Did Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 make a U-turn?

The independent MH370 investigation team has based their working hypothesis on the assumption that MH370 made an abrupt turn south then continued at a constant speed and direction for 5½ hours on autopilot.

We have used Inmarsat's arc positions to create a “U-turn” flight path based on the assumption that MH370 continued on the same northwesterly flight path as when it was last detected by military radar. The "U-turn" routes travel over the Bay of Bengal then turns back crossing the Andaman Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and ends in the South China Sea.

As a data analyst I was puzzled by the inconsistencies with the Southern flight path for MH370 to the Indian Ocean. The frequency shifts on Inmarsat's Burst Frequency Offset analysis report are higher than they should be at the beginning of the flight, and lower than they should be at the end (see chart below). Using the satellite ping data we've plotted routes matching the pings and the BFO data, with the final ping off the southeast coast of Vietnam. The satellite ping distances were provided by Duncan Steel at duncansteel.com. The Burst Frequency Offset graph is by Micheal Exner @airlandseaman on twitter.

Flight path at 468 knots avg. speed matches the BFO data.

Flight path at an average speed of 400 knots following the coastline.

 

Did Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crash in the South China Sea?

On March 8, 2014 a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur reported a large field of metal debris south-southeast of Ho Chi Minh City. The report was discounted, because it was not in the official search zone.

News wire reports of the Cathay Pacific debris report.

Mar 10th 2014 15:30 Hong Kong's Air Traffic Control Center reported that the crew of a Cathay Pacific A330 en route on flight L642 reported via HF radio that they saw a large field of debris at position about 80nm southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, about 50nm off the south-eastern coast of Vietnam in the South China Sea and about 281nm northeast of the last known radar position of flight MH370

Mar 10th 2014 18:30 Vietnam's Maritime Search and Rescue Control Center at Van Tau confirmed receiving the report by Hong Kong's Air Traffic Control Center stating that a Hong Kong based airliner reported a large field of debris while en route on flight L642. A Thai cargo ship in the area was asked for assistance and has set course to the area but did not find anything.


Mar 11th 2014 22:00, Colonel Tran Cong Understand, commander of the Border Guard Command province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, said after the search time, the border guard ship has not yet detected any objects. According to Colonel Understand, possibly due to high winds, large waves, these objects have drifted away.

Note: Most of Van Tau's air search and rescue resources were moved down to Ca Mau to help with the search for MH370 in the Gulf of Thailand.

 

 

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