MH370 contrails possibly spotted by Satellite over Indian Ocean before crash

Mar 24 2014 - 20 Comments

On Mar. 24, Malaysian PM officially announced that Malaysia Airlines MH370 crashed in southern Indian Ocean, where a satellite might have spotted its contrails.

A large and difficult operation involving both patrol aircraft and ships has been in progress for days in southern Indian Ocean, more than 2,300 kilometers to the southwest of Perth, Australia.

Which “sensor”, antenna or intel provided the hint to determine that the aircraft headed towards the South Pole, instead of following the northern route, is unclear. Anyway, Malaysia’s PM has officially confirmed that the area currently being patrolled is where the aircraft crashed after more than 7 flight hours.

Did the investigator have a look at satellite imagery, looking for some contrails? Maybe. For sure imagery of the visible and infrared channel were used to look for a sign of the “zombie” MH370 flight, as done by a meteorologist, by Tim Vasquez, meteorologist.

Since Mar. 17, in an attempt to find contrails of the missing Boeing 777, Vasquez has published some interesting images of the Indian Ocean on his website Weather Graphics.
Such images, “enhanced to compensate for the dim early morning conditions” were also posted to the Professional Pilots Rumour Network community. PPRUNE users found a signature of what resembled a contrail (barely visible in the top image: left, the feature without annotations, right with measurements and coordinates).

“Analysis of the METEOSAT7 imagery showed that this signature does bear a close resemblance to a typical early morning cloud shadow from a contrail onto the top of a stratified lower middle cloud layer, which given the appearance of double layers and a slightly cold signature on the IR channels appears to be a low overcast altostratus or altocumulus later at about 5 to 10 thousand feet beneath an mid-level inversion. This is in a region with virtually no air traffic, and no published air routes within several hundred miles,” Vasquez explains.

However, considering the limited resolution of the imagery, the signature could also be something else, including noise in the satellite data or the back edge of a cirrus bands type of cloud.

Interestingly, the suspected contrail falls precisely within the search area where satellites and patrol aircraft are concentrating.

Provided this is really a contrail, it would be generated by an aircraft flying a heading of 210° magnetic (track 196°): assuming that the MH370 flew the last few hours with autopilot in heading hold mode of 210°, Vasquez backtracked the contrail in time, back to the western Strait of Malacca, where a turn southbound was started for unknown reason past 2.15 AM LT.

Here’s the track of the MH370 reverse engineered by Vasquez:

io-route-sum

Image credit: WeatherGraphics.com

Obviously, regardless to whether the one in the satellite is really an MH370’s contrail, the reason for a turn towards the South Indian Ocean remains a mystery. Especially if we consider that the aircraft, until 2:15AM LT, had followed a northern route.

By the way, at the time MH370 was last seen on radar (on radial 295 at 200 nautical miles from Butterworth airbase, Malaysia), the “zombie” Boeing 777 was more or less on the very same position as Emirates 343, a B777-300 from Kuala Lumpur, flying at FL340, 490 KIAS.

An interesting detail to fuel theories that MH370 was using another wide body to escape radar detection. Maybe, until something went wrong.

EK343

Image credit: screenshot from Flightradar24.com

H/T to Guido Olimpio for the heads-up

 

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  • http://www.cryptome.org sunray091

    This is one of the most bitter lessons in all of aviation history. Technology was of little benefit in allowing us to track and trace this aircraft. We are too late and too slow.If technology was any good we would have been able to remotely monitor this aircraft and if necessary re route it by satellite to a safe landing. We couldn’t and we didn’t. Nothing as simple as a UV reflecting DYE PACK that would glow day or night if the plane was in the water allowing us a spectral signature visible from space to point to a search location. No beacon loud enough or strong enough to betray the planes final disposition. So much for the NRO,NSA, NASA and GCHQ. When the chips were down their was no help officially forthcoming. Amelia Airheart would be so sad and disgusted that in all the decades past…the challenges of finding a missing aircraft remain exactly the same. Pilot’s Flight Crew Passengers..Rest in Peace

    • OG_Locc

      “If technology was any good we would have been able to remotely monitor
      this aircraft and if necessary re route it by satellite to a safe
      landing.”

      Are you suggesting it would be advantageous to allow people on the ground to take control of a passenger aircraft full of people, and guide it to wherever they want?

      • http://www.cryptome.org sunray091

        Yes..it makes complete and utter sense to have that capability.

    • Neo Racer

      Oh the NSA ect prob DO know where it is, but this isn’t such an event they would need to reveal their true capability.

  • Phil Neville

    Who is Amelia Airheart? What a nice name….

    • http://www.cryptome.org sunray091

      You know who I mean sorry…for the spelling I have a friend named Airheart…

      http://www.ameliaearhart.com

  • Gyoz

    Finally found a very interesting article on the new EU regulation to be effective in 2019 to track better airplanes after the Brazil Air France crash:

    “Although not expected to become mandatory for all European Union airlines until 2019, the proposed changes include requiring a mechanism that would jettison the flight recorders from the fuselage upon an impact with water. The recorders would also be equipped with flotation devices so that they would remain at the surface to broadcast their location.

    The proposed changes also include a requirement that planes carry systems that can transmit their location and other basic flight data at regular intervals via satellite — and that would switch automatically to real-time transmissions if onboard computers detect the plane is about to crash.”

    Here is the full article:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/22/business/international/outside-the-us-steps-to-track-planes-better.html?_r=0

  • Ong Eu Soon

    At 2.15am, UAE323 was seen near Pulau Perak. Could the authorities mistaken it as MH370? The radars from Phuket International airport, Hat Yai International airport, Penang International airport, Langkawi International airport and Alor Setar airport all failed to detect MH370. Why the primary radar of the former RAAF Butterworth airport able to detect MH370 when it has no mean to verify the identify of the plane?

  • Ong Eu Soon

    The Malaysia authorities kept changing it’s version of story regarding the detection of MH370 at Strait of Melacca. From 2.15am, it changed to 2.40am where a plane was seen flew over Andaman Sea. That plane was KLM836.

  • Ong Eu Soon

    KLM836 flew over Pulau Perak at 2.34am. Could Malaysia military mistaken KLM826 as MH370 after it changed the story from 2.15am to 2.40am?

  • Ong Eu Soon

    The Satellite Data from Inmarsat was obtained from the last known position of MH370 which could belong to KLM836. Both KLM836 and MH370 using dynamic IP address in the SATCOM for pings. How do Inmarsat determine which satellite data belong to which aircraft? KLM836 was last seen flew towards Andaman Sea at 2.40am

  • Ong Eu Soon

    CNN reported that the military detected MH370 dive from 35000 ft to 12000 ft soon after lost contact with the air traffic control.

    The news is significant for the authorities to look into what Jacob K Philip and myself have wrote. We believe that it is a catastrophic failure.

    The following is the excerpt from the news report:

    Aviation analyst Miles O’Brien told CNN the new details were a “game changer”, and that the primary assumption should be that something bad happened to the plane shortly after the crew said good night.

    The pilots could have chosen to deliberately fly lower to save passengers onboard if a crisis on the plane had caused the aircraft to lose pressure, he said.

    “You want to get down to 10,000 feet, because that is when you don’t have to worry about pressurization. You have enough air in the atmosphere naturally to keep everybody alive.

    “So part of the procedure for a rapid decompression … it’s called a high dive, and you go as quickly as you can down that to that altitude,” he added.

    Mary Schiavo, an aviation analyst and former inspector general for the US Department of Transportation, said the fresh details were “highly significant” as they explained many pieces that did not fit together previously.

    “Now, if we have a scenario where something happened, the plane made a dramatic turn and dropped from 35,000 feet to 12,000 feet, this scenario would fit what a pilot would do in the event of a catastrophic onboard event, such as a rapid decompression, a fire, an explosion.

    “That’s what you would have to do, descend, get down and turn around and try to get back to an airport that could accommodate an ailing plane,” she added.

    If found accurate, it would also fit the theory of pilots trying to save the plane, said former American Airlines pilot Mark Weiss.

    I strongly believe that the plane might have descended, got down and turned around and tried to get back to Kuala Terengganu Sultan Mahmud aiirport. If that is the case, the possible path MH370 might took is as follows as suggested by Jacob K Philip:

  • Ong Eu Soon

    Based on an assumption that the plane might suffered from catastrophic failure, Jacob K Philip gave a different version of story regarding MH370 at http://www.countercurrents.org/jkp180314.htm

  • Ong Eu Soon

    Malaysia authorities kept changing the story of MH370 detection. From 2.15am, the story change to 2.40am. At 2.40am KLM was seen flew towards Andaman Sea

  • mohsen

    option one:
    USS Pinckney warship which had a wargame in the disappearing location had shot down the plane and U.S had pressured the Malaysia to keep silence.
    option 2:
    rest of fiction stories.

    • OG_Locc

      So the USS Pinckney convinced the pilots to turn off the transponder, end all communication, and then turn 90 degrees left and fly for hours before shooting them down?

      • jetaddicted

        isn’t it obvious?

  • Ong Eu Soon

    What is confusing now is the last ACARS transmission was received at 1:07 in the morning of March 8. The system sent no data half an hour later, when it was due to do so.
    We were told later that the following is the timeline for the INMARSAT ping

    1:11 – INMARSAT ping would have been received, as apparently Boeing’s AHM report attempted to automatically transmit (thru Satellite?)
    – 1:19 – ‘Alright, Good Night’ at handover (supposedly by co-pilot)
    – 2:11 – INMARSAT ping would have been received, as apparently Boeing’s AHM report attempted to automatically transmit (thru Satellite)
    – 3:11 – INMARSAT ping received, as apparently Boeing’s AHM report attempted to automatically transmit (thru Satellite)
    – 4:11 – INMARSAT ping received, as apparently Boeing’s AHM report attempted to automatically transmit (thru Satellite)
    – 5:11 – INMARSAT ping received, as apparently Boeing’s AHM report attempted to automatically transmit (thru Satellite)
    – 6:11 – INMARSAT ping received, as apparently Boeing’s AHM report attempted to automatically transmit (thru Satellite)
    – 7:11 – INMARSAT ping received, as apparently Boeing’s AHM report attempted to automatically transmit (thru Satellite) near 40 Degree line
    – 8:11 – INMARSAT ping received, as apparently Boeing’s AHM report attempted to automatically transmit (thru Satellite) (thru Satellite) on 40 Degree line

    See the time and interval do not match the initial ping at 1:07. The plane took off from klia at 12.41am. The ACARS system should came to live at 12.37am 4 minutes before the plane took off and make the first handshake with the satellite. The system is programmed to send data at the interval of half an hour.
    The satellite suppose to receive the ping at the follow intervals:
    -12:37 (start up)
    – 1:07
    – 1:37
    – 2:07
    – 2:37
    – 3:07
    – 4:07
    – 4:37
    – 5:07
    – 5:37
    – 6:07
    – 6:37
    – 7:07
    – 7:37
    – 8:07
    Why there was a delay of 4 minutes for the Ping? Why there is timing differences for the pings? Why the interval change from half an hour to one hour? Auto self-programming? This is where you should question are they getting the correct satellite data.
    Is the satellite data truely belong to MH370? Is the following flight path derived from the satellite data reliable?
    The ACARS is using SATCOM (satellite communication) channel to transmit it’s data. MH370 might be using dynamic IP address instead of static IP address for the connection. How Immarsat determined which dynamic IP address belong to MH370 ? This is crucial for the accurate retrieval of the satellite data!
    There was a claim that the ACARS system was turned off between 1:07 and 1:19 after receiving the satellite received the first ping. How can the following ping occurred? 1:11 – INMARSAT ping would have been received, as apparently Boeing’s AHM report attempted to automatically transmit (thru Satellite?)

    It seem like from 1.11am until 3.11am, there was no ping from the plane. Only from 3.11am onwards the satellite received the ping. How can this happened? Does that mean the ACARS system was turned off between 1:11 and 3:11am?

    With a margin of error of 100 miles and not sure of the direction of the plane, INMARSAT can made a conclusion that mh370 end up in Southern Indian Ocean.

    From the above analysis, you can see two scenarios emerged:
    Scenario 1: Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari told a press conference today that “we do not know when ACARS was switched off.” All that is known, he explained, was that the last ACARS transmission was received at 1:07 in the morning of March 8, and that the system sent no data half an hour later, when it was due to do so.

    Scenario 2: Prior to 3.11am, there was no ping received by the satellite. Ping at hourly interval instead of half an hour interval.

    Which scenario is the real one?

    Why I doubt the satellite data?
    It is because the authorities made an assumption assuming that the last radar contact with MH370 was near Pulau Perak when the military radar has no mean to identify the plane without collaboration with civilian aviation radars!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/files/2014/03/satellite-mh370.jpg

  • Saniya

    Another satellite (Elektro–L): ftp://electro:electro@ftp.ntsomz.ru/2014/March/08/0500/140308_0500.zip
    Visible range.
    But we couldn’t see anything there.

  • Mike in Hawaii

    It would be interesting to try this on NOAA polar orbiting images. I was very successful during the second Gulf War in determining the positions of orbiting B-1s and refueling tracks.