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Project370: The Plan

(Geeky stuff but worth a read...)

Step one - Pre survey phase.



A bit of background: When the authorities from Australia and Malaysia first sent out survey ships to the far South of the Indian Ocean to try and look for the missing airliner, they had determined their search area using the best data then available.

No floating debris had yet been recovered and so electronic data was used from the INMARSAT company to work out where the aircraft might have gone.

This work was incredibly complicated and had never before been used to determine an aircraft's track. That this was possible at all is an achievement in itself and those involved in this work deserve every bit of thanks and praise. Subsequent events seem to have confirmed that they were correct in their estimates in a general sense. Not pin-point accurate, but in the right part of the world.

We know this because the debris that was subsequently discovered on beaches of the western Indian Ocean in places such as Mauritius, East africa and South Africa, could ONLY have originated in the Indian Ocean.

Why Project370 will be highly cost-effective: A further aspect of the official search undertaken - and this accounted for almost a third of all the money spent on the search - was that the official searchers prefaced all work with  bathymetric scans.

The experts to be contracted by Project370 have advised that bathymetric pre-scanning is not needed for the initial target area. This means they can start sonar scans without delay and deliver maximum bang for the buck.


Project370's proposed survey contractor - Williamson and Associates - has a proud record of achievement completing difficult surveys.

Initial survey area: That we are going to this initial survey area is due to the work of an unassuming US statistician and problem-solver called Mike Chillit. He has been looking at this problem for several years, all on his own time and cost. Mike has made use of the widest range of data available on tides, ocean currents and satellite maps. Using drift data taken from the hundreds of oceanic bouys in the world's oceans he plotted several factors to arrive at a relatively small area from which all the debris items must have originated.

Further south, say the data models, the debris would have been all over Australia's western beaches. This has not happened. Not one item has been found there.

Further north and it would have gone to South East Asia. Again, nothing has been found there.

What makes us doubly sure this area makes sense, is that other scientists who have cross-checked the data, or who have tackled the problem from a clean sheet point of view such as those at the University of Western Australia,  have come to similar general conclusion.

 Sea search Phase One: Ocean Survey


Newest technology: WA30 survey system we intend to utilise, scans a 6km wide swathe of seafloor at high resolution in every pass

After reviewing the resumes, equipment, capabilities and experience of the world's deep-sea ocean survey firms, Project370 has identified a company with whom it will partner to conduct the initial, deep-sea sidescan sonar survey of our first target area. In short, this firm is without peer in the realm of ocean surveys.

Extremely favourable quotations have been provided and a good deal of co-operative work has already been undertaken.

Now, the next step is to actually get out to sea and deploy the sidescan equipment.

This is where the big money - although not nearly as much as has been committed to date by the good people of Australia via their government but more than our group of volunteers can shake from our piggy-banks - is needed.

Feeding the ships and those sailing them, as well as keeping their gadgets powered-up long enough to search the entire area likely to contain the aircraft will cost roughly US$4 million.

Hence the need for a crowd-funding campaign to make the boats sail.

Once the sonar survey has been completed and targets identified which are most likely the remains of the missing aricraft, the project will then move to phase two of the physical search.

Read more - Why phase two is needed and how it will work

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