Statement by the Independent Group

 

Statement by the Independent Group

1st March 2015

In response to inquiries, the Independent Group (“IG”) wishes to reiterate the recommendations made in its latest public statement dated September 26th, 2014, entitled  “Further Progress Report from the Independent Group and Updated MH370 Search Area Recommendation.”  This report is available at:

http://www.duncansteel.com/archives/1104

We have continued our analysis so as to further understand the available data, to evaluate the available evidence, to press the authorities for clarifications and to request release of additional data that would be helpful in formulating search strategies.

The IG operates by consensus. Any opinion that is expressed by an individual member of the group should not be attributed to the IG as a whole.

Recent publications by Jeff Wise regarding the fate of MH370, which have been incorrectly attributed to the IG. These stories have been published without the prior knowledge of the IG and do not reflect the position of the IG members.

In particular, the IG continues to believe that the search for MH370 in the Southern Indian Ocean should continue, and any recent suggestions that the view of the IG has changed are incorrect.

Brian Anderson, BE: Havelock North, New Zealand
Sid Bennett, MEE: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Curon Davies, MA: Swansea, UK
Pierre-Michel Decombeix: Maurs, France
Michael Exner, MEE: Colorado, USA
Tim Farrar, PhD: Menlo Park, California, USA
Richard Godfrey, BSc: Frankfurt, Germany
Bob Hall, BSc: Exton, Pennsylvania, USA
Bill Holland, BSEE: Cary, North Carolina, USA
Geoff Hyman, MSc: London, UK
Victor Iannello, ScD: Roanoke, Virginia, USA
Barry Martin, CPL: London, UK
Rand Mayer: Tokyo, Japan
Henrik Rydberg, PhD MSc: Gothenburg, Sweden
Duncan Steel, PhD: Wellington, New Zealand
Don Thompson: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Yap Fook Fah, PhD: Singapore

 

MH370: Time to Investigate the Investigators

MH370: Time to Investigate the Investigators

by Brock McEwen

 

Preface by Duncan Steel: One of the independent investigators who has been active in questioning the official investigation of the loss of MH370 and the search for its wreckage has been Brock McEwen, of Winnipeg, Canada.

Whilst Brock is not a member of the so-called ‘Independent Group’ (which includes myself, and which has posted various reports on this website), and also whilst I do not necessarily agree with every single point that he makes, I believe that a document that Brock has just published has much to recommend it, and contains many questions that should – indeed must – be answered by the official investigators. The ‘must’ derives from a need for the worldwide public-at-large, and in particular passengers on commercial airliners, to regain any semblance of confidence in those officials working for both nation states and private companies, and involved in the farce which has characterized the search for MH370 so far.

The cover page of Brock’s report is shown below. The complete document (23pp, 2.24 MB) can be downloaded by clicking here.

Brock_McEwen_report

MH370 Flight Path Model version 13.1 by Richard Godfrey

 MH370 Flight Path Model version 13.1
by Richard Godfrey


Preface by Duncan Steel
: The Independent Group (IG) has continued its robust analysis of the available information and data regarding MH370 for some months. Typically around 50 email messages are exchanged each day across the 18 members, some being more active than others; I have, due to other concerns, been one of those less active. All I am saying here is that the IG has been working away, we hope pro bono publico, even though our efforts might not be widely apparent.

From time to time various people have asked whether any updates on progress in respect of the above will be published, and my response has been that the problem is that the complexity of getting a detailed, agreed report ready when there is a substantial number of people working on a variety of aspects of the analysis proves to be difficult; and, should all ongoing work be halted so as to provide a full discussion of what has been done, that would stymie progress. It is hoped that when the flight recorders of MH370 are found, and what actually happened on that fated flight is uncovered, we will be able to compare our analysis (and necessary assumptions) with reality. In the meantime the efforts are directed towards refining our ‘best guess’ at the aircraft’s end point based on the information available. It is lamentable that many important pieces of information continue to be concealed by the authorities (see Section 5 of this Progress Report).

The IG is not generally concerned with arguing with others about who is right and who is wrong, but it is interested in looking at other ideas and suggestions if those have promise of providing new insights and ideas with respect to the analysis of the available information. This is not a competition, with a prize for the winner: it is a human tragedy that needs a resolution.

Various members of the IG have developed distinct but similar models for the flight of MH370, making use of the BTO and BFO data, and also (to varying extents) constraints imposed by aircraft performance limits such as the available fuel, the plausible engine performance degradation since new, the air temperatures, the wind fields, the modes of the autopilot, and so on.

What is described briefly below is version 13.1 of the model developed and maintained by Richard Godfrey (Frankfurt, Germany). As I wrote in the preceding sentence, the description is very brief, and as Richard himself noted to me, “A user’s manual has not been written.” However, those of ability will be able to look inside Richard’s model (which is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet) and explore how it works, what the assumptions and technical relations are, and so on.

But: caveat emptor.

 

Notes from Richard Godfrey:

The model is simply an Excel spreadsheet without any description of the purpose, approach, assumptions, calibration, calculation methods, simulation methods, sensitivity analysis, findings, etc.

The spreadsheet should open at the first sheet, which is labelled “Key Points”. This is the one to look at. One can ignore all the other sheets as they just support various further investigations.

This modelled flight path for MH370 is one of many possible solutions. The methodology is generalised, but in this version a particular set of conditions has been assumed:

(1) The auto pilot was engaged and had waypoints such as ISBIX and S35E90 programmed, hence a constant track for the final segment of the flight after the final major turn southwards.

(2) The auto throttle was engaged and the air speed followed Victor Iannello’s simulation equation for Mach speed.

(3) The True Air Speed (TAS) is calculated from the Mach speed taking the air temperature into account.

(4) The Ground Speed is then calculated from the TAS taking the wind fields into account.

Please allow me to acknowledge the many contributions from members of the IG with data, calibration methods, calculation methods, simulation methods, checks, reviews and comments. 

The model version 13.1 is available here.

A KMZ file showing this modelled route is available here.

A KML file containing labels for the times and so on along that route is available here.

Here (below) is a visualization of the modelled flight path, with the ping rings, as set up in Google Earth:

MH370 Flight Path Model V13.1 GE View

 

Here (below) is a visualization of the modelled flight path across the Malay Peninsula, up the Malacca Strait and the southern end of the Andaman Sea and then the final turn southwards near 18:40 UTC on 2014/03/07. The georeferenced insert with an orange background is derived from a photograph of a slide projected onto a screen at the families’ briefing at the Beijing Lido Hotel late in March, our only source for the primary radar tracking of MH370 through to 18:22 UTC; the actual radar-derived positions have not been made publicly available except in this slide.

MH370 radar trace

 

Here (below) – courtesy Mike Exner – is a comparison between the end point indicated by the model described in this post (i.e. that point labelled ‘RG’) and various other end-point derivations based on a variety of models. The violet lines indicate recent navigational tracks taken by the search vessels; the green line is the 7th ping ring calculated for zero altitude above the WGS84 Earth ellipsoid; the red line is the 7th ping ring calculated for an altitude of 35,000 feet.

MH370 end points

 

Space Scientist, Author & Broadcaster