Chronology/History of the Flight

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Chronology: History of the Flight (MH370)

This article presents extracts from the Safety Investigation Report MH370/01/2018 which have been selected because the content is a chronology of events related to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Each event in this chronology has been linked to a Timeline Event in the main Timeline articles on this site. This provides a cross-link or check on the well known events.


1.1.1 Introduction

On 07 March 2014 at 1642 UTC[1] (0042 MYT, 08 March 2014), Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 Beijing-bound international scheduled passenger flight departed from Runway 32 Right, KL International Airport (KLIA) with a total of 239 persons on board (227 passengers and 12 crew). The aircraft was a Boeing 777-200ER, registered as 9M-MRO.

The Pilot-in-Command (PIC) signed in for duty at 1450 UTC [2250 MYT], 07 March 2014 followed by the First Officer (FO) who signed in 25 minutes later. The MAS Operations Despatch Centre (ODC) released the flight at around 1515 UTC [2315 MYT].

The PIC, an authorised examiner for the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Malaysia, was conducting the last phase of line training for the FO, who was transitioning to the Boeing 777 (B777) aircraft type from the Airbus A330. As the FO was certified functional during his last line training flight, no additional pilot was required as safety pilot on MH370. It has been established that the PIC had assigned the FO to be the Pilot Flying for this flight.

The PIC ordered 49,100 kilograms (kg) of fuel for the flight that gave an endurance of 07 hours and 31 minutes including reserves (as per computerised flight plan). The planned flight duration was 05 hours and 34 minutes.

The recorded radio transmissions between the Air Traffic Controllers at Kuala Lumpur Area Control Centre (KL ACC) and the FO showed that an airways clearance request to Lumpur Airways Clearance Delivery was made at 1625:52 UTC (0025:52 MYT) and a pushback and start clearance request to Lumpur Ground was made at 1627:37 UTC [0027:37 MYT] (0027:31 MYT).

In accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of MAS, radio communication on the ground is the responsibility of the FO. In the air, the role is reversed when the assigned pilot flying is the FO.

Lumpur Tower cleared MH370 for take-off at 1640:37 UTC (0040:37 MYT). At 1642:53 UTC (0042:53 MYT) Lumpur Departure cleared MH370 to climb to Flight Level (FL) 180 (the aviation term for 18,000 feet [ft.]) and to cancel the Standard Instrument Departure (SID) clearance by tracking direct to waypoint[2] IGARI.

At 1643:31 UTC (0043:31 MYT), KL ACC Sector 3 Planner coordinated with Ho Chi Minh (Viet Nam) Area Control Centre (HCM ACC) on the Direct Speech Circuit (direct telephone line) relaying the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of MH370 for waypoint IGARI as 1722 UTC (0122 MYT) and the assigned Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) transponder code A2157.

MH370 was transferred to Lumpur Radar at 1646:39 UTC (0046:39 MYT).

At 1646:58 UTC (0046:58 MYT), MH370 was cleared to climb to FL250 and subsequently to FL350 at 1650:08 UTC (0050:08 MYT). MH370 reported maintaining FL350 at 1701:17 UTC (0101:17 MYT) and reported maintaining FL350 again at 1707:56 UTC (0107:56 MYT).

At 1719:26 UTC (0119:26 MYT), MH370 was instructed to contact HCM ACC on the radio frequency 120.9 MHz.
At 1719:30 UTC (0119:30 MYT), MH370 acknowledged with “Good night Malaysian Three Seven Zero”. This was the last recorded radio transmission from MH370.

Radar recording showed that MH370 passed through waypoint IGARI at 1720:31 UTC (0120:31 MYT).

Based on the reconstruction of the flight profile conducted on the B777 simulator, the flight would be at waypoint IGARI one minute earlier than the original ETA of 1722 UTC (0122 MYT).

The Mode S symbol of MH370 dropped off from radar display at 1720:36 UTC (0120:36 MYT), and the last secondary radar position symbol of MH370 was recorded at 1721:13 UTC (0121:13 MYT).

The disappearance of the radar position symbol of MH370 was captured by the KL ACC radar at 1721:13 UTC (0121:13 MYT). The Malaysian military radar and radar sources from two other countries, namely Viet Nam and Thailand, also captured the disappearance of the radar position symbol of MH370. The Bangkok radar target drop occurred at 1721:13 UTC (0121:13 MYT) and Viet Nam’s at 1720:59 UTC [0120:59 MYT].

The last Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) (refer to Section 1.9.4 - ACARS) transmission was made through the aircraft’s satellite communication system at 1707:29 UTC (0107:29 MYT).

Figure 1.1A (below) shows the Chronological Sequence of Events of the Disappearance of MH370 (in pictorial form and not to scale)

Figure 1.1A – Chronological Sequence of Events of Disappearance of MH370 (in pictorial form and not to scale)

Figure 1.1A – Chronological Sequence of Events of Disappearance of MH370 (in pictorial form and not to scale)
Source: Safety Investigation Report MH370/01/2018

  1. Unless specified, all times in this report are in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The Malaysian Time (MYT) is UTC+08 hours.
  2. Waypoint - A specified geographical location used to define an area navigation route or the flight path of an aircraft employing area navigation. Waypoints are identified as either:
    • Fly-by waypoint - A waypoint which requires turn anticipation to allow tangential interception of the next segment of a route or procedure, or
    • Flyover waypoint - A waypoint at which a turn is initiated in order to join the next segment of a route or procedure.

In the printed Report, Figure 1.1A, 1.1B, 1.1C and 1.1D are positioned on pages which may not relate to the image or diagram. Each Figure has been placed in context when importing content to this website.

Pushback and start clearance request to Lumpur Ground was made at 0027:31 MYT and approved at 0027:37 MYT.

Source: Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370, 02 July 2018, Safety Investigation Report MH370/01/2018