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Missing flight is 3rd Malaysia-linked incident (UPDATE: Objects, oily spots found in sea)

Posted by on Dec. 28, 2014 at 5:17 PM
  • 12 Replies

Missing flight is 3rd Malaysia-linked incident

The disappearance Sunday of AirAsia Flight 8501 was the third air incident this year involving Malaysia, where budget carrier AirAsia in based. Here's a look at the two other disasters, as well as the latest missing flight, which went missing with 162 people aboard less than an hour after taking off from Surabaya, Indonesia, for Singapore.

The disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 on March 8 triggered one of modern aviation's most perplexing mysteries. Flight 370, carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, vanished without a trace, sending searchers across vast areas of the Indian Ocean. An initial multinational operation to locate the wreckage far off Australia's west coast turned up empty, without a single piece of debris found.

After a four-month hiatus, the hunt resumed Oct. 4 with new, more sophisticated equipment, including sonar, video cameras and jet fuel sensors aboard three ships that will spend up to a year in a desolate stretch of the sea, about 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) west of Australia.

The 60,000-square-kilometer (23,000-square-mile) search area lies along what is known as the "seventh arc" — a stretch of ocean where investigators believe the aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed, based largely on an analysis of transmissions between the plane and a satellite.

Officials initially ruled out terrorism, but conspiracy theories have endured. Until the wreckage is found and examined, it will be impossible to say for sure what happened to the plane.



All 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine on July 17.

The plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when, according to Dutch air crash investigators, it was likely struck by multiple "high-energy objects" that some aviation experts say is consistent with a missile strike.

Hunks of the wreckage were transported to the Netherlands by trucks and will be reassembled in a hangar. However, international teams seeking to retrieve remains and salvage evidence have had difficulty reaching the crash site due to clashes between Ukrainian government troops and Russian-backed separatist rebels. Six victims have yet to be identified.

A high-ranking rebel officer has acknowledged that rebels shot down the plane with a ground-to-air missile after mistaking it for a Ukrainian military plane. Russian media, however, claim the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian jet.

The Dutch Safety Board's final report may rule out one or the other scenario, but it will not seek to attribute responsibility.

Dutch prosecutors, meanwhile, are coordinating an international criminal investigation into the downing, but have yet to name any suspects or say when or how charges might be brought.



An Indonesia AirAsia flight with 162 people aboard, most of them Indonesians, disappeared Sunday over the Java Sea, triggering a search involving several Southeast Asian nations.

Contact with Flight 8501 was lost about 42 minutes after the single-aisle, twin-engine A320-200 jet took off from Surabaya airport in Indonesia for Singapore.

It was not immediately clear whether it had any satellite tracking devices on board.

Malaysia-based AirAsia, led by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes, has dominated cheap travel in the region for years. AirAsia Malaysia owns 49 percent of its subsidiary, AirAsia Indonesia. It said the plane was on the submitted flight plan route when the pilots requested deviation due to weather before communication was lost.

AirAsia, which has a presence in most of Southeast Asia and recently in India, has never lost a plane before and has a good safety track record.

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by on Dec. 28, 2014 at 5:17 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Platinum Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 5:22 PM
Someone forgot to tell the UFO people that they only care to probe white people's butts.
by Silver Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 5:23 PM
Crazy, insane. I feel for the families of all the missing. What an awful, unknowing they must endure
by Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 6:35 PM
What the heck is going on with these planes
by on Dec. 28, 2014 at 6:41 PM
.......dodododo....dodododo...... This is kind of creepy. I feel bad for the families
by Silver Member on Dec. 28, 2014 at 6:55 PM
by on Dec. 28, 2014 at 6:58 PM
by The Corruptor on Dec. 29, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Red Tape and Black Boxes: Why We Keep ‘Losing’ Airliners in 2014

The technology exists to keep us from ever losing a commercial airliner over the ocean ever again. So why aren’t we using it?

Darkness fell in Asia Monday night with a potential sighting of the wreckage of the AirAsia airliner with 162 people aboard that disappeared Saturday night somewhere between Surabaya, Indonesia, and Singapore.

But Indonesia’s vice president, Jusuf Kalla, swiftly sought to lower expectations, saying there was “insufficient evidence” that the objects, spotted by an Australian aircraft, were from the missing AirAsia plane.

And so once more we are forced to ask the question: How in this century of masterful technology can an airliner hit the water and nobody know where?

We’ve been here before, and too often. There was Air France Flight 447, which fell into the south Atlantic in 2009 and, of course, the greatest mystery in the history of aviation, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared, untracked, into the vast empty of the southern Indian Ocean in March 2014.

Make no mistake: The technology exists—has existed for a long while—to stop this from happening. There could be no greater irony than the fact that when airplanes and helicopters were sent out to search for wreckage from Flight 370, because they were military equipment, they were fitted with what are called deployable recorders. They had flight data recorders, or black boxes, that would be automatically ejected if the airplane hit the water, and an emergency locator transmitter would send out signals giving the exact location.

Simple, right? No commercial airliner has such a system. The military has used these systems since the 1960s. A version was approved for airline use in 2007—but no airline has adopted it. The airline industry objects that sometimes these deployable recorders can pop out without cause, spreading needless alarm. But that probability has been judged extremely rare—and needless alarm is a minor problem compared to not knowing where an airplane has ditched.

However, there is another system that does not involve installing new equipment, although it is a costly and time-consuming process. Every airliner in the sky already has on board monitoring systems that are constantly recording thousands of bytes of information about the performance of the airplane, including its engines.

This information is streamed into the flight data recorders, and packages of it are sent, usually at half-hourly intervals, to satellites and then to ground stations, both to keep track of a flight’s position and to tell airlines what maintenance might be needed when the flight lands.

Minutes before an airplane hit the water, an alert would go out. And by the time an airplane was in the water, its exact position would be known.

An expert on these systems recently explained to me that it would be a very simple step to create a new package of crucial data from the flight data recorder and send it at regular intervals—say, every 15 minutes—via satellite to the ground. This idea has been dubbed “the black box in the cloud” because it works in exactly the same way as data from your computer being stored in the cloud.

But one extra trick would instantly solve the problem of crashes that occur over water. The flight management computers include the navigation data programmed for every flight. This is a sophisticated multi-strand calculation. It takes into account the airplane’s weight, the amount of fuel, and weather conditions like head or tail winds at the cruise altitudes, matches those with the flight plan, and then determines the course so accurately that when the airliner leaves the gate, its precise arrival time is already known.

It’s a comparatively simple step to incorporate into this system the ability for the airplane to sense if it is deviating from the set course, either because of some kind of rogue intervention or because of violent weather conditions. (A normal pilot-commanded change, as apparently happened in the case of the AirAsia flight, when the captain requested a climb to 38,000 feet to avoid weather, would not trigger the system.) Using this system, a flow of data from the airplane would automatically be sent to ground stations from the first moment a deviation happens.

Minutes before an airplane hit the water, an alert would go out. And by the time an airplane was in the water, its exact position would be known.

Most of the world’s airliners already have equipment constantly recording this data. All the systems required to receive it—the uplink to the satellite, the downlink to the ground, the distribution of data from ground stations to each airline’s flight control centers—are in place and in constant use. All it needs is one more “pipe” to select and transmit the crucial information.

And this “black box in the cloud” would operate under a principle already used called “priority, precedence and pre-emption,” meaning that an electronic Mayday call would override all other traffic on the satellite and ground links.

The cost? Well, one expert I talked to said that physically it involves little more than a $20 cable. But it’s not that simple. No new system, whatever its simplicity, can be installed in an airliner without it costing $50,000, because of the testing and certification involved. Of course, that initial cost would be amortized over whole fleets of airplanes, so in the end the cost per airplane would be negligible.

Cost is not the problem; bureaucracy is. Ten months after the disappearance of Flight 370 the two international bodies responsible for airline safety, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Air Transport Association, are still waiting for “task forces” to recommend what technology to adopt to solve the problem of finding airplanes that crash into the oceans.

If the past is any guide, there will be more task forces, seminars, conferences, and drawn-out “rule making” before a start is made to do what could be done within months.

by The Corruptor on Dec. 29, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Objects spotted in sea as search for jet continues

SURABAYA, Indonesia — Air crews searching for the AirAsia jet that vanished with 162 people aboard spotted oily spots and objects in the sea Monday, but it was too early to know whether either was connected to the missing aircraft.

The fate of Flight 8501 remained a mystery more than 36 hours after the aircraft vanished. The second day of the air search was suspended for the night on Monday evening.

At a press briefing at Surabaya's Juanda International Airport on Monday, officials held out hope for survivors but said they were preparing for the worst.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said that the search operation, which involves 30 ships and 50 aircraft, could still be characterized as a rescue mission.

"There is no time limit on the operation," he said. "Of course we hope there will be survivors and pray for that. But we realize that the worst may have happened."

At a news conference earlier on Monday, Indonesian National Search and Rescue chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo said, "Based on the coordinates that we know, the evaluation would be that any estimated crash position is in the sea, and that the hypothesis is the plane is at the bottom of the sea."

The Airbus A320 was bound for Singapore from Surabaya when it lost contact with air-traffic control Sunday at about 7:24 a.m. Singapore time (6:24 p.m. ET on Saturday), the airline said.

Tony Fernandes, CEO of the regional, low-cost carrier, said it was too early to discuss any operational changes his airline will undergo in light of the missing flight. "Until we have a full investigation and know what went wrong, we really can't speculate," he said. He added that the airline has carried 220 million passengers safely up to this point.

The second day of the search resumed after dawn Monday — early Sunday evening ET. F.H. Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, told reporters in Jakarta that the search would extend to land Tuesday, The Straits Timesreported.

Indonesian search and rescue official Achmad Toha says the planes involved in search returned to their base Sunday evening, but that some ships were still in the area where the plane lost contact with air traffic control. The air search was set to resume at 6 a.m.

First Admiral Sigit Setiayana, the Naval Aviation Center commander at the Surabaya air force base, said that 12 navy ships, five planes, three helicopters and a number of warships were taking part, along with ships and planes from Singapore and Malaysia. The Australian Air Force also sent a search plane.

Vice President Kalla confirmed that objects were spotted by the Australian Orion plane in the Java Sea, but said it was "not yet clear" what they were.

by on Dec. 29, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Wow that is so scary that yet another plane either went down or just vanished. I have a co worker that will be flying to South Korea and she will be flying on a Malaysian flight.

by Silver Member on Dec. 29, 2014 at 12:48 PM

This. I can't believe there is another plane that is missing. My heart breaks for their friends and family, their relatives. When MH370 went missing I didn't believe that it hit the ocean, broke up and/or stayed in one piece, drifted off and just by happen chance landed itself in a zone where we will never be able to hear for the black box. If they don't find this plane it solidifies my belief of MH370 and worries me ever more what happened to those people if the plane didn't go down in the ocean AND if there are going to be more then these two go missing. (I know there have been others throughout history, but in this day and age). I was reading some other articles OP posted and I hope they start making changes. It should be about savving lives if the unpredictible happens, not about savving a meeble $50,000.00. Which to those people is a meeble amount of money. This has me not wanting to fly to be completely honest. I hope your co-workers trip goes smoothly and without any hitches. :)

Quoting Landon2012:

Wow that is so scary that yet another plane either went down or just vanished. I have a co worker that will be flying to South Korea and she will be flying on a Malaysian flight.

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