IF WRECKAGE from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is found, search planners will then try to extrapolate its journey "backwards in time".
CQUniversity Associate Professor Geoffrey Dell has authored an article on the mystery disappearance of the Boeing 777, which vanished from radars more than two weeks ago.
The discipline leader of Accident Investigation and Forensics said there were so many questions that needed to be answered and so little hard evidence on which to form answers with any degree of surety.
"Once any wreckage is found, then begins the slow process of trying to find out how Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 ended up where it did," he wrote.
"Based on best estimates of ocean currents in the area, they will try to estimate where the wreckage might have begun to drift and possible tracks the aircraft may have flown to get to the southern Indian Ocean after radar contact was lost."
Assoc Prof Dell said the search for the flight recorders would be the investigators' highest priority.
"The digital flight data recorder will provide clear evidence of what the aircraft was doing from the time it departed Kuala Lumpur.
"Thousands of recorded parameters will give a very accurate picture of the flight, speeds, altitudes, headings, the configuration of hundreds of key aircraft components - a continuous image of what the aircraft actually did.
"The cockpit voice recorder should also shed light on what conversations and other noises occurred in the cockpit for up to the last two hours prior to the end of the recording."
He said it would be difficult and time consuming to not only locate the wreckage but recover it. Responsibility for any investigation would be vested in Malaysia, the country where the aircraft was registered.