the plane had turned back and then turned south to the South Indian Ocean ultimately crashing off Perth, had already been decided by then. Right on cue, on March 15th (Malaysian time), the Prime Minister of Malaysia announced to the world to the effect that due to some undefined human intervention, the plane had flown on for almost another 7 hours to end up on either one of two arcs, with the northern arc eliminated a week or so later.

    By March 15th, the disinformation campaign was in full flow. Thus one by one, the various reports suggesting human intervention as the cause of the plane’s disappearance: the story about the transponder and ACARS being deliberately shut down at different times, the story about someone changing the programming of the flight route, the reports about the plane being flown at various different altitudes, etc. And thrown into the mix, those ‘acoustic pings’, miraculously picked up along the 7th arc. All of which were later retracted or discredited, one by one, but not before serving their purpose.

  4. Alex Siew said,

    October 6, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Further to my previous post.

    The Americans knew from the outset that MH370 had crashed off the southern coast of Vietnam. They picked up the SOS call, knew what the pilots were saying on that call and most probably tracked the plane for at least part of its glide from IGARI on USS Pinckney’s state of the art AEGIS radar . An after the fact review of the imagery and information obtained from their spy satellites, completed by March 10th, would have confirmed to the Americans that MH370 had crashed off Vietnam.

    The Inmarsat data would have been passed on to the Americans as early as March 9th, when the post 1707 UTC transmissions were first “discovered”. Both Inmarsat and the Americans would know from the data, MH370 had crashed prior to 1825 UTC, they only had to look at the Rx Dbm, the C/No and the BER and of course they would have the “SU Contents” of each transmission including the various “fault transmissions” at 1.21am or 1721 UTC and the “IFE Communication” at 1827 UTC.

    As late as March 11th, the Americans were still saying they thought the plane had crashed just off the coast of Vietnam. (See the NYT article on March11th on the phone interview with Cmdr. William Marks of the US 7th Fleet).

    The Americans made the decision to cover up what happened to MH370, some time on March 12th, US time.

    On March 13th, Wolf Blitzer said on CNN that he had been informed by Cmdr William Marks the day before “late afternoon, early evening Washington time” that the 2 US destroyers, Pinckney and Kidd were being redeployed away from the Gulf of Thailand/South China Sea. Action speaks louder than words. This act of redeployment confirms that the Americans had reached a decision by then, March 12th, on MH370, and the decision was to cover up what actually happened to protect the interests of Boeing and the American aviation industry.

    The second half of March 12th also happens to be the time Inmarsat/AAIB forwarded their analysis to the Malaysians. There is no doubt that that analysis would have been tailored to fit the official story which had been decided by then, that the plane had flown on for several hours.

    The next day on March 13th, we see a plethora of disinformation from the Americans: the Wall Street Report about the plane having flown on for several hours based on the “pings”, the ABC Network report, the White House briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, etc. The latter two reports/briefing expressly referred to a crash location in the Indian Ocean.

    On March 14th, we see Bloomberg getting into the act, giving even more “details”, saying not just that the plane had crashed in the South Indian Ocean but giving a location west of Perth. Inmarsat also released their first public statement that day, that “routine, automated signals” were registered on their network, referring to the post 1707 UTC transmissions from MH370.

    By March 15th, any resistance shown by the Malaysians to the US storyline had been swept away. The complicity of the FAA, NTSB and AAIB in the cover up is made clear by the following passage from the statement of the Malaysian Prime Minister issued that day:

    “Today, based on raw satellite data that was obtained from the satellite data service provider, we can confirm that the aircraft shown in the primary radar data was flight MH370. After much forensic work and deliberation, the FAA, NTSB, AAIB and the Malaysian authorities, working separately on the same data, concur.”

    Tragically for the families of MH370 but in accordance with the wishes of the conspirators, the Prime Minister went on to say the following:

    “This new satellite information has a significant impact on the nature and scope of the search operation. We are ending our operations in the South China Sea and reassessing the redeployment of our assets…”.

  5. Alex Siew said,

    October 7, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Let us assume for a moment that the guys at Pine Gap and the guys operating JORN were asleep or that to save utility bills, JORN was switched off, on the night of March 8th.

    Let us also assume that the whole of the other parts of the Americans’ spying arsenal including all the other fixed and mobile ‘listening posts’ in the region, were also switched off on the night of March 8th.

    The fact of the matter is that the plane was supposed to have crashed some time after 8:19am MYT or 00:19 UTC, in other words, in broad day light somewhere to the west of Perth and the Malaysians had announced about an hour earlier at 7:24am MYT or 23:24 UTC that the plane, a Boeing 777, had gone missing.

    Is there anyone on this planet who thinks that the Americans and the Australians at Pine Gap and the other joint US/Australian bases in Australia were still in bed at 7:24am MYT ( 8:54am Pine Gap time) or that it did not occur to someone to switch on JORN (assuming it it had been switched off) after the Malaysians’ announcement?

    There was supposedly this unidentified plane traveling for several hours, the last few in broad daylight, in the general direction towards the west of Australia and somehow Pine Gap and JORN failed to detect the plane on their systems, even after the whole world had been notified of a missing Boeing 777?

  6. Alex Siew said,

    October 13, 2014 at 2:56 am

    It would appear that Inmarsat have been monitoring my comments. The thing that stood out in the paper published in the Journal of Navigation is the disclosure for the first time the purported Rx dBm (signal strength) values at page 3.

    First of all, we have to ask ourselves, why were these values included in the paper (and not in previous reports)? As far as I can tell from a quick read, these values were not discussed in the paper.

    Could it be the inclusion of these purported values was in response to the point I have been making all these months, that the pings were transmitted by battery power and therefore would show a relatively lower Rx dBm compared to transmissions from the earlier part of the flight?

    Well, the Rx dBm values in Table 1 do not show any significant difference between the pings and the earlier transmissions. The question is: do we believe these are the true values?

    [TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack]
    …they wanted people to believe Inmarsat the pioneer in such satellite communications did not bother to fix the ‘bug’ for the last 15 years and thus was making do with a defective system all this while (Mike Exner may buy their explanation but is there anyone else on the planet who thinks Inmarsat had not bothered to fix the bug all these 15 years, assuming the AFC was defective to begin with).

    So if the Rx dBm of the pings were more or less the same as for earlier transmissions, then why did the pings not appear on the logs when they were first pulled? Are we going to see another paper in due course when Chris, Alan, Gary and Mark will say: oh… we just pulled the logs for the main ACARS messages, although everyone then was dying to know whether the plane had continued flying or had just crashed after disappearing from radar, it did not occur to us to pull the logs for all the transmissions from MH370….. along the lines argued by Victorl? Is that why, putting aside the handshakes, the ‘IFE communications’ at 1827 UTC and the numerous signals emitted in response to the 2 calls at 1839 and 2313 UTC did not show up in the logs?

    And speaking of ACARS messages, what happened to the transmission/s at 1.21am? If Inmarsat say there is no such transmission, then why did the satellite not send an interrogation at 2:07am or 1807 UTC plus or minus 4 minutes, since if there was no transmission at 1.21am the last prior transmission would be the one at 1;07am or 1707 UTC? And why have both Boeing and Rolls Royce refused to say as to when the last ACARS message was received from MH370?

    [TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack]

  7. airlandseaman said,

    October 13, 2014 at 8:07 am


    You write ” (Mike Exner may buy their explanation but is there anyone else on the planet who thinks Inmarsat had not bothered to fix the bug all these 15 years, assuming the AFC was defective to begin with).”

    For the record, I was the one that found out about the EAFC code bug from the guy who wrote the code, and reported it to the community. I have been more vocal than almost anyone else about the EAFC cover-up that continues to this day. The workaround solution, using a second pilot, is a good solution, but make no mistake: I am firmly in the camp those that think, or know as I do, that Inmarsat has consistently lied about the so called “partial compensation”. The EAFC hardware was designed to work in the southern hemisphere. It did work fine in the southern hemisphere provided V1.27 code (released in Dec 1999) or later was installed. Inmarsat never installed the V1.27 code, and instead, just ignored the resulting errors in frequencies.


  8. Alex Siew said,

    October 13, 2014 at 7:51 pm


    We are all indebted to u for pointing out that there was already a fix for the ‘bug’ as early as back in 1999. I do not however share your belief that Inmarsat did not fix the problem in 1999 or soon thereafter. Why would Inmarsat put up with a defective frequency mechanism for 15 years when all they had to do was to instal the software fix from the manufacturer/writer.

    To me, it does not make sense that this Doppler was only partially compensated. Everything about the calculation of this Doppler component was known. Maybe in the first couple of years of operation, the exact degree of compensation had to be worked out, but Inmarsat has been in operation for decades and the satellite has been up there for almost as long.

    The real reason for this BS about ‘partial compensation’ is to obfuscate the calculation of the Doppler from the alleged movement of the plane, so that this part of the Doppler cannot be calculated on an isolated basis. Thus we see a formula for the BFO consisting of many components where the Doppler for some components cannot be calculated but have to be ‘measured’ and that on a combined basis.

    Regarding the ‘workaround solution’, do you seriously think that Chris Ashton and his colleagues were doing any measurements of the alleged second pilot signal on March 8th.

    In my humble opinion, you and Victor were on the right trail late April when the consensus then was that the SDU during the period of the pings had to be in a ‘default’ or ‘abnormal’ state deprived of inputs from the AIMS for proper calculation of the Doppler correction, for the BFO chart to make sense.

    Perhaps when you have a spare moment, you can take a look at my comments on Jeff’s blog about the huge errors manifest in the BTO values and the “Tale of 2 Halves’.

    Finally, you will note that 7 months after the plane disappeared and despite several reports and updates having been published since then, neither the authorities nor Inmarsat have said a word about the make up of the satellite terminal on board MH370. Perhaps your pilot contacts can advise as to whether MH370 had only 1 SDU or whether it had 2 SDUs with the backup SDU linked to the backup low gain antenna, an option provided under ARINC 741 and the manual for the MCS Series 4200/7200. Perhaps your pilot contacts would also be able to advise as to the specifications of the internal battery of the MCS 4200/7200 SDU.

  9. timfarrar said,

    October 13, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Alex, even if you refuse to believe something, that does not stop it from being true. The software bug was not fixed, because the new version of the software was never installed. Inmarsat has admitted the problem privately, but has attempted to obfuscate in public. There was no need for BFO to be a highly accurate figure until it was needed for the purpose of this investigation.

    Your conspiracy theories are far-fetched to say the least and taking selective out-of-context information from others to try and justify your belief in a conspiracy is not helpful. I wonder why you feel the need to come up with elaborate assumptions like floating terminals, when if there was a conspiracy to hide the plane why couldn’t the ping data simply be invented out of thin air.

    In the end I’m afraid that your theories are no more useful to the MH370 search than someone who believes the moon landings were faked would be to an investigation of what went wrong with Apollo 13.

    As a result, I suggest that this would be a good time for you to take a break from commenting here.

  10. Alex Siew said,

    October 14, 2014 at 2:02 am


    You may choose to believe what Inmarsat are supposedly saying in private but others may not, for good reasons including the fact that Inmarsat have been lying all these months, examples of which I have provided in my previous comment.

    The question is not whether the BFO was required to be a ‘highly accurate figure’ but why Inmarsat the leading satellite communications company supposedly chose not to fix a bug affecting their systems for the last 15 years, which fix would have come at no or minimum cost and with no or minimum disruption to operations. It is not unreasonable in the circumstances to infer that the bug was fixed and that there was nothing wrong with the EAFC especially when Inmarsat themselves are not saying that the alleged ‘partial compensation’ was due to the bug.

    Even if one chooses to give the benefit of the doubt to Inmarsat about what they are saying privately, the fact remains in public and on the record they have said another story, which would mean they have been lying to the public if indeed what they say in private is true.

    My belief is that the plane had suffered an electrical failure at IGARI with consequent loss of engine power and that the plane had glided unpowered from there at its reported glide ratio for around 100NM before crashing/ditching into the sea, around 30 NM from the southern coast of Vietnam. This belief is based on the evidence which i have set out in detail in previous comments and the estimated crash location is in line with the 7th Fleet’s original thinking on where the plane had ended up, as reported in the New York Times on March 11th. I am sure the 7th Fleet was not indulging in far fetched conspiracy theories in coming to such conclusion.

    I do not think I have been guilty of ‘taking selective out of context information from others….’, but if I had done so inadvertently in any of my previous comments on any blog, I apologize to all concerned.

    There is precedent for the rear upper fuselage of a plane (where the SDU and LGA would be located) surviving and floating after a crash/ditching. For example, the Miracle on the Hudson and Ethiopian Flight 961. So it is probably not accurate to characterize such occurrences as ‘elaborate assumptions’.

    Some are of the view that the plane had flown on for another 7 hours undetected by radar, satellites or the naked eye to end up in the South Indian Ocean. Others may consider that far fetched, considering the number of radars the plane would have traversed and considering the number of surveillance posts/mechanisms the Americans and their allies have in the waters, on the waters, on land, in the air and in space, covering this part of the world including the base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and the state of the art spying facility at Pine Gap and not forgetting JORN, both in Australia, the country closest to the supposed crash site.

    As in any conspiracy, those involved would be aware of the fine line between positive acts of deceit/fraud which have criminal liability implications and other acts in the form of obfuscation, selective disclosure, non disclosure, half-truths, injection of red herrings and the like.

    Courtesy dictates that a guest has to take up any not unreasonable suggestion by the host. Time will tell if the plane is indeed somewhere in the South Indian Ocean or in another ocean altogether. Truth has a way of surfacing even if it may take a little longer than some of us would wish.

  11. airlandseaman said,

    October 14, 2014 at 5:55 am


    You are so far out in the weeds that it is hopeless to try to pull you back anywhere near the runway. I second Tim’s recommendation.

    For others following this thread:
    I know what happened with the EAFC from first hand conversations with the guy who designed the EAFC and wrote the code. Inmarsat continues to deny publically there was a problem with the EAFC code for marketing reasons, instead blaming MITEQ for a faulty equipment design resulting in “partial compensation”, while confessing to the WSJ that they screwed up.

    It is no surprise that they have been transmitting a second precision carrier in order to track the error caused by a dumb management decision, and I not only accept this as fact, but endorse it as an excellent workaround solution with advantages over the normal EAFC compensation. The method used measures the real-time error more precisely than the EAFC can predict the C band Doppler and Transponder LO drift. It picks up the small deviations from the predicted Doppler and LO drift terms due to eclipses, etc. That’s what any competent engineer would do to get around a stupid management decision to not change the code on an operational system.

    One more thing…Inmarsat has confirmed that the AES was a Honeywell model MCS-6000.


  12. Alex Siew said,

    October 16, 2014 at 12:26 am


    I will not say anything further for the time being as I am on a ‘hiatus’, other than that I will be awaiting the good news of the plane being found at or near the IG’s recommended search area, which judging by your level of confidence, should be any day now.

  13. airlandseaman said,

    October 16, 2014 at 6:03 am


    Here’s an update on various 7th arc predictions and search plans.

  14. Bruce Lamon said,

    October 16, 2014 at 6:15 am

    Thanks, Mike. Would you link us to the analysis supporting Richard Godfrey’s October 11 endpoint as depicted in the map?

  15. Alex Siew said,

    October 23, 2014 at 1:11 am

    Some numbers from an October 22nd article in Businessweek on Boeing:

    1. Order backlog of 5,500 airplanes

    2. Commercial order backlog is worth USD 490 billion.

  16. Bruce Lamon said,

    October 23, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Welcome back Alex. Tim and Mike, While I disagree with many of Alex’s arguments, I think he is one of MH370′s best informed, most intelligent and most provocative commentators.

    As Justice Brandeis said, “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

  17. Alex Siew said,

    October 24, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Bruce, thank you for the kind words. To quote from Tim Clark ” …I will continue to ask questions and make a nuisance of myself, even as others would like to bury it…”.

    I have in previous comments pointed out that 4 out of the 14 post 1707 UTC R Channel BTO values, by Inmarsat’s own reckoning, were way off, 2 by around 37% and another 2 by around 300% and that Inmarsat’s explanation as set out in the ATSB Report for the apparent huge ‘errors’ (‘fixed offset of 4600us for logon requests and ‘variable delay’ for subsequent messages) is demonstrably false as the first log on request at KL did not have such ‘fixed offset’ and the messages that followed that log on did not show ‘variable delay’.

    In the paper published in the Journal of Navigation, Inmarsat repeated this false explanation for the ‘errors’ in the BTO values (see page 7). In addition, Inmarsat said the following at page 15 in respect of the BFO values:

    ” ….Detailed analysis of BFO samples taken from other flights showed a high degree of consistency for the signalling message frequencies, with the exception of those that were performed immediately after the initial logon process. This called into question the BFO measurements after the log on sequences at 18:25 and 00:19. However it was also determined (by the same method) that the first message transmitted by the aircraft in the logon sequence, the Logon Request message, did provide a consistent and accurate measurement. This means that we can use the Logon Request message information from 18:25:27 and 00:19:29, but it is prudent to discount the measurements between 18:25:34 and 18:28:15 inclusive, and the one at 00:19:37..”

    So out of the 14 post 1707 UTC R channel BFO values, 7 of those values are now being discounted.

    Listed below are the 14 R channel transmissions in question, their respective BFO and BTO values and their ‘correctness’ (according to Inmarsat):

    1. 18:25:27 142 BFO (correct) 17120 BTO (wrong by 4600us)

    2. 18:25:34 273 BFO (wrong) 51700 BTO (wrong by 39180us)

    3. 18:27:03 176 BFO (wrong) 12560 BTO (correct)

    4. 18:27:04 175 BFO (wrong) 12520 BTO (correct)

    5. 18:27:08 172 BFO (wrong) 12520 BTO (correct)

    6. 18:28:05 144 BFO (wrong) 12500 BTO (correct)

    7. 18:28:14 143 BFO (wrong) 12480 BTO correct)

    8. 19:41:02 111 BFO (correct) 11500 BTO (correct)

    9. 20:41:04 141 BFO (correct) 11740 BTO (correct)

    10. 21:41:26 168 BFO (correct) 12780 BTO (correct)

    11. 22:41:21 204 BFO (correct) 14540 BTO (correct)

    12. 00:10:59 252 BFO (correct) 18040 BTO (correct)

    13. 00:19:29 182 BFO (correct) 23000 BTO (wrong by 4600us)

    14. 00:19:37 -2 BFO (wrong) 49660 BT (wrong by over 31000us)

    So out of the 14 transmissions, only 5 had both ‘correct’ BTO and ‘correct’ BFO values. The other 9 transmissions had an ‘incorrect’ reading for either the BFO or the BTO or for both.

    I would also note that the ‘example flight path’ shown in Figures 16 and 17 and the ‘reconstructed flight path results’ shown in Table 9 in the latest paper, all have the plane on essentially a 180 degree track from 19:41 UTC onwards. That happens to be the same path taken by the satellite from 1936 UTC onwards. Which means from around the same time 19:36/19:41 UTC, both the plane and the satellite was on the same track for the next several hours until the very end of the alleged flight. Some people insist that this is a mere coincidence. Perhaps those who are mathematically inclined can calculate the odds of the plane turning south at the same time as the satellite and remaining on the same path as the satellite on a 180 degree track for the next 5 hours.

  18. Alex Siew said,

    October 28, 2014 at 1:33 am

    Some people on Jeff Wise’s blog seem to be under the impression that Rolls Royce and Boeing have confirmed to the effect that the last ACARS message from MH370 was at 1707 UTC.

    In fact, both Rolls Royce and Boeing have refused to answer this critical question: when was the last ACARS message from MH370.

    In previous comments I have pointed out the following:

    1. There is a gap in the Inmarsat data log from 1707 UTC to 1825 UTC which was when the SDU requested to be logged back on.

    2. According to Inmarsat, the satellite was programed to interrogate the SDU if there had been no transmissions from the plane for an hour.

    3. In practice, as confirmed by research done by a member of the IG, the gap may at times not be exactly one hour but may be one hour plus or minus 4 minutes.

    4. If the last ACARS transmission from MH370 was at 1707 UTC, the satellite would have started an interrogation latest by 1811 UTC (1 hour plus 4 minutes).

    5. The Inmarsat data log does not show any interrogation at such time.

    6. According to reports from the Associated Press on March 13th (details of which I have set out in previous comments), MH370 continued to transmit ACARS messages for a short time after its transponder went silent, which was at 1721 UTC.

    7. An excerpt from an article on Rolls Royce’ Engine Health Management:

    “….Most modern large aircraft use an Aircraft Condition Monitoring System (ACMS) to acquire the data for EHM. This captures three types of reports. The first are snapshots, where the sensor data listed above is captured and collected into a small report. This is carried out during take-off, during climb and once the aircraft is in cruise. The second type is triggered by unusual engine conditions. Examples might be if an engine surged…… These reports contain a short time history of key parameters to enable rapid and effective trouble-shooting of the problem. The final type is a summary, which is produced at the end of the flight….”.

    8. It would appear from the reports from the Associated Press that MH370 transmitted one or more ACARS messages of the second category (unusual engine conditions) at 1721 UTC.

    9. Such a transmission or transmissions at 1721 UTC would be consistent with (a) the last 2 ADS-B signals at 1720 and 1721 UTC showing abnormal data ( zero altitude) and (b) the log on request at 1825 UTC which in all likelihood was prompted by an interrogation from the satellite at 1825 UTC (1 hour 4 minutes after 1721 UTC).

    As I have said again and again, in the case of MH370 the most basic fundamental facts have been suppressed, including that the plane was last seen on ATC radar screens at BITOD at around 1.30am or 1730 UTC, that the last radio contact was also at 1.30am or 1730 UTC (with MH88 on the emergency frequency) and that the last ACARS message from MH370 was at 1721 UTC.

    The recording of the radar track from 1721 to 1730 UTC has been sealed, the recording of the emergency radio contact at 1730 UTC must have likewise been sealed and the last ACARS message/s at 1721 UTC are being withheld by Inmarsat and all others privy to such information.

  19. Alex Siew said,

    November 5, 2014 at 2:46 am

    Some people on Jeff Wise’s blog seem intent on blaming the Malaysians for everything. Thus according to these people, the Malaysians are solely to be blamed for the redaction of various entries and data fields from the Inmarsat data log. To these people, Inmarsat had nothing to do with the redaction. The Malaysians are also being blamed for not acting fast enough on the satellite data purportedly showing the plane had flown on to the South Indian Ocean.

    The plane disappeared off civilian radar at 1.30am MYT or 1730 UTC, March 8. The Malaysians announced the plane’s disappearance at 7.24 am MYT or 2324 UTC. Malaysian time is 8 hours ahead of UK time, so the announcement was made at 11.24pm March 7th UK time.

    From the March 22nd New York Times article:

    ” Chris Mclaughlin…. said technicians pulled the logs of all transmissions from the plane with four hours of its disappearance. Then after a day without sign of the plane, they began scouring the company’s databases for any trace of Flight MH370. ‘We decided to go have another look at our network to see if there was any data that we had missed,’ Mr Mclaughlin said. It turned out there was. Inmarsat technicians identified what appeared to be a series of fleeting ‘pings’ between Flight MH370, a satellite over the Indian Ocean and a ground station in Perth, Australia.”

    4 hours after 11.24pm is 3.24am March 8th which was a Saturday. One day after such time means early Sunday morning. So by Sunday morning March 9th UK time, Inmarsat already knew about the pings. According to the NYT article, “By Sunday afternoon, a team of Inmarsat engineers set to work using the principles of trigonometry to determine the distance between the satellite and the plane at the time of each ping…….”.

    The question is: if Inmarsat had known of the pings as early as Sunday morning March 9th UK time, why did they not tell the world then? We are dealing with the disappearance of a Boeing 777 with 239 on board and as Cmdr William Marks of the 7th Fleet pointed out, the first 72 hours is all about looking for survivors. The pings (according to Inmarsat) show that the plane had flown on for almost another 7 hours after it disappeared from ATC radar. On March 9th, 10th and 11th (and the days that followed until 15th (Malaysian time)), the search was focused on the South China Sea on the belief that the plane had crashed there soon after 1.30am MYT or 1730 UTC.

    According to various reports, Inmarsat only turned over the pings data on March 11th UK time, to SITA. This from WSJ on March 20th: ” The satellite operator, Britain’s Inmarsat on March 11th turned over to a partner company its data analysis and other documents indicating the that the plane wasn’t anywhere near the areas on either side of Malaysia where more countries and ships had been searching for three days since the plane disappeared……. The information was relayed to Malaysian officials by Wednesday March 12…… Inmarsat also shared the same information with British security and air safety officials on Wednesday…. people familiar with the Malaysian side of the probe said the information could have arrived in Kuala Lumpur as late as the morning of March 13….”.

    Why did Inmarsat not disclose the pings until March 11th UK time, and that only to SITA? Their theory is that the pings showed the plane was still up in the air until after 8am MYT or 0000 UTC. Why did Inmarsat withhold this absolutely critical piece of information from the people doing the search and rescue until late Wednesday March 12th UK time/ early Thursday morning March 13th Malaysian time.

    Inmarsat knew of the pings by Sunday evening Malaysian time. The Malaysians, who were coordinating the search and rescue, were only told on Thursday morning Malaysian time. Perhaps those who seem to think that the Malaysians are the bad guys can come forward with an explanation.

  20. Bruce Lamon said,

    November 6, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Alex, I count the Malaysians among the bad guys. If your South China-sea-crash theory were correct, and Don Thompson’s/Duncan’s posts about radar ranges is correct, Malaysian radar would have seen MH370, even if descending but above FL200 at least halfway to Vietnam. If your theory is not correct, but the Ulich/ATSB/IG theory is correct, Malaysian radar would have seen MH370 from BITOD at least to 18:22. If none of the above, Malaysian radar should have been able to track MH370 for at least 100nm beyond IGARI no matter where it went if it stayed above FL200.

    There is as far as I know no doubt that Malaysia also has access to unredacted versions of the Inmarsat logs, but in any event, somewhere between the CNN Richard Quest interview with Inmarsat where the unredacted logs appeared on-screen and their release by the Malaysians, the logs were redacted.

    Releasing the radar would tell us where MH370 was from 17:21 at least to 18:22, while releasing the unredacted logs would tell us much more about the extent to which, if at all, the BTO/BFO data is unreliable after a reboot. That information would be material to putting the search in the right place, or keeping it there, as the case may be. Right now, I know of no greater impediments to finding MH370 than the information Malaysia seems to have and has not released.

    Although Boeing’s and Honeywell’s silence on key issue about which they are likely most knowledgeable–e.g. what precisely would have had to happen for MH370 to go quiet from 17:21 to 18:25, what precisely would have had to happen for a reboot to happen at 18:25, what precisely would have had to happen for a reboot at 00:19 and what were the range, endurance and flight-envelope maintenance characteristics on MH370 at different power states–is probably just as bad.

    I do not blame Inmarsat for the timing or process of its disclosures early on. 8 months later, full reliance on the Inmarsat data still has not found MH370. It was well past 72 hours before Inmarsat first concluded that MH370 turned south, not that there was much chance of anyone being rescued even if its location could have been pinpointed immediately. The Inmarsat data was supposedly collected to prevent an MH370-type disappearance, yet it is still being flogged for more definite information. Judged against at least what I would expect from a public company hauled unexpectedly onto the brightest stage in the world to show its stuff, I’m not surprised if they took a few days to consider and verify the astounding and unprecedented story their data told.

    I do blame Inmarsat for such things as (1) initially validating the acoustic pings and afterwards saying they were nowhere near their real “hotspot” and (2) saying only the Malaysians could release the data, while subsequently hustling media and academic outlets to shine a light on the brilliance of their efforts. But in the annals of outrageous corporate PR, Inmarsat’s performance hardly rates a footnote.

  21. Alex Siew said,

    November 10, 2014 at 8:32 pm


    I did not mean to imply that the Malaysians are blameless for this sorry state of affairs but was merely trying to prod people to think about the question as to which country was pulling the strings all along in this massive cover up.

    But back to Inmarsat. Ben Sandilands, LGHamiltonUSA among others have observed something a little odd about Inmarsat’s story. You may recall the announcement by the Malaysian Prime Minister on Saturday March 15th Malaysian time that satellite data showed that the plane had flown on for almost another 7 hours to ultimately end somewhere along an arc (calculated from an elevation of 40 degree). This arc you may also recall was broken up into 2 separate parts, the southern corridor and the northern corridor. We were told at that time that the plane could have gone either to the north or to the south.

    10 days later on March 25th, the Malaysian Prime Minister made another dramatic announcement, that the (Doppler) analysis of the data ruled out the northern corridor and that it was beyond reasonable doubt that MH370 had gone south to the South Indian Ocean, somewhere west of Perth, Australia.

    According to various media reports, Inmarsat had made the breakthrough Doppler analysis around March 21st, to rule out the northern corridor. For example, this article from the Washington Post on March 30th:

    “….For nearly two weeks, the Inmarsat engineers and scientists had been puzzling over the data. They would have rushes of adrenaline but also felt trepidation at the vastness of the task. Finally, on Friday, March 21, they had an ‘aha moment’. They had been looking for minor changes in the ‘handshake’ signals – a shift in the wavelength caused by an object moving away, known as the Doppler effect. They realized that the plane could not have traveled along the northern corridor. They created two possible flight paths in the southern corridor, assuming different speeds, and came up with two potential locations far to the west of Australia in the southern Indian Ocean… Two days later, on Sunday, March 23, the Inmarsat scientists shared their findings with members of the international investigative team and an outside scientist. Everyone agreed. Flight MH370 had ended in the southern Indian Ocean…..”.

    But on March 14th/15th, 10 days earlier, even before the Malaysian Prime Minister made the first announcement on March 15th Malaysian time about the two corridors, Bloomberg was already reporting the following:

    ” The last satellite transmission from a Malaysian airliner missing for a week has been traced to the Indian Ocean off Australia, far from where searches have taken place, according to a person familiar with the analysis…. Flight MH370 may have flown beyond its last position about 1000 miles west of Perth, and that location may not be an indication of where the plane ended up, said the person, who spoke on condition of not being named because of the sensitivity of the information….. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has scheduled a press conference for 1 pm today in Kuala Lumpur….. Peter Gibson, spokesman for the Australia’s Civil Aviation safety Authority, said he wasn’t aware of the new information putting Flight 370 near Perth and that the Australian maritime Safety Authority would have jurisdiction of the search if the plane did end up in the area… The plane’s last known position was fixed by analyzing pings from a transmitter that sent signals to a satellite about once an hour for 4 to 5 hours after its transponder beacon went dead and the plane changed course, the person said……”.

    How did Bloomberg know on March 14th/15th, the plane’s last known position was 1000 miles west of Perth when Inmarsat themselves said they only managed to rule out the northern corridor on March 21st?

    An earlier article from the Washington Post on March 20th by Andy Pasztor, Jon Ostrower and James Hookay, previously cited, provides a clue:

    “…Within hours of Flight 370′s disappearance on March 8, Inmarsat started searching for clues. What little data it had on the short flight before it disappeared was provided to SITA…. on the same day, Inmarsat said. Late that weekend, Inmarsat’s team delved into its databases to retrieve periodic ‘pings’….. Inmarsat…. said that on Monday March 10, it began extrapolating the location of the aircraft……. Mr McLaughlin said the data was shared the following day with SITA….. The Inmarsat package, which included a map of the twin north and south corridors together with the readouts of data from a communication satellite, demonstrated a dramatic shift in search areas…… It wasn’t clear how U.S. officials obtained the initial Inmarsat data, WHICH THEY ANALYZED AND HELPED TRANSLATE INTO MAPS…..”.

    In a previous comment, I had made out the case that the Americans had known early on that MH370 had crashed at the South China Sea and had decided by March 12th, US time, to steer the search away from the South China Sea. By late afternoon, early evening Washington time March 12th Wolf Blitzer was told by Cmdr William Marks of the 7th fleet that the two US destroyers USS Pinckney and USS Kidd were being redeployed from the South China Sea. Can anyone explain as to why USS Pinckney the first ship to respond to the plane’s disappearance, was yanked from the South China Sea and directed to head to Singapore for ‘maintenance’ on March 12th?

    In the early hours of the next day March 13th US time, the reports started coming out eg from the Wall Street Journal about the pings and how these pings showed the plane had continued to fly on. Then, the day after that March 14th, late in the day US time, the report from Bloomberg about the plane’s last known position of 1000 miles west of Perth.

    The Inmarsat story is all a charade. Inmarsat and the Americans would have known of the pings as early as March 7th 11.24pm London time when Malaysia announced the plane’s disappearance. How? By simply pulling all the logs, as Chris Mclaughlin said they did. No one will be able to convince me that when the Inmarsat people pulled the logs, they did not look for this piece of data: WHEN DID THE SATELLITE DECLARE THE MH370 SATCOM TERMINAL ‘LOGGED OFF’?

    Contrary to what Mark Dickinson said in that ‘seminar’ in October, some lines/entries in the data log had been taken out from the May 27th data log. Those lines include the first few entries/lines when the plane first powered up at KL and the terminal first requested to be logged on, the transmission/s at 1721 UTC as reported by the Associated Press on March 13th and the last line/entry relating to the satellite declaring the MH370 terminal as being logged off after it failed to respond to the satellite’s interrogations at 01:16 UTC. For an example of a full data log showing the first entry/ies when a plane is powered up and the terminal first logs on and the last entry when the terminal is logged off or declared to be logged off, one only has to look at the data log produced for Swissair Flight 111, which can be found online.

  22. Alex Siew said,

    November 11, 2014 at 12:35 am

    The words coming out from the mouth of Mark Dickinson:

    “…No lines were missing from the data released…. all the lines are present from 16:00 onwards….. No data is missing in terms of time, what information, what key message was sent and BTO, BFO values….”.

    Is this the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

    1. The first entry at 16:00:13 is the Log-on/Log off Acknowledge. If one looks at the other two Log-on/Log off Acknowledge at 18:25:34 and 00:19:37, those other two were preceded by a Log On Request around 7 or 8 seconds earlier. In Swissair Flight 111 also involving a Honeywell SDU and an Inmarsat satellite, both the original Log On Request and the mid flight Log on Request preceded their respective Log-on/Log-off Acknowledge by 9 to 10 seconds. So there must have been a Log on Request for MH370 that preceded the first entry on the log, the Log-on/Log off Acknowledge at 16:00:13, in all likelihood at around 16:00:05/06.

    2. According to Inmarsat the satellite was timed to interrogate/ping the AES if it had not heard from the AES for an hour or so. According to a member of the IG, the gap in practice may not be exactly 1 hour but may be one hour plus or minus 256 seconds (4 minutes 16 seconds). There is a gap in the Inmarsat data log between 17:07 and 18:25 UTC. Why was there no interrogation during this gap lasting 1 hour 18 minutes? Or was there a transmission at 1721 UTC as reported by the Associated Press on March 13th, before the datalink was lost, followed by an interrogation 1 hour 4 minutes later at 1825 UTC prompting the SDU to log back on at such time ie 1825 UTC?

    3. The Inmarsat data log ends with the final 3 entries being interrogations from the satellite 10 seconds apart at 01:15:56, 01:16:06 and 01:16:15. Nothing after that. The final entry/entries for Swissair Flight 111 also were interrogations from the satellite. The entry reads as follows: “Log on Interrogation. Approximately one hour later the normal log on interrogation sequence from the GES takes place. When the AES does not respond after five interrogations, the GES declares the AES as being logged off.”

    There are two ways for an AES to log off (a) the usual way at the end of a flight where the AES would request to be logged off and (b) where for some reason the datalink is lost during the flight and the AES fails to respond after being interrogated/pinged and the GES declares the AES as being logged off. The data log for Swissair Flight 111, in addition to having a log off of the 2nd category also contains an example of the 1st category, when the AES on that plane had requested to be logged off upon arrival from the inbound flight: “SATCOM Log Off Request. [GES] declares the AES is in a log-off status. Aircraft HB-IWF is switched off in New York. No reported problems with ACARS on the inbound flight.”

    So, the first few entries at 1600 UTC are missing, the entry/entries at 1721 UTC are also missing and also the log off declaration at 0116 UTC. [TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack]

  23. Bruce Lamon said,

    November 11, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Alex, I think you may be right that Inmarsat, the AAIB and the NTSB all thought MH370 was probably in the Indian Ocean within a few days of the disappearance. I have read but can’t find the reference to Jay Carney making his announcement of a new search area in the Indian Ocean on March 13 in order to pressure the Malaysians into accepting the implications of the satellite data. The USS Pinkney going to Singapore for maintenance on the 12th may have been a polite excuse for not wasting any more of her time.

    I continue to suspect that the Malaysians did not track MH370 on military radar at all. In view of your comments, I now suspect that fact was concealed within the Malaysian government itself, such that the Malaysians didn’t act on the satellite data because they were being told internally that MH370 disappeared from all radar at BITOD. That would be consistent with, among other things the Malaysians asking all of its near neighbors if they had tracked MH370, and Thailand finally coughing up its radar track on about March 18 if memory serves. At that point or thereabouts it must have become obvious to Najib that the lack of any Malaysian radar track after BITOD did not falsify the satellite data.

    So I guess I am still blaming the Malaysians a lot more than Inmarsat, even if everything you suspect about Inmarsat is true. But please remind me, what do you see as Inmarsat’s motivation for lying about the timing and the extent of the data and the implications thereof? I don’t see that it helped Boeing or impaired a rescue. I do see that it may have helped preserve the stability of a regime friendly to Britain and the US by helping the Malaysians cover up and excuse their failure to know where MH370 went, and for wasting time and search resources, especially at a time when China was highly critical of the investigation.

  24. Bruce Lamon said,

    November 12, 2014 at 8:54 am

    [TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack]

    Check out this video from October 7, where Dickinson finally admits that all columns were not released, but insists that all the lines were!


    Incidentally, he reiterates that “the investigation” has the complete logs and it is up to them to release them.

  25. Alex Siew said,

    November 13, 2014 at 10:14 pm


    The words I quoted from Mark Dickinson in my precious comment were uttered by him during that presentation on October 7th captured in that Youtube video.

    [TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack]

    But guess what Bruce, if and when Malaysia produces the ‘unredacted log’ and it does not include the first log on request at 1600 UTC or the transmission/s at 1721 UTC, some people will still lay the blame solely on the Malaysians for the withholding of such lines/entries even though there is irrefutable proof in the form of that Youtube video you posted, that it is the Inmarsat people who are saying there are no such lines/entries and obviously the ones who had taken out the lines/entries from the log.

    In terms of attributing culpability, some people (not you) are guilty of double standards. The Malaysians, the Indonesians, the Thais and the Vietnamese are criticized for not releasing their radar data but do we see any criticism being leveled at Australia or the Unites States for refusing to release radar or satellite data from Diego Garcia, JORN or Pine Gap, even after the Malaysians had publicly pleaded for the data?

    It is the height of irresponsibility for people to claim that Pine Gap or JORN or the other radars and spying posts/devices must have been switched off or somehow lacking the capacity to detect MH370 on the alleged 7 hour flight ending to the west of Perth, when the Australian government and the American government themselves have kept silent. The people at Pine Gap at Alice Springs, Australia could see what Saddam Hussein had for breakfast during the Gulf War but somehow could not detect a Boeing 777 supposedly traveling in cruise speed and altitude, in a straight line and in broad daylight for the last couple of hours and heading to the general direction of west of Australia, even after the Malaysians had announced to the world the plane was missing. The naivety of some people is just astounding.

  26. Bruce Lamon said,

    November 14, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Alex, maybe I do have a double standard, because as much as I hate to take anyone’s word for it, I do take Duncan’s word for it that JORN was unlikely to have seen MH370. Maybe I’ve seen too many James Bond movies, but I don’t mind giving the benefit of the doubt and a free pass or two to our spies, just in case their secrets are important to keep. But when Malaysia says it has the radar but adds a series of comments that make you go hmmmm–e.g., we can’t release it on national security grounds, we knew something went back over the peninsula right away, all we could tell for sure about it was it wasn’t a threat, we didn’t scramble jets because there was no point unless we were going to shoot it down–it is maddening to say the least.

    [TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack]
    If Paul Sladen hadn’t have been there on October 7 to step on his throat, Dickinson would have sailed through unscathed.

    But my favorite comment was at the end by the guy who basically said, [TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack], I am so happy to hear the Inmarsat story from an engineer.

  27. Alex Siew said,

    November 16, 2014 at 7:45 pm


    We will never be able to uncover the truth about MH370 if we take other people’s word for it for certain very fundamental questions including as to how JORN could have possibly not seen MH370 if indeed the plane had flown to the SIO and ended west of Perth.

    The core principle of any investigation is that all leads have to be investigated. We cannot, because it does not fit our own theory or idea as to what happened, summarily dismiss potential leads as irrelevant and sweep them under the carpet.

    An example is the question as to what Diego Garcia, JORN and Pine Gap would have seen in the early hours of March 8th. From what is known about JORN and Pine Gap, JORN and Pine Gap would definitely have detected MH370 if the plane had traveled those 7 hours to the SIO. So logically the next step would be for us to demand to see the data from Pine Gap and JORN. The Malaysians publicly asked for such data. The Americans and the Australians refused to release the data or to even comment on whether or not JORN and Pine Gap had detected MH370. It is reasonable to infer from their refusal these 2 governments do not have the data to show the plane flew to the SIO, from which one can deduce that the plane never flew to the SIO.

    Just ask yourself this question, if you have a family member or loved one on board MH370, would you be satisfied with an assurance from Duncan that JORN probably or possibly or categorically did not see MH370 or would you want the matter to be fully investigated including requiring at the very least, the government of Australia to state unequivocally as to whether or not JORN had detected MH370 and if not, the reasons for the non detection. Likewise, would you be satisfied with the Americans’ silence about what Pine Gap saw or heard that night or would you want at the very least, the Americans to state what they did or did not see or hear.

    Why the free pass to the Aussies and the Americans while at the same time condemning (justifiably) the Malaysians? We should hold every government to the same standard, especially when it is the Americans who first came up with the SIO theory (as early as March 14th) and when the Americans have pointedly refused to disclose any radar or satellite data from their vast networks of radars and satellites, including from Diego Garcia and Pine Gap. As for the Aussies, those who know how things work in life understand they are just following the Sheriff’s orders in their capacity as Deputy Sheriff of the Asia Pacific region.

  28. Alex Siew said,

    November 16, 2014 at 8:20 pm


    In a previous comment I had suggested that those who are mathematically inclined may wish to calculate the odds of both the plane and the satellite turning south at the same time (around 1936 UTC) and then staying on the same track of true south ie 180 degree for the next 5 hours.

    So far no one has taken up the suggestion, which is to be expected.

    But consider this: not only do the BFO data supposedly show the plane turning south at around 1936 UTC and remaining true south for the remaining 5 hours, which is a complete mirror of the path of the satellite, the BFO data also supposedly show the plane heading true north at 18:27 UTC (which just also happens to be the path of the satellite as such time) as this comment/question from Richard on Duncan’s blog in August would attest to:

    “Why does the BFO data at 18:27:05 show MH370 tracking almost due North on a bearing of 359.977 degree true?”.

    So the plane was going due north at 360 degree at 1827 UTC and from 1941 UTC onwards was heading due south at 180 degree for the rest of the flight. Like in a video game. Which also happens to be the path of the satellite.

    Has there ever been a plane in the history of flight that had traveled due true north of 360 degree and then flipped over to a due true south of 180 degree, for a 7 hour flight?

  29. Alex Siew said,

    November 17, 2014 at 2:46 am

    So how did Inmarsat get around the fact that the BFO at 1827 UTC shows the ‘plane’ heading due true north of 360 degree?

    Basically the same modus operandi, if it does not fit, discount it. So for the BTOs, the ‘anomalous’ values are to be discounted or adjusted for “an offset”. Likewise for the BFOs, the 3 values at 1827 UTC of around 170 plus showing a heading of 360 degree, are to be discounted, according to the paper published in the Journal of Navigation. But to make it even more ridiculous, the BTO values for these 3 transmissions at 1827 UTC apparently are ‘good’.

    The ratio of BTO/BFO for the various transmissions at 1827 UTC works out to be 71, which is the same BTO/BFO ratio for the other transmissions not affected by the eclipse, at 2141, 2241 and 0011 UTC.

    The fact that the pings not affected by the eclipse all have a BTO/BFO ratio of around 71, that the data have the plane on the exact same path as the satellite for those 7 hours and that the distances supposedly traveled by the plane between those pings are equal to the distances traveled by the satellite in the Z axis multiplied by 2, apparently means nothing to all the scientists or engineers out there.

  30. Alex Siew said,

    November 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Is it possible that the post 1707 UTC data (ie the ping data) in the 47 page data log published on May 27th is fake? Fabricated by Inmarsat?

    Possible but unlikely. The question is not whether it is fake but whether the data post 1707 UTC was coming from an SDU operating in its normal state or from an SDU in a ‘default condition’ deprived then of the Inertial Reference System data (location, altitude and speed of aircraft) routed from the AIMS, due to a broken data path between the SDU and the IRS/AIMS, a theory first proposed by Victor and supported by Mike.

    Victor has since said that he no longer believed in that theory. I do not know what Mike thinks of the theory now but in comments made during that period Mike had openly wondered about what the SDU would do in the event the IRS feed was lost:

    On the TMF blog on May 6th:

    “…can we agree that the offset algorithm was working well before 1707, and poorly by the end of the flight? At 1707…… the offset algorithm produced an offset that was within 13.6% of ‘perfect’…. Assuming similar offset algorithm accuracy, by 00:11, the D1+D2 observation (-353Hz) would imply a zero offset Doppler of -353/o.135=2615 Hz and an LOS speed of 927 kts. LOS speed mapped to the horizontal plane at elevation angle of 40 degrees gives 1210 kts radial speed component, and higher aircraft speed, depending on the tangential velocity. If the math is right, this is conclusive proof that the algorithm was off in the weeds by 00:11….. I believe our focus should be on (1) finding someone at Honeywell that will tell us what the MCS4200 does when it loses the IRS data feed…..”

    On Duncan’s blog on May 1st:

    “…during the early stage of flight, MH370 transmitted several messages. At this stage, the location of the aircraft and satellite were known, so it was possible to calculate system characteristics for the aircraft, satellite and ground station…. the current calibration data set, with one on the ground and three in flight, is sufficient to be fairly certain that we have the correct model, and the accuracy of the AES TX Offset characterized under normal operation. Victor’s observation that the BFO values could not grow to -353Hz unless the Offset was broken or disabled after 1707 is the missing link between the well understood first 4 data points and the last 6-8 points. Given the exceptionally good fit in Victor’s 2014-04-30 Tibet path, I would invite everyone to consider exploring models with the assumption that the Doppler derived from the calibration (radar and ADS-B values in my analysis) is accurate for handshakes 1-4 and the D1+D2 derived from the analysis is in fact D1+D2 Doppler (Offset was zero) for points 5-12. If the 429 link was lost, this is certainly a viable default condition. Still trying to track down someone who knows for sure what the MCS-4200 would do in the event of this fault….”.

    Is there anyone out there who knows the answer to the question posed above?

  31. Alex Siew said,

    November 18, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    To Dr Bobby Ulich and Dr Richard Cole,

    I have in previous comments on this blog and on Jeff’s blog including in a comment entitled “The Tale of 2 Halves”, set out various observations showing the differences between the data for the first phase of the flight (1600 to 1707 UTC) and the second phase (1825 to 0019 UTC). Those observations include:

    1. The correlation between the satellite velocity and the BFO for the second phase, where BFO (Hz) = satellite vertical velocity ( vz in knots) + an offset of around 90 (incidentally the BFO when the plane was stationary on the tarmac at KL)

    2. The correlation between the distance traveled by the satellite on the Z axis (vertical) and the BTO for the second phase, where distance traveled by the satellite in the Z axis multiplied by 2 = the distance traveled by the plane (ie the distance between between the ping rings) for the pings not affected by the eclipse

    3. The correlation between the BFO and BTO for the second phase, where the ratio of BTO/BFO for the pings not affected by the eclipse =71

    4. The correlation between the path of the satellite and the alleged path of the plane for the second phase, firstly due true north of 360 degree and then after 1941 UTC, due true south of 180 degree for the remainder of the alleged flight ( a 7hour flight)

    5. The various ‘anomalous’ values for both the BTO and the BFO for the second phase, with only 5 out of the 14 R Channel transmissions having both ‘correct’ BTO and BFO values (according to Inmarsat).

    6. The correlation between the time of the satellite turning from north to south at 1936 UTC and the time of the alleged turn to the south by the plane prior to 1941 UTC

    7. The transmissions for the second phase not appearing on the logs when first pulled, according to Inmarsat.

    8. The BFOs for the second phase translating into speeds for the plane way above the maximum speed of a Boeing 777, applying the algorithm calculated from the first phase (see my previous comment above).

    Can the case be made that the observations above are consistent with the SDU having been deprived of the IRS data (location, altitude and speed of the plane) during the second phase, with the out of whack data churned out purely and necessarily a reflection or function of the satellite movement and velocity?

    Your input would be greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely, Alex Siew

  32. Alex Siew said,

    November 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    According to a member of the IG, the satellite phone calls to MH370, 2 at 1839 UTC and 1 at 2313 UTC, were not completed to a point “where a call alert would have chimed on the flight deck”.

    The question is why was that so, why did the attempted calls fail to proceed to completion?

    Could it be that when the AES re-logged on at 1825 UTC, it was merely a Class 1 log on which according to the MCS 4200 manual at page 1-12 would be using a low gain antenna to supply “low rate packet-mode data services only” and not the usual Class 3 log on which would be using a high gain antenna to supply “telephony services, packet-mode data services and optional circuit-mode data services” , a clear sign that the High Gain Antenna system on MH370 was not functioning by then and that the transmissions from 1825 UTC onwards were transmitted through the backup Low Gain Antenna mounted on the top of the rear fuselage?

  33. Alex Siew said,

    November 21, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    One of the things that people keep saying is that the SDU powered back on at or around 1825 UTC.

    That is merely an assumption. What happened at 1825 UTC is that the SDU transmitted a log on request to the GES. This log on request could have been prompted by a number of things as ATSB/Inmarsat themselves have admitted, with a power cycle of the SDU being only 1 of those things.

    In previous comments I have made the case that the SDU concerned never powered off but was by then operating on battery power and that the log on request at 1825 UTC was actually prompted by an interrogation from the GES moments earlier (ie at or around 1825 UTC), following a gap of 1 hour 4 minutes from the last prior transmission from MH370 which was at 1721 UTC as reported by the Associated Press on March 13th, in all likelihood a transmission prompted by unusual engine conditions and transmitted as part of the Rolls Royce Engine Health Monitoring (EHM) programme.

    Or is it merely another coincidence that 1825 UTC, the time of the log on request, is exactly 1 hour 4 minutes after 1721 UTC which was the time all signals from the communication systems on MH370 ceased including the SSR signal, the ADS-B signal and ACARS?

  34. Alex Siew said,

    November 22, 2014 at 12:15 am


    By now you would have read the article in the Age of November 22nd, pointed out by Nihonmama on Jeff’s blog, regarding an interview with Tim Clark by German journalist Andreas Spaeth first reported in the German press if I am not mistaken.

    The first question that comes to mind is why have some parts of the interview been excluded in previous reports of the interview, and in particular this part:

    “Clark said his electronic engineers believe that even though the plane’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, known as ACARS, was disabled it would still send out weak signals and remain traceable…”.

    Also by now you would have read the reaction of certain people on Jeff’s blog to the above remarks. Tim Clark is the head of the airline which owns the most Boeing 777s in the world. The company’s engineers presumably would know a thing or two about ACARS and the electronics and electrical systems on board of a Boeing 777. Some of these engineers probably came from Boeing or were trained at Boeing.

    It is the height of arrogance to summarily dismiss what Tim Clark or the company’s engineers have been reported as saying. If what they are saying is not true, Boeing and/or Honeywell are at liberty to come out to refute them. In case these people have not noticed, Boeing and Honeywell have kept mum, as they have from the outset. And the way things are going, with people accepting the official SIO narrative unquestioningly and rubbishing others who ask legitimate questions, Boeing and Honeywell will never have to say anything, which is just the way they would want it to be.

  35. Alex Siew said,

    November 22, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    The ACARS report for Swissair Flight 111 which crashed after a fire broke, out contains a useful summary of the ACARS system which is reproduced below:

    “ACARS SYSTEM DESCRIPTION. The main component of the ACARS system is the CMU. The CMU provides the receive and transmit interface through the VHF-3 transceiver and SATCOM for uplinked and downlinked messages. The CMU controls the VHF-3 communication in data mode and the SATCOM system data link. The primary transmission medium is VHF. The CMU will automatically change to SATCOM when VHF becomes unavailable owing to ground saturation or insufficient VHF coverage, and will automatically switch back to VHF when such service again becomes available. All messages sent from the aircraft are refereed as downlinks and all messages from ARINC, SITA or INMARSAT to the aircraft are called uplinks. Each downlink may be received by many different VHF RGSs, depending on the area of coverage. Typically, the RGS recording the strongest signal will provide an acknowledgement as an uplink. If there is no communication between the aircraft and the RGS for 10 minutes, the CMU will automatically generate a downlink label “Q0″ message referred to as a tracker message for flight following, which is transparent to the crew and was not forwarded to Swissair (as it is not a chargeable message).”

  36. Alex Siew said,

    November 22, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    A member of the IG, after Nihonmama alerted everyone to what Tim Clark had said about ‘weak signals’, duly pointed out that the Rx Power (dBm) values published by Inmarsat in the paper in the Journal of Navigation in September/October 2014, did not differ appreciably throughout the ‘whole’ flight.

    In a previous comment, I had questioned whether the given values for Rx Power for the transmissions at 1825 UTC and after, were true. The circumstances surrounding the release of these figures are highly suspicious to say the least. At page 3 of the paper in the Journal, the Rx Power numbers were given in a table (Table 1) together with the BTO and the BFO as well as channel information under the heading ” Signalling Message Parameters from Flight MH370 (Malaysian Government, 2014)”.

    1. The first question that comes to mind is if the Rx Power is a ‘signalling message parameter’ on par in terms of significance with the BTO and the BFO as Table 1 would seem to suggest, why is that the Rx Power values were excluded from the 47 page data log released on May 27th?

    2. A second question would be why the inclusion of the Rx Power figures in the paper. The figures are not mentioned elsewhere in the paper and not discussed at all. Was it to shut someone up, someone who had been making a nuisance of himself for months with the claim that Inmarsat had been suppressing those Rx Power figures because the Rx Power values for the pings would be significantly lower as compared to the transmissions for the earlier phase of the flight therefore indicating that the pings were transmitted on secondary/battery power through the low gain antenna?

    3. A third question would be can we trust that Inmarsat had not fabricated the Rx Power values for the pings? These after all are the same people who had been blatantly lying all these months (see my previous comments for examples) including during the seminar in October where the paper was presented with Mark Dickinson of Inmarsat saying in the presence of many witnesses and on camera that all the lines/entries for the flight were included in the data log released on May 27th. Is there anyone on this planet who thinks Mark Dickinson was telling the truth?

    4. I have asked this question and I will keep asking this question until Inmarsat comes out with a satisfactory explanation: If the Rx Power for the transmissions at and post 1825 UTC (and there is exactly 100 such transmissions- see pages 39 to 47 of the data log) are the same as the Rx Power for the transmissions for the first part of the flight, then why did these 100 transmissions not appear on the logs when the logs were first pulled, according to Inmarsat?

    The New York Times article on March 22nd:

    “…. technicians pulled all the logs of all transmissions from the plane within four hours of its disappearance. Then after a day without sign of the plane, they began scouring the company’s databases for any trace of Flight 370. ‘We decide to have another look at our network to see if there was any data we missed, ‘ Mr McLaughlin said. It turned out there was. Inmarsat technicians identified what appeared to be a series of fleeting ‘pings’ between Flight 370, a satellite over the Indian Ocean and a ground station in Perth, Australia…”

    The Washington Post article on March 20th:

    “….Within hours of Flight 370′s disappearance on March 8, Inmarsat started searching for clues. What little data it had on the short flight before it disappeared was provided to SITA… on the same day…. Late that weekend, Inmarsat’s team delved into its databases to retrieve periodic ‘pings’ akin to digital handshakes….”.

    5. Finally, apparently I am not the only one who thinks that the High Gain Antenna was no longer functioning at and post 1825 UTC. There is a paper on the net entitled “9M-MRO Satellite Phone Connections”. In the first part of the paper under the caption ‘Summary’ it is stated: “The failure to complete two of the three outbound satellite phone calls was the result of degraded function of the HGA antenna system”. In the last part of the paper under the caption ‘Conclusions’, it is stated: “The SDU recovered service with a log on at 18:25, however, the HGA Beam Steering Unit did not recover operation successfully with the consequence that voice service could not be sustained. Two calls, one at 18:39 and one at 23:13, did not complete due to sub-optimal HGA performance. One call attempt, at 19:39 [18:39?], failed due the Cabin Communication System unavailable to a receive voice call. The BSU normally receives steering data over an ARINC 429 bus interface from the SDU, in turn the SDU receives inertial reference data via the AIMS….”.

    6. If the High Gain Antenna was no longer functioning or was functioning sub-optimally post 1825 UTC, as the author of the paper concluded, then how is it possible that the Rx Power values for the post 1825 UTC transmissions be around the same as for the transmissions from the earlier part of the flight, as indicated in the Inmarsat paper published in the Journal of Navigation?

  37. Bruce Lamon said,

    November 22, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    “Was it to shut someone up, someone who had been making a nuisance of himself for months with the claim that Inmarsat had been suppressing those Rx Power figures”?

    Ok, this is the part of Alex’s post I tend to agree with (though I might agree with other parts if I understood the science better). I think this may well be a feather in Alex’s cap, because I can’t recall anyone else focussing on this part of the withheld Inmarsat data.

    But I do not believe Inmarsat fabricated any of the data it released. I see no motivation for doing so, and lots of high risk downside from doing so. Alex, what is your theory? Your reaction reminds me of mine when Inmarsat finally released data: dumbfounded that the experts seemed to concur that it held together and pointed to an SIO terminus, just as Inmarsat had said.

    As for Tim Clark, bless him for calling out Malaysia (especially the military) and Boeing and demanding disclosure. Most of the rest of what he says is counter to my understanding, speculative, borderline insipid or plainly wrong.

    (E.g., #1, what’s up with, “There hasn’t been one overwater incident in the history of civil aviation, apart from Amelia Earhart in 1939, that has not been at least five or ten percent trackable” I posted on Jeff’s blog a long but partial list of civil aircraft that have disappeared over water without a trace. And wasn’t MH370 on secondary radar for 5-10% of its flight?)

    (E.g., #2–does anyone besides Clark still think the military radar detected or could detect MH370 altitude fluctuations?)

    Like Chris “Andaman Islands” McLaughlin and Tony “Very Confident” Abbott, Clark’s a non-scientist communicator, not a fount of knowledge. If you try to parse their language for underlying wisdom or significance, you’ll go crazy.

  38. Bruce Lamon said,

    November 22, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Regarding the limitations of JORN, see http://www.airforce.gov.au/docs/JORN_Fact_Sheet.pdf


    1. JORN does not “continually ‘sweep’ an area like conventional radars but rather ‘dwell’ by focusing the radar’s energy on a particular area”.

    2. “JORN does not operate on a 24 hour basis except during military contingencies.”

    3. JORN is designed to “provide surveillance coverage of Australia’s northern approaches”.

    4. “Objects travelling tangentially to [JORN] are therefore unlikely to be
    detected by that radar.” If MH370 went in the general direction proposed by Ulich/IG/ATSB, it went tangentially to JORN if I’m interpreting the coverage map included at the link.

  39. Alex Siew said,

    November 23, 2014 at 1:10 am


    My theory is simple: The plane crashed at the South China Sea after getting hit by lightning which caused an electrical failure and the disintegration of the parts of the plane made of composite in particular the passenger cabin. If the plane is found and the world learns that a Boeing 777 can disintegrate from a lightning strike, all hell will break loose and Boeing (and Airbus) will be looking at potential losses in the hundreds of billions in having to (a) reconfigure all existing commercial aircraft with composite parts including the 777 and the 787,with the attendant down time for all such aircraft (b) reconfigure all commercial aircraft that are already in production but yet to be delivered and (c) having to redesign from scratch all commercial aircraft either already ordered but not yet in production or those still on the drawing board.

    The order backlog for commercial aircraft for Boeing is estimated at USD490 billion, see a previous comment. So we are talking about huge numbers here, in the hundreds of billions. Not to mention the damage to the reputation of Boeing and all the aviation safety regulatory authorities who saw fit to go with composite despite warnings from scientists and engineers including from within Boeing as well as from AAIB in 1999 after the glider incident, of the risks posed by such usage of composite from lightning strikes.

    My theory is the Americans knew almost immediately what had happened from their satellite imagery, the pick up of the distress calls from MH370 by USS Pinckney and most probably the tracking of the plane on at least part of its downward glide from IGARI on the ship’s AEGIS radar, the pick up and deciphering of the emergency radio contact at 1:30am with MH88 and from the satellite signal data both from their own spy satellites and from Inmarsat. Within the space of a few days, the realization of the implications and in particular the implications for Boeing, leading to the decision on March12th to steer the search away from the South China Sea, symbolized by the yanking of the USS Kidd and USS Pinckney from the South China Sea.

    My theory is Inmarsat was complicit in the cover up from day one. Put yourself in the shoes of Inmarsat. What is the first thing you would do if you were Inmarsat and you hear that the plane was missing? You pulled the logs of all transmissions. Inmarsat said they did that within a few hours. These logs would show either (a) all the transmissions from 1600 UTC to 0019 UTC or (b) just the transmissions from the first part of the flight ie prior to 1825 UTC. Inmarsat said (b) happened. If (b) happened, it would be because the post 1825 transmissions were very weak in signal strength being transmitted on battery power through the low gain antenna on top of the rear fuselage, which had remained afloat after the crash.

    But even if (b) had transpired, Inmarsat would have immediately looked for this particular piece of information: WHEN DID THE AES LOG OFF OR WAS DECLARED TO BE LOGGED OFF. If the 47 page data log is authentic, the AES was declared to be logged off at around 0119 UTC. The log off would have been effected by the satellite/GES so this is information Inmarsat would have in their system. Working backwards, that means the AES was still active one hour prior to such time or 0019 UTC. So, Inmarsat would have known as soon as they looked at the logs and their system for the log off, that the AES was still active until 0019 UTC. Then it becomes a matter of tracing the transmissions from 1707 UTC to 0019 UTC, which they said they did a day later.

    Regardless of whether it was (a) or (b), within one or two days Inmarsat would have the data for the transmissions for the second part of the flight. They would have seen the Rx Power, the BER, the C/No. AND THE ACARS TRANSMISSION/S AT 1721 UTC, transmitted as part of Rolls Royce EHM programme. So Inmarsat knew, early on, that the plane had crashed, early on.

    Perhaps if I have time, one day I will go into detail the history of Inmarsat and its shareholders over the years. Suffice for the moment for me to quote from an article published by Inmarsat on November 21st and tweeted by who else LGHamiltonUSA entitled “Insatiable SATCOM demand… and the need for commercial operators to complement military resources”:

    “There is no doubt the U.S. government needs access to reliable satellite communications (SATCOM) connectivity almost everywhere, at any given time…. Meeting this ever expanding, almost insatiable need for SATCOM has been a continual topic of conversation both inside and outside the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)…. The government’s Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system is one critical piece of this SATCOM solution, but WGS simply cannot ‘go it alone’…. This is where COMSATCOM – commercial satellite communications – comes into play…… COMSATCOM augments the WGS system and other military satellites in a way that is secure, trusted, extremely flexible and adaptive….. Peter Hadinger, president of Inmarsat U.S. Government Business Unit and several other business leaders from the COMSATCOM industry discussed this topic at a Washington Space Business Roundtable luncheon….. Does Inmarsat have a vested interest in this discussion? Of course we do. We have always been the U.S. government’s largest global mobile SATCOM supplier. We are extremely proud of this trusted partnership and with the strength of our business we are able to continually invest in differentiated capabilities designed to meet current and anticipated future needs of the U.S. government…”.

    [TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack]

  40. Bruce Lamon said,

    November 23, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Alex, if I recall the October 7 presentation correctly, Dickinson said every line of data had been released to make the audience think all the data had been released. But when Paul Sladen got him to admit that most of the columns shown on CNN were withheld, Dickinson fell back on,1) but all the [horizontal] lines were there and 2) did you find anything surprising in the [vertical] columns shown on CNN?

    I think I understand your point that there must have been lines prior to 16:00 corresponding to those found prior to 18:28 and 00:19, and so I believe but do not know that Dickinson lied about their non-existence.

    If you are investing, there’s no legal difference between a falsehood and material non-disclosure, but in the world of corporate PR and spin control, it seems to me that evasions and half truths are coin of the realm.

    Positively asserting a set of false data points I believe is a much less common and more serious act, particularly if your business is under international scrutiny and relies to a certain extent on customers being able to trust the accuracy of the data you handle. If Inmarsat were guilty of fabricating the signal strength data, they’d be jeopardizing part of the value of the company to investors and opening themselves up to extortion by everyone who knew.

    You suggest that Inmarsat would take this risk to accommodate the US government, which would insist upon it to protect Boeing, which in turn would be endangered if it were revealed that the 777 is vulnerable to lightning strikes.

    I think every link in this chain of inferences is decrepit. As far as I can tell, lightning has not killed a commercial airline passenger since at least 1967, even though commercial airliners are struck about once a year on the average. The history of commercial aviation safety, which until this year has continued to improve dramatically, has largely been the story of agencies like the AAIB, the NTSB and even the FAA requiring manufacturers and airlines to address significant safety issues, with more or less insensitivity to the expense entailed. This has undoubtedly annoyed the manufacturers and airlines, but overall probably has been good for their bottom lines.

    To my understanding, Boeing has significant liability insurance. Even if it doesn’t, I suspect that if a safety issue were identified (a big if), Boeing would be able to mount a strong argument based upon its safety record that it was not negligent in failing to prevent a type of harm (lightning fatality) that has been prevented from happening for the last 45 years despite thousands of annual strikes.

    I would guess there have been hundreds of manufacturing and design issues with Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers that in the past have been material factors in passenger fatalities, but limitations on liability in the Montreal Convention and limitations on the use of evidence developed during accident investigations in such statutes as the Federal Aviation Act (which limitations remain in effect as a far as I know) among other factors have meant that none of these have seriously threatened Boeing’s existence or even profitability.

    I would sooner believe that the US government would take action against Boeing if it believed Boeing was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of passengers of whatever nationality than it would try to shelter Boeing. I do not recall any instance in which the US government conspired or even attempted to conceal evidence of corporate malfeasance in an industrial disaster leading to loss of life. And if the US government is important to Inmarsat, Inmarsat is important to the US government, which hopefully would find an easier and more direct path to sheltering Boeing from MH370 fallout if for some (unfathomable to me) reason it wanted to do so.

    Does it not seem that theorized conspiracies outnumber actual conspiracies by about a million to one? I highly doubt this is the one.

  41. Alex Siew said,

    November 24, 2014 at 2:16 am


    I will endeavour to answer in greater detail in a couple of days’ time.

    It is never or rarely the case that one can obtain direct evidence of a conspiracy. People who conspire to do bad stuff usually go to extreme lengths to cover their tracks. But that there is a cover up in this case of MH370 I have no doubt, due to the overwhelming circumstantial evidence, much of it I have set out in comments over the course of the last several months.

    Apparently there is going to be a technical briefing soon by the JACC regarding the progress or the lack thereof, of the search. Is anyone going? I am sure leaflets will be handed out during the briefing listing 100 reasons why they have not found the plane yet: rough seas, deep seas, distance from shore, debris having drifted to Indonesia, search vessels being distracted by the smell of hydrocarbons and so forth. But of course the real reason will never be disclosed: the plane is not at the South Indian Ocean.

    How about a technical briefing by the Investigation Team? That would be a hundred times more useful but there is a problem. The Investigation Team does not exist or exist in name only. Somehow, all the media have completely forgotten that when a plane disappears with 239 on board, there is supposed to be an investigation. But of course as I have said many times before, the usual rules do not apply when it comes to MH370.

  42. Alex Siew said,

    November 25, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    According to the latest article on Jeff Wise’ blog, the Burst Timing Offset or BTO “is a measure of how far the plane was from the satellite at any given time; this data is well-understood, reliable and accurate, with an uncertainty of only about five miles…”.

    Sometimes I wonder what “data” these people have been looking at, to conclude that the data are “well-understood, reliable and accurate”. Or is it a case of people repeating rubbish over and over again in the hope that by sheer repetition others less attentive may end up believing such rubbish?

    As I have pointed out many times before, the BTO data for the pings are anything but “well-understood, reliable and accurate”. The very first value, at 18:25:27 of 17120 is off by 4600us according to Inmarsat. In other words, it should have been 12520 but it came up to be 17120. That is an “error” of almost 37%. No matter how one wants to stretch the meaning of “accurate”, a reading which is off by 37% is not “accurate”.

    If that is not bad enough, the second BTO value at 18:25:34, ie just 7 seconds later, reads 51700. The plane, if it was still in the air at such time, could not have traveled far in those 7 seconds, so if the first value should have been 12520, the second value should be around the same, especially given the 3rd value at 18:27:03, more than a minute later, reads 12560. If the second value should read around 12520 but was measured at 51700, then it was off by 39180us, in percentage terms by 313%. No one in the right sense of mind will describe a reading which was off by 313%, “accurate”.

    If the first 2 values alone were off by so much, or in other words, very “inaccurate”, then obviously those values cannot be “reliable”.

    But what about “well-understood”?

    Does anyone know why the first 2 values were off by so much? As far as I can tell, no one has been able to explain why is it that the first 2 values were so not “accurate” and were so not “reliable”, if indeed the SDU was operating like normal at such time. Inmarsat on their part said the first reading, the Log on Request at 18:25:27, can be explained by the AES having an offset of 4600us, supposedly ascertained from historical data. As for the second value, Inmarsat said the second signal, the Log on/Log off Acknowledge (LO/LOA) had “variable delay” and “should be ignored”.

    But as I have pointed out many times before, the LO/LOA when the plane first powered up on the tarmac at KL at 16:00:13, the very first entry on the data log, did not show any “variable delay” but its reading of 14820 was in line with subsequent values. Working backwards, since the LO/LOA was 14820, the Log On Request which must have preceded it seconds earlier, could not possibly have an offset of 4600us, otherwise its value would read 19420, which cannot possibly be right, since the 2 signals would have been been only seconds apart.

    So the data are NOT “well-understood, reliable and accurate”. To the contrary, the data absolutely do not make sense and are completely out of whack, if the assumption is that the SDU was then still operating as normal.

    Those who think I have erred in my analysis are at liberty to correct me.

  43. Alex Siew said,

    November 26, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Once again we are hearing from Andy Pasztor and Jon Ostrower of the Wall Street Journal, familiar names to those who have been following the US media MH370 disinformation efforts.

    So now we are being told that instead of 1 team, there are actually 5 teams at work, analysing furiously still the satellite data even after nearly 9 months of refinement, namely Inmarsat, Boeing, Thales, NTSB and the Australian military. Really?

    We are also being told that it is a 3 versus 2 in terms of a difference in opinion over the highest priority areas for the search. Really?

    Even if assuming what they are saying is true, what is the relevance of this information? None whatsoever. Tomorrow they can be telling us that it is now 6 teams because someone omitted to count AAIB which was mentioned in the ATSB Report dated June 26th as one of the organizations involved in the group analysis. Or that it is now 4 versus 2 or a deadlock of 3 versus 3. Does anyone care?

    How about the new drift analysis that is supposed to come out any time now? What are the chances of this analysis showing the debris drifting to everywhere but Australia?

  44. Bruce Lamon said,

    November 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Until someone mentions the substantiated basis or any precedent for thinking that any of this debris will wash ashore, or a substantiated basis for thinking that recovery of any such debris would tell us anything more than that MH370 probably ended in the ocean, I could not care less what the new drift analysis says.

  45. Alex Siew said,

    November 26, 2014 at 7:23 pm


    How about this for an insult to intelligence?

    From Reuters November 26th:

    “Australia is working on a new drift modelling…. the Australian search coordinator said on Wednesday. Initial analysis had suggested that the first debris could come ashore on Indonesia’s Western Sumatra after about 123 days. “we are currently working… to see if we can get an updated drift model…..’ search coordinator Peter Foley told reporters in Canberra….”.

    Is this champagne on ice Foley guy for real? Debris on the shores of Western Sumatra after 123 days? So was anyone posted to the western shores of Sumatra to check it out? Or ships or satellites positioned to spot the debris accordingly on its drift to those shores? And why 123 days but not 120 days or some other number? Because 123 flows nicely off the tongue just like ABC?

    But of course we are not allowed to criticize the Australians or the Americans, who according to a member of the IG, are simply ‘protecting’ the only bad guys in this saga, the Malaysians. Also according to this member of the IG in a recent comment on Jeff’s blog, “we know pretty well what happened until 18:28…”.

    Perhaps this person can enlighten the rest of us as to “what happened until 18:28″?

  46. Bruce Lamon said,

    November 26, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    I suspect they will find a black box before they find any debris washed ashore. But so what if they find a seat cushion? Are they sufficiently wacko to think they will be able to find MH370 based on reverse drifting from the finding date and location? Or are they just whistling in the dark, hoping to confirm that they are at least looking in the right ocean?

    It seems almost hilarious now, but when it turns out they could have searched Bobby Ulich’s solution but for the money spent developing and refining this pointless drift model, it won’t be too amusing.

  47. Alex Siew said,

    November 27, 2014 at 1:52 am

    Just some thoughts.

    1. The loiter.

    The relatively short distance between the ring at 18:28 and the ring at 19:41 is problematic for those who maintain the Inmarsat data show the plane still flying at such time, so much so some people have had to come up with various scenarios like ‘loiter’, ‘circling’ or even a ‘landing’. But for people who hold the minority view that the data only reflect the movement and velocity of the satellite because the SDU was deprived of IRS data at such time, the short distance between these 2 rings makes perfect sense given the satellite had to slow down effectively to zero vertical velocity as it reached its northern apex at 1936 UTC.

    2. 22:41 to 00:11

    Conversely the satellite was gaining speed at all times in its descent southwards ie accelerating, such that by the time of the last few pings its speed was such that the resultant BFO reversed engineered, translated into speeds way above the maximum speed of a Boeing 777.

  48. Alex Siew said,

    November 27, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    According to the unnamed author of the paper “9M-MRO Satellite Phone Connections”, the SDU log-on at 18:25 “included it identifying AES Class 3 operation, for voice and packet data. That the GES forwarded voice calls attempts during the log-on session confirms Class 3 registration…”

    I would be very obliged if the author can disclose the basis for the statement about the log-on ” included it identifying AES Class 3 operation, for voice and packet data”. The relevant entry on the 47 page data log at 18:25:27 merely states “Log-on Request (ISU)/Log-on Flight Information (SSU)”. If I am not mistaken, ISU stands for Initial Signalling Unit and SSU stands for Subsequent Signalling Unit.

    Regarding the argument that the forwarding by the GES of voice call attempts would confirm Class 3 registration, another way to look at it would be that the voice calls were initiated not by the GES but by an end user (MAS operations center) and the calls would be automatically routed through the GES to the AES regardless of the class of registration prevailing at such time. Whether the calls proceeded to completion or not, on the other hand, may indicate the class of registration. Thus the failure of both calls to proceed to completion may indicate that at both times the class of registration was not Class 3 or Class 2, both of which would cater for calls through a high gain antenna, but Class 1 which would cater only for “low rate packet mode data’ through a low gain antenna.

    Incidentally, the first call at 18:39 was routed through the GES in the Netherlands, GES code 301 (Burum). Inmarsat has never explained why is it that this call was routed from this GES and not the Perth GES, code 305. MAS operations center was and is in Malaysia, the plane supposedly was around the north or west of Sumatra at such time, so why did the call go through the GES in the Netherlands?

  49. Alex Siew said,

    November 28, 2014 at 12:19 am

    According to a member of the IG “….the US probably knows more than it is saying. After the US guided the search to the SIO, the US has been quiet. My guess is it wants to do nothing to create political instability in the region as Malaysia has been cooperative economically, militarily and strategically.”.

    It is a little weird to see the US being described as “quiet”. Usually the US is anything but quiet, many others find the US kind of “loud”. So when the US keeps quiet about something, there is usually a reason. Could it be the Americans’ reticence and couldn’t care less attitude after the search was shifted from the South China Sea to the South Indian Ocean, was due to a sense of “mission accomplished”?

  50. Alex Siew said,

    November 29, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    There were one hundred (100) SATCOM transmissions from MH370 from 1825 to 0019 UTC. Those who wish to verify this can go take a look at the 47 page data log and count them up.

    Out of these 100 RX transmissions, 5 were Log-on/Log-off Acknowledges (LO/LOA) from the hourly satellite interrogations (at 1941, 2041, 2141, 2041 and 0011 UTC). Another 2 were the mid flight log on requests at 1825 and 0019 and the LO/LOA for these 2 log-ons at 1825 and 0019 respectively. So the handshakes/log-ons only accounted for 9 signals, strictly speaking.

    What could be the reason that all the 100 RX tranmissions, not just the 9 signals relating to the handshakes/log-ons, did not appear in the logs when the logs were first pulled, according to Inmarsat?

    Especially since now Inmarsat is saying the Rx Power for all transmissions from 1600 to 0019 UTC was more or less the same.

    But if the RX Power was more or less the same, then why did those 100 transmissions failed to appear on the logs?

    And how can the RX Power be more or less the same when according to the learned author of the paper on the satellite phone connections, the High Gain Antenna was ‘degraded’ or performing ‘sub-optimally’ post 1825 UTC?

    Something does not quite add up. So who is wrong or lying? Inmarsat when it said to the effect the 100 post 1825 transmissions did not show up in the logs when first pulled, or the author who maintained the HGA was in a degraded or sub-optimal state by then, or Inmarsat who now insists the RX Power for the 100 transmissions were no different from than the RX Power for earlier transmissions?

  51. Alex Siew said,

    November 30, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I sincerely hope Paul Howard would not mind if I quote from his reply (November 26) to a recent comment on his blog, where Paul said, among other things:

    ” Again I have a personal theory and that is the plane is still in either the Gulf of Thailand or South China Sea. There was never a consistent and logical search there and it was called off after only three days….. I still believe the aircraft hit the water and remained floating for long enough to transmit the handshakes…. I would love to be proven wrong if only to restore my faith in aviation but sadly I believe political interference has polluted the best attempts of aviation professionals. Until now I’ve been reluctant to stick my neck out and state any particular theory because I thought so many professionals were convinced by ISAT. I’ve since considered that the professionals have been duped by disinformation and are too proud to admit they’ve been wrong.”

  52. Alex Siew said,

    December 1, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    VictorI posted a comment on Jeff’s blog on December 1, 8:30AM, part of which reads as follows:

    “…However, as time goes on with no debris found, the probability of the end point in the current search zone decreases. It becomes increasingly necessary to re-examine the BTO and BFO models and question every assumption therein. I don’t mean refinements of the model that shift the predicted end point by 10 km. We have to ask ourselves if we have made a more fundamental mistake…….we have to be open to the possibility of a fundamental error in our models and consider all options…….”.

    If I may humbly suggest to Victor and others to reconsider the fundamental assumptions:

    1. That the plane had to be in the air for the SDU to be transmitting signals

    2. That the blip at 1822 UTC was MH370

    3. That the SDU during the period of the pings (1825 to 0019 UTC) was getting IRS data (re the plane’s location, speed and altitude), from the AIMS or otherwise.

  53. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 2, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Alex, FWIW I don’t think the failure to find MH370 at this point has much impact on the likelihood of the current search area being correct, partly because it has seemed to me since reading Bobby’s Addendum #2 that the current search area was probably wrong to begin with.

    But I do think the assumptions surrounding 18:22–the location, the altitude and the route taken prior thereto (which would affect range) are the ones which should be re-examined first. (Although it is harder to reexamine those assumptions when the radar data supporting them are withheld.)

    May I trouble you to explain (again, no doubt–sorry!) the impact upon the reliability of the BTO/BFO data of whether or not MH370 knew where it was at the time? I think I recall that Victor may have held this view at one time but later I think changed his mind. It seems to uninitiated me that the transmitted response intervals and frequencies would be no more subject to aircraft input than a primary radar detection.

  54. Alex Siew said,

    December 3, 2014 at 1:40 am


    1. As I understand it, the MCS Series SDUs by Honeywell/Racal employ what is called the closed loop system, to calculate the frequency adjustment required to compensate for the Doppler from the plane to the satellite.

    2. Under this system, the AES would calculate this Doppler using the information from the IRS via the AIMS regarding the plane’s location, direction, velocity, etc.

    3. Apparently the formula or algorithm used assumes that the satellite is stationary, so the adjustment is not perfect.

    4. Apparently also, the formula or algorithm does not take into account the plane’s altitude at any point in time, so the adjustment would also be less than perfect when the plane is climbing or descending.

    5. Obviously under this system, the AES would not be able to properly compute the necessary adjustments if the IRS data feed is lost, for whatever reason. In other words, the AES needs to know where the plane is, the direction it is flying and the velocity etc, for such calculations.

    6. At one time, in late April and early May, some people including Mike and VictorI had concluded that the SDU was no longer functioning as normal from 1825 UTC, basically that the SDU was doing a different thing in the later phase of the flight as compared to the earlier phase, in terms of the Doppler compensation calculations. This is what Victor had to say on April 24th:

    ” For the early ping times, before the course change of the plane, I believe the SATCOM module was applying the offset correction algorithm to compensate for the L-Band shift…. For the later ping times, I do not believe any offset correction is applied by the SATCOM module. The residuals are too high implying a very inaccurate offset correction algorithm. I think Inmarsat would do better…. Why would the offset correction not be applied at the later times but applied at the earlier times? To provide an answer, I attempted to find out what common element might turn off ACARS while also turn off this offset correction. After some research, I found there is a Communications Core Processor Module in the Aircraft Information Management System (AIMS) in the electronic bay. Removal of this card… would disable ACARS and also prevent the SATCOM from getting updates of speed and position from AIMS….”

    The next day Victor continued as follows:

    “My theory is based on a broken data path between the AIMS and SATCOM. A damaged or disconnected cable would have the same effect as a pulled card… I would agree that any disruption of the data path between the AIMS and the SATCOM would have the effect of disabling or degrading the offset correction and also disable ACARS.”

    7. If you scroll up you will see comments from me a couple of weeks ago quoting what Mike said, also in late April/early May, about this and asking the very pertinent question as to what the SDU would do in the event the IRS data feed is lost.

    8. Victor has since disclaimed this ‘theory’. Like everyone else on the various blogs, he proceeded to interpret the data released by Inmarsat in late May on the assumption that the SDU was operating as normal at all times, from 1600 to 0019 UTC.

    9. On such assumption, all such people have come to a common conclusion, that the data show the plane flying until 0019 UTC at least and ending up in the South Indian Ocean.

    10. As you are aware, I do not share their views, for the reasons articulated in previous comments over the course of the last several months.

    11. To me, MH370 is a modern day version of the fable “The Emperor has no clothes”.

    12. Even a person with no mathematical training like me, has been able to work out that the data, contrary to the consensus, actually show an SDU that was not operating as normal from 1825 UTC but had gone haywire, in all likelihood due to the loss of the IRS data feed.

    13. As I have pointed out many times before, in the first couple of minutes after the SDU logged back on at 1825 UTC, the BTO went from 17120 to 51700 to 12560 and the BFO went from 142 to 273 to 176. To use Mike’s expression, the SDU was obviously “off in the weeds” by then.

    14. Yet, none of our distinguished fellow commenters have seen fit to acknowledge this fact, that the SDU could not have been operating as normal by such time, given such bizarre, zig zag, off the chart readings, right off the bat.

    15. None of our distinguished fellow commenters have also seen fit to acknowledge that the rest of the data, in between the 2 fits thrown by the SDU at 1825 UTC and 0019 UTC, actually reflect just the movement and velocity of the satellite, as anyone with or without mathematical training would be able to discern, after reading the Tale of 2 Halves.

  55. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 3, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks, Alex.

    Change of subject. I have a theory about the drift modelling. Some generic debris will be found in the proper location in Indonesia and identified as most likely from MH370. Analysis will reveal that it washed ashore about 123 days after the disappearance. Although MH370 may not be found where they are looking, said debris will confirm they were looking in the right place and that the drift modelling was spot on.

  56. Alex Siew said,

    December 3, 2014 at 7:41 pm


    Yes, I can just imagine the photo op, Peter Foley with the debris on one hand and a bottle of champagne on the other…… while Tony Abbott summons Parliament for another announcement…

  57. Alex Siew said,

    December 3, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Mike in reply to Bruce on Jeff’s blog said some interesting things.

    Apparently the definition for the BFO given out by Inmarsat on March 25th (the D1+D2 etc), was “bogus”. Apparently also, we now have the “correct BFO definition from Inmarsat”.

    Has it occurred to anyone that maybe, just maybe, the definition given on March 25th is the correct definition and that the subsequent definition/formula given in the ATSB Report of June 26th and in the paper published in the Journal of Navigation, is bogus?

    Regarding the point that the C6 packets (call attempts) were “21,000 sps packets”, well C Channel rates are meant to be 21,000 bps under ARINC 741, so all channels for C signals would be designated “21000″. The fact that these calls could not go through is the clearest indication that all was not well with the AES and that the system at such time could not process circuit mode data, which should not be the case if the AES was logged on at Class 3 and the HGA was still functioning.

  58. Alex Siew said,

    December 4, 2014 at 2:13 am


    You may have noticed already one of LGHamiltonUSA’s recent tweets referencing the Inmarsat AES Registration Form. If you look at the form under Part 5 (c) you will see the words ” DUAL AES INSTALLED” with yes and no boxes next to those words.

    It is a sign of how resistant many people have been to any questioning of the official narrative that almost 9 months after the plane disappeared, no one wants to discuss the critical question of whether MH370 had 1 or 2 SDUs. So many people have spent hundreds of hours studying the Inmarsat data, yet these same people have seen fit to ignore all the indications that MH370 actually had a back up SATCOM system comprising a backup SDU linked to a backup low gain antenna.

    Why is that? Could it be these people are worried about the official narrative unraveling if it is known that MH370 had a backup SATCOM system because that would lead to the question whether the pings were transmitted from this system which in turn would lead to the question as to why the main system was no longer functioning which would then point to some sort of system failure on the plane, which would be inconsistent with the official narrative that the plane had continued to fly merrily along for 7 hours due to some unexplained human intervention?

    Too bad no one bothered to ask Inmarsat during that ‘seminar’ on October 7th, the make up of the SATCOM system on MH370. All that Inmarsat let on apparently was that the SDU was a MCS 6000. But we already knew the SDU was from the Honeywell MCS series, it makes no difference to the analysis whether it was a 6000 or 3000 or the 4000 or 7000 or the 4200 or 7200. The critical questions as to whether MH370 had dual SDUs and the sources of power for the SATCOM system including the specifications of the internal battery, remain unanswered.

  59. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 4, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Alex, “the official narrative that the plane had continued to fly merrily along for 7 hours due to some unexplained human intervention”. I don’t think there is an official narrative which is inconsistent with a system failure (followed by human intervention to address it, followed by a default to the autopilot).

    Also, I don’t know of an official narrative as to what caused the diversion. Maybe I missed it. The ATSB seems to be saying, it’s up to Malaysians to investigate. And even if the Malaysians concluded that there was malicious human intervention, such a conclusion would have no more credibility than the evidence upon which they relied, if that much, given that it was coming from Malaysia and related to MH370.

    I disbelieve in any conspiracy to deflect inquiry from an aircraft malfunction. The casual regard of US regulators for Boeing’s profitability I believe is illustrated by recent NTSB report on the 787 apu battery fires (which led to the FAA grounding the entire 787 fleet for two months). The NTSB was pretty hard on both Boeing and the FAA and did not appear to me to be concerned with whether its findings might undermine either Boeing or public confidence in the safety of its aircraft. E.g., Conclusion 7:

    “Boeing’s electrical power system safety assessment did not consider the most severe effects of a cell internal short circuit and include requirements to mitigate related risks, and the review of the assessment by Boeing authorized representatives and Federal Aviation Administration certification engineers did not reveal this deficiency.


    By the way, I think this conclusion lends collateral or at least atmospheric support for my speculation that a battery fire disabled MH370. From there is seems like a relatively simple progression to cockpit attempts to cut the current feeding an electrical fire of unknown origin, to attempts to get back to a suitable airport, to hypoxia, to autopilot control. When the 777 and even 787 were certified, the necessary precautions for the use of lithium and lithium-ion batteries were underestimated.

  60. Alex Siew said,

    December 7, 2014 at 6:59 pm


    It is tragic-funny how someone who says the evidence shows the plane did what planes have been doing since their invention, that is, it crashed after a weather related incident, is labelled a conspiracy nutcase, while those who subscribe to the official narrative of a ghost plane flying on undetected and incommunicado for 7 more hours to the middle of nowhere for no apparent reason, are considered sane.

    You have rightly alluded to a good question: just what is the official narrative? Other than the plane flying until 0019 UTC and ending up in the middle of the SIO, there isn’t any. You have also noted that there is not even an official narrative as to the very first act of the narrative: the purported diversion (in a north west direction) purportedly at 1725 UTC, according to the June 26th ATSB Report.

    So where is the evidence that the plane diverted at 1725 UTC? There isn’t any. Where is the evidence the plane diverted at any point in time, to begin with? There isn’t any. But there is lots of evidence to show the plane continuing to fly on at least until BITOD, reaching there at around 1730 UTC.

    But other than you and me and a few others, no wants wants to talk about BITOD, because if the plane was at BITOD, the official narrative will unravel in a second. I have quoted from Richard before on this point and I will quote again from Richard on this point:

    ” Regarding the one “new detail” detail, the mention of the waypoint BITOD. For IGARI to Perak Island via BITOD, the average speed is 566.8 knots (more than the maximum speed of a Boeing 777-200ER at 513 knots). For IGARI to Perak Island direct, the average speed is 455.9 knots (believable even with an excursion in the direction of BITOD, but not as far as BITOD). I investigated this yesterday and discarded it. BITOD is a Vietnamese waypoint and IGARI is a Malaysian waypoint. From a Ho Chih Minh ATC perspective, I think BITOD means IGARI plus a bit. I do not believe MH370 went very far beyond IGARI before turning back.” [May 3rd on Duncan's blog].

    Dennis has made some remarks on Jeff’s blog about the math geeks being in love with their model and that love is blind. The above quote is a perfect example of such “blind love”: if the data or evidence doesn’t fit the model, the data/evidence is discarded. Not being a math geek myself, all this while I was under the impression it should be the other way around, that the model should fit the data/evidence and if it doesn’t fit, the model is discarded.

    Regarding the theory that the whole thing could have been precipitated by a fire on board whether caused by the plane’s main or APU battery or otherwise, it is certainly possible that a fire could have been the precipitating event but the rest of the theory about hypoxia and auto pilot cannot withstand scrutiny. We all know something happened at around 1721 UTC. If it was a fire, yes the plane could have diverted for the purpose of attempting to reach an airport. But according to the authorities, the plane continued flying along at cruise speeds and altitude until 0019 UTC, 7 hours later, with numerous change of directions, see Figure 2 in the ATSB report. So if there was a fire, when did hypoxia set in? When was the plane set on auto pilot? Once one starts to examine the theory in detail, minute by minute, the theory breaks down. Then it is back to the backup theory, one of the pilots or both of them did it, took the plane for a joy ride for 7 hours to the middle of nowhere before deciding to commit suicide and in the process kill the other 237 people on board. Something which has never happened before in the history of aviation which I am sure Byron Bailey, supposedly being an ex pilot, would be aware of.

  61. Alex Siew said,

    December 7, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    According to the Inmarsat paper in the Journal of Navigation at page 2 “aircraft R-Channel transmissions are in time slots referenced to the P-Channel as received by the aircraft using the slotted aloha protocols. The BTO is a measure of how long from the start of that time slot the transmission is received”.

    The BTO values recorded in the 47 page data log produced by Inmarsat in late May for R Channel all exceed 10,000 microseconds.

    But according to the Manual for Aeronautical Mobile Satellite (Route) Service at page 15, “ Burst Timing. The beginning of each R Channel burst shall occur within +/- 300 us [microseconds] of the beginning of an R channel slot defined by the received P channel superframe…”.

    The first question is: Why did we have 5 digit BTO values exceeding 10,000 when under the protocol the BTO cannot exceed 300?

    Also according to the manual, “The beginning of each T Channel burst shall occur within =/- 300 us [microseconds] of the beginning of the assigned T channel slot defined by the received P channel superframe..”.

    The second question is: why were the BTO for the T channel transmissions different from the BTO for the R channel transmissions for the same period of time, in the 47 page data log?

    The first question was raised by Skwosh some months ago on Duncan’s blog but to my knowledge was never answered. Perhaps those who consider the BTO data “well-understood”, can come forward with an explanation?

  62. andyhull said,

    December 8, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    “ncidentally, the first call at 18:39 was routed through the GES in the Netherlands, GES code 301 (Burum). Inmarsat has never explained why is it that this call was routed from this GES and not the Perth GES, code 305. MAS operations center was and is in Malaysia, the plane supposedly was around the north or west of Sumatra at such time, so why did the call go through the GES in the Netherlands?”

    The only logical or technical answer to that question that I can think of, is that this was the shortest path. Could this be because the antenna on MH370 at this point was actually pointed at a different satellite from the one we are assuming it was pointed at? I don’t know if this is either likely, or possible, or even how this theory could be tested or refuted, but the question of why the call took this route, could indeed be important.

  63. andyhull said,

    December 8, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    “The CMU will automatically change to SATCOM when VHF becomes unavailable owing to ground saturation or insufficient VHF coverage.”

    Could some of our transmissions therefore have been routed via terrestrial VHF, and others via SATCOM? Might this explain any of our problems understanding some of the transmission times?

  64. Alex Siew said,

    December 8, 2014 at 8:58 pm


    As you may be aware, I am of the view that the high gain antenna system together with the primary/master SDU were knocked out by the catastrophic event at 1721 UTC which event led to a crash soon after 1743 UTC and that the transmissions from 1825 UTC were transmitted by the backup SDU on battery power through the low gain antenna located on top of the upper rear fuselage which had somehow managed to remain afloat after the crash. The low gain antenna was an omnidirectional antenna and therefore the question of antenna pointing would not arise.

    The routing of the 1839 call through the GES in Burum may suggest that at such time the Inmarsat system did not know where the plane was or thought the plane was somewhere closer to that GES than the Perth GES, which in turn would suggest the backup SDU when it logged back on at 1825 UTC, either did not report its location or reported a wrong location, most probably due to the loss of position/location data from the Inertial Reference System feed from the AIMS.

    The transmissions listed in the 47 page data log from Inmarsat released on May 27th were all transmissions from the SATCOM system, as Inmarsat was the SATCOM data link provider. Usually ACARS transmissions would be transmitted via VHF as the first option if VHF is available (presumably because it is cheaper) but it is not known, at least to me, whether in the case of MH370, there were any transmissions via VHF. SITA apparently was the VHF datalink provider for MAS but SITA has not made any statement whether there any transmissions from MH370 via VHF.

    If you read the ACARS report for Swissair Flight 111, the data log produced in that case included both the VHF transmissions (from ARINC the VHF datalink provider for Swissair) and the SATCOM transmissions (from Inmarsat as well). For MH370, there has been zero disclosure regarding any VHF transmissions or even whether the flight had logged on to the VHF system when it first powered up at KL at 1600 UTC.

  65. Alex Siew said,

    December 10, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    A few comments ago, I quoted from Paul Howard about how the professionals have been duped by disinformation and how these professionals are too proud to admit they have been so duped, in this modern day version of “The Emperor Has No Clothes”.

    No one really knows what the five digit BTO in the Inmarsat data log stands for. In previous comments I have challenged the IG, Dr Ulich and Dr Richard Cole to come forward to explain just exactly what this BTO purports to be, but as anyone who has been following my comments would know, none of them have seen fit to take up the challenge.

    As for the BFO, contrary to popular belief, the BFO data do not show the plane heading to the Southern Indian Ocean but merely reflect the movement and velocity of the satellite, firstly at decreasing speeds northwards and from 1936 UTC southwards at increasing speeds, with the data churned out by an SDU which had by then lost the data feed from the IRS . Neither the IG nor Dr Ulich nor Dr Richard Cole despite repeated urgings,have come forward to dispute or explain the observations compiled in the Tale of 2 Halves. Only they themselves would know the reason for their continued silence.

    Clause 6.6 of Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention reads as follows: “Recommendation – The State conducting the investigation should release to Final report in the shortest possible time and , if possible, within twelve months of the date of occurrence. If the report cannot be released within twelve months, the State conducting the investigation should release an interim report on each anniversary of the occurrence, detailing the progress of the investigation and any safety issues raised.”

    So we shall have to wait until March 8, 2015 for an interim report. Chances are that the interim report will be like the Preliminary Report, short in length and on details and the families would be the none the wiser for it .

    Yes, there was a ‘hijacking’ in this case; the collective effort of hundreds of well intentioned people on the various blogs searching for the truth was hijacked by the IG who saw fit to issue statements validating the official narrative and offering to collaborate with the authorities.

  66. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 11, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Re how long before more information is made public, the denial I received in response to my FOIA request to the NTSB said the information didn’t have to be disclosed until two years after the accident. Of course, that may just be a prelude to a subsequent excuse, but I suspect the NTSB has the most complete records of anyone.

    If I were Jeff Wise or David Soucie or anyone else who seems to be writing chapters in a book, I think I’d wait on the release of the actual information.

    Alex, I’m not sure what you mean about the IG hijacking the effort of others to find the truth, but if you are questioning the integrity or good faith of any of the IG scientists, you are 100% wrong from what I have seen and know.

  67. Alex Siew said,

    December 11, 2014 at 11:24 pm


    If I may quote from others:

    “In my view the official science team and the IG are part of the problem, not a part of the solution. They both suffer from what the Bard himself identified four centuries ago – “Love is blind and lovers cannot see.” (Merchant of Venice). In this case they (the geeks) are in love with their model and cannot get past it…” [Dennis on Jeff's blog Dec 5th 11:05AM]

    “The IG scenario cherry picks the available information while choosing to ignore observations (or the lack thereof) that do not fit….” [Dennis on Jeff's blog Dec 5th 9:19PM]

    “The current team became dogmatic and is trying to monopolize all open research. Their blind following of the ATSB is actually helping the coverup…” [Ron Dec 6th 3:13PM]

    [TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack]
    I will just give one example: the point about BITOD. As Richard Godfrey, a member of the IG has acknowledged many times, if the plane was at BITOD, it could not have made it to MEKAR at 18:22 UTC or the first ping ring at 1825/1828 UTC. In other words, if the plane was at BITOD, the official narrative would fall apart. If the plane could not have gotten to the first ping ring, the issue of the plane getting to the subsequent ping rings would not arise.

    According to the List of Actions released as an annexure to the Preliminary Report, Ho Chi Minh City ATC was recorded in the early hours of that morning of March 8th, as saying the plane was last seen at BITOD, not just once, but 3 times. HCMC ATC personnel were the people tracking the plane that night. There is no indication these people were anything but professional air traffic controllers. The professional air traffic controllers tracking the plane in real time said 3 times the plane was last seen at BITOD on their screen. These repeated statements that the plane was last seen at BITOD were recorded as part of the recording of calls between the 2 ATCs. The recording of the calls and the radar track would have been preserved for verification purposes and would have been replayed to compile the List of Actions.

    The evidence from the Vietnamese alone would seem conclusive enough, but we also have corroborating evidence from the Malaysians. In the hours after the plane disappeared, the Malaysians on their part said the plane was last seen on their radar 120 nm from Kota Baru, which works out to be around BITOD. If that is not damning enough (for the official narrative), the Malaysians gave a time for the last sighting, 1730 UTC.

    So what did the IG do about the fact that the plane was last seen at BITOD? They dumped the ‘fact’ into the trash bin. Because it did not fit their theory.

    When the IG published their first statement on June 17th, they said : “A report of the assumptions and approaches used to calculate the estimated location is being prepared and will be published to these web sites in the near future..”.

    It is now December and there is still no sight of these “assumptions”. Even without their publication, we all know one of these assumptions, if not the central assumption, would be that that the ‘last primary radar fix’ at 1822UTC at MEKAR was MH370. This assumption is bogus and the IG has known all along it is bogus.

  68. Alex Siew said,

    December 12, 2014 at 1:27 am

    For those who claim they understand the BFO data, I have a question for them.

    1. At page 3 of the Inmarsat data log, the first 6 signals from 16:00:13 to 16:00:23 have BFO values of 103 or 104. These are R channel signals.

    2. Right after these 6 signals, we have 6 T Channel signals from 16:00:27 to 16:00:28, with BFO of 86 to 88.

    Question: Why did the BFO decrease from 103/104 to 86-88 in a matter of seconds, given the plane was stationary at such time?

    It cannot be a question of different channels because right after these T channel signals, there are 5 R Channel signals from 16:00:32 to 16:01:20, with BFO values of 85 to 87.

    So why did the BFO change from 103/104 to 86-88?

  69. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 12, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Alex, re BITOD, did you see this?


    To me it raises the distinct possibility that Malaysia put BITOD in “Actions Taken” to shift blame for not tracking MH370 to the Vietnamese. And I will further speculate that the Preliminary Report makes no mention of BITOD because such might risk ceding control of the investigation to Vietnam as the country of accident. That might explain why “Actions Taken” was published at the same time as, yet was not part of, the Preliminary Report.

    Re IG, obviously it is fine to disagree with IG, and even ok to go beyond that and ascribe the disagreement to falling in love with one’s own theories. But I at least will not get up on my high horse about that. You and I can both look in the mirror if we want examples of being wrong and being slow to admit it.

    But when I consider the evolution of IG’s contributions, I conclude that as the facts have changed and the analysis has gotten more sophisticated, they have been quick to discard their prior views. E.g., the northern route, and the numerous iterations of their suggested endpoints. So I would say that they are far less guilty of being dogmatic than you, I, the ATSB, and just about every other MH370 commentator.

    I have seen neither an attempt to monopolize nor the power to monopolize, nor do I see how that would even be possible as long as Google and the internet are operating.

    I wish people could in general give the demonizing a rest. If you or I had the expertise the IG scientists have, I suspect we could only aspire to be as selfless, diligent and generous as they have been.

    And I say this believing, as you know, that Bobby’s analysis is more likely to be correct than the IG’s. But that does not make me less appreciative of their efforts and achievements.

  70. Alex Siew said,

    December 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm


    I beg to differ on your description of the IG. But first, the May 7th article u referred to about what a Vietnamese politician said.

    This article has to be read in the proper context. U would note paragraph 2 referring to the accusation by the head of the Malaysian DCA ([TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack]) against the Vietnamese that the Vietnamese had taken 17 minutes to alert the Malaysians about the plane, which supposedly was against the protocol, stated to be 5 minutes.

    I have in previous comments pointed out that this accusation of a gap of 17 minutes is baseless. Azharuddin himself had gone on record to say repeatedly in the first week that the Malaysians tracked the plane until 1.30am (1730 UTC). Please see the various articles I cited and in particular the ones from the Star on the 8th, and the one from WSJ (on March12th from memory) which reported Azharuddin as saying at a press conference that Malaysian ATC used both secondary and primary radar and that the plane was tracked on secondary radar up till 1.21am (1721 UTC) and on primary radar up to 1.30am (1730 UTC).

    According to the List of Actions, Ho Chih Minh City ATC first called their Kl counterparts at 1.38am. This is the first of the 3 calls where HCMC ATC had said the plane was last seen at BITOD. HCMC ATC did not give a time for when they last sighted the plane but as noted above, the Malaysians did, 1.30am. So HCMC ATC had called the Malaysians 7 or 8 minutes, not 17 minutes, after the plane disappeared from the radar screen at BITOD.

    The Vietnamese guy cited in the article was a politician. He was obviously in a ‘cover our ass’ mode, in making those statements attributed to him in that article. Those statements are contradicted by the evidence.

    Firstly on the argument whether the plane had entered Vietnamese airspace. There can be no doubt the plane had entered Vietnamese airspace. The Preliminary Report gave a time for when the plane passed over IGARI, 1:21:04. The Report also gave a time for when the SSR signal ceased which was 9 seconds later at 1:21:13. So just based on the SSR signal alone, we know the plane had gone past IGARI. The airspace past IGARI is Vietnamese airspace. So on secondary radar both ATCs had tracked the plane for 9 seconds in Vietnamese airspace.

    But that is not the end of the story. Both ATCs had continued to track the plane on their respective primary radars for at least 9 more minutes, until 1.30am. The last position reported by the Vietnamese is BITOD, which is 37 nm from IGARI. The last reported position according to the Malaysians is 120 nm from Kota Baru which works out to be around BITOD.

    So the plane was last seen by both ATCs when it was last at or around BITOD, at or around 1.30am.

    According to Article 26 of the Chicago Convention, “the State of in which the accident occurs will institute an inquiry into the circumstances of the accident….. the State in which the aircraft is registered shall be given the opportunity to appoint observers to be present at the inquiry…..”.

    According to Annex 13 of the Convention, “The State of Occurrence shall institute an investigation into the circumstances of the accident and be responsible for the conduct of the investigation, but it may delegate the whole or any part of the conducting of such investigation to another State by mutual arrangement and consent…”. “State of Occurrence” is defined in the Annex as ” The State in the territory of which an accident or incident occurs”.

    So which is the state where “the accident or incident occur[red]“? It has to be Vietnam. The plane disappeared from secondary radar 9 seconds past IGARI, which means in Vietnamese airspace. If that is not enough, the plane disappeared from primary radar ie altogether at BITOD, which is also in Vietnamese airspace. So under the Chicago Convention, Vietnam should be conducting the investigation, not Malaysia.

  71. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 12, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Alex, if the map linked below is correct, IGARI is just inside the Singapore FIR. You may be right that 9 seconds later MH370 was in the Ho Chi Minh FIR, but the Vietnamese say that Annex 13 places responsibility for the investigation of an accident at a border upon the last country in contact with the plane. (I have not checked Annex 13 to see if that’s correct, but it sounds sensible.) I suppose the Malaysian primary radar could also support Malaysian control of the investigation since the radar track goes up the middle of the Kuala Lumpur FIR in the Straits.

    You say that the Vietnamese statements are contradicted by the evidence, but the evidence you cite is the Malaysian statements in “Actions Taken” that I’m questioning.

    The Malaysians say they have recordings–of the Vietnamese saying MH370 was on their radar at or beyond BITOD, and of primary radar showing an aircraft which could only be MH370 crossing the peninsula. Maybe Malaysia is telling the truth and the Vietnamese were mistaken, but MH370 could not have been at BITOD at 17:30 and where the radar puts it at 18:22. Since Malaysia has but has concealed these contradictory records, I say again it is time for them to come clean.


  72. Alex Siew said,

    December 12, 2014 at 8:49 pm


    When did the ‘accident’ or ‘incident’ occur and in which country’s airspace?

    In my previous comment, I have made the case that the country of occurrence was actually Vietnam. But there is a counter-argument, that the country of occurrence was actually Singapore.

    To my knowledge, the airspace before IGARI is actually Singapore airspace but stated to be ‘delegated’ to Malaysia. I am not sure why that is the case as Singapore is much further away compared to Malaysia (or Vietnam) for that particular zone. Singapore was part of Malaysia for a couple of years (1963 to 1965) before it seceded or was kicked out, so perhaps the issue of airspace was not fully settled during the secession, leaving Singapore as the ‘owner’ (which would be to the advantage of the British and Americans given the ties between Singapore and these 2 powers). Perhaps someone who knows the facts on the question of the ownership of the airspace before IGARI can comment.

    One critical question which has hardly been discussed at all is when was the first sign something was not quite right with the flight. In many of my previous comments I had made the general statement that a catastrophic event happened at IGARI. But in actual fact if we examine the matter in closer detail, the catastrophic event appeared to have begun unfolding even before the plane reached IGARI.

    The first sign of abnormality is a reading from the ADS-B at 17:20:35 reporting an altitude of 0. This abnormality of zero altitude was repeated in a subsequent reading at 17:21:03. From the Preliminary Report, the plane passed over IGARI one second later, at 1:21:04.

    Even putting aside the two abnormal ADS-B readings, it would make sense that whatever happened, it was triggered before the plane reached IGARI. The pilots spoke with KL ATC at 1:19:24. They were asked to report to HCMC ATC for the handover. Logically, the pilots would radio to HCMC ATC prior to entering Vietnamese airspace ie before reaching IGARI. The pilots never made radio contact with HCMC ATC. Something must have happened after they spoke with KL ATC at 1:19:24. The first of the two abnormal ADS-B readings at 17:20:35 indicates that that something happened before 17:20:35 which was about 30 seconds before the plane reached IGARI.

    The abnormal altitude readings beginning at 17:20:35 would have triggered ACARS fault messages from the Engine Health Monitoring system (from Rolls Royce). According to the Preliminary Report, the SSR signal ceased at 1:21:13. According to reports from the Associated Press on March 13th and 14th, ACARS messages continued to be transmitted for a short period after the SSR signal ceased.

    The foregoing sequence of events indicates that the catastrophic event may have taken several seconds to fully unfold. But it is clear that by 17:21 or 17:22, the plane had lost all power. The plane took 9 minutes to reach BITOD at 1730 UTC where it disappeared from primary radar. That works out to a speed of around 240 knots and a drop rate of around 1500 feet per minute, which is the speed and drop rate of a Boeing 777 gliding unpowered.

  73. Alex Siew said,

    December 12, 2014 at 8:51 pm


    I had not seen your reply when I posted my previous comment. I will reply to your reply later today, time permitting.

  74. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 13, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Alex (or anyone), what’s the source for the ADS-B 0 altitude readings? I don’t recall having heard of that.

  75. Alex Siew said,

    December 13, 2014 at 6:41 pm


    From memory, the playback from FlightRadar24 had the last 2 readings before the plane went off the screen, showing an altitude of zero. I do not know if the playback is still available online. These abnormal readings were discussed by, among others, certain people on the FlughtRadar24 MH370 blog some months ago. As an example see the comment of one “BBQman” on May 6th, 21.22.

  76. Alex Siew said,

    December 14, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Today on Jeff’s blog, Don posted a comment which concluded as follows: ” It’s frustrating that the full context of the presentation in the Beijing Lido Hotel has never been explained but I believe that this data can be relied upon. The speed and times shown are consistent with continued flight from the turn back over Sth China Sea.”

    Don had previously commented on this purported track before, on both this blog and on Duncan’s blog:

    Duncan’s blog on April 29 at 10:35:

    “I’ve composited UAE343″s track onot my previous overlay of the RMAF-MoTM radar trace that alleges to show MH370 flying out past Sabang/N. Sumatra. That shows UAE343 at the position RMAF-MoTM stated MH370 had reached at 18:22 UTC. I’ve checked the flightradar24 report a number of times to verify, the area coverage for UAE343 is accessible at this URL…..”.

    On this blog on April 28 at 3:14pm:

    “This possibly does refute the RMAF.TUDM MoTM released radar data. I took the pretty picture that was shown to the MH370 relatives at Beijing purporting that a fuzzy green element in the image was the radar return from MH370. i scaled and sheared that image to fit a snapshot of waypoints, path and coastline at Skyvector, then I took the FR24 log of UAE343 and composited that with the other two images. I maintained some transparency to confirm the alignment. That final composite was imported as an overlay to Google earth. See http……. Mh370 and UAE 343 could not have been in the same place at the same time. The excursion around Sumatra has never been credible to me. A diversion to the south from just beyond IGARI is much more credible, with the intent to intercept an approach vector to Terrenganu that was never completed and hence a continued path south/west of south. There have been so many inconsistencies in the MoTM’s presentation since 8th March (aside from media stories about cellphones etc) , I dread to think what they’ve presented to ICAO as a first interim report……”.

    It would appear Don had a different view on this purported radar trace.

    In previous comments, I have pointed out that MH370 was still being tracked on primary radar by both Ho Chi Minh City ATC and KL ATC on their respective primary radars up until 1730 UTC to BITOD. IGARI to BITOD was part of MH370′s route to Beijing. As everyone should know by now given Richard’s repeated comments on this point, if MH370 was still traveling on a north east direction at 1730 UTC, the plane could not have made it to MEKAR at 1822 UTC even if it had turned back after 1730 UTC and flown at maximum speed to MEKAR via Penang.

    The evidence that the ATCs were still tracking the plane up to 1730 UTC (to BITOD) is corroborated by a paper by Don himself setting out the sequence of events concerning MH370 called “Evidence Evaluation Matrix: MH370″, dated May 29th. At page 14 under the time period of 17:30-17:34 UTC, it is stated ” Malaysian ATC recognised it had lost contact with 9M-MRO….” .

  77. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 14, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Alex, I’m less interested in what the commentators once said than in what they now say, and less interested in what they now say than in the reasons they say it and the facts that support it.

    (Even so, the “corroboration” you find in Don’s paper is not apparent to me. It looks to me as though Don did not regard the “Actions Taken” narrative re BITOD to be credible because he didn’t include it in the table you reference.)

    FWIW, I’m convinced that whatever radar track is depicted in the Lido Hotel projection, it is not UAE343. I’ve linked below a thread including an overlay Simon Gunson prepared, and I think someone independently produced a similar image. When I looked at the now extinct FR24 playback, it appeared to me that UAE343 was about 20nm from MH370 at 18:22.


  78. Alex Siew said,

    December 14, 2014 at 5:41 pm


    Re the point about corroboration and BITOD, Don did include all the ‘actions taken’ in the table he prepared, see the rest of the table from page 15 onwards.

    As you know, I have in countless previous comments cited the articles quoting the head of the Malaysian DCA as saying that MH370 was last seen on the DCA radar at 1730 UTC. A couple of months ago when I last checked, there were still videos online showing what this guy had said on this matter. Don’s table and in particular its reference to the same time of 1730 UTC as the time Malaysian ATC lost track of the plane, corroborates the DCA head’s statements.

    The importance of this point, that MH370 was still flying on a north east direction, heading from IGARI to BITOD, until 1730 UTC, cannot be overstated.

    Firstly, it shows the plane was gliding unpowered in those 9 minutes.

    Secondly, if the plane was still flying in a north east direction up till 1730 UTC (whether reaching BITOD or not), the plane could not have made it to (a) MEKAR at 1822 UTC, or (b) the first ping ring at 1825 UTC.

    At least 2 countries have a recording of MH370 gliding from 1721 to 1730 UTC, Vietnam and Malaysia. If the investigation is in the hands of bona fide investigators, this would be the very first thing they will look at, the radar track of the plane before it disappeared. This track, alone, disproves the Inmarsat/official narrative, since for the narrative to hold or make sense, the plane had to reach the first ping ring by 1825 UTC.

    On the point about people flip flopping, yes, people can and should change their position if there are grounds to do so for example new information coming to light that shows the previous position is not correct etc. But what has changed between April 27/28th when Don made those comments on this blog and on Duncan’s blog, and his recent comment on Jeff’s blog? What new information has come to light that persuaded Don to change his mind? It is almost funny how people criticize just about everything else Malaysia has done or said in this sorry saga (and justifiably so) but on this pathetic attempt by the Malaysians to come up with some picture of a radar track to pacify the families during that presentation at Beijing, the very same people simply choose to close their eyes and ears to all the things pointing to the fact that this radar trace is not MH370.

    On the point about UAE343 not being in the exact same location as the radar trace contrary to Don’s earlier findings, that may be so but that does not make the radar trace any more likely to be MH370.

  79. Alex Siew said,

    December 14, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    So first there was this article by Byron Bailey in a little known Australian newspaper Daily Telegraph or something, now we see another article from another little known Australian paper, the Western Australian claiming, based on unnamed “British sources”, that Inmarsat had told the Malaysians about their findings that the plane was at the South Indian Ocean, within 24 hours of the plane’s disappearance.

    Could it be the unnamed “British sources” are none other than Inmarsat themselves? Could be be that Inmarsat have been reading my comments questioning as to why they took until March 13th Malaysian time, to inform the Malaysians of their “findings” which is 5 days after the Malaysians announced the plane’s disappearance on March 7th, 11:24pm British time?

    This latest article is just pure crap. First of all, according to Inmarsat themselves, they had not ruled out the northern corridor and was only able to definitively say the plane went south on March 21st. So how was it possible for Inmarsat to have told the Malaysians on March 9th, the plane was in the SIO? So strike one.

    Secondly, also according to Inmarsat, they had not even detected the pings then. The Malaysians announced the plane’s disappearance on Friday 11:24 pm March 7th, London time. 24 hours after that is 11.24 pm Saturday night. But according to Inmarsat they only found the pings on Sunday. Strike two.

    Thirdly, these unnamed British sources seem to have forgotten Chris McLaughlin went on a media blitz, on Fox TV, CNN, BBC etc in March and gave a timeline as to when the information on the ping analysis was conveyed to various authorities. WSJ in an article on March 20th reported in detail on this timeline. According to this timeline, the Malaysians were only told in the second half of March 12th, UK time which translated to morning of March 13th Malaysian time. So strike three.

    The same WSJ article also reported that the Americans had helped Inmarsat analyze the data and translate the data into maps, so clearly the Americans were in the know from the very start. There was nothing to stop the Americans from looking at the SIO right from the outset and all indications are that the Americans trained their satellites on the SIO from the very beginning, but not to look for MH370 but to look for other debris that they can tell the rest of the world might have been from MH370 as the proverbial red herring. From memory, the satellite pictures published by the Australians a couple of days after the search at the South China Sea was called off (March 15th) were sourced from the Americans. The very pictures which the Right Honourable Australian Prime Minister used as the basis for announcing in Parliament to the effect that they may have found MH370.

    Something tells me we can expect to see a lot more of these articles from now to when they call off the search.

  80. Alex Siew said,

    December 14, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    There appears to be a coordinated attempt by some people on Jeff’s blog to pin the blame SOLELY on the Malaysians for the non disclosure of the redacted parts of the data log. May I remind these people of the following:

    1. Mark Dickinson of Inmarsat with another guy also from Inmarsat sitting next to him David Folley at that ‘seminar’ on October 7th, said to the effect the data log released in late May 27th did not exclude any lines. In other words, according to Inmarsat, all the lines in the data log are all the lines there is.

    2. Paul Sladen attended that ‘seminar’. Mark Dickinson did not dispute Paul when Paul said to the effect during question time that some columns were missing from the data log released to the public, but replied by asking Paul to the effect whether Paul had found anything incriminating in the missed columns (some of which Paul had managed to retrieve from the screen shots of the full data log Mark Dickinson had with him during a TV interview with Richard Quest of CNN). Mark Dickinson did not at any time say anything about the columns having been redacted by the Malaysians.

    3. The data are sourced from Inmarsat. In other words, Inmarsat is the first entity to have this data. This data are collected from their ground stations and systems and the data logs are printed and prepared by Inmarsat.

    4. Since Inmarsat is on record and on camera as having said to the effect that no lines are missing from the data log, the Malaysians who would be getting the data or logs from Inmarsat, cannot possibly be the ones redacting the logs. If A gives to B a log containing 10 lines and says that that’s all there is to it, B can only release the log in the form given by A, ie containing only the 10 lines.

    5. We all know some lines are missing including (a) the lines relating to the first log on at 16:00 UTC, (b) the lines around 1721 UTC and (c) the last 2 interrogations from the satellite at 0115/6 UTC and the log off declaration (pursuant to the protocol, the satellite has to interrogate the AES fives times before declaring the AES logged off- the data log only shows 3 interrogations at 0115/6 UTC).

    [TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack]

    9. So to those people who are apparently outraged by the Malaysians, perhaps they can also direct some of that rage against Inmarsat?

  81. Alex Siew said,

    December 14, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    A message to nihonmama.


    Please do not get discouraged by those experts on Jeff’s blog. They are in love with the Inmarsat “data”, I think Dr Ulich said it best when he referred to them as the “BFO lovers”. These BFO lovers actually consider the October 7th lie-fest as their ‘Woodstock’.

    [TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack]

    One of these experts even said that Malaysia has yet to release anything that is not “withheld”, “redacted” or “false” as compared to Inmarsat whose integrity he finds unimpeachable. But this same person apparently also believes in that infamous radar trace at MEKAR at 1822 UTC provided by, yes, the Malaysians. He also apparently believes in the statements by Hishamuddin Hussein, the Malaysian minister, in May after the release of the Preliminary Report, that the plane had crossed back over Malaysia. So there must be a qualification- all information that has been released by the Malaysians is either ‘withheld’, ‘redacted’ or ‘false’ except if it fits the model showing the plane flying to the SIO in which case the information must be true.

  82. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Alex, thanks for the correction re Don’s table. My point though was that Don’s table does show that he thought MH370 went to BITOD. He cites “Actions Taken” apparently for the supposition that HCM said it went to BITOD. In view of the Vietnamese denial, I’d like to hear the recordings, and would not rely upon a statement by the head of the Malaysian DCA as proof.

  83. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 15, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    In his table, Don comments re the “Actions Taken” account of HCM saying that the radar blip disappeared at BITOD, “Was this a confirmed SSR sighting of MH370 by Vietnam ATCC (can Vietnam ATCC confirm contact in Con Son ADS-B logs)?

    A timely question then and now, it seems to me.

  84. Alex Siew said,

    December 15, 2014 at 6:13 pm


    It could not have been an SSR signal for the following reasons:

    1. The SSR radar transponder on MH370 ceased at 17:21:13 according to the Preliminary Report.

    2. The ADS-B signals also ceased at around the same time, the last reading from FR24 if I recall was at 17:21:03.

    3. The phrase ‘radar blip’ has a technical meaning, it means an unidentified blip on the screen derived solely from primary radar (ie without the identification from secondary radar).

    4. The foregoing is consistent with the statements by the person heading the search in the first week, the head of the Malaysian DCA Azharuddin, that the plane was tracked on secondary radar until 1721 and on primary radar until 1730.

    5. The 3rd man in the trio Ahmad Jauhari the MAS CEO (besides Azharuddin and Hishamuddin) said in the morning of March 8th in a press conference that the plane was last tracked on radar about 120 nm from Kota Baru, which works out to be around BITOD. IGARI is only about 80+ nm from Kota Baru.

    6. So any which way one looks at it, the plane had continued on a north east direction from IGARI to BITOD for several minutes after the SSR and ADS-B signals ceased.

    7. Primary radar does not require any signal from the plane unlike SSR or ADS-B and the plane continued to be tracked on primary radar from both ends, until BITOD according to the Vietnamese and until 120 nm from Kota Baru according to the Malaysians who also gave a time of the last sighting on primary radar, 1730 UTC.

    Jeff, in an article on this blog in early October had given a timeline. The original version of the timeline included a diversion at 1725 UTC. A revised version of the article, revised with input from Don, took out the purported diversion at 1725 UTC. Neither versions referred to BITOD whether at 1730 UTC or some other time. Neither versions referred to the emergency radio contact between MH88 and MH370 also at 1730 UTC, which contact was confirmed by the authorities in the 6th Media Statement issued by MAS/DCA on the official MH370 web site. [TMF edit: removed ad hominem attack]

    If anyone is of the view that the emergency radio contact at 1730 UTC is just a rumour or is in any way unsubstantiated, he or she can come over to this blog and state her or his reasons for such view. I would be more than happy to provide a rebuttal.

  85. Alex Siew said,

    December 15, 2014 at 6:31 pm


    The reason there is no reference to BITOD in the main text of the Preliminary Report is because BITOD would expose the official narrative as a fraud. If the plane was at BITOD at around 1730 UTC, it could not have diverted at 1725 UTC as per the official narrative. If the plane was at BITOD, it could not have made it to MEKAR at 1822 UTC or the first ping ring at 1825 UTC. If the plane could not have made it to the first ping ring at 1825 UTC, the whole Inmarsat theory gets tossed.

    So after March 15th, when the Americans prevailed on the Malaysians to announce the 2 corridors and to call off the search at the South China Sea, BITOD was never mentioned again. The emergency radio contact with MH88 was never mentioned again. The report from China Times about an SOS call from MH370 at 1743 UTC was likewise never mentioned again. Anything and all things which would expose the official narrative as a massive fraud, have been and will continue to be suppressed. Those who refuse to submit to the official narrative will be vilified and efforts will be made to silence them, including banning them from blogs.

  86. Alex Siew said,

    December 15, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    An excerpt from a paper presented by Inmarsat (Peter Wood) at the International Mobile satellite Conference at Ottawa, 1990 entitled ” Future developments in aeronautical satellite communications”:

    “…The third stage in the evolution of satellite support for aeronautical communications will be the launch of spot beam satellites. Currently AMSC in the United States, M-Sat in Canada, and Inmarsat are planning to launch spot beam satellites. The first two will provide regional coverage; Inmarsat plans to provide global coverage through its Inmarsat-III spacecraft. The first Inmarsat-III spacecraft is expected to enter service late 1994 or early 1995. Two important operational enhancements will result from the introduction of spot beam satellites. The first is an increase in the number of channels that can be supported by a single aircraft installation that complies with industry standards. The second is the possibility of supporting voice services through a low-gain omnidirectional antenna. Although Inmarsat does not see this as being the primary method of operation (if for no other reason than the increased interference to global beam satellites that would result), nevertheless this would be a method of maintaining a minimum of level of voice service for emergency use in the event that the high gain steerable antenna failed for some reason…”

  87. timfarrar said,

    December 15, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    I have now gone through this thread and attempted to remove all ad hominem attacks. If these personal attacks continue I will lock this thread and ask you to continue your discussions elsewhere on a different website.

  88. Alex Siew said,

    December 15, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    There is nothing personal in my criticism of the IG or Inmarsat. If the IG or Inmarsat are of the view that my comments are off base or that they have been unfairly maligned, they are at liberty to rebut my comments or otherwise defend their actions.

    Having said that, I have no wish of putting a host in an awkward position, especially one who has given me a forum for my comments for the past 9 months and so will humbly refrain from posting any further comments not in accordance with the standards of the host.

  89. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 16, 2014 at 9:14 am

    1.Typo correction: Don’s table does NOT show that he thought MH370 went to BITOD.

    2. Awhile back Alex and I were discussing whether Malaysian civilian ATC would have access to Malaysian primary radar returns. The linked article suggests that such an arrangement would be uncommon. (“Military air defence systems commonly receive the civil radar data from their country’s ATM system. Civil ATM systems do not generally receive classified military surveillance data . . . .”) Alex’s explanation of the meaning of “blip” sounds sensible, but do we know that Vietnam civilian ATC had access to Vietnam primary radar returns in real time?

    3. The linked article also says that Vietnam shares ADS-B data with Singapore. (“Vietnam has a small number of ADS-B ground stations and is sharing data with Singapore.”) I wonder if that sheds any light upon whether Singapore has in fact delegated responsibility for the FIR that includes IGARI to Malaysia, as some things I’ve read suggest. (I understand Alex’s point about the transponder being down at 17:21, but is it too much to ask for Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand just to upchuck whatever radar recordings of MH370 they have?)


    4. Alex, I have a possible contribution to your remarkable database of MH370 reporting and commentary. This article caught my eye with the following:

    “Malaysian authorities have said previously that Flight MH370 disappeared about an hour after it took off early Saturday from Kuala Lumpur bound for the Chinese capital, Beijing.

    But a senior military officer who has been briefed on investigations told Reuters the aircraft had made a detour to the west after communications with civilian authorities ended.

    “It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” the officer said.”

    The article goes on:

    “But a spokesman for the Malaysian prime minister’s office said in an interview with the New York Times that senior military officials told him there was no evidence the plane recrossed the Malaysian peninsula, only that it may have tried to turn back.”


    This may be all garbled journalistic hearsay nonsense, but I like to think of it as possible corroboration for my idea that there was no Malaysian primary radar coverage.

    Speaking of things we like to think, Alex, lighten up! You are all ready to rebut something unseen that might be convincing.

  90. Alex Siew said,

    December 16, 2014 at 8:50 pm


    You seem to have a sixth sense about things and yes, when I posted the last few comments I was ready to rebut something which I knew was coming, and that is a tweet or tweets on the matter of the emergency radio contact at 1730 UTC.

    Sure enough last night (my time) a tweet duly appeared and it reads as follows:

    “One of this event’s worst hoaxes is the internet rumor that MH88 or JAL 750 contacted 9M MRO at 1730 UTC on 3/8. IT NEVER HAPPENED.”

    Fresh from a rebuke from our host, I will not name names. Suffice to say I have the utmost of respect for the author of the tweet but am greatly saddened to see that she has allowed herself to be the mouthpiece of others on this occasion. The irony is that when I first researched this matter of the emergency contact many months ago, she was the one who assisted me and gave me the full details on MH88.

    The emergency radio contact with MH88 is not an “internet rumour”. It was reported by leading newspapers on March 9th, including in Malaysia by its leading newspaper The New Straits Times (Sunday version) and in Singapore by its leading newspaper The Straits Times. Although MH88 was not expressly identified in the reports, it could not have been any clearer the pilot was from MH88 – he said he was flying 30 minutes ahead of MH370 bound for Narita. MH88 took off from KLIA about 30 minutes ahead of MH370, bound for Narita. The pilot said he was requested by Vietnamese ATC to contact MH370 and that he managed to do so at just after 1:30 AM (1730 UTC):

    “We managed to establish contact with MH370 just after 1.30am and asked them if they have transferred into Vietnamese airspace. The voice on the other side could have been either Captain Zaharie (Ahmad Shah, 53) or Fariq ( Abdul Hamid, 27) but I was sure it was the co pilot. There were a lot of interference… static… but I heard mumbling from the other end. That was the last time we heard from them, as we lost the connection.”

    This emergency radio contact was confirmed by the authorities in their 6th Media Statement posted on the official MAS/DCA website at just after 2.00am March 9th where it is stated that it had been more than 24 hours since they last heard from the plane “at 1.30am”.

    Even without the official confirmation, there is no reason to doubt the pilot who said he managed to establish such contact. Why would a person make up a story like that? He obviously was a colleague of the MH370 pilots and must have known both of them personally for him to be able to say the mumbling voice could be from either pilot but he thought it was from the co pilot.

    No one has come forward to dispute that MH88 attempted to contact MH370. Even New York Times reported that MH88 had attempted to contact MH370. Only one person, to my knowledge, has disputed that MH88 actually managed to make contact, someone on PPRUNE ( someone with the nick Luke Skytoddler or something like that). This person said he was a pilot who was also in the air at that time and confirmed that he heard MH88 trying to contact MH370 on the emergency radio but he said he did not hear MH370 actually managing to make contact.

    So do we disbelieve the pilot of MH88 just because someone on PPRUNE said he himself did not hear of the contact that was made?

    And how does all of the above qualify as “one of this event’s worst hoaxes” or an “internet rumour”?

    Just like the point about BITOD, this emergency contact at 1730 UTC is inconsistent with the official narrative of a diversion at 1725 UTC and insinuations of foul play involving the pilots. So just like BITOD, the fact that there was radio contact with MH370 at 1730 UTC, has to be suppressed. And thus the reason for the tweet.

  91. Alex Siew said,

    December 17, 2014 at 12:47 am


    Regarding that phone interview with the New York Times reported in New York Times on March 11th, below is an excerpt:

    “….On Tuesday… the country’s air force chief… was quoted in a Malaysian newspaper as saying military received signals on Saturday that after the aircraft stopped communicating with ground controllers, it turned from heading northeast to heading west, lowered its altitude and flew hundreds of miles across Peninsular Malaysia and out over the Strait of Malacca before the tracking went blank….. According to the general’s account, the aircraft was near Pulau Perak, an island more than 100 miles off the western shore of the Malaysian peninsula, when the last sign of it was recorded at 2.40am Saturday…… As anger and confusion mounted, general Rodzali issued a statement late Tuesday denying some details of the newspaper account…. Adding to the confusion, Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad, spokesman for the prime minister’s office, said in a telephone interview that he had checked with senior military officials, who told him there was no evidence that the plane had recrossed the Malaysian peninsula, only that it may have attempted to turn back….. ‘As far as they know, except for the air turn-back, there is no new development, ‘ Mr Tengku Sariffuddin, adding that the reported remarks by the air force chief were ‘not true’. …..”


  92. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 17, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Alex, I saw the comment to which you refer, but didn’t and don’t understand its implications, e.g., I don’t understand why contact at 1730 would have a major impact on the likelihood of foul play or a diversion at 1725.

    Also, what do you make of the MH88 pilot’s reported comment:

    “If the plane was in trouble, we would have heard the pilot making the Mayday distress call. But I am sure that, like me, no one else up there heard it.”

    If the plane had been disabled by a lightning strike and was 7-9 minutes in to an unpowered glide, wouldn’t you expect MH88 to pick up a distress call?

    And isn’t whether or not such a contact really took place additional undisclosed information within Malaysia’s control?


  93. Alex Siew said,

    December 18, 2014 at 5:48 am


    The emergency contact at 1730 UTC would tend to disprove 2 major group of theories (a) foul play by the pilots, and (b) foul play by others eg a hijacking.

    In the case of (a), why would the pilots answer an emergency call on the radio at 1730 UTC, if by 1725 UTC the pilots had already switched off all communications and diverted the plane back towards peninsular Malaysia for undefined reasons, according to one version of the official narrative?

    In the case of (b), why would the hijackers allow the pilots to answer an emergency call at 1730 UTC, if the hijackers were already in command of the plane having had all communication systems switched off and the plane diverting back to Malaysia by 1725 UTC, according to another version of the official narrative?

    The emergency contact at 1730 UTC can be consistent with a prior diversion or turn back prompted by an emergency on board eg a fire, with the pilots looking to land the plane on an emergency basis, but that would beg the obvious question as to why the plane did not in fact so land at any of the airports in Malaysia or for that matter anywhere else. The closest airport in Malaysia would have been the one at Kota Baru, Kelantan or the one in Terengganu but according to Figure 2 of the ATSB Report, the plane was heading to the direction of Penang instead on the other side of the coast, so it does not make sense.

    If one makes the argument about hypoxia, when did hypoxia set in? After the alleged diversion at 1725 UTC? If that is the case, then how come the plane can supposedly change direction over Penang and then later make another supposed turn exceeding 90 degrees to the South Indian Ocean as well change speeds during this supposed 7 hour flight? So once again it does not make sense.

    As to why the MH88 pilot did not hear a Mayday call during that call at 1730 UTC, well first of all, we do not know what the MH370 pilots had actually said during that call as the MH88 pilot only reported he heard mumblings, in other words he could not make out what the MH370 pilots were saying.

    Secondly, there is this often quoted principle :”aviate, navigate, communicate”, so the MH370 pilots could have been focused on the aviate and navigate part of it at such time, especially if the plane by then had lost all power.

    Thirdly, if the plane had been hit by a powerful lightning strike, other than an electrical failure, all radio equipment would have been electromagnetised for a period of time as the static and interference heard by the MH88 pilot would tend to indicate, so it could have been the MH370 pilots did try to radio a Mayday call but did not manage to get one through (until much later) amidst the static and interference.

    Fourthly, the pilots did eventually make a Mayday call as picked up by the 7th Fleet at 2.43 am 7th Fleet time which works out to be 1743 UTC, as reported by China Times, citing the US Embassy in Beijing as the source. As has been pointed out many times before, the Americans never denied this report and China Times never retracted this report.

    At the Boeing 777 unpowered gliding speed of around 240 knots and drop rate of around 1500 ft per minute, from 35000 ft at IGARI at 1721 UTC MH370 would have hit sea level at around 1744 UTC, thus at 1743 UTC the plane would have been only around 2000 or so feet above sea level, so it would not be suprising, especially if the call quality was bad, that the call was not picked by any plane or ATC but was picked up a military ship with state of the art radar and radio equipment and within range. USS Pinckney of the 7th Fleet ticks all the boxes, it was in the region and it had state of the art radar and radio equipment. Coincidentally or not, the 7th Fleet had USS Pinckney rushing to where the 7th Fleet thought the plane had crashed, “just off the coast of Vietnam”, even before the SDU on MH370 ceased transmitting.

    Yes, given the official confirmation by the Malaysian authorities the next day of the emergency radio contact, one would expect the Malaysians to have the recording of the call. Yours truly did write to the Malaysian media back in March asking that journalists press the point that the recording should be preserved and analysed but more likely than not, this recording will never be produced, just like the radar track of MH370 gliding from IGARI to BITOD from 1721 to 1730 UTC or the 7th Fleet recording of the 1743 UTC Mayday call from MH370.

  94. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 18, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Thanks, Alex. What do we “know” about the status of MH370′s communications equipment between 1720 and 1730? Off the top of my head, I can’t recall anything except that the transponder stopped functioning about 17:21. I.e., we don’t know the status of SATCOM, VHF etc., do we?

    FWIW, my hypoxia theory is that for the cabin crew, it set in around 18:25 after the 1 hour cockpit oxygen supply was exhausted, which led to final desperate efforts to repower systems which had be shut down to cut current to a suspected electrical fire of unknown origin, and final inputs were entered into the autopilot system to fly over one last airport and/or end the flight somewhere no one else besides the passengers could be harmed.

  95. Alex Siew said,

    December 18, 2014 at 6:27 pm


    Many things have been suppressed including:

    1. The VHF (and HF) logs. No disclosure whatsoever from the VHF datalink provider which I understand was SITA.

    2. The ACARS data. Both Boeing and Rolls Royce even refused to answer the question as to the time of the last ACARS message from MH370.

    3. 19 out of the 28 columns and several lines of SATCOM transmissions. The undisclosed columns include such critical data like ‘SU Contents’, Rx Power (dBm), C/No (noise), Estimated BER (Bit Error Rate), etc. Missing lines include the log on at 1600 UTC, the EHM ACARS transmissions at around 1721 UTC and the log off. So basically, no head, no middle and no tail.

    4. ELT data.

    5. The radar recordings of HCMC ATC and KL ATC of MH370 before the plane disappeared at BITOD.

    6. Recordings of post 1721 UTC radio communications from MH370.

    My own view, based on the evidence, is that MH370 suffered an electrical failure at around 1721 UTC, so anything whether communication systems or other systems that did not have internal or dedicated back up battery power would have ceased at around 1721 UTC. Emergency radio I believe has battery back up and as we all know by now, the SDU or SDUs had an internal battery. Page 33 of the ATSB Report:

    “….This power switching [between the busses] is brief and the SDU was designed to ‘hold-up’ during such power interruptions…”

    It is obvious from the above line in the ATSB Report, the SDU/s on MH370 had a secondary source of power, whether from the internal battery or otherwise. Could this secondary source of power be the thing that Tim Clark was alluding to in his comments about ‘weak signals’ and the system still being ‘powered up’ even though ‘disabled’?

    On a separate topic, would you have a link to the FR24 playback of MH370? I distinctly recall only the last or last 2 altitude readings on the playback showed zero.

  96. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 19, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Alex, I don’t have a link. My understanding is that FR24 discontinued that link as well as the link showing all the ADS-B traffic in the vicinity that night.

    On Jeff’s blog Lucy posted this link, which has a table including the 0 altitude readings accompanied by some interesting observations in the comments.


  97. Alex Siew said,

    December 19, 2014 at 1:40 am


    I have taken a quick look at the FR24 MH370 forum on this matter. One of the participants in that forum was Mikael Robertson who worked for FR24, posting under the nick ‘Mike’.

    1. DimK -March 9th at 7:42: ” Mike, are you able to provide more precise data for the last minute before the loss of signal? The replayed data is too rough – there is just one reading of 0 ft altitude after 35,000 ft. And only one reading of heading 40 after heading 25. As far as I know the signal is received once a second. How many seconds were you getting 0 ft reading after 35,000ft and were there any other headings between 25 and 40….”

    2. Mike- March 9th 8:19 :” We normally save data once per minute on cruising altitude. Now we have checked all databases and logs and have managed to reproduce some extra data that was not available first, so we have more or less 2 points per minute for the last minutes. I don’t think we will be able to get more data than this…”.

    Mike also attached a dropbox to the above comment showing the last 2 readings at 17:20:35 and 17:21:03 with altitude of 35,000 ft.

    3. speedbird 1960 March 9th 8:29: ” The position ties in with debris field reported, Mike was there any more data at zero altitude..”

    4. Mike March 9th 8:52: ” There are some 0 yes, but I don’t want to speculate where they came from. It could just be bad signal”.

    Looking at the exchanges above, the post by BBQman on FR24 forum on May 6th, 21:22, the post on Reddit you referred to and the FR24 playback, we can conclude that the last 2 readings at 17:20:35 and 17:21:03 had altitude at 0 ft.

    Regarding Mike’s argument on Jeff’s blog (Dec 18th 11:23) that there were other times when the altitude readings also came up zero, that argument is false:

    5. The table attached to Mike’s comment did NOT show any altitude readings of zero but only that some entries did not have any readings for lon lat and altitude, in other words for certain entries in that table, for these 3 categories of data, there are blank spaces.

    6. However, at least for the last few minutes, other sources including from Mike from the FR24 forum had data for all 3 spaces ie for lon lat and altitude, for THOSE VERY SAME ENTRIES.

    7. So those entries in Mike’s table are merely missing data including data on altitude.

    In summary, for some unexplained reason, the last 2 readings of the ADS-B data had an abnormal value of 0 ft for altitude. I would contend that this is a sign of the unfolding process of systemic failure triggered by the precipitating event, which culminated in a total electrical failure.

  98. Alex Siew said,

    December 19, 2014 at 1:56 am

    I would be grateful if someone can bring to the attention of Mike, my previous comment. The abnormal ADS-B readings may have far reaching implications and could well be the strongest indication yet of mechanical/electrical failure rather than intentional human intervention, being the cause of the plane’s disappearance/demise.

  99. Alex Siew said,

    December 21, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    I see people posting comments on Jeff’s blog defending the BTO and BFO data.

    Perhaps these people can explain just exactly what the 5 digit BTO in the Inmarsat data log really represents? According to protocol, the burst timing offset for both the R channel and the T channel is not supposed to exceed 300 microseconds. The BTO values in the Inmarsat data log for the R channel, used to calculate the infamous arcs or ping rings, exceed 10,000 microseconds.

    So how can we have a burst timing offset or BTO that exceed 10,000 when according to protocol, it cannot exceed 300.

    Even putting aside the protocol, no satellite communication system can function with a burst timing offset of the magnitude shown in the Inmarsat data log.

    The truth is no one really knows what the 5 digit “BTO” in the Inmarsat data log is supposed to represent. Those who proclaim otherwise are no different than those wise men who fell over themselves praising the clothes of an emperor who was stark naked.

  100. Alex Siew said,

    December 21, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Excerpt from the manual For Aeronautical Mobile Satellite (route) Service:

    ” Burst timing. The beginning of each R channel burst shall occur within +/- 300 us [microseconds] of the beginning of an R channel slot defined by the received P channel superframe…”.

    Excerpt from the Inmarsat paper published in the Journal of Navigation called ” The Search For MH370″:

    “..For system efficiency and for the satellite communication to remain reliable, aircraft R-channel transmissions are in time slots referenced to the P channel as received by the aircraft using the slotted Aloha protocol. The BTO is a measure of how long from the start of that time slot the transmission is received…….”.

  101. Alex Siew said,

    December 23, 2014 at 12:14 am


    The following excerpt is not a description of the Inmarsat system but is useful for an understanding of the basic principles underlying a TDMA satellite communication system:

    “Burst timing. The time of arrival of each burst at the satellite is critical and to get this right each site is told when to transmit. This instruction is based on the burst time plan start time value plus also a time delay based on the range of the VSAT site to the satellite. The range is initially calculated based on the latitude and longitude of the earth station and the orbital position of the satellite. The amount of time to allow for, due to range, is calculated using the speed of light, which is 300m per microsecond. For a new site to be introduced into the burst time plan, a slot is prepared for it by the hub staff. Using the site lat and long, an approximate timing value is estimated. When the site is activated the burst should appear in the correct place. Fine burst timing adjustment may then be possible to fit the burst exactly without wasting too much space in the guard times either side. Time wasted in the guard times is effectively capacity lost….. VSAT terminals further away from the satellite….. need to transmit earlier than [a site] which is already nearer the satellite. This is an explanation why you need to tell the VSAT hub what is your latitude and longitude before starting first transmissions to the teleport hub…” .

    For the BFO, there are 2 major ways of calculating the frequency adjustment required to compensate for the Doppler from the plane to the satellite (a) the open loop system by using a pilot signal or (b) the close loop system whereby the AES calculates the Doppler from its knowledge of its position, velocity and direction, etc relative to the satellite.

    From the MCS Series manual, it would appear the AES on MH370 used the close loop system for the BFO.

    I am not an expert but I would think that it is likely that the calculation of the time delay value for the BTO for MH370 was also based on a close loop system. In other words, the AES would calculate the time delay value from its knowledge of the plane’s position:

    1. The GES tells the AES via the P channel, the time slot for the R channel transmission to come.

    2. The AES calculates the time delay value ( the amount of time it would take the signal to reach the satellite at the time slot specified) from its knowledge of the plane’s position.

    3. The AES fires off the signal via the R channel after taking into consideration the time delay value.

    4. If the signal reaches the time slot at exactly the time specified earlier by the GES via the P channel, then the burst timing offset is zero.

    5. If the signal reaches too soon or too late, the difference between the time of arrival and the time slot is the burst timing offset which can be negative or positive.

    6. Under the Manual for Aeronautical Mobile Satellite (Route) Service, the maximum BTO allowed is +/- 300 us[microseconds]. (The maximum BFO allowed is +/- 383 Hz).

    So let us examine whether the BTO as defined by Inmarsat is consistent with the foregoing.

    The BTO is defined in the Inmarsat data log released in late May as follows: ” The BTO is a value (in microseconds) relative to a terminal at a nominal fixed location”.

    Then we had the ATSB Report dated June 26th where BTO is defined as follows: “…aircraft R-Channel transmissions are in time slots referenced to the P channel as received by the aircraft. The BTO is a measure of how long the start of that time slot the transmission is received. This is essentially the delay between when the transmission was expected (given a nominal position of the aircraft) and when it actually arrives and is caused by the distance of the aircraft from the satellite..”.

    A few months later, the BTO definition was further tweaked. This is how the Inmarsat paper in the Journal of Navigation published in September defined the BTO: ” ….aircraft R-Channel transmissions are in time slots referenced to the P-Channel as received by the aircraft using the slotted aloha protocol. The BTO is a measure of how long from the start of that time slot the transmission is received. This is essentially the delay between when the transmission was expected (given a nominal position of the aircraft) and when it actually arrives, and is a measure of twice the distance of the aircraft from the satellite….”.

    You will note through sleight of hand just like a magician, Inmarsat has attempted to change the concept of a burst timing offset from what it is, an OFFSET, to a concept of a propagation delay.

    So instead of an offset within +/- 300 microseconds, we get BTO values exceeding 10,000 microseconds. Thus further back in the ATSB Report at Appendix G, a further tweaking of the BTO definition to incorporate the concept of a ‘bias’: “..The BTO measurement comprises two components: a bias component caused by fixed delays in the system, plus a variable component caused by the time taken for the outbound radio wave to pass from the GES to the aircraft and the inbound radio wave to make the return journey. This allows a simple equation to be developed relating satellite to aircraft distance to timing delay…….”.

  102. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 23, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Alex, I don’t pretend to understand BTO well enough to comment on your points, but enough about me!

    What do you make of the newly-published (i.e., previously withheld) log-on request data?


  103. Alex Siew said,

    December 23, 2014 at 7:22 pm


    I am so glad you asked!

    Is there any doubt left in your mind (and in the mind of others who follow this blog) that the target of this new release is Alex Siew? Just like the inclusion of the purported Rx Power figures in the Inmarsat paper published in September in the Journal of Navigation?

    I will ask the same questions I asked when those purported Rx Power figures were published:

    1. Why were these 2 lines excluded from the data log when the data log was released on May 27th?

    2. Why has it taken 7 months from when the data log was released, for Inmarsat now to release the purported top 2 lines?

    3. Just like in the case of the RX Power figures, could it be that it is because of this guy making a nuisance of himself arguing non stop for the last 7 months that the alleged claim that the SDU had an offset of 4600 us was false and that the log on request at KL was excluded from the log because it would show the claim to be false?

    4. No doubt some will now say:” there you go.. the number is out and it does show an offset… so time to shut up….’.

    5. But can these people provide an explanation as to why these purported 2 lines were excluded from the log and stay excluded for 7 months despite many parties pointing to their exclusion and asking for their release for the last 7 months?

    6. And what about the statement by one Mark Dickinson in front of many witnesses and on camera at that ‘seminar’ at the Royal Society on October 7th that no lines had been excluded from the data log?

    7. So was Mr Dickinson suffering a memory lapse then?

    8. Or will someone make the argument that Mark did mutter something about lines from 16:00 UTC on one occasion and miraculously these 2 lines had a time just before 16:00 UTC or 15:59:55.413 and 15:59:56:413, so everything is all nice and consistent?

    9. Just to re-emphasize the point ( and to really really shut this guy up) we now have not just one log on request but two, miracle of all miracles. And they both show BTOs of around 4600 us above subsequent transmissions.

    10. But why 2 log on requests, one after another exactly 1 minute apart? One at 15:59:55:413 and another at the same fraction of a second but with only 1 digit changing ie the ’55′ to ’56′?

    11. Are we going to see another release in due course where it will be stated that it is normal practice for Honeywell AESs to transmit 2 successive log on requests at one go, with exactly 1 minute gap between the log on requests?

    12. And what happened to the other missing lines? Everyone who has read the data log knows there were 6 lines missing at the top, the log on request and 5 other lines.

    13. So what happened to the other 5 lines? The (a) the Log on Confirm (b) the P/R Channel Control (ISU) (c) the Subsequent Signalling Unit (d) The T-channel Control (ISU) and (e) the Subsequent Signalling Unit?

    14. Oops…. did someone forget about those other 5 lines? Maybe because Alex Siew kept banging just on the log on request, making people forget about the other 5 lines? Or are they going to say those 5 lines do not have BTO or BFO values so no need to show them?

    15. So for the transmissions 1707 UTC and prior and there were hundreds of them, all these transmissions had regular BTO values with the exception of one single transmission, and that is the log on request, the very first line, and coincidentally, just coincidentally, this line was inadvertently omitted from the data log when it was released in May?

    Bruce, sorry to say this but if you believe the latest 2 lines are genuine, you will believe anything Inmarsat serves up.

  104. Alex Siew said,

    December 23, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    No doubt in due course we are going to see another release to patch another hole in the theory, the 1 hour 18 minute gap in the data log between 1707 UTC and 1825 UTC. This release will say there was another entry, also inadvertently omitted from the data log, with a time of between 1721 UTC and 1729 UTC. This entry/line will refer to some inconsequential transmission (maybe another ‘IFE communication’) but would serve the purpose of explaining away the 1 hour 18 minute gap between transmissions as the data log now stands.

  105. Alex Siew said,

    December 23, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    According to Don in a comment posted on Jeff’s blog on December 23rd, 4:16PM:

    “…To Bobby’s point that the SDU was powered down between 17:22 (or even 17:07) and 18:25: it’s only true that the SDU had lost P-ch sync with the GES between 18:02 and 18:25. There was a failed outbound, GES-AES, message transmission at 18:03. It’s not certain at what point between 17:07 and 18:02 the AES lost P-ch sync…..”.

    In my humble view, the time of loss of P-ch sync can be further narrowed down.

    1. According to the reports from the Associated Press on March 13th and 14th, MH370 had continued to transmit messages (in all likelihood ‘fault messages’ under the EHM program) for a short time or period after the SSR transponder ceased. The SSR signal ceased at 17:21:13 UTC according to the Preliminary Report. So P-ch sync was still on at 17:21 UTC.

    2. MH370 had Engine Health Monitoring (EHM) from Rolls Royce. As part of this EHM program, 4 routine reports would be transmitted to Rolls Royce (at the center at Derby) (a) during takeoff (b) during climb (c) during cruise and (d) at the end of the flight.

    3. The first 2 reports were transmitted. The 3rd report, to be transmitted during cruising was scheduled for 17:37 UTC, according to MAS. This report never came through. It would appear the P-ch sync had been lost by then.

    So the evidence points to the P-ch sync being lost sometime between 1721 UTC and 1737 UTC.

    In previous comments, I have made the case that the log on request at 1825 UTC was prompted by an interrogation from the satellite after absence of activity from the AES for an hour or an hour plus or minus 4 minutes. Working backwards from 1825 UTC, the last signal from MH370 prior to the log on request would have been at either 1721 UTC (1 hour plus 4 minutes), or 1725 UTC (1 hour) or 1729 UTC ( 1 hour minus 4 minutes).

  106. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 23, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Alex, I had a hunch you might feel this way.

    I agree with a couple of your points. I think this may well be feather No.2 (at least) in your cap. A lot of people have been calling more or less generally for disclosure, but you’ve been beating this particular drum harder than anyone.

    Second, I agree it is reasonably possible that Inmarsat fabricated this data. I’m suspicious because it is key data that Inmarsat has previously denied existed, and yet seems a bit too perfectly confirmatory of the Inmarsat analysis to my lay eye. If the data instead were anomalous, Inmarsat would have a strong motivation to suppress it (as they apparently did) or publish a sanitized version. Inmarsat has proven that it will not admit to a critical mistake or put out anything that does not burnish its reputation.

    Still I do not doubt the integrity of the data Inmarsat previously released. Not that doubting it does any good. The Inmarsat data is substantially all we have to go on. The question is whether it is sufficiently reliable to justify continuing to search based upon it.

    You may recall that I’m satisfied that the victims of MH370 even now can take cold comfort from the likelihood that their loss will save lives in the future, regardless of what caused this particular catastrophe. As time goes by and no similar incident has occurred, it seems more likely to me that whatever happened to MH370 was a one-off disaster.

    So while I think Inmarsat has manipulated, massaged and spun the data so as to materially impair the search (and possibly has just now fabricated it), I won’t go so far as to say they have made commercial aviation less safe (or failed to make it safer), which is the bottom line as far as I’m concerned.

  107. Alex Siew said,

    December 27, 2014 at 12:51 am


    I will have more to say about the Inmarsat data in days to come.

    Regarding your point about MH370 being a ‘one off disaster’, below are a couple of excerpts describing another case of a disappearing airliner just a few years ago:

    ” …..The story the transmissions told was tantalizing, but inconclusive. Did the error messages suggest a fault in the sensors, or was the flight management system fatally corrupted- perhaps by a midair lightning strike?…” [Jeff Wise - Popular Mechanics]

    “….its wing collided with the tail of an Airbus A321 on the ground…. it is quite likely the airplane was struck by lightning…..” [Miles O'Brien-on his blog].

    As you are aware, MH370 had also been involved in a ground collision with another plane where its wing hit the tail of the other plane while taxiing at Shanghai Airport. And as everyone would be aware, I am of the view that lightning was the precipitating cause of MH370′s crash into the South China Sea.

    The 2 excerpts above related to AF447.

    The cockpit recorder of AF447 recorded the pilots as having observed St Elmo’s fire minutes before the plane crashed. As most readers of this blog would be aware by now, I have always believed that the ‘flames’ observed by Mike Mckay the Kiwi on the oil rig, was St Elmo’s fire on MH370 and not MH370 on fire.

  108. Alex Siew said,

    December 28, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Victor Iannello posed this question on Jeff’s blog on December 28th 12:29PM:

    “@All: Who here is so certain that MH370 did not crash in the SIO along the 7th arc that he or she recommends stopping the current search efforts? Because at the end of the day, that is the question that the adults in the room have to answer.”

    With all due respect, that is not the question intelligent and unbiased adults have to answer. The real question is who is so certain that MH370 did crash in the SIO along the 7th arc that he or she would insist that no other sites be searched.

    In case Victor hasn’t noticed, no one is saying the authorities should not be searching the SIO. The question is why are the authorities not searching other sites like the South China Sea where the plane was last observed, where the sea is shallow and relatively close to land. It is common knowledge that planes which crashed were almost always found not far from their last known position.

    The question is whether the authorities should search the South China Sea at the same time they search the SIO or whether the authorities should wait until the search at the SIO is over, whenever that may be, before searching other sites. The answer to this question should be obvious to anyone with a minimum of IQ.

  109. Alex Siew said,

    December 28, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Further to my comment on AF447, more excerpts:

    “The best guesses as to what went wrong with Flight AF 447 from Rio de Janeiro are that it either experienced severe turbulence that led to catastrophic structural damage or that it was struck by lightning which caused the total failure of its electronic controls and communications…….. a spokesman for the Airbus company said the aircraft might have been struck by lightning as it entered the storm region….[The Independent UK- June 2, 2009]

    “Airline officials say an electrical storm may have been to blame for the disappearance of ….Flight 447….’The most likely thing is that the plane was hit by lightning’ , Air France’s director of communications, Francois Brouse said…… [Scientific American- June 1, 2009]

    “According to Air France CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, the Airbus A330-200 encountered heavy turbulence about 02:15am….. At that point, the plane’s automatic system initiated a four minute exchange of messages to the company’s maintenance computers, indicating ‘several pieces of aircraft equipment were at fault or had broken down’….. The jet also sent a warning that it had lost pressure….. The assumption is that these electrical problems led to a catastrophic failure of the aircraft’s controls… Some experts have said that a lightning strike strike was a possibility…..”[CNN-June 3, 2009].

    Of course those who followed the AF447 saga would be aware that the BEA ultimately laid the blame for the crash largely on pilot error. Something tells me the same thing will happen to the latest incident, QZ8501, when everything is said and done, the investigation and aviation authorities will lay the blame for the crash on PILOT ERROR. Already those aligned with the aviation industry, some of whose names had appeared in connection with MH370, have already started making the rounds in various media to make their case.

  110. Alex Siew said,

    December 29, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Jeff Wise is the author of a well known article on AF447 published in Popular Mechanics in December,2011 called “What really happened aboard Air France 447″. Below is an excerpt of part of the cockpit recorder transcript with commentary from Jeff:

    [....Here is a synopsis of what occurred during the course of the doomed airliner's final few minutes.

    At 1h 36m, the flight enters the outer extremities of a tropical storm system....

    At 1h 51m, the cockpit becomes illuminated by a strange phenomenon. The co pilot in the right hand seat, an inexperienced 32 year old named Pierre Cedric Bonin asks, 'What's that?'. The captain, Marc Dubois, a veteran with more than 11,000 hours of flight time, tells him it is St Elmo's fire, a phenomenon often found with thunderstorms at these latitudes.....

    At 2.02am, the captain leaves the flight deck to take a nap. Within 5 minutes, everyone aboard the plane will be dead.......

    'The inter-tropical convergence... look, we're in it, between Salpu and Tasil. And then, look, we're right in it'..........

    'We seem to be at the end of the cloud layer, it might be ok'

    In the meantime Robert has been examining the radar system and has found that it has not been set up in the correct mode. Changing the settings, he scrutinizes the radar map and realizes that they are headed directly toward an area of intense activity.

    'You can possibly pull a little to the left'.......


    Bonin wordlessly banks the plane to the left. Suddenly, a strange aroma, like an electrical transformer, floods the cockpit, and the temperature suddenly increases. At first, the younger pilot thinks that something is wrong with the air conditioning system, but Robert assures him that the effect is from the severe weather in the vicinity. Bonin seems ill at ease. Then the sound of slipstream suddenly becomes louder. This presumably, is due to the accumulation of ice crystals on the exterior of the fuselage. Bonin announces that he is going to reduce the speed of the aircraft, and asks Robert if he should turn on a feature that will prevent the jet engines from flaming out in the event of severe icing. Just then an alarm sounds for 2.2 seconds, indicating the autopilot is disconnecting......]

    The transcript continues on until 02:14, but for present purpose we can stop here.

    So what was that ‘strange aroma’, like an ‘electrical transformer’ and why did the temperature in the plane suddenly rise?

    From NASA: ” Atmospheric chemistry. Sometimes you think you can smell lightning. Actually what you smell is ozone produced by lightning (Ozone is 3 oxygen molecules.. bound together….) The electrical current and intense temperatures produced by a lightning stroke create a mini factory where ordinary oxygen and nitrogen molecules are chopped into atoms and then into ions…. Most of these atoms reform as ordinary oxygen and nitrogen but a significant number form nitrous oxide compounds….”

    From Scientific American: ” When people say they can smell a storm coming, they are right. Weather patterns produce distinctive odors that sensitive noses sniff out…… Here is a breakdown of three common odors: Before the rain begins, one of the first odors you may notice as winds pick up and clouds roll in is a sweet pungent zing in your nostrils. That’s the sharp fresh aroma of ozone…. An electrical charge-from lightning or a man made source such as an electrical generator- splits atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen molecules into separate atoms. Some of these recombine into nitric oxide, and this in turn reacts with other atmospheric chemicals, occasionally producing a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms- ozone…”.

    Perhaps Jeff did not realize it when he wrote the above article, but AF 447 was clearly stuck by lightning at 2:08am.

  111. Alex Siew said,

    December 29, 2014 at 1:41 am

    There is a typo in the above post. It should read ‘within 15 minutes’ from 2:02am

  112. Bruce Lamon said,

    December 29, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Alex, it seems unlikely that AF447 was struck by lightning, but are you saying a lightning strike caused the AF447 crash? The BEA report on AF447 notes that “the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) lightning imager indicates an absence of lightning in the accident zone at 2 h 30,” and none of the other flights in the vicinity saw lightning. AF447 responded properly to all pilot inputs. The only malfunction was in the airspeed indicators, most likely as a result of the pitot tubes being rendered inoperable by ice crystals.

  113. Alex Siew said,

    December 29, 2014 at 7:23 pm


    A quick reply.

    1. Yes, I am saying that a lightning strike precipitated the sequence of events that led AF447 crashing.

    2. You will note the initial assessment/reaction from both Airbus and Air France (see the media excerpts in previous comments) was that the plane was hit by lightning as it entered the storm.

    3. That assessment is borne out by the CVR transcript, a copy of which can be found at the AF447 Wikipedia site (see the external links- the transcript is annexed as an appendix to the final report).

    3. The transcript shows AF447 was struck by lightning some time between 02:08:07 and 02:08:41.

    4. You will note the co pilot in the right seat first mentioned the smell at 02:08:41. The other co pilot then said “it’s… it’s ozone”.

    5. The co pilot on the right first mentioned the increase in temperature at 02:08:47 “You can feel already that it’s a lot hotter”.

    6. The other co pilot replied “That’s what’s hot and ozony”.

    7. The 2 co pilots continued to talk about the ozone and and about how hot it was, for the next several seconds.

    8. This was followed by “Background noise increases” at 02:09:46. In parenthesis BEA has noted “(typical noise of impact of crystals, identified by A330-340 pilots)”.

    8. I do not believe the noise was due to the impact of ice crystals.

    9. At 02:10:03 the auto pilot disconnected. This was followed by all sorts of other alarms/warning sounds going off for the next 4 minutes (“cavalry charge’, “single chime”, “C chord”, “SV-stall”, etc).

    10. These alarms/warning sounds continued right up to the end of the transcript at 02:14:26.8.

    11. 02:10 to 02:14 is also the period when the plane transmitted a whole batch of ACARS messages (more than 20), indicating the breakdown of multiple systems.

    Bruce, I would be grateful if you can read the transcript and the various analyses on the net of the ACARS messages, and let me have your thoughts.

    I think I will wrap up my contribution to the cause in the next couple of days, this thing is even more rotten than I thought.

  114. Alex Siew said,

    December 29, 2014 at 11:54 pm


    This will be my last post for awhile.

    You may have noted that JS over on Jeff’s blog had recently posed some questions on the BTO, similar to the questions that I (and Skwosh) had been asking but that there was no response from anyone. So much for the ‘experts’.

    I have said it before and I will say it one more time, no one outside of Inmarsat and the ‘authorities’, really knows what the BTO in the Inmarsat data log actually represents.

    The concept of a BTO or burst timing offset is what it says it is, an offset. Under the AMSS manual, the offset must be within +/- 300 microseconds. This offset is the difference between the time slot the P channel had set for the signal and the time the signal actually arrived at the slot. Say the P channel had set a time slot of 16:00:10. If the signal arrived late at 16:00:11, the offset is +1 second. If the signal arrived early at 16:00:09, the offset is -1 second.

    Whatever it is, the five digit BTO in the Inmarsat data log is not an offset. It is actually some sort of measurement of the signal propagation delay ie how long it took the signal to travel to and fro, in other words it is some sort of return/round trip timing or RTT. This RTT, by definition, has to be a positive value.

    Theoretically it is possible that in addition to the actual BTOs (-/+ 300 microseconds), Inmarsat was also recording the RTT or some fraction of the RTT. If that is the case why not say so? Why masquerade the RTT as the BTO?

    While one would expect Inmarsat to be recording on the logs the BFOs and the BTOs, I have my doubts that Inmarsat was recording the RTT. If indeed the RTT was recorded, it would have been a simple case of the logs showing a column for the BTOs and another column for the RTTs. But the logs only show one column, the ‘BTO’. But instead of the real BTOs of -/+ 300 microseconds, we get some sort of RTT measuring over 10,000 microseconds under that column.

    Those who have followed this MH370 saga from the beginning may remember that when the ‘final arc’ was published on March 15th, that arc referred to the 8:11am or 0011 UTC ping. The ’7th ping’ at 8:19am or 0019 UTC, was only disclosed many days later, when the Doppler analysis was announced.

    The late discovery of the 7th ping is significant, for reasons which I will explain later. But first, when the ‘final arc’ (ie the 6th arc) was published on March 15th, Inmarsat had indicated that the arc was calculated based on the angle of elevation. There was no mention of any concept of the BTO. From CNN on March 17th:

    “….Inmarsat, which is prohibited from discussing details of the Malaysia Flight 370 investigation, was able to provide CNN with a detailed explanation about how its system works….. Among other services, Inmarsat provides satellite communications for ACARS….. When a plane is over land, ACARS messages typically are sent via VHF radio. But when a plane is in remote regions or over water and out of range of VHF radio, the signal is seamlessly switched to satellite. ‘The pilot doesn’t have to do anything.’ Coiley said. At its most fundamental, the satellite is a simple relay, transferring signals from ground stations to the aircraft and back again, not unlike a cell phone tower, Coiley said. When an aircraft powers up, the airplane automatically sends a signal logging onto the communications network. Thereafter, the ground station sends ‘polling signals’ to the satellite, which relays them to the aircraft. When the aircraft responds, it is known as a ‘handshake’. The information relayed during the handshake is very limited, but it contains a unique identifying code to identify the aircraft. The purpose of the hourly ‘handshakes’ is to allow the satellite to know the approximate location of the aircraft so that it can efficiently relay any messages. For this, the satellite needs to know the angle of the aircraft from the satellite. An aircraft directly under the satellite would be at a 90 degree angle to the satellite; an aircraft at the poles would be at 0 degrees. In the case of Malaysia Airlines 370, the authorities have said the last message was sent at 40 degrees. Accident investigators, with the help of satellite experts, have used that information to determine the possible location of the plane….”.

    That ‘final arc’ at 40 degree angle of elevation, derived from the ping at 0011 UTC, cuts across the South China Sea. I have always believed that arc to be authentic and that if one draws a line of the path of the plane when it was last observed on the radar from IGARI to BITOD, the intersection of that line with the ‘final arc’ would give the location of the plane.

    The intersection of that line with the arc gives a point just off the coast of Vietnam, to the east of the southern tip of Vietnam.

    A Boeing 777 can glide a maximum of 120 nm. Assuming MH370 glided for approximately 100nm from IGARI where the evidence shows it lost all power, the plane would have crashed just off the coast of Vietnam, to the right of the southern tip of Vietnam.

    Is it a coincidence, that if the plane had lost power at IGARI and glided from there, its point of impact would be more or less on the ‘final arc’? I do not think so.

    Bruce, you may also recall that despite the pleas from the scientific community and the public, Inmarsat refused to release the arcs for the prior pings. Why do u think Inmarsat refused to do so? Could it be those arcs, calculated from their respective angle of elevation, more or less overlap with the ‘final arc’ showing that the plane had crashed by the time of the first ping (at 1825 UTC)?

    Thus when the Inmarsat data log was finally released, on May 27th, there was no mention anymore of the angle of elevation. Instead we have this ‘BTO’, which until today no one knows what it represents.

    Coming back to the ‘partial ping’ at 0019 UTC, why do you think this ping was only discovered several days later?

    According to Inmarsat, when they first pulled their logs, the pings did not show up. I have always said that the reason for this is because the pings were of very weak signal strength having been transmitted by the backup SDU on battery power through the low gain antenna AFTER the crash, with the upper rear fuselage where the SDU and LGA were located having managed to somehow stay afloat after the crash.

    If you check the press reports on March 14th when the pings were first disclosed to the world, all of them described the pings as ‘faint electronic pulses’. If the plane had been flying until 0019 UTC to the SIO, there would have been no reason for the pings to be ‘faint’ as the pings would have been transmitted using the plane’s primary power through the high gain antenna.

    And there would be no reason for the ‘partial ping’ to have remained undetected until much later.

    I have in previous comments theorized that Inmarsat managed to trace the pings using the timing of the log off. The GES/satellite declared the MH370 AES logged off at around 0115/6 UTC. From the time of the log off, Inmarsat would have been able to work backwards to figure out the time of the last transmission from MH370. Remember the interval is 1 hour or 1 hour plus or minus 4 minutes. Deducting 1 hour 4 minutes from 0015/6 UTC works out to be 0011 UTC. So when Inmarsat located the ping trace at 0011 UTC, they thought it was the last transmission from MH370 and that is why they published the arc from the 0011 UTC ping as the ‘final arc’ on March 15th.

    But in fact, the satellite interrogated the AES 1 hour minus 4 minutes (not 1 hour plus 4 minutes) from the last transmission which was at 0019 UTC. That was why the partial ping was missed. Inmarsat saw the 6th ping at 0011 UTC (a complete handshake), figured it was the last transmission from the log off time of 0115/6 UTC and did not look any further.

    Don has done some great work. He was the one who worked out the 1 hour plus or minus 4 minute interrogation interval. Without this critical piece of information, I would still be puzzling over the timing of the sequence of events and in particular the log on request at 1825 UTC as well as the non discovery of the partial ping until later.

    Don has also worked out from the non completion of the 2 satellite attempted calls that the high gain antenna system was already degraded by the time of the first call at 1839 UTC. Which is consistent with the theory that the pings were transmitted through the low gain antenna. And which goes to show that the Rx Power values published by Inmarsat are fabrications, just like the BTO values for the 2 log on requests purportedly at 15:59 UTC.

    Contrary to popular belief, the BFO and BTO data do not show the plane heading to the SIO. The data merely show an SDU deprived of its IRS feed from the AIMS, with some of the data churned out clearly making no sense and with the other remaining data correlating to the movement and velocity of the satellite during that period in question. Something was moving from 1825 UTC to 0019 UTC, first northwards at 360 degree and then from 1936 UTC southwards at 180 degree but it was not the plane, it was the satellite.

    I shall on occasion drop in to say a word or two. The whole thing is a lot more rotten and the rot had set in a lot earlier, than I thought. And a lot more dangerous.

  115. Alex Siew said,

    January 5, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    To LGHamiltonUSA,

    I would be grateful if u can check with Runway Girl Network @RunwayGirl, about the backup battery for the SATCOM unit on MH370, as mentioned in her tweets on March 14th (which just came to my attention):

    [Tweet from GerryS to her] “total elec fail (fly with essential electric busses only) can last for hours too, and satcom won’t be powered in that situation”

    [Her reply to GerryS] “Indeed… but I ‘ve heard (from more than one source) that a back-up battery could also be in play”

    [Tweet from drs. Andor to her and GerryS] ” backup batteries are fine, but how much transmission power do those satcoms put out?”

    [Her reply to drs. Andor and GerryS] “Enough to ping for hours, says source who has been closely involved with this part of the industry for many years”.

  116. Alex Siew said,

    January 7, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    As shown in previous comments, the definition of the BTO has gone through a mutation process. It started off as an offset but has now become a measure of the round/return trip timing or RTT.

    From the ASTB Report June 26th at page 54: ” …..The BTO measurement comprises two components: a bias component caused by the fixed delays in the system, plus a variable component caused by the time taken for the outbound radio wave to pass from the GES to the aircraft and the inbound radio wave to make the return journey. This allows a simple equation to be developed relating satellite to aircraft distance to timing delay…”

    From the update published by the ATSB on December 23rd entitled ‘MH370: Burst Timing Offset (BTO) Characteristics’: “…..The Burst Timing Offset (BTO) as recorded on the Inmarsat Satellite Communications (SATCOM) log (released by Malaysia) is a measure of the time taken for a transmission round trip (ground station to satellite to aircraft and back) and allows a calculation of the distance between the satellite and the aircraft….”.

    If we go back to the Inmarsat data log released on May 27th, at page 1 it says as follows: “…The round trip time for a message is a combination of 1. Time from the ground station-satellite-aircraft-satellite-ground station 2. Processing time within the ground station, satellite and aircraft, which are constant…”.

    The question is: what sort of ‘message’ or ‘signal’ are they talking about, that originates from the ground station, travels to the satellite, then travels to the aircraft, then travels back to the satellite, then travels back to the ground station?

    So would there be any ‘message’ or ‘signal’ originating from the ground station that was on a ‘return ticket’? In other words, this signal goes from the ground station to the satellite, then to the aircraft, then reverses back to the satellite, then reverses back to the ground station?

    To my knowledge, all the signals on the P, T and R channels are one way signals. Signals from the ground station get transmitted to the aircraft via the satellite through the P channel, while signals from the aircraft get transmitted to the ground station via the satellite on either the R channel (for short messages) or the T channel (for longer messages).

    Let us take as an example, the first ping at 18:25:27 which is the log on request transmitted from the aircraft to the ground station via the satellite, with a BTO reading of 17120 microseconds. This log on request is a ‘one way’ message or signal, from the plane to the ground station via the satellite. So how does the concept of a round/return trip timing or RTT come into the picture?

    Perhaps the ‘experts’ can come up with an explanation? Or perhaps not.

  117. andyhull said,

    January 17, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    More speculation… this time by Martin Dolan, the chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.


    Either bluff, or they know something we don’t.

  118. andyhull said,

    January 18, 2015 at 4:26 am

    Perhaps simply of academic interest, since there is a high error factor in our starting point, is this site which models the spread of floating plastic objects in the worlds oceans.


  119. Alex Siew said,

    January 18, 2015 at 8:00 pm


    The ATSB and the other ‘authorities’ will keep coming up with this kind of statements that they will find the plane, until the day they announce that they are stopping the search. Some of these statements will even be published in The West Australian. And yes they do know something some people including self professed experts either cannot or refuse to grasp, and that is the plane is not in the South Indian Ocean.

    So what sort of excuses will we hear from these experts when the search is finally abandoned? How about the following:

    1. The ocean is too deep.
    2. The ocean is too large.
    3. The surface debris drifted away.
    4. The fuselage, the engines and all those parts which would normally sink, also drifted or got swept away by ocean currents.
    5. The 7th arc was just an estimation.
    6. Only high priority areas were searched, the plane could be in non high priority areas which are too large to be searched.
    7. The analysis of the Inmarsat data is still undergoing further refinement.

  120. Alex Siew said,

    January 19, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Speaking of excuses for not locating the plane, right on cue we have an article from David Learmount of FlightGlobal touting the calculations of one supposed ex Boeing 777 pilot by the name of Simon Hardy.

    According to this supposed pilot who for some unexplained reason appears to be well versed in advanced mathematics, the plane could have flown for quite a distance from the 7th arc, maybe even up to 100nm further. Of course if the plane had indeed flown that distance from the 7th arc, that would neatly explain as to why the searchers have so far failed to locate the plane. And that would also give a reason for extending the search area and in so doing, extend the search for a longer period. All very convenient.

    So according to this Simon Hardy: “The indication is that the aircraft started descent just before the 6th arc (from 43,000ft) and continued through 30,000ft before reaching the 7th arc. If it was at 28,000ft at the 7th arc, it still has about 100 nm more to fly….”.

    Just where did this guy get these numbers from? Apparently from his ‘calculations’.

    The audacity of this continuing con job is breathtaking. These people cannot even come up with any evidence to show the plane was still in the air post 1800 UTC, yet can proclaim with a straight face that more than 6 hours later at 0011 UTC the plane was not only flying but at 43,000 ft and 8 minutes later at 0019 UTC was at 28,000 ft.

    According to Learmount, nobody has yet suggested Hardy’s calculations are “anything but logically and mathematically sound”. Apparently this Learmount has not been not reading this blog.

  121. Alex Siew said,

    January 26, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    So now it is Sir Angus Houston… who promptly opines that MH370 may never be found as the ocean is vast and deep, excuses no. 1 and 2 on the list of excuses set forth in a previous comment.

    Those who think MH370 may have suffered a fire on board would remember Chris Goodfellow, a pilot who back in March postulated MH370 could have turned back to head to Langkawi due a fire emergency. A couple of weeks ago, Chris in his Google+ site put up some satellite photos taken back in March showing what appears to be some life rafts tied together at a location off the coast of Vietnam and said as follows:

    “Maybe it went down somewhere between BITOD and Mike Mckay and maybe the sat link continued to broadcast until it sunk…..”.

    The SDU/AES on MH370 had a backup battery as RW Mann postulated and as Mary Kirby (Runway Girl) confirmed after speaking to ‘more than than 1 source’. These are 2 highly respected aviation analysts who are regularly quoted in the media.

    So who is right and who is wrong? Mike Exner and Don Thompson who adamantly maintained that the SDU/AES did not have a backup battery or RW Mann and Mary Kirby?

    For those who may not immediately grasp the significance of this battery issue, I will spell it out: the fact that the SDU/AES continued to ping from 1825 UTC to 0019 UTC does not necessarily mean the plane was still in the air, flying. The plane could have already crashed but as long as the SDU/AES and the low gain antenna located at the upper rear fuselage remained afloat, the SDU/AES powered by the backup battery, could still respond to the satellite’s interrogation and ping, for ‘hours’ according to Mary Kirby.

    The transmission on a backup battery would explain why the pings were ‘faint’ and why they did not show up in the Inmarsat logs when first pulled. It would also explain why the BFO and BTO of the pings correlated to the velocity and movement of the satellite, which correlation I have pointed out on Duncan’s blog, on Jeff Wise’s blog and on this blog and which correlation has never been disputed by anyone on any of those blogs.

  122. Alex Siew said,

    January 27, 2015 at 1:19 am


    I saw your comment on Jeff’s blog about the Pulkovo Flight 612 crash. For your information, just like for AF 447, QZ 8501 and the Air Algerie Flight AH5017 which crashed in Mali in July last year, the preliminary assessment for the Pulkovo crash was that the plane crashed due to a lightning strike:

    From the Guardian on August 22, 2006: ” A Russian airliner that crashed in eastern Ukraine yesterday killing all 170 passengers and crew on board was probably hit by lightning as it encountered heavy turbulence, a preliminary investigation suggested last night…”

    From the BBC on August 23rd, 2006: ” Russian officials told ITAR-Tass news agency that the plane had encountered severe weather conditions before it came down. They say it is likely that it was hit by lightning…”.

    Of course the final report for AF 447, AH 5017 and the Pulkovo Flight 612 had a different cause for the respective crashes, just like the final report for QZ 8501 will not have lightning as the cause. So the myth that lightning has not brought down a plane since Pan Am Flight 214 in 1963, will continue on.

    Can anyone deny with a straight face, after reading the CVR transcript for AF 447 (annexed as an appendix to the final report), that AF447 was hit by lightning at 2:08 UTC?

    It is all a farce…. money rules and money corrupts, absolutely.

  123. Bruce Lamon said,

    January 28, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Alex, I must say that the overall quality of the official reports on aircraft accidents seems high to me (AF447 is the best I’ve read) and in any event more trustworthy than preliminary media speculation, not to deny that there is often truth or at least some reasonable basis behind a lot of preliminary media speculation.

    But since Bobby refined his analysis to suggest a broader range of endpoints, I’ve lost interest in following MH370 regularly. I’ve just about given up hope they will find the plane, not because it isn’t in the SIO, but because of how difficult the search conditions are, how much convoluted seabed there is to be searched, and how few and poorly suited to the task are the resources being deployed.

    One day MH370 will be found (though perhaps not in our lifetimes). Then a final report will be done. I predict 1) that I will be satisfied and impressed by the analysis and 2) that you will conclude it is a product of corruption for its failure to mention lightning.

    In the meantime, the only thing I’m much looking forward to is the 2 year anniversary of the disappearance, at which point the NTSB’s objection to my FOIA request re MH370 will be moot.

  124. Alex Siew said,

    January 28, 2015 at 7:52 pm


    I wouldn’t bet on getting anything from NTSB, I am sure they have other excuses and objections ready once the 2 year period expires. However, the authorities have announced they will be publishing an interim report on March 7th, as they are obliged to under the Chicago Convention, so in the meantime we will have something to amuse ourselves with.

    Yes, people are losing interest, even LGHamiltonUSA’s tweets are becoming less frequent. This is exactly how the people who directed the search to the SIO had planned it from day one. Drag the search long enough and eventually everyone even the diehards will lose interest and the matter will quietly fade from the public eye.

    Bobby Ulich seems sincere but wasn’t he the one who concluded that what Kate Tee saw was MH370 and wrote a long and detailed piece on Duncan’s blog to support his contention? I am not so sure how his present theories can be reconciled with his previous convictions and if you read his piece, he was absolutely convinced then that Kate saw MH370.

  125. Brock McEwen said,

    February 2, 2015 at 11:26 am

    @Alex: re: battery back-up (central component of your thesis): VictorI posted a claim today on Jeff’s site which seems convincing to me:

    “We now know it was the Honeywell MCS-6000 and some of us have reviewed the maintenance and installation manuals. (I no longer have the link to the manuals.) There is no mention of battery backup.”

    Do you dispute any of its statements?

  126. Alex Siew said,

    February 2, 2015 at 9:49 pm


    1. That there was battery backup for the AES on MH370 can be gleaned from page 33 of the ATSB Report of June 26, 2014:

    “…The SDU was powered by 115 V AC from the left AC bus which was normally supplied by the left IDG. If power from the left IDG was lost, then a bus tie breaker would close and power would be automatically transferred from the right AC bus. Similarly if power was lost from the right AC bus, power would be automatically transferred from the left AC bus. This power switching is brief and the SDU was designed to ‘hold-up’ during such power interruptions…”.

    2. I would contend the power to hold up the SDU during such primary power interruptions would have come from a battery somewhere, a ‘hold up’ or ‘hold over’ battery.

    3. I do not have the manual for the MCS 6000 series. I do have the manual for the MCS 4200/7200 series ( a more advanced series than the 6000 series).

    3. The manual for the MCS 4200/7200 series shows that the satellite data unit or SDU has an internal battery.

    4. However, the manual does not expressly set out the specifications of the battery or its functions.

    5. If Mike and Don are of the view that this battery would not have sufficient power to power the pings, they are at liberty to disclose the specifications of this battery. However, they have yet to do so.

    6. R W Mann has postulated that the AES had battery backup. Mary Kirby has stated to the effect that according to her sources one of whom with many years in the industry, the AES had battery backup with sufficient power to ping for hours.

    7. I do not know whether these sources were referring to the internal battery or a separate external dedicated battery.

    7. Many months ago on this blog, Mike and Don argued that this internal battery would not have sufficient power to power the various components of the AES eg the High Power Amplifier and the Beam Steering Units.

    8. It would appear at such time Mike and Don were ignorant of the set up of the AES on MH370.

    9. The AES on MH370 had both a high gain antenna subsystem and a low gain antenna subsystem.

    10. The HGA was a dual side mounted conformal Ball Aerospace Airlink antenna.

    11. The LGA was an omnidirectional antenna mounted on top of the fuselage at the rear.

    12. In the event of failure of the HGA subsystem, ‘low rate packet mode data’ can still be transmitted using the LGA subsystem. In such event, the signals would bypass the HPA and the BSUs.

    13. According to Inmarsat, the pings did not show up on their logs when the logs were first pulled.

    14. According to Inmarsat, they only manged to trace the pings the next day on March 9th.

    15. According to Inmarsat, the last ping, the partial ping, was detected even later.

    16. When the pings were first reported, all the media reports described the pings as ‘faint electronic pulses’.

    17. According to Don, the attempted satellite phone calls at 1839 and 2314 UTC did not manage to go through ( to the stage of ringing) as the HGA subsystem was degraded by then.

    18. All of the above indicates that the pings were transmitted through the LGA on battery power.

    19. For the record, I have never said ‘the signal data is valid’.

    20. I am not in a position to know how much of the Inmarsat datalog is authentic and how much of it is fabricated.

    21. One thing I do know is that the BTO values given in the Inmarsat datalog cannot be the BTO values actually recorded by Inmarsat as under industry protocols, BTO values cannot exceed +/- 300 microseconds while the datalog shows BTO values exceeding 10,000 microseconds (for the R channel).

    22. I do believe, based on the evidence, that the AES did continue to respond to the satellite’s hourly interrogation and ping, for several hours after the plane disappeared from radar at 1730 UTC at BITOD.

    23. In previous comments I have set out the evidence showing that MH370 suffered an electrical failure at IGARI and glided unpowered from there for around 100 nm before ditching into the South China Sea, approximately 30 or so nm from the southern coast of Vietnam, to the east of the southern tip. (ie on the ‘final arc’ announced on March 15th, at the intersection of that arc and the plane’s last known flightpath of IGARI to BITOD).

    24. This scenario would mean the upper rear fuselage of the plane where the SDU and LGA were located, must have remained afloat for several hours after the crash/ditching.

    25. Finally, the BTO or Burst Timing Offset pursuant to industry protocols, simply means the difference in time between the time the signal is due to arrive (the timeslot) and the time the signal actually arrives. If the signal arrives early the BTO is negative, if it arrives late, the BTO is positive. As stated earlier, the BTO is not supposed to exceed +/- 300 microseconds.

    26. When the ‘final arc’ was announced on March 15th, Inmarsat had said it was calculated based on the angle of elevation of the ping. There was no mention of any burst timing offset or BTO.

    27. In my humble view, the BTO values in the Inmarsat datalog released 2 months later in late May, are fabrications.

  127. Alex Siew said,

    February 2, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    According to VictorI, for ‘cost, weight, maintenance reasons, there would be no reason to have a battery backup for this specific [satcom] system’.

    I would like to inform Victor, in case he is not already aware, that many 777s actually have dual AESs ie 2 Satcom systems, for redundancy purposes.

    An extra AES would entail much more cost, weight and maintenance than a backup battery, yet people have seen fit to go for dual installations.

    All the configurations shown in the MCS 4200/7200 manual involve dual SDUs dual antenna systems and the indications are that MH370 also had dual AESs, with the primary SDU linked to the high gain antenna via the high power amplifier and beam steering units and the backup SDU linked to the backup low gain antenna.

  128. Alex Siew said,

    February 3, 2015 at 12:15 am

    In a comment on Jeff’s blog on Feb 2, 2015 at 8:10pm, Don said as follows:

    “The NST report describes no conversation, attributes no flight ID to the calling party (only that it was another B777 pilot) and no other crew or ground station reported hearing the alleged exchange. Further, the alleged time of the contact, just after 1.30 MYT is inconsistent with Malaysia’s Preliminary Report & its annex detailing recorded conversations between Lumpur Area Control and HCM Area Control: HCM Area Control first queried Lumpur ACC at 01:38 MYT for MH370′s status & at 01:57 MYT stated no contact had been made by any aircraft in the vicinity.”

    1. No conversation.

    Not true, the article did describe some conversation where the pilot asked MH370 whether “they have transferred into Vietnamese airspace” and heard mumbling in reply.

    2. No flight ID of the calling party

    The pilot had given more than enough information for the flight to be identified; he said he was flying 30 minutes ahead of MH370 bound for Narita. MH88 was a flight scheduled to take off from KLIA to Narita at 12:05am, 30 minutes ahead of MH370 which was scheduled to take off at 12:35am. Anyone looking at the flight information for flights departing from KL that night or early morning would be able to work out this flight was MH88, as LGHamiltonUSA duly did.

    3. No other crew or ground station reported hearing the exchange.

    We do not know if other crew or a ground station heard the exchange. This exchange could have been heard by other crew, but simply not reported.

    4. Inconsistent with Preliminary Report

    Not necessary. MH370 was supposed to check in with HCM ATC at around 1720 or 1721 UTC. After not hearing from MH370 at such time, HCM asked MH88 to radio MH370 and MH88 said they managed to establish contact at 17:30 UTC. The article did not say anything to the effect that the MH88 pilot reported the exchange to HCM ATC.

    Putting aside that this contact by MH88 was later confirmed by the authorities in their 6th media statement (see DCA/MAS website), the question for all the non believers is why would someone make up a detailed story like that, especially when he can be traced with minimal efforts?

    There was no reason for the pilot of MH88 to concoct a story, just like there was no reason for Mike McKay to concoct a story about seeing momentary flames on an object in the sky.

    It is ironic to find a member of the IG citing the Preliminary Report and its annex to support their case or argument. HCM ATC was recorded in the annex as having said 3 times that MH370 disappeared at or after BITOD. So does the IG now accept that MH370 was last seen at BITOD? If that is the case, it would mean a repudiation of the entire South Indian Ocean theory as it is not disputed that MH370 could not have reached MEKAR at 1822 UTC or the first ping ring at 1825 UTC, if it had flown to as far as BITOD.

  129. Brock McEwen said,

    February 3, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks, Alex. I disagree with you on #5 (that the burden of proof rests with the consensus view). You must provide proof that the battery WOULD power the pings. Until then, I’m not going to support your battery theory.

    I don’t think I’m being unfair: I myself am being held to the same standard in my attempts to get the investigators investigated. To me, the preponderance of evidence suggests clearly that search LEADERS for many months (at least) did NOT search in good faith, but the consensus view is something milder – so I need to provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Re: #21 (repeated as #25): I’m interested in this industry standard “+/- millisecond maximum”. Can you provide a link?

  130. Alex Siew said,

    February 3, 2015 at 7:48 pm


    1. The protocols are found in an ICAO document called “Manual For Aeronautical Mobile Satellite (Route) Service”. Part II of this manual concerns the Iridium system while Part III concerns the Inmarsat system.

    2. Clause of Part III reads as follows: “Burst timing. The beginning of each R channel burst shall occur within +/- 300 us [microseconds] of the beginning of an R channel slot defined by the received P channel superframe….”

    3. Clause reads as follows: ” Timing relative to the P channel. The beginning of each T channel burst shall occur within +/- 300 us [microseconds] of the beginning of the assigned T channel slot defined by the received P channel superframe….”.

    4. As regards frequency, Clause 4.2.2 reads as follows: ” The frequency of transmission from the aircraft earth station, as would be received at the satellite, shall not vary from the nominal channel frequency by more than +/-383 Hz due to all causes….”.

    5. Thus all Inmarsat AESs have to comply with the foregoing standards; the BTO cannot exceed +/- 300 us while the BFO cannot exceed +/- 383 Hz.

    6. Just like the BFO is not the raw Doppler but merely a residual or ‘offset’ after pre-compensation, the BTO is also not the raw timing but merely a residual or ‘offset’.

    7. Basically the AES receives from the P channel the time slot for the signal to come, the AES calculates how much time it would take for the signal to go from the AES to the satellite and fires off the signal to reach the time slot as specified.

    8. If the calculation is perfect, the signal would reach the time slot at exactly the time specified and the resultant BTO is zero.

    9. If the calculation is less than perfect and the signal arrives early, the difference in time of arrival and the time slot is the BTO which would be negative in this scenario and conversely positive if the signal arrives late.

    10. I have in previous comments shown that the definition of the BTO has gone through a process of mutation in the various reports by the authorities whereby it started out as corresponding to the definition given in the AMS(R)S Manual as an offset or residual but ended up as some sort of round trip timing value. Please scroll up to have a look at those comments.

    11. You can draw your own conclusions after reading the manual and my comments, whether the BTO values given in the Inmarsat datalog are necessarily bogus.

    12. This whole thing about the BTO and the arcs is nothing but a modern day version of the fable “The Emperor Has No Clothes”.

    13. Nobody really knows what the 5 digit all positive BTO readings in the Inmarsat datalog actually represent, not Dr Richard Cole, not Dr Bobby Ulich, not Dr Duncan Steel, not any other member of the IG.

    14. You will note JS is not having any success on Jeff’s blog on getting anyone to answer questions on this BTO. A similar valiant attempt by Skwosh some months back on Duncan’s blog was also met with a deafening silence.

  131. Alex Siew said,

    February 3, 2015 at 8:13 pm


    On the question of who bears the burden of proof in respect of the source of power for the pings, I humbly disagree for the following reasons:

    1. It is the authorities who are making the assumption, based on the pings, that the plane must have been flying at such time.

    2. It is not disputed the AES on MH370 had a battery.

    3. The power to transmit the pings could have come from primary power from the plane’s engines meaning the plane was flying then or from the battery meaning the plane could have crashed or landed by then.

    4. Since it is the authorities who are making the assumption from the pings that the plane was still flying, it is the authorities who bear the burden of proving that the battery could not have been the source of power for the pings.

    5. In addition, it is the authorities who have in their possession all the information about the power set up of the AES, not outsiders like me who are not in a position to know.

    6. It is a principle of the law of evidence that when those who have information relevant to a particular issue refuses to disclose such information, the presumption can be made that the information is adverse to their case.

  132. Alex Siew said,

    February 3, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Dear LGHamiltonUSA,

    1. MAS/DCA said on March 8th they ‘lost contact’ with MH370 at 2.40am or 1840 UTC.

    2. The next day MAS/DCA corrected themselves to say to the effect they last heard from MH370 at 1.30am or 1730 UTC. This statement was obviously in reference to the contact made by MH88 with MH370 with the timing of the statement indicating that by such time the pilot of MH88 had reported to his superiors the contact made.

    3. The record shows MAS attempted to call MH370 by satellite telephone at 1839 UTC or 2.39am.

    4. This call was unsuccessful and Don has done a paper saying this and the other satellite call at 2314 UTC did not even proceed to the stage of ringing.

    5. It could be that when MAS/DCA said they ‘lost contact’ with MH370 at 2.40am, they simply meant they could not contact the plane when they tried to call at that time.

    6. English is not the first language of most Malaysians so it would not be too suprising if that was what was meant by the person who came up with the phrase ‘lost contact’. After all, these are the people who could not even get the last few words spoken by the MH370 crew to KL ATC, right.

  133. Brock McEwen said,

    February 4, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    @Alex: I now understand your cause; I hope you already know about mine (trying to investigate the investigators). Your point #5 explains better than I ever could why…

    1) I shouldn’t join YOUR cause (because you DON’T have all the facts), &

    2) YOU should join MY cause (because you SHOULD have all the facts).

    Let’s please work together to get these investigators to turn out their pockets, so we can all find out for sure who was right.

  134. Alex Siew said,

    February 4, 2015 at 8:04 pm


    1. I do not have a cause other than to urge the authorities to conduct a proper search at the South China Sea where the plane disappeared.

    2. Please note I have never argued that the authorities should not search the South Indian Ocean.

    3. My point is simple: by all means search the SIO but at the same time the authorities should also search the South China Sea.

    4. Just do a proper search at the South China Sea like what was done for QZ8501.

    5. The South China Sea is relatively shallow, relatively close to land and a well organized search with the right personnel and equipment can be completed within a couple of months, at a far lower cost than what is being expended at the SIO.

    6. What is the argument against a proper search at the South China Sea?

    7. So far, no one has been able to come up with any.

    8. In my humble view, it is more productive to channel one’s energy to make the case for a search at the South China Sea, than to dwell into the reasons why the authorities have been shifting the search sites at the SIO.

    9. To begin with, we all know the SIO theory is bogus.

    10. Secondly, the authorities will have their excuses ready as to why they shifted the search from point A to B and from point B to C and so forth. Refinement of analysis, changing understanding of flight dynamics, different set of assumptions, new satellite pictures etc etc etc…….

  135. Alex Siew said,

    February 5, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Dear LGHamiltonUSA,

    You said on Twitter: “Why did H20 {Hishamuddin] waste time searching the South China Sea when he knew it wasn’t there?”

    1. The Malaysians were not the only ones searching that area.

    2. The Vietnamese also rushed to search the Gulf of Thailand/South China Sea.

    3. In addition to the Vietnamese and the Malaysians, the Americans also rushed over to the Gulf of Thailand/South China Sea.

    4. On March 8th at 8:13am MYT, 6 minutes before the last (partial) ping at 8:19am, the 7th Fleet issued a statement that USS Pinckney was ‘…en route to the southern coast of Vietnam to aid in the search efforts…’.

    5. On March 11th, in a phone interview with the New York Times, the 7th Fleet spokesman Commander William Marks said they thought the plane had crashed ‘just off the coast of Vietnam’.

    6. Why did the Vietnamese, the Malaysians, the Americans, the Thais and all the other nations rush to search that area in those first few days?

    7. The obvious answer is that they thought the plane had crashed there.

    8. No one saw MH370 turning back and crossing over Peninsular Malaysia in the direction of Penang.

    9. If MH370 had done so, it would have been picked up by radars in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, and possibly Singapore and Indonesia as well.

    10. The Malaysian military said that after MH370 disappeared from radar, a blip was later seen on their Butterworth radar heading to KL. Thailand military also later said something similar, that after MH370 disappeared, a blip was later seen on their Surat Thani radar heading to KL.

    11. This blip in all likelihood was CES 539, a China Eastern flight from Shanghai to KL.

    12. In any event, both the Malaysian military and the Thailand military had said this blip was heading to KL.

    13. So this blip cannot be the purported aircraft in Figure 2 of the ATSB Report which shows the purported aircraft heading towards Penang instead.

    14. Putting aside the complete lack of radar or satellite imagery evidence that MH370 had turned back, the air traffic controllers at Ho Chi Minh City were recorded as having said 3 times that night or early morning that MH370 was last observed at BITOD.

    15. If the plane had reached BITOD, it could not have made it to MEKAR by 1822 UTC or the first ping ring at 1825 UTC even if it had flown at maximum speed.

    16. In other words, the Inmarsat/South Indian Ocean theory is simply untenable, both in terms of evidence and the laws of physics.

    17. Instead of the question you posed, the real question is why is the ATSB searching the South Indian Ocean when they know the plane is not there.

  136. JS said,

    February 6, 2015 at 7:22 pm


    I see you are alive and well.

    Indeed, my questions on the BTO were not a popular topic. It appears that you and I have independently raised the question of the time slot as it relates to the BTO. My focus was the possibility that one or more of the BTOs could be tethered to the wrong time slot, perhaps by human interpretation, the way we assume an old Buick has 110,000 miles even though its 5-digit odometer only shows 10,000.

    I was not expecting to tone of the responses suggesting I was ignoring the laws of physics. Nonetheless, nobody has any obligation to answer a question they feel is a waste of time. So, here I am.

    From the answers I did receive, I got contradictions:
    1. Collisions are possible and result in a retry
    2. Collisions are not possible because time slots are arranged by the ground or the satellite.

    From another source, I’ve learned that R-channel is not collision proof, while T-channel is because the slots are always assigned. So, both 1 and 2 above could be accurate, just incomplete.

    Now, here’s the part in struggling with.
    3. Inmarsat’s paper says BTOs are measured from the beginning of the time slot
    4. Others say they are round trip.
    5. Your reference says the max is 300us and either positive or negative.

    Items 3 and 4 conflict, unless the time slot starts exactly when the ground starts the signal. Only then can the offset to the time slot start be the same as the round trip. However, under this scenario, much of the slot would be empty, and the BTO could never be under 300us as required.

    That’s where I’m struggling with these values. As far as I can tell, and let me know if you think otherwise, a slot is 125ms and an R packet is 33 bytes. Up to 5 packets could fit in a slot. However, the slot is smaller than the round trip time of 496ms, so the measured time can’t be both round trip and start-of-slot offset, because by the time the AES sent the signal it would be in the wrong slot.

    So, then I assume that the signal really is +/-300us from a slot boundary, and the AES waits for an upcoming slot, and sends the signal early enough that it hits +/-300us from the slot start time. That sounds efficient and reasonable, but that’s not what these BTOs look like. That also means there must be a mechanism that holds up a signal so it arrives at the scheduled time. The protocol wouldn’t work otherwise.

    That mechanism would either need to use 1) the plane’s location, 2) the last measured signal trip time or a pilot signal, or 3) a nominal terminal constant.

    So, let me just get your thoughts on #1 here. It is problematic because if the plane’s location is used to target the right slot, the BTO should always be near zero, the way the BFO is compensated (partially.) Logically, if the frequency is compensated to account for the location, why wouldn’t the timing also be compensated this way? And, if the frequency algorithm is broken because of 1) the software issue and 2) the satellite wobble, then wouldn’t the timing also be broken?

    But, the protocol rule you state (and I’ve also found) simply cannot work without a fairly accurate timing delay, OR the bandwidth is highly degraded and Inmarsat just deals with it.

    Your thoughts?

  137. Alex Siew said,

    February 8, 2015 at 7:14 pm


    You can find the answer to most of your questions in Part III of the Manual For Aeronautical Mobile Satellite (route) Service which contains a detailed description of the Inmarsat system, including various technical specifications.

    1. Collisions

    As stated in the Manual, R channel is random access slotted Aloha. Collisions are possible under Slotted Aloha.

    T channel is reservation TDMA. The GES reserves time slots for transmissions requested by the AES (for messages exceeding a certain length). If everything is working perfectly, there would not be any collisions for T channel transmissions.

    2. What is the BTO according to Inmarsat

    Please read how Inmarsat defined the BTO in the various reports (the Inmarsat datalog of May 27th, the ATSB Report of June 26th and the Inmarsat paper published in the Journal of Navigation). I have summarized in previous comments how Inmarsat has given different and inconsistent definitions for the BTO in the various reports. Please scroll up to to read those comments.

    3. The BTO as defined in the manual.

    I have also in previous comments quoted from the manual the provisions defining the BTO. Under the manual, the BTO is basically the difference between the timeslot defined by the P channel and the time the signal actually arrives and to be certified for Inmarsat system compliance, the BTOs for any AES cannot exceed +/- 300 microseconds.

    4. The BTO in the Inmatsat datalog is bogus.

    Contrary to the manual, the BTOs in the datalog exceed 10,000 microseconds. So that is the first sign these BTOs values are not burst timing offsets as such but some other values, or just mere fabrications.

    You will note from my comments analysing the various definitions of the BTO given by the Inmarsat, that any attempt to portray the BTO as some sort of round trip figure is just plain bogus.

    Firstly, the BTO as defined in the manual can be both negative and positive. If the signal arrives early it is negative, if it arrives late it is positive or vice versa. An RTT value by definition can only be positive. So the BTO under the manual cannot be referring to an RTT value.

    Secondly, what sort of signal are we talking about that went round trip? is there any signal in the Inmarsat datalog that went on a round trip? If u can detect one, please let me know.

    5. How does the AES minimize the BTO?

    The system would be considered to be working perfectly if each time the signal arrives just at the right time ie at the timeslot specified, in other words, zero BTO. How would an AES try to minimize the BTO? Basically by calculating the propagation delay ie the time it would take the signal to travel from the AES to the satellite to hit the timeslot just in time.

    How is the propagation delay calculated by the AES on MH370? I do not know for sure but logic would suggest it is a closed loop system like the compensation for the Doppler whereby the AES would calculate the propagation delay from information derived from the IRS via the AIMS, the same information used to calculate the Doppler correction ie the position, speed, track etc of the plane at any point in time.

    If the IRS datalink was lost due to whatever reasons, the AES would not be able to calculate the propagation delay (or the Doppler). The resultant BFOs and BTOs would just be a function of the movement and velocity of the satellite, which is exactly what we see in the data.

    By the way, when the ‘final arc’ was announced on March 15th (prior to the discovery of the partial ping), Inmarsat had said the arc was calculated from the signal’s angle of elevation. No mention of anything about BTOs then.

    Anyone who has read the manual would know one cannot use the BTO as defined in the manual, to calculate the distance between the AES and the satellite. It would appear all the experts have so far failed to read the manual or are suffering from a collective case of wilful blindness. In either case, these self professed experts are guilty of, in the words of someone on Jeff’s blog, HELPING TO SELL A LIE.

  138. JS said,

    February 9, 2015 at 12:52 am

    Alex – I did read your comments, and the manual. You’re absolutely right about the changed definitions.

    The inconsistencies in official documentation leave a lot of room for rampant speculation, so of course I could be way off base here. But I come to the following conclusions:

    1. The BTO is not round trip. There is no timing of any message, as you said, that would generate a round trip. The P channel sends a request, and the R channel sends a response. The gap between them is much more than round trip time.

    2. The BTO is not start-of-slot offset, unless the system is way off the protocol and has hopelessly degraded bandwidth.

    3. The elevation angles are something of a mystery – if the times were really the raw data, why were elevation angles ever needed? They are not a necessary step in the sequence time values – LOS distance – sub satellite position – lat/long. That elevation angles were presented suggests that they were recorded, but I’m not sure how that’s possible. It is very odd how fast they disappeared from the discussion.

    4. Though I don’t know anything about the hardware, it seems only logical that the time offset was also minimized just like the frequency offset. Minimizing either one improves bandwidth, and the inputs needed to make adjustments are identical. Considering the fact that the protocol appears to limit the BTO, one would think the same mechanism would be in play.

    All of this leads me to wonder if the BTOs are a function only of the satellite’s deviation from 64.5/0. That both BTO and BFO correlate to the satellite movement certainly shores up this idea. However, these numbers don’t quite fit – among other things they are inverted as they are lowest at the northernmost sat position. Any ideas here?

  139. JS said,

    February 9, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Alex – you have probably already seen this (or even commented on it) and I think it further underscores some of our points.


    If you read this carefully, and treat the word “error” as “BTO,” you’ll find that it matches the paradigm you and I are describing perfectly. Basically, what the protocol manual calls BTO, the above document calls an “error.” The values, of course, have a mean of 0, can be either positive or negative, and always fall within +/-300us. The deviations, as expected, come from movement, presumably between the time the signal is sent and the time it is received.

    Note that NOWHERE in this document are the words “bias” or “nominal terminal” used. In other publications, that bias had to be derived, so it theoretically wasn’t known when the values were stored. Had it been known prior to storage, we wouldn’t be dealing with “offsets” but with the full round trip time. It would not need to be derived as an average. It could simply be added back in.

    The inconsistencies are so irreconcilable that it almost looks like there are two groups working separately here.

    One group (the December article) appears to be discussing values that are +/-100us, measured from the start of a time slot. This is in keeping with the spec and strongly suggests timing compensation is occurring. This group is calling their values “errors,” but they appear to match the specification’s BTO concept.

    The other group is discussing mysterious 5-digit numbers that are supposedly the round trip time minus some arbitrary bias that nobody knew until they averaged a bunch of numbers. This group is calling their values “offsets” but it’s not at all clear when they became “offset” or what they are offset from.

  140. Alex Siew said,

    February 9, 2015 at 9:11 pm


    1. “…these numbers don’t quite fit- among other things, they are inverted as they are lowest at the northernmost sat position…”. The numbers would make perfect sense if the AES was just off the coast of Vietnam at all times during the pings.

    2. There is an interesting paper by Cisco on various geolocation techniques, a link to which can be found in the PhysicsForum blog on MH370. The techniques covered in that paper include angle of elevation of the signal.

    3. According to the CNN article referred to in my previous comments regarding the calculation of the arc from the angle of elevation, the angle of elevation would be recorded as the satellite needed to know where a signal was coming from. I do not know how true this statement is. Wouldn’t it have been easier for the AES to just report its location if indeed location information was required?

    4. My own thinking is that the pings were picked up by more than one satellite.

    5. One has to remember the Malaysians announced at 2324 UTC that the plane had gone missing.

    6. The entire intelligence community would then be on full alert if not already so.

    7. I find it difficult to believe that Inmarsat and other satellite agencies did not do anything after the announcement, to try to track any signals coming from the AES.

    8. We all know by now such signals would be carrying its special ID code identifying them as coming from the AES on MH370.

    9. The ‘final arc’ published on March 15th was derived from the ping at 0011 UTC, which is 47 minutes after the Malaysians’ announcement.

    10. It may have been calculated based on its angle of elevation as Inmarsat said or from triangulation techniques based on detection of the signal by 2 or more satellites.

    11. Obviously if it was a case of the latter, Inmarsat cannot come out and say so as that would mean having to admit they actually know where the plane was at such time ( the actual location, not just an arc).

    12. The idea that the signals emitted by the AES from 1825 to 0019 UTC and there were exactly 100 such signals, were picked up only by the Inmarsat IOR satellite and no other satellite, defies logic.

  141. JS said,

    February 10, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Alex – elevation angles are still problematic because they appear to the angle from the plane’s perspective, but even then only if the plane is facing 64.5/0 and in level flight. The satellite wouldn’t know this, nor would it care.

    To your first point, I wouldn’t argue that your scenario is impossible, only that the numbers don’t make sense for ANY scenario. Here’s the timeline as I see it:

    T1 – ground initiates request on P channel
    T2 – AES receives request on P
    T3 – Start of AES response on R channel
    T4 – Possible receipt of request at ground on R channel
    T5 – R channel time slot begins
    T6 – Possible receipt of request at ground on R channel

    Ground logs show time stamps for T1s and either T4s or T6s.

    According to the spec, BTO or error would be measured as either T4-T5 (negative, early arrival, >-300us), or T6-T5 (positive, late arrival, <300us). The time between T2 and T5 would he arbitrary. Logs show T6-T1 and or T4-T1 to be several seconds, so T5-T2 must also be several seconds and cannot merely be travel time. In other words, the AES is told to respond in a time slot far enough in advance. The AES chooses T3 so that the signal arrives as close to T5 as possible.

    In this scheme, there is no round trip measurement available from the signal times. Round trip could be determined if the AES communicated T2 and T3 back to the GES in the packet, as it would be (T2-T1)+(T4orT6-T5). But, this would contradict the stated use of the signal block start time. If round trip was calculated this way, it would not be stored as an offset except possibly as an offset from some clearly defined number like 500,000 or a power of 2 like 524,288.

    So, where do we get a 5 digit BTO? That is my theory – we cannot possibly have a 5 digit BTO unless one of the following is true:

    1) The "bias" value is known prior to logging, AND T2 and T3 are available at the time of logging (which means the packet must be read before its receipt is logged)
    2) The responses are arriving way off spec relevant to the signal block times
    3) The BTOs are not raw values from a log but the product of significant manipulation or a merge with data received later.

    Does that sound right?

  142. Alex Siew said,

    February 12, 2015 at 8:11 pm


    The 5 digit BTO values in the Inmarsat datalog are fraudulent and only those perpetrating the fraud would know where those numbers came from.

    Inmarsat would be recording on their logs the BFOs and BTOs. As we have seen, the BFOs cannot exceed +/- 383Hz while the BTOs cannot exceed +/-300 microseconds. Obviously, Inmarsat took out the actual BTOs recorded for flight MH370 and substituted the real numbers with the 5 digit numbers we see in the datalog.

    As regards the geolocation technique using angle of elevation, the paper by Cisco previously referred to (and other reference materials available on the net) describe how this technique works. The question is whether Inmarsat would be recording the angle of elevation as part of the routine or whether this information can be extracted or calculated after the fact from other information recorded routinely.

    The closest thing to a round trip signal in the datalog would probably be the completed handshakes where the GES would send a ‘Log-on/Log-off Interrogation’ and the AES would reply by transmitting a ‘Log-on/Log-off Acknowledge’. The 4 completed handshakes at 19.41, 20.41, 21.41 and 22.14 UTC show a time difference between the signal from the GES and the corresponding reply from the AES of 1.996 seconds, 1.997 seconds, 1.998 seconds and 1.999 seconds respectively.

  143. JS said,

    February 12, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks Alex. Round trips would be .5 seconds, of course. Nevertheless I find it interesting that the times are consistent yet increasing by ~1000us. Best I can tell, that time difference is much smaller than the smallest signal block (125,000us?) and larger than the 300us “real” BTO limit.

  144. JS said,

    February 12, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Alex – it looks like the 5th handshake is also valid, yes? And yet that signal took only 1.928 seconds, despite theoretically being further away. What do you make of that?

    You may also note that with rare exception, one 10.5 kb/s P channel transmits at .405 and .905 after the second. The other transmits at .407 and .907. Slots are power of 2 fractions of a second, suggesting slots start 1/2 second apart from each other.

    On the way back, times *roughly* land around the same .405 or .905s, but +/- 2000us. The consistency of the received times suggest, as expected, that the signals were released with a particular target receipt time in mind. The +/- 2000us suggests that it’s not that accurate and maybe the +/-300us isn’t applicable here.

    I think it’s worth emphasizing that the round trip time on the handshakes are much larger than an actual round trip, yet not necessarily longer as the plane got further away. Further, the by-design delay between the AES receipt of the log-on interrogation and the AES response is unreported and unknown to us, but is also unrelated to the distance.

    I’m still not seeing where a five-digit value like 18040 fits in this timeline. For the record, I don’t it’s made up, I just don’t think it’s a BTO from the log.

  145. Alex Siew said,

    February 13, 2015 at 1:27 am


    Re the 5th handshake, the only thing I could think of is that there were some intervening signals between the 4th and 5th handshakes with the result that the 5th handshake was 1.5 hours after the 4th. How that would affect the time difference between the interrogation and reply, if at all, I do not know.

    Unfortunately, those who understand how these things work, the real experts, have not come forward to expose these fraudulent BTO numbers and hold Inmarsat to account. Instead, the pseudo experts pretended they understood these numbers and embarked on an orgy of flight path modelling on these fake numbers. Some on Jeff’s blog are still hard at it, apparently.

    Personally I doubt any real expert or whistleblower will come forward. They would have in mind the sudden demise of the satellite operator, among other things, Mike Exner’s assurance that it was unrelated notwithstanding.

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