Author Topic: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?  (Read 1744 times)

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Offline Hardman

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So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« on: July 30, 2015, 05:09:12 PM »
I guess you saw the news, what looks like a piece of a heavy jet control surface has washed up on Reunion, nice little island in the Indian Ocean near Mauritius.

I just get so bemused by all the jumping to conclusions that goes on. All anyone has to go on are some pictures of a piece of what looks like an aircraft wing part but words like "confident it is part of a 777" have been popping up all day, especially from Australia's supposed resident expert, Geoffrey Thomas who I am sure is a perfectly nice person but has a tendency to come across as a bit of a git who thinks he knows aircraft but has yet to prove it to me in print :)

People need to get a grip - it may be a piece from 370, if so being all aircraft parts are serial numbered it will not, or should not, take long to confirm or deny.

But when comments like it's a flaperon, that's unique to the 777 start being made I have to just roll my eyes.

A lot of aircraft have flaperons, it's just an efficient use of wing real estate to have a movable surface that can droop as a flap but also act as an aileron  but how anyone can say from the pics that it is any specific surface is crap.

What needs to be stated is pretty simple, the development of the Boeing 757, 767 and 777 were very intertwined and all of them made extensive use of the design of the 747.

That is significant because at least one 767 and one 747 are on the bottom of the Indian Ocean, an Ethiopian Airlines 767 that was hijacked and crashed into the sea off the Comoros, not really THAT far from the find and an SAA 747 east of Mauritius.

The former a lot of debris just floated away and was never recovered, the latter it took sonar scans to find and nothing was brought up of control surfaces.

These control surfaces are not usually metal on any of these aircraft any more, early 747s yes, but SAA was a late build mixed freighter, the trend for a long time has been to manufacture these surfaces from composites. Just as strong, if not stronger than metal, as the 787 is showing, lighter and immune to corrosion.

They sort of float, once they are freed from a wreck, typically I'm told just below the surface and could well wash up on a beach.

So I'd say it might be a tad premature Mr Thomas and others to leap to the conclusion that this has to be from 370 that vanished the other side of the third largest ocean on earth when there are two that I'm aware of aircraft wrecks far closer to Reunion...

The reason they are all jumping on this is that Indian Ocean currents run counter-clockwise and some oceanographer not long after the aircraft vanished noted if debris was to be found it would likely be in Southern Indonesia or East Africa.

Um, they are an ocean apart and assume a crash in the Southern Indian Ocean, which is far, far from certain.

Gotta love armchair "experts" and media morons :)

Let's wait and see what the evidence is able to reveal about itself.

Oh, if you want my personal hunch, I don't think the flight went south at all, the ACARS evidence doesn't really convince me much, stinks of disinformation.

I suspect it went north, into Western China where a minority terrorist group is resident, in other words hijacked, but to what end and just why we have heard nothing since I am as totally in the dark as everyone else and I could well be utterly and completely wrong.

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Offline Rybags

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2015, 10:23:09 PM »
The other 2 crashes were 1996, 2006.

Ninemsn story, I just grabbed the first link that was to hand http://www.9news.com.au/world/2015/07/30/13/18/what-flight-did-this-aircraft-piece-belong-to

Assuming the picture is for real and not a mockup for the sake of having a pic for the story, it does look pretty fresh.  Even at several months you'd kind of expect some marine growth on it and at more than several years it'd be reasonable to expect much more discolouration.

Also a bit of luggage showed up though of course that could be total coincidence and have come from anywhere.

Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2015, 11:48:27 PM »
Some reports spoke of being barnacle encrusted and that stuff if composite is self coloured which was another thing they seemed confused over with some reports saying it should have been zinc chromate painted - you hardly do that with composites.

It really does depend on where wreckage might have been but one year or twenty makes surprisingly little difference in an anaerobic environment on the sea bottom at high pressure. That was very apparent with the Air France wreckage in the Atlantic for example.

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Offline Rybags

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2015, 12:40:39 AM »
I should think that someone in the know would very quickly be able to identify the piece from that photo.

Whether it's got composites, I dunno - it's got rivets so maybe not.  I thought they didn't go heavy on composites on moving control surfaces.
And fairly sure the composites in themselves aren't consistent through the entire skin, as in the consituents of the veneer vary depending on where they're being used.

Didn't catch much news today, and even then there seemed to be little or no extra enlightenment in between this morning and the 6pm reports.

Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2015, 06:36:07 AM »
That's the problem, the wing in particular of the 777 is nearly identical to that of the 767 and the 767 wing evolved from the 747, makes visual identification by type from pics near impossible. During the evolution of the 777 it was originally just a stretched 767.

Control surfaces were actually where composites first began appearing on aircraft, after turbine blades on the RB211, but purely as the skin so the assembly would typically be a mix of metal and composites.

I very much hope tbh that I'm wrong and this is a piece of MH370 just to provide some closure although it is not likely to help much in locating the wreck but at the moment I'm skeptical.

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Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2015, 05:23:30 PM »
Hmm,

I wonder why this just popped up off a near-forgotten feed ?

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/02/jeff-wise-mh370-theory.html

It's not updated to this find but someone else shares my belief.

In more current information it seems we will need at least a week, the piece has to get to Toulouse and be examined - seems odd, serial numbers are readily visible and no, they would not have been made unreadable in this time in the water if it is a part of MH-370.

I really do not have any formed idea at all about this extraordinary mystery, I just do not think the story unravels very well against simple common sense including some of the "facts" that have been reported.

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Offline Rybags

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2015, 07:11:11 PM »
I just scanned through it, the article is too drawn out and I CBF'd reading long-winded stuff that's full of tangents like that.

Caught on the TV news though that a fair number of items that could fall into the category of luggage items are washing up.  One focus was on some Indonesian detergent or similar - something you'd go WTF on at first but having seen what Asian women pack into their carry-on in those airport shows it's totally plausible.

Just why there's so much frigging about with looking for serial numbers is beyond me.  Fair enough they probably want to get the flaperon part securely moved to an official facility but you'd reckon at least someone knowledgeable and responsible would have been allowed access to it.

Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2015, 06:44:55 AM »
:)

It's an interesting article because it does put all the ducks in a row with no typical conspiracy leap of faith stuff.

I do not understand the serial number confusion either, especially as apparently one number was clearly visible and has been published but according to some information provided by an industry insider on PPRUNE it does not tally with any 777 part numbers although MAS say it does...

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Offline fuknKIWI

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2015, 11:59:48 AM »
According to one thing I read this piece of wreckage has spent a fair amount of time not far from shore. The presence of mussels attached to it is apparently evidence of this, not that I'd know for sure, but it does sound plausible.
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Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2015, 12:25:50 PM »
Yeah, Reunion is very much a backwater although very scenic, used to send people there when I worked in travel, but it does have an oceanographic research station who were quickly able to identify the barnacles on the piece as being a shallow water variety.

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Offline Rybags

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2015, 12:42:53 PM »
Looking even more likely now.  Story about a guy who's employed to clear the beaches of washed up rubbish.
Says he's found multiple items that in retrospect probably came from that flight.  Including a seat cushion and luggage which he collected and burned.

http://www.9news.com.au/world/2015/08/02/11/18/reunion-island-garbo-burned-suspected-mh370-debris

Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2015, 01:16:29 PM »
Yeah, although I still do not see why it is taking so long to confirm or refute that the flaperon is from -370.

This is rather interesting:

http://adrift.org.au/map

If you load up Reunion as a drift to location and then run it back in time after not much more than a year the possible starting points are most all of the Indian Ocean, Reunion, Mauritius and Madagascar are like vacuum cleaners for the whole ocean. I can certainly attest to that from visits to Mauritius.

It's quite a fascinating project actually, a cargo of rubber ducks was lost overboard years ago and researchers have been tracking global ocean drift currents ever since by where the ducks turn up :)

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Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2015, 06:16:53 PM »
Hmm,

Should stress, I only started this discussion because I do get really, really frustrated by leaps to conclusions and never moreso than with aircraft accidents. Having been an Air Accident Investigation Officer in my military days it was really hammered into us to not jump to conclusions, evidence, evidence, evidence.

The thing that is puzzling a number of people is why this part cannot be quickly confirmed as being from a 777 which immediately says 370, there are no other lost 777s and to lose this part from any of the many 777s in the air every day would be somewhat beyond careless, try fatal.

What I've heard back from a sort of contact at Boeing is that from the pictures it is in fact rather difficult to say if this piece is from a 777 or another aircraft.

It's really not hard to see why, a "flaperon" is really what is better described as a high-speed aileron, a control surface closer in to the wing root that exerts less roll force than its low-speed equivalent out towards the wingtip. That's pretty basic physics but why it is called a "flaperon" is because the engineers realised that at slow speed, like on landing, this surface is not needed for control so why not droop it and add to flap real-estate ?

Very clever, but it also means that in the end on Boeing and maybe even across to Airbus wings the things all look pretty much the same, just a slab of aerodynamic shape on hinges really.

There is a reason why it is getting difficult to identify different aircraft in the commercial area as easily as it was a few decades back - they all look much the same in the middle block of twins especially. That's because it is pretty much the optimum shape as a fit for function for a subsonic up to a certain capacity.

So whilst I do expect that the report, due Wednesday apparently, will come back confirming this as a 777 component there still exists a need for certainty because there are other possibilities that must be eliminated - nature of the needle in a haystack of accident investigation.

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« Last Edit: August 03, 2015, 06:19:16 PM by Hardman »
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Offline Rybags

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2015, 01:40:52 PM »
I don't see why they've not revealed what it's from.  Chances are 99.999% that if it's from MH370, it's not going to offer anything in the way of clues to how the aircraft came to grief (my guess there being that it was simply commandeered and ran out of fuel over the ocean).

So it's not like they're at risk of making fools of themselves or creating false hope.  Only way that they'll be shown as fools is if there's some element of doubt but they jump one way or the other and are later proven wrong with their identification.

Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2015, 01:49:09 PM »
Yes, a very high probability but by no means a certainty.

There's a lot of ongoing debate over that around the place although at least partly it is because the French are treating it as potential criminal evidence (there were French citizens on 370 and there is an open criminal case reflecting the lack of any answers on the missing flight) so it was sealed for travel and will be opened in the presence of witnesses tomorrow.

It's also worth mentioning that  August is very much summer holidays in France, Paris damned near empties out ;)

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Offline Rybags

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2015, 06:47:13 PM »
Couldn't find an online link but the flaperon is now confirmed to come from a 777... and MH370 is the only unaccounted for 777 in existence.

Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2015, 07:05:57 PM »
Hmm,

I think what you will find is that that is still a leap of faith until the Toulouse guys take a real look, it's media acceptance of a reality they are instrumenting.

I am reasonably convinced that it is as you say but until a Boeing rep says yes and these serials line up it is not definite.

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Offline fuknKIWI

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2015, 09:13:48 PM »
Well I won't believe until you believe it  ::w  ;zn
I take it we're still waiting on a definitive ID  ::j
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Offline Rybags

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2015, 12:20:22 AM »
Yep - I think it comes down to what Chris mentioned earlier - since it's classified as a criminal case in France and possibly other countries, they have to go through the proper procedure to ensure preservation of the evidence.

Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2015, 07:53:30 AM »
It STILL remains to be seen:

http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/mh370-search-plane-debris-is-from-missing-plane/story-fnizu68q-1227471271416

I really do not get it - Malaysia has been hiding something all along and still seems to be, the experts have not said this is 370, they have said it is from a 777 - that is to all intent and purpose the same thing but what Malaysia has announced is not what the French said.

It's not, ever, a case of belief it is a case of proving the facts.

However I'd guess by the end of today it will be confirmed I just do not understand and have not understood all along the way Malaysia is behaving with this mystery.

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Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2015, 04:10:42 PM »
And I thought it was just me:

http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/mh370-search-plane-debris-is-from-missing-plane/story-fnizu68q-1227471271416

It can be thought of as pedantic but that's the nature of thorough investigation.

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Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2015, 08:09:00 AM »
God... if it were not a tragedy it really would be a comedy.....

http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/mh370-confusion-over-confirmation-of-plane-debris/story-fnizu68q-1227473215615

The part that has me ready to throttle someone is that there is no plane window, over 36 hours ago it was shown to be a piece of a sewing machine, very conclusively.

Unbelievable...

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Offline Smokey

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2015, 07:11:46 PM »
My "on the nose" meter is warping.
Something isn't right with all the fussing between country's involved.
Normally this kind of crash investigation is bi partisan with one crash expert in charge of a team.   This one is like reality TV, Every cake hole is having a say.     

Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2015, 07:16:12 PM »
Hmm,

i really have no idea what Malaysia's game is, apart from this time around looking to take attention away from a political scandal but that is recent.

Australia has spent a lot of money on the search but I doubt any taxpayers really object to that, the reporting is subtly telling Malaysia to get their facts right.

China has not really said much this time but the relatives have.

France has no skin in the game to be in any way duplicitous, they are being very objective and their accident investigation experts are impeccable.

Boeing have yet to say much at all.

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Offline Hardman

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Re: So, is that a piece of MH370 ?
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2015, 04:56:52 PM »
Heh,

Conspiracy nutters are having a field day over the uncertainty of what aircraft the flaperon could be from.

There have been five 777 hull losses so the candidates are MH370, MH17 (somewhat unlikely as it was confetti but that isn't stopping them) Asiana at San Francisco, Egyptair in Cairo and BA at Heathrow.

The loony tunes theories in the main are around the ones that were written off and some parts being stolen, secreted into the water off Reunion a year ago to age convincingly and then being planted on the beaches, presumably by the descendents of the Rainbow Warrior divers so it closes a loop to be a massive French plot :)

I'm debating on if to be so mischievous as to point out how similar 767 and 747 control surfaces are, with many more hull losses, 15 for the 767 alone.

That could provide them with entertainment for years :)

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