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Bruce Robertson's MH370 Theory

straightshooter

New Member
Hi all,

First post on this site. I am fascinated by the MH370 disaster.

Just read an interesting theory published by Bruce Robertson (a commercial pilot) on his website:

www.mh370site.com

His claim is that the pilots and everybody on board was poisoned by the fumes from a battery fire in the cargo hold. In his theory he claims one of the pilots shut down the LHS engine to isolate electrics & the fire - explaining the shutdown of ACARS and the SATCOM initially. Explains the SATCOM rebooting by the autopilot taking over and powering up the left hand side bus (SATCOM logon request at 18:22).

Claims that the aircraft was held in a large radius left hand turn by one of the pilots slumped on his control column and the aircraft climbed & descended in a phugoid motion, eventually crashing due west of Exmouth (near the area where the supposed "pings" were heard).


Can anyone debunk this?
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.
My understanding is there was a step in the shut down of flight deck comms and navigation that required the hand and mind of a person in control & not unconscious. (But i maybe confused with Germanwings) Not one mayday, not even one click on comms??, Its a good read and shows how satcom pings were sent and a possible gentle splash down that wont leave a huge debris field is possible.

The splashdown was a crude belly flop but still good enough to only cause the loss of the left wing, weakened due to heat damage. With the cabin breached in multiple places, the plane fills with water and sinks within a few hours with little loss of contents. What debris does escape may someday be found on a Madagascar or African beach. Otherwise, the debris will forever circle counter-clockwise in the Southern Indian Ocean current. One is reminded of US Airways Flight 1549 where pilots Sullenberger and Skiles ditched an Airbus A320 into the Hudson River. Not only did the plane remain intact, there was no aircraft or content debris.
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I'll await till many MB qualified readers assist.

oh and welcome to MB
 
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straightshooter

New Member
I'm here mate :)

Robertson seems to explain the electronics being disabled by the pilot shutting down the LHS engine because he believed the cargo fire could affect it.

I guess we need someone who has expertise in B777's to either confirm or debunk if a fire in the cargo hold could adversely affect LHS engine operation.
 

Ray Von Geezer

Senior Member.
I think maybe the reason there's not been much response is that it seems like a sincere attempt to explain what may have happened, on that basis a "debunk" seems a little harsh.

I did read through it, and did a bit of "Googling" on how the fire suppression system works and the procedures involved, since the author doesn't really mention it:-

Boeing - Cargo-Compartment Smoke Detection & Fire Suppression - this states that the 777 series cargo compartments are "Class C", and that the fire suppression system must function for between 60-180 minutes (depending upon range, so likely the top end for MH370 as it was a multiple engine long-haul flight).

Current specifications for the fire- suppression system in each Class C compartment require a minimum initial concentration of 5 percent Halon throughout the compartment to suppress any combustion to controllable levels. Thereafter, the system must sustain a minimum concentration of 3 percent Halon for 60 min to prevent reignition or spreading of the combustion. For airplanes certified for extended-range twin-engine operations (ETOPS), the fire-suppression system must be able to sustain a 3 percent concentration of Halon within the compartment for a maximum of 180 min (fig. 1).
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Boeing - Fire Protection: Cargo Compartments - this gives more detail on how the fire detection, suppression and smoke penetration controls work.

Smoke detection

Class B, C, and E cargo compartments have smoke detection systems that provide active fire protection. These systems are designed to provide an aural and visual indication to the flight crew in the early, smoldering phase of a fire prior to it breaking out into a large fire. In older model airplanes, the time to detect a fire was not quantified by the regulators. Smoke detection systems of that era typically met a five-minute detection time. Using newer technology, smoke detection systems can provide an indication in a shorter time. Based on a simulated smoke source representing a smoldering fire, all newer airplanes can detect a fire within one minute. In all cases, the smoke detection systems can detect a fire at a temperature significantly below that at which the structural integrity of the airplane could be adversely affected.
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Fire suppression

The first step in controlling and suppressing a fire (after turning off the aural warning) is shutting down the airflow to the cargo compartment. All ventilated cargo compartments have a means for shutting off the airflow from the flight deck. Following airflow shutdown, Boeing-designed Class C cargo compartment fire suppression systems provide minimum Halon 1301 concentration coverage for one hour or more, depending on the airplane model, sufficient to suppress the fire until the airplane lands at the nearest suitable airport. The flight crew commands the discharge of the cargo fire suppression system from the flight deck (see Engine/Auxiliary Power Unit/Cargo Fire Control Panel in fig. 7). This initiates the discharge of halon from fire suppression bottles, which are generally located next to the cargo compartment. Additional fire suppression capability is designed into the airplane as required for Extended Operations and is dependent on airline customer option configuration.
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Controlling smoke penetration

Boeing uses a two-pronged approach to exclude hazardous quantities of smoke and noxious gases from entering the flight deck or other occupied compartments.

First, the flight deck and passenger compartments are maintained at a slightly higher pressure relative to adjacent compartments that may contain smoke or noxious gases during Class C or E compartment fire suppression.

In Class E compartments, one air-conditioning pack remains on a low-flow setting. This airflow provides air to the flight deck and exits via the electrical equipment cooling system and through air return paths into the forward lower cheek areas. In addition to acting as a pressure source, the fresh air entering the flight deck also serves to sweep away trace amounts of smoke that may enter the compartment. Smoke within the flight deck is self-clearing and hazardous accumulations are prevented.

Air pathways in and out of occupied areas, including the flight deck, are controlled to ensure that the pressure differential produced is effective in preventing smoke migration into the compartment. In addition, other methods are also used, such as sealing of bulkheads, e.g., rigid cargo barriers on freighters, to minimize smoke penetration.

Second, the individual cargo compartments have liners and barriers designed to minimize the amount of smoke leakage out of the compartment into occupied areas. On different airplanes, these compartment closeouts and seals take different forms, but the integrity of the liners and other smoke barriers is important in establishing and maintaining the fire protection capability of the airplane.
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Given the above it appears that once the fire was detected, and assuming the pilot was capable of responding to it, the systems and procedures should have suppressed the fire and prevented further fumes from entering the occupied areas.

A lot of the theory seems to hinge on the pilot taking off his oxygen mask (and not applying a mask to his disabled colleague) which, presuming that was a failure in protocol explained by his befuddled state, in turn hinges on the fire detection system being unable to detect the fire before the cockpit and cabin were filled with CO. The answers to whether either/both of those scenarios are likely are beyond my "Google smarts" :)

Ray Von
 
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straightshooter

New Member
The report says there were 221kg of Lithium batteries all up in the cargo hold. Perhaps it would be prudent for the investigative team to conduct a mockup of the cargo hold on MH370, set one of the Lithium batteries on fire and see how the fire develops (with halon fire suppression introduced).
 

Ray Von Geezer

Senior Member.
The report says there were 221kg of Lithium batteries all up in the cargo hold. Perhaps it would be prudent for the investigative team to conduct a mockup of the cargo hold on MH370, set one of the Lithium batteries on fire and see how the fire develops (with halon fire suppression introduced).
Probably worth having a look around, similar tests may already have been run, airlines have been concerned about LI-ON batteries for some time.

Halon does seem to be recommended for LI-ON battery fires, though it'd certainly be interesting to know whether that's limited to preventing it from spreading to other materials or if it can stop or limit thermal runaway.

Ray Von
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
wreckage found on Reunion Island

with this news http://www.smh.com.au/world/mh370-s...hes-up-on-reunion-island-20150729-gindj0.html

he may have got this part right?? wait for analysis of and we will see



What debris does escape may someday be found on a Madagascar or African beach. Otherwise, the debris will forever circle counter-clockwise in the Southern Indian Ocean current.
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Looks hopeful. We will know shortly.
As for the OP... Speculation and poor speculation at that.
 

Bruce Robertson

New Member
Did you see Boeing's announcement from a week or two ago? Halon didn't do much for Li-ion fires.





Probably worth having a look around, similar tests may already have been run, airlines have been concerned about LI-ON batteries for some time.

Halon does seem to be recommended for LI-ON battery fires, though it'd certainly be interesting to know whether that's limited to preventing it from spreading to other materials or if it can stop or limit thermal runaway.

Ray Von
 

Bruce Robertson

New Member
Looks hopeful. We will know shortly.
As for the OP... Speculation and poor speculation at that.

The Li-ion scenario is a just device to tie the theory together. I wish it could be good enough to even call "poor speculation". I'm just as comfortable with an oxygen-based start to this whole disaster.

The rest of the evidence does support the remainder of the scenario, though. I especially want to pin down the aircraft movement through the Malacca Strait as this leads us to the crash site.
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
Bruce, I don't have any 777 time but have close to 10000 on the 767 and 747.

Lets take your scenario one claim at a time.

Pilot Zaharie, whose thinking is compromised by both the late hour and CO, selects 10,000 feet as the target altitude. When the plane begins to level off at 10,000 feet, co-pilot Fariq questions Zaharie about the action which Zaharie quickly corrects by resetting the target altitude to 18,000 feet. Zaharie passes command of the plane to Fariq and closes his eyes for a bit of a rest; he never opens his eyes again. Fariq flies the plane half-way to Vietnam, making the required ATC calls along the way.
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Incorrect analysis: Standard procedure on most airliners on departure is to climb at 250 IAS to 10,000 ft. In places like the US it is mandatory. The restriction is coded into the FMC. All that was happening at 10000 feet was that the aircraft began to accelerate to climb speed by lowering the nose and hence the climb rate. The aircraft was flying towards the Cameron Highlands, which makes this procedure good airmanship as well.

Zaharie, whose thinking is compromised by both the late hour and CO
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Speculation. Also I cannot find any reference to carbon monoxide being a byproduct of a lithium-ion battery fire. Please give us one if you have it.

http://publikationer.extweb.sp.se/ViewDocument.aspx?RapportId=15011

Very soon, alarms start sounding and warning lights start flashing. Fariq checks his displays to understand what the emergency is and soon sees the pattern – a fire has broken out in the cargo hold at the left wing root. An airborne fire is a very bad situation but even more so when located is such a critical area. Fariq, as all pilots, has trained for this many times in the flight simulators and has the fire response checklist committed to memory
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1.Inaccurate speculation: There is no means to determine the location of a fire at "the left wing root". Whilst the EICAS message says "Fire CARGO FWD", it is actually a smoke detection. There are no fire detectors in the cargo area. The drill is to actuate the fire suppressant bottles which are designed to suppress a fire for a sufficient time to get to an airport. The fumes from any fire do not come into the cabin or flight deck. The systems are described here:

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/articles/2011_q2/pdfs/AERO_2011_Q2.pdf

2. Inaccurate claim: The Cargo fire checklist is not a memory item.

Nor does it:
The fire checklist has four major areas to it: 1) preserve breathable air for the flight crew, 2) remove the source of combustion if possible, 3) remove the source of ignition if possible, and 4) descend with expediency.
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Here is the actual checklist:

Fire checklist.jpg

The LDG ALT Selector item is a pressurization setting, not a command to descend.

3. Procedure being made up here:

There is no command to shut down an engine to isolate a cargo fire.

Bruce, I have no wish to humiliate you. But I have only scratched the surface of your scenario and find it severely wanting. I will leave it up to if you want me to go on but it is clear to me you have little understanding of how airliners work.
 

Rob

Member
Besides the arguments already given against the "fire" scenario from Bruce Robertson, one may ask :

1) Why did the pilots not issue a "mayday" call at any time ? and

2) Why did the plane make a 180 after the transponder was switched off, and then put the pedal to the metal flying 529 knots back over the Malaysian peninsula,

if they had a fire aboard ?
At 1739:59 UTC [0139:59 MYT] heading was 244M, ground speed 529 kt. and height at 32,800 ft.
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http://mh370.mot.gov.my/download/FactualInformation.pdf
page 3.
 
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derwoodii

Senior Member.
"The seventh handshake was a 'log-on request' initiated by the aircraft and is believed to be the result of the SDU starting after power failure, resulting from fuel exhaustion and following the deployment of the ram air turbine and restart of the auxiliary power unit. The log-on request would have occurred 3 minutes and 40 seconds after fuel exhaustion."
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http://www.pprune.org/9073620-post444.html

so this in my mind puts splash down in the search area,,, but did or could the fuselage float or semi submersed drift in currents for some time eg wings stay on large empty fuel buoyant tanks.



Subsequent analysis confirmed the 7th handshake could be used to help determine the most probable flight path.


SATCOM TRANSMISSIONS TIME UTC MYT* 1 Aircraft departed KLIA 1642 0042 2 Last ACARS transmission 1707 0107 3 1st handshake – log-on initiated by the aircraft 1825 0225 4 Unanswered ground-to-air telephone call 1839 0239 5
2nd handshake initiated by ground station 1941 0341 6
3rd handshake initiated by ground station 2041 0441 7
4th handshake initiated by ground station 2141 0541 8
5th handshake initiated by ground station 2241 0641 9 Unanswered ground-to-air telephone call 2313 0713 10
6th handshake initiated by ground station 0010* 0810 11
7th handshake – log-on initiated by the aircraft 0019* 0819 12 Aircraft did not respond to ‘handshake’ from Satellite Earth Ground Station 0115* 0915 * 08 March 2014 Table 1.9B SATCOM ‘Handshakes’
Content from External Source
http://mh370.mot.gov.my/download/FactualInformation.pdf
 

Rob

Member
derwoodii,
As far as I know, the search efforts DID include the 7th arc:
http://atsb.gov.au/media/5243942/ae...tion_of_underwater_search_areas_18aug2014.pdf

in the determination of which areas to search :



note that the difference between the 6th and the 7th handshake is only some 135 km, which is small compared to the entire area being searched.

The recent find of that flaperon on Reunion Island suggest (if anything) that MH370 likely downed at the north end of that search area, not much affected by a choice between the 6th or the 7th Inmarsat handshake.
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.
Any chance this old data checked possible find is within the predicted footprint

http://www.smh.com.au/world/debris-...irlines-mh370-us-experts-20151021-gkez4p.html

Australian authorities searching for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may have missed the wreckage as they canvassed search sites off the coast of Western Australia, American deep-sea investigators have claimed.

US firm Williamson & Associates said sonar images captured in two previously searched sections of the Indian Ocean appear to show "probable aircraft debris fields" that should be investigated more closely using an unmanned deep sea vessel.
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058c857a5f35b572b0c8e11ca582843d.jpge51e0c331b7b0400cb0fcb02eefa2de4.jpg
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
The Satcom is powered from the Left AC bus. If that was working then the "massive electrical failure" scenario described by this author is invalid.
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
After reading the report in-depth, my recommendation is to avoid "The Daily Beast" and Mr Clive Irving with any reference to this incident.

The report deals only with possibilities around the end of the flight. There is no mention of how the aircraft got to that point save the explanation of the Satcom tracking data.

The Left AC bus was operating for all of the flight till the engines flamed out. With that bus operating you can fly the aircraft normally. You have full instrumentation on the Captains side and available autopilots. You also have full communications.

I don't think Mr Irving understood the report at all.
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
TWC I'm curious and you would likely know that, is it possible to turn off comms from E/E bay in a way that left AC bus stays operative?!

Yes. Comms can be turned off either by finding and pulling the applicable circuit breakers (most, if not all of which are on the overhead panel in the cockpit) or going into the E/E and physically disconnecting the radio boxes from their power source and/or finding any CB's in there as well.

The access door to the E/E is outside the flight deck on the B777. So it depends what scenario you are looking at. You can make the applicable Flight deck CB's out in these diagrams.

image.jpg

image.jpg
 

Rob

Member
Because the Satcom was sending out handshake pings every hour. Therefore the Satcom was powered, therefore the bus was operating.

Yes, that is true for the time AFTER 18:25, an hour after MH370 went dark. But at 18:25, SatCom logs on with Inmarsat, which means that at that time, EITHER somebody physically flipped the circuit breakers in the E/E bay back on (and then decides not to use the system), OR the left AC bus was powered down prior to 18:25.

The latter also suggests that the cockpit door lock was in the 'unlocked' position prior to 18:25...
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.
a new or to me new theory by
  • BYRON BAILEY
  • THE AUSTRALIAN
  • JANUARY 29, 2016 12:00AM

MH370: report’s ‘stupid’ flaws hinder search


http://www.theaustralian.com.au/bus...h/news-story/8bf3ffba3975c4aa05eccd68ddb5485b




I tested the ATSB “flame-out theory” in a B777 full flight simulator in Dubai. The results led me to totally disagree with the flight path assumed by the ATSB’s modelling, which used only an engineering simulator.

First, the ATSB states “the right engine flamed out and in each test case the aircraft then turned left and remained in a banked turn”.
That’s strange because, as any experienced multi-engine pilot knows, if the right engine stops, the aircraft will want to turn right because of simple moment of forces. Strange also because when I flamed out an engine in the FFS, the thrust asymmetry compensation via the autopilot kept the aircraft flying straight.

Now comes the flame out of the second engine in which, as the ATSB correctly states, “the autopilot disconnects” before the air-driven generator deploys. It then states they performed a basic trajectory analysis of an uncontrolled “but stable aircraft” for 230km.

What utter rubbish — because jet aircraft are not naturally stable and require either an autopilot or pilot hand flying to keep them in controlled flight.

If the autopilot is disengaged the aircraft would rapidly roll into a spiral dive because the autopilot would have turned the control surfaces to compensate for flying on only one engine. Less than two minutes later, the aircraft would have hit the sea at more than 1000km/h, resulting in masses of debris that would float for months.

So the reality is that even if pilots were unresponsive — that’s to say, dead — the ATSB’s search area projection is flawed.

Content from External Source
 

vooke

Active Member
a new or to me new theory by



    • BYRON BAILEY
    • THE AUSTRALIAN
    • JANUARY 29, 2016 12:00AM
MH370: report’s ‘stupid’ flaws hinder search


http://www.theaustralian.com.au/bus...h/news-story/8bf3ffba3975c4aa05eccd68ddb5485b

There is some heat there by one Mick over engine 'flame out' and turning left. Did the plane turn left after the right engine flame-out or both? And is this reasonable or consistent with actual flight scenarios?

But more importantly, is the turning left in the simulator significant to the search area?
 
A report prepared for the ATSB using Bayesian analysis dated 03 December 2015 noted that Malaysian Airlines (MAS) sent an ACARS signal to MH370 at 18:03 UTC instructing the crew to establish radio contact with HCM Control. The Downlink advisory told MAS that the message was undeliverable. ACARS works off a handshake principle thus a response would indicate if the signal was received. The same signal was then automatically repeated every two minutes from 18:03 to 18:43 with no success.

Of note here is that MH370's SATCOM logged on again at 18:25 UTC, but the ACARS failure persisted well after 18:25 UTC. In fact ACARS was never switched on and ACARS never resumed operation. It was the SDU which logged on at 18:25. What responded to pings were the Classic Aero terminals attached to the RR engines. This was more indicative of power being restored to circuits than ACARS being switched on.

When MAS attempted to place two SAT phone calls to MH370 at 18:39 UTC, the Downlink signal 9M-MRO went through a handshake protocol to self-test if the line was clear and ready for use. This resulted in a series of SAT handshakes numbered in the INMARSAT log for MH370 from handshake signals numbers 951 to 1042.

The self check test for the first call attempt ended at Handshake signal 963 according to signal protocol (found in the AMS(R)S Manual) when the the forward circuit to the cockpit failed due to "Power Management Failure."

All of the above stated could not have been replicated by a pilot in the cockpit merely switching off ACARS.

But the really interesting point is the indications of electrical error before 17:21. At 16:55 UTC whilst the transponder said MH370 was climbing east, the Line-Of-Sight (LOS) BFO was decreasing at a rate not explained by recession of the satellite. In fact the LOS Doppler was -384.9605 when satellite recession only explained -75.0042.

In the signal at 17:07 UTC the LOS Doppler was -441.69. Negative Doppler implies MH370 was flying towards the satellite when in fact we know from the transponder that it was not. Only electrical failure could replicate this bizarre dissonance between data.
 
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Brendan

New Member
But the really interesting point is the indications of electrical error before 17:21. At 16:55 UTC whilst the transponder said MH370 was climbing east, the Line-Of-Sight (LOS) BFO was decreasing at a rate not explained by recession of the satellite. In fact the LOS Doppler was -384.9605 when satellite recession only explained -75.0042.
Where do those figures come from?


In the signal at 17:07 UTC the LOS Doppler was -441.69. Negative Doppler implies MH370 was flying towards the satellite when in fact we know from the transponder that it was not.
A negative Doppler frequency shift actually means the aircraft was flying away from the satellite, not towards it. It's the same principle as the change in tone of a sound from a moving object. A siren's tone goes from higher to lower as it goes past you. When the sound source is moving away, its tone is lower than it would be if the source was stationary or moving towards you.
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
Only electrical failure could replicate this bizarre dissonance between data.

Simon, I am struggling to see the point of this post in the overall scheme of things. What sort of electrical failure are you envisaging and how does it affect the narrative put forward by the ATSB.

Please don't think I agree with the ATSBs position on incapacitated pilots. I recently had an article published in the Australian press which outlines why I believe the aircraft was fully in control and being flown by someone intimately familiar with the aircraft systems and navigation precepts till at least the turn south after passing Sumatra.
 

vooke

Active Member
Simon, I am struggling to see the point of this post in the overall scheme of things. What sort of electrical failure are you envisaging and how does it affect the narrative put forward by the ATSB.

Please don't think I agree with the ATSBs position on incapacitated pilots. I recently had an article published in the Australian press which outlines why I believe the aircraft was fully in control and being flown by someone intimately familiar with the aircraft systems and navigation precepts till at least the turn south after passing Sumatra.
@TWCobra, what( in your opinion )do you think happened after the South turn?
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
I don't know with any certainty. However the ATSB is working under the presumption that despite the actions before that turn; where the aircraft was clearly under competent control, that after that point it wasn't.

The track after the turn south was a straight line. A straight track, as explained in my article, cannot have been accidental.

The ATSB then works the "end of flight" scenario under this supposition without explaining why. The right engine was burning more fuel than the left so they presuppose the tanks remained unbalanced and the RH engine flamed out before the left? eventually causing a spiral dive into the ocean.

If a pilot was still alive on the flight deck then there is no reason to think that must be the case so in turn, the presumptions about what happened are probably ill-founded.
 
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