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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

‘Impossible’ that MH370 skipped all radars, expert says

A US Navy SH-60R Seahawk helicopter takes off from the destroyer USS Pinckney in the Gulf of Thailand, to assist in the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, in this March 9, 2014 handout picture. — Reuters pic
@Reuter's Photo

KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 — It is “impossible” for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 to have escaped all radar detection in the area where it was travelling, unless it entered remote territories, an aviation analyst has said, as the mysterious disappearance of the large aircraft continues to baffle experts around the world.
Frost and Sullivan Asia Pacific aerospace and defence consultant Ravi Madavaram listed areas like Alaska or the Atlantic Ocean as among the few remote areas where airships could possibly fall off the radar, but stressed that it would only be for “brief moments”.
“With so many borders and countries around the sea, it is impossible to skip all the radars,” he told The Malay Mail Online in an email interview.
The search for MH370 entered is fourth day today after more than 80 hours since the large aircraft carrying 239 people mysteriously vanished from sight at 1.30am on Saturday morning.
Experts and investigators have been thrown off by how the numbers have not added up over MH370’s disappearance, and despite intensive search efforts, the aircraft has remained missing, leaving behind not a shred of evidence.
The Boeing B777-200 aircraft was hovering somewhere 120 nautical miles off the coast of Kota Baru when it was last seen on radar.
A large battalion of military aircraft and sea vessels from at least nine nations have been circling the areas where MH370 was last seen — covering a wider expanse of 100 nautical miles today in the waters of the South China Sea, the Straits of Malaccca and Penang — but still, to no avail.
Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, in hours after the aircraft went missing on Saturday, has said none of the control rooms in neighbouring countries found the jetliner on their radar.
Azharuddin said that the controllers had crossed checked with counterparts in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam before informing MAS of its missing flight.
With no sign of the aircraft on radar, experts are now toying with the possibility of a mid-air explosion or a major malfunction onboard the aircraft, caused by electrical or technical failures.
But Ravi discounted the likelihood of a total power cut onboard, saying that while it could be possible, it is very rare and has never happened before.
He pointed out that Boeing aircrafts are supported by three electrical power sources — two generators, one in each engine, an auxiliary power unit (APU) and a ram air turbine (RAT).
“For the aircraft to have total electrical failure, all three systems should have failed at the same time.
“This is pretty rare and has not happened,” said Ravi.
Asked if an electrical failure would affect distress signals, the expert pointed out that such malfunctions are typically reported by pilots to the Air Traffic Control (ATC).
At the time of the incident, however, the Subang ATC had not received any distress signals, even though military radar had detected the possibility that the aircraft might have made a turnaround in mid-flight.
“Total electrical failure all of sudden is remotely possible but with redundancy in the current aircraft’s, can be ruled out,” Ravi insisted.
The sudden disappearance of MH370 from radar in the early hours of March 8 and without any distress signal sent has continued to fuel widespread speculation on what happened inside the plane to cause it to disappear from sight.
Malaysian authorities say they cannot rule out terrorism as a cause for the airliner’s disappearance, especially after two passengers were found to have used stolen identities to board the aircraft.
The Boeing 777-200 aircraft left Kuala Lumpur and was about 40 minutes into its journey to Beijing when it vanished from the skies with 239 people on board.

@ Malay mails online

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