Saturday, 29 March 2014

Boeing 777 - Rescue And Communications Equipment


The authorities have announced the sad news of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 crashing into South Indian Ocean but the story is far from over. Like Churchill ‘we shall go on till the end’ until the core of this matter is reached. Relatives of the ‘dead’ passengers deserve more than just money from the insurance company; they have already filed a petition in USA against Boeing and Malaysian Airlines.

What happened to the airplane, where is it, who survived, who died, how did it happen and who did it, such questions always arise whenever a tragedy of such proportions takes places. Some questions have already been answered; the rest will be answered in the near future.

The authorities have stated that MH370 ‘crashed into South Indian Ocean without leaving any survivors’. As usual, fingers have already pointed out the pilots as ‘prime suspects’. I will test such assertions, debunk myths and challenge ‘facts’ in the coming articles, but ultimately only the Creator knows best.

The following information will make you appreciate better the variety of rescue and communications equipment that commercial airliners carry aboard.

Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)

This device is legally required to be carried aboard. With a crash over land, the distress signals are easily picked by radars and satellites but if an aircraft crashes into water, listening to such signals presents another set of problems. The killers who brought the airplane down over very deep waters knew what they were doing.

An example is the Artex ELT model B406-4 which transmits on 3 emergency frequencies (121.5 KHz, 243.0 MHz, 406 MHz). The device automatically activates during a crash and transmits the standard swept tone on 121.5 and 243.0 MHz.

Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)
For a period of 24 hours, every 50 seconds and each time for 520 milliseconds, the transmitter turns on and transmits an encoded digital message (aircraft type, aircraft registration number, owner’s address and telephone number, and alternate emergency contact) to the Cospas/Sarsat satellite system.

The ELT can be programmed with the aircraft's 24-bit address as well as latitude/longitude information from the aircraft navigation system. The unit is designed to interface with Boeing's Master Caution System. It is activated automatically by a 4.5 feet per second (2.3 G) primary G-switch or through manual activation. An aircraft can be pinpointed within 3 Km but when coupled with the aircraft navigation system, it can help locate it within 100m.

You may click on these links for more information, the search and rescue process, and the owner’s manual.

Does this mean the authorities, under foreign pressure, were forced to wait for the critical time period of 24 hours to elapse before initiating the search and rescue operation? The airlines are only the end users of sophisticated equipment but the manufacturers and the vendors know their own designs better.

Inactive versus de-activated ELT

"If there's a defect in the Boeing 777, the industry needs to know about it right away. Other airlines may not want to buy a 777 if there's still a cloud over this incident. The Malaysia Airlines flight did have an ELT, but it never activated. That could be because of the way it crashed; or even that it never crashed at all.

Airliners in the US and Malaysia, are not required to carry these transmitters. The underwater locators aren't helpful if the plane crashed or set down on land. If we don't find [the plane] in the next three weeks, we may never find it because that's how long the batteries last”, said Diehl, who spent 40 years designing aircraft and has worked with the NTSB, the FAA and the US military.

Boeing is not willing to comment on the success rate of the ELTs but it is generally reported that it is as much as 82% and as low as 25%.

Notice the bits ‘the WAY it crashed or even that it NEVER crashed at all’. There is speculation that the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 had outdated ELTs. Why would Boeing remain silent especially if its much-touted 787 Dreamliner faced Lithium-ion battery issues? Why is it being implied that the Malaysian MH370 had an unusual load of Lithium-ion batteries in its cargo hold when in 2010, UPS flight 6 , a Boeing 747, crashed at Dubai international airport carrying the same lethal cargo?

What is a black box?

A black box is actually a combination of the Digital Flight data recorder (DFDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR). Located in the airplane’s tail section, it is coloured bright orange, made of exceptionally strong materials, is able to withstand acceleration of 3,400g (3,400 times the force of gravity or 310 mph velocity), can withstand flames of up to 1,093 degrees Centigrade, and remain active while submerged 20,000 Ft under salt water for 30 days.
The orange 'Black Box'

30 days will be over on 6 April 2014. While the DFDR records hundreds of data inputs from flight and engine instruments, the CVR’s omni-directional microphone records cockpit sounds. Many hours of sound recording helps investigators piece together the puzzle in the event of an incident or accident.
The transcripts of cockpit conversations, sometimes being of a sensitive nature, are carefully prepared and strictly regulated. The public will seldom hear the whole true story because the investigating agencies involved will favour one or the other party through 'cooperation' with one another. A new god of this age is ‘national security’.

Beacon of hope

The flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder in the Boeing 777-200ER are each mounted with an underwater locator beacon. When water hits the beacon, it automatically starts transmitting a signal. For example, the Dukane DK120 underwater locator beacon used on many aircrafts, when activated, emits a pulse every second that can be detected by sonar equipment up to two nautical miles away. The beacon works at depths up to 20,000 feet—far deeper than the waters where officials believe the Malaysian plane went down. It's made to stay active for at least 30 days, as per FAA requirement, but may last a few days longer than that, depending on when it was made.

Officials also revealed that it is possible the aircraft could have landed and transmitted a satellite signal from the ground. If the plane was intact and had enough electrical power in reserve, it would be able to send out a radar 'ping'.

Commercial airliners do not just land in a jungle and disappear without a trace; that only happens in the movies. The other fact is that MH370 was ‘brought down’ over waters that are nearly 26,000 Ft deep. It is a designer tragedy spread like jam over a big evil toast.

Will they find the black box?

The loss of Malaysia Airlines MH370 presents the same challenge faced after Air France Flight 447 disappeared over the South Atlantic in 2009, with the loss of 216 lives. It took three years, millions of dollars and deep sea submarine technology before the wreck and the black box were located at 13,000 Ft below.

When vast amounts of data can be streamed in real time, we still rely on tracking down black boxes before being able to deduce the cause of a crash is astonishing. But both plane-makers and regulators have resisted repeated calls to adopt available technology to end this dependency on a recording system (and the principle behind it) dating from the 1960s.

DFDR & CVR
A French investigator held a cylinder the size of a small flashlight and said: “This is what we are trying to find…in the Atlantic.” In that case it was a sonar beacon intended to lead searchers to a wreck, not the actual flight recorder which is neither black nor a box.”

Everyone needs to make a living and why not the armies of investigators and international agencies? The most sophisticated technologies are not being used in commercial airliners but in missiles and drones designed to keep the global war on terror going forever.

Communications

Every flight requires a detailed flight plan to be filed and accepted by the Air Traffic Control. Pilots just cannot take airliners up in the air or land them without proper coordination between countries and without seeking permissions in advance.

Generally VHF (very high frequency) but occasionally HF (high frequency) radios are used by pilots for voice communications. There are three VHF radios, 2 HF radios and 2 satellite radios aboard a Boeing 777. The chances of all of them failing are virtually zero. Although there are definitive radio failure procedures for every kind of airspace and airport, none of the professional pilots I know have ever witnessed a complete radio failure in their careers.

CPDLC

Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) enables the flight crew to read and answer Controllers instructions; this keeps communications frequencies less clogged. During an eight hours long flight, a pilot will call or respond to dozens of Air Traffic Controllers. One cannot just keep flying without uttering a word, expecting to get away with communications violations.

ACARS

The Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) is a digital datalink system for transmission of short messages between aircraft and ground stations via air-band radio or satellite. These messages can be requests to Air Traffic Controllers for clearances, aeronautical operational control and airline administrative control.

At the start of each flight phase, an ACARS message is transmitted to the ground describing the flight phase, the time at which it occurred, and other related information such as the amount of fuel on board or the flight origin and destination. These messages are used to track the status of aircraft and crews.

ACARS is used to send information from the aircraft to ground stations about the conditions of various aircraft systems and sensors in real-time. Maintenance faults and abnormal events are also transmitted to ground stations along with detailed messages, which are used by the airline for monitoring equipment health, and to better plan repair and maintenance activities.

ACARS interfaces with interactive display units in the cockpit, which flight crews can use to send and receive technical messages and reports to or from ground stations, such as a request for weather information or clearances or the status of connecting flights. The response from the ground station is received on the aircraft via ACARS as well. Each airline customizes ACARS to this role to suit its needs.

At times the datalink can have temporary interruptions due to various reasons but no pilot ever deliberately disables the ACARS.

Transponder

transponder is a device that emits an identifying altitude signal in response to an interrogating received signal, meaning, the Controllers know who is where at any given moment. Pilots select (‘squawk’) four-digit codes for normal use, emergency situations (a fire that cannot be put out etc.), unlawful interference (hijack) and communication failure (loss of contact with other aircrafts and/or Air Traffic Controllers).

There are roads and crossings in the air; things are much more systematic than they are on the ground. Deliberately switching off the transponder or having an inoperative one aboard means that many controlled airspaces cannot be overflown. The Air Traffic Controller will always remind the pilot if he ever reads back the assigned code correctly but inadvertently selects the wrong one; for example, 4453 instead of 4493, since nine and five can sound the same sometimes.

Was the transponder switched off?

Near the cross-over point between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic controllers, the plane’s transponder, which emits an identifying signal, was switched off or, less likely, failed. According to a military radar, the aircraft then turned and flew back over Malaysia before heading in a north-west direction.

First of all, pilots never ever switch off the mode a transponder’s mode ‘Charlie’ because most countries will not allow commercial flights to overfly them under this condition. And if the transponder fails, the Air Traffic Controllers will be the first ones to say: “Switch on or recycle your mode Charlie”. A commercial pilot will never make odd aerial moves as it is an invitation to trouble and which he always avoids unless he has someone pointing a gun at him.
You can see 'them' on the TCAS

TCAS

The Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) informs aircrafts about intruders above, below and those crossing its flight path from various directions. The system provides audio visual guidance to help the pilots avoid threatening or potentially dangerous situations in the air. The TCAS drastically reduces the pilots’ workload of always keeping a visual lookout for other traffic. It is like having bumper sensors in automobiles that help one stay away from trouble.

Calling facilities for passengers

Passengers can make calls from modern airliners but using their personal mobile phones is only possible on some airlines, select flights and certain types of aircrafts. In-seat satellite phones are also available and so is Wi-Fi for SMS, emails and surfing. Of course, terms and conditions apply as every little bit costs extra money but which businessmen do not mind paying.

Whether passengers altitudes called their relatives on the morning of 9/11 while cruising at great  is very questionable. The covert agencies do not need voice actors now to mimic our voices; we have already provided them with free voice samples through Skype and other social media. They can easily make anyone sound like anybody else. Have you never wondered why all of this wonder-FOOL technology is absolutely free?

Did anybody 'track' the MH370?
CB radio enthusiasts and bird-watchers

Commercial Band (CB) radios enthusiasts, VHF radio listeners and even people with special world-band radios can easily tune in to HF broadcasts of commercial airliners. Add to this, various websites that track commercial traffic and which ordinary people use for monitoring headings, altitudes and squawk codes. An amazing amount of live information is available to flying buffs, some of whom take pictures of airplanes landing at and taking off from various airfields. Sometimes friends and relatives track flights for fun.

How is it that thus far not one person has come up with a record of MH370 that challenges the official story of the crash? The airliner was a sophisticated $250 million machine, not a child’s toy that it should remain hidden.

Whether it is Lady Diana’s ritual murder in a Parisian tunnel or the ‘inside job’ of 9/11, the public’s mobile phones, cameras and laptops are the first items that are whisked away by the super-efficient authorities in order to destroy all evidence of well-coordinated wrong-doing. Common people are not expected to possess common sense and their intelligence is seldom allowed to exceed that of the covert ‘intelligent’ ones.

In conclusion

The information presented here is freely available to all on the internet. Now that you know what kind of sophisticated rescue and communications equipment airliners carry aboard, you must also understand that the spy satellites are not up there serving humanity but rather shamelessly spying on it round the clock, gathering and storing bits and bytes of our lives.

The more ‘security’ the system claims to provide to the people, the greater the threats that arise from it. Each failure is followed by yet more security designed to make people choke on it. Even if half the Earth’s population guarded the remaining half, ‘security’ problems will still remain. Environments of mistrust are created by insecure leaders not by free-thinking people. Leaders frequently forget that they too were once ‘people’ before turning into very important persons (VIPs) at our expense.

Please also read parts 1, 2 and 3 of the MH370 story. In the next article I will deal with the insinuations and veiled accusations hurled at the pilots of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. In the meanwhile, have a safe trip if you are travelling by air.

©Tahir Gul Hasan 2014

Related stories:
Part-1 Malaysian MH370 - Too Many Cooks
Part-5 A Hole At The Bottom Of The Sea

Acknowledgements
The text in italics has been copied from various sources on the internet and at places edited for clarity only. I apologise for not being able to provide copyright information for each and every image.
Malaysian Airlines aircraft http://malaysiaairlines.com/
Images of DFDR & CVRBlack BoxTCAS

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous. April 2, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Hi!
    Greetings! I sahev read all teh 4 articles about MH370. Now anxiously waiting to read the next one (5th). So when is it oming up?
    Also i have read a couple of other 2. Well written in i liked ur site very much. Btw it sounds u r from St. Anthony School, Lahore. My husband is also from the same school.
    Regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous. April 2, 2014 at 11:40 AM
      Oppsss sorry for the typo eroors. its difficult to type from mobile actually. *Have* & *The* n *Coming*. Sorry again :)

      Delete
    2. TGH. April 2, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      Anonymous, don't worry about your typos; I only did typos before learning to write well.
      I just can't seem to finish editing the fifth article. The evidence of wrong-doing will just kill the poor relatives of the deceased!
      And who might your husband be?

      Delete
  2. Anonymous. April 2, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    I really wish, hope n pray that all the passengers of that poor flight come back soon (I know its not possible).
    May be i m also learning to write heheh!
    I posted 1 of ur article relating to this flight on a Malaysian fb page n it seems u r getting good traffic from Malaysia now. I hope ppl can read between the lines what u have written. I visit ur blog every day to chk if the 5th one is posted or not yet :(
    Well, my husband is also from St. Anthony but i think he is way too junior to u bcoz his DOB is 1969 lol. But my 4 uncles (maternal uncles) are also Anthonians n u might be knowing any of them though not sure.
    My hubby's name is Wasif Ali Khan. My Uncles are Malik Maqsood Khalid, Malik Sohail, Malik Anjum n Malik Najum. They r off course seniour to my hubby so u might be knowing any of them. I dont remember their year of education at St. Anthony. But if u want i can chk with my mom heheh :)
    Regards.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous. April 2, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Also 1 more question.... Do u have a Facebook Page? Where i can read ur articles on FB?? I mean its more easy to browse on FB :) Other wise not an issue :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. TGH. April 2, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    There is zero chance of the poor souls ever returning—unless Allah wills it otherwise. This is no hijack for ransom.
    Thanks for the plug on FB. I think you control all Malaysia because many restless souls visited my site.
    In any case, my articles will be the most comprehensive set available on the MH370 issue. People will be able to read my lines and what's in between them if they stop fiddling with their laughable mobile-phones.
    Sorry, I don't post articles on Fazool Book. For greater ease, create my site's shortcut icon on your screen (desktop).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous. April 2, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    Thanx for such a detailed answer. I only shared your link at one page and I think people picked it from there. I do not handle any Malaysian site or Malaysia as u mentioned he he he and I hope you didn't mind sharing. I think everyone around the world is keeping an eye on this case at the moment!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good post! Thanks for sharing this information. I appreciate it. It is very beneficial for visitors.

    ReplyDelete