S. Martin Shelton

Retired U.S.Navy Captain, Novelist

Malaysian Flight 370, Number Two

Twenty-three days ago, Malaysian Flight 370 disappeared.  At first, aircraft and ships from several neighborhood countries and the United States searched for the Boeing 777 in the area northeast of Malaysia in the South China Sea—the proposed track for this flight—to no avail.  Based on technical date, the searchers changed directions to the west and examined the Bay of Bengal—nothing found.

Two weeks ago Chinese satellite imagery photographed a debris field (of unknown composition) in the south Indian Ocean about 1,800 miles southwest of Perth, Australia. Search assets from twenty-five countries reconnoiter this area.  Zero results.

Early last week French satellite imagery found a large debris field about 1,200 miles west of Perth that may/or maybe not be the remains of the Boeing 777.  As of noon today there is nothing positive to report.

Only when some debris is found, hauled aboard a ship, and researchers confirm that it is from Flight 370, can the solution of the mystery, begin.

The next step in this imbroglio is to find the aircraft’s “black box” (actually, it’s an orange box).  This black box is a battery-powered, waterproof, electronic device that records all radio communications, flight-crew intercommunications, and technical data: speed, course, altitude, and other flight details.   After activation by a crash, it will “squawk” a locator signal for about thirty-days.  To insure best chance for survival this black box is stored in the tail of the aircraft.  All factors considered, it’s the tail section this is most likely to survive a crash.

Now the search gets even more daunting.  Let’s suppose that the debris is in fact from the Boeing 777, Malaysia Flight 370.  Where is the aircraft?  For an absolute certainly, it’s not below the debris field—guaranteed.  This area of the south Indian Ocean is fraught with high winds, and strong and irregular currents that are unabated.  Since mariners that have sailed this sea, they have dubbed it “The roaring 40’s.”  The “40’s” relates to its southern forty-degree latitude.  Oceanographers, meteorologists, and other scientist/technicians will use a host of data, some of which is apocryphal, and computer modeling to calculate a best estimate location of the aircraft on the sea floor—a backtracking analysis.  We’ve seven days left before the black box’s battery expires.

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Retired Naval Captain, S. Martin Shelton, has tracked the disappearance of Amelia Earhart’s flight and written a story based upon the facts of the flight and aviator.

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