22 Responses

  1. UPDATE: Malaysia Airlines issues statement as MH17 crash images emerge | Runway GirlRunway Girl

    […] airspace, though it did not cover the area where the aircraft was downed today. However, a NOTAM was issued three days ago, and then again today after MH17 was […]

  2. Sice
    Sice at |

    Great post, very helpful in such a terrible time.

  3. JohnSD23
    JohnSD23 at |

    Great post Seth, thank you. You should contact each of the major networks and explain how accurate reporting is critical when events like this happen.

  4. asar
    asar at |

    MH seems to have all the bad luck this year. Two terrible tragedies in a short time.

  5. Joey
    Joey at |

    MH has been very unfortunate this year indeed. From checking http://www.flightaware.com and looking at other flights from Europe to SE Asia, like SQ317, LH778, SQ25, MH21, etc. all of them pass through Ukraine and, in my opinion, could have easily been the unfortunate one today.
    I’m sure there are others, but I did notice that British Airways and Garuda, in particular BA11 LHR-SIN and GA89 AMS-CGK, always went out of their way NOT to go within Ukraine airspace on all their flights this past week.

    1. Rye
      Rye at |

      Another airline that chose to avoid all of eastern Ukraine before this accident (at least as late as last week) is Delta.

      I wonder why DL and BA chose to avoid it while airlines considered very safe like LH kept going? One explanation could be that LH has a lot more flights going over Ukraine and the cost in extra fuel and time to take an alternative route is substantial.

      Do I need to start checking flight plans of my future flights to make sure they don’t cross conflict zones?

  6. tumblrlogin
    tumblrlogin at |

    Those poor people didn’t have a chance. No one should be targeting public transportation. I feel so terrible for the deceased and their families. May God comfort the hearts of those left behind.

  7. omatravel
    omatravel at |

    Interesting in that the NOTAM that went out 3 days ago appears to be in response to the downing of a Ukrainian AN-26 cargo plane from 21,000 feet in that region. Almost all of the possible Russian manufactured SAMs that could down a plane at 21,000 feet are capable of downing aircraft at much higher altitudes than the 32,000 feet in the original NOTAM.

    @Rye, the Ukrainian conflict is rather unique because the separatists initially could have stolen high end military weapons early on due to the disorganization of the Ukrainian government. In most other “hot zones” the insurgents don’t typically have access to those type of powerful weapons. Each airline has it’s own risk groups that make the best decisions they can based on the information they had, Delta and BA were probably more conservative than the others.

    @seth, like Lucky’s post it always has more impact when you know someone who was aboard or someone who had a “near miss” like the overbooked passengers.

  8. MH17 - Road Warriorette - Road Warriorette

    […] If you want to read about it, Lucky over at One Mile at a Time wrote a piece that gave me chills. Chris at Travel Skills works through the way the news unfolded. Charlie at Running for Miles tries to find the words. And the always helpful Seth has some good info about No Fly Zones over at Wandering Aramean. […]

  9. Seth
    Seth at |

    Another safety aspect that comes to mind for me if staying only 1000 ft above the upper limit of a no-fly zone is what happens if you lose an engine for some reason? I don’t fly or dispatch the 777 but most twin engine planes could not maintain altitude and would have the drift down effect if they had to shut down an engine. I’m guessing this plane was still almost fully loaded at this stage in the flight so it wouldn’t have a chance to maintain at or above FL320. For that safety reason (along with more obvious concerns!), I don’t think this flight should have been dispatched on this route. Maybe my technical knowledge is not correct but I think it is.

    1. anonymous
      anonymous at |

      That is a really valid observation sir. Im starting to wonder the same too.

      1. Seth
        Seth at |

        It’s the same principle as ETOPS, just on a verticle measure, they should have considered it. In a literal sense they were legal, but the decision wasn’t smart. Route your plane elsewhere and take a tech stop if necessary. I’m not at all suggesting this disaster was MHs fault but the risk could have been mitigated in my view.

        1. anonymous
          anonymous at |

          u’re right, aircraft cannot maintain level during emergency like engine failure or rapid decom. similar to high terrain operation, there r escape routes by pilot or ATC n priority will be given to clear d area ASAP.

  10. cools
    cools at |

    It may be a weird question, but i cant find the NOTAM A1492/14 on notams.aim.faa.gov, where did you get the infomation?
    I searched for all NOTAMs released in UKDV area on the database mention above, and there were neither A1492/14 nor A1507/14.

  11. Did MH17 suffer the same problems as MH370 before being shot down? | Lowyat.NET

    […] If there was some kind of decompression or electrical failure on board, would the pilots have followed procedure and taken the plane down to a safer altitude? It was flying at FL330 or 33,000 feet, merely 1000 feet above the restricted fly zone. […]

  12. 冷眼·Digest >> 马航客机被击落事件的七个阴谋论

    […] 中国国内还有另一种阴谋论,称MH17是“擅闯禁飞区”因此被击落。但“欧洲航空安全组织”和马航公司先后公开反驳此说。“欧洲航空安全组织”(EUROCONTROL)称事发前乌克兰官方通知空管组织民航不能飞行的“受限制空域”只是3万2千英尺以下,但MH17在乌克兰境内的飞行高度持续在3万3千英尺以上,完全没有进入禁飞空域。除了禁飞高度,马航也澄清了禁飞空域的说法:自2014年4月份以来,国际民航组织通知的“有风险空域”是乌克兰克里米亚半岛上空,事发前MH17从来就没有飞经该地。而美国联邦航空管理局(FAA)、英国民航局(CAA)的规定也可以侧面佐证这些说法:FAA在4月份、CAA在6月份都曾将乌克兰南部的克里米亚半岛和周边大片海域上空设为本国民航禁飞区,但乌克兰其他空域可以正常飞行;7月14日FAA发布新的航空须知,规定本国民航在乌克兰第聂伯罗河东岸地区只在25,000到32,000英尺高度上禁飞。 […]

  13. Pesawat MAS MH17 Terhempas di Ukraine - 5 Fakta Awal

    […] SMH, NOTAM, KYIV Post, The […]

  14. Why are Airlines of India lying about flying over Ukraine? - Live from a Lounge - Live from a Lounge

    […] No one should fault an airline for flying over the conflict zone, because the airspace above 32000 feet was an open corridor for air traffic, so no one was doing the wrong thing by flying at that altitude. Here is a post by Seth, the Wandering Aramean, explaining how airspace was opened and closed before and after the MH17 incident. […]

  15. Why I'm Rethinking Flying Malaysia Airlines | Pack and HackPack and Hack

    […] As Seth Miller points out in his brilliantly researched blog post: On 14 July 2014 a new NOTAM [notice to airmen] was issued specific to the Dnipropetrovsk region. In that NOTAM the eastern edge of Ukrainian airspace was marked as off limits, but the NOTAM also was only applicable for FL260 – FL320 meaning for operations between 26,000 and 32,000 feet. The Boeing 777-200 operating as MH17 was approaching the specified area for this NOTAM but was flying at FL330 [33,000 feet], above the restricted space. It was not violating the NOTAM restrictions at that time. […]

  16. Andrew Mundy
    Andrew Mundy at |

    Some of my thoughts on this despicable event. It is always easy to be wise after an event occurred. Any respectable airline will weigh risk before operating any route. Very clearly that risk has changed significantly with this event and the airlines and authorities are taking the necessary action. The above article by Seth puts the restricted flight areas into a good and clear chronological order. As mentioned in other comments, MH17 was not in any restricted area so it becomes a pointless argument to argue that they should have avoided the area. Some reputable operators did detour around Ukraine however we don’t have a confirmed reason why, and others, also reputable did not. As said earlier, hindsight gives you 20/20 vision, a luxury not always available looking forward.

    Although not mentioned in Seth’s post, the April NOTAM was issued to cover Crimea and most of the Black Sea for Air Traffic Control reasons rather than the risk of getting shot at. The potential ATC problem was 2 authorities controlling the same air space. The net result is the same but for significantly different reasons. This should not be used to confuse the MH17 tragedy.

  17. Andrew
    Andrew at |

    A further thought on the authorities and the airlines actions around the MH17 crash. A few years ago Euro-Control closed most of Europe’s airspace because a volcano in Iceland had erupted and volcanic ash was blown over Europe. At the time the Euro-Control was hammered for their action, especially when stuck travelers looked out and saw clear blue sky. Did that action prevent any incident or accident? We will never know for sure. Was the action too conservative? Again we will never know for sure. But, what would the world have said if they did not take that action and an aircraft crashed? “Why did you not close the airspace when you knew about a volcano and it is well known that volcanic ash can endanger an aircraft.” One can’t win!