Pieces of cockpit roof full of shrapnel damage Dutch Safety Board did not or could not use for reconstruction

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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)

damage

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.

reconstruction-1

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.)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

fi4Ghmh17-wreckage-rotated

CRreX8OUYAErcKq

The parts were found at site 1 as described in the final report. This is the are NNW of Petropavlivska. Photos of the parts are here. This thread at the mh17.webtalk.ru forum has interesting info.

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.

partofcockpitroof

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.

b777 59

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.

33d258dc-1051-11e4-_737058c A1MqaMS b777 56 b777 57 b777 58 b777 59 b777 60 b777 61 b777 62 d9Yk0n7 EPtsT4a kAOZFom ROB8Mea

 

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38 Comments on Pieces of cockpit roof full of shrapnel damage Dutch Safety Board did not or could not use for reconstruction

  1. This looks very bad for the Dutch team. Those parts would give very important information about where the missile came from.
    Is the investigation corrupt?

  2. Wind tunnel man // October 19, 2015 at 2:32 am // Reply

    Admin:

    “Upper left hand cockpit fuselage top section

    Below are additional photos of this section. Maybe someone can find out the trajectory of fragments.”

    Almaz Antey did, it’s on page 8 of their slide show, STA236.5 to STA 287.5 – interestingly based on photographs taken at the crash site, unlike many of their other slides which are based on photos taken in Holland.

  3. Wind tunnel man // October 19, 2015 at 3:38 am // Reply

    “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.”

    Between STA 236.5 and STA 287.5 there are numerous holes, beyond STA 287.5 there do appear to be signs of grazing (maybe ricochets) which would be consistent with the warhead being approximately level with the top of the main fuselage.

    • Hector Reban // October 19, 2015 at 1:29 pm // Reply

      TNO claims there is no frag damage from STA220 up till higher numbers, see paragraph 3.2.2 appendix Y. THis conclusion is based on a left cockpit roof panel, as I understand it.

      Its one of the main reasons they discard the AA variables, because AA prdicts grazing damage further alang the longitudinal axis on the roof of the plane.

      • Wind tunnel man // October 19, 2015 at 3:56 pm // Reply

        Grazing appears on the aft contours of the forward part of the upper, port side fuselage both on the side and on the top. If the warhead position was approximately aligned to the top and port side of the main fuselage, i.e. approx 3 metres above and to the side of the aircraft’s centre line, one would expect see little or no grazing down the main body of the aircraft no matter in which direction the missile approached from the starboard side.

        What is crucial is the warhead’s position in relation to the nose of the aircraft on the longitudinal axis and the exact angles of the frag spread and the speeds of the fragments within it. We know that penetrations began just aft of the forward pressure bulkhead, so with all these factors in mind, with knowledge of the nature of the frag spread, the missile’s direction of travel could be established, even without looking at the direction of the shrapnel once it had penetrated the aircraft’s skin.

        This appears to be what TNO did with the Split-X software without taking into account penetrations to the roof section being discussed here and they used their own version of the 9N314M detonation characteristics which differed from Almaz Antey’s.

  4. The reconstruction wasn’t made for purposes of investigation. Its only application seems to be decoration for the video and the presentation on October 13th:

    “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.”

    http://cdn.onderzoeksraad.nl/documents/report-mh17-abouttheinvestigation-en.pdf
    Page 58

    Drafts of the report were already sent out on June 2nd.

  5. And the pieces mentioned here might have been rejected exactly just because they had been too damaged by shrapnel to try and find anything relevant in them.

  6. Re part 1,”According DSB final report this part was not recovered. ”
    Re part 2, “According the DSB final report this part was no longer present at the time of the recovery mission.”
    Re part 3, “According the DSB final report this part was no longer present at the time of the recovery mission.”

    Do you have any evidence contradicting the DSB ?
    If so, please state it.
    If not, then who was in control of that area, and thus was responsible for safeguarding pieces of evidence in that area ?

  7. you would need to confirm DSB had these pieces,seems to say they did not,they do mention some went “missing”,stating a piece of debris was seen does not mean the DSB got it

  8. Wind tunnel man // October 19, 2015 at 11:48 am // Reply

    The roof certainly wasn’t available to TNO because in their report it was unfortunately not included in their calculations using the Split-X software. Also we now have the added complication namely that the warhead may have been a older type than a 9N314M which would probably have created a different fragmentation spread pattern.

  9. I must say, some of the larger (not the largest) holes and some of the ricochets in this image –
    http://www.whathappenedtoflightmh17.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/b777-58.jpg

    do have I-beam definition to them in appearance the way they struck and removed paint and would be nice to have to confirm it.

    admin or others, small question in your research if you noticed it relating to dynamic dispersion pattern.
    Does the missile spin like a bullet due to rifling with a high velocity?
    Or does it attain level flight like an airplane?
    IE, would the warhead be spinning fast (or faster) like a washer on spin cycle?
    Clockwise or anticlockwise?
    Thanks in advance.
    AD or Mick West or you would probably know off hand, but I was wondering if others have come across it stated anywhere.

    Fare thee well

  10. You write about the parts that appear in the RT documentary in June and in the DSB display, but not in the DSB report:
    “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’”

    First of all you correctly call them ‘parts’ and ‘pieces’ because there are actually two parts. However they can be treated as a single part because they were situated right beside one another where they were torn apart. Both RT and the DSB show them as lined up as a single piece.

    Getting back to the comment, I’m not convinced that that part (or couple of parts) fits in that area marked in purple. Someone on the mh17.webtalk.ru forum tries to show where a piece sticking out of the other ‘Upper left hand cockpit fuselage top section’ fits into a gap in the part from the RT documentary. It doesn’t look like a close fit to me – it requires too much imagination to try to make those sections fit.

    The general area of the location is almost certainly correct, though. The part comes from the left hand side of the aircraft, somewhere lower down than the other part. Its exact location would be useful in finding the location of the detonation of the warhead.

    • Wind tunnel man // October 19, 2015 at 2:14 pm // Reply

      “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.”

      Looks like some parts have been cut off and maybe also damaged in transit, but I would be inclined to locate the middle of the top edge, as seen in the DSB display photo (or the left edge in the 90 degree rotation) to be on the aircraft’s centre line, i.e. the very top of the roof, and the rest below that (or to the right of that in the rotation) on the port side.

      • It would be clearer if better pictures were placed side by side for comparison. For example a rotated version of the photo from the DSB display (shown above just below the comparison photos) next to the last photo in the article. When I look at those two images, I can see how parts of the sides can line up. I think I was wrong about the mismatch.

        Wind tunnel man, it’s probably at the left of the ‘missing’ part where the top of the roof was located. At least that’s the opinion of a number of people who have studied that part.

        • Wind tunnel man // October 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm // Reply

          Brendan:

          “Wind tunnel man, it’s probably at the left of the ‘missing’ part where the top of the roof was located. At least that’s the opinion of a number of people who have studied that part.”

          Sorry I’m clear about what is a ‘missing’ part, however the roof part that peeled off the aircraft when it broke-up (curled skin) possibly adjoined the starboard cockpit roof, that is still attached to the cockpit, corner to corner.

          • Wind tunnel man // October 19, 2015 at 5:59 pm //

            Typo: I should have said “…I’m not clear…”.

          • Sorry if I didn’t express myself clearly. I mean the part that’s missing from both the DSB reconstruction and display, and whose whereabouts seem to be unknown. It’s shown in many of the photos in the article above and marked as the red area in the reconstruction photo. I’m not sure if that’s the part you describe, but it’s from the top of the roof near the cockpit. Its lowest part (right hand side of the top photo) is above the plane’s port (LHS), not starboard.
            (see top images): http://www.allmystery.de/themen/gw114908-159

  11. In the DSB document “MH17 About the investigation”, the first part was listed in September 2014 as being “of high priority for recovery”:

    [p. 83] “Priority List of Wreckage Pieces
    Datum: 18 Sept 2014

    Priority Wreckage for recovery to Kiev
    The following parts of wreckage are of high priority for recovery to Kiev for further detailed investigation by the international investigation team, led by the Dutch Safety Board”

    [p.85 ] “Fuselage skin section”

    http://cdn.onderzoeksraad.nl/documents/report-mh17-abouttheinvestigation-en.pdf

    In November 2014 the investigation team carried out a major operation which recovered many pieces of wreckage, some of them very large. It’s not clear if the above-mentioned high priority part was still there or if it was collected during that operation. The document only says on page 24 that it “was not yet available to the Dutch Safety Board at the time of writing” .

    By the way, the investigators thought back then that one part, listed below that fuselage skin section as Item number 6, was a completely different part. In fact it’s the same part as item nr 5 but looks completely different when flipped over. That’s an easy mistake to make – you have to look carefully to see that the features in one photo are a mirror image of those in the other.

    • Another high priority part with fragment holes that does not appear in the reconstruction is shown on page 84 (item 5, “Fuselage skin section”) of “MH17 About the investigation”

      This is believed to come from the area between the cockpit and the front left door L1, just below the roof.
      http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/File:MH17_cockpit_by_bellingcat.jpg

    • If you read page 91 and some of the other surrounding pages in that article, it describes the reason those pieces were high priority, and that they even sent a letter to the Donetsk authorities stating they refuse to take more pieces of the wreckage that have less priority until these are turned over.

      That means either Donetsk was holding pieces for ransom and DSB knew about this, or that Donetsk was covering up evidence and trying to withhold it from investigators until possibly they altered it or had Kremlin investigators look it over.

      That letter leaves a few questions about the need for such a letter.

      Fare thee well

  12. Wind tunnel man // October 19, 2015 at 7:43 pm // Reply

    Brendan:

    Yes OleOle’s picture posted 13-06-15 on that site fits exactly with my estimation of the roof part’s position. Note there is a joint between the skins between STA 236.5 and STA 287.5 which is on the centre line of the Boeing.

    Actually that roof section no longer seems to missing because there is a press photo of it at the DSB presentation, that admin has posted, displayed in front of the port engine ring. It does seem to have parts cut and broken away from it though and it no longer has the appearance of having a curved, peeled away skin.

  13. “Actually that roof section no longer seems to missing because there is a press photo of it at the DSB presentation, that admin has posted, displayed in front of the port engine ring.”

    No, that’s a different part that appears to come from a location on the aircraft near the first part. It can be confusing when they all look like scraps of metal with similar holes and grazing and shapes.

    The press photo at the DSB presentation that admin shows is of the part marked in purple. You can also look at the photos in the forum that is linked to in the article:
    http://mh17.webtalk.ru/viewtopic.php?id=302&p=5#p32052

    • Wind tunnel man // October 19, 2015 at 9:17 pm // Reply

      Brendan:

      “The press photo at the DSB presentation that admin shows is of the part marked in purple. You can also look at the photos in the forum that is linked to in the article…”

      Yes you are correct – so in that case the part that I mistook it for is still missing?

      Are there any STA numbers for the part shown in the DSB presentation and it’s location marked in purple by admin?

      • I have not seen the STA numbers. If you read the mh17.webtalk.ru thread you will see several images of the B777 fuselage. Using that you can estimate the STA number of this part (indicated in purple and on display at DSB presentation).

        • Wind tunnel man // October 19, 2015 at 10:34 pm // Reply

          Thanks but I would like to have seen it positioned on a reconstruction or at least a picture of it’s location in the DSB report.

          However we do have good pictures of the “missing” part at the crash site which fits in the red area of your photo. Penetrations up to STA 287.5 and grazing/ricochets beyond there are clearly visible.

  14. admin, did you read page 91 of this document of the report.

    http://cdn.onderzoeksraad.nl/documents/report-mh17-abouttheinvestigation-en.pdf

    Looks like the DSB had to get tough with Dontesk and demand a release of specific parts that were being withheld by the SepRussians, before the DSB would be taking other debris.
    Wonder if DNR was demanding a ransom? or were they withholding guilty evidence?

    Fare thee well

  15. Charles Wood // October 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm // Reply

    That roof section covers the crew rest area – a small cabin in the aircraft ceiling where alternate flight crew and cabin staff can rest in private.

    It would be very likely any crew in that area would have been hit by shrapnel

    http://www.financetwitter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Secret-Revealed-Crew-Rest-Area-Cockpit-Rest-Area-Diagram.jpg

  16. Grazing is understandable from the nearly parallel trajectory of shrapnel along the roof of the plane, but ricochets are more difficult to understand, for against what shrapnel had to collide before deflecting to the plane? The cause must lie in the short distance of detonation of the warhead. A lot of shrapnel parts must have collided against each other far above the plane and some must have deflected to the roof in the second instance. But this looks unlikely. Also it is possible earlier shrapnel reflected from the fuselage and caused later shrapnel – already far above the plane – to deflect to the roof. But also this is nonsense because earlier reflected shrapnel would be much too late to catch later shrapnel above the plane. Reflection from within the plane through the roof seems quite unlikely. So, I don’t understand how ricochets could be the cause of shrapnel holes far on the roof. Hence all shrapnel on the roof must be caused by grazing and the point of detonation must be in accordance.

    • Wind tunnel man // October 21, 2015 at 1:31 pm // Reply

      I think the term “ricochet” used by the Dutch refers to the shrapnel being deflected off the external surfaces of the forward fuselage and that would leave a grazing mark or a tear in the skin. I don’t think they meant a double hit, i.e. a hit deflected and ricocheting to another place on the forward external skin leaving a grazing mark (except perhaps due to the contours of the cockpit and damage in that external area produced by shrapnel coming from the calculated position of the warhead and making a double hit?)

      • Thanks, now I understand better: shrapnel was shot to the cockpit under a very sharp angle from the warhead. It bounced back into the air and caused by the resultant relative velocity between blast and airplane it came with tremendous force as tear or grazing on the roof of the plane.

        • Wind tunnel man // October 21, 2015 at 4:17 pm // Reply

          Yes shrapnel may have deflected off the contours of the cockpit and ricocheted anywhere on the port side of the plane. This was evident below the port side cockpit rear window where shrapnel penetrated the skin but was deflected out again when it encountered underlying structures due to it’s angle of approach.

          However I think the damage to the forward roof was primarily caused by direct hits. At the aft end of those roof surfaces the direct hitting shrapnel grazed the skin and ricocheted away. In this instance the wording of ricochet damage (i.e. showing signs of the direct hitting, non-penetrating shrapnel hitting and then deflecting/ricocheting away) and grazing damage caused by direct hits are probably the same thing.

          • The DSB and their contractors have a broad definition of ricocheting that includes what many people would call grazing. On pages 23 and 24 of Appendix X, NLR uses the “direction of ricochet damage on the cockpit roof” to determine the location of the source of the fragments (ie. warhead detonation).

            As far as the area below the port side cockpit rear window is concerned, I’m not sure if much of that damage was caused by deflection by underlying structures. It’s hard to tell anyway if some of the holes are entry or exit holes. If some of them are exit holes, they could have been caused by fragments that exited without any deflection, possibly after entering almost parallel to the surface a very short distance away.

  17. Wind tunnel man // October 21, 2015 at 8:51 pm // Reply

    Brendan:

    “The DSB and their contractors have a broad definition of ricocheting that includes what many people would call grazing. On pages 23 and 24 of Appendix X, NLR uses the “direction of ricochet damage on the cockpit roof” to determine the location of the source of the fragments (ie. warhead detonation).”

    That photo taken at the crash site (?) (figure 27) of a piece of the roof “located on the top of the cockpit, more to the rear of the aircraft” gives us very little indication of it’s exact position but the shrapnel direction is clear from the ricochet aka grazing damage. Looks like the direction was from about 30 degrees to the aircraft’s longitudinal axis and that’s not really consistent with A-A’s static test on the IL-86 – please see page 56 of A-A’s slide show “Cockpit (top view)” – where they used an actual 9N314M warhead.

  18. This is not only a disgrace for the Netherlands itself, this is a disgrace for the whole aviation industry. When will someone end this failure and step up for the people that were killed by this political massacre?! I’ve lost all of my trust in the Dutch State and its government. I’m feeling so deeply betrayed by the country in which i was born and so ashamed, that i removed myself from the register and no longer will call myself Dutch.

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