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It seems that the white noise levels in the information vacuum are dying down as the May deadline approaches, starved of answers.   All the ‘other’ theory or conjecture is still being ‘officially’ dismissed, ruled out as improbable; but there is still no sign of the aircraft, no wreckage and no new ideas.  Perhaps it’s time for a ‘re-think’.

Agenda Item 4: – HERE – Asia/Pacific and inter-regional SAR planning, coordination and cooperation: released by the ICAO in January 2015 is as close to official sanity as we are likely to get and it is worthy of consideration.  Two parts of this report have been carefully examined by SAR savvy associates; the questions they raised in January, still valid today were not worth pursuing – publicly – until the May deadline, to give the full benefit of doubt to the JRCC et al.

:JRCC Drift Planning.

2.18 JRCC Australia uses its own custom designed drift modelling program called Net Water Movement (NWM). For conventional searches, this program has proved a valuable asset to search planning. Results from NWM are validated and compared against another proprietary drift modelling program and also validated as soon as possible through the deployment of Self Locating Datum Marker Buoys (SLDMBs). The SLDMBs are floating devices fitted with a GPS receiver and Iridium satellite transmitter which provide water current and sea temperature information and may be deployed by aircraft or vessels. The buoys transmit their position and sea temperature regularly directly to JRCC Australia. 33 SLDMBs were deployed in this search.

2.19 Due to the magnitude of the MH370 search areas, and taking into account the lessons learned during the previous search for Air France AF447 of 2009, a drift planning working group was established to supplement standard JRCC Australia drift planning methods. Its purpose was to ensure that international best methodology and consensus drift modelling techniques were applied to the MH370 search areas with the primary aims of:

a) Providing the best possible area to locate floating debris

b) Provide the ability to conduct “Reverse” drift backwards to provide an estimated splash point, should debris from the aircraft be located.
One of the ‘information dark’ areas of the search update protocols has been the current (or latest) positions of the ‘Slam dams’.  It is, we believe pertinent information.  The buoys can be configured in a few ways; and, had there been a second and even a third deployment not only would the drift pattern data be an invaluable feed into the NWM data base, but a clearer picture of where wreckage may be travelling to could be determined.  Lack of wreckage is just one of several areas which it is believed could be revisited, prior to continuing search efforts.

There certainly lots of theories (and pet rocks) out there, some valid, some not so much so.  However, lack of wreckage and lack of ‘Slam dam’ tracking data must now be placed at a higher priority level.

I’ll leave it there for a while and recommend a refresher of the ICAO document.  Now that some of the hysteria has ebbed away and the ‘theorists’ have finished shouting their wares; perhaps it’s time for thinking people to consider the available evidence and data and remodel their conclusions from that data, or lack thereof.

I do have one question – Where, precisely are our ‘Slam dams’ now please?

Thank you.  P7 a.k.a. TOM.