Welcome to MH370Wiki
On this page you will be introduced to the Webmaster for the site www.MH370wiki.net.
About the Website Administrator
Every website needs an administrator. My name is Grant and I am the Website Administrator or Webmaster for the site I have called MH370Wiki.
On Saturday, 8 March 2014 I heard the first news items that Malaysia Airlines "have lost all contacts with flight MH370 which departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41 am earlier this morning bound for Beijing", and followed the news as the saga unfolded. I noticed differences between what was reported here in Australia (I live in Western Australia) and what I could access from Malaysia and other south east Asian sources. I am not related to anyone on-board MH370 and do not personally know anyone affected by the tragedy. But aircraft engaged in the surface search in the Indian Ocean could often be seen overhead as they left Pearce Air Force Base in the morning and as they returned late in the day and brought the tragedy 'close to home'. I also became fascinated with the process by which information was released, denied, and confirmed, as if facts and truth had to be extracted instead of revealed. I wondered how the media could publish articles based on speculation or conspiracy theories instead of facts, but understand that facts were in short supply. And I then observed how people with non-technical backgrounds grappled with topics like satellite communications and concepts like burst frequency offset, burst timing offset, and doppler shift. I found that my background in engineering, communications, and information technology seemed to converge and produce a capability to learn about and understand the technical aspects of flight MH370. So I decided to collect information and create a new website.
Many people have focused on 'where' MH370 is, and that is a worthwhile goal. I would like to be able to answer the questions 'why' or 'how' or 'who' but there is insufficient information or evidence available at this stage. My thought is that learning as much as possible about what is actually known about the flight may reveal something useful and lead to at least a partial answer to those questions.
I do not have a background in aviation or aeronautical engineering. Nor am I am not an expert in communications. But in the sections below I have outlined some of my background. The bulk of this website has been collated from official sources and it is the original authors who have the expertise and are the authority. My role as a website administrator has been mainly to collate the material and 'decode' it. I hope that this website helps others to understand what happened to MH370.
My working life can be divided into four periods each corresponding to a different career. In the summaries below I have also shown how my background knowledge and experience assists to an understanding of flight MH370.
I graduated with a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering in 1980. This was preceded by several years work as an undergraduate in maintenance engineering and mechanical engineering design.
The ability to understand technical concepts has been useful when reading the official Reports about MH370. For example, the aircraft weight and balance, fly-by-wire, aerodynamics, aircraft electrical systems etc., are all outside my work experience but easily understood from physics, control systems, fluid dynamics, power generation and distribution, and other aspects of engineering with which I am familiar.
I worked for the Australian Government for nearly twenty years in departments which regulated the radio frequency spectrum. This role is currently performed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). I worked for the ACMA's predecessors with names like the Spectrum Management Agency, the Department of Communications, the Department of Transport and Communications and the Australian Communications Authority. I had the opportunity to learn beyond the requirements of my relatively low administrative position and be involved in some interesting areas including deep space communications.
When it became apparent that satellite communications from MH370 recorded by Inmarsat proved that the aircraft had continued to fly for hours after it went beyond the range of military radar observation, I recalled a lot from this period of work. I was familiar with the complex of satellite earth stations at Gnangara in Western Australia where the signals were received by Inmarsat. I also had a basic understanding of aircraft communications in VHF and HF bands, satellite communications, and radar.
- Information Technology
After obtaining a Diploma in Computing I was invited to provide training in Information Technology with a State Government institute equivalent to a polytechnic. For about ten years I developed courses and trained in networking, systems administration, website administration and technical support at Certificate IV and Diploma levels.
ACARS was completely new to me but is an essential aspect of the MH370 story. However, I soon learnt that ACARS is a simple text-based messaging system using media such as VHF radio or a link to a satellite and follows communications protocols just like all the other data communications I was familiar with.
Computer forensics is a topic I included in systems administration courses. In our training environment we routinely cloned computers using imaging software, recovered passwords and attempted recovery of deleted files. The recovery of data from Captain Shah's personal flight simulator was performed by forensic investigators at a level beyond my classroom skills but followed a process that I also understand.
My final career change involved managing a company which provided training in high risk work. I had obtained a Diploma in Business Management while working as a trainer. A significant part of a Manager's role involves information management: company records, policies and procedures, minutes of meetings, and effective communications. It is important to centralise information using an Intranet like Microsoft's SharePoint. The opposite is sometimes referred to as 'silos' - separate storage of data by different sections of the company according to their expertise.
When developing the MH370Wiki site I chose MediaWiki as a platform because it is open-source and I had used it in my training environments. MediaWiki can also be used for company Intranets and is excellent for cross-linking information.
Data about MH370 is stored in silos. There are various official sources with their own expertise or role and the closest to a central repository is the Official Site for MH370. Over time the available information from some of those official sources has diminished. By collating data from different sources it is hoped that the MH370Wiki will, over time, become a 'go to' website for researchers and other interested persons.
Other Relevant Background
Life skills are, by definition, developed over a life-time. These skills or knowledge areas are not necessarily developed through formal training and qualifications. Several of my own areas of experience have also helped me to relate to, or understand, aspects of flight MH370:-
- Crew Resource Management
While I was training computer students for the role of systems administrators I came across an article which suggested that training in Crew Resource Management could be beneficial to network and systems administrators when involved in disaster recovery. I researched CRM and included this in my training. Then several years later I employed the principles of CRM when the company I was managing suffered its' own disaster - a fire in the server room spread and destroyed our office block so we lost all our computer and communications systems, records, resources and the facility itself. But staff worked as a team, solving each problem so on the first business day after the disaster we were able to operate and within a year had fully recovered.
Two examples may have been cited in the article:- the successful landing of United Airlines flight UAL 232 at Sioux City, Iowa on 19 July 1989; and an earlier tragedy - United Airlines flight UAL 173 which crashed in Portland, Oregon on December 28, 1978. The only fault with the aircraft on UAL 173 was the landing gear but the flight crew did not operate as a team and failed to update the Captain as they ran low on fuel while they wasted time in a holding position. United Airlines subsequently implemented training in Cockpit Resource Management, a program developed by NASA.
Flight UAL 232 was a DC-10 three-engined aircraft which lost virtually all of its' hydraulics when the tail-mounted engine disintegrated and the plane could only be steered by adjusting the thrust on left and right engines. That it landed without total loss of life is a tribute to Captain Haynes and the way he handled the crisis. The flight crew and the cabin crew were trained in CRM; the Captain maintained open communication and welcomed to the flight deck a passenger who was also a DC-10 pilot and Instructor; and the crew communicated effectively with air traffic control. As it could be clearly demonstrated that CRM made a significant difference to the outcome all pilots, flight and cabin crews are now trained in Crew Resource Management.
This includes the two pilots and ten cabin crew on-board flight MH370. All had participated in Crew Resource Management training with Malaysia Airlines, and Captain Shah was also qualified as a flight Instructor. So what did they all do when a crisis occurred?
Very little has been written about the role CRM should have played during flight MH370. We can understand that, without satellite communications, the cabin crew could not communicate with Malaysia Airlines' Operations Centre. We do not know what happened but when interpreting events we should also consider what actions the flight crew should have taken according to the flight manual and standard operating procedures, and what response or actions the cabin crew could be expected to take (unless prevented from doing so) if they could perform as trained.
While I was the General Manager of a company providing training for high-risk work, I also taught a subject titled Enter and work in confined spaces. There are many hazards associated with working in a confined space and one relevant here is simply a lack of oxygen. If the oxygen level falls significantly below a normal concentration of around 21% then a person in a confined space will become unconscious and may die.
If the air we breathe is oxygen-deficient then the concentration of oxygen in the blood is reduced - a condition called hypoxemia. In a person affected by hypoxemia the blood cannot deliver the required amount of oxygen to the body's organs and tissues - a condition known as hypoxia. In confined space training we used an oxygen meter to show how the oxygen level can be measured and how adequate ventilation can reduce the risk of hypoxia.
It is generally believed that the passengers and crew on flight MH370 developed hypoxia and subsequently died. There is, however, no evidence and no proof so it is a belief, not a confirmed fact. The hypoxia theory is built on a presumption that the aircraft depressurised, possibly deliberately. At altitudes above 10,000 feet the air pressure and density is reduced to the extent that people struggle to breathe and cannot get enough oxygen. The appropriate term would be hypobaric hypoxia.
- Mental Health
For several years I was a member of a Community Advisory Group (CAG) which provided advice to a State Government on issues of mental health. To enable the CAG members to be more effective the Department of Health provided training, coordinated tours of mental health facilities, and encouraged attendance at a national mental health conference.
There are two mental health issues which relate to MH370:-
Outside of Malaysia it seems generally accepted that Captain Shah diverted flight MH370 as an act of suicide. Captain Shah's family and friends have dismissed that possibility and the Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Team of investigators apparently do not believe either of the pilots was responsible.
I have better things to do in life that create a website which would be a memorial to a mass murder and suicide. However, based on what I know about depression and other mental health issues including suicide, my acquaintance with people who have taken their own life (including my own daughter), and my reading of the official Reports on MH370, I decided to continue with development of this website. The article Hostile takeover or suicide mission was developed after an evaluation of the information currently available. More recently, in response to yet another documentary claiming to reveal untold truths about MH370 I clarified my perspective in a Position Statement.
I am no stranger to grief. We all know that our grand-parents will pass away and fear the emptiness when our parents die. But nothing can prepare us for the death of a partner, husband or wife, or a child. Over the years I have lost my grand-parents, my parents, a wife and more recently, a daughter. However, the loss and grief I have felt is not comparable with that experienced by the next-of-kin of those on-board flight MH370.
For a long time I avoided including details of the passengers and crew on MH370 in this website. It has been easier to write a technical article than be touched by the emotions that well up when recognising that so many people, including children, were on-board.
Whilst I am not qualified as a grief counsellor, I learnt a lot as I worked through my own griefs and it is apparent that much of a Western attitude to grief, and the models used to describe the grief process, are invalid in the context of MH370. One reason may be related to cultural differences; another factor may be the lack of resolution, absence of proof, the wait for answers, and the whole process from the beginning. The body of the aircraft has not been located and scientists and mathematicians have determined that it lies in the south Indian Ocean using the language of probability - terminology that invokes a sense of uncertainty. There is a view that, even if the aircraft did divert to the south Indian Ocean how do we know for certain that the passengers were still on-board? This is a question posed by a Chinese author and it challenges a Western rational mind-set. Grief is usually personal, private and inwardly painful; but for MH370 next-of kin there is membership of group with a shared experience and a public expression of grief which media has exploited without enabling observers to understand.
I hope that these few words convey the empathy I feel and I hope that this website will, in some way, honour those who are affected by MH370.