Every Breath you Take

Explaining the seemingly Inexplicable MH370 events


Possible in-flight events[edit]

Power interruption[edit]

The SATCOM link functioned normally from pre-flight (beginning at 00:00 MYT) until it responded to a ground-to-air ACARS message with an acknowledge message at 01:07. Ground-to-air ACARS messages continued to be transmitted to Flight 370 until Inmarsat's network sent multiple "Request for Acknowledge" messages at 02:03, without a response from the aircraft. At some time between 01:07 and 02:03, power was lost to the SDU. At 02:25, the aircraft's SDU sent a "log-on request".[42]:22[44]:36–39 It is not common for a log-on request to be made in-flight, but it could occur for multiple reasons. An analysis of the characteristics and timing of these requests suggest a power interruption in-flight is the most likely culprit.[42]:33[167] As the power interruption was not due to engine flame-out, per ATSB, it may have been the result of manually switching of the aircraft's electrical system.[42]:33

In the Wikipedia entry for MH370 (see above and http://tinyurl.com/j4ztdks ) it is mentioned that the flight-following InMarsat satellite stationed above the Indian Ocean sent multiple half-hourly handshake requests to MH370 without any response - for an extended period, before coming good.

Australian investigators have discovered evidence of a mysterious power cut during the early part of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight .The findings by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau raises questions over whether the plane's cockpit equipment had been tampered with, possibly in an attempt to avoid being picked up by radar.

In the report, crash investigators reveal that the missing Boeing 777's satellite data unit had unexpectedly tried to log on to a satellite, around an hour and a half after the flight left from Kuala Lumpur on March 8.

This request, known as a 'handshake', was likely to have been caused by a power failure on board, the 55-page report says.

'A log-on request in the middle of a flight is not common and can occur for only a few reasons,' the report states'. These include a power interruption to the aircraft satellite data unit (SDU), a software failure, loss of critical systems providing input to the SDU or a loss of the link due to aircraft attitude.

'An analysis was performed which determined that the characteristics and timing of the logon requests were best matched as resulting from power interruption to the SDU.'

Aviation safety expert David Gleave from Loughborough University says the power interruption could have been caused by someone in the cockpit trying to turn off the plane's communications systems to avoid being picked up by radar. 'It could be a deliberate act to switch off both engines for some time,'

'By messing about within the cockpit you could switch off the power temporarily and switch it on again when you need the other systems to fly the aeroplane.'

He added: 'There are credible mechanical failures that could cause it. But you would not then fly along for hundreds of miles and disappear in the Indian Ocean.'

British satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat has confirmed there was a power outage on the plane, but has been unable to say why this happened.

It's concluded that "at some time" between 0107L and 0203L, power was temporarily lost to the SDU (Satellite communication system Data Unit ) - and permanently to the ATC transponder.  As 9M-MRO had not suffered a flame-out and was still underway, it was easily concluded that these units had been "manually switched off".... giving impetus to the populist "illegal interference" theory. No-one at Boeing put their hand up with any other alternative "systems"-based explanation. It's as if there was a technical blackout at 777 HQ. A hushed silence prevailed as Boeing's execs and techs pursued their own inhouse agenda for  "questing" likely explanations and any associated litigational vulnerability for the Boeing Colossus.

So, might there be another reason for this interim and temporary (and event-coincidental) outage? It's already been described that the flame-front of an oxygen enrichment DDT flash-over would have many indeterminate physical effects upon the plastics-based switchology, keypads and touch-screens of the flight-deck  - and the much disregarded singular point of non-redundancy for many systems -  i.e. that human interface of their ON/OFF switches.  In many respects you can compare an oxygen enrichment flash-over to an Electro-magnetic pulse (EMP). However, even though a flash-over on a flight-deck might be micro-cosmic by comparison, it's also a very transitory systems-crippling major upset that can leave, in addition to the depressurisation, a chaotic electrical disordering in its wake. 777 Electrical system operation is automatic and faults are automatically detected and isolated. But in a designer's mind, failures aren't daisy-chained together - so little provision is made for accommodating them, despite the No-break power transfer technology and mutually supportive bells and whistles. Electrically held relays are used in the 777 because they are simpler and more reliable than the magnetically latched type. But they are vulnerable to large scale electrical disruption. One characteristic of a flash-over induced arcing of a wire-bundle is that it can defeat a circuit breaker's ability to protect downstream systems. In other words, there's no guarantee that a thermal circuit-breaker will trip once a wiring loom (or bundle) arcs.  You can end up with a contaminated supply flux on that circuit or buss - as far as volts amps and frequency (i.e. cycles) are concerned. You can also end up with an induced Flight Management computer reboot..... which could also explain the interim SDU outage. Some systems are very power-supply frequency sensitive, the SDU and its software load likely being one of them. I doubt very much that even a mishandled smoke and fumes checklist could cause an SDU outage or FMC reboot.

It's not known whether there are any self-resetting circuit-breakers in the 777's electrical architecture, or any AFCI circuit-breakers (arc-fault circuit interrupts), but there is a "hierarchy of needs" embedded within the 777's highly complex electrical system's design and construction. ETOPS aircraft need hardened systems. This sophisticated system contains many "work-arounds" in the shape of generator supervisory panels, bus-tie switches and a sprinkling of load-shedding devices, each with its own tripping thresholds for electrical load-shedding and transfer. ELMS (the Electrical Load Management System) decides which systems get the power and which should be monitored off. There is also the BEPS (backup electrical power system). Many of these load-shedding pathways aren't "one-way streets" (i.e. some systems can sample their input power supplies, test their ability to reconnect - and in some cases will do so, once volts, amps and cycles fall within their own sub-systems' protective parameters (much as they do on their BITE test after initial aircraft ground power or APU power-on).

At 17:07:29, the plane sent an ACARS report via its satcom. At 17:20:36, five seconds after passing waypoint IGARI and a minute after the last radio transmission, the transponder shut off (i.e. the time of the "event"). For the next hour, MH370 was electronically dark. The next ACARS transmission, scheduled for 17:37, did not take place (see box below for a likely reason why). At 18:03 Inmarsat attempted to forward an ACARS text message and received no response, suggesting that the satcom system was turned off or otherwise out of service. At 18:22, MH370 vanished from primary radar coverage over the northern Malacca Strait. Three minutes later the satcom system connected with Inmarsat satellite 3F-1 over the Indian Ocean and initiated a logon at 18:25:27.

One explanation for the time taken to log back on could well be "the loss of the link due to aircraft attitude". Whilst inside cloud and being tossed around, it's quite possible that the attitude at the relevant times (every 30 minutes) was momentarily outside the aspect limits for the antenna [just forward of the vertical fin].

Generators power busses and busses are segregated, rated and prioritised in a pecking order dependent upon their subsystems' criticality for flight. Critical systems such as the primary flight controls (for instance) can be powered by alternate combinations of busses. These are characterised as ESSENTIAL busses and are further sub-divisible into single phase AC, three phase AC and rectified DC power. "Essentiality" is best characterized as a "fall-back", fault-tolerant and fail-safe system logic. This vital redundancy factor is in stark contrast to galley power, Inflight Entertainment systems and cabin bus lighting priorities. Those non-vital services reside upon non-essential busses. The SDU would logically lie somewhere midway between vital and "sheddable" in that risk-spreading hierarchy of needs. It could reconnect if its parent bus comes back on-line or if parameters fall within limits as other systems fail due to ongoing arcing - and are then monitored OFF.

What might have happened to cause the SDU power outage is easily part of the oxygen flash-over theory and its EMP effect upon volts, amps and cycles in 9M-MRO's electrical system - as controlled by the BPCU (Bus Power Control Unit). Therefore I personally favour the Flight Management computer reboot as emanating from the electrical maelstrom that resulted from that electrical systems crippling flash-over vulnerabilities and consequential bus-switching. That reboot happened yet again some six plus hours later when the flame-out occurred and there was a slight hiatus until the APU started, its generator came on-line and the InMarsat sign-on hand-shake for 9M-MRO was triggered. In flight, when no other power source is available, the APU will self-start and power Left and Right busses, regardless of transfer switch positions.

i.e. in Wikipedia:

" The ATSB investigators also reported that a second mysterious "handshake" request occurred nearly six hours later. This one, they speculated, was caused by fuel exhaustion and power loss before the plane crashed into the Southern Indian Ocean."

And of course, if you subscribe to the theory of the Flight Management computer reboot, you may also prefer to see that as being the autopilot OFF initiator at flash-over and the radar-registered climb to 40Kft as being just what the airplane might do during that FMC reboot period - until everything input/output-wise was nulled out and reset. Only Boeing and their inhouse "iron bird" simulator could tell you for sure, and they're keeping "mum" on this. But I like this alternative theory because I'm just not seeing either pilot having survived that 10 to 15 second oxygen enrichment flash-over (as witnessed by Mike McKay the oil-rig worker) - or either pilot doing anything survivalist pursuant to its snuffing. But you never know..... adrenaline is a real kicker.

If you think this to be a circumlocutory argument without underlying proof and/or one that assumes too much, you might even say: "Why should anyone conclude that it would have been an oxygen fire on the flight-deck that disabled MH370?" The simple unadorned answer is that there have been similar precedents, that oxygen fires under pressure are not fightable airborne (or on the ground) - and that most accidents do historically have these prototypical precursor precedents lurking in the background. A corollary to that simple rejoinder might be: "...and why else would the FAA punch out two omnibus Airworthiness Directives covering the precise known (and "suspected") cause of the two indicative prior accidents, yet make no reference to the threat and make these two AD's applicable to the entire Boeing line of models (from the 707 to the 787)..... and quietly do that so soon after MH370 disappeared?" You could also point out that the rapidity of the event that overwhelmed the pilots would not have been a Lithium battery fire, a simple wiring short, or weather. Nor was it conceivably a bomb or even a hijacker or suicide. You could then factor in contingent and contemporaneous events such as the transponder "switch off" and the cessation of ACARS reports..... and ponder their likely origins within the theory. A general acceptance is that at some point a depressurization occurred, to which the pilots failed to respond via initiation of an emergency descent or declaration of an emergency to ATC - and you arrive back at the start point of the quiz? Why not, why didn't they? One logical answer is that both pilots were quite soon "hors de combat" (i.e. quite out of the picture by then, after an initial desperate turnback for the "nearest available").... so a classic "ghost flight" resulted. "What caused the depressurization?" you might then say. The simple production of a number of images that clearly show what pressurized oxygen fires in flight-deck side consoles and impinging upon airplane hulls might be the wordless reply. It's the blowtorch effect. You may next hear: "Why didn't the aircraft continue burning after the depressurisation?" Some people have the whacky idea that oxygen burns. No Dorothy, it just accumulates and supports and stimulates fire. Oxygen will oxidize materials via combustion but the reality is that the oxygen enrichment stems from a high inflow volumetrically overcoming the airconditioning swap-out rate on the sealed flight-deck, until the oxygen enrichment of that enclosure's atmosphere reaches a level where every surface was combustible only because it was "wetted" by the oxygen's triggering enrichment level..... and that leading to a flame-front suddenly sweeping the flight-deck. Pilots couldn't have seen that coming. All they were aware of was a fire in the side console that wasn't being suppressed by the F/O's efforts with the flight-deck's hand-held Halon fire-extinguisher. Oxygen enrichment is as insidious as carbon monoxide poisoning. You are quite unaware of its deadly accumulations. It's a well-known cause of fiery accidents in hospital operating theatres and in industrial accidents - but less well-known in airborne aviation. Ramp accidents during maint and replenishment are far more common-place. USAF and NASA have both established specialist departments to research and educate the issue. NASA's White Sands Facility is perhaps the best known for their accident narratives on both GOX and LOX events. Its accident log for NASA alone is voluminous. And you probably didn't know that Halon is also a known cause of mental loss of faculties when discharged in quantity within an enclosed area. It displaces oxygen, but it can't handle any fires fed by pressurized flows of it. The FAA has published that as a cautionary fact, but it's not widely promulgated.

The enriched oxygen flare is not explosive, moreso inflammatory - but it could be described as a low order explosion or flare (similar to the backdraft that's feared by firemen fighting high-rise fires). It's known as a Deflagration to Detonation Transition (or DDT). That flare would've been heard in the cabin as a loud thump, followed by the rubber jungle as the pax masks dropped. That detonation's peak overpressure imposed atop the normal pressurization differential would've been sufficient to complete a rupture in the blowtorch weakened 0.08 inch hull skin and allowed an explosive depressurisation (see Nefertiti imagery). Without any oxygen enrichment at all, in fact now with only an internal atmosphere of the very thin air at 35,000 ft, no unestablished fire could be self-sustaining. It accords very well with what that oil-rig worker Mike McKay saw distantly (courtesy of the nocturnal visual acuity phenomenon known as "empty field myopia"- a known phenomenon that can re-focus the retina at many hundreds of kms - if the flash against a dark sky is bright enough and ambient light levels low enough). But unlike the totally destroyed 777 cockpit of SU-GBP seen in the Egyptair ramp burndown of 30 minutes of unfought ramp fire, all that would be seen residually, after around 15 seconds, is a light surface covering of soot across the 9M-MRO flight-deck. So if it wasn't the electrically conductive helical coil in the oxygen hose (per the prior events), what might the fire's starter have been? Investigators in both precursor accidents found many oxygen/wiring associated glitches in the vicinity as well as unsecured and unclamped loops of wire under the side consoles - and across the entire 777 fleet - flaws that had been there since the Boeing build and that were contrary to Boeing's own design specs. Unsupported wiring is a known cause of chafing and shorts. The vibration of flight can erode wiring insulation over time, unless the wiring is supported and encased or shielded or run in a conduit. That's chafing. The destroyed ABX Air 767 at SFO sported wiring that was tie-wrapped to stainless-steel oxygen lines. Its entire length of oxygen piping was ungrounded due to the use throughout of rubber-lined support clamps that are usually used for wiring bundles. That design flaw was later found to be global across most aircraft types.

More confirmatory Clues: The Boeing Colossus runs Interference

I used to be a well-known identity on pprune.org but then I was covertly permanently banned - like many others of my ilk. The problem was that I started pushing my MH370 theory in that thread and it was far too close to the bone for the new owners of pprune.org After they bought it from Danny Fynne (Capt Pprune), they (Boeing) engaged  a quite scurrilous group with a very dubious reputation "Internet Brands" (link) - to run Pprune in lieu of the voluntary moderators. IB is a digital media company that takes over, proxy runs, controls and ruthlessly moderates web forums in order to control criticisms of its unseen employer. They figure hugely on many similar sites. It's an iron-fist business model that is accelerating on the internet as various corporations try and control their public image and the so-called proprietary information that can damage them in the public arena. Boeing also has a fully dedicated group running interference via DMCA, utilising takedown notices whenever they see information pertaining to them that they consider should not be in the public arena. They prevail 95% of the time via the scare factor. The scary thing is that IB has a similar record of willingness to go to court. It is a massive deterrent to truth online ever surfacing.

A hard-nosed inquisitioner might then go on to point out the apparent anomalies of an airplane wending its way pilotlessly across the Malay Peninsula and through the Straits of Malacca and up to the tip of Sumatra, all without human guidance, as intermittently painted by radar - before turning for the Southern Ocean and bee-lining to a far distant splash-point. A simple dissertation on the seasonal movement of the ITCZ, its positioning on 08 March, and the exact nature of that meteorological beast, should fill in that present blank of why MH370 tracked thusly. And that long trek South? No more complex than 9M-MRO's exit heading from its final cloud encounter.... more likely than not.  Now above the weather and established South of the ITCZ and then South of the Equator in smooth air, and with only very scattered convective clouds and a consequent low likelihood of ever hitting one now?  It would've been a smooth sailing that's quite within the capability of the 777's active flight control system with its inbuilt wing-levelling stability and a propensity for enroute climb as fuel burnt off (and being ably assisted by an immobilized pax-load). It may not have flown a dead-straight course, but achieved a straight enough meander to end up flaming out roughly where InMarsat's satellite and Doppler theory says it did.

So where did MH370 end up? Likely a little further south of the latest search area off a nice wings level glide to a Hudson River class touchdown. Why?

(1) The 777's Active Flight Control system is capable of doing that classy touchdown ditching. It sports an asymmetry compensation mode and an adaptive pitch that will adopt a stall-avoiding 1.2 Vs nose-up attitude once thrust is but a memory. As we speak, it's bumping across the rocky bottom's inclines, shedding its bits and pieces.

(2) A step-climbed cruise  (versus a constant altitude lower cruise height) can give you a 3% improvement in range overall. Because it was a constant climb (and not a step-climb) as fuel burnt off, it was probably more like a 5% overall increase in range to splash.

(3)  The "constrained autopilot dynamics" used to determine the various possible tracks of 9M-MRO are possibly misleading. Consider an un-autopiloted 9M-MRO with a meander of no more than 5 degrees left and right of a mean tracking - due to its inherent active FCS ability to correct any turbulence induced wing drop immediately - and no significant encounters with turbulence once clear of the ITCZ. Would there be any significant increase in track miles flown? (yes but probably no more than 10 nms over the route distance flown in six hours). The probable impact upon the splashdown position would be minimal.... so the theory holds for autopilotless flight. The only distinct variable would be the overall range to flame-out.

So, if you accept all the provisos and dissections -  and rule out the UFO's, there's no mystery, just the misery of a nasty tech failure.

 It's every breath you take.

Master document:  tinyurl.com/or9bzf2


A Solution to yet Another MH370 Mystery

I latterly realized that I hadn't directly addressed this issue of the satcom going "dark" during the period spent within the ITCZ after its course reversal towards Pulau Langkawi (another "unexplained mystery" according to the official narrative). Hopefully my explanation below will serve to clarify what was likely to have been the reason "why" it went dark and then later revived its SATCOM responsiveness at the start of its long trek to the south.

In case anybody should contest the assertion that 9M-MRO could not have recovered its poise after each CB encounter without an autopilot, the answer is simply that, as long as the FMC wasn't locked onto a selected heading or particular FMC-based tracking directive, the explanation for each of its new CB Cloud "spat-out" trackings still works for autopilot/auto-throttle ON - as well. It's just a "no-matter which" (...was the case) proviso. i.e. It works either way.


Forty minutes after the plane took off from Kuala Lumpur, MH370 went electronically dark, just after signing off with KL ATC. For about an hour after that, the aircraft was tracked on primary radar via its "skin-paint". ... after its reversal of course, some mystery zigzags and while still traveling quite fast. Then it suddenly disappeared from military radar..... probably due to terrain masking of the radar head. Three minutes later, now somewhere SW of the tip of Sumatra and unmasked by terrain but outside radar range, 9M-MRO settled down onto a final (and terminally steady) southerly course, the communications system logged back onto the satellite. This was a major revelation.  This event corresponded with the first successful half-hourly satellite ping interrogation ... since the turnback event. Over the course of the next six hours, 9M-MRO remained on that steady southerly course and generated six more satellite handshakes.

 Why hadn't the aircraft logged on during the prior half-hourly attempts by the satellite to seek a log-on by MH370 (i.e. at the 30 minute satellite interrogative ping after the turnback)?" The answer may well be quite simple. Many such mysteries are. During its time over the Malay Peninsula, later on in the Straits of Malacca, and until west-bound around the tip of Sumatra, MH370 was embroiled in regular classic ITCZ severe weather encounters and after each one, was being spat out on a new heading - and obviously took some time (after each encounter) to regain its stable composure. In other words, at the exact time of each half-hourly solicitous ping from the satellite, MH370 was likely in cloud, pitching and rolling and having a "tangle with the angle". The satcom (aka Satellite Data Unit or SDU)  cannot remain locked on (or be receptive and compliantly responsive to satellite ping initiation routines) when in any sort of unusual attitude for any finite period - i.e. due to being inside (or just exited/spat out from) a cumuloNimbus - and those nasty clouds are typically massive and dense in that ITCZ band. Successful handshaking sequences require a period of stable non-manoeuvring flight within the line-of-sight limits of the SDU's antenna (located atop the fuselage and just forward of the vertical fin). A bank angle of greater than 30 degrees will mask that antenna's required electronic view of the heavens. Until 9M-MRO escaped that 300km wide band of activity on its southerly track, it was destined to blunder into heavy weather inside convective cloud build-ups - CumulNimus clouds that can extend up to 55,000 ft.

But many hours later, the final handshake at the 7th arc wasn’t completed. The interchange of data was OK until it suddenly stopped short of logging on the IFE (Inflight Entertainment System) and completing a BITE exchange of validation data. This led to speculation (later endorsed by trials and SDU manufacturer input), that MH370 had run out of fuel and lost power, causing MH370 to abruptly and finally lose its connection to the satellite. The APU had previously started after both engine-driven IDG generators had shut down, taking 60 seconds to start and bring its own generator online to provide power for the satcom unit to initialize its own internal reconnection routine, just before the plane crashed. However only around 30lbs maximum of fuel were trapped in the feed-lines between the (now empty) LH main tank and the APU. However this fuel is being sucked through by the APU and that feed continuity being vulnerable to aircraft attitude change,  the APU flamed out also -  after less than 3 minutes of glide (see the graphic).

Ditching considerations (from the ATSB Conspectus)

A controlled ditching scenario requires engine thrust to be available to properly control the direction and vertical speed at touchdown and to provide hydraulic power for the flight controls including the flaps.

The final SATCOM transmission was considered by the satellite working group to be due to a power interruption to the SDU. Given the performance analysis by Boeing, it is entirely reasonable to assume that engine flame-outs triggered the APU auto-start that restored power to the SDU and enabled an almost completed aircraft-initiated log-on.

This evidence is therefore inconsistent with any controlled ditching scenario.

 The only source of power was then the battery BUS and the Ram Air Turbine (the RAT), dangling from its compartment below the fuselage.

Where exactly MH370 would have gone down was then dependent upon its flight path subsequent to the second (LH or port) engine's flame-out. This indeterminate variable has played a large part in a scholarly determination (and some ongoing revisions) of the sea-bed search area astride the 7th Inmarsat arc.


  Master Document     http://tinyurl.com/or9bzf2