Odds and Ends: MH370 tracking; Garuda rules out A380, 747-8; last 747-400 flight; E-Jet vs Turbo-props

MH370 tracking: With Britain’s Immarsat and the Air Accident Investigation Board key to determining the general location of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, The London Telegraph has one of the best narratives of of the behind-the-scenes story of how this came about. The London Independent also has a good story. And here is a story that explains the difficulties of searching in remote oceans.

  • Update, 10:30am PDT: Aviation analyst and former pilot John Nance is profiled in this Puget Sound Business Journal account that includes’ Nance’s theory of MH370. It’s an intriguing theory. He believes this was a deliberate act–either terrorism or murder-suicide–and that once the flight settled out southbound from Malaysia, it was set on auto-pilot and all aboard, including the pilot, were killed by asphyxiation. The airplane flew until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the Indian Ocean; he even gives a speed and angle-of-attack estimate.

Garuda rules out A380, 747-8: The Australian reports that after planning to order either the Airbus A380 or Boeing 747-8 last year, officials have ruled this out.

Last 747-400 flight: Japan’s All Nippon Airlines plans to complete its last Boeing 747-400 flight this month, ending an iconic era in the country where 747s once ruled the skies.

E-Jet vs Turbo-Props: At the ISTAT conference last week, we reported that Embraer says its E-175 E2 is more efficient than similarly sized turbo props on missions of more than 250 miles. This story in The Economic Times of India follows through on this theme.

20 Comments on “Odds and Ends: MH370 tracking; Garuda rules out A380, 747-8; last 747-400 flight; E-Jet vs Turbo-props

  1. Hello, Simon Calder from the Independent here. Thank you for mentioning our story, but unfortunately the link is to another Telegraph story. I wonder if you would be kind enough to fix it? Best wishesSimon Calder077 11 37 50 51s@hols.tvtwitter.com/@SimonCalder

      • Hey Scott, saw you last night on Fox News. You are quite a authority in the aviation field. Glad that you take time to post articles and opinions for us to enjoy. Really glad that you do.
        Please keep them coming.

  2. The ANA 747 article mentioned the end of a 44 year run at ANA. Will Boeing deliver a 747 in 2020, and make it to 50 years of deliveries? It looks like they should be able to stretch out what’s left plus a few new orders.

    • The article is actually wrong when it says it’s the end of a 44-year run at ANA. ANA didn’t receive their first 747 until December 20th, 1978, just over nine years after the first 747 delivery (to PanAm at the time). JAL got their first 747 a few months later still.
      So when the last ANA 747 is withdrawn from service at the end of this month, we’re talking about the end of a ~35-year run.

    • Sorry, I misqouted the article, they said it was a 44 year run in Japan, combining JAL and ANA, my bad.

      • No, I don’t think it’s your bad. The article says “After 44 years of bringing Japanese businessmen and tourists all over the world, the Boeing 747 “Jumbo Jet” will make its last flight in Japan by the end of this month.”
        That makes it sound like at least Japanese airlines had the 747 for 44 years, which isn’t correct.

  3. I see plenty of security guys saying suicide or terror, but not a single psychiatrist. Remember security people have a vested interest as well, they are not unbiased. I always understood “real” suicides just hurried up and got it over with.extra insurance? Why turn off the transponders etc and make everyone suspicious? Why no motive? No note? Not just one never before item but many. Terrorism? Nothing from the NSA or the Chinese spy agencies, nobody realistic claiming responsibility, no cell phone calls.

    No I´m sticking with fire like Egypt Air, burning the oxygen tubing straight away and leaving the crew with only seconds to a minute to work with….. Like a blow touch. Once the fuselage blows out the fire triangle would be broken both by lack of oxygen and cold, putting the fire out and the plane flies on. It is the only event that has EVER happened before which could explain this, so HAS to be more likely than anything else. Whatever it is will be a one in a billion anyway, so I´m not ruling anything out.

      • To kill the people toxic fume is sufficient. Most people at fire excidents get killed by fume and not by the fire itself. Fume won’t damage an aircraft much.

        • Egyptair was a raging fire of the oxygen system on the ground. The cockpit has been completely destroyed in a few minutes. Besides, if there are fumes there is more than likely a fire. And this theory does not explain the fact the aircraft was being navigated through the sky, like if a knowledgeable person was at the controls.

        • To continuously produce fume, you need an ongoing fire. As Normand already said: “An airplane on fire cannot possibly fly for eight hours.”

          Look at Swissair 111, UPS 6 and Asiana 991 – in each case, the fire still gave the pilots time to declare an emergency, while it was severe enough to bring the plane down in 18 minutes (Swissair and Asiana) and ~30 minutes (UPS), respectively.

          A fire that’s severe enough to knock out all communication channels, incapacitate/kill the flight deck crew and yet leave the plane in a flyable condition until fuel is exhausted some six or seven hours later just doesn’t stack up.

          And that’s before even going into the manoeuvres the plane carried out, which have all the indications of deliberate actions from the flight deck, at least up until the last military radar contact in the strait of Malacca, over an hour after the plane originally went off course.

      • Fire triangle=Oxygen+Heat+Fuel equals fire, take ANY one of these away and no fire. -50?? degrees, no air probably = No fire

        • Seconded, MartinA : IMHO no fire …

          rather – TBC, possibly ?? – some merits in holding aircraft OEM and Owners ‘jointly and severally’ accountable of “gross negligence”, alleging (draft wording, under review) something of this kind : “full awareness yet inadequacy in properly dealing with an inexcuseable structurally inherent Security Breach in the design of the Aircraft’s vital control systems” …

          Such a line of litigation would indeed have a chance to prosper should the BPT (“Blind Pax Theory” – deliberate act by an assumed malvolent Expert in avionics, hidden in the EEB, virtuosely but murderously tampering with selected ‘boxes’ à la “Mission Impossible” – foul play version ?) gain momentum with Investigators ?

          If events stay forever clouded, the BPT remains an alternative for a Hollywood horror filmscript …

  4. John Nance describes a scenario looking like a deliberate B737 Helios Al.’s crash.
    In 2005, the pressurization system of the B737, set on manual, slowly deprived the cabin from any oxygen leading everybody onboard to be incapacitated. The plane, on auto-pilot, flew until she run out of fuel and crashed.

  5. I think MH370 will lead to new requirements for FDRs (24hrs) continuous flight data broadcasting & limiting the options of the crew to turn communications off or it getting deactivated by e.g. fires. Maybe ground crew silencing the transponders instead of the crew, wheels on the ground switching?

  6. Dear Leeham Co,USA people,
    I wonder and may be not possible to lift out the Malaysian plane,Boeing 777, flight MH 370. Is there any best technology to lift it out and finding & investuigate what was the actual cause and true story.

  7. Of course it exists – haven’t you heard of AF442? The wreckagethere was at a depth of about 12,000 ft I think, and so I don’t suppose it will be much deeper in this instance – the real problem will be finding the wreckage.

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