Questions now over Subang ATC response when MH370 went missing.

March 28, 2014 (TMI)

Malaysian investigators are facing difficulties trying to obtain radar data from neighbouring countries as the search for the missing flight MH370 enters its 21st day today. – The Malaysian Insider pic, March 28, 2014.Malaysian investigators are facing difficulties trying to obtain radar data from neighbouring countries as the search for the missing flight MH370 enters its 21st day today. – The Malaysian Insider pic, March 28, 2014.What did the Subang air traffic control do when it found out that flight MH370 did not check in with Vietnamese air traffic controllers in the early morning of March 8?

Apart from getting a pilot to contact the missing aircraft, nothing much is known about what else the air traffic control (ATC) did that a deputy minister presumed that military radar operators ignored the plane because a turn back was ordered.

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri has now said his presumption was “not accurate” but questions remain whether the ATC did anything about the lost aircraft.


“It is not clear what the ATC did. We know MAS knew the plane was missing but did the military know?

“In fact, did other ATCs in the region know that MH370 was missing? They could have tracked it if they received early information,” an aviation industry official told The Malaysian Insider.

It is understood that Malaysian investigators have found it difficult to get radar data from neighbouring countries as regional military officials are reluctant to reveal their capabilities.

“It can’t be that all of the radar operators were sleeping on the job at that time,” the aviation industry official said.

Australian news site quoted a Straits Times report this week that Malaysian authorities had infuriated passengers’ loved ones by telling them at a briefing this week that there was “sealed evidence that cannot be made public” in relation to the missing flight.

“The sealed evidence included air traffic control radio transcript, radar data and airport security recordings,” the paper reported.

The remarks by Malaysian authorities – made at the Metropark Lido Hotel in Beijing – have not been reported by other major newspapers, despite being widely shared on social media, said.

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang has asked for a probe into matters that could shed more light into the plane that disappeared with 239 people on board while en route to Beijing three weeks ago.

The Gelang Patah MP said there were many questions surrounding the plane’s disappearance which had nothing to do with the black box.

The fact that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) had not intercepted MH370 when it was detected on military radar flying in Malaysian airspace on March 8 due to the “assumption” that the flight had been ordered to turn back by the civil aviation control tower, was one such question, Lim said.

Rahim had told Parliament two days ago that the RMAF had detected the plane but as it was a non-hostile aircraft, they had assumed that it was under instructions from the control tower located in Subang.

Rahim retracted his statement yesterday, saying his statement in Parliament was “just an assumption and that it might be not accurate”.

“Wasn’t the failure to cross-check with the civil aviation authorities a gross dereliction of duty, especially as national security was involved?” asked Lim in a statement yesterday. – March 28, 2014.

2 thoughts on “Questions now over Subang ATC response when MH370 went missing.

  1. Now the above is only a reflection of how efficient the Malaysians authorities that are filled by people of one kind !

  2. The first thing that came to my mind was, “Oh god, it’s Air France flight 447 all over again!” (AF 447 crashed over the Atlantic in June 2009.) So let’s start with that thought. Yes, there are a few similarities with AF 447, but there are important differences as well. What are the similarities? In both cases, a modern two-engine airplane disappeared in-flight, out of the blue, with no distress signals. Both flights were piloted by fairly experienced flight crews. Both planes crashed over the ocean.

    However, there are striking differences. The Malaysia Airlines jet was a Boeing 777, which does have fly-by-wire avionics, but – on a 777, in contrast to the Airbus A330, which was used for AF 447 – the pilots can override the system on the 777. So in the case of MH 370, the possibility of a flight computer going bananas and crashing the plane is close to impossible (for AF 447, that was the speculation in the beginning). Another major difference is that MH 370 did not traverse an area of violent weather like the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ). The weather over the South China Sea was very calm, with no thunderstorms, not even a lot of clouds. So MH 370 did not – like AF 447 – have to maneuver around thunderstorm cells and cumulonimbus clouds. The pilots of MH 370 did not report any severe turbulence. Also, MH 370 did not send any error messages – as AF 447 did – to Boeing or Malaysia Airlines before the crash, so the on-board systems seemed to be working just fine.

    So what do we know about MH 370? We know that the flight had reached its cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, which is the safest phase of every flight. It was about 40 minutes into its flight and, until then, no anomalies had been reported. The contact to MH 370 was lost just when it was supposed to make contact with Ho Chi Minh Control Center in Vietnam. According to Chinese sources mentioned in The Aviation Herald, “radar data suggest a steep and sudden descent of the aircraft, during which the track of the aircraft changed from 024 degrees to 333 degrees.” This is a pretty significant change in flight direction. Some Tweets last night speculated that MH 370 wanted to turn around or toward land, but I doubt that is true. The same speculations were made for AF 447 back in 2009. I think the turn was already part of the steep descend during the crash and was not controlled.

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