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'No way it went north;' How numbers played part in deciding Myanmar mystery

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/25/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'Doppler effect' assisted investigators in probably cause of jetliner's distress

Officials have said that missing Malaysian flight 370 now definitely is at the bottom of the South Indian Ocean, without survivors. They arrived at the conclusion by process of elimination and numbers crunching. Many mysteries remain, but one question arises: How were these officials to arrive at their conclusion without hard, physical evidence?

There remain many unexplained questions. If the flight definitely ended far from land, does that support the theory that the plane was not hijacked?

There remain many unexplained questions. If the flight definitely ended far from land, does that support the theory that the plane was not hijacked?

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/25/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Myanmar flight, Doppler effect, investigation


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "There's no way it went north," Inmarsat Senior Vice President Chris McLaughlin says.

In short, the conclusion was arrived by using what is called "the Doppler effect."

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"If you sit at a train station and you listen to the train whistle -- the pitch of the whistle changes as it moves past. That's exactly what we have," CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers says. "It's the Doppler effect that they're using on this ping or handshake back from the airplane. They know by nanoseconds whether that signal was compressed a little -- or expanded -- by whether the plane was moving closer or away from 64.5 degrees -- which is the longitude of the orbiting satellite."

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the jet was last tracked over the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia.

The mathematics-based process used by Inmarsat and the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) to reveal the definitive path has been described thusly: Inmarsat officials and engineers were able to determine whether the plane was flying away or toward the satellite's location by expansion or compression of the satellite's signal.

Each "ping" was analyzed for its direction of travel. The new calculations underwent a peer review process with space agency experts and contributions by Boeing.

It's possible to use this analysis to determine more specifically the area where the plane went down, Myers said. "Using trigonometry, engineers are capable of finding angles of flight."

Experts said they weren't surprised by the news that the flight traveled along the southern track. It was one of two possible paths revealed by satellite data last week. The possible northern track toward Pakistan would have been heavily monitored by radar. Pakistan had said it found no evidence of Flight 370 on its radar systems.

"It was very difficult to believe that no watch captain" along the possible northern path "would've seen a burning or distressed aircraft in the sky during the course of their watch," McLaughlin says.

There remain many unexplained questions. If the flight definitely ended far from land, does that support the theory that the plane was not hijacked?

Whatever will be learned about the doomed flight in the coming weeks, months and years, it has definitely provoked a call that all airliners be constantly tracked.

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