SeaDemon Says

MH370: I Speak Out

Posted on: March 20, 2014

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This posting is made with the above in mind. A lot has been said about the disappearance of the MH370. Most of what has been said are purely speculations, with some that might have qualified to be nominated for best screenplay at the Academy Awards. I, too, have some idea of what might have happened but I put them aside so I could listen to the daily press conference with an open mind. I will also attempt to maintain some form of ethics because I also have the feelings of the family of the passengers and crew in mind when I write this.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has come under intense attack by both foreign and local media alike. The Air Defence system has also come under intensive fire by members of the opposition party for its failure to detect the MH370 upon deviating from its intended path and the subsequent failure to scramble our fighters. Some even say our air defence personnel were asleep on the job, and that at least one air defence radar was not working.

It is easy for keyboard warriors to criticise the RMAF without knowing what or how our air defence systems work. Perhaps when they think of an air defence system, they had the following in mind:

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Why I write this is to give a general understanding of how our air defence system works, and what really happened that night. I have been generally quiet on this matter as at the time of writing, I am grieving the passing of my younger brother exactly 100 days today. But duty calls, I guess.

I left the RMAF almost 20 years ago. A handful of my squad-mates are still serving senior officers. Back in September 2012, a number of bloggers (including I) and some senior editors of the Malaysian media (including those that are opposition-leaning) were invited to a media open day organised by the then Minister of Defence. Everything was displayed to us, including some of the very sensitive information, so that we could acquire enough background and understand how the RMAF works. Out of the 80 or so people who were there that day, I guess I am the only one to come to the defence of the RMAF.

First of all, this is how a typical air defence centre looks like from the inside:

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It is no longer the one-man show you see in the movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!” There are several air defence centres around Malaysia covering both the Peninsula, Sabah, Sarawak and FAR beyond. I have a photo of how far our air defence radars reach, but although I was allowed to take photos of the main display, I opt not to put it up here. Suffice to say, what we have is enough to tell us way ahead if a hostile aircraft is approaching our airspace. When we were at the air defence centre, we were shown a live interception of two bogeys by two of our MiG-29N interceptors.

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If I may say, what we all saw on the screen was what would have been seen by all the operators of the other RMAF Air Defence Centres around the nation that if one failed, it would not jeopardise what the others could see.

During this display, not one journo nor blogger could come up with a sane question related to what was shown to them. In the end, I and a few of my blogger friends had to ask the questions to get the RMAF clarify on issues that the media and bloggers have been attacking them on. Even the Deputy Chief of Air Force, Lieutenant General Dato Seri Haji Roslan bin Saad thanked me for my participation and for helping the RMAF clarify some issues.

Let us go back to that wee hours on Saturday, 8th March 2014. MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 0041 hours (Local Time). At 0107 hours, the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) transmitted that all was well with the aircraft.

The aircraft soon after arrived at waypoint IGARI, about 78 nautical miles from Redang island, bearing 056 degrees) which is a point in the South China Sea between the Malaysian border with Vietnam. At this point, Lumpur Flight Information Region (FIR) would hand over the control aircraft to Vietnam. At 0119 hours, a person believed to be the co-pilot transmitted the final vox transmission, “Alright, good night.” At 0122 hours, the aircraft disappeared from secondary radar coverage without any distress call suggesting its transponder had been switched off by someone on the flight deck. However, it was only at 0240 hours that Malaysia Airlines was notified.

The RMAF Air Defence radars saw the MH370 tracked West Southwest to waypoint VAMPI (68 nautical miles East Northeast of Lhokseumawe, Indonesia), then Northeast to waypoint GIVAL (69 nautical miles South Southwest of Phuket International Airport) before tracking Northwest towards waypoint IGREX (100 nautical miles East Southeast of Car Nicobar airport on India’s Nicobar Islands), the last known position according to the primary radar. Where MH370 went to after this point is unknown at this point, but I believe the Indian Air Force’s Andaman and Nicobar Command’s primary radar there would have caught the MH370 in its scope.

So, if the MH370 was seen to deviate from its intended course, why didn’t the RMAF scramble its fighters to intercept the airliner?

Every bogey (unknown aircraft) would be tagged by an Air Defence Officer and this data will be processed to ascertain whether it was a threat to air defence or otherwise. In the case of the MH370, it was not regarded as hostile. Is this a weakness on the part of the RMAF? Mind you three jetliners took down the World Trade Centre towers as well as the Pentagon in the sophisticatedly-defended United States of America.

Should our fighters have been scrambled? If you remember, the MH370 was no longer in our airspace. When the MH370 tracked West Southwest from IGARI to VAMPI, she did not cross Malaysian airspace. She flew over Thai airspace and into Indonesian airspace, then tracked up to GIVAL near Phuket and subsequently to IGREX near India’s Nicobar Islands (see below).

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When she tracked from IGARI to IGREX she entered an area with two Royal Thai Air Force fighter bases namely the RTAF 7th Wing in Surat Thani and the 56th Wing in Hat Yai. They, too, were not scrambled. Nor were the fighters of the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) scrambled from Lhokseumawe or Banda Aceh in Aceh, or Suwondo in Medan. If you think the Indonesians are as incapable as the RMAF, they forced a US military transport down without scrambling their fighters at their base in Banda Aceh on 20th May 2013 for entering Indonesian airspace without proper clearance.

The Chief of Air Force, General Tan Sri Dato Seri Rodzali bin Daud have explained that the RMAF did not see the need to scramble its fighters as the blip on the primary radar was deemed not hostile, and that there was nothing wrong with the air defence system. I just find this attack on the RMAF as another cheap publicity shot by a bunch of losers who do not know how things work and why, and would just take pot shots and see what gets hit.

I know the RMAF I see now is a far advanced RMAF than the one I left almost 20 years ago, and I have faith in the officers, men and women in their capability to defend this nation. I cannot say the same for the group of losers bent on hitting out at any institution of His Majesty Yang DiPertuan Agong.

To these losers, please just STFU!

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256 Responses to "MH370: I Speak Out"

Sir: TQ for this very informative piece. Factual and insightful..

Questions:
1. How does an officer manning the radar determine/ classify a blip on the radar as hostile or otherwise?
2. How long would it take for RMAF to scramble its fighters to intercept a hostile ‘blip’?
3. To your knowledge, (without being specific due to national security), has RMAF been in a situation where it had to intercept a hostile ‘blips’?

Thank you Sir…

Thank you for reading. I shall answer you to the best of my knowledge:

1) They go through a series of identification. For commercial airlines, their transponder signal will come on and is shown on the screen as detected by the secondary radar. For unknowns they will go through a series of Identification Friend or Foe, or IFF. Failure of which interceptors will be scrambled to visually identify. Commercial aircraft have their flight plan submitted prior to flight. In the case of the MH370 I assume that since the transponder was switched off and no longer displayed the aircraft identification number, air defence personnel still recognise it as MH370 and was still under the jurisdiction of the air traffic control unless an emergency had been declared and nature of emergency verified.

2) Depending on the state of national security. For now, three minutes or less from notification.

3) Almost regularly, especially during the Cold War where our interceptors used to intercept “strayed” Aeroflot commercial flights that doubled as spy-planes.

Hi … It is indeed a good insight of how rmaf works.. I wonder y msia dont have a spokesperson like you to talk to the media.. the damage basicly done by incompetent people facing the media.

the rmaf chief told in press conference on 3rd after the loss of mh370 that he did know if the large object passing msian airspace was mh370.. but you are saying they know its mh370 and not hostile.. they are extreme contradicting statements.. please clarify that… people r just too unhappy y rmaf officers didnt attend to the blip and can easily treat it as not hostile.. the plane easily could have been hijacked and hitting klcc or pwtc or parliment building.. how do you counter this??

Suresh

Sir, that plane was enroute from KLIA to Beijing. If there was a hostile intent, the best is to crash it into KL or Putrajaya immediately after take-off when fuel was still full. It crossed from east to west and was heading out to sea. Therefore, I believe there was no cause for alarm.

The facts sound good and relevant but what was said was contradictory, they were heard to have said that the aircraft that was detected cannot be identified for whatever reason but when asked why there was no intervention if it is unidentified by the press, the answer was it was not hostile. How can you deem an unknown aircraft as non hostile? You seemed to make it clear MH370 was detected but they seemed to have said otherwise

If you remember, the incident happened on the 8th. We and the Vietnamese started searching at the last known location on the same day. Based on the air force’s primary radar data, we begun searching in the Andaman sea on the 9th itself, meaning the air force was sure the 370 flew that way. But at the same time, the Vietnamese and Chinese governments came up with conflicting reports saying the wreckage was spotted initially on Tho Chu island, then found pieces of wreckage that happened to be logs tied together, orange cable wrapping, and false satellite pictures….which was why we continued to search in the South China Sea and asked for primary radar data from our neighbours to compare with the one the air force had provided.

But on the 9th itself we began searching in the Andaman because the air force was sure the 370 flew in that direction.

Excellent explanation on why RMAF did not react. Its the media’s job to entertain and gain high level of readership. They are in the business in repackaging and marketing information which they call news. Unfortunately these are not the same as facts. Facts would be too boring for the media. Facts do not sell newspapers.

Rod statement was short and clear which no one was interested to listen. They RMAF did not scrambled their jets as they did see the need. They did not see it as a threat.

No one wants to listen to that. On a separate issue, where do you think the aircraft is and what do you think happen to it

Dr. Rafick

Thank you for your comment, Dr. It is unfortunate that in times like this people still think about making profit instead of helping to make things easier.

Where do I think it is? I strongly believe that it is in the southern corridor but I stand corrected. What’s happened to it is what I wish I could write but I have to think about the feelings of the family members. Let us just pray we find it in the next 17 days or earlier.

I spent 13 years with RMAF from Labuan to IPP and to Subang and left the service in 1999. Ex PTU Nik Ismail was my first base commander in Labuan. Have we met? I am contactable at klisbusy@gmail.com

Not sure. Maybe we have. IPP for me would be Kol (Dr) Gopinath. I was in MARDIK under Gen Fauzi, Gen Nawi and Gen Abdullah Omar before going to PLR Ipoh as an instructor before going to Alor Setar as OC HANDAU. I will E-mail you.

Thank you for speaking up. We need more fact based bloggers than emotional cheapskate keyboard warriors who hungers for cheap publicity.

Thank you, sir. I wish people would just be more ethical. I wish I could write what I think happened but what good would that do to the family members? In times like this we need common sense to prevail. However, that is hard to come by nowadays.

I totally agree with your stand on the events happening. I too prefer not to discuss on the many theories floating out there preferring instead to remain quiet, to watch, listen, and hope for a quick outcome that is based on pure fact rather than hearsay.

Thank you for your stand, sir. It is times like this that we should be standing as one instead of trying to point who is wrong or weak or claim to be better

Thanks for the clarifiation…!!

You’re welcome

[…] Written by Malaysian officer. Some really good info re the route of the MH370 – You can ask questions.. https://seademon.wordpress.com/2014/0…0-i-speak-out/ […]

Thank you for this detailed explanation. Actually I picked up this info/explanation in one of the PCs held and can appreciate the explanation of why our jets were not scrambled. Its not that the media (especially foreign) didnt catch this too, its just to purposely sensationalize/politicize it to undermine our nation’s credibility. I see some foreign media’s agenda clearly and remaining unfazed.

I cannot agree with you more sir

Thank you for the highly integrity & factual explanations about our RMAF capability. Very informative indeed. I strongly believed the RMAF has reacted by not sending the jet fighters there & then is for the right reason.
Pray for MH370.

Hans.

Thank you sir

Reblogged this on On Da Street and commented:
A piece worth reading.. if you do really care want to know little bit more of how and why RMAF did not intercept MH370 flight once they went off from their original route.
Please, have a good read.

Dear Sir,

I was also interested in how actually would we identify hostiles into our airspace and your explanations does do justice on our RMAF’s duties in protecting Malaysian airspace. Kudos to them and to you as well.
My question is more on coordination between civilian radars and military radars. Do you think there would need to be more coordination between both parties as it would be able to detect any flights that are not following their intended path? If yes, then perhaps SOP’s should be change in order to rectify this sort of things?

Thank you for reading, and I agree with your observation, sir. Although there is a Joint Air Traffic Control Centre in Subang where RMAF and DCA ATC officers are, there seems to be a weak link here.

Specifying the country weakness spot for all to see is not a recommendable attitude.

Tq sir, well written and hopefully can enlighten those who are determined to put RMAF in bad light.

Thank you for your support, sir

Dear Sir,

1. “At 0107 hours, the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) transmitted that all was well with the aircraft.”
A vacuum exists in that there is no disclosure on which ground station detected the 0107 hours ACARS transmission. Subang?

2. “However, it was only at 0240 hours that Malaysia Airlines was notified.”
No official disclosure.

3. “When the MH370 tracked West Southwest from IGARI to VAMPI, she did not cross Malaysian airspace.”
In his statement on the 14th of March, the PM had expressly stated this: “It then flew in a westerly direction back OVER peninsular Malaysia before turning northwest.”

4. “but I believe the Indian Air Force’s Andaman and Nicobar Command’s primary radar there would have caught the MH370 in its scope.”
12 days after the disappearance and still no confirmation on this. The Thais were reported by AP to probably have detected MH370, but no confirmation. In the southern corridor, US radar at Diego Garcia did not detect MH370.

When a big aircraft can fly thousand of kms and evade military radar, I can only think of Operation Entebbe.

1. Please check where is ACARS transmitted to. It is not a location system. It’s a messaging system.

2. Malaysia Airlines’ s first statement said that aircraft disappeared at 0240. Even Flightradar24 that tracked the ADS-B of the 370 said the aircraft disappeared much earlier.

3. On the 14th March, we were still looking at the main search site: South China Sea. Waypoints are programmed and the aircraft flew across the Kra Isthmus.

4. I said I believe.

Operation Entebbe was in 1976 when radar systems were far behind what they are now. Primary radar reach is only about 100 nautical miles. How small do you think the Indian Ocean is?

1. Please check where is ACARS transmitted to. It is not a location system. It’s a messaging system.
A system transmitting messages to a ground station.

2. Malaysia Airlines’ s first statement said that aircraft disappeared at 0240. Even Flightradar24 that tracked the ADS-B of the 370 said the aircraft disappeared much earlier.
In my opinion, the lack of official disclosure is to protect the DCA. 1 hour plus to report a disappearance of a wide body aircraft: too much.

3. On the 14th March, we were still looking at the main search site: South China Sea. Waypoints are programmed and the aircraft flew across the Kra Isthmus.
In 9th March, DCA DG stated that search had started at the Andaman Sea:
http://andakjauhar.wordpress.com/analisis-gerakan-mencari-menyelamat-mh370/

4. I said I believe.

Operation Entebbe was in 1976 when radar systems were far behind what they are now. Primary radar reach is only about 100 nautical miles. How small do you think the Indian Ocean is?
I concur.
I still think it is impossible that the Thais and the Indonesian can NOT detect a wide body aircraft with their primary radars before the aircraft even enter the airspace over the Indian Ocean.

I still believe they can. I know this by experience and also the incident of forcing down a US Military cargo plane by the Indonesians in Banda Aceh last year.

I believe it too.

Unbelievable they would not share this information. Just downright unbelievable.

If there is a party to be faulted for incompetence and lack of cooperation, it’s not us.

I agree. If they had their citizens on board, they might just have shared.

Salam tuan,
satu pertanyaan,
jika beberapa minit selepas air traffic control mengetahui bahawa MH370 hilang, dan segera maklumkan kepada RMAF, adakah RMAF boleh mencari MH370 melalui radar mereka pada masa itu (realtime), dan menghantar pesawat untuk menyiasat.

Jika diminta. Untuk ini berlaku, Arahan 20 Majlis Keselamatan Negara perlu diaktifkan sebelum permintaan boleh disalurkan. Dalam hal ini juga, kehendak protokol ICAO perlu dipenuhi dan ini menyebabkan pasukan SAR mencari di lokasi terakhir yang diketahui.

My Bro, salute !.. very informative and excellent esplainations. Thank you so much.

You’re welcome, bro.

Thank you very much Sir for your insights and well written article to update us. This is what the Nation was seeking but I believe the absence of information detailed like this which caused a stir. There should be only 1 party delivering the update. Contradiction between ministers during press conference makes u look like court jesters.

I thank you again for your detailed update.

Cheers,

I agree with you sir. Too many spokesperson spoils the whole thing. In the Nationa Security Council directive this has been specified.

Thank you sir for your this much needed explanation. Nothing you said was a surprise to me. I was on my computer for 3 days while this fiasco rolled out. And with my lay man knowledge and internet searches, I figured out what you said without the detail. Why couldn’t seasoned journalist have done the same?

I often wonder too. But sensationalism sells

Thai Air Force spokeman also said MH370 never entered their airspace. http://news.yahoo.com/thailand-gives-radar-data-10-days-plane-lost-124915659.html;_ylt=AwrTWf2YXypTe3gA60zoPwx

If the flight did not enter our airspace like you said nor did it enter Thai airspace like Mr Montol Suchookorn said, how could the flight crossed to the other side?

Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t believe a statement by an official spokeman but instead believe what someone said on a blog?

The Thais said so. Have they shared their radar data with us?

Yes they have and so is the Indonesian. Both are stating MH370 did not enter their airspace. We should not put the blame on our good neighbours, they have been very helpful.

Did I blame anybody?

Here’s the only reason you need: Read the Thai statement carefully. The Thais did not share their data. Neither did the Indonesians, I believe. We just had their say so, that’s it.

They finally did and I was told the technical people are now studying the data. This would help in the investigation later

Is there any official source or statement from our side saying that the plane never re-enter back our airspace? Hopefully it is not just a speculation on your side or perhaps it is just another “source close to the matter speaking on the condition of anonymity”…

No. Did I say someone said that? If yes, where?

So how do you come out with the conclusion that the aircraft did not re-enter our airspace?

When the Thai official said that the aircraft did not enter the airspace, you asked them to share their radar data. Did RMAF share their radar data to you for you to say that the aircraft did not re-enter our airspace?

Obviously you read but do not understand. Look at the map I provided. If the waypoints had been punched into the autopilot, the aircraft would have flown a straight line passing Songkhla etc. If you are just here to troll, this is the end of our conversation. You can attend the PC daily and test the patience you seem to lack severely in.

The Thais can shut up already and disclose their primary radar data.

It’s already Day 12.

[…] Blogger Seademon believes that those who criticize incessantly are simply ‘bent on hitting out at any institution of His Majesty Yang DiPertuan Agong’. […]

The US media should be aware of this side of the story. We only see disorganization and chaos, but should be informed of the professionalism and expertise of the Malaysian Military under the most painful, stressful, public circumstances. Thank you for your service and for posting this.

Thank you

I’ve forwarded this to Richard Quest, the aviation expert at CNN. I hope your efforts will be communicated to the US/UK audiences.

Salute, its details like this that we sorely need especially in midst of shock and chaos. In does not help the opposing sides keeps on bantering each other instead of sticking to a common goal.Again kudos on a well written piece.Thanks for sharing

Whilst professionals/technocrats are trained to analyse facts that are evidence – based (confirmed and reconfirmed) and are held accountable for decisions made, the wider public do not practice restraint, or choose not to, when it comes to indiscrimate spreading of anthing and everything on the social media.

Is it just to be the first to post; a sucker for a story; or to undermine the process?

What does that say of the responsiblity of the individual or society?

In my mind it separates the thinkers from the rest…

Thank you for sharing

Dr Fareeda Alhady MBBS MPATH

Most welcome

Well written piece that has done justice to your nation. Many of us in Singapore are praying daily for the safe return of MH370. We are all sorry that this has to happen.

Thank you for your kindness and thank you Singapore for standing by her neighbour in times of need

Thanks for the info. Enlightening. The bad publicity stemmed from frustrations of all to find an answer to the disappearance and unforthcoming PR frustrates many. PR Dept needs improvement, perhaps!

I agree. Better coordination needed

“The Chief of Air Force, General Tan Sri Dato Seri Rodzali bin Daud have explained that the RMAF did not see the need to scramble its fighters as the blip on the primary radar was deemed not hostile”

I am just curious on what basis the MH370 was deemed not hostile or how did the RMAF differentiate what is hostile and what not? Do you have any idea?

Only the RMAF can answer that. I’m sure they have their protocols. It would be way different to the ones I knew

I think this is one of the main point to understand as well. In what condition RMAF consider it is not hostile, when it clearly changed the standard flight path and transponder has been shutdown.

It was still a commercial flight, and the DCA air traffic controllers never said otherwise.

The bloggers and reporters watched one too many Top Gun movies… they even believed that MiG-38 exist

Thank you for the detailed article and for defending the service men and women. What is totally unacceptable is the handling of this situation by the Malaysian government by not being transparent, informative and displaying their ignorance. They were shocked like the rest of the world, but should have or must have got over the initial shock and put their heads together to find a way to deal with it, instead of withhold information, giving contradicting messages and being insensitive at times. They may not have had the resources to handle such a calamity, so seeking assistance from others with better competencies in dealing with such catastrophe would have not made them any lesser. The government must use this as lesson learned to beef up its crisis response team for all types of crisis, not just demonstrations on the streets which it considers as ‘crisis’.

The Malaysian government had disclosed it’s military primary radar data to the FAA, NTSB and AAIB.

Based entirely on the then yet to be verified primary radar data, the Malaysian government had even started the SAR at the Straits of Malacca, ONE day after the disappearance.

So which information was withheld by the Malaysian government?

Who are you referring this question to?

The person whose comment I’ve replied to: Krishnaveny Raju.

Okay

The only one article that I think most worth time spent reading. Salute! And not to mention, very well written.

Thank you

Cannot blame the newspaper and the people outside there for not understand how the system works. And there are mechanism called Public relation for every department to educate and clarify on any confusing issues . Which i think during this #MH370 event, they failed tremendously. The family, the journalist, the people are left without clear explanation. Even within the PC team members, the information contradict to each other.
We do need people like you which can communicate with loud and clear.
Thank you

I try…

Hi sir,

Thank you for your insights. I was one of the ppl who are concern on RMAF inaction initially. Now I understand that it was deem as non hostile.

You also mentioned bout 9/11. I would like to understand if after the 9/11, any extra steps has been taken by RMAF (or any other country) to cater to such threat?

Thanks again.
KK

I was told there is.

I can confirm with you Sir that there is. However, it is DCA who has to call the shot. But, the application of Regulation 90 of MCAR 1996 is not our custom especially after 1989. On the intercept procedures, it has been published in AIP Malaysia for years.
By the way, even if it hostile, in Germany, their apex court ruled that shooting down an airline is unconstitutional.

tq sir…its useful for my tesis as PJJ student..fm Super Lynx AQM

Hi,

As I read this I am unsure if you are defending RMAF by saying, “Oh don’t blame RMAF cos MH370 didn’t cross our airspace so it’s not our problem.” Or are you trying to paint the Thai and Indonesian air forces as the ones to blame… though you do point out that the Indonesians at least are far from incompetent at bringing down threats.

But say if it really wasn’t our problem cos it wasn’t our airspace. Do you mean to say that our radar does not at least extend INTO the Thai border a little bit. Tak kan we only find out that people are coming to attack us once they are already here! You’d know better as you’ve seen the range of our radar.

So what I’m trying to say is that I am confused in regards to what is being said here cos it seems improbable that RMAF didn’t at least put two and two together and at least “suspect” which way MH370 went. There couldn’t be that many unidentified aircraft flying around at the approximate area at the same given time… which was the dead of night.

Or am I reading this wrong.

You’re reading it wrong. Read back what I wrote about our air defence radar and how far they reach.

Thank you for the write up. Very informative. But I am wondering why wasn’t this data shared with SAR teams earlier – which went searching pointlessly in the South China Sea. National security? Then again, if our radars are emitting most of the time, other air forces should be able to judge our radar coverage, no? Sigh, if only SEA countries military bonds are like the E.U (which, I assume are for the most part are much better than between SEA nations).

The search in the South China Sea was because they followed ICAO protocols to conduct SAR at last known location. The air force shared the radar data immediately but had to do some radar forensics before they could actually say “Okay let’s go to the Andaman sea.”

Before findings from TUDM’s primary radar data were corroborated with findings from FAA, NTSB, AAIB, Inmarsat on 15th of March, we searched ‘pointlessly’ because:

8 March, 10.17am – Vietnam Rear Admiral Ngo Van Phat claimed MH370 crashed into South China Sea. Reported by Reuters.

8 March, 8.04pm – Tuoi Tre reported Vietnamese Antonov An-26 found oil slicks at the South China Sea.

10 March, 1.43pm – Tuoi Tre reported ‘a Singapore aircraft’ spotted possible life raft/vest at the South China Sea.

12 March – China’s SASTIND released photos of 3 objects found at the South China Sea.

Hi, I would like to thank you for an informative article to help shed some light on the issue.

I have a query though. If the suspicious activity of disappearing from the secondary radar and deviation from the flight path took place slightly after 1am after waypoint IGARI, why did it take over one and a half hours to notify malaysia airlines?

I’m agree that it was right to not declare the flight hostile and to not scramble jets, but I’m concerned about how long the response was in communicating the problem to the company which owns the flight.

That only the Department of Civil Aviation can answer. I would like to know too.

In the case of the flight in Greece, Helios Airways Flight 522, jet fighters were scrambled the moment the aircraft lost contact and didn’t transfer communication to the next city. I am sure they have precedences which allows for this immediate response in Greece. These procedures should be initiated by the airport and be recommended by FAA in its SOP for running airports. This disappearance highlights what happens if we don’t.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helios_Airways_Flight_522

Surely, if any flight loses contact for more than 1 hour, and doesn’t transfer to the next ATC, this should send warning bells that the plane should be checked out. We now know how hard it is to communicate with a plane which does not want to communicate.

To implement certain SOP, the law of the land must also be aware off. For Greece, technically, they still at war with one of their neighbour. So their SOP is backed up by their law.
For Malaysia, the restriction under Article 3BIS of Chicago Convention make it hard for us to do that. Furthermore, our Declaration of Emergency has just been terminated last year. So, the essential power of Executive Branch of the Government is not as much as before.

Dear Sir/Madam,

With all due respect, firstly, thank you for writing the clarifying article above. And thanks to TUDM too for giving the green light for this article in order to clear the fog of doubt.

I hope I am not asking a question on something which has already been written or QA. The question is how many days does it require for our radar experts to do “radar forensics” before confirming that the blip is the MH370 which flew off to Andaman ?

The reason for asking is that the battery for the black box can last only 30 days, but the survivors may have only food / water for only few days.

Thank you and best regards

I think it was fairly quick which led to the expansion of the search area to the Andaman. However we were still searching in the South China Sea because of lots of misinformation by our Vietnamese and Chinese friends of objects floating at sea.

You mean this part?

“Suffice to say, what we have is enough to tell us way ahead if a hostile aircraft is approaching our airspace.”

Sounds like it reaches far enough to me… maybe you’re the one that is writing it wrong.

You asked me how far it goes, I told you far enough. I guess your logic process is wrong. Move on, please, and watch the daily PCs

Acorn KSB,

SAR started at the Andaman Sea even before primary radar data was corroborated by different authorities.

SAR at the Andaman Sea started on the 9th March.

SAR at the Indian Ocean started on the 14th March.

Confirmation of primary radar data by FAA, NTSB, AAIB, Inmarsat on the 15th March.

Before I begin, I want to qualify that I’m not here to nit pick but for in-depth discourse.

1. Is/are there any evidence suggesting the alleged plane traveled in a straight line from IGARI to VAMPI?

2. Can you share which part of Annex 13 of ICAO states that it is protocol to conduct SAR at last know location?

3. I refer to Annex 13 of ICAO item 4.2 to 4.3 subtitled Format and Content, clearly states, “The notification shall be in plain language and contain as much of the following information as is readily available, but its dispatch shall not be delayed due to the lack of complete information”, quoting item G, “position of the aircraft with reference to some easily defined geographical point and latitude and longtitude”.

3.1 In day 1, it is commendable RMAF announced they spotted a possible turn from alleged plane, and also on the very same day, albeit much later, Vietnam informed Malaysia that they too, spotted the alleged plane making a turn, agree?

3.2 Thailand is guilty for not taking the initiative to provide radar information to Malaysia. Their reasons are:

a) Not within their FIR (hence my #1 question); and

b) They were not asked to provide such information.

3.3 Given the protocol by ICAO item 4.2 clearly stating, “shall not be delayed due to the lack of complete information”, in other words, imho, to pursue every possible lead, including my points in 3.1 to 3.2, a and b, bar RMAF, do you agree that IF the Malaysian Investigating Authorities pursued the ‘u-turn’ possibility since day 1, assets are better deployed/utilized for SAR?

1. No. But if I want to do something bad but I’m not the typical aircraft hijacker, that’s what I would do. Punch in the waypoints, altitude and speed and let the auto-pilot fly.

Just to add some….

Q2. SAR is on Annex 12. Annex 13 is about Accident Investigation. You may browse thro item 5.2.4 on Annex 12.

Q3.2(a). Both Aerothai dan RTAF knows what Malaysian are capable off. No need to blame the Thais. RMAF have the mechanism to talk to RTAF especially Surathani.

Oh, for the rest of the questions, please refer to ICAO or DCA of Malaysia. I don’t work for either. Thank you.

Gin Beam,

3.1 “Vietnam informed Malaysia that they too, spotted the alleged plane making a turn, agree?”
Would you be able to share the source of this statement.

3.2 “Thailand is guilty for not taking the initiative to provide radar information to Malaysia. Their reasons are:
b) They were not asked to provide such information.”
200+ lives in jeopardy and they require to be asked in order to lend their assistance?

3.3 “do you agree that IF the Malaysian Investigating Authorities pursued the ‘u-turn’ possibility since day 1, assets are better deployed/utilized for SAR?”
If the turn back possibility was not pursued since day 1, there is no way SAR can begin at Straits of Malacca on day 2. Waypoint VAMPI is right up north near the Andaman Sea.
Remember on day 2, the aircraft making the turn back was not yet confirmed to be MH370. There will be no confirmation without corroboration. Only until FAA, NTSB, AAIB finalized their findings using the same set of radar data, together with Inmarsat data, and came out with the same conclusion, could the findings be corroborated. This was on the 15th.
Remember also the Vietnamese Navy claimed the plane crashed near Tho Chu, even China’s SASTIND released images on their official website. Do you think it’s best to redeploy SAR to another area, when these claims however far fetched they are were not yet confirmed, and while the aircraft on the radar was not yet confirmed to be MH370?

Thank you, Andak

I can’t fault your explanation. I just wish the official communication from RMAF was as succinct and clear.

To me RMAF credibility was lost when The Chief of Air Force released his statement to Sinar Harian, then retracted it, then eventually having it confirmed to be true. It’s not a technical issue anymore, it’s a trust issue.

I don’t think the Chief of Air Force issued anything. I know a Berita Harian reporter wrongly quoted the Chief of Air Force who issued a statement clarifying and took Berita Harian to task for the misreport. The reporter actually had asked someone else but put the name of the Chief of Air Force in his article.

Good day Sir,

I’d like to clarify this statement, “When the MH370 tracked West Southwest from IGARI to VAMPI, she did not cross Malaysian airspace.”

I checked with skyvector.com and found out that the straight flight path from IGARI to VAMPI did cross Malaysian airspace over Perlis and Pulau Langkawi.

By the way, I like the article and I like the photo of the air defense system display.

Thank you, Sir.

Yes, only briefly. The beginning of the deviation crossed Thai airspace. The DCA ATC I assume never informed the Air Force that the aircraft was in distress.

yes, it is obvious.
then the reporter should ask the same question to RTAF and TNI-AU, too.
just to be fair to RMAF.

TQ, Sir.

You have a point. Thank you.

Great to see such remarkable remarks and insights from ex air force, indeed you are right, many jump to conclusions and speculations be it foreign nor locally speculated news. Some say landed on the moon and etc which sounded really pathetic (on a local newspapers).

Your insights really explained and makes everyone of us look at a different perspective, truly honored to have read your comments.

Thank you. Of course there are trolls who now comment here as if I work for the government when all I am doing is defending those who actually do their work protecting us.

Political itineraries are not important here, whats more important is to find 370 and the truth shrouding it.

Very true

Thank you for the information.I am a lecturer and I ward of questions from my students regarding the action of the RMAF..This is going to be very informative.We will continue to hope for the best for the flight and continue defending the nations defenders.

Thank you sir

Thank you for your length explanation on the how RMAF work. As my friend still on the MH370, I hope no MH370 is found at Indian Sea, I wished it is hijacked, and hijacker is still negotiating with Mas government.

For me, the main concern is by the time MH370 transponder being shut off at 1.30am (according to press statement), 2.40am MAS is informed that MH370 went missing.
a) How soon the MAS inform RMAF?
b) What and how fast does RMAF react upon MAS inform MH370 is missing?
c) My simple calculation is that @ 12.40am the flight depart from KLIA, 1 hour it reach the mas vietnam border, and it’s transponder is closed between 1 to 1.30am, let say 1.30. So total time is 1hr. It then take U-turn, fly bk to KL and hit KLCC within an hour, by that time the MAS is just being notified at 2.40am.
d) IF 911 tragedy is to happened again by MH370, can RMAF avoid the incident and defend the country? History happened, and we we have only ourselve to blame if we repeat the same mistake by US again!
e) If there’s a MAD pilot, depart from KLIA or Landing at KLIA, then directly go hit the KLIA, how does the RMAF react? If same scenario that transponder is off. Just curious on this question.

a) I have no idea when MAS or DCA informed RMAF

b) I also have no idea on this or if ever they informed the RMAF
c) you are right in your timings. It was DCA’s responsibility to inform MAS
d) The first line of defence against hijacking at the airport is the Malaysia Airports Auxiliary Police
e) if there is a mad pilot there is no way of knowing

I am admired that you answer honestly.
a, b, c) This is the reason why most Malaysians generally do not trust the government agency. DCA late to inform MAS or RMAF, by the time the missing MH370 u-turn back and hit KLCC for eg, nobody may even notice and take preventive actions.
d) as ex-RMAF, you have no confident to stand up and reply YES, RMAF can defend the 911 happened at Malaysia.
e) Have no idea you really understand my question or not.

I know as ex-RMAF member, you are trying to defend the RMAF, but from your reply above, do you think Malaysians are confident that RMAF can defend Malaysia by hijacker? I am not convinced at all, although I hope you could convince me, YES… RMAF could!

With Malaysia agency track record, most Malaysians understand that if 911 happened in Malaysia, Malaysia most like can’t avoid it, maybe the RMAF knew it. Admit own weakness and tackle the weakness to move forward and convince the Malaysians RMAF could defend Malaysia from another 911.

It is the confidence that all Malaysia agency has to seek to restore to gain the confidence from RAKYAT MALAYSIA! Don’t deny, don’t hide, don’t avoid, at the mean time, accept all criticisms as a challenge to prove those critics are wrong, till a day RMAF has all the capabilities to counter 911 in Malaysia, then only speak proudly. Then Malaysians could proudly shoot back the Singaporeans, we could do better than you KIASU LAND!

The best is to be transparent

No one say “Terima Kasih” to the forces for allowing us to sleep peacefully at night.

Thank you sir, for your past service to the country and for setting the record right for TUDM on this.

Thank you sir.

Dear Sir.

This is a good explanation and very informative. Worked with an airliner before and now handing people plus lot of aircrafts type .
Reading this a good knowledge to me .
Because veryday when I handling people and flights I learned something new.
Because my line of duty are involving all departments such as engineering aircfat handing flight operations and etcs..

It is not easy for people to understand and educated them. Not all we can reveal to public due of security matters. As it covers just no passengers the airline but also the nation.

By questions and answers here reading it gives me more knowledge and understanding whereby I knew some of it you can’t find in the classroom.

Thank you.

God blessed

Dear Rhuzzanna,

Thank you for your kind words. I believe we have to do justice and exercise fairness which is why I chose to write about the issue pertaining to what might have happened in terms of air defence monitoring. As expected, there are those such as yourself who understand, there are those who did not understand ask some questions for clarification, and there are those hell bent on attacking no matter what. I agree with you that not all should be revealed and I sometimes wish I could write more so things would become clearer but I would be exposing much on our national defence although I am no longer subjected to the Official Secrets Act.

Thank you again.

Thank you for the explanation sir. If this is not patriotisme, then I do not know what is…

Thank you for your kind words sir. In times like this I think it is important to stand behind our people and protect the country from those who wish to run us down by badmouthing us. Unfortunately some Malaysian chose to help them badmouth the country as well. This, I cannot tolerate.

Spot on. There are also those that have chosen to live abroad and therefore are not able to gauge nor feel the actual situation in our country but are yet quick to shout about the incompetencies of the authorities. But of course we also have those who live here but are also as quick to run the authorities and government of the day to the ground.
I say a big thank you to the government, the aviation authorities,TUDM, TLDM, ATM the men and women who worked relentlessly until today on the SAR.. Also to the families of the crew and passengers on board MH370, i pray for a non-painful closure Allah’s blessings upon each and everyone. Thank you.

Assalamualaikum.

An explanation which I’m sure will open most of the so called closed minded group of person.

I believe that this matter is a no joke thing but the medias will always have something interesting to get people’s attention.

I truly thank you for the brief explanation as it has truly caught my attention on the missing MH370. I am not here to judge you but truly, you have cleared most of the questions in my mind.

Its just sad that these kind of statement came up after the storm is in (if u get what I mean).

Whatever it is right now, we can only pray and hope for the best to all passengers and crew of flight MH370 to be safe.

Again, a very knowlegeble stuff.

Thumbs up and thank you.

Thank you sir

seademon, i appreciate your task to clarify on RMAF part.

My only question is that Air Defence Officers monitoring the radar would have noticed that there is a unidentified commercial jet flew on malaysian airspace.

What is the procedure for it?

Was there any alarm raised?

I assume that it spend at least 30-45 minutes in Malaysian airspace.

Thanks in advance

From my understanding once the DCA ATC handed over the aircraft roundabouts IGARI, the ATC will then be monitoring other aircraft in his screen. That is probably why the DCA ATC was not aware of any deviation until perhaps Vietnamese ATC contacted them. The air defence officers had noticed the aircraft transponder switched off which is why they continued to record the track of the 370. It was not an unidentified aircraft as it previously showed itself as the 370.

Civil aviation comes under the DCA. If a plane deviates, the air defence commander would be alerted and they will discuss the situation. ATC would probably be called to ascertain aircraft intention. If it is decided it isn’t hostile, no scramble needed and they will continue to record its flight path as the case already is.

For further understanding…

As an analogy, for many people, they recognise a taxi at night because it has yellow light on top of it roof. If your kampung has federal trunk road cut across it, and a taxi travel on that road at night but without a yellow light on top of it, do you want to accuse the taxi is trying to harm your kampung??
If you asked the policeman on duty that night, he surely can tell you that it is a taxy. Why?? Because of its plate number or the wording written on its door……
That is how air force operate!

Sir, Thank you for the clarifications. Comparing with mainstream media and even PC done by our ministers or top officials, this is more digestible.

By the way this is just my 2sen and deviating from the topic. I wish that our senior generals can present themselves to be more soldierly when facing the media or public. Show to the public that ‘we are the army, we know what we are doing and you can trust us’. At the moment, this is not being perceived as so and if it has shaken the public confidence towards our army just imagine what’s the morale of the men in arms will be.

I strongly believe that they are in their position now because they are competent and capable in their job and they know what they are doing. However a refresher in mass communications skills, presentations skills, etc. might do some good so that we would no longer see blinkings (terkebil-kebil) or foaming at the mouth live on TV… 🙂

I wish so too. But protocol decides Ministry of. Transport and DCA take charge.

“foaming at the mouth”… I believe I know to whom you are referring.

Good article. But how do you explain the flip-flop statements from the PTU: first maybe it turned round, then it did turn round, I did not say that, finally confirmed it did turn round. I too have served in the Armed Forces including RMAF and I have seen plenty of examples of incompetence. Also it seems the best way to get promoted is to be an apple-polisher.

From my understanding, the first PC the PTU attended he mentioned a possible turn back and that they are studying the radar data. Berita Harian interviewed someone else over the phone who confirmed there was a turn back towards Pulau Perak and mentioned that the PTU was the one interviewed. The PTU next day issued a statement saying he never gave such an interview because he only told the reporter to attend the PC. The reporter had jumped the gun before the radar data had been processed.

I watched the fisrt PC when RMAF chief mentioned possible turn back and they are studying the data and no words of Pulau Perak or butterworth coming out from his mouth as reported in Berita Harian the next day…so disgusting when it happened in that manner…manipulating and tongue twisting….

Yes. The Chief issued a statement taking Berita Harian to task and asked them to rectify their report. They never did.

Choong Seng Kok,

PTU: possibility of unidentified aircraft making turn back
BH: TUDM said MH370 did turnback
PTU: I never said to BH it was MH370

8th-14th March: Primary radar data not yet corroborated.
15th March: Primary radar data finally corroborated by FAA, NTSB, AAIB, Inmarsat. Aircraft made turn back. Aircraft was MH370.

I think it’s pretty simple.

Sir, thank you , for once there are real time facts written and not arm chair theorist ideas that are confusing , stupid & ridiculous.

Thank you

Human make mistake.. worst still. making mistake with lot of excuse!!.. what ever excuse.. 239 life..What is “possibilities”?!! If there is “no certainties”!!! Then should search for any “possibilities” where is the direction of missing plane!

That’s the priority now

Thank you for the explanation…

Thank you

Thank you for enlightening us. But as you have agreed it still shows some weakness in our system. The main one being that a flight that veers off course with transponders off is still not considered a threat until the DCA says so. After 11 Sept 2001 – why is RMAF not more proactive in such instances?

Actually there is a procedure that even includes shooting down. But I am not at liberty to discuss this here. I am sure the procedures were followed and 370 was not deemed hostile, therefore its track from East to West was recorded by the air defence officers. However, I see a weakness in the air traffic handing over/taking over procedures that the ICAO itself needs to revisit and revamp.

Just to add

It takes more than just simply diverting away from the track to be considered as “hostile”. RMAF is very competence on this. Our standard is recognised by the Aussie, Brits and the American. But the Protocols set by ICAO are very strict on this issue especially after the KAL 007 incident.

Hi seademon,
Thank you for your clarification on the radar issue, I always believe our RAF is doing their job and this info can clear their name especially to all those keyboard warrior…
Just want to clarify with you, if based on historical radar raw data, the radar specialist should be able to trace the MH370 from KLIA to IGARI and then air turn back towards western peninsular. But why after we share the radar data to outsiders (FAA,NTSB etc) only that we can confirm on the air turn back and only on the 7th day that we made the announcement. What is it that so difficult in the radar system that our radar specialist cannot identify and confirm in the early stage.
tq.

The air force had clarified that the turn back took place that’s why search in the Andaman commenced on the 9th. But confusion caused by unverified information from Vietnam (finding wreckage on Tho Chu island, wreckage at sea) and subsequent false satellite image from China prolonged the search in the South China Sea and there came the need to further study the radar data. Hope this answers your concern, sir.

Just to add

In forensic , the final word upon evidence must comply to the standard set by our court. But for the practical purpose, based on the same evidence, the SAR operation started on the Straits of Malacca on the second day.

tq for the answer…
Right now primary radar info provide the most concrete details on where the aircraft had gone to after it disappeared from secondary radar. Shouldn’t the SAR team focus more to trace the aircraft using historical radar from most immediate neighboring countries such as India, Thailand, Indonesia. There should be some good overlapping radar coverage of neighboring countries. If Malaysian radar can tracked the aircraft, then based on the last reference point, the neighboring country should be able to cross reference and trace the aircraft from their historical radar raw data and determine where it goes. Then we can eliminate either corridor to narrow down the search area. I think this is the best way to go rather than searching blindly in the vast Indian Ocean.
just my 2 cents… 😉

Yes. However we only received the radar data from Indonesia and Thailand recently while India if I am not mistaken only replied saying the 370 never entered her airspace but doesn’t share its radar data. I was told they are still processing the received data. But as it is, every single lead will have to be followed too as an elimination process.

Sir, from what I understand, Gen Rodzali Daud went to Butterworth AFB the day of March 9th and already saw the radar track. Berita Harian also quoted him on March 12th (correct me if I’m wrong) saying the plane was tracked to Pulau Perak – a day later he denied it – and then 2 days later it was admitted to be true.

Can you explan this series of events? Before you do, let me offer my take:

1. The General leaked it out of frustration at the higher ups for pulling and literally searching in the wrong direction.
2. The General had to backtrack a day later to “close ranks” and not make higher ups look bad.
3. Later when it became too obvious to deny, his leak was confirmed.

Any comment, sir?

Dear Gabriel,

Thank you for your comment. Please refer to a previous comment from Andak on the timeline on this matter. I think that helps explain the questions you posed above.

Sir, Thank you for the clarifications. You have been doing a great job here. Just stay cool….

Thank you, sir.

Hi sir..

RMAF didn’t take any action on that aircraft because it is considered not hostile. IFF is not being used at that time because the aircraft already identified earlier and still being recognized even after transponder switched off. Furthermore there was no distress call from air controller on that runaway aircraft yet.

Did i summarize above all right?

Then is there any possibility that identified aircraft or the one recognized as friend can become considered hostile due to:
i) altitude (heard the aircraft was found flying low)
ii) speed (too fast or too slow)
iii) any weird movement maybe zigzag

Thanks for ur time..

Your summary is correct. On the possibilities you listed, the answer to all is yes. However the 370 did not fly too low to cause any alarm.

Do we know how low the 370 was flying when crossing malaysian air space?

It was mentioned in one of the PCs. Slipped my mind. I think it was nothing less than flight level 200 but I stand corrected

Seadeamon –

Could you reach out to me please? I have a couple specific questions for you.

-Keith Ledgerwood (http://MH370Shadow.com)
KeithLcincy@gmail.com

Will do in due time, sir. Am travelling at the moment

Dear Seademon,
How about the US Airforce Radar on Diego Garcia? Could it not detect and track MH370? Can they tell us that MH370 was no where within their coverage?

I don’t think so. The radar coverage does not cover the vastness of the Indian Ocean.

Dear Seademon,

Could you please explain why there are many satellite images of possible debris coming out from many countries too late. We have not received any such images from USA and Russian satellites yet. thank you.

Dear Sir,

I do not have the answer to that question. I believe it has to do with verification of images so there is no repeat of the three debris sighted by Chinese satellite at the beginning of the episode.

Thank you.

Muhammad Hafni Ibrahim,

1. Inmarsat data was first received on 12/3.
2. Data shared with FAA, NTSB, AAIB.
3. Meeting to corroborate findings from all parties on 14/3.
4. PM announce on 15/3 two corridors along 40 degree angle from Inmarsat: north & south.
5. Most countries north of corridor claimed no radar sighting.
6. Satellites focused on south.
7. Satellites take images of south.
8. Images are checked for debris.

Problem isolation takes time.

SEADEMON ! hye !

Hello

Seademon,

I do not want to be seen as nit picking but as I discussed your article with a British person, he brought out a good point as follows:

Wwhy did RMAF considered that blip/bogey as non hostile as even anything abnormal should be considered so. The fact that it did a uturn, not following scheduled path which assumed had been filed previously with no communication would have already ring an alarm n scrambled our fighter jets no matter.

He mentioned a few occasions wherein RAF jets were scrambled to shadow a few commercial airliners eg Thomas Cook plane from Tunisia in 2012 after it lost contact temporarily with control tower in France before entering UK airspace. Luckily, communication was restored then. Also in 2013, where RAF jet shadowed a PIA airliner to Manchester on communication n security false alarm. Mind u tho, he mentioned that he heard that it costed RAF abt £150k for every 1 jet scrambled 🙂

My take on this as layman would be that in RAF situation, UK is always in heightened security level esp the time around the Olympics and their communication with their neighbouring countries (NATO) are good but maybe we can learn a few things from them n this Mh370 incident?

Anyhow, thank you for writing a good article and defending our RMAF who I know are working hard to protect MAlaysia. Thank you.

Cheers.

You are spot on about the heightened security as mentioned. I’m sure Malaysia would do that if there is such a threat. However, there is no immediate let alone imminent threat. Nevertheless, the layman in me initially questioned the same.

However, there are several steps in the protocol that needs to be satisfied before the penultimate step of scrambling fighters would be taken. Sometimes it is normal for aircraft to turn off their transponder mid-flight especially after being handed over to another flight information region as the squawk number may be in conflict with an aircraft that may have been assigned the same number in the FIR the plane had just entered. This is until the new FIR is hailed by the entering aircraft and is assigned a new transponder squawk ident. As the 370 was previously seen on the air defence radar as 370, then turned off the transponder, it still is the 370. The air traffic controller previously handling the 370 at DCA would have by now mostly ignored the 370 as it was given the instruction to contact Vietnam FIR on a different frequency. Here the weakness is seen in the handing over/taking over procedures between the two FIRs. DCA’s Lumpur FIR might have assume the 370 had received instructions from the Vietnamese FIR to evade weather or change route, since they were on different frequencies. The 370, in the eyes of the RMAF air defence centre and DCA’s FIR was at that point of time, still the 370. I hope that answers your question.

Thank you for your most articulate narrative, and replies which answers my many questions narrated above.

Thank you, ma’am. I try my best.

Sir, from what I can parse on your comments, there seems to be some fault with DCA. Can you say what they did wrong in the timeline?

It’s not with DCA per se, sir. It is the whole handing over/taking over procedures between FIRs. That is in my opinion.

Dear Sir,

I really appreciate your well thought and written article. As a Malaysian,
I feel very proud that you have taken your time to write down all the details and events “THAT HAD HAPPENED”.
I am not an aviator and have learned many aviation terms these past 3 weeks. In fact, I think most of us in the WORLD have undergone many aviation courses “FREE OF CHARGE”!
Can you imagine everyday the “WHOLE WORLD” tune in either on
Alzeera, CCTV, CNN, BBC & Astro Awani to know whether we have found the plane and what ‘COULD HAVE HAPPENED’!

Like our Defence Minister says, this is beyond POLITICS. We have to
think of all the families involved, the passengers and crew and to accuse
anyone is a grevious accusation until the plane is found.

So, it is good that you have clarified many questions that I find even
the reporters have no knowledge to ask daily and the overseas media
are made to look good is because they have a lot of experience in “Crisis Management”! I am still proud of Malaysia for not having this type of CRISIS! No country should be subjected to type of situation.
It is said that we learn from mistakes and we become wiser by it.
Dont forget 911 happened in America which had so called “high
intelligence agencies” and “military defences” in the world!
Malaysia is a peace loving country and we are friendly with the whole world!

My hope and prayer is that when we read an intelligent article, we acknowledge it. I rather those who disagree write their own article and not challenge.
So I rather pray for everyone who was on MH370 and their families that they be strong to accept the fate of MH370.

Thank you ma’am for your kind words. Yes, this isn’t the time to be bickering over what we should have done so on and so forth. This is the time to also think of those who have to be away from home to search for the passengers and crew as well as for answers. I hope that many more are like you. Thank you again.

SD – thank you so much for the explanation. It does help in understanding the situation better. Somehow I become more patriotic reading your postings here. Lina

Thank you Lina. This is why I don’t understand people who thrive on bashing their country in times of need. Maybe they need to migrate.

I watched the press conference last night. There were a moment of silent where I just didn’t know how to react as the feeling of loss and sadness overwhelmed me. My heart goes to the the families and relatives of passenger and crew of MH370.

Cherish life as much; as you never know what your tomorrow going to be.

I have so many questions lingering in my mind. Anticipating these coming days won’t be easy for Malaysia.

We can only pray for the families involved to continue to be strong, and for the black boxes to be found soon.

SeaDemon, I have taken the liberty to link this article at various sites. I apologize for not having seek your permission first. It was very rude of me but I was so excited after reading your piece.

HT low

No problem, sir. Thank you.

Thanks for taking time to explain. I don’t know if this follow-up question has been asked before… But can you explain:

1. I was under the impression after mh370 left malaysia’s airspace, turned around into thai airspace, and entered malaysian airspace again, heading south for a bit towards penang, before turning west to indonesia.

2. Your blog post explains neither thai nor indonesia classified it as hostile… But left out why didn’t malaysia investigate a low flying aircraft of that size, more so if it is seemingly heading towards Penang?

Thank you in advanced for answering these questions!

I may have, but nevertheless:

1) actually it flew in the region of Perlis and Langkawi in my track before going northwest towards Phuket, and just south of Phuket flew towards the Nicobar islands before we lost track of it.

2) an aircraft of that size would not seem hostile. Even when it was headed for Phuket no one saw it as hostile. Assessment is made not just based on the aircraft but also the current international intelligence assessments on threats to the nation. There are strict international protocols to follow when it comes to interception. I don’t know about low flying but I will try to find out more and hope to add more posts pertaining to the 370.

Thank you again.

Why no news media picked up this article is a real wonder indeed. I guess no one wants to report anything unless it is sensational or makes Malaysia look bad.

Military intelligence/capability is always a top-secret issue for any country and Malaysia cannot be blamed if she did not wish to reveal too much during press conferences. Neither can we blame the Thais, India or Indonesians for giving vague answers initially. If I were the head of military in the situation, the first question I would ask is whether this was a trick to make me reveal my cards. Knowing how expensive military expenditure can get, am I at liberty to expose myself and replace all my equipment? Some people really need to see the bigger picture. And what really happens behind the scenes is anybody’s guess really. They could have all been corroborating their data but not announcing it.

I do agree that PR from ministers and military is lacking in that they couldn’t provide better answers when posed with tricky questions. But then again, if they could, they’d be branded liars anyway.

At the end of the day, I think DCA needs much improvement in reporting distress situations so that the military could be informed and possibly asked to assist. In this case, jets could have been scrambled to intercept/guide the aircraft and report back whether it was a hijacking or technical malfunction. Lives could have been saved.

BTW, it is reassuring to know that our fighter jets can be in the air in under 3 minutes! Although some people will forever find fault (see comments above, you know who you are), let’s hope that all parties learn some lessons from this incident.

I do continue to hope for a miracle even though it has been announced that MH370 has been classified as lost in the southern Indian Ocean.

I agree with you absolutely, sir

Agreed to you, but may we ask if it had been Singapore airspace do you think Singapore fighter jets would have been scrambled

The Singaporeans have a different risk assessment and would therefore have a different set of protocols. We cannot compare apples and oranges. Furthermore, Singapore has a smaller airspace and smaller landmass.

If I were flying a Boeing 777 fully-laden with fuel, where would I strike? I would strike while the fuel is still in abundance, maybe somewhere in KL, instead of flying near where the RMAF has four air bases and two of the RTAF’s.

Thank you.

weapon director macam comel jer macam comel jer :p

Very good explanation of things.

Reflecting on the news coming out in the last 24 hours that it’s most like in the south indian ocean, looking at the waypoints we can’t determine where the plane started turning south but shouldn’t the Indonesian radar be able to confirm MH370 heading south. It can’t have flown too far away from Indon’s mainland to reach the area of ocean to the west of australia.

Dear sir,

The Indonesian radar, like all other radar, has its maximum range. I believe the 370 deliberately flew waypoints to skirt radar detection. Whoever did this, did not want the plane easily found within the first 24-48 hours

Just want to say thank you for your detailed explanation about how RMAF’s operation are. Your post really clears out most of my doubt towards this mysterious incident.
Still praying for miracle that they will come back.

Thank you for reading. I lost my brother a little over three months ago. One thing I learnt from his passing is that while it is okay to hope, it would be wise to assess the logic of that hope versus the situation that is faced. The sooner we accept the inevitable, the sooner we will move on.

I am just a commoner with little knowledge and vocabulary on aviation and military.. But reading your write up does finally give me some sense after overwhelming overflows of theories, speculations and finger-pointing analysis from the “experts” everywhere.

Thank you, sir

You are most welcome.

Dear Sea

The territorial air space for any nation is a function of its territorial waters and subject to the traditional UNCLOS limits of 22.2KM, anything outside of that limit is well considered International Waters or International Airspace. ATC control as divided by ICAO does not in itself denote sovereign air space.

Factually , there are three major malaysian Military Radar facilities all with 3D Air Defence radar. Google earth allows one to see the facilities at Penang Hill and near Gong Kedak with all of them built on high ground for elevated LOS.

These radars have a min range of 400Km and whilst their exact detection ranges are classified , I think we can agree that a B777 at height does not present any major difficulty in clear skies and clear weather.

An ADIZ whilst not sovereign air space was denoted first by the US and copied by others to identify and possibly intercept / escort targets from as far away as possible thus allowing greater reaction time for defensive forces, after all at jet speed. 22.2Km means nothing. So yes Malaysian air space has to be defined strictly and I would define it as sovereign or territorial air space

The difference between ATC and Air Defence is that Air Defence does not rely on a transponder and established a targets direction , bearing and altitude.

The question is now basically this. If the military detected a turn back, it would have tracked it on its outbound route as it climbed out to Igari. Bascially tracking an indentified blip out and then detecting a non identified blip doing a turn back.

Lets be clear that Radar Station at Gong Kedak available to anyone with Google Earth to check would have , should have detected easily the huge target climbing out and then after disappearing when its transponder vanished and then reappearing in its sweep later as unidentified.

Without going into classified materials and declaring open source materials. We have a situation of an unidentified blip allowed to fly through an ADIZ and into Malaysian Air Space without so much as a question and or radio call. We also have a declared assumption that the Military thought it was cleared by Subang for the turn back which opens another question on who thought “what” was cleared to turn back, MH 370 or an unidentified blip. And then the next question did DCA even think about checking with Military Radar and when ?

And finally it took four days to confirm the turn back and track to the Malacca straits. That to me is in itself amazing.
It was a red eye flight , the air space itself for that time UNCLUTTERED and off peak. What further confirmation does one need if that huge 3D radar at Gong Kedak that tracked the turn back would have tracked the outgoing.

Thank you for your comment. I have been told that the Air Force is conducting a separate inquiry into that night.

The declared assumption as per the Deputy Defence Minister made in the Parliament is however his own assumption, and was not part of the reply written for him by the Ministry. The Deputy Minister has issued a press statement stating that he had made his own assumption and after checking found it not to be true. So, there goes zero to hero to zero.

Inter-agency communications also need to be improved. Your final statement is what needs clarification from the authorities. I agree with you that whoever monitored the air defence radar was already on the ball, else we will not have a recording of the events that fateful night.

Hello kind sir. This is a very good explanation, the RMAF should have came up with an explanation like this instead of saying ‘we assumed MH370 was cleared by Subang to turn back’, as was said in media yesterday. Their statement made this explanation pointless. This is a very good article and should have been the proper response.

My apologies for the error, I meant to say the statement by the deputy minister, not the RMAF. I do not know if that statement by the deputy min comes from the RMAF or not, but it seems he retracted that statement in Parliament.

Dear Sea,

You would recognise that in either SAR and SAL, time is of the essence and every day is critical and that waiting for 100% certainty is sometimes impossible.

There are two RMAF stations one in Penang and One in Gong Kedak with the straight line crow distance between Penang and Khota Bharu at 243km plus minus a km or two.

I find it amazing that they would take four days to confirm the turnback and then state the track was “unidentified” leaving vampi as the cross corrobaration between the two stations would have left no doubt whatsoever. Confirmation was only given after the Ping Saga. But IMHO two solid primary independent radar sources was more than enough.

There are more air defence radars than the ones you mentioned and all look at the same screen. As for the timing, I cannot answer on the authorities’ behalf as I do not work for them.

Dear Eng Kian Yap

First of all, I like to set the record straight. Malaysia do not have ADIZ or Air Defence identification Zone. But our law allowed us to implement that if minister authorised that through a gazette. For now, it is not in our book.

Talking about RMAF taken an action against a civil aircraft flying in Malaysian airspace. Our protocols are very straight in this. When an aircraft is confirm as an airliner through a secondary radar identification, RMAF radar system will continue to ‘locked’ on that information. If the aircraft transponder is switched off, then the blip about that aircraft will lost on secondary radar. However for RMAF, its primary radar will continue to capture the movement of the aircraft. The system will then continue to locked on it and it will continue indicated reading on the monitor even though the transponder of the said aircraft is now not transmitting. This at the same time will alert the duty watch officer to do specific recording and plotting onto that aircraft movement.

Now, one might asked why the hell the Chief of Air Force said during PC on the 8th is that MH370 may be turn back. Why can he just confirmed the information? The answer is that, it is our government policy. If information is not confirm as to the court standard, government may not want to commit on it. However, the standard of that information is not important. As long as SAR operation is moved based on that information, then the responsibility of the government is relieved. Surely we don’t want our official to jump to conclusion without any substantive corroboration as what the Vietnam or China officials do on the first and second or third day.

While the watch officer doing his specific recording and plotting, his supervisor will continue to assess the movement of the said aircraft whether it can be considered hostile or not. If it is hostile, then a phone call for authority and to scramble the fighters will be made. If not, the necessary paperwork will be carried out for the information to be used as evidence later on by the government. If you want to ask whether the supervisor is capable or not? You dont need DS Hishamuddin to answer that. I can guarantee you that they are very, very capable. Why? It is not easy to go through the process to be at their position. Because of them, you can sleep soundly at night because they were monitoring not less than 1200 flight movement a day. If you need 2 minutes to text 4 line of whassap message, just imagine their workload in a day. In 1 minute, they monitored one and a half aircraft (by statistic).

What are the corrective action when MH370 do an unauthorised turn back (hypothetical).
Everyone agreed that MH370 did a turnback at IGARI. The route MH370 followed was an airways named B219. At 0121H when Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Center (KL ATCC) realised that MH370 identification blip is lost from the radar monitor, the situation is known as UNCERTAINTY PHASE. Bare in mind, the handing over traffic through coordination process has been done prior to that between KL ATCC and Ho Chin Minh ATCC. The question was then, the aircraft is actually under whose control? KL ATCC taken the responsibility due to the traffic is Malaysian and it depart from Kuala Lumpur. Should the credit goes to DCA Malaysia for that?

Was then, at that moment, nobody knew what happen to MH370. But if you discussed about it now, almost everybody has jumped to conclusion that the aircraft was turn back to VAMPI. But if we put ourselves at the air traffic controller who on duty at that time, shouldn’t we counter checked with our counterpart in Ho Chin Minh again and our radar and computer system before jumping to Air Force??? The standard and recommended practices set by ICAO, normally after 30 minutes from the last call, the situation is elevated to ALERT PHASE. By then, it was already 0151H. MH370 was already passed VAMPI.

Can Air Force take initiative to correct the situation once it realised that MH370 did not switched on its transponder anymore?
Everybody is well verse with incident KAL 007 which was shot down over the Shakhlin airspace on 1 Sep 1983. The significant effect to this incident is that, the world accepted ICAO proposal for military to refrained from endangered civil aircraft while flying. This come through an amendment to Chicago Convention known as Article 3Bis. According to this provision, state must have reasonable ground to conclude that the civil aircraft is being used for the purpose inconsistent with civil aviation if they want to interfere with it. As DS Hishamuddin has said, if Air Force is scrambled to intercept MH370 at that time and MH 370 did not comply with Air Force instruction, who want to take responsible to authorise Air Force to shoot it down? Knowing well known that until now we do not know what happened actually on board of MH370. If somebody compared that RAF did intercept a Pakistani Boeing 777 in May 2013, it was because the pilot alert the air traffic control that they have two unruly passenger onboard. And recently, the Dutch Air Force intercepted a Boeing 777 cargo aircraft enroute to Schiphol Airport because the aircraft violated the airspace restriction due to Nuclear Summit held there.

Eng Kian Yap,

1. Primary radar does not give you the identification of the aircraft.
2. Inmarsat’s Classic aeronautical service does.

What primary radar cannot confirm, Inmarsat’s service can. Simple.

Thanks for the excellent and informative article. Hopefully more of our rakyat understand how things work rather then getting utter rubbish information from our keyboard warrior. We may have our flaws but in times like this as rakyat we should stick together and do our part..the saying goes ” ask not what the country did for , but ask what you did for the country”. Your explanation exactly did that. Kudos to you.

Thank you sir. I agree that in trying times we should all stick together.

I feel very sad that Malaysian particularly most of PR politicians and their supporters instead of supporting the SAR committee and grieving together and show unity in time of needs, they hurl missiles to the committee. It is very hurtful even to me as an ordinary citizen. Every thing that the ruling party does is always being politicize as no good.

We know that the committee is not perfect but they are trying their best to find the plane. To me this committee has done their job quite well. You already mentioned that the US with sophisticated gadgets could not stop 9/11 from happening.

They should reserve their comments later when we do our postmortem, whose aim is to improve our capability to handle future occurrence of a similar tragedy.

I hope that those people just go away.

It is sad indeed when they have nothing good to say about the country yet claim to be its citizens

As’salam Tuan Sea My respect to you reading such nice article. With such polite & humble explanations, you deserve being the man to respect, quoted “An Officer and A Gentlemen” 🙂 . Sir, I’ve got one negative thought that needs clearance off my brain. Perhaps you could share advice and assist me to clear this ‘fire in the hole’ situation. Before i prolong my Q, firstly my apology to you (if you have the thought) should my Q is kind of annoyance, well I am sorry SIRR !!. Or else just treat it like a ‘mess night’ hilly-billy or ‘tea tarik’ session :). I don’t mind if you answered me like it was during the oldies at the OCS. I deserved it, 🙂 Well okie-dokie sir, I’ve this lingering thought since Mike Hotel Three Seventy catastrophe incident, which is, why there wasn’t an ‘air scramble’ when UFA spotted. I do understand the procedures if it was identified as ‘friendly’ and the consequences of such action. Just curious to know why not once in a blue moon we practice ‘overrule’ protocols which could have resulted ‘avoiding the disaster’ and quoted your word, “zero to hero” with credits, given the ‘medal of honors’ 😦 As to this date, I have this regret. We could have save many lives. Why, can’t we account the air-scramble order as a spontaneous exercise of attentiveness, and after that provide a full comprehensive or investigative report for the top brass to understood. Well, I guess you would said, are there any of our personal dare enough to violate procedures and regulations ?. I already got the answer. 😦 Don’t really know & confused, why am I, asking this kind of question. Are we being trained to be bounded with protocols and regulations and why don’t they skilled us with high degree of decision making and critical thinking. Or were this procedures and regulations turned us becoming a routine type of soul, resulted our nation and forces becomes shameless as reported and criticize by a pool of dam bloody idiots. Well Sir, sorry for taking your time reading my pointless inscription. Just couldn’t be patience, the ‘style’ our ‘hero to zero’ superiors handling this episode, which I presume as hands are tied, lips are sealed, command are dominant, ideas are wavy and not least ‘Yes Sir, your wish is my command’. In the end, time is not the prime.:( Feel free if you wished to edit or not to publish my wordings. I can understand it but please paste some advice. By all means, everything is about our sixth islamic pillars, qadha & qadar, korlu innalillahiwaainnahirajiuun. Tank you SIRR !! . As’salam. #pray4MH370.

Assalamualaikum,

The aircraft was flying from KL to Beijing. At IGARI it flew from east to west into the Strait of Malacca. The RMAF knew it was the MH370. It was not an unidentified aircraft. Just that it wasn’t squawking its identity. There is a series of threat assessment protocols.

If I were a bad person and I want to do something bad, I would do it to Putrajaya or KL after take off when the fuel is still full. If the 370 was flying towards KL and did not radio its intention, i know the fighters would be flying next to it. The RMAF has done many intercepts of civilian aircraft since the 1970s.

Thank you for your comment.

Waalaikumussalam Tuan. Your respond is fully understood. Tank you.

As we climbed the ladder of our career, the organisation will knocked into our head with the technical knowledge. Then slowly they asked us to manage. Started with small group of people and some assets, then our responsibility grew bigger and bigger. How they do and control this in accordance to their needs and wants are through rules and procedures. As higher you climb on your career steps, more unwritten procedures are exposed to you as what people normally says as custom or organisational tradition. Now, your competency is slowly changes from technical competency to management competency. Nevertheless, this is totally different from writing the so called procedures. Even if a senior management does not understand why such procedures are there, it is understandable if his background is taken into consideration, especially he was not really exposed to everything during his tour of duty on his junior position. Therefore, do read a lot…

As’salam Dato (Apologize, If I’m not mistaken one of our x airforce premier). Sir, tank you and I do appreciate & agree of your statement, Sir. SOP and its equivalent are written essentials which meant as a directive, guideline or protocols to be followed. Though, senior’s management personal were trained and sent to attend various courses and studies, and though with remarkable experiences, they are different like the others corporate leader, due to factor of discipline and ‘Act-?’. No doubt these are criteria that made them better than civilians attribute. What I sense is No 1. SOP and others shouldn’t be treated as text book, regularly it requires revision and amendments as time goes by to match with technology & management evolution. I’m not focusing on military standard but looking for the essentials in developing human capability. As to date, most companies through-out the world is practicing KBM (Knowledge Base Management) for its staff to make suitable management decision, planning or etc. ‘with much freedom’. And if new sensible & logical system founded they will made new changes to the procedures at their operational level or above. From my POV this shall be made practicable at all level of managing, particularly in the ground of Human Resources, Command & Control, Line Management, Strategic Management, Communication from top to bottom & vice-versa, Financing & Marketing, Regimental, Operational and etc. I do not wish to make an apple to apple comparison with other nations in building their military personal capability. Because its clearly pictured in news and reading materials. Though we are not bad as the other third world country, at least we should position our self to race with other developing nation. No 2. As the world evolved human mode of thinking also changes, thus they become cleverer than they were before. Therefore the art of managing human capital shall also be intensified in line with their mental development rather than routine soul. I don’t mean to scrutinize those whom are well experience and live long enough to lead and head challenging organization (I apologized if it appears to be so and I’m sorry), just to point out that combination of thoughts from all level of ages and experience can make good and sensible changes. Though lack of ‘experiences’ or consider as ‘green or juniors’, ideas contributed may deem rationale. Rather than just pressed the ignore button. I’ve this experienced and truly it was a disappointed sentiment. Because our organizations are tied with discipline, multi procedures, protocols, ACT plus (very likely) cuff hands and preferences to just switch-on the air conditioning button 🙂 Thus leader are not keen to consider its beneficial outcome, and better to follow of what has been spell and ordered. Being an unlikely, it ends up become ‘Ah Sir or Yes Sir’, not counting favoritism candidate. I belief this sort of management needs to be transformed including those of ‘unwritten’ unreasonable procedures. Revolutionize taking credence from as low (example) as Troop Leader up to Squadron Leader further up to CO/SO and step up until it reaches the top brasses. And of course, at each steps it shall undergo the substantial discussion and approval. We have ample time to attend meeting and brain storming besides routine excercise. Just brush them up with add-on soft skill knowledge and the rest they will know what is expected to be done. Well Sir, I’ve been writing very lengthy and time to halt, I guess. Just to clear myself that I loved and have much devotion to serve. Truly I dare not much to oppose of the existing standard, just tagging along with time to serve and soon be like “Old Soldier’s never fade but they just went missing”. 🙂 Cheers Sir, and my very much tank you to you for the kind words of advice and wisdom. I’ll bare those in mind. Assalamualaikum (salute) .. 🙂

My Theory…
Everything was good that nite. Until suddenly they realize there was a malfunction warning and what the captain did was he tries to move to the nearest airport. is why he turn left not turn right. But the turning as well is difficult because system malfunction.

He could be trying to land at terengganu or Kelantan airport but didnt managed to do that because of abnormal hardware malfunction. Then what he did was he tried his level best to steer the flight at whatever cost.

He tried to lower the flight but it was unsuccessful either because the flight now is out of control. So he steer the flight until the flight finnaly cannot fly.

BROKEN ENGLISH. BUT YOU UNDERSTAND I AM SAYING

Thank you for the input. Your message is clear.

Sea,

Professionalism and Politics are a twain that sometimes never meet. I believe the RMAF in its culture and history to be a professional force modelled on the RAF RAAF and Nato standards.

Its painful to watch a largely professional force having its acts and actions managed by politicians. The politicisation of the MAF and the RMAF in general being documented and commented upon by many.

Professionals with a similar training think alike, they look at the same issues and largely come to the the same conclusions because of the said professionalism. Politicians however look at the same fact and issues and because of politics come to a very different conclusion.

What would a professional know after March 8 ? That the primary radar tapes from two seperate AD radars would make it crystal clear that the unidentified track was in fact MH 370. I can’t draw any other conclusion and the reports of others are well irrelevant unless politicians decided that they would rather not believe the RMAF unless it was corrobarated by another soucrce. The reports and details about the track were leaked by the Americans once they got their hands on it because they knew it was good, The RMAF refused to confirm it and the RMAF chief was caught in a bad denial which will haunt him to his retirement.

Sea, I can’t fathom or understand the need of the My Gov to confirm or corrobarrate something which was already corrobarated. Two independent primary radar sources are not solid proof ?

The sad thing is that as they reveal less and less information or reveal only bits of information , then suspicions abound that they are trying to hide something. The rule no 1 of political scandal in any country is THAT Its not the original “mistake” which is fatal, Its the attempt to cover up,

And the answers , half answers , incomplete answers are making people suspicious as are the constant answers and then next day retraction of said answers by politicians.

That said and done, the MY Gov has been very open about everything that has happened after it left Vampi, the ping, the immarsat saga, they have been very less open about Igari, the turn back and the actual track.

I hope the planned inquiry will uncover that part of the mystery.

When a government officer made a public announcement, it has a lot of implication. Politic, diplomatic relation, legal, economic and god knows what more. In this situation, we can foresee millions of Ringgit in term of court settlement. So the word of government officer must comply the legal standard in order to relief the government of any those responsibilities.

“Sea, I can’t fathom or understand the need of the My Gov to confirm or corrobarrate something which was already corrobarated. Two independent primary radar sources are not solid proof ?”

Perhaps it wasn’t the government who needed to prove the primary radar information. Perhaps it was an outside source that they needed to respect. Since clearly it was an unidentified blip.

Although the thread is now 11 days old, the wealth of new information in the comments is commendable.

So many blogs/comments/theories put out on the Internet and I have yet to see one that provides rational answers as to why the Malaysian gov’t is to be blamed for “withholding” information. It’s obvious that only verified information can be shared. Not wanting to over-expose too much military secrets is understandable.

Much blame is being put on the RMAF on what they did or did not do but then that’s mostly by non-military people OR someone trying to make the RMAF reveal how it operates or what it has. Silence, even though highly criticised, or very curt response is still the best thing now.

Is it too hard to wait until the black box is found to understand the cause of the plane’s disappearance?

Patience is not the virtue of many. I, too, wish to know what has happened but until we find the black boxes, we’ll have to be patient. But even with the black boxes, we will only know how, when and where, but I don’t think we will ever know who or why

Thank you for this elaborate explanation about how the RMAF works. I am so relieved that we are in capable hands and not as the media has been pointing out lately. I for one was among those that wondered why no jets were scrambled by the RMAF when this happened. You have clearly explained that it did not fly across our airspace (only briefly) hence I am now enlightened with the facts. I do have a few nagging questions though.

1. Is it normal for radars or ATCC to lose identification signals? Do they know when a transponder is switched off? If they do know, shouldn’t switching off a transponder raise flags?

2.I would assume, switching off a transponder has no good intentions, if so, why weren’t any of the relevant air forces scrambling their jets to check on MH370? With whatever protocols or SOPs in place with each country the aircraft flew over, I should think that an aircraft that switched off its transponders and making a turn going the opposite way of its intended flight path would be suspicious.

3. Using mohddaudsulaiman’s analogy,

March 21, 2014 at 21:58

For further understanding…

As an analogy, for many people, they recognise a taxi at night because it has yellow light on top of it roof. If your kampung has federal trunk road cut across it, and a taxi travel on that road at night but without a yellow light on top of it, do you want to accuse the taxi is trying to harm your kampung??
If you asked the policeman on duty that night, he surely can tell you that it is a taxy. Why?? Because of its plate number or the wording written on its door……
That is how air force operate!

The policeman on duty can identify it was a taxi by the plate and the wordings on it. Unfortunately, this particular taxi took off it’s plates and covered the writing on the door. How can the policeman be certain that the taxi has no other intentions if the policeman didn’t stop the taxi? Isn’t he curious why the plates were removed and the wordings on the doors covered up?

I apologize if my questions are unfounded or lack the relevant knowledge. I am just upset because I still feel that this incident could have been prevented by lots of things that could have been done by various parties involved. My wife and I have many friends on that flight and we still keep hope that everyone is still alive and well somewhere.

Thank you for your question. I, too, have a friend on board that flight.

1. I was told that some aircraft do switch off transponders after being handed over to other flight information region (FIR). This is because a transponder transmits aircraft identification through a transponder number that is issued by the FIR where it took off(Plane A). Other FIR may assign the same number to another aircraft within its control (Plane B). As such when Plane A enters the radar scope of the second FIR where Plane B is flying, Plane A will be given another number for use by its transponder. So, I was told that some flights do that to avoid conflict. I stand corrected on this one.

2. Any flight will submit its flight plan to the ATC controlled by DCA. DCA is in-charge of airspace management in Malaysia, unlike in Myanmar, India, Vietnam etc. the air force does not receive the flight plan of any commercial flight. For the MH370 that night, the ATC had already told the MH370 to change radio frequency to contact Vietnam, and I believe the Malaysian ATC was no longer in control of the aircraft.

thanks SD for such info. I ‘lost’ a young colleague & his newly wedded bride (whose brother also worked for me) on mh370…so we have 2 very broken hearted families at close quarters.

All the best,
K.

p/s My sincere condolences about your younger bro…i didnt know.

Thanks bro. I hope the families are coping well.

last friday, we contacted the mum and dad as we have staff PA insurance cover. We dare not bring up the issue of death cert eventhough we know from our Ins co that they ere issued weeks ago…The parents (dad is a cop in balai sentul) ‘Tak Terima’ the situation so, we cant force the issue as the money was paid to the company and we have to hand it over…so heart wrenching lah.

FIRSTLY MAS MUST CHECK ON THE MAINTENANCES PAPERWORK ARE IN ORDER OR NOT. DID THE DATA RECORDER, VOICE RECORDER AND THE ULBs ( UNDER LAYING BEACONS) AS THE BOEING 777 HAVE ELEVEN (11) ULBs. IF IT HAD CRUSHED THE SEA WILL ULBs NOT EMIT SIGNALS WHICH IS SAID TO GO HUNDREDS OF MILES. CAN YOU PLEASE HIGHLIGHT THIS QUESTION OUT OF CURIOSITY. EX SERVICEMAN RMC

I can try. I am in no way linked to them. Thank you for your point.

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