PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release
May 27, 2014
By: John E. Fiorentino
Today's release of the “raw data” generated by the British satellite firm Inmarsat and used to calculate the probable flight path of the missing jetliner MH370 raised more questions than it answered.
Although the 47 page report contained many numbers, what wasn't published may be more important than what was.
Inmarsat, it appears has acted according to the “letter of the law” so to speak, as “raw data” is definitely what they have given us. Some, including this investigator think it is a bit too raw. Missing are the algorithms and metadata used by Inmarsat to conclude that the plane flew over the Southern Indian ocean after disappearing from radar. Missing also is the data from the “other flights” which Inmarsat said they compared to that from Flight 370 to bolster their claims the plane flew South rather than North after veering off its planned flight path. Sarah Bajc, partner to Philip Wood a passenger on Flight 370 has also called for the release of the data from the previous week of Flight 370's operations. That data could also be used for comparison purposes.
What's painfully apparent here is that a circus atmosphere has overtaken the investigation. Inmarsat, for it's part now says that it would indeed release the model it used for calculating 370's path. We would of course need to ask the Malaysians if it is alright with them if that data is released.
Of course as before we still find ourselves wandering aimlessly in pursuit of official verification of Inmarsat's data from other than Inmarsat itself. So far, we have been treated to descriptions of “ground breaking” analysis and repeated reviews. The problem is the “reviewers” remain nameless and faceless.
Just recently, Angus Houston resorted to the same methods when asked to name the “experts” that would be assembled in Canberra to review the data in the MH370 search operation. When the former Chief Air Marshal was asked by a reporter to name the experts involved in the information audit, Houston replied:
“Well, I'd like to get back to you on that because, as you know, the panel of experts is a who's who of expertise around the aviation investigation world, and I understand that they will be there, but they will also be assisted by some external people, and I will come back to you on that later.”
There was no “later” that we have seen.
The course of the investigation so far prompted my personal letter to Angus Houston of May 22, 2014 which I will reproduce here for those who may have missed it:
Open Correspondence to
Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston
Head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre
Dear Air Chief Marshal
This is my second correspondence to you regarding the investigation: into the disappearance of Flight MH370.
It was troubling to learn the following this morning:
Malaysia Airlines MH370 ‘ping’ recordings will not be released as doubts grow over their validity
NEW doubt has crept into the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 after the Australian search agency said it would not make public the audio recordings of four acoustic “ping” signals.
This correspondence is to request in the strongest terms that you reconsider your position on this.
I have been fighting almost from the beginning to get the authorities to understand that the “pings” detected by the Australian ship Ocean Shield could have come from sources other than the black boxes of MH370. In fact, the available evidence indicates it is quite unlikely that the pings originated from the missing aircraft.
My over month long battle with the media finally resulted in CNN breaking this story on its NEWDAY Saturday program, May 10, 2014.
Advice from “experts” about these underwater noises has so far been couched in intransigence and guided by tunnel vision.
The tragedy here takes many forms – not the least of which is the loss of time as these impulses are investigated and re-investigated by whom exactly? The same people who looked at them initially? The same people who thought the frequency changes of the detected impulses had no meaning? The same people who now think those frequency changes are indeed relevant? The same people who reported the signals must have come from a man-made source? The same people who now doubt that they all did?
The supposed “convergence of data” - the Inmarsat “hand-shakes” and the most fortuitous underwater “ping” detections – have in my opinion led you down the Yellow Brick Road to a fools paradise. The Inmarsat data, even if correct, was and is incapable of pinpointing the final resting place of MH370 to the degree required by the current scenario. That the Ocean Shield should – on the very first run of the Towed Pinger Locator (TPL) – detect impulses deemed to have come from MH370 is beyond belief. Bells and whistles should have signaled the detection of this fools gold, but all was silent.
The abandonment of other possible scenarios such as a crash or safe wheels down on land has stunted and derailed the investigation. We are fast approaching, if indeed we have not already passed, a critical juncture where there will be no hope of ever finding that plane.
You need to make the tough decisions and take the immediate action necessary to get the investigation back on track.
It was with some trepidation that I began an initial review of the newly released Inmarsat data. It didn't take long however to discover that it wasn't going to be very productive. I couldn't even get past page 1 without realizing that much of what was needed for verification purposes simply wasn't there.
From pg. 1 of the Inmarsat release:
Understanding the Burst Timing Offset (BTO) values:
The round trip time for a message is a combination of:
1. Time from the ground station to the satellite, satellite to the aircraft, back to the satellite/, then back to the ground station.
2. Processing time within the ground station, satellite and aircraft terminal, which are constant
The BTO is a value (in microseconds) relative to a terminal at a nominal fixed location. Only R-Channel messages are used.
The BTO therefore allows the determination of the distance between the satellite and the aircraft. It does not provide the actual aircraft location.
Number 2 merely says the processing time is “constant.” No mention of exactly how long “constant” is, nor do we see what possible variation in that processing time there may be, i.e., + or - time value. Directly below number 2 we are told that “Only R-Channel messages are used.” I bet I'm not the only one who doesn't know what an “R-Channel” message is.
Now I suppose we could (and some others may) develop our own models and attempt to plug in the released Inmarsat data. Without some more information from Inmarsat, such as we have mentioned, it appears that just might be an exercise in futility.
We also need to determine the definition of “Southern Indian Ocean” as used by Inmarsat and the official investigators. Even if the Inmarsat data is correct, where does that put us – exactly? Is it within several hundred miles of the final resting place of MH370 or is it within – considering the possible vagaries of the data – several thousand miles? We cannot count on those other supposed underwater “pings” to guide us as it is very likely they weren't emanating from the plane's black boxes after all.
What we can say with certainty is that we as independent investigators would more than welcome the opportunity to assist in locating the missing aircraft and all those aboard. We really can't be very effective though under the circumstances.
Mary Schiavo, former Inspector General of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and CNN aviation analyst said today that the families should be able to get the proper information to those independent investigators that they have “contracted” with. I for one can tell you that much of this is being done by those who have volunteered their time and effort. There are no contracts of which I am aware, except those given to the TV talking heads, various politicos, Inmarsat officers and employees, search crews, unnamed experts and assorted prime ministers.
The games must end, all of the data should be released and the investigation revamped in light of the hard cold realities.
Copyright 2014 – J. E. Fiorentino – All Rights Reserved
For further information contact:
John E. Fiorentino
PO Box 324
Oakhurst, NJ 07755 USA