And so we move along. Slowly, it is true, but move on is what we do.
It seems that wreckage from an aeroplane has been discovered on the island of Reunion, a small island between the small island of Mauritius and the bigger island of Madagascar – or Malagasy Republic (whatever they choose to call it now!).
Along with the piece of aeroplane, it has been reported and photographed, there has also been found the wreckage of an anonymous piece of luggage that could have come from anywhere.
We may safely ignore the luggage even if it is emotionally rewarding to associate it with the loss of an aeroplane.
The part that is potentially worth looking at is the piece of the aircraft. This is something whose identity can be established.
Firstly, what is it?
That is simple enough. It is a ‘flaperon’. What, you may ask, is a ‘flaperon’.
This is a small piece of the trailing edge of the mainplane, usually towards the inner portion of the wing. A flaperon is a type of aircraft control surface that combines aspects of both flaps and ailerons. In addition to controlling the roll or bank of an aircraft, as do conventional ailerons, both flaperons can be lowered together to function similarly to a dedicated set of flaps.
As you will observe from the photographs, the part that has been found is quite large and quite substantial.
Where has it come from?
The type and size match that fitted to a Boeing 777. It has yet to be confirmed that this is the case but it looks fairly certain that it is from that particular type of aircraft.
Point of fact: there have been no other Boeing 777’s lost in this area than MH370
If it is definitely proven that this flaperon came from a B-777 then, inevitably, the result must be that this is part of MH370.
Why so far from the search site?
Ocean currents are strong and relatively fast. The aircraft went missing over a year ago. That this part showed up at all is miraculous and shows that there must have been, at least, some air inside it to keep it buoyant enough to float so far. It has floated for some time because there are barnacles on it.
Is it feasible that this part could have come from the search area?
This illustration shows how far pieces could reasonably be expected to go given (statistically normal) condition in the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean.
What should we learn from this?
Well, we should learn that waiting for the results of an investigation is always a good plan. Rearing up and prancing around with a conspiracy theory, no matter how exciting it is, is always counterproductive.
As I have mentioned previously, in another ‘Blog’, it is inevitable that as soon as an aircraft crashes under mysterious circumstances everyone suddenly becomes an aviation expert. Conspiracy theories are always more attractive than truth.
Do we know what happened now?
No. We do not. But we are a step closer.
One step at a time; step slowly, step positively; step carefully.
It may not be exciting but it is more satisfying to know the truth.