About the book
‘The affair was weird when seen from afar, but seen close-up, it was Kafkaesque: it was not possible in 2014 for a Boeing 777 to have simply disappeared…’ — Florence de Changy.
The book is hailed as a remarkable piece of investigative journalism into one of the most pervasive and troubling mysteries of recent memory.
It has been seven years and the fate of flight MH370 that disappeared on March 8, 2014, remains unknown.
The lack of evidence washed ashore has led search efforts to a halt but has brought improvements to the global aviation industry.
Multiple theories have emerged and the most recent is the release of the book by investigative journalist Florence de Changy.
Her book, ‘The Disappearing Act’ will hit the shelves on Sunday and as reported by the Sarawak Report, the book ‘provides shocking but compelling new conclusions about what happened’.
Her investigation shows the emergence of new evidence prompting her to say ‘jumbo jets don’t just disappear’.
Unusual evidence like the massive cargo of fresh mangosteen in the flight is deemed conspicuous.
De Changy says the tropical fruit which grows in abundance In Malaysia was ‘not in season’ during its transit and no action was taken by the authorities to pursue the matter.
Aviation experts however feel otherwise.
Maybank Investment Bank aviation Analyst Mohsin Aziz says her arguments were fuelled by baseless allegations and questionable facts.
“Mangosteen is grown everywhere in Malaysia and if not in Kuala Lumpur, it is easily transported to the capital and to Beijing,” he says.
“If anything, she fills in the gap with her theory all the time,” Mohsin added.
The disappearance of MH370 has, however, brought closer collaboration between agencies worldwide, calling for stricter cooperative tracking.
Mohsin says there is a tightening of investigation protocols while collaboration between civilian and military assets is imminent.
“The military operates their own radar but will never share their intel but in the case of MH370, it has been mended to provide assistance to the civil aviation authority,” he explains.
Captain Abdul Rahmat Omar, aviation and maritime safety consultant said the main problem with radar was that there is no radar in operation that covers the oceans.
“Therefore, following the disappearance of the MH370, the airlines industry has introduced a system similar to what is currently used by ships that ply the oceans called the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS),” Abdul Rahmat says.
According to The International Civil Aviation Organization (IACO) website, the GADSS system was initiated during a meeting convened in Canada to address flight MH370.
IACO described the GADSS concept as an evolutionary manner to execute the action in the short, medium and long terms.
“The first steps in implementing the GADSS can be taken in the short term by implementing the Normal Aircraft Tracking solutions as proposed by the Industry led Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF) for commercial air transport and by addressing the areas of improvement identified in GADSS Document.”
GADDS was slated to come into force in January this year but it is delayed to 2023.
Under the new postponement, the standard for the distress tracking element will be applicable as of January 2023 for new-build aircraft.
This decision was mooted following a survey by the ICAO on preparedness which saw the recommendation of postponement by the agency’s Air Navigation Commission.
One reason for the delay was the tight development, testing and certification schedules.
This would require extraordinary efforts to meet the 2021 rollout with existing industry solutions. It was approved by the ICAO council in 2020.
Abdul Rahmat explains that the GADSS is an important addition to the aviation industry standard.
“All flights over the oceans now have to its position report to the controller every 15 minutes and the ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast) system on board now has to report the plane’s position every minute.”
The mandate must be complied by an aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 27,000 kilogrammes with airworthiness certificate issued must autonomously transit position information once every minute or less when an aircraft is in distress.
The expert adds that emergency beacons on aircrafts must be able to transmit signals underwater for 90 days in comparison to the current 30 days.
Arab News in 2015 reported that a comprehensive report into the disappearance of flight 370 revealed the battery of the locator beacon for the plane’s data recorder had passed its expiration date more than a year before the incident.
“ICAO has also mandated that aircraft built this year must have the ability to eject its flight data and cockpit voice recorders (black boxes) before it sinks,” Abdul Rahmat says.
Cockpit voice recorders must also be able to record up to 25-hours of voice transmission before it is overwritten by new recordings.
“The recordings shall start while flight preparations for the aircraft are taking place and finally all airlines have to do deeper background checks on their crew.”
The Boeing 777-2H6ER aircraft was reported to have sent its last communication transmission 38 minutes after it took off while it flew over the South China Sea.
In a statement, then Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Juahari Yahya said no indication of a stress signal was sent out by the pilot and no wreckage has been spotted.
The international search-and-rescue launched to locate the missing plane has marked itself as the most expensive joint search in aviation history.
The initial search for the plane was carried out by Malaysia, China and Australia went on for years – coming to a halt in January 2017 after it failed to find any trace of the plane in a vast search area in the Indian Ocean.