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Twitter feed of Jon Ostrower, Aerospace & Boeing beat reporter for The Wall Street Journal. WSJ has confirmed that the pilot had the ability to manually turn off the transponder on Flight MH370. Why is the transponder so significant? WSJ's Jason Bellini has #TheShortAnswer.

Satellite Data Reveal Route of Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane
Jetliner 'Pinged' Satellites With Location, Altitude for Hours After Disappearance

(WSJ) - Malaysia Airlines' missing jet transmitted its location repeatedly to satellites over the course of five hours after it disappeared from radar, people briefed on the matter said, as searchers zeroed in on new target areas hundreds of miles west of the plane's original course.

The satellites also received speed and altitude information about the plane from its intermittent "pings," the people said. The final ping was sent from over water, at what one of these people called a normal cruising altitude. They added that it was unclear why the pings stopped. One of the people, an industry official, said it was possible that the system sending them had been disabled by someone on board.

The people, who included a military official, the industry official and others, declined to say what specific path the transmissions revealed. But the U.S. planned to move surveillance planes into an area of the Indian Ocean 1,000 miles or more west of the Malay peninsula where the plane took off, said Cmdr. William Marks, the spokesman for the U.S. Seventh Fleet.

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He said the destroyer USS Kidd would move through the Strait of Malacca, on Malaysia's west coast, and stay at its northwest entrance. Malaysia, which is overseeing the search effort, directed Indian forces to a specific set of coordinates in the Andaman Sea, northwest of the Malay peninsula, an Indian official said Thursday.

Cross-posted from my diary @BooMan - Mystery Deepens: Renegade Plane Flew West 500km [11.03.2014]

by Oui on Fri Mar 14th, 2014 at 06:48:53 AM EST
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Mystery Malaysia flight may have lost signal, gone hundreds of miles off course

(CNN) March 12, 2014 -- It was 1:30 a.m. when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 lost all communications, including important transponder signals that send data on altitude, direction and speed. Still, it showed up on radar for about 1 hour, 10 minutes longer -- until it vanished, having apparently moved away from its intended destination, hundreds of miles off course.

If these assertions are true -- and other reports, citing a different Malaysian official, cast doubt on them -- many big questions remain. Why were the communications lost? Why was the Boeing 777 going the direction it was? And where did it end up?

"Something happened to that airplane, that was obviously out of the norm, that caused it to depart from its normal flight path," said Mark Weiss, a former 777 pilot now with the Washington-based Spectrum Group consulting firm. "... It's difficult not to speculate."

Peter Goelz, former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, thinks all this information -- if correct -- ominously suggests that someone purposefully cut off the transponder and steered the plane from its intended destination. "This kind of deviation in course is simply inexplicable."

by Oui on Fri Mar 14th, 2014 at 12:43:20 PM EST
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