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    Malaysia Airlines MH17

    What was it doing over eastern Ukraine in the first place??? That's a war zone where they are shooting aircraft from the sky. It's well known.



    Here is the great circle route directly from AMS to KUL. They were probably sent around a bit to get out of Amsterdam's airspace but it looks like they were sticking to a great circle route to Kuala Lumpur. That airspace has been off limits to US carriers since April. I find it pretty irresponsible to fly that route just to save some fuel. Avoiding that area would only be a slight deviation from the great circle route.


    #2
    In the news...

    http://news.ca.msn.com/top-stories/m...ussia-border-1

    Comment


      #3
      There is a AIDS conference in Australia (my wife works in global health) and many people are heading in that direction. One person she works with who was just in NC was on his way to the conference and apparently on the flight. She's unfortunately expecting to hear of more people she knew.

      Comment


        #4
        They were flying the normal route from NW Europe to S.E.Asia, which is not the perfect great circle (shortest route) but a compromise based on jet streams and ease of obtaining over flight permissions etc. 15 of 16 Asian airline members (except Korean Airline) and European airlines continued using this route as it was considered safe at altitudes above 32,000 ft.
        ​Nobody without 20/20 hindsight expected a rag tag group of Russian insurgents to have access to the highly powerful Anti-aircraft rockets required to shoot down airliners at above 30,000 ft.
        This is not something to blame on Malaysian Airlines, or any others using this route, but on those who allowed this band of people to get hold of such a weapon, without the sophistication to distinguish between a civilian plane and a military one. Anyone with the right Apps on their Smartphone could have checked what was flying overhead.
        That the one hit happened to be from Malaysian Airlines is just their bad luck. It could have been any one of dozens of airliners flying from Europe to S.E.Asia around the same time.

        Comment


          #5
          So, you are saying that flying over an active war zone where rebels have shot down two aircraft in the previous week is safe? Ukraine and Russia both have advanced missile systems so they exist in the area. Ukraine missile systems were captured by the rebels. It is widely believed that Russia is supplying weapons, training and advisors to the rebels. Last week they shot down a aircraft at an altitude above what a small, man transportable system can reach which confirmed that the rebels have higher level anti-aircraft capabilities and are willing to use them.

          Saying that flight above 32'000 feet is safe is total bullshit. It is walking through a mine field and simply hoping for the best. 32'000 is a number picked to allow air carriers to operate business as usual. It is a imaginary line picked by Eurocontrol saying "you fight below 32'000 and we'll fly overhead so don't shoot at us". The rebels do not have the command and control, intelligence (information) and real time communication with air traffic control to honor the 32'000 ft line or to differentiate between military and civilian aircraft.

          Ukraine happens to be right in the middle of the great circle route between Schiphol and many other major European airports and many major south Asian airports. It is prime real estate. Some carriers choose to fly around the war zone. Others including Malaysia Airlines choose to fly through. It's purely a money decision. Flying around and avoiding the shooting is a longer route, burns more fuel and is more expensive. Flying over Ukraine is the shorter, less expensive route to fly.

          Here are the flight paths taken by Malaysia Airlines flight 17 to KL and British Airways flight 9 to Bangkok the week before this tragedy. It shows that some airlines recognized a hazard and flew around. Other airlines choose to ignore the obvious risk and flew directly over the war zone.

          Comment


            #6
            No I did not say it was safe, but the International Aviation Organization and European Air Traffic Control said so.
            Most other airlines were doing the same, following advises from the Aviation Authorities and Air Traffic Controllers. NOW they are probably ALL flying different routes.

            The northern route shown for British Airways is actually the normal West bound route. Whether the southern tracks are because they tried to avoid flying over Ukraine, or because of the jet streams at the time, is an open question.

            The reason why Korean Air, as the only Asian airline, did not fly the southern route may be because they don't have any direct flights from Europe to S.E..Asia. The great circle route between major European destinations and Korea goes way north over Siberia. Korean Air had one of their airlines shot down over the Kola Peninsula back in 1983 while flying that route.
            Routes to/from Japan also goes over the Arctic, even over the North Pole

            SIA had over 70 flights using this same route in the last week. At the time MAS flight 17 was hit an east bound Singapore Airlines flight and a west bound Air India flight was just a few miles away to the north: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/...s/1270454.html
            They are no longer flying over Ukraine, although the danger of the rebels doing this again is probably minuscule now.

            That the rebels had obtained anti-aircraft weapons were known, but that they had access to the more sophisticated rockets required to shoot down air crafts above 30,000 ft.was obviously not suspected by any of the responsible Aviation Authorities. Shooting down a plane at 20,000 ft. requires fairly powerful rocket systems, but not to the same degree of power and sophistication as required above 30,000 ft.

            The question is really; who actually operated this weapon system and where did it come from. Yes, both Russia and Ukraine has these BUK Systems in the region and obviously one or more system had got into the hands of the rebels. If that was know in advance the Aviation Authorities should have issued a warning, or banned overflights.

            The question of whether it is necessary with months of training to operate such a system has also been discussed.
            This article seams to say no: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/th...-system-2014-7
            But it also points out that the system is unable to distinguish between military and civilian air crafts, if used "stand-alone" and by untrained personnel.

            If this article is to be believed, there are clear indication that the rebels mistook the MAS flight for a Ukrainian AN-26 transport plane: http://www.theweek.co.uk/world-news/...wn-flight-mh17

            Let us hope that this will bring enough pressure on all parties to stop this madness.

            Comment


            #7
            The US shootdown of Iran Air 655 is one reason I am so angry that commercial flights were routed near/over a war zones. They are different situations but show how quickly things can go wrong when shooting at aircraft beyond visual range. Aircraft are tracked from long range and decisions are made quickly and shots fired long before the target is in sight. A first level military power with well established procedures and command and control still shot down an airliner by mistake. A highly trained and equipped military force made a VERY major mistake that killed a lot of people. Translate the situation to a rebel force with poor training and lack of intelligence and it's just asking for an accident/tragedy.

            The Soviets shot down of Korean Air 007. It is the one commercial airliner shot down where someone, the pilot of the SU-15, had visual contact with the target and knew that it was a civilian airliner without doubt. He communicated with his superiors that it was a civilian airliner and was ordered to shoot. I do not blame Gennadi Osipovich as he was acting under orders and is suffering the mental trauma of his actions. It does show how events can cause a power to do very stupid things and also shows the Russian/Soviet ability to deny a mistake.

            ---
            As for what systems are required to shoot down aircraft I disagree. There are man transportable systems capable of 10'000 and maybe 15'000 feet. Then most all other systems can reach basically any altitude. Most systems are good from a few hundred feet up to the stratosphere and altitudes double what an airliner can achieve. An airliner cruises right through the sweet spot and is an easy target.

            ---
            And never be afraid to say what you think. I had a good idea of what you were intending but this whole situation makes me very angry. I have a thick skin and greatly value your input and insight so keep the comments and information coming.

            Comment


              #8
              My first thought when i heard the news was 'what the hell was it doing over flying a war zone anyway?'. I was somewhat surprised to hear that the authorities had still been allowing flights to use that route. "It should be safe" is just not good enough.

              I just hope that the shooting down of the plane was indeed a terrible mistake, and not some attempt by either side to play stupid political games. Either way, nearly 300 people have lost their lives because of the foolish decision to allow flights to continue over an active war zone. And why is it that some airlines understood the potential for danger, whilst others seemingly did not?
              Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

              Comment


                #9
                I just found this news article from last Thursday - Reuters, it would seem there had been a lot of military air action over the larger region in the last week or so, which makes it even more unbelievable that civilian air traffic was still being routed over the area. Yes, we need to find out who was responsible for shooting the plane down, but we also need to find out who on earth was responsible for routing the plane over that area in the first place. Because in my mind they should take a large part of the blame.

                You simply do not route civilian air traffic over an active war zone, especially when there is on going military air combat in the area! That is just asking for trouble.
                Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

                Comment


                • ombugge
                  ombugge commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The normal route from Europe to S.E.Asia also goes over Afghanistan and "everybody" fly there. That is and has been a War Zone of sort since the Soviet invasion in 1979. I have flown that route dozens of times since.
                  USA supplied anti-aircraft weapons to the Mujahedeen in the 1980s to use against Soviet aircrafts and a lot of those were used, but some got into the hands of Talaban and has been used against US planes in the present war. Such is the irony of US foreign policy.
                  The same may happen in Iraq, if the US gets actively involved again there with air strikes.

                • Steve.B
                  Steve.B commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I do not think that the Taliban have any surface to air missiles that can reach anywhere near 30.000ft. The US Stinger is only good for a max height of about 16.000 ft. The Taliban are thought to have other similar launchers, but none of them have a range greater than 18 - 20.000 ft. So, in theory a commercial jet at a cruising altitude is well out of their reach.

                  A very different situation in the Ukraine, the pro-russian rebels got their hands on some much more advanced weapons when they took over various military bases. (I just have to wonder who taught them to use them? - if indeed it was the rebels that shot the plane down).

                • ombugge
                  ombugge commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That is apparently what was thought about the rebels in Ukraine as well, that they could only get hold of smaller, simpler system, not able to reach as high as 30,000 ft. or more. That the more sophisticated weapons would not be secured enough to ensure that they could not be used by a band of rebels was apparently not deemed possible by the Aviation Authorities of the world.
                  Did any of them prohibit, or even advise, their airlines from flying over Ukraine???

                  There probably are, or have been, anti-aircraft weapons within Afghanistan and/or Pakistan that COULD fall into the wrong hands. The war there has lasted for 35 years and civilian planes have been flying over that territory all that time.

                  With the benefit of hindsight we can see that even a rebel insurgency can be a danger to civilian planes flying at over 30,000 ft., but who had the foresight to see that???

                #10
                I can not imagine the pain families feel seeing bodies and personal items on the news, picked over and carried off by locals and masked rebels. I can only guess at the mood in the Netherlands. So many people lost from such a geographically small area. I am sure many in the country are somehow related to, are a friend of or know someone who was lost.

                Comment


                • Steve.B
                  Steve.B commented
                  Editing a comment
                  When watching the news and seeing the images of personal belongings, i wonder if relatives of those lost will recognise some of the items. I cannot imagine the pain they must feel if they do recognise something that belonged to their loved ones. I do wonder if the news channels should be a bit more sensitive to such things. I do not even want to try and imagine the pain that would be felt if a parent or grandparent spotted a toy that they knew belonged to their lost relative. It must be painful enough just to see the remains of the plane, let alone anything personal.

                #11
                Photos of a part of the planes c0ckpit fuselage would seem to suggest that a missile exploded in close proximity to that area of the plane.



                A ballistics expert suggests that this proves that the missile was guided by radar, rather than heat seeking. The weapon used had a fragmenting warhead that is designed to explode when very close to the target, peppering the area with red hot shrapnel.

                http://www.smh.com.au/world/photo-of...722-zvjur.html

                Whether by luck or judgement, it would seem the missile hit in the one place that would insure the plane would be lost.
                Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.

                Comment


                  #12
                  Tonight in the USA NBC news had a interesting report about airlines and the routes they fly around trouble spots in the world. They showed the routes commercial aircraft flew today. Several aircraft (a mixture of US and European airlines) turned around in mid air after the FAA prohibited US airlines from flying into or out of Tel Aviv. Most damning was seeing Malaysia Airlines flying through the center of Syria as others avoided the country.

                  ----

                  I was about to say that I could not imagine what a SA-11 with a 150 lb (60 kg) warhead would to a commercial airliner then I realized what a stupid comment that would be. The US AIM-9 Sidewinder has a 20 lb (9 kg) warhead and a man transportable missile like the US Stinger has a 6 lb (3 kg) warhead. Military transports have survived hits from manpad missiles while the DHL A300 barely made it back to the airport and it never flew again which helps show that commercial aircraft are not designed to withstand battle damage.

                  Comment


                    #13
                    The news tonight showed the black cars driving through the Netherlands. Then they showed pictures of the passengers. Kelly's crying seeing the photo of her coworkers.

                    Comment


                      #14
                      The news tonight showed the black cars driving through the Netherlands. Then they showed pictures of the passengers. Kelly's crying seeing the photo of her coworkers.

                      Comment


                        #15
                        It could have been any other airliner flying over the area that day: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/tr...7-tragedy.html

                        The flight we normally use to return from Norway to Singapore is SQ 351 from Copenhagen, which was only 15 n.miles from MH 17 at the time it was hit.
                        Life is a roll of the dice. You can NEVER be 100% safe, even in your own home.

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