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What can past aerospace disaster tell us about Malaysia 370


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A look into the past to explain what happened to Malaysian flight 370.

Published in: Engineering, Business, Technology
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What can past aerospace disaster tell us about Malaysia 370

  1. 1. What Can Some Past Areospace Disasters tell us about Malaysian Flight 370? From Apollo to Air France School of Mines Christopher YUKNA Science General
  2. 2. Successful Accidents
  3. 3. US Airways Flight 1549
  4. 4. What did the Papers Say?
  5. 5. Analysis • NY jet crash called 'miracle on the Hudson' - NBC News • The moment Captain Cool landed an Airbus on the Hudson Chesley Sullenberger
  6. 6. The News Offers Two Choices
  7. 7. If we want a truer picture…
  8. 8. The Chicken Gun
  9. 9. US Airways Flight 1549 was hit by a flock of geese. One engine suffered burnout and the other continued to provide some thrust and electricity.
  10. 10. Airbus A320
  11. 11. Fly by wire
  12. 12. To sum it up • True Chesley Sullenberger was a great pilot • However he was not alone • He had a network of engineers, designers, computer programers, algorythms, hours of flight simulations etc with him in the cockpit. • This was great piloting via a team of specialists, combined with years of learning from tests and errors, but not a miracle and well within the realms of possibility.
  13. 13. Oxygen and NASA • Apollo I and XII
  14. 14. • The problem with air • The bends • Weight • Solution: Pure Oxygen
  15. 15. Apollo I
  16. 16. Apollo 13 Remember: in the right Oxygen atmosphere even metals will burn.
  17. 17. Graham Allison’s three lenses for decison making Individual Team or crew Organization or network
  18. 18. Malaysian Flight 370 • Cognitive biases Pilot error Group think Blamestorming Trust in the machine Windows of recovery Squashing divergent views
  19. 19. Pilot error • Are 99% of all aircraft accidents caused by pilot error? • Why is it easier to blame the pilot?
  20. 20. • No eventually it is closer to 50% and that includes equipment and weather factors. • But there is an obvious advantage treating pilots as scapegoats since quite often they died in the crash and there is little money at stake in blaming them and much face to save for companies and organizations • However good companies like Toyota search out lower ranked workers for their assestments
  21. 21. What happens if you ask a pilot? • A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet BY CHRIS GOODFELLOW • The pilot did all the right things. He was confronted by some major event onboard that made him make an immediate turn to the closest, safest airport. • The loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense in a fire. In the case of a fire, the first response is to pull the main busses and restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one. Hence communications go silent. • going to 45,000 feet in a hijack scenario doesn’t make any good sense • let’s accept for a minute that the pilot may have ascended to 45,000 feet in a last- ditch effort to quell a fire by seeking the lowest level of oxygen. That is an acceptable scenario. At 45,000 feet, it would be tough to keep this aircraft stable, as the flight envelope is very narrow and loss of control in a stall is entirely possible. The aircraft is at the top of its operational ceiling. The reported rapid rates of descent could have been generated by a stall, followed by a recovery at 25,000 feet. The pilot may even have been diving to extinguish flames.
  22. 22. Why wouldn’t Boeing want to mention Egyptair B772 at Cairo on Jul 29th 2011, cockpit fire fueled at least in part by the oxygen tanks in the cockpit? Would you be able to function in this Space? With a hole and fire like this would Flying higher really make sense?
  23. 23. Squashing divergent views It is very hard for homogeneous and hierarchical organizations to accept outside views • Exploration firm claims MH370 wreckage found in Bay of Begal • The Adelaide-based GeoResonance said on Monday the possible wreckage was found in the Bay of Bengal, 5,000km away from the current search location in the southern Indian Ocean off Perth, with the company beginning its own search on March 10. • We identified chemical elements and materials that make up a Boeing 777… these are aluminium, titanium, copper, steel alloys and other materials," said Mr Kursa • GeoResonance's search covered 2,000,000 sq km of the possible crash zone using images obtained from satellites and aircraft, with company scientists focusing their efforts north of MH370's last known location • "The technology that we use was originally designed to find nuclear warheads and submarines. Our team in Ukraine decided we should try and help," said the company spokesman David Pope.
  24. 24. Pings Very precise but is it accurate?
  25. 25. Audo Pings • The most recent acoustic signal (5th) detected by an Australian aircraft in the search Thursday is "unlikely to be related to the aircraft black boxes," Australian chief search coordinator Angus Houston said in a statement Friday. • So if the fifth is false because there was no possibility that the batteries lasted that long were the other four just wishful thinking?
  26. 26. Conclusions • From Oxygen, to fly by wire and blamestorming all appear to have played roles. • It seems that Malaysa Flight 370 is not so much a mystery as just poor organization and communication. • While the Bay of Bengal solution is unproven there is still no reason to suspect that there would have been a logical purpose in changing direction and flying towards open ocean. • It would be nice to know what if any further investigation occurs in the Bay of Bengal.
  27. 27. Further Reading
  28. 28. Acknowledgements • I would like to thank Paul Wheal for his encouragement and numerous discussions he contributed to on this topic that helped crystalized this presentation.