Julian Bray writes: You have to hand it to the Dutch investigation team, the Interim report on the Malaysia airlines MH17 flight has been published, it is very clear, and well written with a minimum of jargon. The full report will appear in a years time and sent out for consultation.
The report has been prepared without visiting the debris field as it is still right in the centre of a conflict zone, and as television news shows much of the vital evidence is still lying out in the open and now largely degraded.
The interim report is a well constructed 34 page document which even at this stage has managed to come up with a cogent set of interim findings effectively giving the Boeing 777-200 extended range aircraft and engine makers Rolls-Royce, a clean bill of health, along with the operator and the crew.
The voice data recorders were recovered and sent to the UK (Farnborough) for examination and nothing appears to be out of the ordinary until 13:20 hrs when the aircraft was 'downed by high energy objects from outside.' Make no mistake the aircraft suffered an in-flight break up. There was no 'probability' about it, as unfortunately repeatedly suggested by one major television news network all day yesterday.
Within 2 hours of the report being released, I demonstrated on television news the effects of an outside impact by simply stabbing a piece of card with a sharply pointed pen. The paper tears at the point of impact, take the surrounding material with it - in the same direction of travel of the impact.
This simple test shows the ripped paper points were consistent with the debris field photographs bending metal back proving beyond any doubt the impact was from outside to the inside thus degrading the structure of the aircraft and triggering the in-flight break up.
This would be consistent with a proximity surface to air missile exploding and sending a barrage of shrapnel through the aircraft skin forcing the ripped metal plates to rip, split and cave inwards. The report makes no mention of missiles and does not seek to apportion blame and indeed the final report will be put out for consultation to several countries including the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
So where do we go from here?
Hopefully the investigation team will get access to the debris field, for a physical reconstruction, but they will also concentrate on Air Traffic Control surveillance- there were 3 other commercial aircraft in the same ATC sector - so their data sets will also be examined. Data from the Cockpit Flight Recorder, and the Flight Data Recorder will be examined in detail. Both units were in reasonable condition with some surface and outside damage but the protected data blocks unharmed by the trauma. Radio communications - particularly background sounds and effects may provide additional clues.
The in-flight break up sequence will be reconstructed establish the progression of the inbound high energy objects, impact and velocity ratios also calculated. There will also be detailed assessment of the Operator and state of occurrence management of flight safety systems inside or over a conflict zone.
The Dutch team will also under the heading 'everything else' invite suggestions for areas of examination. Simply nothing is off the table.
9/11 Julian Bray speaking on BBC Radio. http://www.newlistener.co.uk/home/julian-bray-flying-aviation-today/
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