Tag Archives: European Commission

Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 – Were There Any Phone Calls from the Aircraft?


.

Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

There were 239 people on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 8, 2014 at 00:41 MST.

On Saturday, March 22, 2014, The Telegraph published the cockpit communication aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight from its taxi on the runway to its final message at 1:19 am of ‘all right, good night‘. The transcript starts at 00.25 with general instructions from the control tower to the pilots. The detailed conversation begins at 00.36.

Transcript of the final 54 minutes of communication from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (Source: telegraph.co.uk)
Transcript of the final 54 minutes of communication from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. (Source: telegraph.co.uk)

KL CONTROL TOWER
00:36:30
MH370: ATC, this is MH370, good morning
ATC: Good morning, MH370, This is KL control tower, please remain in A10 32R

00:36:50 MH370: A10, MH370 copies that

00:38:43
ATC: MH370, please get on the runway from 32R A10

MH370: runway from 32R A10, copy that

00:40:38
ATC: MH370, position 32R, runway ready, permitted to take
off. Good night
MH370: position 32R, runway ready, permitted to take off. MH370 copies that. Thank you, goodbye.

KL AIRPORT
00:42:05 MH370: MH370 has left the port

00:42:10 ATC: MH370 position confirmed, flight altitude 180, follow the command and turn right, target IGARI waypoint.

00:42:40 MH370: Alright, altitude 180, direction IGARI waypoint, MH370 copies that

00:42:52
ATC: MH370, you’ve entered KL Radar 132.6, good night
MH370: 132.6, MH370 copies that

KL RADAR
00:46:51
MH370: KL ATC, This is MH370

ATC: MH370, please climb to flight altitude 250

00:46:54 MH370: MH370 is climbing to flight altitude 250

00:50:06 ATC: MH370, climbing to flight altitude 350

00:50:09 MH370: This is MH370, flight altitude 350

01:01:14 MH370: MH370 remaining in flight altitude 350

01:01:19 ATC: MH370

01:07:55 MH370: MH370 remaining in flight altitude 350

01:08:00 ATC: MH370

01:19:24 ATC: MH370, please contact Hu Chi Minh City 120.9, good night

01:19:29 MH370: All right, good night

Today, everyone has a cellular phone and some would even have two phones. If so, there should have been a minimum of 250 cell phones among the 217 passengers and 12 crew members on board the missing aircraft.

In 1991, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent agency of the United States government, prohibited the use of cellular devices for making phone calls or surfing the Web in-flight by passengers while on board an airplane because the FCC suspected that the radio frequency emitted by cell phones could cause an airplane’s communication equipment to malfunction.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the national aviation authority of the United States, agrees with the FCC that cell phones may cause substantial interference with aircraft systems and supports the ban for all commercially operated airplanes. Many airlines comply with FCC’s rule. However, some commercial airlines have instituted different policies about when passengers can turn their cell phones on and off while on board their airplanes.

The use of cell phones on private or charter planes is not regulated, and many private flights permit passengers to use cell phones while in flight.

When United Flight 93 was hijacked on September 11, 2001, passengers managed to make two cell phone calls during the flight’s final minutes. Several other calls were made using air-phones.

In 2005, the FCC announced that it might consider lifting the ban on the use of cell phones on airplanes above 10,000 feet, with certain restrictions.

Latest cellular phones are able to operate on very low power settings, and may not interfere with the aircraft’s communication systems. The FCC is trying to establish an acceptable threshold of radio frequency emissions to allow cell phones to be used on airplanes without any fear of causing failure to the aircraft’s navigation system or disrupting service on the ground. These devices will still need to be in airplane mode during takeoff and landing.

Earlier, the European Commission allowed only 2G wireless services to be used aboard flights above 3,000 meters. In November 2013, the European Commission adopted new rules to allow passengers use devices with 3G and 4G data connections.

Now, the often asked question on social media is: “Did the passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 make calls using their cell phones?

On Monday, March 17, 2014,  at a news conference Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said: “So far, we have not had any evidence of any telephone company of any member trying to contact.”

One reason might be that once the aircraft cruises to a certain height the cell phones are no longer in the range of the cellular network because cell phone towers are not built to project their signals that high.

Was the Flight MH370 flying too high?

According to radar analysis, the plane had been flying as high as 45,000 feet and as low as 23,000 feet, which the experts say is too high to register with mobile towers.

Also, according to telecom experts, when the plane flies too fast the cell phone fails to register with cell towers. Typical cruise speed of a Boeing 777 aircraft is Mach 0.84 (560 mph, 905 kph, 490 knots) at a cruise altitude of 35,000 feet (11,000 meters).

Bill Rojas, director of telecom research at IDC Asia Pacific said that passengers travelling on high-speed trains in Japan and other countries manage to make telephone calls using 3G networks at speeds of up to 150 mph (240 kph) but cell towers do not register a signal beyond those speeds. According to Rojas the aircraft would need to have been flying at speeds below 155 mph (250 kph) and at an altitude less than 10,000 feet (3,050 meters) for passengers to make or receive calls.

.

RELATED ARTICLES

.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Add this anywhere

Advertisements

Report Says EU Nuclear Reactors Need Repair


October 3, 2012

A leaked report on Europe’s nuclear reactors found that up to $32bn needs to be invested to prevent disaster.

Almost all of Europe’s nuclear reactors are in need of an urgent overhaul that could cost as much as $32bn, according to a leaked draft-report by the European Commission.

.

The Commission is expected on Thursday to finalise its stress test report, which was designed to ensure that a disaster similar to the one at Japan’s Fukushima could not happen again.

The report will be debated by EU ministers later this month..

After that, the Commission intends in 2013 to propose new laws, including on insurance and liability to “improve the situation of potential victims in the event of a nuclear accident”, the draft obtained by Reuters news agency said.

Of the 134 EU nuclear reactors grouped across 68 sites, 111 have more than 100,000 inhabitants living within 30 km.

Safety regimes vary greatly and the amount that needs to be spent to improve them is estimated at $13-32bn across all the reactors, the draft says.

France’s nuclear watchdog has already said the country, which relies on nuclear power for about 75 per cent of its electricity, needs to invest billions of Euros.

The lesson of Fukushima was that two natural disasters could strike at the same time and knock out the electrical supply system of a plant completely, so it could not be cooled down.

The stress tests found that four reactors, in two different countries, had less than one hour available to restore safety functions if electrical power was lost.

By contrast, four countries operate additional safety systems fully independent from the normal safety measures and located in areas well-protected against external events. A fifth country is considering that option.

The main finding, the draft says, is that there are “continuing differences” between member states’ safety regimes.

It also says provisions to ensure the independence of national regulators are “minimal”.

Imad Khadduri, a nuclear analyst, told Al Jazeera that this report reflects “what is now an issue in Japan, which is the complacency of the nuclear industry, and the following up with modifications and updates on safety issues.”

“European power reactors should take much more strident efforts in fixing and implementing the safety issues.

Khadduri went on to say that if the public “is going to be alarmed by the $30bn cost of it all, they should be more worried about how much it could cost to decommission reactors, which is incredibly costly.”

Voluntary exercises

The stress tests are a voluntary exercise to establish whether nuclear plants can withstand natural disasters, aircraft crashes and management failures, as well as whether adequate systems are in place to deal with power disruptions.

All 14 member states that operate nuclear plants took part, however, as did Lithuania, which is decommissioning its nuclear units.

From outside the 27-member bloc, Switzerland and Ukraine joined in the exercise.

The tests were meant to have been completed around the middle of the year, but countries were given extra time to assess more reactors.

Non-governmental organisations are among those who have criticised the process as not going far enough and having no powers to force the shutdown of a nuclear plant.

“The stress tests only give a limited view,” said Roger Spautz, energy campaigner at Greenpeace, which believes nuclear power should be phased out.

He cited independent research earlier this year which said some European reactors needed to be shut down immediately, as well as the example of Belgium, where the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 reactors have been halted because of suspected cracks.

The draft report says the stress tests are not a one-off exercise and will be followed up. Existing legislation also needs to be enforced, it said.

The deadline for passing the existing nuclear safety directive into national law was July 2011. The Commission started infringement proceedings against 12 member states that missed it.

To date, two have still not complied but the report did not specify which ones.

The Commission does not comment on leaked drafts.

But on Monday, the EU energy spokeswoman said the recommendations were being finalised and would not be “very, very detailed”.

In France, the nuclear watchdog and operator EDF said they would not comment before seeing the official report.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
Enhanced by Zemanta