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Can someone explain why the aircraft would fly in an arc using the satellite as a reference point? Have I missed something?

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    $\begingroup$ it didn't fly in an arc, when the plane pinged the satellite they can get the distance between the plane and satellite, which means that the possible locations of the plane is on an arc centered around the satellite. If they had another reference point they could be surer of where the plane is $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Apr 14 '14 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ yes, you missed lots of things. Although nobody knows for sure what happened, some people were able to use data captured by the sat to try to guess were the plane went. $\endgroup$ – woliveirajr Apr 14 '14 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ See aviation.stackexchange.com/q/2623/1289 and aviation.stackexchange.com/q/2472/1289 $\endgroup$ – RedGrittyBrick Apr 14 '14 at 15:53
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    $\begingroup$ @user2109 It's more likely that the reports suggesting all pings were on the arc were simply incorrect... $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Apr 14 '14 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ @user2109: I attribute this to "Chinese whispers": The scientists tell their manager, who dumbs it down for the executive, who sends it to his counterpart in the S&R team, who translates it to Malaysian, then simplifies it for PR, who reword it for the press, then translate the result into English for the non Malaysian press, who read it to reporters, who send their jottings to journalists, who write an article dumbed down for their readers, which their editor edits, which you read. Somewhere the word "corridor" got chosen and someone wrongly inferred that people travel along corridors. $\endgroup$ – RedGrittyBrick Apr 14 '14 at 19:47