News and theories about the missing Malaysian plane

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Angélique, Mar 25, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. RHP
    Joined: Nov 2005
    Posts: 836
    Likes: 87, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 1183
    Location: Singapore

    RHP Senior Member

    At this stage as the French air crash in the Atlantic will no doubt confirm, the passengers are 'gone' and there is nothing to salvage. All this effort is to simply to locate the black box to satisfy curiosity and keep the relatives happy. It really isn't worth it.
     
  2. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,936
    Likes: 148, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1593
    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    it is worth it, the safety of all other flying commercial planes all over the world are at an unknown risk until they know exactly what happened. It may be an intentional act of sabotage or terrorism, or it may be a mechanical failure (or series of failures). In either case, there is a very large risk, but no one knows what to look for on all the other flying aircraft without the evidence that may be on that aircraft.
     
  3. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 494, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Agreed, we've spent absurd amounts just to find the pilot(s) where idiots and under trained, but this is information we need to confirm, so at the very least better training programs, can be implemented. I personally said very early, they'd never find this craft, but it is probable they eventually will, likely by mistake or while looking for something else. Maybe we'll get lucky and the boxes will still be intact at that time.
     
  4. ImaginaryNumber
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 436
    Likes: 59, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 399
    Location: USA

    ImaginaryNumber Imaginary Member

    Suspicion falls again on Malaysia Airlines flight 370’s captain Zaharie Shah | THE AUSTRALIAN
     
  5. thudpucker
    Joined: Jul 2007
    Posts: 885
    Likes: 31, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 453
    Location: Al.

    thudpucker Senior Member

    We need those computer experts on the IRS job in Washington DC.
     
  6. ImaginaryNumber
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 436
    Likes: 59, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 399
    Location: USA

    ImaginaryNumber Imaginary Member

    Missing Malaysian Jet’s Crew Was Likely Unresponsive, Officials Say | NEW YORK TIMES
     
  7. RHP
    Joined: Nov 2005
    Posts: 836
    Likes: 87, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 1183
    Location: Singapore

    RHP Senior Member

    So now they sow the seeds to create the outcome.

    I find it difficult to believe any of the theories that will come out from here on. It's damage limitation and they'll eventually arrive at a politically acceptable story to all interested parties - China, Malaysia, Boeing, the insurers, etc..
     
  8. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 10,401
    Likes: 1,035, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    The latest thinking is the plane was on autopilot for hours before it ran out of fuel, and is thought then to have spiralled down for as long as five minures. The fact that not a single piece of wreckage has been found is a puzzle though. Maybe that plane that crashed off a beach in Africa a few years ago would give clues to what would have torn loose and floated away.
     
  9. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 494, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It depends on entry angle and the speed of the craft. If she did what I suspect, augured in, doing close to the speed of sound, it means she would have shredded as she plunged several dozen yards into the drink. The debris field would have eventually slowed to a stop a long way underwater, where some may have floated free, but most would have balled up in the wreckage and sank in a heep of twisted metal. Considering the time and predictable dispersion rates, before any reasonable contact could have been made, much of the little remaining debris would have scattered, making spotting it extremely difficult.

    It's very unlikely she entered at a low angle and speed, mostly because of the glide slope characteristics of the aircraft, which will be in the 20' a second range, clean and dead, assuming the pilot is trying to fly her, much worse if not. There's also the APU problem on a dead stick, so pressurization would have been an issue. Obviously it will depend on the aircraft's condition of door seals etc, but there will be a significant DeltaP reduction once the engines stop.

    If the aircraft was trying to ditch, she would have used a steeper decent and peeled off speed, by punching the gear and flaps at 2,500', using the excess speed to level and slow, for a controlled ditch. If this was the case, she would have broken up on the surface and a much higher level of debris prospects would have been available. Since nothing has been found, not even a seat back, it's very probable she augured in at 650 MPH, breaking up 100' or more below the surface, where little would float back up.
     
  10. ImaginaryNumber
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 436
    Likes: 59, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 399
    Location: USA

    ImaginaryNumber Imaginary Member

    Australian Transport Safety Bureau report on search for MH 370, 26 June 2014 (pdf)
     
  11. ImaginaryNumber
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 436
    Likes: 59, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 399
    Location: USA

    ImaginaryNumber Imaginary Member

  12. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 3,900
    Likes: 199, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 971
    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    I don't know, but it sounds like the two lines on the graph, 'cost of search' and 'expected returns' have crossed and pretty soon will just be a rising line on the 'beating a dead horse' chart.

    How many died, 300 or so? It's not very many in the scheme of things, and all the millions of money expended could probably have saved 10 or a hundred times that many if applied somewhere else where the problems are glaringly obvious and easily solved.
     
  13. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 2,176
    Likes: 286, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 611
    Location: Michigan, USA

    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I would imagine that even sans pilot, the plane might find its own glide path, once the engines cut out.

    I know, in the light plane would, aircraft are designed to be aerodynamically stable, meaning they will sort themselves out and fly without a pilot at the controls.

    Maybe commercial airliners are different.

    Maybe, when the engines cut out, the autopilot lost power too, at that precise moment, so it couldn't adjust the elevators for unpowered flight.

    In that case, I can imagine it crashing just as you said.

    I keep in mind though that the fuselage is mostly a sealed bag of air.

    Upon hitting the water, the front will crumple, shortening the envelope.

    This would cause catastrophic over pressure, causing the fuselage to pop like an overgrown toy balloon.

    I suspect, if this flight actually crashed in the ocean, some yachtsman or commercial fisherman is going to stumble upon some floating wreckage.

    This is because their vessels are smaller, slower moving, and have decks closer to the water than the large commercial ships do. They also sail in more remote areas.

    One thought that doesn't seem to get much attention is that the plane actually crashed in a very remote location on land. Then there would be no witnesses, no moving wreckage to be stumbled upon, and a good chance mother nature will cover up the tracks within a matter of months.

    I do recall a story of a passenger plane that crashed in the Andes, in the late 40's or early 50's, and seemed to be swallowed up whole, like this flight.

    Some 50 years later, parts of this plane started appearing from under a glacier, on a mountain slope.
     
  14. Sailor Alan
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 299
    Likes: 15, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 85
    Location: Gig Harbor WA

    Sailor Alan Senior Member

    I saw this reference (post) on this forum a few weeks ago, and passed it on to colleagues involved in the search. They already knew about it, and someone official had tracked the original author down and she was interviewed. It is just another part of the mystery.

    Note; it is quite unlikely for an airplane to catch fire as described at the end of such a flight. However, as the plane runs out of fuel, occasionally the engines will belch gouts of flame as the fuel pump(s) are being starved. This could hardly be described as being “On Fire’ but we have to make allowances for the observer, and conditions at the time. Especially at night, such bursts of flame would look quite spectacular, especially from the plane being low to the sea.

    That said, i have heard some completely fantastic tails of what people saw (or more likely thought they saw) on midnight watch, on sailboats, in the ocean, so i retain at least a modicum of skepticism.
     

  15. Sailor Alan
    Joined: Mar 2014
    Posts: 299
    Likes: 15, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 85
    Location: Gig Harbor WA

    Sailor Alan Senior Member

    I have to disagree very respectfully. If the plane had lost power for any reason especially loss of fuel, the RAT (ram air turbine) would have popped out, and maintained all flight controls, autopilot, etc, for the duration of flight. The autopilot can, and does, fly the plane much better than almost any pilot. Actually, on the 777, a 'fly by wire' airplane, the autopilot DOES fly the plane all the time, the pilot is like a pilot on a ship? advice only. True cabin pressurization would have been lost, but it escapes through seals and the odd small door (which are never sealed, being small enough to be left to leak continuously).

    Best case, the aircraft maintained ‘flight’ well, under full autopilot, mushing down in a semi stalled condition at about 160kts, and 15’ alpha.
    Note; I've heard commentators saying someone would have had to turn the autopilot ON, not true, they would have had to turn it OFF, as its normal position, in flight, is ON. Remember, the 777 is fly/by/wire, has no connection between the pilot and controls, AND could not be controlled by a human even if they were connected physically.
    In this case the tail would have hit first, then the body ‘belly flopped’ onto the surface. Whether the engines departed at this, (departure apparently depends on the exact wave face position when the plane hits it for this), i don't know, but i suspect not, no fuel slick. Having empty wing tanks, the plane would have floated intact, no debris at all for several hours. Eventually, water would have dribbled in through the various (pneumatic) baggage door seals (they lost their air pressure when the main engines stopped), and slowly filled the baggage compartment. As more water entered, the wings would eventually have been drawn below the surface, and at about 200psi, the rear spar webs would have failed, probably near the wing root, or wheel well. This is a design feature, and prevents bursting the wing fuel tanks by over-enthusiastic filling. Yes i know the tank pressure goes the opposite way, but the web fails in a controlled way both directions.

    Now with the wing tanks and the body filling, still slowly, with water, there is a good chance the 777, still quite recognizable as an airplane, would ‘glide’ at about 8kts, and at about 20:1 glide angle. This means, in an ideal world, the plane will glide underwater about 20km for every 1,000m of depth it sinks. This is a long way.

    Eventually, the body will fill with water, or the body will crush to the volume of the water that did get in. The same with the wings, but the wings have more opportunity for water to get in, especially through the rear spar webs, and the rib/stringer/skin combination is quite strong in the pure vertical, or Z direction. The wing may stay quite recognizable, and with reasonable aerodynamic shape, all the way down. Incidentally, the tailcone, empenage etc will flood immediately, whilst ailerons, rudders, elevators, and flaps would be crushed immediately (due to construction).
    Under these conditions, NOTHING would escape, no hydraulic oil, no engine oil, and except for the fuel residue from the empty tanks, nothing to float. Nothing from the cabin, no luggage, no safety gear, no seat cushions, nothing.

    Worst case, as described by you, would be loss of power followed by stall. With no RAT, no power, no electronics, the 777 is unstable, no human can control it anyway. It would start to fall like a leaf, then gradually point down until it reached (not exceeded) the speed of sound. Now all the flaps, the gear doors, and probably ailerons would be shed, and as it reached its buffet limit, at about the speed of sound, it would have lost the empenage, then the wings, torn bodily from the body leaving a hole about along the PAX floor line, and down to the ‘keel’ between the wheel wells. As this was coming off, the body would have tried to stop (slow down anyway) in mid air, its light and bulky, whilst heavy items, like landing gear, engines, the wings, and the complete contents of the cabin would keep going down. Much of this debris, ailerons, flaps, elevators, gear doors, would float, for weeks, if not months. Any safety equipment, including seat cushions, would also float, for years in this case.

    Lets assume for a moment the plane actually “augured in’, a technical term not usually used in the aircraft industry. Had it descended in a series of stall/swoops, then its impact speed would have been 160kt and nearly flat, see above, or 350kt, and nose down. In this case, it could not enter the water at all, but it would be like hitting a concrete runway vertically. The plane would have concertinerd up until it reached the wing front spar, then spit circumferential. Little or no internal pressure influence at all. Regardless, the contents of the body, not to mention residue fuel and hydraulic oil would be spread all over, and much of this does float.

    I think the total lack of debris is significant in this crash.

    Mind you, a MD-80? went straight in to a Florida swamp, and was it never found? the swamp swallowed everything that time, leaving only a few disturbed plants.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.