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Black box key to unlocking Flight MH370 mystery says Leeds aviation expert

By Liam Smedley

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 - a similar model to Flight MH370

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 –  similar to Flight MH370

A Leeds aviation expert has said finding the black box is the next challenge in answering the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Dr Stephen Wright, 41, from Headingly, is a lecturer at Leeds University’s faculty of engineering.

Dr Stephen Wright is a lecturer in Aviation at Leeds University

Dr Stephen Wright is a lecturer in Aviation at Leeds University

Dr Wright said: “The biggest and most important challenge will be to find the black box which is probably at the bottom of the ocean. The American navy has gone on record saying they will use the debris as a starting point for their underwater search patterns.”

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished on March 8 with 239 passengers on board after setting off from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Malaysian prime minster Najib Razak announced yesterday data analysed by UK Company Inmarsat had been verified by Aircraft Investigation Branch and told relatives all hope was lost of finding survivors.

Along with satellite images, authorities are confident that the debris observed from search aircraft in the South Indian Ocean must be Flight MH370.

Up until now bad weather conditions have hampered the search mission.

Dr Wright, who has a PhD in Aircraft Engineering and has previously worked for various commercial airlines as a ground instructor, said: “Once the weather subsides, they’ll vector ships to the floating material. The only way we can be positive is for them to lift the debris from the water on to the deck of a ship then turn it over.

“An operator will be able to immediately observe serial numbers – aircraft are covered with such information. Then a phone call will definitely be made to Boeing in Seattle. From these numbers Boeing will be able to determine if it’s a 777 and if the aircraft is Flight MH370. Normal practice is that a rescue company will recover as much debris as possible.”

Once search teams salvage the black box they will have a much clearer idea of flight MH370’s last moments.

Dr Wright said: “The Aircraft Investigation Branch will connect the black box containing the cockpit voice recorder and digital flight data recorder to a computer, to read the data that is stored. This will give investigators a clear idea of what took place in the flight deck and what movements the aircraft was made to perform.”

Previously, Dr Wright said the only explanation for the aircraft’s disappearance was human intervention, which he still believes is the case.

He added:  “If there was an emergency procedure the flight crew would have landed as close to their current position. This would have been Malaysia or Vietnam – the fact that the craft was flown for an additional seven hours means a wayward act has taken place. A human inside this aircraft has redirected it.”

Meanwhile, relatives of the missing passengers have clashed with police as they stormed the Malaysian embassy in the Chinese capital of Beijing.

Families branded Malaysian officials “executioners” and accused the government of trying to “delay, distort and hide the truth.”

Statement on the home page of Malaysia Airlines website

Statement on the home page of Malaysia Airlines website

Dr Stephen Wright, a lecturer in Aviation at Leeds University says black boxes can be difficult to find because they sink:


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