MH370: where to go for the final sweep

According to current plans, and if no new information comes to light, the Australian Transportation Safety Board says it will suspend the MH370 search indefinitely on 2 January 2017. The Chinese have already stopped their search.

For those who understand aviation operations, here is a final blast of the raw information that Capt Simon Hardy established through his mathematical and geometric examination of known data. If you’re new to this story, scroll back to to the previous one to establish what that data was.

Below is a diagram showing the tracks Hardy reckons MH370 followed. This is according to his calculations.



Now follows a flight plan which delivers the track Hardy worked out. This flight plan was fed into a Boeing 777 full flight simulator. Be patient, because it’s a long trip and the FP covers four pages of A4 (and that leaves out the calculations for a proposed diversion to Learmonth in Western Australia, on the grounds that the simulator will reject a flight plan without at least one planned alternate).

Hardy explains:

“I deduced a route mathematically using my technique, which has no relation  to how much fuel was on board. Months later I used an airline system and entered this route to see where the aircraft would run out of fuel. Inputting the actual MH370 takeoff fuel of 49.1 tonnes – and allowing the system to do the usual route flight levels and speeds – resulted in a predicted fuel starvation within 12sec of where it should, after 7h 38min.

“The document that follows is an Airline Operational Flight Plan, the kind that thousands of pilots are using in flight right now.

“On long flights of 13 hours it will rarely be out by more than a few minutes and a few hundred kilos of fuel at the destination, once the actual takeoff time has been written in.

“This plan shows the aircraft running out of fuel 1min 48sec before the 7th arc (-175kg), using one turn point ANOKO, and one track of 188degT that was derived from my technique.

“The time the ATSB propose for the 777 to run out of fuel is 2min before the
7th arc (the error is just 12sec after 7h 38min).

“Aircraft Weight and fuel on board are correct as per MH370’s load sheet. Fuel
consumption is as 9M-MRO, although this [simulator] is a different 777 adapted to perform exactly the same.

“Initial Flight level is FL370 instead of FL350 but a cruise time of less than 30min before transponder failure and unknown levels is so short as to make little difference. Simulator system constraints mean once it turns west it must be at ‘even’ flight levels, hence the climb toFL380.

“Winds are forced to zero as they were unknown at the time. Ratio of times 60/90 shows as 60/86. I postulated in December 2014 that this may be due to increasing headwind as we travelled towards 6th arc. This was later proved to be correct! Application of winds will take the result away from 12 seconds
error to 2min error. This is still an astounding result and is only true
for the route inputted, and for the take off fuel of 49.1 tonnes”

End of quote.

The ATSB has all Hardy’s work including this FP.

Here are the four sheets that make up the flight plan.











Hardy welcomes comment and questions via this blog.

The minutes are ticking away to the ATSB’s suspension of the search, even as the arrival of the southern hemisphere midsummer makes searching easier. The aviation world, and all those associated with MH370, wish them luck during these last weeks.

7 thoughts on “MH370: where to go for the final sweep

  1. Interesting analysis.

    Just a couple of questions;

    1. Why a 188T?

    2. What would a similar analysis/path look like for a 180T? Just curious if that’s possible for you to try.




    • Why? Check out the link to the article that explains the mathematics and geometry. Scroll back to one of the other pieces on this subject and you’ll find it


  2. It now seems that he was wrong. Drift analysis, including totally new science and a study of what little wreckage has been found indicates that it is most likely to be found to the north of the searched area.
    Ignoring the political problems, and with the benefit of hindsight,the search should have been delayed for a couple of years.


    • I agree, the search should have been delayed, but again, this is in hindsight.
      The latest realization that the wreckage is most likely to be found within the 9600 sq. mile area just to the north if the original 46000 sq. mile search area. This sounds promising, and is likely more accurate than the first set of calculations given the additional drift model data they’re able to use along with the 7th arc data. And now, after scanning the original defined search area for the past 2-3 years, they haven’t found the main wreckage, but the ATSB already knew they wouldn’t find it in that area back in October 2016.
      What has me troubled is the fact that this new search area isn’t going to be searched. The financial cost to search this area would be a mere drop in the bucket vs what has already been spent thus far. The three governments involved state “unless credible new information is made available to the specific location of the aircraft, the search will be suspended”.
      Are they serious? They’re still sticking to this nonsense? By their own admission it’s impossible to pinpoint an exact impact point given how large the Indian Ocean is. And because the Ocean is so immense, that new 9600 square mile search area should be considered ‘a specific location, give or take a few thousand miles here and there’. If it was presented to them this way, then perhaps that would be specific enough for them.
      No matter what, this plane must be found. Everyone who travels by airplane, especially on a Boeing 777, deserves to know what happened. Was there a design flaw that brought it down? Did someone deliberately crash the aircraft? We need answers and suspending the search and perhaps never knowing what happened is damned irresponsible and may just cost more than money should it happen again.


  3. A mechanical failure can explain this disappearance. Please consider the rupture of the crew oxygen bottle in the avionics bay. This would cause decompression, massive electrical failures and pilot incapacitation all in an instant. The then, subsequent ‘ghost flight’ is with the autopilot operating in a degraded mode.

    Asssuming the aircraft flew in a straight line south is wrong. Perhaps it was meandering, so that it’s final resting spot can not be so easily determined.


  4. Can you get hold of Simon Hardy if possible I’d love a chat with him, DM on Twitter.




  5. Right after mh 370 went missing Richard Quest from cnn in london went to Mark Dickerson vp of inmarsat to find out the terminal on mh 370 worked. He told Richard when the plane engines comes on it powers up the terminal so it could record the maintance needed. It wouuld get a call or handshake as long as the plane was running. It’s last hand shake at 811 am was ok. Then for next 5 mins. engine should been running till they shut off after running out of fuel. Then After the air ram comes on in 3 minutes to supply power it signs on again . From that time on it should be figured out how much longer it could coast down to the ocean. That’s the way I see it. I hope they find the plane they are very close to it now,Bruce.


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