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ATSB releases satellite imagery analysis in the search for MH370
16 August 2017

ATSB releases satellite imagery analysis in the search for MH370

The ATSB has released two reports which analyse data gathered during the surface search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), released two reports, prepared by Geoscience Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), that provide analysis and findings relating to satellite imagery taken on 23 March 2014, two weeks after the disappearance of MH370, over the southern Indian Ocean.

The satellite imagery was acquired through the assistance of French authorities. The images were captured by satellite two weeks after the aircraft went missing on 8 March 2014. The area covered by the imagery was not one that was searched from the air at that time, but is close to the underwater search area.

Experts from Geoscience Australia examined four images to determine whether they contained objects that were potentially man-made in origin. Given the proximity to the defined underwater search area, the CSIRO conducted a drift study to determine the geographic origin of the objects identified in the satellite images to provide an indication of where they were likely to have been on 8 March 2014.

The drift study found that the projected location on 8 March of the objects identified in most of the satellite images was consistent with the area identified by experts during the MH370 First Principles Review in November 2016.

While the objects have not been definitely identified as MH370 debris, the study may be useful in informing any further search effort that may be mounted in the future.

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NTSB: Air Canada A320 descended to 59 feet over SFO taxiway in July 7 near miss incident

ACA759’s position as it approaches the taxiway (NTSB)

The U.S. NTSB issued an investigative update on the July 7 San Francisco Airport near miss incident.

Air Canada flight 759, an Airbus A320, was cleared to land on runway 28R at San Francisco International Airport, but the airplane lined up on parallel taxiway C, which had four airplanes on it awaiting takeoff clearance. Air Canada flight 759 descended below 100 feet above the ground and initiated a go-around after overflying the first airplane on taxiway C.

The following facts are included in the investigative update:

  • The captain was the pilot flying ACA759, and the first officer was the pilot monitoring. Both pilots held Canadian airline transport pilot certificates.
  • Runway 28L was closed to accommodate construction; its approach and runway lights were turned off, and a 20.5-ft-wide lighted flashing X (runway closure marker) was placed at the threshold. Runway and approach lighting for runway 28R were on and set to default settings, which included a 2,400-foot approach lighting system, a precision approach path indicator, touchdown zone lights (white), runway centerline lights (white at the approach end), runway threshold lights (green), and runway edge lights (white at the approach end).
  • The incident pilots advanced the thrust levers when the airplane was about 85 feet above ground level. Flight data recorder data indicate the airplane was over the taxiway at this time. About 2.5 seconds after advancing the thrust levers, the minimum altitude recorded on the FDR was 59 feet above ground level.
  • Both pilots said, in post-incident interviews, they believed the lighted runway on their left was 28L and that they were lined up for 28R. They also stated that they did not recall seeing aircraft on taxiway C but that something did not look right to them.
  • Automatic Terminal Information Service Q was current and included an advisory that runway 28L was closed and that its approach lighting system was out of service.
  • Lights for taxiway C were also on and set to default settings that included centerline lights (green) along its length. Default settings also included edge lights (blue) and centerline lights (green) illuminating the transition or stub taxiways from the runway to the taxiway.

The first aircraft on the taxiway was a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the second one an Airbus A340-313. Both aircraft have a tail height of about 55 feet.


More information:


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UK Airprox Board: Saab 340 missed a drone by just 5 meters near Edinburgh

The U.K. Airprox Board detailed an incident in which a Saab 340 aircraft missed a drone by just 5 meters as it was descending towards Edinburgh Airport, U.K. on May 19, 2017.

Loganair flight BE6994, a Saab 340B (G-LGNE) was getting vectors from Edinburgh radar to intercept the ILS LOC RW06 at Edinburgh. When starting a turn to intercept the localizer all three crew members on the flight deck saw a dark coloured drone pass down the right-hand side of the aircraft. It was perfectly level with them and passed only just beyond the wing-tip, approx 15m from the flight deck and 5m from the wing-tip. It was so close and happened so fast that avoiding action was not possible.

The Airprox Board determined:
Cause: The drone was being flown beyond VLOS and in the vicinity of an airfield approach path such that it was endangering other aircraft at that location and altitude. The Board agreed that the incident was therefore best described as the drone was flown into conflict with the SF340.
Risk: The Board considered that the pilot’s estimate of separation, allied to his overall account of the incident and his inability to avoid the object portrayed a situation where providence had played a major part in the incident and/or a definite risk of collision had existed.

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