ONE plane goes missing without trace, with still no explanation of what happened. Another plane gets shot down in flames and still no explanation of what really happened.
But perhaps events of the last week are drawing us closer to a resolution on both fronts and, certainly for the families of loved ones lost in the two tragedies, let’s hope so.
The fuselage debris found on Reunion Island this week certainly appears to be a piece of a wing flaperon from immediately behind an engine.
When a large airliner with large underslung engines ditches (not crashes), the engines, which are designed with shear bolts, contact the water first and may be ripped off backwards and sink.
The rest of the aircraft should still be intact.
The flaperon section seen around the world on Thursday appearsto possibly have some integral airtight compartments still intact so may have floated partially submerged and carried by ocean currents for 15 months.
It does not mean that the current search is in the wrong place as the piece could have drifted several kilometres or more a day for 500 days.
The location of MH370 still remains a mystery and the aircraft may never be found.
This appears to add weight to previous Daily Telegraph articles by myself where it is generally believed worldwide by pilots that only a qualified airline pilot would have the necessary training to reprogram the Flight Management Systems computers to alter the aircraft’s flight path from destination Bejing to somewhere in the Southern Indian ocean.
To fly for seven hours after the hijack over the South China Sea means someone was in control. Of course unless the aircraft is found and the Black Boxes recovered this can only remain conjecture.
The circumstantial evidence is strong but at least we know, if the wing piece is proved to be belonging to MH370, then it did end up in the Indian Ocean as the experts believed.
Reunion Island is located in the Indian Ocean not that far from the extreme western end of the circular position line derived from the final satellite ping.
If confirmed from MH370 then those wild conspiracy theories of hijack and landing somewhere in Asia can be thrown out as a load of tosh.
Meanwhile, the shooting down of MH17 is being evaluated by the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin has blocked the Hague Tribunal. Have the Russians got something to hide?
Putin says that MH 17 was shot down by a Ukrainian SU25 fighter bomber.
I flew a corporate jet two weeks prior to this event, over Ukraine, from St Petersburg to Chisinau in Moldova.
Why ICAO had not prescribed this airspace as a no-fly zone shows a slow realisation of actually what is happening on the ground in eastern Ukraine.
A war is being fought for territorial gain.
Since the takeover of Crimea by Russian forces — understandably as home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet — the Russian Bear is awake and hungry. It is slowly but inexorably moving westwards to regain some of the territory which was formerly part of the Soviet Empire.
Russia does not want NATO on its borders and will not allow Ukraine to join NATO.
Premier Putin’s claim of Ukrainian SU25 involvement needs scrutiny.
I am a former RAAF Fighter Pilot and a graduate of a Senior Officers Joint Warfare Course. I also spent time as an Operations Officer for a Battlefield Support Squadron and Air Liaison Officer.
The SU25 is a 1980s vintage battlefield support aircraft. It was designed as a low level close air support ground attack aircraft in the same vein as the famous IL2 Sturmovik — the most important aircraft of Word War 2 with over 50,000 built.
It was this heavily armoured tank buster which swarmed over the battlefields at low level smashing concentrations of German Armoured Forces such as in the Battle of Kursk which was by far the largest tank battle in history.
It was the IL2 and the T34 Tank which were mainly responsible for the destruction of the Third Reich along with 20 million Russian dead.
The IL2 called the Concrete Bomber by the Luftwaffe because it was so heavily armoured and difficult to shoot down, played a vital role. Similarly the SU25 fits into the Soviet Battle Doctrine of a massive armoured tank thrust westward into Western Europe supported by large numbers of ground attack aircraft.
This was the Blitzkrieg of WW2 i.e. tanks supported by Stukas.
NATO Doctrine is to hold out for a few days until the Americans come to rescue Europe again unless it goes nuclear.
People inspect the crash site of passenger plane MH17 near the village of Grabovo.
The SU25 carries bombs, unguided air-to-ground rockets and 30mm cannon. The Ukrainian SU25s have no air-to-air capability although a few later Russian SU25s were upgraded to include Vympel air-to-air infra-red homing missiles for a limited self air defence.
These are similar to our RAAF Sidewinder missiles. They have only a 7.4 kg warhead and would home onto a heat source such as the jet engine of the target. The top speed of the SU25 is also way below the normal M.84 cruise speed of a B777-200 and it would be difficult for a SU25 to achieve a firing solution at 33,000 feet in these circumstances.
The West is blaming the MH17 shoot down on separatist rebels which fired a BUK surface to air missile and all the evidence points to this.
The nature of the shoot down, where the front quarter of the B777 was shattered in a huge impact of shrapnel, is indicative of a large fragmentation warhead with proximity fuse of the type carried by a BUK missile.
Pilot Byron Bailey
A puny warhead of the Vympel infra red homing missile could not have caused this massive destruction and would have targeted an engine perhaps disabling it. However the earlier model Ukrainian SU25s did not have this capability.
Another point is that MH17 was flying westward and the frontal quarter attack came from the east near the Russian border. I don’t think a Ukrainian pilot would be foolish enough to stray into Russian Airspace.
So it appears that Premier Putin is pushing out propaganda but 95% of the Russian people support and believe him, so this propaganda is for domestic consumption.
The BUK missile system is a relatively sophisticated air defence missile system on a mobile launcher. I do not think the Russian Military would have said to the Separatists “Comrades here’s one of our BUK Missile Launchers you can play with”.
The whole procedure of target tracking by the launch vehicle radar and lock on with targeting transmission data being relayed to the missile computer and achieving launch parameters is not like jumping into a truck and learn as you go with little training.
I contend that the BUK missile launcher in question was actually manned by Russian Military in coordination with the separatist rebels. The Rebels do not have the technical knowhow to operate a BUK Missile System.
I contend that it is the Russians who may be guilty of reckless indifference and that is why they hurriedly scurried back across the border with their BUK Launcher where video evidence captured it with one of its four missiles missing.
That large numbers of Russian troops with insignia removed are involved in Eastern Ukraine is beyond doubt.
The BUK tracking radar would have shown MH17 as a massive blip on the screen obviously not an incoming Ukrainian SU25. The B777 is a huge aircraft so it beggars the question — was this a deliberate shoot down of an airliner by the Russians to cause closure of the airspace above Eastern Ukraine?
Either deliberate or through carelessness the shoot down of MH 17 is a war crime and the Russians should be held responsible. The Hague Tribunal should conclude with no other finding.
Massive reparations should be paid to the Malaysian Airlines (now supposedly technically bankrupt ) and the Malaysian Government plus families of the deceased.
Such a finding would probably be ignored by Premier Putin and still the border in Eastern Ukraine moves slowly westward.
More at: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/mh370-while-wing-may-have-been-found-the-plane-may-never-be-recovered-writes-pilot-byron-bailey/news-story/97d88f662a64896e1d42c45d845c2edd
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The case for pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s hijack of flight MH370 - The Australian
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MH370 mystery: One year on from disappearance and Byron Bailey says only the pilot could have done it - The Daily Telegraph
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ATSB should watch Sully to see how real investigations are done - The Australian