March 19, 2014

"The Malaysians have kept American investigators at a distance since the plane vanished in the early hours of March 8..."

"... angering some lawmakers in Washington who believe the F.B.I. should have been playing a larger role in the investigation from the beginning."

And this, from someone related to a passenger: "The Malaysian government is a bunch of cheats. All the governments of the world must join together to pressure the Malaysian government to give an explanation."

59 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

Malaysia Airlines.

Nichevo said...

At a funeral last weekend a clever Chinese fellow said it was probably face-saving, but stupid, and that Malaysia will suffer if this is not resolved, but will also suffer if outcome is bad :i.e., crazy Muslim pilot...kill tourism. On the bright side he thinks the FBI, NTSB, NSA, etc, can do the job, but need to be allowed in.

Crimso said...

It has struck me as very odd the way that information that must have been known within hours (if not minutes) of losing contact with the plane was not made public until days later. I understand part of it is the reluctance of countries to advertise their detection capabilities, but with an airliner missing (down or hijacked) I would think that would go by the wayside in favor of finding it ASAP. I wonder whether someone along the proposed northern arc shot it down, and is trying to cover it up for fear of the backlash. And whether other governments might not drag their feet in order to help with the cover up. Something here really does not add up.

If it was hijacked and landed somewhere, I have an idea about what the plane will be used for. And it won't require the plane to even cross into the target country's airspace to do a truly massive amount of damage. Think about why a particular thing needs to be done at a certain altitude, and the range of its effects.

The Savage Noble said...

Crimso said...
It has struck me as very odd the way that information that must have been known within hours (if not minutes) of losing contact with the plane was not made public until days later.

I heard it was all started by some youtube video...

Jay said...

So I assume this is just another example of how Obama has "restored" America's standing in the world.

I mean, those Malaysians are just all excited to cooperate with President Brackets.

Aren't they?

madAsHell said...

Think about why a particular thing needs to be done at a certain altitude, and the range of its effects.

Sooo.....you're saying that I'm never going to join the mile high club??

EMD said...

I'm a bit at a loss what the FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation has to do with a Malaysian airline, but that's just me.

How many Americans were/are on board?

Hagar said...

They are at it again, changing their acoount of the sequence of events aboard the airplane. Until they get that straight, the only things we know for sure is the change in course and that the plane went down somewhere.

And the change in course is consistent with the pilot(s) diverting to the nearest carrier runway after encountering an emergency situation - manmade or otherwise.

Robert Cook said...

"I'm a bit at a loss what the FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation has to do with a Malaysian airline, but that's just me.

"How many Americans were/are on board?"


E.M.D., don't you know that anything that happens anywhere in the world is the business of America's law enforcement agencies?

As to your second questions, I believe there were two Americans reported to be passengers on the plane.

Strelnikov said...

I'm sick of this whole thing.

That plane is in the water and everybody on it is long dead. Continuing this coverage travesty is only doing more damage to the families.

Bob Ellison said...

EMD, that bothers me, too. The FBI was supposed to be doing something in Benghazi as well. Four American citizens died there, so I can see some standing, but it still doesn't seem like an FBI job.

Supposition: the CIA is muscled out because it is implausible. Their hands are dirty. So they give it up to the FBI, the NY City Police, the Des Moines Coast Guard, whatever.

Trashhauler said...

By international convention, the country in which the aircraft is flagged normally has responsibility for any accident investigation. The responsibility for investigation is usually shared by the country in which the crash occurred. In this case, there is no way of knowing where the crash occurred, so the responsibility lies solely with Malaysia.

Malaysia may seek assistance from whatever foreign entity it thinks might help in the investigation.

John Lynch said...

It's not an American airline nor was the flight entering or leaving American airspace.

Why do the Malaysians have any obligation to cooperate with us? Is there some agreement they signed?

If any other country has a sovereign interest, it's China.

We have more resources to bear on the problem than any other country, but Malaysia doesn't have to call upon them.

Brennan said...

Malaysia isn't really that bright, but may not really care what they hell we think. Early this morning Malaysian military police were escorting female family members of passengers on the flight into a room after these women showed up to beg for answers. The women were pleading for the Americans to pressure the Malaysian government for help. There were hundreds of photographers taking pictures of the Malaysian military police taking these women into a conference room.

When the military police emerged, the photographers asked why they took the women into the conference room. The military police denied there were any women in the conference room.

So the passengers' family members got that going for them.

traditionalguy said...

Dem's Occam's razor:It's George W Bush's fault.

Hagar said...

It is creepy, because - if there is any truth to the reports of the engine radio continuing to "ping" the satellite - we have this vision of the airliner on autopilot at 30,000 ft. with dead or otherwise incapacitated pilots flying out over the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean and the passengers either also dead, or worse yet, still alive, but helpless.

There certainly are several movie scripts here.

Peter said...

Has Egypt, or EgyptAir, ever admitted that that doomed flight was doomed because the pilot suicided?

Robert Cook said...

The question arises: if the plane flew for some time after going silent, why did not any of the passengers call loved ones or associates to report their predicament?

Is it possible the passengers were unaware of any problem until...?

(There was a report I heard on the news last week--though I haven't heard it since--that family members tried calling their loved ones and the phones did ring...though no one answered.If the plane had crashed and the phones were destroyed, would there have been any "ringing" of phones, or would the calls have gone immediately to voicemail?)

William said...

This is a cause for concern for every air traveller. The interests involved transcend those of Malaysia. The investigation should be managed by those most capable of managing it. That's the USA, and it's not jingoistic to express that thought.

Rusty said...

EMD said...
I'm a bit at a loss what the FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation has to do with a Malaysian airline, but that's just me.


They're very good at things like this when combined with the NTSB.
They are trying to recreate the events that led up to the disappearance. Plus they bring their extensive forensic experience.
I doubt Malasia has the resources adn experience the NTSB and the FBI has.

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
The question arises: if the plane flew for some time after going silent, why did not any of the passengers call loved ones or associates to report their predicament?


No cell towers in the ocean. Besides they may have already been dead.

Richard Dolan said...

There are certain crimes that the norms of international law treat as subject to universal jurisdiction. Piracy is the oldest, but I suspect international terrorism (if that's what's in play with the disappearance of this plane) has also earned that treatment. So it's not a surprise that US enforcement agencies should take a role here, just as it would not be odd for those from Australia or India or Pakistan to do the same. The difference is that the US has the resources and capacity to move the investigation forward in ways that other countries do not, and its own reasons for wanting to discover what happened and why. What is more difficult to understand is the reason for Malaysian authorities to resist help (from any quarter) in an investigation like this.

Tibore said...

"Peter said...
Has Egypt, or EgyptAir, ever admitted that that doomed flight was doomed because the pilot suicided?"


No. Their Civil Aviation authority insists that it was right elevator failure resulting in a loss of and failure to regain control. The US FAA disputes that, saying that not only would any such failures have been recoverable, but that they wouldn't have resulted in the flight control inputs that were recorded.

As the Wikipedia article states, Vanity Fair journalist (and professional pilot) William Langewiesche rather bluntly said:
"... in the case of the Egyptians, they were following a completely different line of thinking. It seemed to me that they knew very well that their man, Batouti, had done this. They were pursuing a political agenda that was driven by the need to answer to their higher-ups in a very pyramidal, autocratic political structure. The word had been passed down from on high, probably from Mubarak himself, that there was no way that Batouti, the co-pilot, could have done this. For the accident investigators in Egypt, the game then became not pursuing the truth but backing the official line."

garage mahal said...

The FBI was supposed to be doing something in Benghazi as well

And the 299 Marines that were killed in #BEIRUT in 1983. How can our leaders continually let these things happen?

Trashhauler said...

Interested parties can go directly to the Malaysian Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) website to see who is helping the investigation.

http://mh370.dca.gov.my/

BDNYC said...

I'm beginning to think the pilot was attempting to do something along the lines of what that Ethiopian pilot did in Switzerland, but he made a serious error in changing the route. There's got to be simpler, less risky ways to seek asylum, but diverting a plane with more than 200 passengers on board certainly makes the news and would shine a light on Anwar Ibrahim's trial and conviction.

SteveR said...

The pilot hit the Reset Button.

EMD said...

They're very good at things like this when combined with the NTSB.
They are trying to recreate the events that led up to the disappearance. Plus they bring their extensive forensic experience.
I doubt Malasia has the resources adn experience the NTSB and the FBI has.


I certainly understand this, but do we not have to be formally asked to investigate in such a manner?

I mean, involvement can't just be assumed.

Crimso said...

"The question arises: if the plane flew for some time after going silent, why did not any of the passengers call loved ones or associates to report their predicament?"

I heard someone on the radio who claimed to be a commercial pilot who said that oxygen levels in the cabin are controlled from the cockpit (he specifically stated that the pilots had no control over pressurization, only oxygen supply). He said the pilots could have easily cut off the oxygen to the passengers and rest of the crew. They would essentially nod off and eventually die. I have no idea if this is true or not. Anybody else?

Crimso said...

Looking at what Boeing says about cabin air systems, he was either full of shit or I totally misunderstood him (or both).

Cedarford said...

I don't have a high regard for the FBI's investigatory powers in counterterrorism or even their mindset. Their modus operandi is to try and grab power in implausible circumstances (USS Cole bombing, 911, Libya) then sweep everything into a black hole and refuse to discuss it with anyone because "it could jeopardize future prosecutions". Then later we find how little they did, or whole areas of inquiry they ignored because of their case-building vs. pure getting to the facts -- mindset.
They announce they are in command of the Benghazi investigation after politically muscling out the CIA, State Dept, US military...then we find no agent of the FBI set foot in Benghazi 2 months after it, and a long list of suspects has yet to be interviewed while "legal technicalities related to statements that would stand up in a criminal court are thoroughly researched."

Even when they do have a definite role, like in the Tsarnaev Bros...they muscle out Mass State police...then manage to kill a key witness to the older brother's other depredations in an FBI interview room.

Please, keep those Keystone Kops out of the Malay investigation!!! Have the NTSB, US military, Thai military, NSA, and all discretly assist the Malaysian investigators and Chinese gov't (most the presumed dead are Chinese).

Rusty said...

EMD
If we have an embassy in Malasia our ambassador probably called them in.
They are not necessarily there too find criminal fault but to use their resources to reconstruct events.
You can bet Boeing is following this very closely. They need to know if there was any mechanical failure.

David said...

Robert Cook said...
The question arises: if the plane flew for some time after going silent, why did not any of the passengers call loved ones or associates to report their predicament?


Generally not lot of cell towers in the ocean or the jungles?

Do cell towers work above a certain altitude? I don't know. Do you?

Birches said...

I'm a bit at a loss what the FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation has to do with a Malaysian airline, but that's just me.

I'm glad there are a few of us that take this POV. If they don't want our help, then fine. They shouldn't need it.

elkh1 said...

Like us, the Malaysians have a tough time trusting the FBI.

Bob Ellison said...

That's a Shure 55.

Quaestor said...

I heard someone on the radio who claimed to be a commercial pilot who said that oxygen levels in the cabin are controlled from the cockpit

Either this guy is a phony, or you misheard what was said.

Nobody on an airliner breathes oxygen per se, except through a mask during an emergency. Pressurization is achieved using mechanical compressors, but it's still atmospheric air being breathed.

The pressurization ratio has varied over the decades and is different in different planes. One of the first pressurized aircraft was the Boeing B-29, which was designed to operate at 30,000 feet yet maintain an interior pressure equivalent to 10,000 feet. The bomber could fly higher but since the ratio stayed constant the interior equivalent pressure would change as well. After the war Boeing developed a commercial derivative of the B-29 called the Stratoliner, which used the same pressurization scheme, though the total pressurized volume was much greater (The B-29's bomb bays were not pressurized. The flight deck area was connected to the gunners' compartment via a tunnel; the tailgunner sat in his own pressurized compartment.) The airlines that used the Stratoliner discovered that an environment comfortable for fit young men was not comfortable for everybody. Consequently purpose-built high-altitude liners were designed for higher pressurization ratios. DeHavilland didn't do a good job with their pressurization design for the Comet, which resulted in several crashes linked to catastrophic depressurization.

Today IFR traffic is stacked in layers between 32,000 and 37,000 feet, while the interior pressure equivalent is in the 6,500 to 8,000 foot range, depending on the aircraft and the exact altitude.

The Boeing 777-200ER has service ceiling of 43,100 feet, which is as high as it can go and yet maintain an interior pressure equivalent of 10,000 feet. This show that the pressurization ratio is roughly 4.3 to 1, so when MH370 hit 45,000 feet the passengers were subjected to a pressure equivalent of around 13,000 feet.

This could be fatal for some people, but not everybody. It would probably cause unconsciousness in some people, but not everybody. Most people would feel the effects of hypoxia, but not everybody. Some people have climbed Mt. Everest without oxygen, so we know that MH370's the high-altitude flying wouldn't be a guarantee of total incapacitation of the passengers. The only way to that would be to totally decompress the plane, and it wouldn't be necessary to climb to 45,000 to do that. Besides, there's the emergency oxygen system. I read somewhere that over-water flights have to provide an hour's worth of oxygen for a full compliment of passengers. Yet MH370 flew at 45,000 feet for only a short time.

Pilots can dump the emergency oxygen because the O2 bottles could represent a deadly hazard in some situations, but given the few facts we "know" about MH370 that action doesn't make sense.

It is possible to totally decompress the some aircraft. In the event of a deadly fumes or smoke in the cabin the procedure is to immediately descend to a safe altitude and then turn on the emergency ventilators. This will rapidly replace the polluted cabin air with clean outside air in a matter of minutes. This also equalizes the pressure inside to the outside pressure. Automatic safeties would prevent a pilot or terrorist from doing this at cruising altitude, but maybe there's hack.

Hagar said...

If this really is a sophisticated highjacking, and not a Keystone Kops response to an oddball accident, the highjackees presumably are the Chinese passengers, and the Chinese government may have "suggested" to Malaysia and others that no real official information be passed out, and that could account for the confusion.

Kirk Parker said...

David,

"Do cell towers work above a certain altitude?"

Most cell tower antennas are highly directional in the vertical dimension; wiki says 7.5° beamwidth, and all of the minor lobes are at least 20db down outside +- 30° of the forward direction. Still, with max line-of-sight workable distances being at perhaps 40 miles, 20db attenuation still means a 5 mile connection range while directly over the tower. So my SSSSWAG is if you're cruising at above 30,000' and trying to talk to a cell tower at sea level, you're already at the margin. If you're a few miles off the coast, the distance is of course much greater. Anybody else have a more knowledgeable WAG than mine?

Quaestor said...

Kirk Parker, I am bemused by your jargon. What is SSSSWAG? For that matter what is WAG?

Hagar said...

Someone else posted that cellphones are pretty much useless when more than 2,000-2500 ft. up, and then only when the towers are thick on the ground.

hombre said...

garage: "And the 299 Marines that were killed in #BEIRUT in 1983. How can our leaders continually let these things happen?"

I'm unable to see the analogy between the Benghazi and Beirut attacks and the candor of the Administrations afterward other than American deaths.

Oh, have the Obots admitted that Benghazi was an attack by terrorists yet? If so, there is that too.

Quaestor said...

[T]he Chinese government may have "suggested" to Malaysia and others that no real official information be passed out, and that could account for the confusion.

This is a good analysis, Hagar. Thank you. China and Malaysia have been at loggerheads for years now over trade policy and the status of Malaysia's Han minority. China has the whip hand in Asia now, and uses intimidation tactics from time to time.

hombre said...

"...angering some lawmakers in Washington who believe the FBI should have been playing a larger role .... from the beginning."

Which lawmakers? Is there any plausible reason why they should not be named since that nonsense was included?

Why would anybody expect the FBI to investigate the disappearance of a Malaysian aircraft in Asia?

Marshal said...

The entire event is a promotional hoax for the upcoming movie version of Lost.

Donna B. said...

WAG is Wild Ass Guess. One of those esses is for Sophisticated. I'd like to know what the other three are for too!

Marshal said...

Kirk Parker said...
Anybody else have a more knowledgeable WAG than mine?


A CNN article the other day noted that cell phones work in most planes because there's effectively a mini cell tower in the plane which retransmits the signals. Without this instrument (which was not installed in the missing plane) you have to be below 10,000 feet even where cell towers are numerous.

Quaestor said...

@Donna B.

Thanks for the decrypt. How about Super-Sophisticated and Superiorly Sagacious Wild Ass Guess?

Quaestor said...

A CNN article the other day noted that cell phones work in most planes because...

But what range boost, if any, does this provide? Cell coverage over the Andaman Sea has got to be spotty at best.

Kirk Parker said...

Donna: Right about WAG, but from where I come from the first 'S' stands for 'Scientific', thereby increasing the irony. Read that additional 'S's how you like.

And Marshal adds an interesting point about an on-board cell repeater. Makes sense. In terms of additional range, such a creature could have a more powerful transmitter, BUT don't forget: The Square Law Is Your Enemy. In addition, nothing helps on receive except a directional antenna (and that would hardly be workable in any cell system, much less one mounted in a moving aircraft.)

The bottom line is, once you're high enough and/or over non-cell terrain (e.g. ocean) there simply isn't going to be any coverage.

Marshal said...

Quaestor said...
But what range boost, if any, does this provide?


It doesn't matter, the instrument was not installed on the missing aircraft. I'm explaining why there are limitations on the missing aircraft that do not conform to people's experience.

The bottom line is: there was no chance of a cell connection if the current public information is accurate. The plane was never low enough (8-10k feet) to make a connection even were it to have flown over Malaysia and directly over a cell tower.

But keep in mind it's almost certain some of the "facts" people are using to rule out possibilities will turn out to be mistakes.

Kirk Parker said...

Hagar,

That 2000~2500' estimate has to be extremely pessimistic: witness all the calls from, e.g. UA 93.

Levi Starks said...

In addition to cell phones, there are also satellite phones which rely on an entirely different infrastructure. They aren't that much more expensive than cell phones, and it doesn't seem unreasonable that some of those Chinese businessmen would have been carrying them. I'm only commenting this because in the interest of thoroughness it's something that ought to be considered.

Iapetus said...

@Quaestor: "...when MH370 hit 45,000 feet the passengers were subjected to a pressure equivalent of around 13,000 feet. This could be fatal for some people, but not everybody. It would probably cause unconsciousness in some people, but not everybody. Most people would feel the effects of hypoxia, but not everybody."

For many years astronomers have worked on mountain tops at altitudes of 14,000 ft with few if any ill effects except possibly a splitting headache, and starting from the equivalent of 10K ft tends to lessen the impact if sufficient time is spent at the lower altitude or minimal time is spent at the greater altitude. When I was younger, I used to jog regularly at those altitudes with no problem.

David said...

Obama just said that finding the plane is a "top priority."

Thank God he's noticed. Now we will get some results.

Michael K said...

Blogger garage mahal said...

" The FBI was supposed to be doing something in Benghazi as well

And the 299 Marines that were killed in #BEIRUT in 1983. How can our leaders continually let these things happen?"

I assume this was your stupid idea of humor or sarcasm. The Reagan administration did not conceal any information, contrary to the "most open administration of all time."

Their was certainly some poor planning involved. The Marines were too vulnerable and the security lax (no loaded guns for the sentries) but there has never been the degree of negligence and disinformation before in our history, unless you think FDR knew about Pearl Harbor.

richard mcenroe said...

What's the point in sharing information with the US? let Obie fake up his own talking points.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

I blame Barack H. Obama.

"...the FBI, NTSB, NSA, etc, can do the job, but need to be allowed in."

George W. Bush was blamed for Katrina damage to New Orleans after offers of Federal assistance were refused.

Obama should accept responsibility for the disappearance of this airliner.

jeff said...

Michael K. You give garage too much credit. In his pea mind,since a republican was president when the 299 marines were killed, we owe Obama another 295 murdered Americans before we are allowed to be concerned. And if/when Obama hits that magic 299 number, garage will likely add in those killed during 911 as anew target for Obama.