The search will move into a new phase if debris

The search will move into a new phase if debris

It isn’t as hard as you might think. Most airline components have unique serial and part numbers. If there are any identifying markings on the recovered items from the sea, they can be compared with Malaysian Airlines’ and Boeing’s engineering records.

Boeing can compare the features, shapes, and materials of the recovered items, even if they are not marked, to confirm or deny whether the thing is from an aircraft structure, component, fittings, and furnishings.

The crash site

If the debris proves to be from MH370, the search will move into a new phase. The search planners must estimate the origin of the trash in the ocean based on currents and the effect that wind will have on it.

Marc Smith, co-pilot and flying officer of a RAAF AP-3C Orion in poor weather, is looking for the missing flight MH370. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright

Satellite data will be used to arrive at an area that is plausible for a search.

This exercise will involve many assumptions, and the “best estimate” will determine the center in the new search area where the search will focus.

All the assumptions combined may result in an area of search of thousands of square kilometers. This will be a difficult, time-consuming, and exhausting task for all those involved.

The recovery

The flight records of the aircraft will have to be recovered in order to start a detailed investigation into what happened. The recovery of other wreckage items may shed more light on the cause for the aircraft’s divergence from its intended course and ending up in the waters in the southern Indian Ocean.

Investigators will likely want to use remotely controlled submersibles with cameras to take pictures of the wreckage when and if it is located. Investigators will closely examine all the photos, looking for anything unusual that could indicate a pre-crash situation.

A burning or scorching of the aircraft could indicate an on-board fire. The bending of metal in a certain pattern, which is out of place, may suggest that an explosion may have occurred. Widely scattered wreckage can be an indication of a breakup in flight.

Such diagnoses are difficult, and they may raise more questions than answers depending on the quality of the photographic evidence.


The main concern will be locating and recovering those flight recorders. These are the only ones that can shed light on the fate of the aircraft.

If it is not damaged, the digital data recorder will give a very accurate account of the flight. This includes speeds, headings, and altitudes. It also contains information from several thousand sensors located throughout the aircraft. These include the location of many switches in the cockpit and the movement and position of the flight controls.

The DFDR should have data covering the entire flight duration for the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 passengers on board.

The cockpit voice recorder, on the other hand, should be able to provide information about any communications or sounds that were heard in the flight deck during the last two hours. The flight recorders’ data should last for many years if they are not damaged.

There may be other electronic data sources in the wreckage of an aircraft that can also be recovered. The aircraft should, for example, have been equipped with quick-access recording devices.

They record data similar to flight recorders, and they are used to improve and monitor flight standards. They are not crash-protected and may not survive an impact during a crash.

Many other computer systems in the aircraft may also have digital memory that can be read and understood if they are recovered.

Search continues

The Malaysian authorities seem to be satisfied with the latest data, which is sufficient for them to conclude that the aircraft crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

The sad story of MH370 will remain a mystery until all previously sighted debris has been reclaimed, recovered, and examined. There are still many more questions about the mysterious disappearance than there are answers.

We hope that the latest information will lead to the location of the aircraft so that investigation can begin to determine what happened to MH370 and its passengers and crew members.

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