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Great circle paths that match the satellite data after Click on image to enlarge. Introduction In the last postI presented how the simulation data found on the home computer of Captain Zaharie Shah suggests that the recovered data were from a single flight session on Feb 2,in which the aircraft takes off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport KLIAflies northwest over the Malacca Strait, flies past the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, turns to the south, and exhausts its fuel in the Southern Indian Ocean.
If LNAV mode is selected, the aircraft follows a great circle path between the starting and ending waypoints of the active leg. In this article, I reconstruct flight paths with the assumption that MH was flown in automated flight in a similar way as in the simulation session.
In particular, I reconstructed flight paths using the following two criteria: In addition to 1after After the last radar capture at The BTO values indicate how far the aircraft was from the satellite, and therefore possible locations that satisfy the BTO values form an arc when plotted. Shown in Figure 1 are the arcs at While the BTO values are indicative of position, the BFO values are indicative of the speed horizontal and vertical and track of the aircraft.
The radar path ends as MH was traveling northwest in the Malacca Strait. Yet we know from the satellite data that the flight ended in the SIO, and the satellite data after The details of how MH might have been flown between For now, we start our analysis at The reconstructed paths starting at Each path corresponds to a specific track angle at The track angle will in general vary along each path as would be expected along a great circle.
For each initial track angle, the position at The position at For automated control of speed, two autothrottle modes were considered for the time period between For the time period between However, I chose to not consider ECON speed here because the speed profile would be similar to LRC depending on the CIand the exact methodology is not generally available to the public for calculating Mach number as a function of weight, altitude, Cost Index, and wind.
Match to satellite data after For the paths at constant Mach number, the Mach number varies between 0. Constraining the BFO error to less than 7 Hz eliminates paths crossing the 7th arc south of 39S latitude and north of 28S latitude. Flight Paths Leading to Waypoints Past 7th Arc From among the family of reconstructed paths that follow great circles between Although I have long abandoned the possibility of a landing, the scenario of a holding pattern near Banda Aceh followed by a cruise on a due south course remains an interesting possibility.
The three paths to airports in Antarctica are shown in Figure 1 as black lines that extend past the 7th arc.
The coordinates as the paths cross the 7th arc are also shown. Added Nov 10, The match of the four paths to the satellite data is shown in Figure 2.
Lower BTO errors occur for constant Mach paths crossing at more southern latitudes. More on the Path Towards the South Pole The flight towards the South Pole is interesting because there are several ways that the autopilot might be used to create this flight.
Any of these methods would cause the aircraft to follow a path that closely follows a great circle to the South Pole. Although this would produce similar results as the method using LNAV, it is possible that the aircraft could at times deviate from the required track, and the path could deviate from a great circle.
For instance, a wind gust or turbulence could momentarily cause the track to deviate. Figure 3 shows an exploded view of the search area, showing the boundary of what was previously searched yellowand where CSIRO proposes to search next green. The new search area extends about 25 NM to the northeast of the 7th arc at 35, ft blueand about In this part of the arc, the width of the searched area is about 19 NM to either side of the 7th arc.
The highest priority impact site is 23 NM to the southeast of the 7th arc, and falls within the proposed search area, which extends between 19 NM and At the point of crossing the arc, the width searched was only about 6. The fact that this part of the arc was only narrowly searched presents an interesting opportunity to search in the future.
Update on November 10, Here is a CSV file with data for the great circle paths, including the position and track at Included are the data for four paths that align with waypoints past the 7th arc.DOWNLOAD DWARF FORTRESS (July 7, ) Windows | Linux | Mac. All Versions.
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In the future articles, I’ll present more thoughts on how the MH aircraft might have been flown between and , and the implications for possible impact sites along the 7th arc.
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