Every year it seems the world is getting smaller with us humans taking up more and more space. The feeling is, where can you go that is not crawling with people already, is there any wild unconquered territory anywhere anymore?
Contrast that with trying to find a huge airliner that we know has crashed into the sea. The oceans are still vast and for the most part do not have their floors charted. I am not just talking about MH370, but also Air France flight AF447 which crashed into the mid Atlantic on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in June of 2009. Air France followed a logical route from Rio to Paris so the searchers had a a fairly good fighting chance of knowing where to look. How long did that search take? Two Years! Two years of theories and counter theories before finally a result was arrived at.
So, back to MH370. We all know the story inside out by now. Well we have suffered through the theories, reports of sightings and satellite hand shakes. In a few days it will be 18 months since the tragic accident that left behind anguished and frustrated relatives and friends of the victims. What progress has been made in the search for the Boeing 777?
Millions have been spent by countries like Australia and China in the search of the Indian Ocean. However, the biggest breakthrough has to be the discovery of the flaperon on a remote beach on the remote island of Reunion in the western Indian Ocean. I must admit to being a doubter when I first heard the theory of the aircraft coming down in the Indian Ocean. This was an area so far and completely in the wrong direction from the intended flight path that it made the whole idea seem fanciful and surreal. I must admit to being skeptical right up until the time the flaperon was found.
I’m not an oceanographer but I couldn’t understand how an aircraft full of floating objects such as seat squabs, neck pillows and flotsam could disappear so completely. I could not believe that a Boeing 777 could be easily be landed on water(assuming anyone was still alive to do so) in one piece. Yes we know the story of Captain Sullenberger performing that amazing feat of landing his aircraft on the Hudson River, a truly remarkable piece of aviating. The Indian Ocean is not the Husdon River and would rarely be calm enough to offer a perfectly flat surface. The Boeing 777 has the biggest jet engines around, so they would be wonderful water scoops that would have the effect of ripping the wings off as they filled with forward motion arresting water. My point is, the chance of the aircraft remaining intact and preventing floating objects from escaping seem to be very remote.
Today (04 Sep 15) we learn that the French have confirmed that there are enough corresponding serial numbers on the flaperon found in French ruled Reunion Island to be able to say it is from the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. This is confirmation at least that MH 370 is to be found in the Indian Ocean somewhere. Through reverse analysis of ocean currents and severe weather anomalies over the past 18 months, oceanographers and meteorologists now have a chance to try and pin down more accurately the final rest place of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Perhaps a saving grace is that the piece found was a heavier item that floated blow the water surface. This means that the ocean currents would be the strongest governing factor in its journey, rather than the more volatile winds it encountered on its way.
We can only hope that with this new information questions can be answered to allow MH370 to be found. For the sake of the loved ones who need closure. For aviation itself, no accident or tragic event is ever left unsolved. Not for curiosity but for fight safety. Your ability to step onto a plane and give no thought to your chances of stepping off at the other end of the journey is a hard won expectation. Every event is investigated to the finest detail to ensure these events never happen again. One day we will know what transpired on MH 370. One day we will know that those who tragically lost their lives on MH 370 will teach us a lesson that will help us save more lives in the future.
Please feel free to comment or leave your thoughts about MH 370.