MH370 - not really a mystery (25 Aug 2018 update  - #30 below)

A canvas of the possibilities, culminating in an exposition (see entry #11 below in main text, et seq)

on the likely sudden developments aboard Malaysian Flight MH370

https://bit.ly/2J1mR8U

Precursors and Precedents are always the tell-tale arbiter

1

this document:  (correspondent feedback is at the bottom of this document)

http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2

2

Executive Summary (downloadable Word Document) è

http://tinyurl.com/gqpnwcn

3

Short Synopsis:

http://tinyurl.com/lh7sv2g

3a An Alternative Ignition Source (#1)

http://tinyurl.com/jbswxq7

3b An Alternative Ignition Source (#2)  and (#3) Flt Deck and cabin oxy hose fires
4

A Further Dissection of MH370:

http://tinyurl.com/qz5f9au

5

An Oxygen Flare time-line

http://tinyurl.com/otpncea

6

That Tell-Tale helical Spring

http://tinyurl.com/p4ncpf9

7

Filling in the 777 Blanks

http://tinyurl.com/omh3qc9

8

Downloads - videos

http://tinyurl.com/pew2bot

9

Downloads - imagery / pdf etc

http://tinyurl.com/nvgseqv

10

Notices of Proposed Rule-making for Boeing and Bombardier oxygen hose fires

http://tinyurl.com/odp5v52

11 Losing and Regaining Satellite Comms - The SDU Quandary and Solution http://tinyurl.com/j24f5ac
12

That Audio Select Panel's electrical short (in prior O2 fires)

http://tinyurl.com/ovhgnpy

13 August 2016 - AD proposes removal of electrically conductive oxygen hoses from 777-200 and -300 pax compartment due to a propensity to catch fire. http://tinyurl.com/hse8bq3
14 A Lectromec Solicitation (...a burnt piece of MH370 interior panel is found)

http://tinyurl.com/hd3awyv

15 The Oil-Rig Worker's sighting and the phenomena of nocturnal "empty field myopia"

link + link

16 In support of the MH370 Oxygen Flash Fire Theory (Deflagration to Detonation Transition link)

link

17 MS804 -Egyptair A320 (Oxygen fire? You be the judge)

The MS804 Back-Story?

link 1

link 2

18 The ABX Air 767 Oxygen Fire http://tinyurl.com/ybwmf25o
19 One Surprising 777 Oxygen AD - another Unraveller http://tinyurl.com/y7j3e99z
20 More Airliner Oxygen Fire Airworthiness Directives (2018 variety) https://tinyurl.com/yd55xqf7
21 An Official Conspectus of Airliner Fires

download link

22 Nefertiti on fire Video of SU-GBP Cairo fire
23 Yet another LP Oxygen hose fire AD (link) released 15 May 2018. Note also that Inaccessible Aircraft Fires regs didn't apply to the 777 (exempted - link). 777Crew oxygen Bottle (wiring beneath)

and permanently banned (link) again from Pprune with posts deleted.... for drawing attention to it - all threads padlocked (link)

AD 2018-09-12 with commentary

expunged Pprune post (link)

24 Deflagration to Detonation Transition (The Tech Term for an Inflight Flash Fire in an Oxygen Enrichment Environment)

link

25 You just never know what's happening under your feet

link

26 The Oil-Rig Worker's Sighting (valid or invalid?)

link

27 French BEA Finding is that a Cockpit fire quickly took down A320 Flt MS804 in the Mediterranean

link

28 An Inquiry into Deflagration to Detonation Explosions (to TSB of Canada)

link

29 French Review of Malaysian Final Report on Mh370 (downloadable MsWord docx)

link

30 The 777 was excluded from some Important Fire Protection Measures (.htm document)

link

image of SU-GBP aftermath

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/Nefertiti.png

SU-GBP

Destroyed by oxygen flare fire on the Cairo Airport Ramp on 29-07-2011

see  http://tinyurl.com/oju5gyt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EgyptAir_Flight_667

INTRODUCTION

The interpretation (and relevance to MH370) of a much earlier destructive B777 oxygen-initiated cockpit fire accident on the ground at Cairo on 29 July 2011.
(Final official Accident Report on Egyptair's 777-200 SU-GBP is at:  http://tinyurl.com/lxg34rl  ). The identical precursor ground accident (to SU-GBP) was the earlier destruction of a Boeing 767 (N799AX) on the ramp at San Francisco on 28 June 2008. Both accidents were found to have had an identical cause. Only the fact that nobody was killed in either accident kept them low profile.

That 2011 accident has been extrapolated by me to an airborne scenario in this document - i.e. as it may have happened aboard MH370. A number of vital differences that would have been manifested by an airborne oxygen flare fire occurrence are addressed. Many (if not most - or even all) of the present mystery surrounding known developments aboard MH370 have been explained by the author (an ex P3 Orion pilot, ATPL licence-holder and one-time Editor-in-Chief of Air Safety Week, a PBI Media publication). The author questions why the FAA Airworthiness Directive stemming from the Cairo fire findings was not punched out to global airlines (and made mandatory for US airlines) until more than a month after the MH370 loss. The US NTSB had already criticised the American FAA for not acting to address the known cause of the 767 fire in their 2009 published report. Did this serious anomaly act further to down MH370? It would appear so, as the known facts of an airborne occurrence match the probable circumstances of the MH370 loss scenario - quite exactly, in fact precisely. On 07 Sep 2016 MH370 Researcher Blaine Gibson turned over to the ATSB a burnt interior panel from MH370. It's being called a "game-changer".

This March 2014-dated document is an in-depth examination of the MH370 downing. It examines and discards other MH370 theoretical possibilities and explanations in favour of a final airborne-themed variation of the much earlier SU-GBP and N799AX oxygen flare fires on the ramp in Cairo and in San Francisco. It examines the differences wrought by the airborne cruise height environment and in particular the depressurization that would've been caused by the sort of oxy-blowtorch rupture of a pressurized hull -a holing that was seen on both SU-GBP and N799AX (see those reports for the graphic imagery - to be seen above and here and here). One of the most relevant aspects of the treatise is in examining the likely effect of a non-incendiary, very short-lived and self-extinguishing oxygen flare fire upon the omni-present plastics on the modern flight-deck (illuminated push-buttons, dissimilar plastic button housings, keypads (and their surrounds), screens, console surfaces and thermally actuated circuit-breakers).... with the emphasis on distortion of these plastics and compromise of their functionality - rather than flammability and toxicity.

It's also instructive to point out that the 777 sported electric relays (as against magnetically latched relays). These electric relays are far more likely to be affected by an oxygen flash-fire's depredations of the electrical system than are magnetically latched relays. This further supports the contention that there are many more vulnerabilities in a modern plastic cockpit with its preponderance of plastics (switches, keypads and screens) - in comparison with the old school metal switchologies. Electric relays replacing magnetically latched relays was a new initiative by Boeing and was first introduced on the B717 (just prior to the 777's advent). If you "cook" certain modern electrical components for a short period (of a flash-over fire) and they thermally trip, that "trip" can also be self-resetting upon cool-down - and bring subsidiary systems back to an online status. That is inferred in this ATSB official document referred to here.

Automatic stability systems (777)

Fly-by-wire control systems allow the 777's aircraft computers to perform tasks without pilot input. Automatic stability systems operate in this way. Gyroscopes fitted with sensors are mounted in the aircraft to sense movement changes in the pitch, roll and yaw axes. Any movement (from straight and level flight for example) results in signals to the computer, which automatically moves control actuators to stabilize the aircraft

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fly-by-wire

This examination also conveys vitally relevant observations on the unique-to-777 active flight control system (AFCS) and the relevance of the ITCZ's weather (and/or orographic turbulence at lower levels) upon MH370's post-turnback flight-path (i.e. its various stage-by-stage turns, or rather, course changes - once NW of the Malay Peninsular). Even if the active flight control system's ability to maintain wings level is refuted, it remains the case that a 777 on autopilot. with or without heading and baro hold. blundering into a heavy cloud build-up will end up spat out on some other heading.... at some other height and will recover itself. The aileron roll circuitry is programmed to respond correctively to anything that's not a pilot input.

The link to this theory is tabbed at #11 at address  http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2  (Document also contains a compendium of links to other explanatory prior forum posts on the same theme that have been expunged from the Professional Pilots forum - www.pprune.org). #1 to #10 at this tinyurl link (and hereunder) is a dismissal (for various reasons) of other possible widely publicised theories.

Pprune is a well-known aviation themed forum purchased in recent times from its British airline pilot owner/initiator/moderator and now operated by a US-based professional media monitoring and moderation company on behalf of vested airline and industry interests. The Pprune moderators' speciality is now notably in quietly vetting, suppressing and deleting key material  - and accomplishing this by surreptitiously banning posters whose technical knowledge and theories are too incisive or of proprietary concern to its proxy forum owners (i.e. aspects of accidents not to be promoted  publicly). The fact that this MH370 theory has been actively expunged on numerous occasions (and its poster banned by the Pprune truth-police) gives this theory great credence and credibility. Criminalization of pilots and/or unlawful interference is a much-favoured proposition for the industry  - for obvious reasons it can derail litigation costs. However a large-scale calamity based upon a prior accident and subsequent industry and regulatory inactivity is hopefully not as "containable" as they would wish. The oxygen flare theory contains the logically derived answers being sought .... firmly based upon the precedent losses of a 767 in 2008 and a 777 in 2011.

MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur at 16:42 UTC on March 8, 2014 on a scheduled flight to Beijing, China. According to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the agency leading the search for the plane, MH370’s flight path includes three distinct sections: 1. an initial stage after takeoff in which the aircraft was under secondary radar, the transponder was operational, and ACARS messages were being transmitted; 2. a second stage in which onboard communications equipment were no longer working and the plane was only being tracked by military radar; and 3. a final stage in which the only available information on the flight’s path comes from satellite communications log data. At 17:07, the aircraft transmitted its final automatic ACARS message, which included the weight of the fuel remaining on board. The flight crew’s last radio contact with Malaysian air traffic control occurred at 17:19 and then MH370 lost contact with air traffic control during a transition between

Typically, the aircraft transmits a “log-on” request in order to connect to the satellite communications system and this is acknowledged by the ground station. Once connected, if the ground station has not heard from the aircraft within an hour, it will check that the connection is still operational by transmitting a “log-on interrogation” using the aircraft’s unique identifier. If the aircraft receives this information, it returns a short message—the handshake— reassuring that it is still logged on to the network.

 Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace at 17:22. At 18:22, Malaysian military radar tracked MH370 flying northwest along the Strait of Malacca; this was the final radar data indicating the airplane’s position. After disappearing from military radar, MH370’s satellite communications system exchanged seven signaling messages—also referred to as “handshakes”with the ground station, a satellite over the Indian Ocean, and the aircraft’s satellite communications from 18:25 until 00:19.27. According to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the final signaling message, a log-on request from the aircraft, indicated a power interruption on board that may have been caused by an exhausted fuel supply. At 01:15, MH370 did not respond to the signaling message from the ground station. Using the handshake data to determine that it continued to fly for several hours after disappearing from radar and estimates of the aircraft’s range based on the fuel quantity included in the final ACARS message, investigators placed MH370’s final location somewhere in Australia’s search and rescue region on an arc in the southern Indian Ocean. The current phase of the search is focused on an area of approximately 60,000 square kilometers.

http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-443

Scientific mathematical and logician attempts to resolve the present sea-bed location of 9M-MRO by applying esoteric math and nebulous projections of its likely average speed etc are not much more than aeronautical proselytism. There is no precision in that satellite-based religion when it is evident that the whimsy of wind and an unknown power-setting and height/configuration (etc) plus a random averaging heading of an autopilotless flight control system was guiding MH370 every which way but down - until its fuel was exhausted. The very best we can say with some surety is that it was tracking generally south and gradually climbing as its fuel burnt off and all-up weight reduced. There is a cogent explanation as to why it was finally southbound. It's disclosed in this document and its links. Passenger and crew immobility would have assisted that process of continued flight by zeroing out any trim changes at all in pitch. The cautionary tale in all this is that a modern aircraft not on autopilot can meander left and right of track once in an unguided "ghost-flight" mode - following pilot death due to their life-affording oxygen depletion via an oxy flare-fire and  their consequent desperate (but soon death-thwarted) attempt to do the right thing by initiating entry into a descent toward breathable air levels.

The final arbiter is always going to be hypoxia and an asphyxia death whichever way you try and re-compute this scenario. In this equation of inaction following the stark Cairo event's pointer towards the lethal airborne potentials, there was always going to be a quandary denominator - as per the Helios 737 ghost-flight from Cyprus to Athens. When there's a 2008 precursor to a 2011 precedent, you have to wonder about questions of responsibility, culpability and liability for any ensuing accident.

So for the full story of a likely MH370 explanation, be sure to read on - note #11 in particular - and examine the links hereunder. Points-list prior to #11 simply emphasize the improbability of any alternate propositions.

Note: It is interesting to compare the distinct parallels between the disappearance of MH370 and the fate of the crew of the Mary Celeste (see "Vapour emission from barrels of alcohol" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Celeste). The main theory behind the crew's Dec 1872 abandonment in mid-Atlantic of the Mary Celeste was a vapour explosion caused by nine barrels of alcohol seeping their contents into the cargo hold and violently blowing the fwd hatch (but without any resulting fire - it was a pressure-wave explosion - see DDT later). 9 of the 1701 barrels of alcohol in the hold were found to be empty, these 9 barrels being made of red oak (and not white oak - as were the others). Red oak was porous, prone to seepage and could easily emit vapours. It was assumed that the one missing lifeboat had been boarded by the 10 persons aboard and that the hawser found parted and trailing the vessel astern was more than a simple clue, it was tell-tale evidence, i.e. that the captain had ordered the vessel temporarily abandoned after the hatch had blown violently. However whilst they waited safely (astern under tow) to see if the dangerous (obviously leaking) cargo of alcohol would detonate, the hawser parted as the ship entered a squall and overstressed the inadequate tow-line. The violence of the cargo hold's forward hatch explosion was evidenced by a deep gouge in the vessel's hand-railing. The facts and the clues proved sufficient to wholly unravel that mystery - eventually. It's unlikely that MH370 will ever be found in the vastness of the Southern Ocean so a sufficient solution to this enigma must lie in the sum of the antecedent probabilities. Sufficient precedents and pointers exist for a conclusion to be reached. The eventual Mary Celeste solution was arrived at by considering the evidence, especially the history of red oak barrel explosions.

Causation

Proposition

Supposition

Deposition

Implausible

 

1

Bombing (in the MEC)

(Main Electrical Load Centre beneath cockpit)

popular and populist paranoia based upon prior experiences

 - favoured by media, airlines and a wealth of anti-terrorist experts - but likely would have disabled the aircraft and caused a crash in situ, not a continued apparently-controlled flight over many hours.

2

Hijacking

popular and populist paranoia based upon (and biased by) recent disastrous experiences

 - ongoing developments would likely have revealed such a scenario for what it was (although a more sophisticated hijacker may have elected to perpetuate the enigma via non-disclosure). No passenger with terrorist or similar propensities has been identified.

3

Catastrophic failure

loss of control / in-flight damage without break-up

- in cruise flight in the absence of severe weather or turbulence, this is an extremely improbable eventuality unworthy of further consideration.

4

Systems Failure along AF447 lines

a vital SYSTEM or air data sensor failure leading to a loss of control

- normally icing/ turbulence or weather associated - not a factor here. Not an AF447 type scenario.

5

Pilot suicide/fratricide/homicide

almost always related to financial, marital, political, religious or desperate and terminal personal health/medical issues

- no such personal or religious/political  issues have been identified in relation to flight-crew or non-technical crew aboard

Improbable

 

6

Fire and smoke event

B787 Lithium Ion (installed and cargo) battery fires have raised awareness of electrical fire issues that are spontaneous and almost impossible to quench.

- but cargo hold and cabin fires have always allowed flight-crews to communicate their plight well before calamity strikes. e.g. SAA 747 Combi in 1987- and many others.

7

Pilot Incapacitation

mutual (pact or conflict)

a quite unlikely circumstance

8

Loss of pressurization

Loss of pressurization issues have normally been associated with pressurization system component failure or crew error in the climb to height - not whilst stable in the cruise....

...and alarms have permitted crews to correct the problem and communicate to ATC their follow-up actions (such as an emergency descent). Hull rupture is in a different category of pressurization failure.

9

Insidious Decompression

Due pressurized airframe cracking and leakage

.. but unlikely except in the case of a large hull fracture due to cracking/corrosion

Possible

leading to a fatal depressurization scenario

10

Explosive decompression

Due Hull opening up / outflow valves opening (electro-pneumatically controlled)

...but doors cannot be opened in-flight and cabin windows are also plug-type and multi-layered - however there was an Airworthiness Directive related  to empennage cracking in the vicinity of the ACARS antenna - just forward of the vertical fin

Probable

 

*11

Explosive decompression due to an oxygen flare fire (and its blowtorch effect on the adjacent hull at source)

Due hull burn-through resulting from a cockpit oxygen flare fire and (at inflamed leak source) a quick blow-torch penetration of the hull - likely inside 60 seconds. Such fires (involving sudden oxygen flare) have distinctive characteristics. Airborne, at high altitude, they are quite short-lived conflagrations and in no way incendiary i.e. their effects are restricted to instantly high (but quickly abating) temperatures, superficial scorching of enriched oxygen "wetted" surfaces and functional compromise of plastic push-buttons (due distortion of their housing surrounds, other low melting point componentry such as LED screens and keypads, thermal circuit breaker actuations etc). Many electrical circuits (and associated avionics) would be "taken out" by the heat's effect on flare-exposed plastic push-buttons (together with their internal illuminated placarding). However, unlike avionics systems (environmental, comm and nav related), the airplane's fundamental functions (thrust and primary flight controls) would/could be unaffected (due multi-path redundancy and non-exposure). The Cairo fire was caused by an electrical short to the helically wound internal stiffener wire that afforded rigidity, preventing hose-kinking and flow restrictions to the low pressure oxygen concertina hose leading to the first officer's regulator.  The stiffener wire was unfortunately and inexplicably electrically conductive. Boeing's Service Bulletin (SB) was not mandated by an FAA Airworthiness Directive for US 777 and operators of most other Boeing types until well after MH370 disappeared (i.e. circa mid April) and, in any case, the proprietary Boeing SB resulting from the Egyptair event was believed to be a proto-typical under-response of "inspect and report" (only). There would appear to have never been any imaginative interpretations or prognostications of what might have happened in-flight (if such a chafed wiring initiated oxygen flash-fire should occur).

This entire oxygen flash-fire theory is being actively quashed by the proxy owners of the Pprune.org professional pilots forum by a very deliberate program of permanently (but discreetly and not publicly) banning thread-posters  - immediately applied to any-one who puts it forward or refers to it obliquely. The bannings have been very widespread and mainly involve responsible long-term experienced posters (i.e. a preponderance of concerned professional pilots and engineers). The new covert owners of Pprune are a consortium of industry vested interests -and the prime purpose/tasking of their paid forum operators Internet Brands Inc (i.e. paid censorial moderators) would appear to be to actively (but surreptitiously) suppress any forum postings considered to be deleterious to the airline and industry interests that they covertly represent. The spate of disappearing posts on the MH370 thread would appear to point to Boeing being the active conspirator (rather than Airbus). i.e. the prior (but similar) Air France Flt 447 thread was apparently unaffected by this active vetting and culling. The very well-known and successful Pprune.org forum was bought a few years back, for a very considerable sum, from its original owner and operator/chief moderator Captain Pprune (aka Captain Danny Fynne - an active airline pilot). Fair game or sneaky and reprehensible? In similar fashion, the Pprune mods are deleting references to the fact that access to the cavernous 777 Main Electrical Load Centre (the "MEC") is totally insecure - both in-flight from the pax cabin and on the ground (from the tarmac). Why? Because the legacy access design on 747-400's and 777's is pre-911 and it'd be too expensive to rectify this security anomaly. This situation has been compared to a body armour vest with a missing 3" diameter aperture to directly access the heart (front and back).

 

Due to a sudden oxygen flare fire in the cockpit - based upon at least two vital identical Precedent... (per the Egyptair 777-200 SU-GBP destroyed on the ramp in Cairo on 29 July 2011 and 767 N799AX destroyed on the ramp in San Francisco on 28 June 2008 - see NTSB Report at tinyurl.com/nml93ap ). See tinyurl link tinyurl.com/mwnfn3s for the official report of the Egyptair 777 ramp fire and the considerable differences /outcomes that could be reasonably expected if the equivalent oxygen flare fire was to happen in-flight at cruise altitude. The Cairo and SFO ramp-fires weren't blown out by ingress of a high-speed airflow after their hull burn-throughs  and thus the SU-GBP and N799AX cockpit fires "caught" and their flightdecks were burnt out....due to the fire-crew's prioritisation of evacuating personnel. See graphic cockpit hole imagery in links. Other examples of ramp oxygen fires include a CRJ-200 (Canada) and a SCAT 737. These also sport the characteristic hull burnthrough.

The underlying premise of this theory is that a high altitude fire would quickly be extinguished by hull burn-through and instant oxygen depletion via the consequent depressurization outflows. Prior to hull rupture, pressurization differential pressures would assist blowtorch weakening of the adjacent hull, speeding up the hull rupture (i.e. accelerate the hull burn-through via the oxygen blowtorch at the pilot's side-console leak source). An oxygen enrichment inspired DDT (see later) would complete the hull rupture.

777 has electrically latched relays rather than magnetically latched relays. These were first introduced with the very modernised and novel electrical system of the Boeing 717. However it's correct to say that electrically latched relays are more vulnerable to the facsimile "EMP" of an oxygen flash-fire. This fact tends to underpin the contention that plastics (switches, keypads and screens) of a modern flight-deck are much more sensitive to a transitory flash-fire (in comparison to the old school technologies of metal toggle-switches).

Two types of rogue oxygen hoses figure in the electrically conductive anti-kink


"The aircraft was found to differ from Boeing's design in that a clamp supporting the first officer's wiring to the oxygen mask light panel was missing. The wiring was not sleeved and a large loop of unsupported wire was found. The investigation determined that about 280 aircraft including all of Egyptair's Boeing 777s were delivered that way."

 wiring concerns. The original type simply had an internal helical spring inside the full length of the hose. The second had the conductive spring inserted into the hose wall (i.e. internalized, between two layers of hose). Unfortunately this proved to be no solution as the spring's cut ends only had to make contact at either end to provide a heating element (once shorted out) over the length of the hose.

Finding: "contact between aircraft wiring and oxygen system components may be possible if multiple wire clamps are missing or fractured or if wires are incorrectly installed.". SU-GBP investigators also found that, inside the F/O's side console, an unsupported and unclamped wiring loop existed across all 777 builds. It was an ex-factory oversight that was contrary to the Boeing specs, and likely to have been rectified by a non-urgent "all operators letter" (S.I.L), pointing it out as a simple discrepancy and with the inference that it should be rectified. Unsupported wiring was found by the FAA's Wiring ATSRAC (Aging Transport Systems Rulemaking Advisory Committee) to be the main cause of chafing leading to arcing and short-circuits.

Justifications

 

A

Oxygen flare fire ( short initiated by wiring insulation flaw)

Flare-up duration of 10 to 15 seconds (or 25 to 30 seconds at most) until oxygen exhausted, hull rupture or leak blocked by melting surrounds at the leak.

Unlike the Cairo incident, the flare-up would've been quickly terminated by oxygen-bottle exhaustion/loss of oxygen-enriched cockpit atmosphere due to hull burn-through outflows (see Egyptair 777 imagery).

B

Effect upon pilots and their subsequent failure/inability to communicate with ATC or other aircraft.

Pilot immediate disablement would be dependent upon whether both were seated or in the flight-deck. Instinctively averting one's face from the point-source flash-fire might avoid instant incapacitation for the pilot on the opposite side of the cockpit - yet spectacles would be protective but rendered useless. A surviving pilot's reaction would have instinctively been to initiate a turn-back heading bug selection - and then later, upon hearing the depressurization aural alarm, initiating an autopilot disconnect and a yoke-forward nose-down descent, prior to passing out due to hypoxia. It's instructive that in the Apollo 11 fire, the last communication from inside the capsule came 27 seconds after the fire was reported (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_1). Once the MH370 pilot had passed out due hypoxia and relaxed the forward pressure on his yoke, the aircraft's dive energy and out-of-trim state would have permitted a nose-high zoom-climb to height, whereupon it would have stalled and recovered itself. Such a manoeuvre was detected on military radar. Any instinctive simultaneous attempt to don an oxygen mask would've been (unbeknownst to that pilot) "unproductive". Both pilots' oxygen supplies are from the same source.... and unprotected by non-return valves.

Physiological Factors:  Lung-searing/temporary blinding/misting of spectacle lenses, but total incapacitation may have not happened until 30+ seconds to a minute after the event (i.e. at the onset of hypoxia following hull burn-through due to a cockpit sidewall blowtorch effect at the oxygen fire's source). This hiatus would've afforded sufficient time for either pilot to wind in a turn-back heading selection for the nearest available airport before unconsciousness intervened (due to injury and/or time of useful consciousness being limited to less than a minute at height.

It used to be the case that some airlines' standard operating procedures for a two-man crew required one pilot to don his oxygen mask once the other pilot had indicated that he needed to go aft into the cabin (on a toilet break, say). This mask-donning activity may have been the initiator for the oxygen flash-fire.... or it may have been the directed radio frequency change (oxy face-masks have built-in microphones)

C

Onwards "ghost flight"

The distinct difference between the 777 and other model airliners of its ilk is the 777's ACTIVE flight control system (AFCS). Even if its autopilot's functions (control wheel steering, various heading-stabilizing and derived steering functions as well as barometric altitude hold) are disengaged or non-functional, the 777 is quite capable of autonomous wings-level steady flight. Over time, as its fuel burns off, the net effect of not being auto-trimmed would be a continuing climb at its aerodynamically trimmed speed to a thrust-limited ceiling for its weight. This would have the effect of extending its total range by around 250kms. The noteworthy effect of an ACTIVE FCS is that if a wing drops in rough air, it's instantly picked up.... and the nominal original heading in relatively smooth air would remain essentially constant within a quite narrow range of left/right meander. The 777 has a very stable phugoid in pitch such that any turbulence or weight-shift induced pitch attitude aberrations are soon self-cancelling to a trimmed norm. This characteristic, coupled with its similar lateral flight control stability, permits safe autonomous flight without human input or autopilot guidance, and would avoid a loss of control "upset" in all but severe turbulence. Following any such "upset", the 777's AFCS is itself quite capable of soon returning to trimmed straight (i.e. wings level) flight.

Much has been made of the various course changes determined to have been made by MH370 following the pilot-initiated turnback towards Malaysia. The facile explanation for that is courtesy of the typical cumulo-nimbus activity in the vicinity of the ITCZ (Inter-Tropic Convergence Zone)... a latitudinally wide zone of convective atmospheric hyperactivity that seasonally moves north and south of a median position (approximating the equator - i.e. it "follows the sun"). If MH370 had flown into an active thunderhead or building cumulo-nimbus after entering the Straits of Malacca, north of Sumatra, it would have been spat out on a much different heading to that which it entered on..... notwithstanding its Active Flight Control  System. Once MH370 had progressed further South, it would have entered a zone of very reduced convective activity and been much higher, well above any non-ITCZ weather, due to its fuel-consumption, reduced All-Up Weight, static (i.e. motionless) pax-load and consequent propensity to climb as its weight decreased.

ITCZ Seasonal position changes

(North-South of the Equator)

(i.e. a seasonal Latitudinal migration)

08 Mar ITCZ centroid runs through the N tip of Sumatra

http://tinyurl.com/k5jmagu

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/ITCZ.jpg

Convective Activity is always maximally focused upon the Centroid of the ITCZ where cumulo-nimbus (thundercloud) build-ups in excess of 55,000ft are often encountered. Google "Hadley Cells". Weather radar importantly assists pilots in avoiding these destructive turbulent areas. A blundering unpiloted aircraft not on autopilot would suffer extreme attitude changes within these highly localized areas of severe turbulence, but an un-autopiloted 777 would recover quickly (albeit on a totally different heading) once "spat out" - courtesy of its highly redundant and unique Active Flight Control System.

It's important to note that in these circumstances of severe to extreme turbulence encounters, the 777's survivability structurally would be much greater than if the autopilot WAS engaged and fighting the attitude and speed changes wrought by the turbulence encounters inside the tops of these cumulo-nimbus build-ups. Despite the 777 having the inherent capability of self recovery from an extreme attitude, the post-exit heading (from cloud) that it could end up on is the one factor "left in the lap of the gods".

 

 

An examination of the known and technically interpreted MH370 post-event evolutions (loss of contact followed by a muted turn-back), plus satellite handshake data, once weighed against prior known 777 events and instinctive pilot reactions in extremis, leads easily to a conclusion that an oxygen flash-fire "fits the bill" very well (per the prior SU-GBP oxygen fire accident in Cairo in July of 2011 and the 2008 767 oxygen fire in San Francisco) .

Timings, lack of emergency comms, human factors, FCS characteristics and mystical turns during its "ghost-flight" until fuel exhaustion - all known MH370 factors tend to support this particularised scenario described above. In particular, the effect of a non-incendiary self-extinguishing oxygen flash-fire (i.e. a DDT or Deflagration to Detonation Transition due to oxygen enrichment reaching its flash-over trigger level) and its effect upon circuit-breakers and cockpit plastics (such as pushbutton switches and their encapsulating housings) should be researched. The unique characteristics of a self-extinguishing oxygen flash fire tends to create environmental conditions within an airplane flight-deck that would pose a circumstance in which certain systems could be heat-disabled or partially compromised...... and others left unaffected. However these outages would not necessarily be to the extent that the aircraft could not continue uncontrolled (non-autopiloted) flight at cruise altitude - despite flight-deck surfaces being superficially scorched and all on board being deceased due to hull burn-through, lack of pressurization and supplementary oxygen depletion. It is important to note that oxygen enrichment is as insidious as Carbon Monoxide poisoning, oxygen being colorless and odorless and its enrichment level being undetectable. A DDT event would be audibly little more than a dull thump and probably unnoticeable aft of the locked flight-deck door. Even though the flight-deck is not hermetically sealed from the cabin, oxygen enrichment levels would climb quickly in that enclosed space - once inflows became uninhibited.

Summary

 

 

The responsible authorities seem to be seizing upon MH370's disappearance as a total mystery without logical explanation, but surrounded by sinister implications and presumptive inferences - and thus obviating any affirmative technical action to prevent a recurrence. Once an airplane has been lost, regardless of whether or not it is searched for or found in the far distant future, the priority now must be to identify the most probable cause and take preventative action. This has always been the modus operandi in previous less complex accidents. The oxygen flare fire scenario has glaringly plausible precedents and deserves to be considered in-depth - and thus future-proofed against a possible recurrence. There was nothing enigmatic about the 29 July, 2011 fire that destroyed Egyptair's SU-GBP or (earlier still ) the B767 reg N799AX and RAAF Orion A9-300. However the fact that these were all ramp accidents without fatalities has tended to mask their relationship to a possible MH370 airborne equivalent. The differences between an oxygen flare fire on the ground and one in the air would be chalk and cheese.

Investigators should pursue the events leading to the 2011 SU-GBP and 2008 N799AX fires and subsequent actions by responsible manufacturer and regulatory authorities to remediate the cause and prevent such a specific airborne fire class leading to an inflight calamity (such as befell MH370). This would seem to be a logical start point for inquiry and investigation. Below you will see copies of FAA Airworthiness Directives that address the same electrically conductive wiring (inside crew LP oxygen hoses) in other Boeings (including the 787) but not requiring remedial action for many months.

Conclusion

 

 

The More Likely (and most logical) Technical explanation for the MH370 tragedy:

this document:   http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2

prior dissertations (poster banned from Pprune.org and posts deleted by its moderators)

1. http://tinyurl.com/lrhentv           main theory and precedent

2. http://tinyurl.com/ksugyh2         prior document

3. http://tinyurl.com/mwnfn3s        (SU-GBP final report)
 
4. http://tinyurl.com/ngjdd8m        cover doc

5. http://tinyurl.com/q4dgor4  

6. http://tinyurl.com/mh370           mostLikelyCause

7. http://tinyurl.com/ngjdd8m

8. http://www.paulhowardplays.com/contributions

9. 2014-16-09.pdf  published 19 August 2014

10. http://tinyurl.com/nyfbfm3   (the FAA plays catch-up with the same conductive wire inside Oxygen hoses on other airliners)

11. http://tinyurl.com/hse8bq3    (FAA AD Aug 2016 for replacement of similarly flawed (electrically conductive wire innards) in oxygen hoses in 777-200 and 777-300 passenger compartments

12. LINK   =Crikey.com story on item 11 above

LINKS

 

 

link 9 above

2014-16-09.pdf  (FAA punched this out quietly - as recently as 19 Aug 2014) - requiring action for US Airlines within  36  months

SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 707 airplanes, Model 720 and 720B series airplanes, Model 727 airplanes, and Model 737-100, -200, and -200C series airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report of a fire that originated near the first officer's area and caused extensive damage to the flight deck on a different airplane model. This AD requires replacing the low-pressure oxygen hoses with non-conductive low-pressure oxygen hoses in the flight compartment. We are issuing this AD to prevent electrical current from inadvertently passing through an internal, anti-collapse spring of the low-pressure oxygen hose, which can cause the low-pressure oxygen hose to melt or burn, leading to an oxygen-fed fire and/or smoke in the flight deck.

Implementation: "

Oxygen Hose Replacement

Within 36 months after the effective date of this AD: Replace the low-pressure oxygen hoses in the flight compartment with non-conductive low-pressure oxygen hoses, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of the service bulletin specified in paragraphs (g)(1) through (g)(3) of this AD, as applicable.

DATES: This AD is effective September 23, 2014.

link

 

Rebuttal (to: ....see input below this cell - by John Cox)

I can understand your reticence being based upon having taken a publicly "otherwise" stance. You say: "In every case of a major onboard fire the crew has had time to communicate with ATC. No airplane with a major onboard fire has ever flown for 7+ hours." However a dismissive approach based upon a flawed premise (major fire?) makes it unlikely that the enigma of MH370 would ever be explicable in terms of logical determinations.

1...Moreover there are many distinct "differences" between an onboard fire (SR-111 et al) and an oxygen flare - which is quintessentially a low-level explosion or fast-moving flamefront, albeit in "slow time" compared to a high explosive's flame-front propagation with its associated destructive pressure-wave. There was no "major onboard fire" being premised by me. You need to excise that viewpoint and the historicity of airborne fires from your assessment of the facts (as known to date).... and seek other viable explanations. I've proposed one that has a known 777-200 precedent.  The oxy-flare heat peak (following its enrichment trigger) passes very quickly; in fact its persistence is a mere matter of seconds if it precipitates the hull rupture and depressurization. But it would be sufficient to sear a pilot's lungs and blur his vision, dependent upon whether he is facially directly exposed. If the electrical short was caused by a pilot donning his full-face mask (due to the other pilot proceeding aft, say), lung searing, vision impairment and physical disablement would be minimal (if any) for that individual. The likelihood of any ongoing conflagration would be constrained by the lack of readily flammable materials on the modern flight-deck. As I have said, some residual plastics smouldering on consoles (only) may be the outcome - in particular after the oxy blowtorch has holed the fuselage and the enriched oxygen environment has given way to the very diluted thin ambient atmosphere of high altitude. You might counter by claiming that the plastics on a modern flight deck are indeed combustible. However you need sustained very high temperatures for these plastics to combust and be self-sustaining. In short, dismissing the oxy-flare theory as just another "fire" is simplistic, unworthy of an accident investigator and doesn't reflect the circumstance described. In fact because it occurred at high altitude, the environment and resultant aftermath was crucially quite different to the SU-GBP ramp-fire. SU-GBP burnt out because priority was given to evacuation.... and ready access to the flight deck was precluded by that. That fire "caught" (sea-level pressure and flight deck door open etc). Unfortunately nobody ever extrapolated the SU-GBP accident into a "what if this had occurred airborne?" format - and treated it with the precautionary and deliberative response it deserved.

2.  You say "the evidence only shows that someone with knowledge reprogrammed the FMC and the ACARS. The transponder ceased to transmit but there was electrical power available for the remaining 7 hours. " This actually makes me doubt that you read the document in toto, or if you did, fully analyzed the suggested scenario.. My counter to this "evidence" is to point out that touch-screens, plastic switches and their surround housings (of dissimilar plastics) are vulnerable to melting, losing solenoid- (or direct mechanical) latching and ultimately, distortion in an oxygen flare of finite duration. Compared to the largely metal switches of yesteryear, plastics proliferation has opened up a wholly new vista of failure possibilities. Similarly, circuit breakers are vulnerable to heat-induced tripping dependent upon their direct or indirect exposure to the flame-front. What you end up with is an indefinable total or partial loss of some systems and not others. This characteristic of a modern plastic flight-deck has confused the issue greatly with MH370 analysis. The underlying premise of this theory is that a high altitude fire would quickly be extinguished by hull burn-through and oxygen depletion via the consequent depressurization outflows. Pressurization would assist and accelerate the hull burn-through via the oxygen blowtorch at the pilot's side console leak source.

3.  The fact that MH370 continued to send out uninitiated/automated ACARS handshakes (and yet lost its transponder due to the oxygen flare) would only indicate that the transponder was disabled by the flare (yet the ACARS satellite interface was not). No (re)programming involved. Points of vulnerability and flame-front aspect exposure becomes the question. Is a system housed in the flight-deck more vulnerable than one largely located in the main electrical centre below? Whether some individual latched switches or subsidiary busses were disabled in toto by the oxy-flare is a matter for specialist conjecture .... but disabling of some particular systems certainly doesn't nullify the oxygen flare theory. I consider that it actually reinforces it. The lack of communications (per se) would point to a sudden disabling event (not the usual "dark brown smell" of detected fumes and overheated wiring and arcing circuitry giving rise to a precautionary alerting transmission to ATC ).

4.  I readily concede that the turn onto a reciprocal heading for Pulau Langkawi was most likely to have been pilot-initiated by winding a heading bug. However the pilot's time of useful consciousness would have been subsequently limited by the lack of available oxygen following the hull-rupture, whether he was present for the oxygen flare or re-entered the cockpit soon afterwards. Disabling the autopilot and entering an emergency descent manually is a natural and instinctive response to a pilot hearing a loss of pressurization alarm. However, manually trimming into a descent is not. Pilots are inured to having pitch auto-trim take care of that, so thumbing a yoke switch or grabbing a trim-wheel and winding it forward is not on his programmed instinctive agenda. There are ample examples of this (Air NZ A320 off Perpignan for instance, even AF447). The result of that pilot passing out upon entering an autopilot OFF descent (due to hypoxia) must be a zoom back to height (aircraft being well out of trim for the higher speed). We could also argue that the oil-rig worker's sighting of a "flare/fire" accords with my theory - whereas it wouldn't be sympatico with any hijacking or suicide theory (your perspective evidently). "A Compendium of Witnesses" is at link

5. So if it's accepted that this scenario was the prelude to a ghost flight into the Southern Ocean, how do we explain away what you've interpreted as the FMS re-programming?  Actually that's not difficult at all. In normal enroute circumstances and particularly within the ITCZ latitudes, pilots are very circumspect about diverting around build-ups ahead. The ITCZ was predominantly north of the equator on 08 March and there would've been a significant number of very active convective thunderheads on any route. Upon entering one, the MH370 track would've been "upset" significantly and (upon exit) the 777 would've taken a few minutes for its phugoid to settle back down into its set pitch trim-state  - and the 777's Active Flight Control System to re-impose itself upon the resultant post-upset ("spat out")  track. The 777 is unique in that its Active Flight Control System reacts very quickly and positively to a wing-drop. Despite being NOT on autopilot, it instantly picks up that dropped wing (because it didn't result from a pilot's yoke input) - and the resultant meander either side of its mean track in relatively smooth air is quite minimal (much less than a few degrees, averaging out over time to more or less a straight tracking). Because its last encounter with a build-up left it on a southerly track, the further MH370 proceeded southbound, the smoother the enroute air (as it climbed continually due to fuel burn-off (FBO)) and an unchanging Centre of Gravity (onboard inactivity and lack of crew/pax movement). In equatorial latitudes with a Northern hemisphere located ITCZ, the further South you go, the lower and fewer are the cloud-tops. i.e. MH370 would not have flown into any build-ups once south of the Equator.... due to lowering cloud-tops and much sparser cloud build-up activity.  Thus there was no reason this final Southerly track or FBO climb would have changed significantly over its remaining flight-time (with the exception of some very minor degree of fuselage asymmetric drag perhaps). The constant climb would have enhanced its range by some 200 to 250 kms in comparison with a stepped climb. Have you asked yourself why the ATSB extended its search area coords 200+ kms further south after I posted the links to my theory on the ATSB forum?

6. As Editor-in-Chief of Air Safety Week, I often speculated upon explanations for accidents. You could say that I specialized in analysis. This more often than not centred upon known precedents. MH370 had one in the form of SU-GBP, the ramp fire at Cairo and N799AX. If you review the Service Bulletins and Airworthiness Directives that emanated from that prior on-ground destruction of a 777, you'd have to say that it was very much low-keyed and de-prioritized. After MH370's high profile disappearance and loss-of-life, Boeing and the FAA bumped that up to a steady stream of AD's related only vaguely to SU-GBP - but all to do with electrically conductive LP oxygen hose replacement. These AD's affected most Boeing models including the 787 (link to AD) and required replacement of the potentially lethal LP oxygen hoses that had been found to be the cause of SU-GBP's fire.

7.  Ross Coulthart of Channel 7 Sydney has looked into my theory and proposes to do a documentary on it. I'm sure that he'd like to hear your logical arguments against the theory. Rossco has won many TV journo awards (Swissair 111, Kapton wiring etc). I'd like to hear any cogent arguments against it also. If there's any sort of conspiracy related to MH370, it's most likely to be a cover-up than any inflight intervention by some evil-doer(s). I hope to hear more from you and encourage you to forward my suggested theory to anyone with a vested interest in pursuing the truth.... rather than vague conspiracy theories.

regards

John S

Mr. S,

 

I have read the article and, unfortunately, it adds little. The likelihood of a fire causing the accident is very, very remote. In every case of a major onboard fire the crew has had time to communicate with ATC. No airplane with a major onboard fire has ever flown for 7+ hours.

 

In the end the evidence only shows that someone with knowledge reprogrammed the FMC and the ACARS. The transponder ceased to transmit but there was electrical power available for the remaining 7 hours.

 

MH370 does, indeed, remain a mystery.

 

Best regards,

 

John Cox

Subject: MH370 - not really a mystery

 

http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2

A canvas of the unlikely possibilities, culminating in an exposition (see final entry #11) on the likely sudden developments aboard Malaysian Flight MH370.

This explanation is detailed and based upon two little known precedents (the prior on-ground destruction of an Egyptair 777-200 reg: SU-GBP) and the furtive conduct of Boeing in quietly (after the MH370 disappearance)  “fixing” the SU-GBP cause. Be aware of the existence of an almost identical occurrence (Boeing 767 N799AX at SanFranscisco in 2008 and RAAF Orion P3B at RAAF Edinburgh in 1984)

Short Synopsis:  http://tinyurl.com/lh7sv2g

 

Shortly after I posted these links on the ATSB website forum covering the MH370 follow-on search, suggesting that the likely flight mode of MH370 (constant IAS climb)  would achieve around 200 to 300 kms additional range, the current search area was extended a further 200+ kms to the South.

That oil-rig worker's distant sighting may well have been the 20 to 40 second oxygen flare that kick-started this MH370 saga. Whilst the actual aftermath may have been locally ongoing and a burner (i.e. blowtorch) to some degree inside the cockpit, the actual initiating incident's DDT "flare" would only have been visible from the earth's surface at any distance for a very finite period. You could liken it to a low order "explosion" (i.e. visually attention-getting but dissipating quickly to the distant observer). Oxy flare fires aren't infernos but they do have the capacity for incapacitating exposed and vulnerable plastic pushbuttons, circuit-breakers, solenoid-held paddle switches etc etc. I'd liken it to the firemen's backdraft effect of opening a door with a fire on the other side, then quickly closing it (i.e. that backdraft flare-up is something you caused by introducing fresh air/oxygen to an oxygen starved fire in an enclosed space). If one pilot wasn’t directly exposed (e.g. had gone aft on a toilet break), he may have initiated the autopilot ON turn towards Pulau Langkawi before initiating the “autopilot OFF” emergency descent. Due to the lack of pilot oxygen, he’d have then (soon after) expired, leaving MH370 to continue on, courtesy of its very redundant and reliable systems.

I haven't checked lately where Boeing is up to in replacing those lethal electrically conductive, helically wound wire stiffeners inside the low pressure oxygen hoses. However one of the latest Airworthiness Directives (after the 737 and 747 ones) was on the 787 cockpit LP oxygen hose replacement (link). No doubt they are now moving fast but very subtly on that issue - but keeping their fingers crossed that nobody will ever associate its hose replacement program with MH370 (or as a very belated response to the Cairo ramp-fire that destroyed that Egyptair 777-200).

 

It's in fact a very sobering proposition that these hoses have been around a very long time across all makes and models - and are only ever replaced "upon condition".

 

Regards

 

John S

P3 skipper (multi-tour) and 3 time Cat A maritime captain RAAF

Ex Editor-in-Chief Air Safety Week

ATPL Licence Holder

 

The sparking Oxygen Hose Story goes on and on............ through even the very latest Boeings

Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 39
[Docket No. FAA-2014-0174; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-212-AD; Amendment 39-18028;
AD 2014-23-12]
RIN 2120-AA64
Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.  (link)
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company
Model 787-8 airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report indicating that, on a different Boeing
airplane model, there was an oxygen-fed fire, which caused extensive damage to the flight deck. This
AD requires replacing the low-pressure oxygen hoses with non-conductive hoses in the crew oxygen
system. We are issuing this AD to prevent inadvertent electrical current from passing through an
internal, anti-collapse spring of the low pressure oxygen hose, which can cause the low-pressure
oxygen hose to melt or burn, leading to an oxygen-fed fire and/or smoke beneath the flight deck in
the forward electronics equipment bay.

DATES: This AD is effective December 31, 2014.
The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain
publications listed in this AD as of December 31, 2014.

 **download pdf copy of AD

 

The 777's Active Flight Control System

http://www.askcaptainlim.com/-airplanes-aviation-39/631-how-does-the-fly-by-wire-in-boeing-777-differs-from-the-airbus-system.html

This document section =   http://tinyurl.com/nu6dsxm

 

Once the oxygen flare fire of 15 to 20 seconds erupted in MH370's cockpit, a number of systems were affected by the melting of plastic push-buttons (and their housings) on exposed consoles. Some keypads fused, some circuit-breakers tripped thermally and some LED screens melted and sagged. However the active Flight Control system on the 777 is totally unique. That ACT-FCS has fail-safe and fault-redundant redundancies. 


Even though one or both pilots' lungs may have been seared by the oxygen flash-fire, one of them was still capable of instantly selecting a reverse course heading to Pulau Langkawi Airport.  At some point during that turnback, the oxy blowtorch caused by the copilot's regulator's LP hose melting (per Egyptair's SU-GBP on the Cairo ramp over 3 years earlier), weakened the side fuselage (see imagery from Egypt's report linked at http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2 ). With the assistance of the 4.5 psi cabin pressurization differential pressure, the cockpit sidewall ruptured outwards causing a rapid depressurization and the aural alarm. Whether that hull rupture coincided with an oxygen enrichment level flash-over is an unknown.

So the pilot flying disconnected the autopilot, "stuffed" the nose down, but didn't manually trim it nose-down (airline pilots very rarely touch that manual trim wheel or yoke-mounted trim switch due to autotrim - i.e. it's so rarely touched that it's easily forgotten, as it was on AF447 and Air NZ's A320 stall off Perpignan). When he then passed out due to hypoxia and lung-searing (mask on, but no oxygen left), he relaxed the fwd pressure on his yoke and the aircraft pitched back up into a zoom climb, sealing the fate of all onboard. For the next seven odd hours, the MH370 ghost ship flew on, not on autopilot but control being maintained by the flight envelope protection built into the 777's ACT-FCS and the aircraft's inherent stability. In essence, a 777 not on autopilot will instantly pick up a dropped wing and (in pitch) will maintain its trimmed speed due to a very well damped phugoid. Its heading will remain static plus or minus only a few degrees of heading - so its mean line of advance tracking into the Southern Ocean was quite apparently "autopiloted" - even though it was not.

As the aircraft headed south and burnt off fuel, it would have constantly climbed, greatly improving its range. Why the tracking changes after it overflew the Malay Peninsula? It simply flew into some thunderheads (ITCZ being north of the Equator at that time of year) and got spat out on a new heading, following its encounter with heavy turbulence (or even orographic turbulence - highest point on Sumatra is 12,500feet). Once south of the equator and clear of the ITCZ ( InterTropic Convergence Zone and its 50,000 foot tall thunderheads), it would have been flying in quite calm air and climbing through 40,000ft due to the fuel burn-off trim change. In a 777, a ghost flight capability is quite coincidentally "built-in" to the primary flight controls - via the uncharacteristic inherent stability of its ACT-FCS.

One of the immutable rules of aviation is that most accidents have a precedent that, if not addressed, will eventually recur. Obviously nobody extrapolated what had happened to SU-GBP (on the ramp at Cairo ) into an airborne context. Both the Cairo and San Francisco ramp oxygen flare fires did turn into destructive fires as the priority for firemen was the evacuation. The airborne variant was always going to be quite different due to pressurization and the almost immediate loss of the richly oxygenated cockpit environment - once the cockpit sidewall blew out (due to the blowtorch effect of the oxygen fire at source and the pressurization differential).  Because a cockpit oxygen flare doesn't have the flammables that (say) Swissair 111 had - like metallized mylar thermal acoustic batts linings and Kapton wiring insulation with its arcing/flash-over characteristics, the residual effect would've been non-incendiary, just some scorching and a few hot-spots smouldering for a short period (only) - after the rapid depressurization.

What may have caused the oxygen flare fire to erupt at that point? If one pilot announces his intention to leave the cockpit on a toilet break, it used to be "de rigeur" (i.e. SOP standard) for the other pilot to haul his oxygen mask out of its housing and don it. The original problem (an electrically conductive stiffener wire running internally within the LP hose to stop kinking) was probably still there on the MAS 777's. Only US registered airplanes are compulsorily affected by FAA Airworthiness Directive mandates to modify equipments. As recently as October 2014, the FAA's AD's were still playing catch-up with other Boeing airplane types that were still equipped with the lethal hoses.

One further point to reflect upon. On the ground the cockpit door is open and the pilots have a readily available emergency exit (and rescuers/firemen have unhindered access). Airborne, the door is locked and the pilots have nowhere to go and no oxygen to breathe (but they'd just not know that). It's quite likely that, because of the limited duration of the cockpit fire, nobody aft of the locked cockpit door would've been aware of the outbreak of fire on the flight-deck. Oxygen flare fires don't make explosive noises. In the prior ramp fires it was reported that the pilots heard only a hiss and a pop. So if the pilots weren't villains, were they heroes then? Not really, just victims. But perhaps the villains are still identifiable and responsible for their inaction.

MAS Credibility? The 30-day beacon battery on MH370's flight data recorder was later discovered to have life-expired more than a year before its final take-off, thus raising very valid questions over whether this contributed to the inability of a multi-nation search to find an Indian Ocean crash site.

A battery life expiry date is almost impossible to cover up for a number of supply chain and records reasons. But when MAS claimed (right upfront in the first few pages of the interim Malaysian Report) that the incendiary oxygen hoses had been swapped out (per the FAA AD below) on 9M-MRO prior to the fatal flight, should we blandly believe them? Reflect on the fact that subsequent to the 2002 China Airlines Flt 611 B747 crash in the Taiwan Straits, a clumsy paperwork post-crash cover-up of a rear-fuselage tail-strike failure-to-repair 22 years earlier would never have been discovered - except for a very diligent investigator insisting upon a more total wreckage recovery from the sea-bed.... which eventually disclosed the deception (...with it also being the cause).

For a foreign airline (that doesn't operate under the regulatory eye of the FAA), an implementation delay (until the next scheduled hangar visit) of any AD-mandated Service Bulletin is always a convenient option. But that AD below didn't address the other flammable oxygen hoses down back in the 772 and 773 passenger cabins ( i.e. that AD came out much later - in 2016)


 

  ....... look at the distinctions between remove / replace / INSTALL / re-install etc as defined by the FAA here below - in mandating that 777 AD.... (as highlit below in the Final Rule)  i.e. How would you expect a Malaysian national (even though an engineer) to react / fail to react to /or just dismiss these subtle distinctions? Is 18 months leeway for replacing the oxygen hoses a responsible interval? Inject the Mh370 possibilities into this context and you may very well say: "No way!".

 

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-07-12/html/2012-15893.htm 
[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 134 (Thursday, July 12, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 41045-41047]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-15893]
 
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
 
Federal Aviation Administration
 
14 CFR Part 39
 
[Docket No. FAA-2012-0104; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-279-AD; 
Amendment 39-17107; AD 2012-13-05]  and AD 2014-09-06 (link)
 
RIN 2120-AA64
 
 
Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes
 
AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.
 
ACTION: Final rule.
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 
SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain 
The Boeing Company Model 777-200, -200LR, -300, -300ER, and 777F series 
airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report indicating that a fire 
originated near the first officer's area, which caused extensive damage 
to the flight deck. This AD requires replacing the low-pressure oxygen 
hoses with non-conductive low-pressure oxygen hoses in the flight 
compartment. We are issuing this AD to prevent electrical current from 
passing through the low-pressure oxygen hose internal anti-collapse 
spring, which can cause the low-pressure oxygen hose to melt or burn, 
and a consequent oxygen-fed fire in the flight compartment.
 
DATES: This AD is effective August 16, 2012.
    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by 
reference of certain publications listed in the AD as of August 16, 
2012.
 
ADDRESSES: For service information identified in this AD, contact 
Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, 
P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207; telephone 206-
544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may review copies of the referenced service 
information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind 
Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356. For information on the availability 
of this material at the FAA, call (425) 227-1221.
 
Examining the AD Docket
 
    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov; or in person at the Docket Management Facility 
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, 
any comments received, and other information. The address for the 
Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Document Management Facility, 
U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West 
Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590.
 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Monroe, Aerospace Engineer, 
Cabin Safety and Environmental Systems Branch, ANM-150S, FAA, Seattle 
Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-
3356; phone: 425-917-6457; fax: 425-917-6590; email: 
susan.l.monroeatfaa.gov.
 
[[Page 41046]]
 
 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
 
Discussion
 
    We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR 
part 39 to include an AD that would apply to the specified products. 
That NPRM published in the Federal Register on February 8, 2012 (77 FR 
6518). That NPRM proposed to require replacing the low-pressure oxygen 
hoses with non-conductive low-pressure oxygen hoses in the flight 
compartment.
 
Relevant Service Information
 
    Since we issued the NPRM (77 FR 6518, February 8, 2012), Boeing has 
issued Alert Service Bulletin 777-35A0027, Revision 1, dated April 19, 
2012. This service information was issued to remove airplanes from the 
effectivity that have had certain changes incorporated in production, 
update warranty information, and material price information. No 
additional work is necessary for airplanes changed in accordance with 
Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 777-35A0027, dated December 15, 2011. We 
have changed the final rule to reference Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 
777-35A0027, Revision 1, dated April 19, 2012. Additionally, we have 
updated the Costs of Compliance section of the final rule regarding the 
parts cost and warranty information.
 
Comments
 
    We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing 
this AD. The following presents the comments received on the proposal 
(77 FR 6518, February 8, 2012) and the FAA's response to each comment.
 
Support for the NPRM (77 FR 6518, February 8, 2012)
 
    The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) stated it supports the NPRM 
(77 FR 6518, February 8, 2012).
 
Request To Shorten Compliance Time
 
    The ALPA requested we shorten the compliance time for the 
replacement of the oxygen hoses from 18 months to 12 months. The 
commenter based this request on the impact that an oxygen fed fire on 
the flight deck would have on flight safety.
    We disagree. In developing the proposed compliance time, we 
considered the safety implications, parts availability, and normal 
maintenance schedules for the timely accomplishment of replacement of 
the oxygen hoses. Further, the proposed compliance time is in keeping 
with the manufacturers' recommended compliance time. In consideration 
of all these factors, operators are always permitted to accomplish the 
requirements of an AD at a time earlier than the specified compliance 
time. If additional data are presented that would justify a shorter 
compliance time, we may consider further rulemaking on this issue. We 
have not changed the AD in this regard.
 
Request To Increase Compliance Time
 
    United Airlines requested we increase the compliance time for the 
replacement of the oxygen hoses from 18 months to 24 months. The 
commenter stated that based on parts availability and its normal 
maintenance schedule, it believes that 24 months would be an 
appropriate interval for the timely accomplishment of the actions while 
maintaining an adequate level of safety.
    We disagree with increasing the compliance time. As stated 
previously, in developing the proposed compliance time, we considered 
the safety implications, parts availability, and normal maintenance 
schedules for a timely accomplishment of replacement of the oxygen 
hoses. Further, the proposed compliance time is in keeping with the 
manufacturers' recommended compliance time. However, under the 
provisions of paragraph (i) of the final rule, we may approve requests 
for adjustments to the compliance time if data are submitted to 
substantiate that such an adjustment would provide an acceptable level 
of safety. We have not changed the AD in this regard.
 
Request To Add Applicability Language
 
    Boeing requested that we add language to paragraph (h) of the NPRM 
(77 FR 6518, February 8, 2012), stating that this paragraph applies 
only to any airplane ``affected by this AD.''
    We do not agree with the commenter's request. The applicability 
statement in all AD actions lists all airplanes affected by that AD. 
All of the requirements stated in an AD are applicable only to the 
airplanes listed in the applicability. We find no justification for 
making the requested change. We have not changed the AD in this regard.
 
Request for Clarification of Parts Installation Requirement
 
    American Airlines (American) requested clarification of the 
requirement in paragraph (h) of the NPRM (77 FR 6518, February 8, 2012) 
that prohibits installing certain oxygen hoses after the effective date 
of the AD. American stated that the compliance time of paragraph (h) of 
the NPRM is prior to the compliance date of the low-pressure oxygen 
hose removal, and if a maintenance procedure is accomplished which 
would require the removal of the low-pressure oxygen hose, the same 
low-pressure oxygen hose cannot be re-installed.
    We agree to clarify the requirement. Once we have determined that 
an unsafe condition exists, we generally specify not to allow that 
condition to be introduced into the fleet. Although the word 
``install'' is generally considered to be broader than the word 
``replace,'' for this AD operators can interpret it as meaning 
``replace'' while remaining within the intent of the ``Parts 
Installation'' paragraph (paragraph (h) of this AD). By simply 
reinstalling a part removed during maintenance, the operator is not 
``installing'' a different part. Therefore,  
 
Conclusion
 
    We reviewed the relevant data, considered the comments received, 
and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting 
the AD with the changes described previously.
    We also determined that these changes will not increase the 
economic burden on any operator or increase the scope of the AD.
 
Costs of Compliance
 
    We estimate that this AD affects 169 airplanes of U.S. registry.
    We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:
 
                                                 Estimated Costs
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    Cost per       Cost on U.S.
               Action                        Labor cost           Parts cost        product         operators
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Replacement.........................  18 work-hours x $85 per          $1,066           $2,596         $438,724
                                       hour = $1,530.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
[[Page 41047]]
 
     According to the manufacturer, some of the costs of this AD may be 
covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected 
individuals. We do not control warranty coverage for affected 
individuals. As a result, we have included all costs in our cost 
estimate.
 
Authority for This Rulemaking
 
    Title 49 of the United States Code specifies the FAA's authority to 
issue rules on aviation safety. Subtitle I, section 106, describes the 
authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII: Aviation Programs, 
describes in more detail the scope of the Agency's authority.
    We are issuing this rulemaking under the authority described in 
Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart III, Section 44701: ``General 
requirements.'' Under that section, Congress charges the FAA with 
promoting safe flight of civil aircraft in air commerce by prescribing 
regulations for practices, methods, and procedures the Administrator 
finds necessary for safety in air commerce. This regulation is within 
the scope of that authority because it addresses an unsafe condition 
that is likely to exist or develop on products identified in this 
rulemaking action.
 
Regulatory Findings
 
    This AD will not have federalism implications under Executive Order 
13132. This AD will not have a substantial direct effect on the States, 
on the relationship between the national government and the States, or 
on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various 
levels of government.
    For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this AD:
    (1) Is not a ``significant regulatory action'' under Executive 
Order 12866,
    (2) Is not a ``significant rule'' under DOT Regulatory Policies and 
Procedures (44 FR 11034, February 26, 1979),
    (3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and
    (4) Will not have a significant economic impact, positive or 
negative, on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria 
of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
 
List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39
 
    Air transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety, Incorporation by 
reference, Safety.
 
Adoption of the Amendment
 
    Accordingly, under the authority delegated to me by the 
Administrator, the FAA amends 14 CFR part 39 as follows:
 
PART 39--AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVES
 
0
1. The authority citation for part 39 continues to read as follows:
 
    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113, 44701.
 
 
Sec.  39.13  [Amended]
 
0
2. The FAA amends Sec.  39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness 
directive (AD):
 
2012-13-05 The Boeing Company: Amendment 39-17107; Docket No. FAA-
2012-0104; Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-279-AD.
 
(a) Effective Date
 
    This AD is effective August 16, 2012.
 
(b) Affected ADs
 
    None.
 
(c) Applicability
 
    This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 777-200, -200LR, -
300, -300ER, and 777F series airplanes; certificated in any 
category; as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 777-
35A0027, Revision 1, dated April 19, 2012.
 
(d) Subject
 
    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC)/Air Transport Association 
(ATA) of America Code 35, Oxygen.
 
(e) Unsafe Condition
 
    This AD was prompted by a report indicating that a fire 
originated near the first officer's area, which caused extensive 
damage to the flight deck. We are issuing this AD to prevent 
electrical current from passing through the low-pressure oxygen hose 
internal anti-collapse spring, which can cause the low-pressure 
oxygen hose to melt or burn, and a consequent oxygen-fed fire in the 
flight compartment.
 
(f) Compliance
 
    Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, 
unless already done.
 
(g) Replacement
This AD is effective August 16, 2012.(18 months later is 16 Feb 2014)- MH370 disappeared on 08 March 2014
    Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD: Replace 
the low-pressure oxygen hoses with non-conductive low-pressure 
oxygen hoses in the flight compartment, in accordance with the 
Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 777-
35A0027, dated December 15, 2011, or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 
777-35A0027, Revision 1, dated April 19, 2012.
 
(h) Parts Installation Prohibition
 
    
 
(i) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)
 
    (1) The Manager, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 
FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested 
using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 
CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local 
Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending 
information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the 
attention of the person identified in the Related Information 
section of this AD. Information may be emailed to: 9-ANM-Seattle-ACO-AMOC-Requestsatfaa.gov.
    (2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate 
principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager 
of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding 
district office.
 
(j) Related Information
 
    For more information about this AD, contact Susan Monroe, 
Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety and Environmental Systems Branch, 
ANM-150S, FAA, Seattle Aircraft Certification Office, 1601 Lind 
Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; phone: (425) 917-6457; fax: (425) 
917-6590; email: susan.l.monroeatfaa.gov.
 
(k) Material Incorporated by Reference
 
    (1) You must use the following service information to do the 
actions required by this AD, unless the AD specifies otherwise. The 
Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by 
reference (IBR) of the following service information under 5 U.S.C. 
552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.
    (i) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 777-35A0027, dated December 
15, 2011.
    (ii) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 777-35A0027, Revision 1, 
dated April 19, 2012.
    (2) For service information identified in this AD, Boeing 
Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. 
Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, Washington 98124-2207; telephone 206-
544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com.
    (3) You may review copies of the referenced service information 
at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., 
Renton, WA 98057-3356. For information on the availability of this 
material at the FAA, call (425) 227-1221.
    (4) You may also review copies of the service information that 
is incorporated by reference at the National Archives and Records 
Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this 
material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.
 
    Issued in Renton, Washington, on June 21, 2012.
John Piccola,
Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-15893 Filed 7-11-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P

 

The TellTale Helical Spring : link  (extracts from the SU-GBP Report' findings)


 

Boeing : FAA Adopts Airworthiness Directive for Boeing 707-Series Airplanes

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Envoyer par mail

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08/20/2014 | 07:06am US/Eastern

 

by JOANN VISTA Targeted News Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 -- The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a final rule adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Boeing Co. Model 707 airplanes, Model 720 and 720B series airplanes, Model 727 airplanes, and Model 737-100, -200, and -200C series airplanes made by Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Seattle, Washington. This directive is effective on Sept. 23.

A Federal Register notice (Docket No. FAA-2014-0252) issued by Aircraft Certification Service Transport Airplane Directorate Manager Jeffrey E. Duven stated: "This AD was prompted by a report of a fire that originated near the first officer's area and caused extensive damage to the flight deck on a different airplane model. This AD requires replacing the low-pressure oxygen hoses with non-conductive low-pressure oxygen hoses in the flight compartment. We are issuing this AD to prevent electrical current from inadvertently passing through an internal, anti-collapse spring of the low-pressure oxygen hose, which can cause the low-pressure oxygen hose to melt or burn, leading to an oxygen-fed fire and/or smoke in the flight deck."

For more information for Model 707 airplanes, Model 720 and 720B series airplanes, and Model 727 airplanes, contact Patrick Farina, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety, Mechanical and Environmental Systems Branch,FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA; 562/627-5344, fax 562/627-5210, Patrick.Farina@faa.gov.

For Model 737-100, -200, and -200C series airplanes, contact Tracy Ton, Aerospace Engineer, Cabin Safety, Mechanical and Environmental Systems Branch, FAA, Los Angeles ACO, 3960 Paramount Boulevard,Lakewood, CA; 562/627-5352, fax 562/627-5210, Tracy.Ton@faa.gov.

For more information about Targeted News Service products and services, please contact: Myron Struck, editor, Targeted News Service LLC, Springfield, Va., 703/304-1897; editor@targetednews.com; http://targetednews.com.

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(c) 2014 Targeted News Service

http://www.4-traders.com/THE-BOEING-COMPANY-4816/news/Boeing--FAA-Adopts-Airworthiness-Directive-for-Boeing-707-Series-Airplanes-18924790/

 

 

MH370 lost 08 Mar 2014

Short Synopsis (MH370 most probable cause)http://tinyurl.com/lh7sv2g

A fuller explanation:   
http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2


 

How many will read this (below) and weep?


 

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 84 (Thursday, May 1, 2014)] - attached at link below


*************************************************************

This AD is effective June 5, 2014.


 

AD 2014-09-06  (copy is at this link:   EASA_AD_US-2014-09-06_1.pdf


 

SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain The Boeing Company Model 777F series airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report of a fire that originated near the first officer's seat and caused extensive damage to the flight deck. This AD requires replacing the low-pressure oxygen hoses with non-conductive low-pressure oxygen hoses in the stowage box and supernumerary ceiling area. We are issuing this AD to prevent electrical current from passing through an internal, anti-collapse spring of the low-pressure oxygen hose, which can cause the low-pressure oxygen hose to melt or burn and lead to an oxygen-fed fire near the flight deck.


 

DATES: This AD is effective June 5, 2014.

___________________________________________________________________-_

Unsafe Condition

This AD was prompted by a report of a fire that originated near the first officer's seat of a parked Egyptair 777 and caused extensive damage to the flight deck. We are issuing this AD to prevent electrical current from passing through an internal, anti-collapse spring of the low-pressure oxygen hose, which can cause the low-pressure oxygen hose to melt or burn and lead to an oxygen-fed fire near the flight deck.


 

__________________________________________________________________

Request To Shorten Compliance Time

ALPA recommended that we reduce the 36-month compliance time to replace the low-pressure oxygen hoses to 12 months because of the impact that an oxygen-fed fire on the flight deck would have on flight safety. We do not agree with the commenter's request to reduce the compliance time. 

In developing an appropriate compliance time, we considered the safety implications, parts availability, and normal maintenance schedules for timely accomplishment of replacing the low-pressure oxygen hoses with non-conductive low-pressure oxygen hoses. In consideration of all of these factors, we determined that the compliance time, as proposed, represents an appropriate interval in which the low-pressure oxygen hoses can be replaced in a timely manner within the fleet, while still maintaining an adequate level of safety.


Also, reducing the compliance time of the NPRM (78 FR 63130, October 23, 2013) would necessitate (under the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act) reissuing the notice, reopening the period for public comment, considering additional comments subsequently received, and eventually issuing a final rule. In light of this, and in consideration of the amount of time that has already elapsed since issuance of the original notice, we have determined that further delay of this final rule is not appropriate.

also published on:
http://tinyurl.com/pmmvbpk

 

The "hypothetical" below was disguised as it is (as a food-poisoning with no reference to MH370 and mounted in the Techlog Forum thread) in order to get it past the Pprune.org censors and avoid having the thread instantly padlocked or removed. (i.e. before experts in the field could comment upon the ideations). However it is destined to be deleted.


[quote]The original premise:
"I must select a single speed (as fast or slow as I please) and altitude (as high or low as I please), head to it ASAP, and stay with it until flameout." [/quote]

I'll venture just a similar hypothetical in the same vein - but with some vital differences peculiar to aircraft type. Disregarding cost index and fixed altitudes and speeds, can we look at a slightly different set of impertinent theoretical parameters?

In this scenario, my F/O has passed out after suddenly projectile vomiting. He's incapacitated and I'm starting to feel quite queasy myself. I'm not thinking straight and instantly find myself wondering whether it's hypoxia so I sweep my quick-donning mask on. I'm not ex-military and I've never done a hyperbaric or hypobaric chamber run, so I have no real idea what hypoxia is like at the onset. I'm feeling no better, my head is swimming and I'm losing focus so I decide to descend and so I disconnect the autopilot and lower the nose. Shortly thereafter, just before passing out, I suddenly realize that we both ate at the same mukkin cart outside Fatties just before heading to our beds last evening. We have a 772F freighter now not on autopilot and left to its own devices. The flight deck door is locked.... and access is not available.... not that there's anyone aft who can access the cockpit or likely to want or need to.

So having dispensed with its pilots (sorta like Arthur C. Clarke's computer HAL in "2001: A Space Odyssey" - but not in any extra-terrestrial context), what would my aerospaceship 772F now get up to? Once "left to its own devices", i.e. what exactly are those devices capable of?

Unlike an Airbus (an A320 like Egyptair's crashed MS804 say), without its normal FBW system's protections, my 777 won't enter a descending and tightening spiral . It has a completely different FBW system called the AFCS (an "Active' Flight Control System). Rather than different modes of degradation such as alternate 1 and 2 etc, Boeing's FBW design has quadruple redundancies and sports a multiplicity of fallback power sources and fault-tolerant workarounds - and it's not easily subjected to any degraded "laws". Its proclivities are to keep on aviating no matter what. Unlike the Airbus philosophy, my 777 won't disallow a pilot-selected overbank - but at anything above a pilot-selected 30 degs angle-of-bank, it will disproportionately increase the yoke's roll axis feedback in order to remind me that I shouldn't be unnecessarily trying to aerobat an airliner. But if it isn't due to a pilot's roll input, my 777's FBW will "actively" impose a restorative rolling moment back towards wings-level. In fact it's so good at this inherently "active" sub-routine that it can pick up a gust-induced "dropped" wing of a mere 5 degrees Angle of Bank much faster than the speed of vomit.... and promptly get us back on an even keel. So even if my unpiloted 777 should enter some nasty ITCZ induced turbulence and get a little "upset", as soon as it exits it will phugoid a little and quickly resume wings level flight - albeit upon a new heading. And it can keep on doing this all day (and night). But, believe it or not, I'm blithely and blissfully unaware of this 777's model-specific peculiar flight control pecadillo, as I've rarely hand-flown this noble beast - and certainly never broken the law and done it up there at height, where RVSM rules the roost. It's not in any simulator syllabus and I've never read it anywhere. But the Boeing test pilots know all about it and it's not for publication. What operator needs its pilots to go prove or disprove it? It's just a natural and little known adjunct to the Boeing FBW design philosophy. Keep the bank vector somewhere near vertical and the crashworthiness is never tested. My 777F can motor on forever - to fuel exhaustion.

So there I am, firmly ensconced in the messy subliminal soporifics of regurgitated exotic Asian food fanciers (and even though erupting unconsciously at both ends), it matters not a whit - my trusty steed is "taking care of business". The Man of La Mancha and his rusty sidekick Sancho Panza are both out of the picture and quite non-interventionist - however Don Quixote's trusty steed Rocinante knows what to do. It's in his genes.

But back to the postulated conundrum. Once spat out on a heading that's going to take my 772F southbound and clear of the ITCZ, what's the effect of a static cargo and trim-state as fuel burns off? I'll help you out with this. The 772 will gradually climb as fuel burns off. If its AFCS is always going to oppose any bank angle's lift vector that's other than vertical and if it's by nature "a climber" due to fuel burn-off, why should it do other than "proceed" on course (whatever that course might happen to be)? In fact why should it meander more than 3 to 5 degrees left or right of its final spat-out recovery heading in ever-smoothening upper air, well above any cumuloNimbus tops? What's its anmpp (air nautical miles per pound of fuel or aka specific air range) going to be? I'll help you out again here. Eventually the 772F will be up at around FL440 and its range will be super-optimized..... as good as it's ever going to get and around 103% of a fixed FL350 LRC cruise... and 105% of a stepped climb profile.

The only question remaining is Rocinante's conduct and technical decorum at:

a. first flame-out

b. second flame-out

c. APU start-up

d. APU flame-out (i.e. what can the AFCS now achieve RAT-wise?). i.e. Rather pointless having a RAT deploy as a lender of electrons of Last Resort - if it can't help the batteries provide the ergs required for the flight-control system's final earthbound functionalities.

e. I'm assuming that a RAT-powered Rocinante will just fly a 12 to 15 degrees nose-up wings level glide attitude to a nice optimal ditching. It may dig a wingtip into a swell and shed a flaperon (in its full aileron deflection response) and maybe some aileron trailing edge on the same side - but that's not a Boeing design deficiency.

What say you? I'd be interested in some knowledgeable researched input.

I awake from my reverie, reach for my lunch-box and ruminate upon my boring freight-dawg existence. These projectile vomiting spasms sure leave you peckish. You can sign me up for one of these pilotless projects any day. It's a freightening prospect.

http://www.pprune.org/tech-log/549606-challenging-endurance-problem-3.html#post9483337

http://www.pprune.org/tech-log/549606-challenging-endurance-problem-3.html#post9483337

FEEDBACK emails [and my Responses]

 

 

25

Dec

2014

Tim

Lost your biz card with the email address, then found it again. My explanation the other day probably didn't cover all aspects of my MH370 theory so I'll give you a little background. When I was MOPS (Maritime OPS Staff Officer) at Headquarters Operational Command RAAF, I was involved in the investigation into an early 1980's ramp fire at RAAF Edinburgh  South Australia. A9-300, a P3B Orion of 11Squadron 92 Wing burnt on the ramp whilst undergoing servicing. It was easily established that injudicious application of a lubricant had inadvertently caused spontaneous combustion of the crew oxygen system in the cockpit and the flight station was badly scorched in the oxygen flare fire that followed. 100% oxygen and any oily substance will readily cause combustion. It's frequently forgotten just how dangerous breathing oxygen, even at low delivery pressures (versus storage pressures), can be.

At the time I was impressed by the fact that a number of circuit breakers in the flight station CB panels had tripped during that short duration flare fire, whilst the ripple effect of those trips had caused CB trips elsewhere in the aircraft (i.e. trip a control CB and the isolated distant power CB trips). The auxiliary Power Unit (APU) and many other systems continued to run throughout the incident. When systems are powered, it's far more likely that the trip of one thermally activated circuit-breaker will affect subsidiary circuitry and kill the odd system. Being an old 1960's design, there weren't many plastic pushbuttons or LCD screens in that cockpit - unlike the much later design of the digitalized P3C Orion. I recall wondering what damage a similar fire in a P3C would have resulted in. The difference of course is the dissimilar melting points of plastic illuminated push-buttons, keypads and LCD screens used in all modern aircraft. Those pushbuttons (unlike metal toggle switches found in older technology) then become additional points of potential failure when heated by direct or indirect exposure to an oxygen flare fire. Melting of a plastic switch can have different outcomes, depending upon the characteristics of the switch surround housing, and whether it's mechanically or electrically "latched".

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/767GroundFire5.png

N799AX on the ramp at San Francisco

What's distinctive about (and unique to) an oxygen flare fire? Firstly it may have been electrically initiated, but it will be focal at the point of efflux (delivery side of the Low Pressure pilot's regulator on his side console most likely). That's where the blowtorch effect will be most concentrated (and the potential for airframe structural weakening and hull rupture most likely). The likelihood of Hull rupture is greatly enhanced by the aircraft's maximal cabin pressurization differential pressure (and that's greatest at cruise altitude). Once that blow-out occurs, there will likely be a net inflow of "thin" air and the oxygen enriched atmosphere within the cockpit will quickly become diluted, quenching that flare-fire. The residual effect (and after -effects) of that 20 to 45 second flare is hard to specify, but some aspects would be a "given".

i.e. 1. Pilots' lungs would be seared if both were seated. The more distantly seated pilot would be less affected and might be able to "wind into his heading bug" a turn towards the nearest available airport (Pulau Langkawi in this case).

      2.  The first aural alarm after hull burn-through would be visual and aural alerts for depressurization, triggering a surviving pilot response of donning his oxygen mask (i.e. it's unlikely that he would be aware or conscious of the likely unavailability of oxygen and would just act by rote).

      3.  It's universally a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the second urgent response action to be a de-selection of the autopilot and entry into a manual steep descent to get down to circa 10,000ft (and breathable ambient air). However without an oxygen supply, the time of useful consciousness would be as little as 30 seconds and it's unlikely that any sort of PA announcement was able to be made. After passing out, the pilot's forward nose-down pressure on his yoke would've been relaxed and the aircraft, not yet trimmed into the nose-down dive attitude, would zoom up due to the increased speed and pitch trim state, stall, recover itself and then

As the pressure was released by the cabin rupture, the convective rush of air caused the flames to spread across the cabin, beginning the second phase. The third phase began when most of the oxygen was consumed and was replaced with atmospheric air, essentially quenching the fire, but causing massive amounts of smoke, dust, carbon monoxide, and fumes to fill the cabin.

Report on the Apollo-1 capsule fire

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_1

gradually subside toward its previously "trimmed for" altitude. That's the unique characteristic of the 777 "active" FCS (Flight Control System). It acts as a quasi autopilot, only lacking any sort of heading "lock". The 777's inherent phugoid characteristic in pitch would quickly enable the aircraft's thrust and pitch trim state to sinusoidally reconcile and something tantamount to a normal high altitude cruise to resume.

      4.  Because of the locked cabin door, compromised intercomm and CB trips, anyone aft of the cockpit would be unaware of much more than the rubber jungle of oxygen mask dropdowns. The existence of a flight-deck flare fire they'd have been quite unaware of. Pax oxygen is of very limited duration so the longest surviving onboard would be the flight attendants with walk-round bottles. However they would have had to have been alert and very fast and deliberate in getting to one. The power of surprise and pax angst would be very debilitating and distracting in such a circumstance.

 

767 Oxygen Fire San Francisco

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/767GroundFire2.png

Pursuant to the zoom, stall and subsidence towards their prior trimmed cruise height, the aircraft's redundant redundancies without its autopilot guidance (courtesy of the active FCS) would have coped well with the odd encounter with Cumulo-Nimbus thunderheads up around the ITCZ (Intertropic Convergence Zone).... but each time it was spat out (after a minor or major upset), it would've been on a NEW heading. Eventually its final exit heading of generally southbound would've ensured its survival as a long-distance "ghost flight". Cloud tops south of the equator (in comparison to those within the ITCZ) would've been well below MH370's altitude. As it progressed further and further south, all the while climbing gradually as fuel burnt off, MH370 would've been in increasingly quiescent and calm upper-level air south of the Northern hemisphere located ITCZ - and thus its heading would've been quite steady with a heading "meander factor" due to minor turbulence of something less than plus or minus 5 degrees.  It would easily average out to the observed ACARS satellite-tracking until fuel exhaustion. Because of the constant climb (vice a normal ATC controlled step-climb procedure), the 777 may have achieved a "bonus" range of circa +250 to 350kms. The active FCS has fail-safe redundancies built-in. If a wing drops even a minor amount due to turbulence (say), the aircraft's FCS immediately compensates. It can also cope well with the flame-out of one engine or hull damage asymmetry.

Is Boeing and the FAA aware of this scenario? Yes of course. The response to the Cairo Ramp fire on Egyptair's 777-200 "Nefertiti" SU-GBP was undertaken by the Egyptian version of the NTSB, downplayed and ultimately under-assessed by the FAA (and NTSB) in respect of the airborne threat ramifications of such a flash-fire - and they are all very much aware of that lethal error now. Ever since March 2014, Boeing has been quietly releasing Airworthiness Directives on most Boeing models (including the 787 - link) to eliminate the electrically conductive helically-wound coil spring inside the pilots' low pressure oxygen flexible concertina delivery hoses (examples are in the referenced links). However, unless the cockpit or Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder are found, Boeing will likely be able to avoid liability for their mismanagement of this potent threat. The suppression of informed comment on the Professional Pilots forum by selective deletions of posts and mass individual covert bannings tend to support the theory. Banned commenters, such as myself, are silently "disappeared". A consortium including Boeing bought that very popular internet forum (www.pprune.org) off its UK airline pilot owner Danny Fynne (aka Capt Pprune) about four years ago and charged its present commercial operator with the responsibility for vetting posts and protecting the interests of its secret owners via suppression of "undesirable" informed comment. This ploy says volumes about the destiny of free speech on the internet.

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/20080628-0-C-1.jpg

 

The "mystery" of MH370 events and its subsequent erratic flight-path quickly fades once the above scenario is applied to what is known of the probable sudden deterioration of the environmentals aboard MH370..... Any hijack/ interference plot fails the credibility test in comparison with the known precedent of the unique characteristics of an essentially self-quenching airborne oxygen flare fire. When the uninitiated consider and dismiss a fire scenario, they do it simplistically and without due regard to the quite unique characteristics (and implications for a selective cascading systems failure) of a limited duration oxygen flare fire.

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/767GroundFire4.png

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/767GroundFire3.png

Short synopsis: -  http://tinyurl.com/lh7sv2g

Longer dissertation:  ( An_MH370_Analysis-of-Likelihoods.htm )  -   http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2

 

regards

John S

 

 

The Part Played by the AUDIO SELECT PANEL  (  http://tinyurl.com/ovhgnpy  )

See attached compendium of FAA  AD’s (all at the NPRM – Notice of Proposed Rule-making - stage). It's at http://tinyurl.com/odp5v52

These draft AD's, covering oxygen hose fires, contain many surprises and eye-openers.

A skim review of Airworthiness Directives for oxygen hose related fires on the ground reveals that all Boeing models are in play. The search also surfaces (within those NPRM documents) mention of a 757 and a Bombardier RJ-100 fire, both being an identical cause/circumstance to the SU-GBP Egyptair 777  fire in Cairo.

The gamut of Boeing models affected by this defect is all-inclusive (i.e. all models and sub-species have Notices of Proposed Rule-making AD's). So you could say that it was an omnipresent threat across all the Boeings plying the skies of our globe. 

It's unsurprising then that the threat could/would explode into an actual fire now and again. It most probably required far more urgent action than an entreaty to fix “within 36 months” – given the scope of the issue across all Boeing models (i.e. how many in-service airframes world-wide??)

The following points are shown elsewhere but it's worthwhile re-presenting it again. Many of the AD's included here mention that the oxygen fire was triggered by a fault (i.e. an electrical short) in the close adjacent (to pilot's mask stowage) "audio select panel". That panel also gets a mention in the final NTSB Report on the 767 San Francisco fire.

Don't disregard or overlook that the oxygen masks include a microphone and that it has a hardwired connection to that audio select panel via the oxygen delivery hose. Much has been made of the MH370 final transmission:

"Goodnight, Malaysian 370". However to inspect further the relevance of that frequency sign-off's timing, should we ask what would have / should have happened immediately after that MH370 F/O's transmission? Quite simply, the copilot would have made a selection on that audio select panel to use another VHF box to call Hanoi, leaving the last used good frequency undisturbed on the original VHF set. Why not dial it up on the set already in use? It's easier than trying to recall the frequency that you were "last on" if comms with the new agency are unsuccessful, and thus sensible to just use another VHF set to call the new agency to which you've been transferred - in fact to already have that frequency set up on that second box. Use of another VHF set also "proves" the serviceability of that 2nd VHF set. This assumption of the incident (i.e. the electrical short) being triggered by that 2nd VHF box selection might logically also serve to explain why:

a.  Nothing further was heard from MH370 (i.e. difficult to transmit once that audio select panel has shorted out).

b.  Comms between pilots may have been affected (as intercom is routed through the same box).

c.  If full-face oxygen masks were donned due to smoke from the short, cross-cockpit conversation between pilots would be wholly reliant upon headsets and intercom being functional.... but they wouldn't have been. Would comms to the aft cabin been similarly affected? (i.e. once pilots had donned masks).

d.  The Cockpit Voice Recorder's contents might be questionable (i.e. to what extent would the recorded pilot and open area cockpit mikes feeding the CVR be affected)????

So, well may you pose the following question. What might be the two most critical systems in the event of airborne  fire and/or depressurization? Few pilots would answer: "The audio select panel" and “oxygen system”.

It's food for thought. Sometimes the simplest answer is Occam's Razor (in fact if you google "the simplest answer", the first 10 responses (in fact, the whole first page) show “Occam's Razor”). Once you've found that simplest answer, you just have to fill in all the gaps. I think that I've done that.... adequately.

i.e. Occam's Razor plus adequate accident precedents plus an infill explanation for all the mysterious "gaps" in the MH370 scenario and timeline.

 

11Aug2014

Paul 

The real concern is that the new promulgated southern boundary of the future search area will fall short by around 350kms  if I'm correct in the cause and aftermath flight profile and configuration. Why? The range achievable difference for the elapsed time period in question is around +350 kms for an autopilot-off  777 aircraft achieving an ongoing constant attitude climb as the fuel burns off. i.e. 9M-MRO would have flamed out at around 50Kft when empty of the go-juice. The question then becomes whether it then spiralled and plummeted. I'd actually guess that would not have been the case, that the RAT (ram air turbine) would have deployed and that the active FCS would have enabled it to retain a more or less consistent track despite a significant degree of unopposed thrust asymmetry and yawed flight over a period of around 5 to 10 minutes until the 2nd engine flamed out. You could also argue that at near-empty fuel levels, once the first engine snuffed for lack of fuel, the resultant yaw could cause the other tank's fuel outflow hole to become uncovered and so the two flame-outs could be within a couple of minutes of each other. Only testing could disclose that to be a possibility. I'm unsure whether the AFCS asymmetry compensation would've still been in play at that point.


 

Paul, I believe that you are an author excelling and specialising in airliner (and similar) catastrophe bathos. If it is indeed that aspect of drama that you can specialize in, it would be a good story to write into prospect for an MH370 "best guess" (i.e. as near as we will ever come to an answer). The conjunctive contrast of the rampant worst imaginable terrorist scenario blended down to a silent passive and unknowing pax passage into death. i.e. masks suddenly drop down, pax don them, rear end crew and pax wonder what's happening (no announcements at all on the PA); they note the turn and the attitude changing to an abrupt nose down, then suddenly (as the last pilot passes out), see it change to an equally abrupt trim-state driven "nose up" climb. The emergency oxygen jungle of drop-downs is good for 10 minutes, a few lucky pax might find a 2nd one at an empty seat (but are unlikely to have sought one - see why later). A grim but querulous silence prevails. Flight attendants suck on their portable oxygen bottles and attempt to maintain calm, resuscitate any passengers showing stressed activity or distress (i.e. not yet comatose, but that can be hard to distinguish if they have lapsed into unconsciousness with mask strapped on and head back on headrest. That dawning realization that an hypoxia Loss of Consciousness transition into death is now upon them would tend to come later, rather than sooner. It's a dark and unmentionable side of the Flight Attendants'  depressurization emergency drill that's never covered in their training practical or theory (i.e. what to expect if the two pilots succumb and that descent to breathable air never eventuates?). It'd be a brave F/A soul who'd unilaterally take it upon himself to attack the cockpit door with an axe in such an apparently benign environment. And what would a sky marshal do if he saw that? Affirmative action needs a kick-start event - and there simply wasn't one.

767 Oxygen fire on ramp at San Francisco

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/767GroundFire6.png

 

 "an equally abrupt nose up".  Why would that happen? Due to the pilot not realising that his pitch auto-trim is defunct, he would've just lowered the nose rapidly, fairly expecting that the attitude and increasing speed would be (as per usual) auto-trimmed to a neutral residual stick-force.... but it isn't and he's too adrenalized and injured to notice. That's a perfunctory replay of the 27 Nov 2008 Air New Zealand A320 crash off Perpignan but without the violent impact ending - and for a quite different reason. i.e. Some heat-distorted plastic switches and push-buttons and circuit-breakers exposed to the flare could be actuated by  the oxy-flare's transitory heat peak? The Air New Zealand A320 accident wouldn't have occurred if Airbus pilots were used to the elevator trim-wheel actually affording the ability to manually trim - and if they actually had reverted to manual trimming, thus affording the pilot's yoke-forward recovery action some real (and greatly more) effective horizontal stabilizer authority. Because an A320 pilot (and other later model Airbus pilots) are so inured to seeing that large diameter pitch-trim wheel move of its own volition via the auto-trim motoring, they tend to forget that it's an option in an emergency to urgently  man-handle it for assisting a stall recovery. Once in extremis and injured and fearful, that would've also been a very understandable oversight in the MH370 cockpit. It's one of the unwanted and unexpected human factors in automation. It's as big an error not to anticipate the unexpected as it is to expect the expected.


 

 In a sudden panic or even courtesy of CWS (control wheel steering) before autopilot disconnect, the pilot simply "stuffs" the nose down.... i.e. an instinctive initiation of an emergency descent. But Time of Useful Consciousness at Flt Lvl 350 intervenes and the pilot loses consciousness, relaxing his grip on the yoke. He's not yet retarded the power-levers and deployed the speedbrake. Befuddlement is the problem when he's put his mask on yet there's no oxygen forthcoming - it all burned up because both pilots suck their oxygen from the same bottles - and their system is pressure demand (no diluter demand as per the dropdowns) i.e. on a standard selection of 100% oxygen he'd likely either be sucking on ambient air or a vacuum - and that in itself could be bewildering to an injured pilot entering a hypoxic state.  Despite his heat-seared lungs and scorched eyes or distorted spectacle lenses, he'd still recognize the aural depressurization alarm over the noise of the inrush of air through the hole in the fuselage side. So did he in his confusion still try to don an oxygen mask? Quite possibly, unaware of the cause or source of the flare-fire that's just seared his cockpit, the futility of that SOP act would have escaped him. Hectic doesn't begin to describe his predicament. Once his grip and forward pressure on the yoke is lost, the nose pitches up because of the nose-up pitch-trim state and the higher speed  - so the aircraft, now unpiloted, zooms and stalls nose-high at around 40Kft..... However it then, courtesy of the Active FCS, soon regains a descending, stable, wings-level, flight state after a few relatively mild phugoid porpoises in wings level pitch. In this porpoising hiatus of a few minutes, the pax would start to lose consciousness, their oxygen supply being good for a mere 10 minutes of an emergency descent. The aircraft would find its trimmed level appropriate to its trimmed state and set power after a few minor undershoots/overshoots. Any lesser aircraft (than the 777 with its active flight control system) would have dropped a wing and entered an ocean-bound spiral descent. For a detailed description of the 777's ACTIVE Flight Control System, see  http://www.davi.ws/avionics/TheAvionicsHandbook_Cap_11.pdf


 

 

http://tinyurl.com/jt7v786

FAA Aviation Safety

AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVE
www.faa.gov/aircraft/safety/alerts/
www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/advanced.html
2012-13-05 The Boeing Company:
Amendment 39-17107; Docket No. FAA-2012-0104;
Directorate Identifier 2011-NM-279-AD.
(a) Effective Date: 
This AD is effective August 16, 2012.
(b) Affected ADs None.
(c) Applicability
This AD applies to The Boeing Company Model 777-200, -200LR, -300, -300ER, and 777F
series airplanes; certificated in any category; as identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 777-35A0027, Revision 1, dated April 19, 2012.
(d) Subject:Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC)/Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 35, Oxygen.
(e) Unsafe Condition
This AD was prompted by a report indicating that a fire originated near the first officer's area,
which caused extensive damage to the flight deck. We are issuing this AD to prevent electrical
current from passing through the low-pressure oxygen hose internal anti-collapse spring, which can
cause the low-pressure oxygen hose to melt or burn, and a consequent oxygen-fed fire in the flight
compartment.
(f) Compliance
Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.
(g) Replacement
Within 18 months after the effective date of this AD (i.e. 16 Jan 2014): Replace the low-pressure oxygen hoses
with non-conductive low-pressure oxygen hoses in the flight compartment, in accordance with the
Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 777-35A0027, dated December 15,
2011, or Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 777-35A0027, Revision 1, dated April 19, 2012.

Nobody aft of that locked cabin door would be aware that the pilots had been badly burnt during an oxygen flare. The cockpit door seal is quite tight, so the only indication of a 15 to 20 second oxygen flare fire would've been any interruptions in power to the cabin lighting and IFE caused by the oxy-flare triggering a cabin bus thermal circuit-breaker trip. They would've been totally unaware of their imminent demise and only the oxygen masks dropping and the 777's attitude changes would have constituted any cause for abiding concern.... but not alarm. In previous rubber jungle events, real or due to pilot error or malfunction, passengers have normally appeared unruffled, donned their masks, assisted others and awaited an announcement. In the case of MH370, the mild gyrations of descent entry, zoom, stall and recovery were not anywhere near as alarming as (say) a transitory "everything flying everywhere in the cabin" encounter with moderate turbulence.



However, eventually the flight attendants would begin to realize that this is not the expected protracted emergency nose-down descent due to depressurization, yet the pilots are not responding to their interphone queries. What to do?  No emergency drill has ever covered this contingency of loss of interphone comms with the cockpit. No plan of action is forthcoming. The F/A's would be clueless and helpless.  By the time the 777 reaches the west coast of the Malayan Peninsula, hit a cumulonimbus cloudtop and got spat out northwest-bound, the last F/A has expired. They would have died never really knowing what has occurred, but well aware that the aircraft seems to now be settled in normal cruise flight (but with no real idea at night of their altitude). No chaos, no mayhem, anoxia is a form of asphyxiation that accords a rare phenomenon, an insidious but non-delirious and non-agonizing (yet miasmic) death. "Miasmic" conveys the air of knowing that all about you is silent and unthreatening - but somehow wrong. Other passengers are seated and motionless - but not apparently struggling, dead or dying. The type of diluter demand oxygen mask used in dropdowns just adds an augment of pure oxygen. When that oxygen supply runs out, it's unnoticeable i.e. you can still breathe ambient air - but the problem is that the partial pressure of oxygen in that ambient air at over 35,000 feet is insufficient to sustain life for more than a few seconds - and the brain spins into a spiral of inactivity leading to the final shutdown that is death. Perplexed would be an apt description of the atmosphere aft of the cockpit door following the rubber jungle appearance of the drop-downs. In the latter stages of this mystery for the passengers it would have been mausoleum quiet as they one-by-one succumbed. The gradual disassociation of the onset of hypoxia is such that a mother might not even notice the lapse into unconsciousness (and ultimate death) of her child sitting beside her. Insidious seems to be an insufficiently descriptive word to describe the progressive lapse into oblivion caused by hypoxia death.

I've no doubt that MH370's disappearance is the first manifestation of a hitherto silent curse of the ultimate in automation. That's the ability of reliable redundancy to overcome killer situations and allow an airframe to soldier on notwithstanding - into a final oblivious watery grave. I first addressed the need for long-haul aircraft inflight monitoring in 1998 in a series called Iridian Roadshow (google it). I recall receiving a sly thank you note from someone at Iridium. It was just coming out of bankruptcy but had its basic constellation of satellites still up there - and its new management was lunging at shadows for technical applications beyond the odd requirement for sat-phones. They seized my ideation and ran with it.

As I think I mentioned previously, the aviation community generally is having a hard time wrapping their individual and collective minds around a 777 that's not on autopilot having re-routed itself via connections with cumulo-nimbus build-ups (tops of underlying thunderstorms) - and then being ejected from those encounters on a random heading. It's one of the unexpected "benefits" of having an active Flight Control system that is self-correcting to stable flight with neither pilot nor autopilot input. The part that the ITCZ (the InterTropic Convergence Zone) played in MH370's seemingly inexplicable course alterations? Quite simply: it would've played a large part North of the Equator yet an ever diminishing role (due cloudtops diminishing in height once they were established South of the Equator). You could/should also factor in the proposition that the aircraft was climbing consistently quite a few hundred feet per hour in this smoother air as it burnt off fuel). In piloted flight, mini course corrections would have avoided encounters with CuNim cloudtops for pax comfort reasons - even at night. However in an unpiloted 777  it will hit the odd one square on, enter an unusual attitude but recover soon after being spat out on a new heading.

So here we are some 15 years later and Iridium are pre-eminent in that flight-following field and some would say "even ahead of InMarsat". And of course there are many other players in this tech area offering inflight data-monitoring and flight-following to VIP bizjets, Gulf-Coast helicopters and a few adventurous airlines. But whether or not we have a replay of the Air France 447 aftermath of considering (but largely rejecting) the various satellite-based autonomous flight-following data-gathering suggestions? As always in aviation, the buck drives all outcomes. It's easier to lapse into research mode with a promised future outcome adorned with the best of intentions, than it is to bite the bullet and mandate any non-revenue enhancing add-on capability. It's quite predictable that the post MH370 spasm of research will culminate in a agreement to conduct further research. Until this technology is mandated, the possibility of another MH370-style enigma will remain.

Do you feel a book coming on? Remember that what you're calling a "fire scenario" is actually a totally different beastie. An oxygen flare fire airborne that oxy blowtorches the hull at source, weakens it and (with assistance from the pressurization differential pressure), causes a rapid depressurization (that itself quenches the flight-deck (only) flare-fire)? Well it's an entirely different animal to (say) the Swissair 111 incendiary inferno. The latter is self-supporting and spreads via ventilation and fuel - but the oxygen flare is not self-sustaining. In fact it's self-extinguishing once the hull is holed , oxygen enrichment nulled out - and/or the oxygen bottle is exhausted. Its only distinctive feature is a very transitory heat peak. The fact that it would also rob of oxygen a pilot who was aft in the cabin, survived and re-entered the cockpit? That's yet another killing field.

regards

John S


----- Original Message -----
 

From:

 "Paul" <xxx_xxxxxxxxx@iinet.net.au>

 
 

To:

<>
 

Cc:

 
 

Sent:

Sun, 10 Aug 2014 19:49:32 +1000
 

Subject:

Re: Contact Form XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Hi John,

I agree that the fire scenario should be investigated thoroughly whether 
or not the aircraft is found. It won't be found if they continue to 
calculate from a faulty radar track which I've proven to be wrong.
I'll tweet your link in the hope that wider public exposure will apply 
pressure on the authorities.

Regards Paul (only banned from prune for 5 days unless I post anything to 
do with radar !)




On Sun, 10 Aug 2014 11:13:14 +1000, YYYYYYYYY@iinet.net.au 
<no-replyatweebly.com> wrote:

> http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2


 

 

Hughy

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/A9-300.jpg

RAAF P3 Orion oxygen fire on the ramp at RAAF Edinburgh 27 Jan 1984

(note hull pierced by fire beneath captain's side window)

During maintenance at RAAF Edinburgh, a filled oxygen cylinder was accidently disconnected. The fitter attempted to refit the regulator but the pressure was too great and a fire had started by then. The oxygen fed the fire which then gutted the interior. Seven people were working in the area and two suffered flash burns. Report is at http://tinyurl.com/okpjcpk

In general agreement, however:


a. Pilots would've been unconscious/near death (at the very least) by the time the oxygen flare fire smoulder had extinguished entirely. I'd put that unconsciousness point (if both had been in the cockpit at the time the flare erupted) at around 2 to 3 minutes after the flare (and that associated blowtorch burn-through and depressurization at about 60 to 90 seconds after the flare erupted). All very sudden and lethal. I have a slight advantage in that I've read the physiological section of the RAAF report into the Orion oxygen flare fire at RAAF Edinburgh (A9-300 destroyed). So it becomes quite patently obvious (IMHO) that all subsequent recorded events were solely due to the inputs and outputs of the surviving onboard systems - i.e. after the surviving pilot passed out at the wheel (i.e. the one who'd initiated the turn-back and later, initiated an autopilot OFF emergency descent once the aural depressurization alarm sounded at burn-through).


 

b. You say: The turn is interesting – it wasn't a single turn, primary radar shows it was done in stages." That "done in stages" is quite symptomatic of a loss of control in turbulence (flight into higher levels of a cumulo-nimbus for example)- and a protracted recovery to a level flight attitude as the FCS pitch phugoid self-dampened any residual dive/climb tendency, and the aircraft's inherently stabilizing roll-response rates managed to cope with the wing-drop gust factors around and about a thunderhead. The 777 aircraft even with its active Flight Control System would take a while to regain its stable flight equilibrium, but with no heading sensor input at all, (and no autopilot slaving), MH370 would've remained committed to its random cloud ejectment heading ... plus or minus a quite minor meander factor.  I'd judge that to initially be less than plus/minus 10 degrees. Southbound, clear of the ITCZ, and once into quieter weather and climbing above and clear of lower convective cloud-tops (due fuel burn-off), it would average out over those later hours in smooth air to plus/minus less than 5 degrees of heading wander. The Mean Line of Advance would appear to be constant (if it had been being radar-tracked).


c.   Because of the characteristics of the 777's active flight control system, any discussion of autopilot re-engagement and dialing up of waypoints only serves to confuse the issue. Soon after the turn-back was completed, both pilots either succumbed to their lung-searing/eye-blinding injuries (or the hypoxia) and the aircraft was then autopilot OFF and left to its own devices (with all pax and rear-end crew dying due to hypoxia a short time later). Remember that with the pressure differential at their cruise height, you wouldn't need all that much cockpit sidewall fire damage (due to the focused blowtorch effect) before the cockpit hull would rupture outwards. I personally had a 92Wing P3 Orion prop de-icer boot fly off #3 during cruise at FL310 and at its entry-point (the forward toilet), the penetration was inward but the surrounds were outwardly angled due to the pressurization loss  enlarging the hole (i.e. the high pressure air outrush). I'd characterize it as a rapid depressurization, rather than an explosive one, as the hole was only around the size of a large fist. Burn a hole the size of a pea through the fuselage hull at that height and, due to the fire-weakened surrounds of that hole, the ensuing outburst would be soccer-ball-sized.


 

d.  I doubt that any quickly passing oxygen flare would be sufficiently furnace-like (or last long enough...) to "melt the throttles/power/thrust levers". The effect on plastic push-buttons, their housings, screens and keypads, circuit-breakers etc would be a minor "melting" to the point of distortion only..... and some scorching, perhaps a little smouldering here and there for a short period.  And that would be all it would take to actuate some circuitry and render others inactive (or just "stuck")..... per the description in the web-mounted document. If one pilot had been absent the cockpit at the time and able to regain access after the flare with a walk-around oxy bottle, in my view the airplane would possibly have been flyable/recoverable. Lack of pilot oxygen and their presence on the flight-deck (and a locked cockpit door) was what sealed the fate of MH370 (IMHO).


 

Thanks for posting the document on Whirlpool, Hughy. I think that somebody should try to stick up for the MH370 pilots. The public and officialdom are always tending towards pilot blame, terrorism, suicide, hijack and the like. It's a sign of the times we live in. Pity that you couldn't get that tinyurl up on Pprune - however the Pprune proxy operators would have strict orders from Boeing etc to squelch any such discussion (but maybe you could put it up on Airliners.net?). ..... just to frustrate and  infuriate the pprune censors.


 

John S

http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2    (and its internal links)

 

A fairly straightforward explanation that potentially extracts and defuses all the mystery from the MH370 cause and ongoing developments - and bases its speculation upon a known 777 precedent, as well as a little-known plastics vulnerability of modern airplanes. It needs a more coherent integration (but all the facts and facets are there).


 

Review the Egyptair SU-GBP 777 accident Report at :   http://tinyurl.com/mwnfn3s        ( final report) 


 

 - then extrapolate that (wiring-short caused) Cairo ramp oxygen fire into an airborne cruise scenario with all the major differences wrought by oxygen blowtorch  hull penetration (per the SU-GBP imagery at the link), a 15 to 20 second airborne oxygen flare fire on the flight-deck, the effect upon the pilots (seared lungs and vision impairment - not to mention rapid depressurization with no fall-back oxy supply). The very limited time of useful consciousness allows a surviving pilot little more than a valiant attempt  at initiating a heading-bug selected turnback - and then, once the depressurization aural alarm sounded, deselection of the autopilot and commencement of an emergency descent.


 

For the ghost flight portion from West of the Malay Peninsula, factor in the 777's active flight control system and the ITCZ (the likely impact of the InterTropic Convergence Zone's 50,000 ft cloudtops upon 9M-MRO's flightpath - until it got south of the Equator, climbing itself into smoother air as fuel burnt off)...... and once southbound, with no atmospherics to disturb its thereafter consistent heading / mean line of advance.


 

An oxygen flare fire is very dissimilar to an incendiary fueled fire within attendant flammables. Once the hull is holed and depressurized, and oxygen enrichment is thereby nullified, the ongoing and aftermath effect is nought but scorched panels, molten and distorted plastic switches, tripped circuit-breakers, dead and dying pax (and ultimately the sequestered F/A's) and some minor smouldering for a very short period only. 


 

Oxygen fires started by wiring glitches (conductive stiffener wires within concertina oxygen hoses) tend to be the classic "flash-in-the-pan" events..... and leave behind a dead but, (with the 777's unique active Flight Control System) a stable operating engine and airframe combo.... the lack of an engaged autopilot not being at all consequential.


 

I consider that a theory that has a physical precedent constitutes a reasonable explanation once translated into an airborne scenario. The fact that SU-GBP burnt out was more a function of the priority given on the ramp to crew and pax rescue and the oxygen enriched environment being intact for much longer. Once 9M-MRO's hull was weakened (then holed) the outrush flows would quickly have been an inrush of very thin air, tending to extinguish any residual fires on consoles etc. The significant pressure differential would have also brought about an earlier hull penetration, once the sidewall had been  weakened by the oxygen blowtorch.


 

The fundamental story is in the document and its links. See if you are able to further interpret the circumstance.


 

regards


 

 

John S


 

 


----- Original Message -----
 

From:

"Hughy" <air_ways_electronicsatiinet.net.au>


 

To:

<YYYYYYYYY@iinet.net.au>
 

Cc:


 

Sent:

Sat, 2 Aug 2014 06:10:08 +1000
 

Subject:

Re: MH370 ( Not Really a Mystery)


 

Hi John,

 

Yes, I’m generally in agreement with your pages at  http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2 .

 

When the actual track of MH370 (in the moments after the “major event”) was published, I was totally absorbed by the initial changes of heading just prior and then immediately after the flare fire – the aircraft track (as per primary radar) was promulgated by authority as shown here:    http://www.pprune.org/8495074-post10878.html

 

Below was a post I made in Whirlpool on 6th July – with the comparatively highly limited experience of a private pilot.

 

User #172522  1289 posts

Harry Kiri

Whirlpool Enthusiast

http://whrl.pl/Rd1ncX

herring | anchor

Reply to this post | Send whim

posted 2014-Jul-6, 7:45 pm

edited 2014-Jul-7, 12:13 am

this post was edited

mexiwi writes...

Except it doesn't do that – it turns nearly 180 degrees and heads southwest

Harry Kiri (my post) answered Mexiwi:

The turn is interesting – it wasn't a single turn, primary radar shows it was done in stages. See enlarged map (posted in Pprune):
http://www.pprune.org/8495074-post10878.html

I continue to modify/change the cockpit fire theory, (here looking only at the initial ≈ 180° change of heading):

I wonder whether the extended turn could have played out something like this:
Last SSR contact was made at IGARI at 1722. On A/P, the aircraft then begins a slow turn onto ≈060° – so BITOD likely next waypoint (BITOD 059°).

During or shortly after the turn towards BITOD, a cockpit flare fire ignites due to S/C in expansion spring inside oxy delivery tubing. It torches inner then outer skin burning a hole through both. Rapid decompression. PF grabs control column. PSR shows a *very* sharp turn (off track) to the northwest (manual turn), A/P disconnects.

The question becomes ... did PF commence an emergency descending turn to port (departing the track to BITOD), but the turn was cut short (because wings had to be levelled [edit: and nose temporarily raised somewhat], due excessive speed due to PF could not initially reduce thrust due to fire extending to LHS of pedestal making thrust levers inaccessible? If that was happening, it would be terrifyingly near the Captain, but God help the F.O.

Fire subsides, air pressure inside and out now equal. Have all forward levers on pedestal melted? No control of thrust which remains at cruise setting??

The emergency descent continues (heading steady ≈ 315°) but speed now reduced enough for PF to recommence a much slower left turn (much lower bank angle, reduced rate of speed buildup), shortly after, rolls out – now on reciprocal heading but still in emergency descent.

Soon after passing IGARI (that waypoint is now abeam to port), PF TUC almost ended, his last act is to re-engage A/P, followed by loss of consciousness (or much, much worse). Aircraft had descended just low enough to (briefly) be under PSR LOS (as shown by the short loss of plotted PSR track on the linked map).

Now under A/P, the aircraft slowly climbs back to FL350 or thereabouts.. Shortly after the climb recommences, it's back in LOS of PSR and the paints recommence. Some time later, MH370 is again cruising at FL350.

It's just a theory, like all the others ... I'd like to be able to explain later flight profile changes – for the moment, I can't quite see how there could have been time to enter (two) waypoints (at Penang and tip of Banda Aceh) . Hopefully, time will tell.

 

Hughy.

 

Sent: Monday, July 28, 2014 4:08 PM

To: Hughy

Subject: MH370 ( Not Really a Mystery)

 

Hughie


this document:   http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2 


 

Please pass on (journos and the like)

 

http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2

paras 1 to 10 = the improbables and implausibles of the various MH370 theories.

Para 11 = the very plausible explanation for MH370 based upon the loss of SU-GBP (Egyptair 777 oxygen flare fire on the ramp at Cairo three years previous).

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/NefertitiDamageSurrounds.png

SU-GBP Nefertiti Damage

An oxygen flare fire is a pernicious conflagration that lacks the sustainability of an incendiary fire consuming flammables (per Swissair 111 say) – but the sudden transient flare can be lung-searing/eye-blinding and will affect or actuate (via distortion) exposed plastic push-buttons, their surround housings, thermally trip circuit-breakers and melt screens and keypads. Systems outages can result. Systems can reset later (explained below).

As to the weird and ostensibly imponderable meanderings of 9M-MRO's tracking after it reversed course and overflew Pulau Langkawi, reflect upon the following:
A pilot's first duty after an aural depressurization alert is to don his oxygen mask and disconnect the autopilot,
stuffing the nose down for an emergency descent. Read tinyurl.com/or9bzf2 for the reason why that failed.
However without an autopilot, the 777 is a very inherently stable aircraft due to its active flight control system. North of the equator and amidst the CumuloNimbus build-ups of the ITCZ (Intertropic Convergence Zone), it's conceivable that 9M-MRO connected with a number of these cloud-tops, getting spat out on various headings before resuming stable flight and ultimately being spat out of the turbulence Southbound.
As fuel burnt off, 9M-MRO would've naturally climbed southwards, increasingly clear of enroute cloudtops (the ITCZ being North of the Equator in March), - then as it proceeded further south it would've enjoyed turbulence-free flight in a steady climb until fuel exhaustion (this cruise climb would have greatly increased its range by around 350kms). The 777's active flight control system (AFCS) in smooth air would generate no more than a plus/minus meander of around 5 degrees either side of a Mean Southerly Line of Advance. i.e. when it drops a wing, the AFCS immediately picks it up - whereas a normal (non-777) aircraft would end up in an ocean-bound spiral. A totally dormant C of Gravity would result from its ghost flight status (no pax/crew movement aft in the cabin).

An oxygen flare fire is a very transitory 15 to 20 second affair. The oxygen blowtorch easily penetrates the hull courtesy of the positive internal pressurization differential. Once the hull is pierced the depressn and slipstream inflow departs the enriched oxygen atmosphere on the flight-deck and the fire is extinguished. It's no puzzle really. It's just the airborne version of what happened to Egyptair's 777 (SU-GBP) on the ramp at Cairo three years earlier. There is a slight difference. In the enclosed flight deck the oxygen enrichment levels would gradually climb, even though a small fire is burning (the blowtorch). But oxygen doesn't burn so its enrichment levels creep up towards a flash-over trigger point (around 87%). This is known as DDT (Deflagration to Detonation Transition). At the point of flash-over, the overpressure in the enclosed space would be sufficient to complete the hull rupture. Almost instantly, the fire would then be snuffed out.... and the ghost-flight ensues.


Extrapolate this possibility and together with some other characteristics of the 777, the mystery of MH370/9M-MRO is not so much intriguing as very concerning for its other ramifications for future aviation safety.

 

http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2

paras 1 to 10 = the improbables and implausibles of the various MH370 theories.

Para 11 = the very plausible explanation for MH370 based upon the loss of SU-GBP (Egyptair 777 oxygen flare fire on the ramp at Cairo three years previous).

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/SU-GBPcockpitdamage.png

SU-GBP "Nefertiti" Cockpit Damage after protracted unfought fire

An oxygen flare fire is a pernicious conflagration that lacks the sustainability of an incendiary fire consuming flammables (per Swissair 111 say) – but the sudden transient flare can be lung-searing/eye-blinding and will affect or actuate (via distortion) exposed plastic push-buttons, their surround housings, thermally trip circuit-breakers and melt screens and keypads. Systems outages can easily result.

As to the weird and ostensibly imponderable meanderings of 9M-MRO's tracking after it reversed course and overflew Pulau Langkawi, reflect upon the following:
A pilot's first duty after an aural depressurization alert is to don his oxygen mask and disconnect the autopilot,
stuffing the nose down for an emergency descent, whilst turning for the nearest suitable airport. Read tinyurl.com/or9bzf2 for the reasons why all that failed.

However without an autopilot, the 777 is a very inherently stable aircraft due to its active flight control system. North of the equator and amidst the CumuloNimbus build-ups of the ITCZ (Intertropic Convergence Zone), it's conceivable that 9M-MRO connected with a number of these cloud-tops, getting spat out on various headings before resuming stable
flight and ultimately being spat out of the final turbulence encounter Southbound.

As fuel burnt off, 9M-MRO would've naturally climbed southwards, increasingly clear of enroute cloudtops (the ITCZ being North of the Equator in March), - then as it proceeded further south it would've enjoyed turbulence-free flight in a steady climb until fuel exhaustion (this cruise climb would have greatly increased its range by around 350kms). The 777's active flight control system (AFCS) in smooth air would generate no more than a plus/minus meander of around 5 degrees either side of a Mean Southerly Line of Advance. i.e. when it drops a wing, the AFCS immediately picks it up - whereas a normal (non-777) aircraft would end up in an ocean-bound spiral. A totally dormant C of Gravity would result from its ghost flight status (no pax/crew movement aft).

An oxygen flare fire is a very transitory 15 to 20 second affair. The oxygen blowtorch easily penetrates the hull courtesy of the positive internal pressurization differential. Once the hull is pierced, the depressn and slipstream inflow departs the enriched oxygen atmosphere on the flight-deck and the fire is extinguished. It's no puzzle really. It's just the airborne version of what happened to Egyptair's 777 (SU-GBP) on the ramp at Cairo three years earlier.
Extrapolate this possibility and together with some other characteristics of the 777, the mystery of MH370/9M-MRO is not so much intriguing as very concerning for its other ramifications for future aviation safety.
 

People generally tend to treat an oxygen supply as nothing more than a life-saver - should there be a depressurization. However the other side of that coin is very similar to a petrol station. Filling up with "gas" is a very everyday mundane task, but there's always a lurking danger if people are lackadaisical about petrol's flammability when operating their leisure boats and cars. Not all 777-200 and -300 airplanes have chemical generators for passenger supplementary and therapeutic oxygen. Many have a oxygen bottle feed. It's unknown which type 9M-MRO had (but if it was the flexible hose type, those hoses were of the flawed metal-spring  insert variety (corrected by a Aug 2016 FAA AD)) (see link)  and (link)

Here's some examples of typical aviation oxygen fire hazards:

SUMMARY:
We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Bombardier, Inc. Model BD-700-1A10 and BD-700-1A11 airplanes.

This AD was prompted by a design review, which found that the burst pressure of the flexible hose used to vent oxygen from the high-pressure relief valve of the oxygen cylinder overboard is lower than the opening pressure of the high-pressure relief valve. This AD requires replacement of flexible relief hoses for the crew oxygen bottles with new metal design relief hoses. We are issuing this AD to prevent the accumulation of excess oxygen in an enclosed space, which could, if near a source of ignition, cause an uncontrolled oxygen-fed fire.

AD 2016-15-06 (link )

Oxygen is heavier than air and many aircraft house the supplementary oxygen in the Main Electrical Load Centre, because it's near the flight-deck. Got the picture?

SUMMARY:

AD results from a report of a cabin fire in the left-hand upper cabin fuselage above the aft cabin window at frame 23.

We are issuing this AD to detect and correct improper installation of the lavatory light assembly, which could result in contact between the
electrical terminals of the light assembly and an adjacent oxygen supply line, and consequent short circuit or fire hazard. (link)

SUMMARY:

To detect oxygen leaks, due to fractures in the flexible oxygen hoses of the emergency oxygen system, and prevent possible in-flight fires, accomplish the following:  (link)

and many more: Just search "oxygen Fire" at http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAD.nsf/Frameset?OpenPage

 

From: jrs [mailto:YYYYYYYYYYY@iinet.net.au]
Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2015 12:18
To: 'Bruce Robertson'
Subject: RE: The More factually Related Explanation for MH370's Fate /3

 

Bruce

www.mh370site.com

http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/SU-GBPextdamage.png

SU-GBP post-fire (Egyptair Flight MS-667)

Thanks for the feedback and ability to keep an open mind. Feel free to incorporate my thoughts, theories and verbiage in any reconstructions on your website (attribution not required). My interest is in the victims’ families having a full grasp of the potentialities (possibilities and probabilities) – particularly insofar as it assists their ability to pursue those whose inaction or negligence may have contributed. The post-MH370 subterfuge of the FAA and Boeing by quietly releasing vague “fixes” to crew oxy systems, without acknowledging any MH370 relationship, would seem to indicate that this avenue would be a fruitful direction for lawyers representing these families in civil litigation.

 

When considering the relevance of the Apollo 1 fire, the important distinction is that those astronauts were working in a 100% oxygen environment and thus vulnerable to any ignition source in that capsule. In the Egyptair aircraft, the electrically conductive, helically wound, hose-internal coil-spring shorted and created a cylinder-pressure driven destructive blowtorch, i.e. a point-source flame-thrower before it widened into a general single-sourced combustive flare. As you will have noted, that side console blowtorch easily (and quickly would have) penetrated the SU-GBP fuselage side. Airborne, that hull-piercing would have blown outwards around the edges due cabin pressure, creating an airscoop effect that would have relieved the oxygen enrichment on the flight deck and extinguished any residual fire (although some smouldering may have continued for a few minutes). Contraction due to the intense ambient cold at height would then have changed the relationship (“stiction”) between some switches, pushbuttons and their dissimilar plastic surround housings, allowing some pushbuttons to “pop” and some switches’ solenoid-actuated holding relays to actuate. Systems may have been thus restored and/or disabled. Of course the pilots would’ve either died instantly or attempted to don their masks and expired soon thereafter. However in my theory at least one of the pilots might have survived long enough to wind in a course reversal and then attempt entry into an emergency descent.

 

Further surmise as to what precipitated the flare-fires might include preflight “mask-test” (Egyptair) and mask-donning (sole pilot in the locked cockpit, captain proceeding aft for a typical top-of-climb bathroom visit).

Oil rig worker’s sighting? (http://tinyurl.com/oushwzc )

https://twitter.com/guywalters/status/443651290015338496/photo/1   is the letter he wrote before being fired. (attached copy here). The fact that he daily saw contrails on the same air-route would seem to add weight to his claimed sighting, bearing in mind that the brilliance of such a flare-fire at night (and background cloud-cover) may have actually increased the night-time visual sighting range by a factor of 2 to 2.5. i.e. it could have been in excess of 300 kms away from him and still in a valid line-of-sight at its cruise altitude. The reported duration of the observed flare-fire (10 to 15 seconds) also very closely accords with what would have happened in an oxygen flare eruption. There was also the sighting by the lone yacht-sailor lady, but I’ve not pursued that for any detail.  My theory is that all aboard would have perished from anoxia and cold within around 10 minutes of the flare erupting. It is possible that some aft-end crew may have survived longer due to walk-around bottles, but they would have been powerless (although they may well have been able to enter the flight-deck). I believe that depressurization would auto-release the flight-deck door-lock.

 

 For an oil rig platform 100 m above the ocean, and an object 348 Km away at 38,000 ft MSL, the line of sight would be 0.33 deg above the horizontal line of sight. At 100 m elevation, the horizon is 0.32 deg below horizontal. So the object would appear to be approximately 0.65 deg above the visible horizon - slightly more than the width of a full moon.

Certainly on a perfectly clear night you can see the moon rising, so it's obvious that you might be able to see that far. But it requires perfectly clear conditions nearly down to the horizon for a 348 km range - not common. The airplane clearly wouldn't appear so high in the sky as to be obviously an airplane - not on a dark nearly moonless night in the middle of the ocean with no visible horizon and thus no clear reference for where the water ended and sky began.

(According to some atmospherics pages, refraction will affect these numbers, but it's hard to predict and may actually be either a positive or negative effect, meaning the farthest visible horizon can appear closer or farther, depending on the reflective temperature gradients in the atmosphere.)

 

The ability of 9M-MRO to continue on (not on auto-pilot), subject only to the odd upset and recovery due to thunderhead encounters is really non-contestable. The position of the ITCZ (well North of the Equator on 08 March) ties in well with regular chance encounters  with CB tops. The climbing aircraft could have reached its set-power, weight and trim-based ceiling fairly early in its southerly transit, according it the range that seems to tie in well with the recorded satellite-based contacts.

 

I don’t really expect that the MH370 wreckage will be located, so it all exists as a theory only. However if it was possible to get sub poena appearances of all the insider players in a court of law, I’m sure that the credibility of the theory would grow exponentially. The Southern and Indian Oceans are very vast; I spent a large part of my adult life over them during a number of SP2H and P3 Orion tours. I suspect that they will continue to mask the real fate of MH370. However honest answers to well formulated questions may partly penetrate the insider-supported veneer of mystery. Back in 1998 I saw this problem of “an unknown fate” as being a soluble enigma and wrote a descriptive piece advocating an Iridium satellite-based solution to inflight flight-following and reporting. Google search Iridian Roadshow for some insight into my thinking at that time. Of course at that time the infant Iridium was going bankrupt and it took a few years for their satellite constellations to be taken over by a new consortium - and it thereafter prospered. An Iridium executive stumbled across my  Iridian Roadshow piece on the Internet in 2002 and couldn’t resist sending me a very smart-assed tongue-in-cheek “thank you” email. Thus Iridium exploited the concept, beat InMarsat to the punch and is now pre-eminent in the field. However until ICAO, IFAP, the FAA, EASA and manufacturers decide upon a standard, the satellite flight-following model will continue to be a voluntary one for the comparatively few airlines and bizjet operators who currently subscribe. My feeling is that MH370 will kickstart a wider consensus for trans-oceanic satellite-based flight-following and a number of major conferences are currently discussing what needs affordably doing.

 

I’d encourage you Bruce, to follow-up and pursue this particularized MH370 theory as being provably valid. In contrast, the South African Truth and Reconciliation hearings into the SAA’s Helderberg onboard fire (search 747 Combi Helderberg) found that it was highly probable that a Lithium-ion watch battery shipment was responsible. That fire went on for many hours and was uncontrollable. The instantaneous fate of MH370 bears nil resemblance to the many airborne Li-ion battery fires since (787, FEDEX, UPS). All these fires enabled extensive communications with ATC and company links - and in no case was carbon monoxide  poisoning a factor.

 

Regards

 

John S

 

From: Bruce Robertson [mailto:mh370site@hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2015 09:28
To: jrs
Subject: RE: The More factually Related Explanation for MH370's Fate

 

John,

 

That's an interesting idea about thunderstorms knocking about MH370 while flying via AFCS only. I can envision that happening.

 

Yes, the oxygen system deserves a serious analysis -- and hopefully not the first such analysis. We lost a space capsule on the launch ramp when an oxygen flash fire instantly incinerated all aboard. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_1

 

I have read reports that the oil worker could not have seen MH370 due to distance and line-of-sight geometry. Could he have seen the plane from his location?

 

Censoring is OK with me as long as it's the gibberish that gets axed. Otherwise, we can all learn something from contrary opinions.

 

With any luck, the victims' families with find closure. With just a bit more luck, the victim list doesn't grow in the future as we deal with the cause of the disaster.

 

I have no doubt that I've missed things, as well as added erroneous things, in my description of MH370. My main intent is to show that, whatever happened east of Malaysia, we have a good idea of what happened to the west. The Malacca Strait story should quash the straight-line, 35000-foot, 470-knot dash to the very south Indian Ocean. The curved path towards NW Australia makes more sense at this point.

 

Regards,

Bruce Robertson

 

 


From: mh370site@hotmail.com
To:
YYYYYYYYYY/@iinet.net.au
Subject: RE: The More factually Related Explanation for MH370's Fate
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2015 21:49:05 -0700

John,

 

Thanks again for your well-written comments. It's getting late here now so I'll have to respond tomorrow when I'm more awake. I did want to let you know, though, that I've read everything and will formulate some responses shortly.

 

Regards,

Bruce


From: YYYYYYYYYY/@iinet.net.au
To:
mh370site@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: The More factually Related Explanation for MH370's Fate
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:12:14 +0800

Bruce

The basic difference between the 777 and other contemporaneous airframes is the Active Flight Control system. Due to its characteristics of instantaneous response to a gust-induced wing-drop, MH370 was capable of covering great distances without autopilot, on a relatively steady heading and climbing steadily due to trim-state, fuel burn-off and a totally inanimate payload. The only factor with which the AFCS was unable to contend were the active thunderheads into which it blundered now and again. However on ejection from these very localized phenomena it would have quickly cancelled all phugoid effects in pitch and regained stable flight – albeit each time on a new heading. Because its final CB ejection recovery heading was Southerly, it soon left the Northerly ITCZ’s disruptive convective build-up zone - and found itself in relatively calm air and well above all Southern Hemisphere CuNims. Any meander of plus/minus 5 degrees in heading would have been self-cancelling and given the overall impression of a deliberate tracking.

 

An oxygen flare fire is a very different sort of fire. Apollo 1's fire was ignited by a wiring short in a 100% oxygenated environment. However a point-source eruption due to a short within an enclosed pressure demand oxygen supply system is a quite different animal - and so the point-source blowtorch becomes the focus of what happens and what happens next. When I inspected (as an RAAF Operational Command HQ Staff Officer) the wreckage of A9-300 (a P3B Orion) at RAAF Edinburgh in 1980, I noted that the oxygen flare fire on the ramp had led to many plastic components (switches/ screens etc) being simply scorched and/or distorted. The fire had self-extinguished but some smouldering had continued. That fire was caused by spontaneous combustion due to an accidental application of an oily lubricant to an oxygen system component. My theory in respect of MH370 is that some latching / de-latching and reset-delatching of switches (push-button mechanical and solenoid held etc) would have been delayed by post-flash smouldering and later permitted due to the switch’s contraction in the extreme cold (due to the cockpit side burn-through by the oxy-torch effect at the regulator). Some systems would’ve been disabled, some may have been re-enabled once smoulder had ceased and contraction (due extreme cold) had overcome the “stiction” of transient heat-induced distortions. The very varying types of plastic widely employed in the modern flight-deck have made the results of a non-persistent oxygen flash-fire quite unpredictable.

 

From a pilot lethality point of view, it is a very conclusive event. You only have to think about it for a few moments to realize that a pilot’s oxygen fire at height instantly dooms all on board, locked or unlocked cockpit door notwithstanding.

 

As a student of FAA and Boeing/Airbus focusses post-accidents, I note that as well as all the quiet attention paid to Boeing models of all types, Airbus has started to pay rapt attention to the subject of crew oxygen system fires. The latest EASA bulleting and Airworthiness Directive on that subject was a mere few weeks ago. Boeing and Airbus have conjoint strong suspicions that the MH370 loss was all about an oxygen flare fire. What the oil-rig worker saw and described fits in very well (timing and location-wise) with what likely happened.

 

My posts on the subject very quickly got me banned from www.pprune.org. As you are possibly aware, a secret consortium of industry and airline interests purchased that website from Captain Danny Fynne a few years back and the company that they hired to vet and censor and sanitize commentary has been very active in keeping the MH370 commentary to low-key and uninformed gibberish. Sight unseen by the thousands of Pprune participants, they have been banning unwelcome commentary, banning well-respected posters and deleting posts willy nilly. i.e. one warning and then you are banned for life. Totally reprehensible, but also legal I’d guess. I only wish that their censorial editorializing conduct on Pprune was more widely known of by the media and public.

 

Seeing as you now have the attention of the Press, Bruce, you may well be in a position to do that and to correct the situation in respect of the ongoing Boeing/FAA/industry insider deception and hoodwink as to the real cause of MH370.

 

I think that the victims’ families are deserving of a full and free account of just what the FAA, Boeing and Airbus have been doing in respect of oxygen flare fire risk – and why they haven’t publicly acknowledged that their actions have been because they are wholly cognizant of the likely MH370 cause….. and were quite remiss in responding appropriately to the much earlier loss of the Egyptair 777 on the ramp at Cairo.

 

Regards

 

John S

 

From: Bruce Robertson [mailto:mh370site@hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2015 13:36
To: jrs
Subject: RE: The More factually Related Explanation for MH370's Fate

 

John,

 

Congratulations, you are the first one to email a comment! I'm not counting all the news sites where everyone can, and do, write anything.

 

Early on I had considered the oxygen scenario but couldn't see how the electronics came back on line in the Malacca Strait. The heading changes were another factor I couldn't explain except for the spiral effect. The satellite data does support a rapid climb soon after the loss of radar tracking, leading me to believe this is evidence of an aircraft upset recovery.

 

The main thrust of my scenario is that the plane was not at 35,000 feet and not flying at 460-470 knots. This greatly affects where to hunt for MH370.

 

Thanks for the links,

Bruce Robertson

 

 


From: YYYYYYYYYY/@iinet.net.au
To:
mh370site@hotmail.com
Subject: The More factually Related Explanation for MH370's Fate
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:10:05 +0800

Bruce

The accepted answer, backed by numerous facts, upon which Stewarts Law of London and world-renowned documentary producer Darlow Smithson LLC  are basing litigation and re-enactment productions can be found at:

 

a.         Short Synopsis:  http://tinyurl.com/lh7sv2g

 

b.       Longer Diatribe (poorly structured but comprehensive and fact-ridden):

 

http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2

 

 

regards

 

John S

3tour P3 pilot and ex-editor-in-Chief of Air Safety Week (PBIMedia LLC) 

 

 

 

 

guest-amaineos Jul 21st, 16:40

Egyptair’s MS804 lurks totally unseen against the background of MH370 - but shouldn't, simply because if you apply the same scenario of a DDT explosion to MS804 (being an Airbus A320 with a very electrically vulnerable flight control system) to MH370 (a 777-200 with a very failsafe, wholly redundant flight control system featuring absolutely inherent stability and lightning fast reactions to non-control input flight-path disruptions i.e. gusts) - then they are likely to be very very similar accidents at source.

DDT (Deflagration to Detonation Transition) blasts caused by odourless, colourless oxygen enrichment to that DDT enrichment 87% threshold trigger-level, plus any sparking short or arcing, will blow itself out at height as soon as the fuselage is holed (and depressurization occurs). That holing is caused by a localized weakening of the fuselage side adjacent to the source of the oxygen leak being blown out by the DDT overpressure (and essentially, the fire is then blown out by the thin air at cruise altitude).  Think "oxygen lance" for the oxygen leak-source area that's fuselage-side adjacent.

 

Note that even though Oxygen does not itself burn, the hydrocarbon-rich vapours produced by a large surface of smouldering plastics in an oxygen supported fire will, in an oxygen-enriched closed environment, rapidly produce the gas vapour pressures required for a DDT blast (think diesel engine combustion theory here). See the Wikipedia entry for the DDT phenomenon... or go to the entry menu at https://bit.ly/2J1mR8U .


It's all in there - all the MH370 mysteries explained by common-place simple failures, airplane characteristics, natural phenomena, gas equations and design features... all combining naturally in doing what failure chains tend to do - it's called "ducks-in-a-row" (or if you prefer, the “Swiss-cheese” analogy)..

 


  • guest-amaineosJul 20th, 16:49
     
    • The most likely explanation for Egyptair's MS804 (and the ensuing collusive cover-up) is in the 2nd last two links (#27/#28) on this page's menu:
      https://bit.ly/2J1mR8U  (or tinyurl.com/or9bzf2  )
      Executive Summary for the above is on that page above, at the 2nd link at: tinyurl.com/gqpnwcn

    • or to go direct to the MS804 theory:
      http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/mh370/MS804cause_FrenchBEA.htm  ( aka: https://bit.ly/2m5bDXL  )

    • In MS804, the A320 crew's supplementary oxygen bottle is attached to the ceiling of the avionics compartment, directly under the F/O's seat. Nobody but nobody ever wants to talk about the ramifications of a fire affecting the flight-crew oxygen system - because it's an automatically lethal scenario for a number of reasons. Do a search for all the mostly identical AD's that have affected all flt-crew supplementary oxygen systems across all Boeing models including the 787 and 747-800 (a few before, but most after MH370's demise).... however they are in those links above anyway. It’s been a very cute cover-up by Boeing. They“know” the MH370 likely cause and they’ve now fixed that nasty flaw, but it took out two of their big Boeings on the ramp before they did anything substantive…. yet just too late for MH370.

    There is adequate precedent in the oxygen fire incidents that generated 3 airframe ramp losses prior to 9M-MRO (MH370). The only difference in outcomes is that a similar airborne fire at cruise altitude has vastly different ramifications. Those differences also exist between the Boeing 777 and Airbus flight control systems. The Airbus system is quite intolerant of a cascading electrical failure whereas, due to its very advanced integrated electrical architecture, the 772's FCS is almost totally infallible. It has an endless failure-consequent fallback reconfiguration tree – a redundancy scheme which in short means that it will always be up and running.... as well as totally auto-compensatory (with autopilot OFF), once pilot input is out of that flt-control loop. It can fly on forever in an essentially straight line - which (as MH370), it did. Well admittedly it did fly a nice straight line course but with the exception of a few new cloud exiting/post recovery headings, following a number of brief "loss-of-control" encounters whilst in heavy cloud build-ups. Without pilot control via weather radar, those turbulent heavy cloud encounters will happen haphazardly within the InterTropic Convergence Zone (ITCZ) - and MH370 and the ITCZ both happened to be in that seasonally mobile latitude band in March. Once MH370 got "spat out" on a Southerly course, and recovered courtesy of its natural stability, it then motored on, gradually climbing as fuel burnt off. It quickly passed into benign ( meteorologically) quieter latitudes South of the Equator, and clear of the ITCZ, where any encounter mid-level with any well-scattered thunderstorms was quite unlikely. It would have anyways been soon well above any CumuloNimbus cloud tops. …. until the go-juice ran out.

 

[Docket No. FAA-2015-0822; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-210-AD; Amendment 39-18248; AD 2015-17-15]  link

 and

[Docket No. FAA-2015-0823; Directorate Identifier 2014-NM-211-AD; Amendment 39-18249; AD 2015-17-16]   link

DATES: This AD becomes effective October 2, 2015

SUMMARY: We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Bombardier, Inc. Model CL-600-2C10 (Regional Jet Series 700, 701, & 702) airplanes, Model CL-600-2D15 (Regional Jet Series 705) airplanes, Model CL-600-2D24 (Regional Jet Series 900) airplanes, and Model CL-600-2E25 (Regional Jet Series 1000) airplanes. This AD was prompted by results of a design review indicating that the burst pressure of the flexible hose, used to vent oxygen from the high-pressure relief valve of the oxygen cylinder overboard, was lower than the opening pressure of the high-pressure relief valve, which could cause the flexible hose to burst before it can vent the excess oxygen overboard. This AD requires replacing the oxygen hose assembly with a new, improved assembly. We are issuing this AD to prevent the accumulation of oxygen in an enclosed space, which could result in an uncontrolled oxygen-fed fire if an ignition source is nearby.

Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to certain Bombardier, Inc. Model CL-600-2C10 (Regional Jet Series 700, 701, & 702) airplanes, Model CL-600-2D15 (Regional Jet Series 705) airplanes, Model CL-600-2D24 (Regional Jet Series 900) airplanes, and Model CL-600-2E25 (Regional Jet Series 1000) airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on April 13, 2015 (80 FR 19574).

Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), which is the airworthiness authority for Canada, has issued Canadian Airworthiness Directive CF-2014-37, dated October 17, 2014 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or ''the MCAI''), to correct an unsafe condition for certain Bombardier, Inc. Model CL-600-2C10 (Regional Jet Series 700, 701, & 702) airplanes, Model CL-600-2D15 (Regional Jet Series 705) airplanes, Model CL-600-2D24 (Regional Jet Series 900) airplanes, and Model CL-600-2E25 (Regional Jet Series 1000) airplanes. The MCAI states:

Design review found that the burst pressure of the flexible hose, used to vent oxygen from the high-pressure relief valve of the oxygen cylinder overboard, is lower than the opening pressure of the high-pressure relief valve. This could cause the flexible hose to burst before it is able to vent the excess oxygen overboard. If an ignition source is present, the accumulation of oxygen in an enclosed space may result in an uncontrolled oxygen-fed fire.

This [Canadian] AD mandates the replacement of the oxygen hose assembly with a new design oxygen hose assembly.

(f) Compliance

Comply with this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

(g) Replacement

Within 5,800 flight hours or 44 months after the effective date of this AD, whichever occurs first: Replace all oxygen hose assemblies having part number (P/N) 38026-4-0280-000 with new, improved assemblies having P/N 601R44045-1, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Bombardier Service Bulletin 601R-35-018, dated May 21, 2013.

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2015-0822

That Oil-Rig Worker's Credibility

Ques: One thing: do you really think it is plausible the 'burning jet' seen by that NZ oil-rig worker Mike McKay was MH370? I thought that its trajectory was way outside the MAS plane's track?

from link

Answer:  On the question of the oil-rig worker’s sighting feasibility, I haven’t done any analysis in-depth on that. Once you read what’s below (here), you may or may not agree that it’s a case of “how long is a piece of string”?

There is a credible case to be made. Oxygen flare fires tend to be rather bright against the night sky  (particularly if they are “undercast” (i.e. below an overcast of cloud layer or inside cloud) i.e. think about the appearance of sheet lightning being lightning seen through an embracing cloud – it is that much more attention-getting). Also the flare tends to be attention-getting (in comparison with an established fire of a more-or-less static brilliance). Meteor sightings have been proven to have been impossibly distant for visual sighting, yet arriving particles as small as a  tiny pebble tend to generate brilliant trails seen over great distances. It’s a matter of varying contrast. You can clearly see a rising moon over a huge distance whilst it’s still low on the horizon, so I’d tend to favour the premise that something momentarily incandescent will be viewable at a great range, mostly because of the nature of its sudden emergence, as well as the distinct instantaneous contrast on a dark night.

If you put a strobe light alongside a light of the same number of “lumens”, at a great distance (but separated laterally), whilst you would easily see the strobe, you’d never notice the same intensity static light at the same range, but in a slightly different direction. That’s why a strobe light is used on aircraft nowadays-  to enhance its visibility. It is so effective for visual acquisition at great ranges and very low power. Its “pulse” waxes and wanes and thus “commands” attention due to easy visual acquisition. The sudden pulse of an oxygen flare fire outbreak, in an “empty visual field”, would be viewable over hundreds of kms at night IMHO. i.e .the flare event itself overcomes empty visual field myopia and provides a point of focus…. thus greatly increasing visibility ranges.

See:

http://tinyurl.com/ngnaa6p

In case you’re not familiar with the phenomenon of "empty visual field myopia"……

Empty field myopia (Empty space myopia) - a condition in which the eyes, having nothing specific within the available visual field upon which to focus, focus automatically at a range of the order of a few metres ahead. Detection of objects outside this restricted field of view is delayed and if an object of interest does enter the restricted field of vision, the determination of its size or range would be problematic.

Description

The normal function of the eye lens is to physically focus light from the object on the retina. To do this, the eye must be stimulated by an image. Empty field myopia manifests itself when the human eye is in a passive state of focal point adjustment, i.e. when there is no image (stimulus) for the eye to focus on, for example, when the eye is either in complete darkness , or looking at a bright empty field. If the eye lacks this stimulation, the lens is shifting to a resting state (i.e. "night adapted").

Resting State of Accommodation of the Human Eye

In this condition, the eye is usually focused at an intermediate point (about 80 cm on average, although there are large variations up to few metres), thus the healthy human eye becomes myopic.

In a nutshell:  ..."an aircraft that has a high degree of contrast against the background will be easier to spot, while spotting one with low contrast at the same distance may be hard and sometimes next to impossible."