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Old 03-11-2014, 10:20 AM   #276
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Here's the thing: RADAR doesn't tell anyone what plane it's showing, it just shows an object. They could have picked up a different plane on a similar course and an operator mistook it for the airliner in question.

In fact, there seems to be a little confusion as to exactly how RADAR works: all it does is send out a pulse of radio waves, and IF some are reflected back, it calculates the distance the object is by the time it takes the signal to return. Speed toward or away from the array can be determined by Doppler shift; speed perpendicular to the array can be determined by position change between sweeps.

As has been already noted, civilian RADAR has an effective maximum distance of 120 miles or so - this is because radio waves disperse over distance... same as shining a flashlight on distant trees. The further the object, the weaker the signal, the less reliable it gets. You can get more range with a tighter beam, but at the expense of coverage area and only being able to scan a small area (picture a flashlight you can focus from a wide beam to a narrow spot).

The plane's own RADAR systems have nothing to do with their tracking on the ground; those are there to show the plane's crew what's around it in the sky.
Not 100% true there Soundy. Your explanation of Radar is spot on but there are ways for it to correctly identify which plane is which. It all depends on the type of transponder that the aircraft has, be in mode A, C, or S. Mode A; if I remember correctly just fires back a target with altitude to the radar station. Mode C you'll get speed, altitude. Mode S you get pretty much errthang concerning the aircraft.

That being said, the aircraft was, 99% chance, out of any sort of radar converage. Missed a couple mandatory reporting points. Shit went down. It fell out of the sky. Errone dead. End of story.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:27 AM   #277
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I know the basics of how it works, but I could've sworn someone mentioned earlier that the planes systems also send info to the ground IDing the plane and giving more accurate info.

edit: maybe radar isn't the correct term for the system I'm thinking of. Is there one that does what I described?
That would probably be the ADS-B system Amuro Ray referred to back on page 10. The plane gets its own position from GPS receivers, and relays that back, typically via VHF radio... basically like someone getting on the mic and saying, "Our coordinates are blah blah blah blah", but automated.

If the radio systems go down, though, then the plane has to way to transmit that information.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:29 AM   #278
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From CNN

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The Malaysian Air Force has traced the last known location of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 to Pulau Perak, a very small island in the Straits of Malacca and hundreds of miles from the usual Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight path, according to a senior Malaysian Air Force official. The official declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

If the Malaysian Air Force data cited by the source is correct, the aircraft was flying the opposite direction from its scheduled destination and on the opposite side of the Malay Peninsula from its scheduled route.

Previous accounts had the aircraft losing touch with air traffic control near the coast of Vietnam.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:30 AM   #279
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Not 100% true there Soundy. Your explanation of Radar is spot on but there are ways for it to correctly identify which plane is which. It all depends on the type of transponder that the aircraft has, be in mode A, C, or S. Mode A; if I remember correctly just fires back a target with altitude to the radar station. Mode C you'll get speed, altitude. Mode S you get pretty much errthang concerning the aircraft.
I was over-simplifying, of course... but as with other methods, IDENTIFYING the plane still relies on the plane's own systems working properly. RADAR by itself can only tell you there's an object there, and some basic information about its position and trajectory.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:31 AM   #280
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ADS-B is still a looooooooong ways off from being "put into production". US isn't having it mandatory until about 2020 and the EU is saying 2017 (and only for big planes). Info taken from Wiki.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:40 AM   #281
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Thanks Soundy, you answered my question about the systems (despite me bungling up which is which)

So assuming those systems stopped working on the plane (seeing as the other people stopped receiving it), when the military radar picked up the plane at 02:40L I presume they would've just seen a big blip with none of the other info they should normally get from a jet. This explains why it took them a while to sort out that the blip they saw was the missing plane, but what I'm wondering is this: what action would the military take if they pick up a big, unidentified plane in their airspace?
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:49 AM   #282
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Thanks Soundy, you answered my question about the systems (despite me bungling up which is which)

So assuming those systems stopped working on the plane (seeing as the other people stopped receiving it), when the military radar picked up the plane at 02:40L I presume they would've just seen a big blip with none of the other info they should normally get from a jet. This explains why it took them a while to sort out that the blip they saw was the missing plane, but what I'm wondering is this: what action would the military take if they pick up a big, unidentified plane in their airspace?
Very dependant upon the country. I mean look at that plane that the Russians shot down in the 80's? As a rule of thumb the military isn't going to shoot a plane down the moment it gets within its airspace without permission. If it enters the airspace they would most likely send up a couple fighters, who would then fly up alongside and try communicating with the jet (every pilot in the world must know their intercept orders, or have a copy with them). If they can't communicate then theoretically they would shoot it down.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:00 AM   #283
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Very dependant upon the country. I mean look at that plane that the Russians shot down in the 80's? As a rule of thumb the military isn't going to shoot a plane down the moment it gets within its airspace without permission. If it enters the airspace they would most likely send up a couple fighters, who would then fly up alongside and try communicating with the jet (every pilot in the world must know their intercept orders, or have a copy with them). If they can't communicate then theoretically they would shoot it down.
I know they wouldn't be likely to just shoot it down right away, but it was nighttime and the systems were most likely quite messed up. It could be pretty difficult to communicate with the passenger jet in that sort of situation, I'm not saying it definitely got shot down but I wouldn't rule out the possibility given the circumstances.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:04 AM   #284
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Pilot let's terrorists into cockpit on his own accord due to them being tourists

"Tourists" take over plane turn it back towards Malaysia

Tourists make demands heading back towards major cities

Shoot down plane over water/jungle

Release info slow due to not knowing how to deal with situation
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:17 AM   #285
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Pilot let's terrorists into cockpit on his own accord due to them being tourists

"Tourists" take over plane turn it back towards Malaysia

Tourists make demands heading back towards major cities

Shoot down plane over water/jungle

Release info slow due to not knowing how to deal with situation
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The copilot once before let two decent looking girls into the cockpit that he was flirting with on the ground before the flight. The chances he would randomly let two men from Iran into the cockpit are a lot slimmer.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:29 AM   #286
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The copilot once before let two decent looking girls into the cockpit that he was flirting with on the ground before the flight. The chances he would randomly let two men from Iran into the cockpit are a lot slimmer.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:44 AM   #287
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The girls just wanted to take a peek at his cockpit

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Old 03-11-2014, 12:12 PM   #288
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...what action would the military take if they pick up a big, unidentified plane in their airspace?
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Very dependant upon the country.
Also dependent on their capabilities... did reports not say it was the Malaysian military that tracked the blip? Do they HAVE fighter jets?
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:30 PM   #289
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I believe it said Malaysian, but that was only one report and they might have just assumed it was Malaysia.
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:40 PM   #290
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Also dependent on their capabilities... did reports not say it was the Malaysian military that tracked the blip? Do they HAVE fighter jets?
According to Wikipedia:

Royal Malaysian Air Force
Su-30 x18
MiG-29 x10
F/A-18 x8
BAE Hawk x13
F-5 x13

Vietnam People's Air Force
Su-30 x 24
Su-27 x12
Su-22 x38
MiG-21 x144

So yeah, enough there to deal with a "rogue" 777. Not that I believe that they would have shot down the airliner without any clear indication of danger to personal and national safety.

As for the other countries around there:

Royal Cambodian Air Force
MiG-21 x20

Royal Thai Air Force
Gripen x12
F-16A/B x54
F-5 x34
Alpha Jet x19

Myanmar Air Force
Chengdu F-7 x25
MiG-29 x26

Indonesian Air Force
Su-27 x5
Su-30 x11
F-16 x10
Hawk x23
F-5 x11
Super Tucano x4

And just for kicks:

Republic of Singapore Air Force
F-15SG x24
F-16 x74
F-5 x49


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Old 03-11-2014, 01:31 PM   #291
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It's not being "hung up from the other end", it's just not connecting. The ringing in cell phones is faked anyways, it's not like old land line to land line where the ring you heard was the other persons phone ringing, it's just there to let you know it's trying to make the call. Have you never tried calling someones cell after they misplaced it? You get ringing for a second or two before their phone starts going off. Do you really think the plane was landed somewhere within range of cell towers by people who wouldn't bother to take everyone's phones and shut them off/destroy them?

To verify that, I just tried to call my personal cell phone (which is off) from my work cell phone. I'll get ringing despite the other phone definitely not being connected.
that was my misunderstanding. when they said "hang up" i thought that meant someone actually picked up the call and then disconnected, whereas the earlier posts only mentioned the phone was just ringing.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:05 PM   #292
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I've been reading about this from the beginning and the best theory I've seen is that the plane was shot down by the military and the Malaysian government is covering it up, hence all the confusion and misinformation.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:08 PM   #293
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I've been reading about this from the beginning and the best theory I've seen is that the plane was shot down by the military and the Malaysian government is covering it up, hence all the confusion and misinformation.
Maybe it was shot down by N.Korea.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:10 PM   #294
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I've been reading about this from the beginning and the best theory I've seen is that the plane was shot down by the military and the Malaysian government is covering it up, hence all the confusion and misinformation.
Possibly - but what was the reason for shooting it down? Was it indeed hijacked?
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:30 PM   #295
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Possibly - but what was the reason for shooting it down? Was it indeed hijacked?
I believe it went along the lines of the airplane failing to communicate with fighter jets resulting in it being shot down on fear of it being hijacked.

But the only thing is that if it was indeed shot down, I'm sure it would've been noticed by someone.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:50 PM   #296
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I believe it went along the lines of the airplane failing to communicate with fighter jets resulting in it being shot down on fear of it being hijacked.

But the only thing is that if it was indeed shot down, I'm sure it would've been noticed by someone.
Depending on where it gets shot down though. If it's over the middle of Malaysia, maybe no one.



For reference, Kuala Lumpur is the heavily populated purple zone on West side of the Malaysian peninsula on the left.

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Old 03-11-2014, 02:59 PM   #297
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I've been reading about this from the beginning and the best theory I've seen is that the plane was shot down by the military and the Malaysian government is covering it up, hence all the confusion and misinformation.
I agree with this.

Maybe or maybe not Malaysian but one of the governments must be involved.
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Old 03-11-2014, 03:00 PM   #298
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Aaaaaand here we go:

snopes.com: Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370


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Old 03-11-2014, 03:15 PM   #299
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Depending on where it gets shot down though. If it's over the middle of Malaysia, maybe no one.



For reference, Kuala Lumpur is the heavily populated purple zone on West side of the Malaysian peninsula on the left.

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That's a good point. I just wanted to bring it up since it seemed like it could've been a possible refute.

I know right now they're looking at the Straits of Malacca, and as far as I know, it's a popular trading route. I think if anything happened there, someone would've saw it for sure.

I believe with all the misinformation and with what the government is saying in press releases that they're simply designating different areas as a decoy, e.g. Gulf of Thailand -> South China Sea -> Strait of Malacca, in order to buy time.
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Old 03-11-2014, 03:23 PM   #300
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I believe it went along the lines of the airplane failing to communicate with fighter jets resulting in it being shot down on fear of it being hijacked.

But the only thing is that if it was indeed shot down, I'm sure it would've been noticed by someone.
I see no reason to shoot down a jet that's not communicating over open water. If there's no immediate danger to anyone (like a city or populated area) then why not try to keep communicating until such time that there is a risk to someone? If they refuse to change course or acknowledge and they're getting close to a populated area, then shoot them down at the last minute. In which case the chance it was visible to someone would go way up.
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