WSPR Did Not Track MH370

It seemed a foregone conclusion long before Australia’s ATSB and CSIRO agreed to review their extensive bathymetry archives to determine if Richard Godfrey’s Weak Signal Propagation Reporter (WSPR) claim might have located MH370 west of Perth. “No”, Australia announced earlier today in Canberra. Australian analysts did not state exactly why Mr. Godfrey’s proposal is untenable; they simply said, in so many words: “we’ve already scanned that area thoroughly and the plane did not crash there.”

But there is a more fundamental reason Mr. Godfrey’s WSPR location is a “flight of fantasy” (so characterized by Nobel Laureate Joseph Taylor and other professionals who work with WSPR every day). Nor was it even necessary to review archived bathymetric data. We know with scientific certainty that the plane hit the surface of the East Indian Ocean 2,760 kilometers due south of the Kuala Lumpur Airport. Mr. Godfrey’s WSPR endpoint is 4,033 kilometers south of Kuala Lumpur Airport, another 1,273 kilometers farther south. That did not, and could not have happened.

To elaborate a bit about how we know precisely where the plane hit the water, the Seventh Arc extends from Central Yunnan Province in Southern China to just south of Zenith Seamount in the East Indian Ocean. Yunnan and Zenith are the only two locations the plane could have crashed, worldwide. Those locations are derived from the radius of the plane’s final ping and the geographic endpoint of the “Seventh Arc”. Currents in the area and the plane’s float time prior to sinking govern where the plane’s debris ended up on the seafloor. The math is simple, the outcome is certain.

Here is the formal statement published earlier today by ATSB. Click to enlarge.

 

Showing the final ping on the left and its mirror reflection on the right (white rings). Their intersection in two locations, north and south, are the only two locations in which the tracking satellite was equidistant from the plane while it was still on “the Seventh Arc”. The final ping has a radius of 4,817 kilometers. Recovery of debris from the Indian Ocean in 2015 and beyond confirmed the crash occurred at the Zenith location, not Yunnan. (Click to enlarge)