[time-nuts] MH370 Doppler (Magnus Danielson)

Poul-Henning Kamp phk at phk.freebsd.dk
Sat Aug 23 02:36:13 EDT 2014

In message <53F8060B.7020907 at leikhim.com>, Joe Leikhim writes:

>I applaud those applying their rather extensive math skills at
>this problem, but from the outside, it appears to me that the problem
>is so very complex (error prone) and so many assumptions are being
>applied, that folks time would be better spent scouring the beaches
>for flotsam from the aircraft to wash up.

It's certainly a big problem that we're in tan(almost_ninety) territory.

As for debris on beaches, not so much.  There's a gyre in the Indian
ocean which is likely to trap a lot of it.

>It still bothers me that with all the space, ocean and ground based
>radar, sonar and imaging sensors, there is so little trace of the
>aircraft's travels that night.

The earth is pretty damn vast and not a lot of people loiter in the
indian ocean on the off-chance that a plane is going to ditch.

A very big uncertainty in relation to electronic tracking is that it
is pretty trivial to spoof another plane, and it has previously been
done by two planes carrying out a rendez-vouz and swapping squawk
and other identifiers over international water.

As far as I can tell, that would not work with the Inmarsat transponder
without physically swapping the radio modules.  Given the hour-long
"off" period that could have happened, but it would have been so
much easier to just enable the squawk.

If they did a rendez-vous with a co-conspirator plane, took
over their squawk code, turned off livery-lights and followed
the prefiled flightplan, MH370 could fly unchallenged by all
airforces all the way to the Black Sea along the norther route.

Poul-Henning Kamp       | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk at FreeBSD.ORG         | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer       | BSD since 4.3-tahoe    
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

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