[Avionics Today 08-06-2015] [Avionics Today 08-06-2015] Malaysia Airlines has confirmed that the Boeing 777 flaperon reportedly discovered by the Australian Transport Safety bureau on the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean was a part of missing flight MH370. The confirmation occurred 515 days after flight 370 disappeared from radar coverage during a trip from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China on March 8, 2014.
A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, flight MH370, went missing from radar in March 2014. Now based on the reported discovery of a flaperon from flight 370, authorities are trying to determine what happened. Photo: Flickr - Creative Commons. By - SA Paul Rowbotham.
The Asian Pacific carrier released the following statement confirming the finding on Thursday, Aug. 6:
"Malaysia Airlines would like to sincerely convey our deepest sorrow to the families and friends of the passengers onboard Flight MH370 on the news that the flaperon found on Reunion Island on 29 July was indeed from Flight MH370. This has been confirmed jointly today by the French Authorities, Bureau d’ Enquetes et d‘Analyses pour la Securites de I’Aviation Civile (BEA), the Malaysian Investigation Team, Technical Representative from [People’s Republic of China] PRC and Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) in Toulouse, France."
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Rizak also released a statement on his Facebook page, offering his condolences to the families of the 239 people that were onboard MH370, calling the search for the aircraft the largest in aviation history. Since the disappearance, government and industry aviation experts from 26 nations have joined the search for the missing aircraft.
"We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24 March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean," said Rizak. "This is a remote, inhospitable and dangerous area, and on behalf of Malaysia, I would like to thank the many nations, organizations and individuals who have participated in the search."
While both Rizak and Malaysian Airlines officials are saying that the flaperon was from MH370, Paris Deputy Prosecutor Serge Mackowiak stopped short of an official confirmation during a press conference Wednesday night. Mackowiak told reporters that there is a "very high probability" that the wreckage was a part of MH370.
Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai also talked to reporters during a recent press conference, saying that the decision by Malaysia to confirm that the flaperon did belong to MH370 came after the team of investigators examined it in Toulouse and confirmed the "technical details."
"Our decision came from our team of investigators' report who have maintenance seal records which matched with the debris found," he said. "However, we also respect the French authorities decision to conduct further the verification test to prove it was from MH370."
With the reported confirmation of the wreckage as a part of MH370, aeronautical experts can begin to analyze what caused the aircraft to disappear from radar coverage. Since the incident occurred last year several different major aviation industry organizations — most notably the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) — have sought ways to improve aircraft tracking.
At this point, the only clue that officials have to go off of is that the section of the aircraft discovered was the flaperon, a part of the aircraft wing. According Eurocontrol's Skybrary government industry aviation electronic repository, flaperons are a "specialized type of aircraft flight control surface that combine aspects of both flaps and ailerons."
By combining the functions of the flaps and ailerons, the flaperons help stabilize an aircraft during the low-speed take off and landing phases of flight. Upon reaching cruising altitude the flaperons are pulled in and are then deployed again during landing.
Malaysian Airlines has called the recovery of the flaperon a “major breakthrough” in the overall investigation into the disappearance of MH370.
“We expect and hope that there would be more objects to be found which would be able to help resolve this mystery,” the airline said in a statement. “Moving forward, Malaysia Airlines’ priority will continue to provide latest updates and information to the families and will fully cooperate with the relevant authorities on the investigation and recovery of this tragic accident.”