Sunday, December 28, 2014

Air Asia’s First!

The missing aircraft: Airbus A320-200 Reg. No.: PK-AXC
“‘AirAsia’ confirmed in a statement that an Airbus 320-200, Flt. No: QZ8501, lost contact with air traffic control while flying over the Java Sea from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore at 7:24 a.m. [this morning: Sunday 28th December, 2014] local time — a little more than an hour before it was scheduled to land at 8:30 a.m.”

Indonesian Search and Rescue statement says contact with Flt: QZ8501 was lost near Belitung Island.

Monsoon Season Thunderstorms in the area this morning
One source was quoted as saying that there were only ‘light winds in the area’ but the weather map tells a different story.

The Captain, a man of great experience, contacted Air Traffic and requested an increase in Flight Level (altitude) due to extreme weather.
No further contact was made.

Those are the facts as we know them right now.

There will, no doubt, be alternative theories.
One has already begun to bubble to the surface in that the aircraft was brought down by Zionist sympathisers who fear the rise of Islam in both Indonesia and Malaysia.
In spite of their paranoia there is no greater rise in Islamic militancy in the region than there was in 1946 when the Zionist terrorists, under Menachim Begin (subsequently Prime Minister of Israel - twice), introduced bombing of soft civil targets as part of their arsenal of terror tactics.
This will not stop conspiracy theorists from developing ideas along those lines.
King David Hotel after Irgoun

Much has already been made, even in these early hours, of the poor track record that Indonesia has in aviation maintenance and safety.
This is jumping the gun. No facts are yet known.

As with Flt No.: MH370, we do not know. The answer is, undeniably, ‘out there’ somewhere but it is not yet ours to know. It will not be unless the ‘black boxes’ are found.

QZ8501 vanished this morning with 162 souls on board. We pray that they are alive and clinging to life rafts on the ocean.

Friday, July 18, 2014


What on earth possesses someone, anyone, to shoot down a civilian aircraft?

Once more we are deep into tragedy involving a Malaysian Airlines aircraft.
Once more we are being dipped into the morass of conspiracy and unspoken threats.

The facts appear, and I emphasise ‘appear’, to be that a Boeing 777 of Malaysian Airlines bearing the flight code MH17 has been shot down by a ‘Buk’ ground to air missile over the Ukraine.

Now the recriminations start. Now we are hell bent on blaming innocent people.
The reports say that the aircraft was flying around 300 miles too far to the north.
There has been, we are told, an advisory telling pilots to follow a more southerly route.
An advisory. Please note that.
This is not a mandatory ‘No Fly Zone’.
Many airlines, in order to save fuel, will follow the routes given to them.
Observe that I said, “The route given to them.” Pilots do not pick their routes although they are able to change them if they have operational reasons for doing so.
Is a war zone an operational reason? Well, in the first place, is it really a war zone? At the moment it is more of a supported insurgency the rights and wrongs of which are not ours to discuss since we have little background information with which to make a rational decision about it.
Suppose it is a war zone. Suppose it is demarcated as a ‘No Fly Zone’. The ‘rules’ put in place by the Ukrainian authorities say that aircraft should not fly within an altitude of 0’ (zero) to 32,000’.
We are told by sundry media outlets that the aircraft, and nobody appears to argue with this, was flying at 33,000’.

In summation, the aeroplane described as MH 17 was flying on an approved route from Schiphol (Amsterdam) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) at an approved height.
The pilot was doing everything properly.

In this electronic age when we can track aircraft from the safety of our homes on our laptop computers and, even, iPads, how hard is it for someone with their finger on the firing button of a ground to air missile system to identify a civilian passenger aircraft?
Who is it that looked at this high-flying aircraft through the ranging system on the ground to air missile system and said to his colleagues, “Oh, look. That aircraft is flying at 33,000’. It is above the exclusion zone. Let’s shoot it down.”

There are reports that indicate that a conversation between separatist rebels and A.N.Other exists in which the separatist is saying something to the effect of, “Oh, shit! Guess what?”

Nobody is saying that these rebels have all got degrees—indeed many of them probably lack that extra brain cell that would match the other one in their heads. Even so...

And now we get into the politicising. Already there are politicians, who are not known for their fine intellect, blaming all sorts of other people for all sorts of other reasons.
The primary reason for the politicians to get into the act is hardly altruistic. Rather it is the possibility of enhancing their own image at the expense of others. Then, of course, it follows that their own policies will be endorsed by their reasoning.

Conspiracies? Oh, yes.
It was MOSSAD because it is widely known that Malaysia is anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian.
Of course it was. I can just see a crew of black hatted and plaited orthodox Jews smuggling a ground to air missile across Europe into the Ukraine...

“Someone is trying to bankrupt MAS.”
Really? They are doing a good enough job on that matter without anyone helping them along.

“It’s all to do with stocks and shares.”
Mind boggling rationale.

“Did you know that the pilot never made a distress call?”
Well, I never. He didn’t? His aircraft has just been hit, out of the blue, with a Buk ground to air missile.
First reaction? Oh, I’d better update ‘Facebook’!
Distress call? He would not have had time to wonder what had happened let alone make a distress call.

No. This was a criminal act. Very simply, somebody on the ground made a horrible mistake for which they must pay. The time for cover-ups and secrecy and comradeships is past.
Drag him out and hang him.

We have had enough of tragedy in the air this year, thank you very much. To have a man-made, deliberate one is too much right now.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Occam’s Razor

"On October 25, 1999, a chartered Learjet 35 was scheduled to fly from Orlando, Florida to Dallas, Texas. Early in the flight, the aircraft, which was cruising at altitude on autopilot, quickly lost cabin pressure. All on board were incapacitated due to hypoxia—a lack of oxygen. The aircraft failed to make the westward turn toward Dallas over north Florida. It continued flying over the Southern and Midwestern United States for almost four hours and 1,500 miles (2,400 km). The plane ran out of fuel and crashed into a field near Aberdeen, South Dakota after an uncontrolled descent. The four passengers on board were golf star Payne Stewart, his agents, Van Ardan and Robert Fraley, and Bruce Borland, a highly regarded golf architect with the Jack Nicklaus golf course design company."

Nobody knows why this aircraft depressurised. The Learjet is well known to be a most reliable aeroplane, it is a very popular choice as a Business Jet.

Other aircraft have depressurised because of the freight doors, for ecample, blowing off in flight and so, while exceedingly rare, it is not an unknown occurrence.

What happens?
Well, let’s think about what might happen at around thirty five thousand feet (about ten and a half thousand metres).

The ambient pressure at that altitude is lurking around three pounds per square inch. Not much. This means that the air is below a pressure that might be regarded as ‘breathable’. The oxygen content of the atmosphere will be limited and, certainly, inadequate to sustain life.
The temperature, according to the International Standard Atmosphere approximates to minus fifty-six degrees Celsius. This is extremely cold.
But it is the lack of pressure that will get you.

On a passenger aircraft a sudden drop in cabin pressure will initiate a response from the emergency breathable oxygen system. Facemasks will suddenly drop from above the seats to dance enticingly in front of each occupant of the aircraft.
The instructions given to passengers include the need for adults to see to their own masks first and then, when theirs is fitted, to apply the mask to the children.
Naturally, a mother will want to see to the squirming, and frightened, child first. She will have difficulty in doing this and so both of them will now die.
So quickly? Indeed. It is that low pressure that sucks the air out of your lungs; it is that low pressure that stops your lungs from extracting what little oxygen there is.
Combine that with the shock of being plunged into a temperature of minus fifty-six degrees Celsius.
Most of the passengers will die in the first few minutes.
The rest will gradually go to sleep and slip away into death through hypothermia soon afterwards.

What about the crew?
The flight crew have their own oxygen supply. It is still very cold but they do have oxygen.
The problem they face is that they have to reach it. The mask does not appear in front of their face as with the passenger system, they have to physically turn and grasp the facemask, remove it and put it on. This takes time.
What if they are fumbling? Shock does strange things.
They will get hypoxia—oxygen starvation.
Watch soccer referees and you will see that they run further than any of the players, generally speaking. Notice that they make most of their (perceived) mistakes at the end of the match. Why? Hypoxia. Their brains are being starved of oxygen through all that running. Superbly fit though they certainly are, they will still get oxygen depletion.
Lack of oxygen makes decision making problematical.

Maybe the pilot has oxygen starvation or, perhaps, it is the first officer given that the pilot may be already deceased. Now, thinking that he is flying in a straight line he is, in reality, pursuing an erratic course around the sky involving not just change of direction but change of height, too.
Eventually he, too, succumbs to the cold and ultimate oxygen deprivation. The autopilot holds a steady course on the last heading given until the aeroplane runs out of fuel.
The engines stop but the batteries will give thirty minutes of emergency electrical power to essential services and so the autopilot, even with the engines stopped, holds the aircraft on course.
It glides gently down until it alights on a reasonably calm sea.
Maybe the engines are torn off and, perhaps, a wing. But these are major components that are lost, there is no huge break up into small parts to float around the ocean for rescuers to find.
The engines sink immediately and the wing will go down once the sea has flooded the fuel tanks through the tank vents. And then the fuselage drops through the depths because it fills with water through the missing freight door.
Remember the missing freight door?
Everybody on board died hours ago. Peacefully, in their sleep.


In reality, flight MH370 was abducted by aliens...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Flight MH370 – Discontinued?

It seems that the public interest or, at least, the media interest, in MAS Flight MH370 has waned.
It is, often, no longer on the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen and, in newspapers, it has been despatched to the inner pages if it is mentioned at all.
Of course there are still wild theories surfacing on the pages of ‘Facebook’ and other social media centres but the craze has, for the most part, died down.
We are now refocusing on the ‘crisis’ in the Ukraine and other, more sensational, issues.
The fact is that we have developed a mental numbness to the deaths of the people on board because it is taking too long to find the aeroplane; the whole issue is dragging out past our attention span that needs to be filled with something ‘amazing’ every so often.

So we turn our attention back to ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and the latest episode of ‘Blacklist’—or whatever the new kid on the televisual block happens to be. At least therein lies some entertainment, a sop for our unimaginative minds to soak up while we await death in some form or other.

This is what we are doing. We are waiting for death. We are filling in the time between now and whatever awaits us in the hereafter by attending to vacuous entertainments.

Our brains are inured to pain and suffering to the extent that yesterday’s news and shock-horror stories are just humdrum tales today.
We need constantly topping-up on excitement to keep our nerve endings raw.

Might I just put it past you that between one and a half million and two million people have been killed in Afghanistan? Just Afghanistan. We shall ignore the millions of deaths that are, even now, occurring in the Niger Delta, South Thailand, Burma, Sudan, et al, through anthropogenic causes. We haven’t begun to mention that the Americas also have their problems in this regard.

So that didn’t ‘float your boat’, as it were?
Try this:
“The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries, representing 15 percent of the population of developing counties. There are 16 million people undernourished in developed countries (FAO 2012).”
Take very careful note of that last sentence and then, having read it and absorbed what it means, you may now hang your head in shame.
Why is this happening? Because we voted in the wrong people into Governments. Because we allow Corporate insensitivity to ride rough-shod over us.
Who cares if people are dying through hunger as long as the shareholders get their extra cent on the dollar!

Are you aware that the nation of Uganda is so rich in its potential agronomy that it is capable of growing enough food to feed all of Africa?
Why doesn’t it? Because tribalism and greed will not allow it. Because the political will to transport the food is not there. Because the people in Uganda are dying of AIDs through a failure to resist their vile traditions and filthy customs so there is nobody remaining to pick the crops.

Ancient traditions and cultures are preventing development Worldwide. Not just in the remote areas of backward countries but in the so-called ‘developed’ countries because people come from these backward places and they drag their revolting practices with them and claim the right to practice them. We do not stop them because that would be ‘Politically Incorrect’!

And so we turn our backs.

Thus the media, who know what our bell curves are for ‘news’ input is like, will shelve the subjects that they realise are ‘going off the boil’.

Am I some sort of rabid socialist? No. I am a human being with a fine regard for the suffering of others.
I am a person with a fine sense of justice.
That sense of justice is sometimes seen by others as a form of cruelty but I stand by my beliefs as I will stand by you for your right to your beliefs.

We fretted about the possible deaths of 239 souls on Flight MH370 for a month.
We are ignoring the millions who face death every day and those who pass on every day.

Because we are at the whim of the media, the governments and the corporations.

One day the ‘Black Box’ and ‘Cockpit Voice recorder’ (CVR) will be found and interest will be revived for a few days; there will be a news report on Somalia and we will sit up and take notice; there will be another outbreak of Ebola somewhere and our eyes will widen with vicarious fear for those in danger—but we will only react for a few minutes while the report is being relayed to us.
Then we will settle back and chuckle at another episode of ‘The Following’.

It is a comedy, right?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

MH370: The Search Continues

We understand, in no small measure, the frustration of the families and friends who have sustained these traumatic times in the reporting of the demise of flight MH370.
We do.
One wonders, however, why it is that there are riots outside the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing and not at the gates of Malaysian Embassies and High Commissions in other countries.
What is it that the Chinese relatives feel that they are not being told that, perhaps, other families have been told? Indeed, what news is there to tell them?

It has been mentioned before in this ‘Blog’ that the Malaysian authorities have done their best to cope in what has been—and continues to be, a unique and exasperating case. Similarities between this missing aircraft and other flights that have vanished have been... well... none.
What was, at first, thought to be quite a straightforward search, find and recover mission has developed into all manner of complexities.
What is it that people imagine the Malaysians could have done differently?
There have been incidents of mishandling of some situations, which is true and have been copiously reported worldwide. The SMS incident where relatives have been informed over their mobile ‘phones was spread instantly but, it occurs to this person, if the news was spread in this manner by the Malaysians—either as the ‘Search Authority’ or as MAS, or whether this was a forwarding of the news by Chinese authorities who immediately deflected the situation off on to the Malaysians when they saw the storm brewing on the media horizon.

This is not a defence of the Malaysians, it is merely an attempt to have a more sanguine look at the situation. To try and rid ourselves of the emotive content with which the media is bent on twisting this saga now that there is little in the way of concrete facts to give us.

To start with, we still have no evidence. The circumstantial evidence appears to point to the current search location in the Southern Indian Ocean. It is entirely possible that this assertion is correct. We shall see. Anything that stirs the smallest vestige of hope is better than a complete collapse and the admittance that nothing further can be gained by shutting up shop and sending the search aeroplanes and ships home.

But there is one more thing. Just one small, nagging doubt eating, like a maggot, in the back of the brain.
It is this.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was also marketed as China Southern Airlines Flight 748 (CZ748) through a codeshare.
Many of the passengers would have purchased their tickets through the China Southern Airlines desk possibly including, one would think, the two that had the false passports (this is, of course, a conjecture).
How silent China Southern Airlines has become. It is true that the aeroplane belonged to Malaysian Airlines System and that they have carried the brunt of the flack and abuse that the world has hurled at the Malaysians.
China Southern Airlines received the benefit of the codeshare but has done nothing to assist MAS with the families. China Southern Airlines is in a far better position to deal with the families than is MAS.
What have they done? Nothing according to the media reports.

Perhaps the accusations and virulence towards individuals should stop now and energy thus spent directed at the search effort instead. Perhaps a combined and concentrated effort on behalf of all the relatives and Nations of those lost rather than a focus on one Nation would be more desirable and effective.

Pointing fingers and making up stories is still not helping as it helped not one jot nearly three weeks ago.

The batteries in the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder are fading. Let us not allow our hopes to fade with them.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

MH370 Pt. III

How far have we advanced in the search for the missing aeroplane MH370?
Not far, it seems.
Theories, as one might expect, abound but none of them have drawn us, realistically, any closer to finding the Boeing 777 or, more importantly, its passengers.

These are trying times for the relatives and friends of those on board. Although the focus seems to be on the two thirds of the pax who are Chinese it must be remembered that the others are equally important. There are, for example, three Australians on board whose lives are just as important to their relatives and friends as are the lives of those who live in China.

I was bemused to hear, on an American based news channel, that the US has already ‘poured fifty million dollars’ into the search effort. Really? I am considerably underwhelmed. There were, I believe, Americans on board whose families will rile at the suggestion that supplying insurgents with weaponry to the tune of far in excess of fifty million dollars (US Dollars, one presumes) is money better spent than in trying to discover what has happened to their kin.

This is not a political rant. It is a point of disgust at the media who, even now, are trying to lay blame and create sensational headlines where none exist.
We have been through the suggestions that the crew are to blame, that the engineering staff are to blame, that the cargo loaders are to blame where, in truth, nobody knows.
We have suffered the enduring complaints against the Malaysian Government who are, if we are to be realistic about this, blameless. They have acted in the best interests of everybody throughout.
There are few countries, if any, in the World that could have done better under these circumstances. Of course there are ‘National Interests’ in play just as there were ‘National’ and ‘Corporate’ interests in play when the Americans and the British were said to be slow in giving up information.
The truth is that these people were not slow. Nobody has been slow. Data needs time to be decoded and decrypted.
Last year there were close to thirty four million departures from airports worldwide. Finding one flight among those, even when you know the time and date, is like the proverbial needle in a haystack. That this aircraft was not fitted with the latest technology is excusable; every airline wants to cut costs, there is no bottomless pit in the middle of one of their hangars containing funds to upgrade equipment or, for that matter, personnel.

There is now a clue. A possible clue.
D├ębris has been found in the South Indian Ocean over fifteen hundred miles from Perth, Australia.
Whether it is part of the missing airliner we do not know but it is worth checking.
Note that: ‘...we do not know...”

At some point the search will grind to a halt. The reasons for the missing aircraft will be in a file labelled ‘Unsolved’.
No doubt accusations will reverberate around the Globe in the media and in political circles for a long time.

We can only hope that, before the cash and the will to go on runs out something will be found, something that will bring closure to the families and friends of all on board—including the crews.

Until then, we do not know. We are still guessing, we are still speculating.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

MAS Flight MH370 Pt. II


During the past hour the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Sri Najib Razak, has held a press conference.

Before I make my own comments about the information tendered let me say that what he said and, more importantly, the way that he said it in terms of expression and body language was impressive.

The statement, as a whole, merely ratified my sentiments in the first ‘Blog’ on this matter.
To remind you, this was that “we do not know”.
Anything beyond that point is speculation.

Over the last week there has been a massive guessing game played by the media and on the internet.
Suddenly everyone on the Globe is an aviation expert. Everyone has a theory, everyone is convinced that this is right or that the events were as follows...

In spite of the subject matter of my last ‘Blog’ I am still getting people asking me what happened. I have stated, time and again, to people who ask me personally what my thoughts are on the aircraft’s disappearance and each time I am forced to say, “I don’t know.”
Because I do not know.

In the event that some form of solid evidence appears that can be corroborated by the experts tasked with this duty nobody knows.
We have had a serious exposition from a young student who spoke ardently of cabin depressurisation; of cracks in the B777 fuselage that could have disabled the aircraft’s ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) system as well as the transponder that reports back to a ground interrogation system; many theories that have been considered, seriously, by an avid media.
All of them baseless in fact.
Note: ‘In fact’.

Now, as a result of an excellently proceeding investigation involving many International parties—all of whom have to be organised and shuffled in to some sort of teamwork, there is a probable result from one of the satellite systems that circle our World.
Because the satellite images have to be decoded and deciphered it has taken some while to sift through what is available.
The agencies involved have taken the brave step of saying what they have so far.
They tell us that there are two possible routes that the aircraft might have taken. Why are there two? Because, as mentioned above, it takes a while to sort through the data and, at this point in time, there are two possible situations that have come to light.
In terms of the search effort it is clear that having one source only would be ideal but, at least, having two is better than having no information at all.

Dato' Sri Najib Razak said that a hijack is only one possibility.
He is right.
The press will immediately jump on the ‘hijack’ as being “THE ANSWER’; they are, possibly, correct.

We do not know.

We wait for further evidence.