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How UK firm helped flight path riddle

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 01:53

Mar 25 - Britain's Inmarsat used a wave phenomenon discovered in the nineteenth century to analyse the seven pings its satellite picked up from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. As Sonia legg reports it was that which determined its final destination.

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A nineteenth century discovery helped solve the mystery of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight. British firm Inmarsat used an ancient wave phenomenon to analyse the seven pings picked up after the flight disappeared off radar screens. Christopher McLaughlin is Senior Vice President. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHRISTOPHER MCLAUGHLIN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, EXTERNAL AFFAIRS OF INMARSAT, SAYING: "We have used the difference in speed at which the signal has come from the aircraft to the fixed point, the satellite in space. It's called Doppler effect. If you can imagine a train whistle getting louder as it comes towards you and getting more faint as it goes away from you. We're looking at those signals and deciding where aircraft was on a particular route and a path." Inmarsat's findings led the Malaysian authorities to conclude the Boeing 777 had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean - thousands of miles off course. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHRISTOPHER MCLAUGHLIN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, EXTERNAL AFFAIRS OF INMARSAT, SAYING: "We cannot tell you to the last degree where that plane is. We can tell you the likely area to search and certainly it would appear that that search is now concluding in that area. But because there was no GPS data - because it wasn't mandated - and no other data coming off the plane, we can only provide you the direction of travel, eliminate the northern route and say it's going to be in this box." The incident is likely to spur a review of aviation rules. Inmarsat says it should have happened years ago. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHRISTOPHER MCLAUGHLIN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, EXTERNAL AFFAIRS OF INMARSAT, SAYING: "It is extraordinary that in this day and age commercial jets do not have a requirement on them to automatically and independently report their speed and position. It can be do for less than a dollar per hour. Existing systems that we have are fitted on ten thousand aircraft and another five thousand of our more advanced aircraft. It could be done in just the matter of time to mandate." Search teams are still trying to find wreckage from the plane. Inmarsat may have solved one mystery but there are plenty of other unanswered questions

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How UK firm helped flight path riddle

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 01:53