Large pieces of the cockpit and business class roof of MH17, some full of holes caused by shrapnel, were not used by the Dutch Safety Board for the reconstruction of the aircraft!
The main purpose of reconstructing the forward section of the aircraft should be finding out the exact cause of the crash. However DSB started late with the reconstruction. Taken from the DSB report at page 58
“Upon delivery of the frame in May 2015 the pieces of wreckage were fitted on the frame. Because the pieces of wreckage risked being damaged when they were being attached to the frame the reconstruction only began after all pieces of wreckage had been thoroughly examined.The reconstruction was completed mid July 2015.”
Drafts of the report were already sent out on June 2nd.
The appendix Z describing the damage observed on the aircraft can be read here. Based on the photos in the report (recovered parts are hold on a temporary wooden construction) the damage analyze was done in the first half of 2015.
TNO which did the investigation on the impact of fragments stated there was no damage to be seen on STA 220 to STA 410. (appendix Z page 7)
However the photos of the various parts of the cockpit roof clearly show shrapnel damage beyond STA 220. A rough estimate of mine is that fragments holes are observed up to STA 300.
The fact that TNO did not take this into account likely means they did an incomplete analysis!
Additionally parts recovered in June 2015 showing holes caused by fragments were not described in the final DSB report! There were not used in the reconstruction either!
These parts could provide important clues of the location where the BUK missile exploded.
The image below shows the parts missing in the reconstruction. (indicated in red, purple and green). The purple part was not even described.
DSB described in the final report a number of wreckage parts which were found. All of the parts documented in final report and listed below were not part of the reconstruction!
The pieces are (STA are numbers printed on the fuselage. The numbers indicated the distance from the nose.)
- Part 1: Upper left hand cockpit fuselage top section. STA236.5 to 332.5. Many holes created by shrapnel. Also traces of soot. According DSB final report this part was not recovered. This part is indicated in red in the above image. Appendix X page 24 of the final report mentions this part as well. It states that ‘angle of ricochet damage on this piece was determined by using photographs.
DSB had this part of its wishlist for the first recovery mission. See this appendix at page 85. Part 5 and 6 are actually the same.
- Part 2: Foremost part of upper fuselage above business class. STA 357.25 to 529. According the DSB final report this part was no longer present at the time of the recovery mission. This part is indicated in green in the above image.
- Part 3: Aft part of the upper fuselage above business class. STA 529 to 655. According the DSB final report this part was no longer present at the time of the recovery mission.
So from the DSB report we can conclude important pieces of the wreckage were removed/stolen before the recovery so these could not be used for finding the location where the missile exploded.
We need to ask why DSB did not use the many available photographs of part 1 to find out the location and angle of the missile at the time of the explosion. Instead they used to the recording on the explosion to pinpoint the location.
In June 2015 parts of the cockpit roof were recovered at the crash site. These parts were shown in a Russia Today documentary. These parts were not described in the final report of DSB because at the time the draft final report was sent out to participating states, these parts were not recovered yet! These parts are indicated in purple in the above image.
These pieces seem to fit perfectly with the part described as ‘Upper left hand cockpit fuselage top section’
The image on the left displays the part described in the DSB report. The insert on the left picture shows the part shown in the RT documentary.
At the October 13 presentation of the final report, DSB displayed this piece of wreckage to the press. It is shown on the right. I turned the image 90 degrees to make the compare easier.
At February 2016 DSB send a response to a letter of the Russian Federation. The response included some new information on the parts of the cockpit roof:
These pieces of wreckage came from the upper left side of the cockpit. Two of these pieces were received in Ukraine on 30 September 2015 and the last piece was received on 3 October 2015. On 8 October these three pieces arrived at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. The Dutch Safety Board has assessed these pieces in the same manner as all the other pieces of wreckage. The damage and damage pattern of these three pieces matched the damage and damage pattern of the pieces of wreckage already recovered.
The photo below shows the location of the roofpart.
Let us have a closer look at the parts.
Upper left hand cockpit fuselage top section
The photo below shows the upper left hand cockpit roof. Page 56 and 57 of the DSB final report describes this part. It was photographed by many.
The piece was first photographed around July 20 2014 by reporters of the New York Times as reported here by the newspaper. The exact location is indicated by the 18. It is north/northwest of the village Petropavlivska.
The photo shows the reconstruction of the cockpit and forward fuselage of MH17 as presented at October 13. The red box shows the approximately location of the debris.
Foremost part of upper fuselage above business class
These are photos of a major part of upper fuselage above the business class. DSB states this part is no longer present. That is strange as it is a large piece of fuselage.
Upper left hand cockpit fuselage top section
Below are additional photos of this section. Maybe someone can find out the trajectory of fragments.