Malaysia Releases Prelim Report on MH370

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After initially refusing to release the preliminary report on the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 (callsign MH370), the Malaysian government has made it available to the public. In five pages, the report outlines the facts known about the history of the flight, the disappearance and search. It recounts details of the departure from Kuala Lumpur, climb to Flight Level 370, clearance directly to waypoint IGARI and conversations between the crew and Lumpur approach control and Lumpur “Radar” (analogous to “Center” in the U.S.). It states that Lumpur Radar handed off MH370 to Ho Chi Minh Center by directing the crew to contact it on frequency 120.9 at 01:19:24 Malaysian time. Lumpur Radar received the acknowledgment, “Good night Malaysian three seven zero.” There was no further radio contact with the flight.  Lumpur ATC radar depicted MH370 passing over IGARI at 01:21:04. Nine seconds later the radar label for MH370 disappeared from the radar screens at Lumpur Radar.

At 01:38 How Chi Minh Center queried Lumpur Radar on the whereabouts of MH370, leading to efforts to locate the flight—although search and rescue was not activated until 05:30. It was later determined that MH370’s Aircraft Communication and Reporting System (ACARS) was making regular transmissions through its satellite communication system from prior to takeoff, but its last transmission occurred at 01:07:49, prior to the last radio transmission from the flight crew. Although ACARS had stopped transmitting, the satellite communication system automatically transmitted a total of seven messaged that confirmed that the system was still logged onto the network—the last being received by the ground station at 08:19 Malaysian time. Analysis of the Inmarsat satellite data, using changes in the signal frequency (Doppler analysis), indicated MH370 flew south on an arc of 40 degrees from the satellite and ended in the southern Indian Ocean. The report further states that 26 countries have used 82 aircraft and 84 vessels in the search for the missing jet. The report goes on to make a safety recommendation that ICAO examine the safety benefits of introducing an international standard for real-time tracking of commercial air transport aircraft.