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Chinese naval ship to help look for MH370

CANBERRA, Australia--A Chinese navy survey ship will start mapping the seabed off the west Australian coast this week as part of the latest phase in the search for the Malaysian airliner, officials said Monday.

Chinese, Australian and Malaysian authorities met at the west coast port city of Fremantle at the weekend and agreed that the Chinese ship Zhu Kezhen will conduct a bathymetric survey of the Indian Ocean floor as directed by Australian air crash investigators, Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Center said in a statement.

The Canberra-based center said the ship was scheduled to sail for the survey area on Wednesday, weather permitting.

Officials believe the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that vanished with 239 passengers and crew on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing veered far off course and crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

After an initial air and seabed search failed to find any trace of the wreckage, authorities this month announced a new phase over a vastly expanded seabed search area covering 60,000 square kilometers. The new phase also involves mapping of the seabed where depths and topography are in parts largely unknown.

Negotiations are underway to contract powerful sonar equipment to scour the seabed for wreckage that could be in water more than 7 kilometers deep.

The original ocean floor search of an area of less than 400 square kilometers where a sound consistent with aircraft black box was thought to have emanated was conducted by a U.S. Navy unmanned sub, the Bluefin 21, near its 4.5 kilometer depth limit.

The Bluefin 21 had continued searching an ever widening area until a communications problem was discovered last week involving the transponders on the sub and the Australian navy ship that tows it, Ocean Shield.

The center said the Ocean Shield arrived on Sunday at the Australian west coast port of Geraldton, where preparations were underway to install spare transponder parts to both the ship and sub.

1 Comment
May 21, 2014    sylevine1@
Provide A Memorial For The Passengers & Families Of MH-370 By Preventing Fatal Crashes - The flight recorders should be data streamed to ground in real-time and proactively used to prevent crashes
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The US, due to the influence of the Airlines, Aircraft Manufacturers and Pilot Associations, won't fix the dark-age, restrict the data, killing system, because of fear of liability. They have successfully lobbied to keep the flight recorder data private. This fear has kept the safety critical Digital Flight Data Recorder, DFDR, data from being streamed to the ground in real-time and used proactively to prevent crashes. Similar to the US, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) hasn’t called for or allowed the DFDR data to be used in real-time also out of the fear of liability to its members. The only hope lies with China in making the DFDR public and used in real-time to proactively prevent crashes.
It would allow the world to know an aircraft’s position, velocity and heading every second. Always remember that the remote flight recorder, data streaming black box, can be used in the present autopsy mode of post-crash analysis but proactively, and more importantly, it can also be used to prevent fatal crashes. The ironic thing is this will make air travel more economical, safer and its nations more secure. It is a madness driven by the fear of litigation that we don’t know where the MH370 is within days or hours. We owe the fixing of the safety system to all those who have died in needless crashes that could have been prevented by proactively using the digital flight recorder information in real-time. While it is laudable to find the aircraft, locking up the critical safety data in an aircraft instead of using it in real-time primarily to protect the passengers is a lunacy driven by the fear and greed. We have had the technology and bandwidth to stream the flight recorder data to the ground for over ten years. The military uses high bandwidth systems for over ten years to control drones. We got the astronauts back from the moon using this technology. The data to the capsule was streamed to the ground. The ground crew found the problem in capsule and then simulated the best solution and radioed the astronauts as to what to do and they came home safely. The military doesn’t object to streaming the data and it should not be objected to by the commercial aviation industry. If it requires that governments mandate this for the protection of the passengers and nations, well so be it. It is critical to start the implementation process now to protect future passengers as a memorial to those aboard the MH-370.
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