Tag Archives: Australia

Hong Kong Airlines to fly to Australia

Hong Kong Airlines (Hong Kong) will launch its first thrice-weekly service to Australia next year, commencing on January 8, 2016. The new service is a triangular service starting from Hong Kong to the Gold Coast, and then continuing to Cairns enroute back to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong logo

 

Airbus A330-300 aircraft with 292 seats including 32 business class seats will be deployed on the route, operating on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Copyright Photo: Gilbert Hechema/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-343 B-LNP (msn 1398) departs from the Hong Kong (HKG) hub.

Hong Kong Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Route Map (click for full size view):

Hong Kong 8.2015 Route Map

Air Canada to bring the Boeing 787 to Brisbane from Vancouver

Air Canada (Montreal) has announced the addition of new nonstop flights from Vancouver to Brisbane, Australia. Flights to Brisbane will initially operate three times weekly using Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners beginning on June 17, 2016, with the intention to increase to daily service, subject to obtaining the necessary government approvals.

This year to date, Air Canada has launched new international services from Montreal-Venice, Montreal-Mexico City, Toronto-Amsterdam, Vancouver-Osaka, with Toronto-Dubai and Toronto-Delhi launching this fall.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner C-GHPV (msn 35260) taxies at Vancouver International Airport.

Air Canada aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Emirates to bring the Airbus A380 to Perth, Western Australia

Emirates (Dubai) is bringing the Airbus A380 to Perth, Australia for the first time, commencing on May 1, 2015. The airline has announced that it will up-gauge one of its three daily services between Dubai and Perth to its flagship aircraft, demonstrating the growth of Perth as a global destination.

The change from a Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft will see an increase in capacity of 136 seats per flight and 1,904 seats per week, reinforcing Emirates’ commitment to business and leisure passengers visiting the capital city of Western Australia.

Emirates’ A380 program has seen 12 new double-decker aircraft join the fleet and launch to ten new A380 destinations in the past 12 months; Barcelona, London (Gatwick), Zurich, Mumbai, Frankfurt, Dallas/Fort Worth, Kuwait City, San Francisco, Milan and Houston (Bush Intercontinental). Glasgow, Manila, Tehran and Vienna have also experienced the flagship Emirates aircraft when it touched down on their tarmac for a one off showcase in 2014.

The Emirates A380 is set in a three-class configuration, with 401 seats in Economy Class on the main deck, 76 fully flat-bed, mini-pods in Business Class and 14 First Class Private Suites on the upper deck.

Emirates’ Perth Airbus A380 service will operate daily as EK 420 departing Dubai at 0255 and arriving at Perth International Airport at 1735 the same day. The return flight, EK 421, will depart Perth at 2210 and arrives in Dubai the following day at 0525, a flying time of 11 hours 15 minutes.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDT (msn 090) departs from London (Heathrow).

Emirates aircraft slide show:

Video: Flying First Class on the Emirates Airbus A380:

 

QANTAS Airways and China Eastern Airlines announce a closer relationship

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) and China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) today (November 17) announced a new joint venture, marking the start of a deeper level of commercial cooperation on flights between Australia and China.

The airlines will now submit an application for authorization to Australian and Chinese regulators. Subject to regulatory approval, it is anticipated that the joint agreement will commence in mid-2015.

The five year agreement was signed today by QANTAS Group CEO Alan Joyce and China Eastern Chairman Liu Shaoyong at Parliament House, in a ceremony attended by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping.

Under the agreement, the airlines will deliver substantial benefits for customers and support the growing trade, tourism and corporate travel links between Australia and China. It is designed to complement the QANTAS-Emirates partnership for Europe, Middle East and North Africa and the QANTAS-American Airlines partnership for the US.

Through the new partnership, the airlines hope to ultimately open up new routes between Australia and mainland China, such as between Brisbane and Perth to Shanghai.

A key benefit of the agreement will be the co-location of both carriers’ operations in Terminal 1 at Shanghai International Airport, which will cut transit times by about an hour, open up a better range of onward connections and provide more choice for customers.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group/AirlinersGallery.com. The first Boeing 737-800 to wear the new 2014 China Eastern brand is this 737-89P registered as B-5689 (msn 41512) passing through Honolulu on delivery on November 7, 2014.

China Eastern Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines to expand the codeshare agreement to three new destinations

Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane) and Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) have announced they will be expanding their partnership in North America, adding three new destinations as part of their codeshare agreement.

Customers of both airlines will now be able to fly from Australia to Nashville, Kansas City and Raleigh/Durham as part of the alliance’s continued commitment to strengthening its footprint in the US market.

The growing alliance between the two airlines, which was launched in 2011, now offers Australians access to over 245 destinations across North and Central America.

Flights between Los Angeles and Nashville will operate daily, Los Angeles to Kansas City services will operate twice a day and 10 flights per week will be available on the Los Angeles to Raleigh/Durham route.

Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines fly from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane into Los Angeles allowing customers to connect onto Delta Air Lines’ extensive North and Central American network.

In other news, Virgin Australia also announced that for the first time it is offering a codeshare flight with South Africa’s largest carrier, South African Airways.

Virgin Australia will commence codeshare on South African Airways’ daily nonstop services from Perth to Johannesburg. This follows the launch of South African Airways’ codeshare on Virgin Australia’s daily services from Perth to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney earlier this year.

South African Airways operates daily nonstop services between Johannesburg and Perth with Airbus A340-300s and Airbus A340-600s.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-3ZG ER VH-VOZ (msn 35302) arrives in  Los Angeles.

Virgin Australia: AG Slide Show

Delta Air Lines (current): AG Slide Show

Virgin Australia unveils its new Business Class and Premium Economy cabins

Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane) today (September 24) announced the next evolution in the airline’s premium experience, unveiling a major redesign of the Business Class and Premium Economy cabins on board its wide-body fleet of aircraft.

The redesign involves the introduction of suite-style seating in Business Class and an extensive upgrade of the Business Class and Premium Economy cabins, including more spacious seating configurations and new bars on the airline’s Boeing 777 aircraft.

Virgin Australia 777-300 Business Class

Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia. The new Business Class seat.

The revolutionary Business Class suites, which convert into 80 inch lie-flat beds, represent a major enhancement to the travel experience on board Virgin Australia’s Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 aircraft and the first major product innovation to be announced under the airline’s new three-year strategy, Virgin Vision 2017.

The innovative 1-2-1 configuration will guarantee passengers a window or aisle seat and maximum privacy to work, rest and unwind. The suite includes a unique tablet holder, a 16 to 18 inch touch screen for entertainment, multiple lighting settings and plenty of storage. The seat also offers the ultimate comfort with new soft furnishings, a number of adjustable positions to suit the differing needs of customers and an adjustable arm rest to increase the seat width when sleeping.

Inspired by the interiors of some of the world’s most premium automotive designs, Virgin Australia enlisted the support of renowned design agency, Tangerine London, who led the industrial design of the new seats and cabins to create the premium and tailored new-look Business Class experience. B/E Aerospace was chosen as the manufacturer and has named the new Virgin Australia Business Class suite the ‘Super Diamond’.

Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti said: “Today marks a new era for our premium customer experience both domestically and internationally. We believe the sophisticated new suites will set a new standard in Business Class travel, not just in Australia but around the world.

“Our Virgin Vision to 2017 is to become Australia’s favorite airline group and today’s announcement is central to our strategy as it will see Virgin Australia deliver the best premium travel experience in Australia.

“We are committed to maintaining a competitive advantage in customer experience in order to ensure that Virgin Australia is the number one choice for premium travellers”, Mr Borghetti said.

The suites will roll out to Virgin Australia’s Airbus A330 fleet in early 2015 with the first aircraft expected to be in service by March and the complete refit of the fleet to be finalised by August.

The roll out of the new Business Class product to the Boeing 777 fleet will commence from November 2015 and be complete by early 2016. The upgrade will also include the introduction of a redesigned Business Class bar and changes to the Premium Economy cabin.

Virgin Australia Premium Economy

Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia. The new International Premium Economy seat.

 

A reduction in the number of seats will make Virgin Australia’s International Premium Economy a more exclusive experience, and give passengers three inches more legroom.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-3ZG ER VH-VPD (msn 37938) approaches the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Virgin Australia: AG Slide Show

Update on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370

ATSB 9.2014 Search Area

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) is working closely with the Malaysian government for the search missing flight MH 370. The ill-fated flight disappeared on March 8, 2014 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 passengers and crew members on board.

Malaysia and Australia signed a MOU for their on-going collaboration search for the missing airliner.

Here is the full statement:

Signs MOU with Australia for ongoing collaboration

On behalf of Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, the Malaysian Government and the people of Malaysia, I want to express my profound gratitude for the leadership role the Australian Government has played in this complex and challenging exercise, and to the Chinese Government for their ongoing support and resources dedicated to our efforts. The discussion during the tripartite meeting today was productive and allowed us to discuss the progress in the search for MH370 and to chart the way forward.

I have been heartened by the openness and willingness of these nations who have provided us with immediate and ongoing assistance.

On August 28 Malaysia signed an MOU with Australia which provides the framework and broad parameters for cooperation in the search for MH 370. This forms an important part of our existing cooperation with Australia and reaffirms Malaysia’s commitment towards the search.

In this regard Malaysia will provide the necessary financial contribution towards the search effort and match Australia’s commitment. The combination of undersea search equipment, world-class experts and cutting edge technology that is being used will be our best chance of finding MH 370 and we are hopeful in our prospects of doing so.

I want to assure the loved ones of the passengers and crew on-board MH370 that we are resolute in our efforts to search for this aircraft. I have been touched by many of the stories I have heard and we will do our best to engage the next of kin and help them find closure. To that end we will be providing more regular updates and information related to the search as it becomes available.

Again, Malaysia pledges its continued and unwavering support in response to the unprecedented nature and scale of this event through our financial commitment, technical expertise, equipment and stamina in our search for answers.

JACC Media
sent on behalf of:

YB Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai
Minister of Transport, Malaysia

Meanwhile, The Economist is reporting “new analysis of satellite data has narrowed the area in which the aircraft might have come down from some 600,000 square kilometers to a 60,000 square kilometer strip of ocean, 650 km long and 93 km wide (see map above).

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Malaysia Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Map: Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Virgin Australia to upgrade the Los Angeles-Brisbane route to daily service on October 26, drops Los Angeles-Melbourne

Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane) has announced that it will increase services between Brisbane and Los Angeles, moving from four roundtrip services per week to daily return services, effective October 26, 2014.

Following this change, the Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines trans-Pacific joint venture will offer two daily services between Sydney and Los Angeles and one daily service between Brisbane and Los Angeles.

The additional Brisbane services will be flown by Virgin Australia’s three-class Boeing 777-300 aircraft.

In order to increase services on the Brisbane route, Virgin Australia will cease services between Melbourne and Los Angeles, with the last flight operating from Melbourne on October 25, 2014. Effective October 26, 2014, there will also be a minor change to the departure time of Sydney to Los Angeles flights to allow an earlier arrival into Los Angeles, creating a more convenient schedule for corporate and leisure travellers. There will be no reduction in Virgin Australia capacity between Australia and the United States following these changes.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-3ZG VH-VPH (msn 37943) arrives in Los Angeles.

Virgin Australia: AG Slide Show

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 is likely to move south

ATSB logo

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370 of March 8 with 239 passengers and crew members on board remains missing. The next phase of the search is likely to move the search area several hundred miles to the south in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Associated Press first reported this change, citing Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

The Bluefin-21 will be redeployed in this new area. The exact new area is still being determined.

On May 26 Martin Dolan issued this statement about the search:

By Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner

It’s now been more than 11 weeks since Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 disappeared from air traffic control radar after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on a scheduled passenger service to Beijing.

Despite one of the most intensive and coordinated air and sea search efforts ever undertaken, there has not yet been any sign of the missing aircraft.

The complexities surrounding the search cannot be understated. It involves vast areas of the Indian Ocean with only limited known data and aircraft flight information. While it is impossible to determine with certainty where the aircraft may have entered the water, all the available data indicates a highly probable search area close to a long but narrow arc of the southern Indian Ocean.

It is now highly unlikely that surface debris from the aircraft will be spotted. This means that the most effective way to continue the search is to look for MH370 under the water.

The search will be a major undertaking.

The complexities and challenges involved are immense, but not impossible.

Following an announcement by the Prime Minister of Australia in late April, and at the request of the Malaysian government, the ATSB is planning an intensified underwater search of a 60,000 square kilometre area—roughly the size of Tasmania.

As part of its search operations, the ATSB’s initial work involves:

reviewing existing information, from an expert satellite working group, to refine a search zone of up to 60,000 square kilometres in the southern Indian Ocean
conducting a bathymetric survey to map the search area
consulting with domestic and international authorities—including various oceanographic institutions and private companies—to prepare the plan and specialist services required for the next search phase.
The bathymetric survey— or mapping of the ocean floor— has already commenced, with the Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen conducting a survey of the areas provided by the ATSB. Zhu Kezhen will shortly be joined by a contracted commercial survey vessel in June. Taking around three months to complete, the bathymetric survey will give us crucial knowledge of the seafloor terrain needed to begin the underwater search.

The intensified underwater search will aim to locate the aircraft and any evidence (such as aircraft debris and flight recorders) to assist with the Malaysian investigation. The equipment used for the search will likely include a towed sonar, an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle with mounted sonar, and optical imaging equipment. We expect the search to begin in several months and take up to 12 months to complete.

The search will be a major undertaking. The complexities and challenges involved are immense, but not impossible. The best minds from around the world have been reviewing, refining and localising the most likely area where the aircraft entered the water, which is why we remain confident of finding the aircraft.

On May 26 the ATSB issued this detailed statement on the considerations of where it will search for MH 370:

Background

At the request of the Malaysian Government, Australia is leading the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 in the Indian Ocean. The search is a complex operation that involves vast areas with only limited data and aircraft flight information available.

Over-water searches

Over-water aircraft accident locations are usually found by conducting a broad-area aerial search. The search area is generally determined by a combination of:
Position information from ground-based radar systems (maximum range is generally 250 NM)
Position information automatically transmitted from the aircraft at regular intervals

Position reports from the crew

Re-tracing the planned flight route

Eye-witness reports (possibly located on the shore, on other aircraft or on ships)

Uncertainty in the position of an accident location increases with time from the aircraft’s last known position (fix) so the search area will expand accordingly as the position data becomes ‘stale’.

Once floating wreckage is observed, reverse-drift techniques can be used to help determine the aircraft impact location. Only a small-area underwater search is then required to locate the wreckage and map the wreckage field. This underwater search can be aided by the underwater locator beacons fitted to flight recorders. As the beacons have a limited duration of nominally 30 days and to minimise the inaccuracies of the reverse-drift calculations, it is important that an aerial search is commenced as soon as possible and the floating debris is found quickly.

In the case of MH 370:

The aircraft departed Kuala Lumpur at 1641 UTC
The final automatically transmitted position from the aircraft occurred at 17:07 UTC
No radio communications were received from the crew after 17:19 UTC
The final ATC (secondary) radar fix occurred at 17:22 UTC
At 17:25 UTC the aircraft deviated from the planned flight route
The final primary radar fix occurred at 18:22 UTC
The satellite communications log indicated the aircraft continued to fly for another 6 hours
No confirmed eye-witness reports were received
The search in the Australian search and rescue zone commenced on 18 March (10 days after the aircraft went missing)

As a result, the search area for MH 370 has remained very large. A useful comparison is the search for Air France Flight 447 (AF 477), which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean on 1 June 2009. The AF447 aircraft was programmed to send its position automatically every 10 minutes, there were a number of fault messages transmitted via satellite during the last few minutes of flight and it was following the planned flight route. The search for the aircraft began on 1 June and the first surface wreckage was discovered on 6 June, 5 days after the accident. Given the relative accuracy of the aircraft’s last known position, a circular search area of 40 NM was defined (17,240 km²). After a search effort involving five separate phases, the aircraft wreckage was located on the ocean floor almost two years later.

As none of the traditional sources of data could be used to locate the aircraft wreckage from MH 370, it has been necessary to use novel sources of data and analysis techniques. This has led to a larger than typical search area; and there have been changes to its location as validation and calibration checks have been performed and the analysis is refined.

Determining the search area for MH 370

The flight path of MH 370 has three distinct sections; one under secondary radar in which the aircraft transponder was operational and ACARS messages were being transmitted, a primary radar section during which the aircraft was being tracked solely by air defence radar systems and the final stage for which the only information available was the satellite communications log data.

ACARS and radar data

The final ACARS transmission was at 17:07 UTC and provided location reports from the initial stage of the flight as well as a recording of the aircraft fuel remaining. The final secondary radar point was at approximately 17:22 UTC. The final primary radar point was at 18:22 UTC. Figure 1 shows the first and second sections of the flight.

Figure 1: MH 370 Flight path derived from Primary and Secondary radar data:

MH 370 Figure 1

Source: NTSB/Google

Satellite communications (SATCOM) data

Following the loss of primary radar, the only available information was from satellite signalling messages, also referred to as ‘handshakes’, between the ground station, the satellite and the aircraft’s satellite communication system.

For each transmission to the aircraft, the ground station recorded the burst timing offset (BTO) and the burst frequency offset (BFO).

Figure 2: Satellite communications schematic:

MH 370 Figure 2

Source: Inmarsat

Burst Timing Offset (BTO)

The BTO is a measure of the time taken for a transmission round trip (ground station to satellite to aircraft and back) and allows a calculation of the distance between the satellite and the aircraft. Based on this measure, a possible location ring can be mapped on the surface of the earth (Figure 3). An analysis of SATCOM system parameters showed that the accuracy of the rings was ± 10 km. This analysis was validated using recorded BTO values from the initial stage of the flight when the aircraft’s position was known.

Figure 3: Satellite ring derivation:

MH 370 Figure 3

Source: Inmarsat

There were 7 handshakes between the ground station and the aircraft after the loss of primary radar data. The location rings calculated from the recorded BTO values are shown in figure 4.

Figure 4: MH 370 timing (UTC) with corresponding rings arrowed:

MH 370 Figure 4

Source: Inmarsat/Boeing /Google

The information from the BTO places the aircraft somewhere on each ring at the corresponding time. By taking the maximum speed of the aircraft into account, the rings can be reduced in length to arcs – there are some areas of the rings it simply could not have reached.

Burst Frequency Offset (BFO)

The BFO is the measure of the difference between the expected frequency of the transmission and the frequency received at the ground station. This difference is attributed to various sources including the Doppler Effect from the motion of the satellite and the aircraft, as well as some processing effects. Once the known components that contribute to the BFO are resolved, the remainder can be used to estimate the speed and direction of the aircraft. There are a large number of speeds and headings that can be consistent with a BFO recording. These are limited, however, by the operational constraints of the aircraft.

Candidate paths of different speeds were created which met the BTO ring location/time constraints and the predicted BFO values of these paths have been compared with the recorded values. The better the match, the higher the probability that the path was close to that of MH370.
Final handshake message at 00:19 (7th arc)

The 00:19 signalling message (7th arc) was a logon request from the aircraft. This is consistent with the satellite communication equipment on the aircraft powering up following a power interruption. The interruption in electrical supply may have been caused by fuel exhaustion.

Note on the satellite communication

The satellite’s normal function is essentially communication and it was never initially intended to have the capability to track an aircraft. Following the Air France 447 accident, Inmarsat engineers began recording the BTO in order to provide another potential means of geo-locating aircraft in the event of a similar accident.

Aircraft Performance Calculations

Estimates of fuel consumption were calculated from the time of the last recorded fuel quantity, using a range of flight paths and speeds. The results of these calculations were consistent with fuel exhaustion occurring close to the 7th arc.

Validation

Several teams independently provided both satellite communications and performance analysis as part of the validation process. The location of 9M-MRO on previous flights as well as the locations of other aircraft in the air at the same time were all used to validate the techniques.

Other information

Surface search

An international air and maritime force conducted a surface search of drifted regions along the 7th arc from 18 March to 28 April 2014. A drifted region is created by modelling the movement of an area of water over the time period when the surface search is conducted. During this time, no debris was identified to be likely from MH 370.

Underwater search

Acoustic detections possibly related to underwater locator beacons were made by two vessels in the refined probability area from 5 – 8 April 2014. To further investigate these signals, a search of the ocean floor around the detections was performed by a number of vessels. To date no further sign of MH370 has been detected.

Hydrophones

Low frequency hydroacoustic signals present in the Indian Ocean are being examined to determine whether they can provide any information to help define the search area. These signals are recorded by hydrophones as part of the United Nations Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) or the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS).

Use of waypoints

Comparison of possible flight paths with tracks using waypoints is also under consideration.

Air Routes

There is only one published north-south air route in the south-eastern Indian Ocean. Air route M641 connects Cocos Island to Perth and has four waypoints. The air route crosses the area where the four acoustic signals were detected.

Shape of the search area

At the time MH 370 reached the 7th arc, the aircraft is considered to have been descending. A study completed after the Air France 447 accident concluded that the majority of aircraft in loss of control accidents were found within 20 nautical miles (32 km) of their last known position. This provides a reasonable limitation for the size of the search area across the arc.

Additionally the Australian government through the ATSB on May 26 explained how it is searching for missing flight MH 370:

Background

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is leading the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370. All the available data indicates the aircraft entered the sea close to a long but narrow arc of the southern Indian Ocean.

The search is a complex operation that will involve a range of vessels, equipment and expertise to cover 60,000 square kilometres of ocean floor.

Bathymetric survey

During the first stage of the search, the ATSB is tasking a Chinese PLA-Navy ship to undertake a bathymetric survey of the 60,000 square kilometre search area. A contracted commercial vessel with join the survey in June. The bathymetric survey will provide a map of the underwater search zone, charting the contours, depths and hardness of the ocean floor.

While the ocean depth of the search zone is understood to be between 1000 m and 6000 m, we currently have very limited knowledge of the sea floor terrain facing the underwater search operation. The information we receive from the bathymetric survey will give us crucial data to plan and conduct the intensified underwater search.

How the survey’s done

The operation will involve a ship surveying the ocean floor using multi beam sonar, which is capable of collecting high quality data to water depths of up to 6,000 m.

Multibeam sonar is a common offshore surveying tool that uses multiple sound signals to detect the seafloor. Due to its multiple beams it is able to map a swath of the seabed under the ship, in contrast to a single beam sonar which only maps a point below the ship. Different frequencies are used to map different water depths, with higher frequencies (>100kHz) used for shallow water and low frequencies (<30 kHz) for deep water.

Generally, the multibeam sonar transducer is mounted rigidly to the hull of the survey vessel and its position can be calculated very accurately. Other parts of the multibeam system include auxiliary sensors such as motion-sensing systems and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to ensure accurate positioning, motion sensing and sound speed measurement system.

A modern multibeam sonar transducer typically uses the Mills Cross telescope array. The sound is transmitted from transducers that are perpendicular to the survey track. Consequently, the sound pulses forms a transmit swath that is wide across-track and narrow along-track. The returning sound pulses, which are mainly recording the impedance contrast and seafloor topography, are received by the receivers which are mounted parallel to the survey track. These return beams are narrow across-track.

Unlike the sidescan sonar which commonly produces only acoustic backscatter data (i.e. hardness), the multibeam sonar generates both water depth and seafloor hardness data concurrently.1
How many vessels will be involved in the survey

The Chinese PLA-Navy ship Zhu Kezhen (872) is already in the search area conducting a bathymetric survey of an area provided by the ATSB. A contracted survey vessel will arrive in the search area in early June.

How long it will take?

It is expected that the bathymetric survey will take around three months to complete, but this will depend on a number of factors, such as weather conditions, during the survey operations.
The underwater search will begin when we have enough data from the bathymetric survey to start searching. This means that the underwater search will begin while the survey is still being completed.

On June 4 the ATSB issued a request for specialist help in determining the new search area (all proposals are due by June 30):

The ATSB has released a request for tender to acquire the services of a specialist company capable of conducting a deep-water search under ATSB direction for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370.
Engaged as a prime contractor, the company will provide the expertise, equipment and vessel(s) necessary to undertake an intensified underwater search for the missing Boeing 777 aircraft in the defined zone in the southern Indian Ocean.

While the precise search zone is currently being established by an international search strategy working group, it is expected that the successful tenderer will search an area up to 60,000 square kilometres based on the ‘seventh handshake’ arc where the aircraft last communicated with the Inmarsat satellite. Definition of the search zone will be finalised within two to three weeks.

The successful tenderer will localise, positively identify and map the debris field of MH 370 using specialist equipment such as towed and autonomous underwater vehicles with mounted sonar and/or optical imaging systems.

The intensified search will begin in August 2014 and is expected to take up to 12 months, depending on weather conditions. The successful tenderer will use the data from a bathymetric survey (already underway) to navigate the search zone, which has water depth between 1000 and 6000 metres.

The search vessel(s) used by the prime contractor may also be coordinated with other vessels also undertaking search activities in the search zone on behalf of other countries.

A copy of the request for tender is available on the AusTender website at http://www.tenders.gov.au. Request for tender submissions are due by 5.30pm AEST on June 30, 2014.

At the request of the Malaysian Government, the ATSB is leading the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Search for MH 370 Facts and Statistics:

Joint Agency Coordination Centre of Australia has issued these statistics on the search for MH 370:

Search for MH 370 facts and statistics

  •   Prime Minister Tony Abbott advised of the establishment of the JACC on 30 March 2014, headed by Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC AFC (Ret’d).
  •   Malaysia has lead investigative responsibility and the international accident crash investigation is based out of Kuala Lumpur.
  •   Malaysia, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia were all involved in the visual search.
  •   Over 4,600,000 square kilometres of ocean surface were searched.
  •   345 search sorties were conducted by military aircraft for a total of over 2,998 hours.
  •   Over 30% of the military flights were made by Royal Australian Air Force planes.
  •   Aircraft that were involved in the visual search included:
    • –  8 x Royal Australian Air Force ( 4 x AP-3C Orion, 2 x E-7A Wedgetail, 1 x KA350 King Air, 1 x C-130J Hercules)
    • –  1 x Royal New Zealand Air Force (P-3K2 Orion)
    • –  2 X United States Navy (P-8A Poseidon)
    • –  2 x Peoples Liberation Army Air Force (IL – 76)
    • –  3 x Japan (2 x Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force P-3C Orion and 1 x Japanese Coast GuardGulfstream V)
    • –  2 x Republic of Korea (1 x ROK Navy P-3C Orion & 1 x ROK Air Force C-130H)
    • –  3 x Royal Malaysian Air Force (3 x C-130H Hercules)
  •   Over 25 million litres of aviation fuel was used during the course of the visual search.
  •   Up to 19 ships were used to cover the search area.
    • –  5 x Australian ships (1 x Replenishment Ship – HMAS Success, 1 x Frigate – HMAS Toowoomba including 1 x Seahawk Helicopter, 1 x Frigate – HMAS Perth, 1 x Australian Defence Vessel – Ocean Shield, 1 x Motor Vessel – Seahorse Standard)
    • –  1 x USA ship (1 x Replenishment Ship – USNS Cesar Chavez)
    • –  2 x UK ships (1 x Survey Ship – HMS Echo and 1 x Submarine – HMS Tireless)
    • –  10 x Chinese ships (1 x Destroyer – Haikou, 2 x Amphibious Landing Dock – Kunlunshan & Jinggangshan, 1 x Coast Guard Vessel – Haixun 01, 2 x Ocean going Rescue Vessel – Donghaijui 101 & Nan Hai Jiu 101, 1 x Ocean going Rescue Vessel – Ben Hai Jiu III Wars 115, 1 x Replenishment Ship – Quindao Hu, 1 x Ice Breaker – MV Xue Long including Chinese Helicopter 7102, 1 x Survey Ship – Zhu Kezhen)
    • –  2 x Malaysian ships (1 x Frigate – Lekiu 30, 1 x Replenishment Ship – Bunga Mas Enam BM-6)
  •   Bluefin-21 conducted a sub-surface search of over 850 square kilometres of the ocean floor.

 

CNN: How long will the search for MH 370 continue?

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Malaysia Airlines’ (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370 has now been missing for 100 days. So far, no debris from the missing fine has been found. Nothing has been found, despite promising leads and observations. Everything turned out to be floating ocean flotsam.

The previously reported “pings” are now thought to be erroneous. In short, missing flight MH 370 is a true aviation mystery of epic proportions.

Missing Air France flight AF 447 took almost two years to be located so there is some hope MH 370 will be found. However authorities had a better idea where AF 447 was located. For the MH 370 without better data, no one knows for sure where the flight is located. For the families of the missing passengers and crew members, this uncertainty is so hurtful and very hard to accept. They cannot have any closure. The families rely on any hope which they cling to. Today, after 100 days, they have very little to cling to.

CNN has raised the difficult question of how long the search will continue. The search is very costly and without better data it has a low chance of being discovered. If anyone wanted to have this flight “disappear” they have succeeded.

So far Australia has shouldered most of the cost in the search. Australia is leading the search due to assumption the flight crashed into the southern Indian Ocean closest to Australia. Many other countries including the United States, Malaysia and China have contributed costly assets and crews in the search with zero results. The assumption that the flight crashed near Australia is now in question. In short, no one knows where MH 370 has gone.

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