Official Student Branch

The Science Behind the Search for MH370

Our Friends at the Sydney Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society are returning to UNSW for the first time in a year with an unmissable event on the science behind the search for the missing MH370 aircraft. Join us for a night hearing from some of Australia's top air incident investigators.


On 8 March 2014 a Boeing 777 operating Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared en-route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Radar showed that the aircraft turned around, flew back over Malaysia and then south beyond radar range. After that the main clues to MH370’s route were “handshake” signals every hour between a satellite ground station and aircraft systems. A final “handshake” is consistent with fuel exhaustion and an initial air and sea search found nothing. The ATSB was given charge of a sea-bed search using high-tech equipment with the search area covering more than 120,000 sq. km., in difficult conditions and thousands of kilometres from port. Despite intensive efforts, no trace of MH370 was found and the search was suspended on 17 January 2017. Hear the details of the ground breaking science that was involved and was progressively evolved during the search and the ongoing analysis with refinements to drift modelling and signals analysis.


Peter Foley is responsible for all of ATSB’s search activities for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. He joined the ATSB in 1999 after a career at sea as a marine engineer. Since then he has held a number of roles most recently as General Manager Surface Safety Investigations; responsible for marine and rail safety investigations, ATSB’s work on the reforms to the National Transport Regulatory framework, and ATSB’s international programs. Mr Foley holds professional qualifications in marine engineering and transport safety investigation, degrees in both marine and mechanical engineering and a Graduate Diploma in Business Management.

Alex Talberg was a member of the Search Strategy Working Group that examined all the available information from the MH370 flight to determine the most likely location of the aircraft. Alex joined the ATSB in 2006 as an engineering graduate. He has worked as a technical investigator at the ATSB since then, specialising in the recovery and analysis of electronic data from damaged electronic devices.


Date: 28th June 2017
Time: 6:00 pm
Venue: University of New South Wales, Ainsworth Building G03 (ground floor)

Register Online:
This is a FREE event and all are welcome, however tickets are strictly limited and registration is essential!