The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Transponders, Conspiracy Theories, Rogue Pilots and Media Madness: A Continuing Series on the Disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines 777.

UPDATE: June 26, 2014

WHO VETS THESE THINGS? In today’s New York Times, it says, “Angus Houston, the retired head of the Australian military who is overseeing the country’s search, said in an interview earlier this month that he assumed the flight would have been on autopilot even if a conscious pilot had been at the controls. That is because a Boeing 777 is a very difficult plane to fly manually.”

Those italics are mine. They are mine because the statement is absurd. If anything a 777 is an easy plane to fly manually.

Sure, the autopilot would have been engaged even with a conscious pilot at the controls. Virtually all commercial aircraft have their autopilots engaged during the cruise portion of flight. It has been this way since the 1940s. It has nothing to do with the planes being difficult to fly. It’s because hand-flying a jet for several hours, on a more or less straight course across the ocean, would be incredibly tedious. Easy, but numbing and exhausting.

This is another example of the media relying on outside specialists (military sources, aeronautics professors, researchers and bureaucrats) to comment on commercial airline operations — something they often know very little about.

Meanwhile, the latest reports are saying that hypoxia — that is, the crew falling unconscious due to lack of oxygen — appears to be the “best fit” for the MH 370 mystery. How this may have happened, if it did, remains unknown, but possibilities include a cabin breach caused by a bomb or structural failure, or a major pressurization malfunction. Pilots are trained to deal with such things, and even a total loss of cabin pressure is seldom dangerous. But, they have to respond quickly and appropriately.

The hypoxia idea has been there from the beginning (I’m one of several people who’ve been citing it as a possibility, right from day one), but has been lost amidst the more colorful theories of pilot suicide, hijacking, UFO abduction, and so forth.

With its occupants unconscious, the jet would have continued on its last programmed routing until running out of fuel and crashing. And no, to answer a question several readers have put forth, the jet would not have been guided via autopilot to a smooth touchdown on the ocean surface.

Once the engines quit, the plane would have stayed stable for a certain amount of time, then eventually would have stalled and/or plummeted and crashed. How much time? It’d somewhat depend on which modes of the autopilot had been engaged, as well as the plane’s altitude and speed. If the engines failed simultaneously (unlikely) the plane would stay aloft somewhat longer. If one engine failed before the other (much more likely), the resulting asymmetrical forces, without a pilot on hand to react, would have been quickly catastrophic. See the Helios Airways accident in 2005, for an example.

 

UPDATE: May 7, 2014

JUST A FEW THOUGHTS on Matt Wald’s New York Times story, titled “U.N. to Consider Ways to Track Planes Over Seas.”

To be clear, planes are tracked over the ocean, even in remote, non-radar areas. This is something the media hasn’t been good at explaining.

It’s a semantic discussion to some degree (what does “tracking” mean?), but headlines the likes of “U.N. to Consider Ways to Track Planes Over Seas,” and similar phrasings, which have been rampant, give people the impression that once a plane hits oceanic airspace, it effectively disappears until making landfall on the other side. This is not the case, at all.

Crews are always in touch with both air traffic control and company personnel on the ground, and both of these entities are following and tracking you. Tranponders aren’t used in non-radar areas, but you’ve also got HF radio, SATCOM, CPDLC, FMC datalink and so forth. Which equipment you’re using to communicate depends where you are and which air traffic control facility you’re working with.

What happened in the case of flight 370, of course, is that all of this equipment stopped working — it was either switched off intentionally, or failed. The plane wasn’t being tracked because the communications equipment was dead. We can and perhaps should argue whether some sort of fail-safe, independently powered locator signal ought to be installed aboard transoceanic aircraft, able to transmit latitude and longitude position, but in normal operations the existing equipment works quite well, and is a lot more sophisticated than people are being led to believe.

The Times story also segued into an annoying and misleading discussion about — here we go again — why it is that pilots are able to turn a transponder off. The comments of retired pilot Robert Hilb were especially frustrating. To cut and paste from a prior post (which you can read further down this page)…

The ability to turn off a transponder exists for three reasons:

The first one is operational: to avoid cluttering up air traffic control radar, the unit is turned off when parked at the gate. We switch it on shortly before taxiing, then switch it off again (actually it’s moved to a standby mode) after docking in. Second, in the interest of safety — namely, fire and electrical system protection — it’s important to have the ability to isolate a piece of equipment, either by a standard switch or, if need be, through a circuit breaker. And third, transponders will occasionally malfunction and transmit erroneous or incomplete data, at which point a crew will “cycle” the device or swap to another unit. Typically at least two transponders are onboard, and you can’t run both simultaneously. Further, there are various transponder subfunctions, or “modes” as we call them — mode C, for example, or mode S — responsible for different data, and these can be turned off separately.

In any case, with respect to the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, a discussion of transponders is only partly relevant in the first place. For air traffic control purposes, transponders only work in areas of ATC radar coverage. Once beyond a certain distance from the coast, the oceans are not monitored by radar, and transponders are not used for tracking. We keep the units turned on because the TCAS anti-collision system is transponder-based, but we rely on SATCOM, ACARS, FMS datalink, and other means for position reports and communications. Thus transponders are pertinent to this story only when the missing plane was close to land. Once over the open water, on or off, it didn’t matter anyway.

 

UPDATE: April 26, 2014

IT’S AMAZING how this story has fallen off the table. The big TV networks (this means you CNN) finally faced up to the fact they couldn’t keep leading, hour after hour, with a story that wasn’t changing. The jet was missing, and it kept on being missing, and here we are in the middle of April and it’s still missing.

Count me among those who feel that this is how it ends: a mystery. The plane is out there somewhere, at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, and in all likelihood we’re not going to find it. Even if the wreckage can be pinpointed, dredging up the black boxes from 15,000 feet of seawater would itself be a monumental task. And even with the recorders salvaged we might not learn what happened.

My hunch is that a malfunction, rather than foul play, brought the plane down. A poorly handled decompression, for example, caused by a structural problem or windscreen failure. Or a catastrophic electrical failure combined with smoke, fire or fumes that rendered the crew unconscious. Granted that doesn’t totally jibe with the evidence, but none of the theories do. Not ruling anything out, including the possibility of a pilot suicide mission. I’m somewhat mystified that more hasn’t been made of the captain’s domestic situation — his failing marriage and, according to some, unusual behavior — in the days leading up to the plane’s disappearance.

This is how it goes sometimes. The archives of aviation accidents, rare as they might be, contain numerous unsolved disasters — including aircraft that have never been found or recovered. The fate of Malaysia 370, it looks like, will be added to the list.

 

UPDATE: April 4, 2014

THE MEDIA really needs a chill pill. And for the love of heaven, would people please stop talking about transponders. National Public Radio host Robert Siegel was on the air yesterday, the latest in a know-nothing chorus complaining about the ability of pilots to turn transponders off, clearly possessing little or no idea how the devices actually work.

The ability to turn off a transponder exists for three reasons:

The first one is operational: to avoid cluttering up air traffic control radar, the unit is turned off when parked at the gate. We switch it on shortly before taxiing, then switch it off again (actually it’s moved to a standby mode) after docking in. Second, in the interest of safety — namely, fire and electrical system protection — it’s important to have the ability to isolate a piece of equipment, either by a standard switch or, if need be, through a circuit breaker. And third, transponders will occasionally malfunction and transmit erroneous or incomplete data, at which point a crew will “cycle” the device or swap to another unit. Typically at least two transponders are onboard, and you can’t run both simultaneously. Further, there are various transponder subfunctions, or “modes” as we call them — mode C, for example, or mode S — responsible for different data, and these can be turned off separately.

In any case, with respect to the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, a discussion of transponders is only partly relevant in the first place. For air traffic control purposes, transponders only work in areas of ATC radar coverage. Once beyond a certain distance from the coast, the oceans are not monitored by radar, and transponders are not used for tracking. We keep the units turned on because the TCAS anti-collision system is transponder-based, but we rely on SATCOM, ACARS, FMS datalink, and other means for position reports and communications. Thus transponders are pertinent to this story only when the missing plane was close to land. Once over the open water, on or off, it didn’t matter anyway.

 

UPDATE: April 3, 2014

ACCORDING TO Reason.org, a new Reason-Rupe poll finds 35 percent of Americans think a mechanical problem caused Malaysia Airlines flight 370 to crash; 22 percent believe the pilots crashed the plane intentionally; 12 percent feel it was destroyed by terrorists; 9 percent say the plane landed safely and is in hiding; 5 percent believe the disappearance is related to supernatural or alien activity; and 3 percent think it was shot down by a foreign government.

That’s slightly more encouraging than I expected, with some 57 percent of people overall hewing to what have been, from the start, the two most credible avenues of possibility: mechanical problem or rogue crew hijacking.

 

UPDATE: March 30, 2014

I’VE READ AND HEARD some pretty asinine characterizations of airline pilots before, but rarely have I come across anything as absurd, inaccurate, or irresponsible as what was printed on the front page of the March 28-30 weekend international edition of USA Today.

I’m talking about the story by Mahi Ramakrishnan headlined, “Flight Change Blamed on Pilot.” (A slightly different version of this story ran in the March 27th U.S. edition.)

“The pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is believed to be solely responsible for steering the flight hundreds of miles off course…” begins the story. Right away I feel an ulcer coming on.

I find it almost inconceivable that after decades of covering commercial aviation, USA Today would fail to understand there is always a minimum of two pilots in the cockpit: a captain and a first officer. The latter is known colloquially as the copilot, but they both are fully qualified pilots. They both perform takeoffs and landings, and both are certified to operate the aircraft in all regimes of flight. A first officer is not an apprentice. In fact, owing to the quirks of the airline seniority system, it is not unheard of for the first officer to be older and more experienced than the captain. More here.

How many times have I been through this? I’ve explained it repeatedly in blog postings, articles, and in my book. I have no idea how many people have been listening, but in one fell swoop USA Today has misinformed hundreds of thousands of readers.

But wait, it gets worse…

Later in the same story we are told that one of the Malaysian investigators said of the crew, “Only the captain possessed the experience and expertise to fly the plane.”

I’m not sure what disturbs me more: that an accident investigator would say such a nonsensical and untrue thing, or that USA Today didn’t have the common sense to vet it. I can’t believe that nobody on the editorial staff of a paper that runs so many airlines stories, and that caters to travelers, didn’t at least flag this statement for review.

The idea that a first officer on a Boeing 777 wouldn’t have the experience or expertise to operate the aircraft on his own is beyond preposterous. Why the investigator would assert otherwise, if in fact the quote was interpreted correctly, I have no idea.

The details of the Malaysia Airlines mystery have been subject to enough misinterpretation and general media overboiling as it is. This puts things over the top, into the realm of total and complete nonsense.

And hang on, there’s more…

The same issue of USA Today, on page 10A, features a letter to the editor by a man from Minnesota named Tom O’Mara. His topic is the tracking of commercial flights. He asks that we “demand that airlines track all their flights from takeoff to landing.” Five dollars per passenger, he submits, ought to be invested in a “tracking system for commercial flights over the ocean.”

The problem here is that commercial flights are tracked over the oceans. Air crews must always be in contact with both air traffic control and company dispatchers on the ground. Most intercontinental aircraft have datalink or satellite communications systems that allow for constant real-time tracking.

Of course, this equipment works only so long as it’s powered. A fire, failure, or act of sabotage can render it inoperative — no different, I would presume, from any piece of equipment in any application in any industry. Maybe that’s O’Mara’s point; possibly he’s arguing for some type of fail-safe tracking mechanism that can’t be destroyed or turned off? But he doesn’t say so, and the tone and implication of his letter is simple and clear enough: planes are not tracked.

Which is untrue. And here the newspaper again drops the ball, by publishing a letter based on a false premise.

 

UPDATE: March 27, 2014

THE GRAPHICS ON CNN say “Breaking News…” followed by, “There is no new information in the disappearance of flight MH370.” Can’t make this up.

Malaysian authorities, meanwhile, have put out the blockbuster announcement that they are confident the plane crashed into the sea. Damn, and all this time I believed the jet was hidden away in a hangar somewhere on a “remote airstrip.”

Except of course that plenty of people really do subscribe to such an idea. And it’s this conspiracy mongering that’s the most discouraging and distracting aspect of this entire story. How it got there we don’t yet know — and we may never know — but there is an extremely high certainty that the plane is in the Indian ocean. This is by far the likeliest possibility, and I wish the TV networks would cease and desist from giving further credence to notions of a kidnapping conspiracy. There is zero evidence to support such a claim, and analytically it makes no sense. Some buffoon was on Fox News the other night saying, “This has all the makings of a hostage situation.” Actually, it has none of the makings of a hostage situation.

Not that I’m shocked that so many people are willing to accept these ideas. What is it about our society nowadays that foments such fanciful and illogical lines of thinking?

Meanwhile, here’s a bullet-point look at some of the topics and theories we’ve been hearing about from the start:

TRANSPONDERS    The media has been throwing this term around without a full understanding of how the equipment works. See my explanation at the top of this post.

“ALL RIGHT, GOOD NIGHT”    If I hear one more person attempt to make something of the first officer’s final words to air traffic control — “all right, good night” — I’m going to hit the roof. There is nothing unusual about this salutation. While it sounds cryptic in the context of the ongoing mystery, it’s a perfectly normal sign-off — the kind of thing pilots say to controllers all the time.

THE RADAR RUSE    I’m talking about this post, by an aviation enthusiast named Keith Ledgerwood. His hypothesis is that the missing Malaysia Airlines jet had tucked up underneath a Singapore Airlines 777, causing the two planes’ radar signatures to appear as one. Thus disguised, the Malaysia jet flew on, undetected for hours before eventually breaking off and landing at an airfield in…? See that’s what I don’t like about this idea. It fails to offer any explanation as to how, once separating from the Singapore flight, the Malaysia jet could have completed its secret diversion without being seen — to say nothing of why such a difficult and elaborate plot would be put in motion to begin with. It makes very little sense, other than it allows an aviation hobbyist to show off a little, and provides more fodder for a media starved of useful information. Beyond that, if the Malaysia plane had been directly below the Singapore 777, the latter’s radar altimeter would have shown it. The radar altimeter is a device that displays physical distance, in feet, to an object below. (They differ from a plane’s main altimeters, which reference height above sea level.) In normal operations that object is the ground, but during cruise they commonly pick up crossing traffic, momentarily showing planes as they pass beneath. So, ask the Singapore crew: was your radar altimeter flashing on and off, showing some sort of object below you?

FIRE OR FUMES?    This theory has gotten a ton of attention thanks to a Wired magazine story penned by a general aviation pilot named Chris Goodfellow. He proposes that the flight’s sudden turn off course was a response to an inflight emergency — an intentional deviation forced by an electrical or cargo fire. While headed for an emergency landing, the crew was overcome by smoke or fumes. Its autopilot on and course reprogrammed, the plane then continued on for a time before crashing. The theory is described in the headline as “startlingly simple,” though in fact there’s nothing startling about it, and Goodfellow more or less repeats what I said in a post back on March 14th. That a fire would be potent enough knock out communications and incapacitate the crew, yet not destroy the aircraft very quickly, is certainly a sticking point, but neither is it impossible.

THE TERRORIST PLOT    If indeed this was a hijacking, did the plane land somewhere, as some are suggesting, possibly to be used later as an airborne weapon of some kind, perhaps loaded with a nuclear or biological weapon? I seriously doubt it. Remote as some airports are, the task of stealing and then secretly landing and hiding a 777 would be exceptionally difficult. But more than that, what sense would it make for a terrorist group steal a commercial jetliner full of passengers from one of the most prestigious airlines in the world, guaranteeing that everybody on the planet will be looking for it? There are hundreds or even thousand of cargo planes and business jets that move around the world each day more or less anonymously, any one of which would do the job equally as well as well, with only a small fraction of the attention. That’s not to discount the possibility of a hijacking outright, but I can’t imagine the plane actually landed somewhere. As to other motives, remember that the long, long history of air piracy did not begin and end with September 11th, 2001, so it’s important not to view every hijacking through the crucible of the 9/11 template. People hijack planes for different reason. It may even have been a rogue crewmember.

REMOTE CONTROL    This one is full-on James Bond. We’re told how the plane’s “flight computer,” whatever that is, was hacked, allowing the plane to be flown remotely, like a drone, either to crash it into the ocean or carry it to a secret airstrip somewhere. I’m frustrated by how often this is suggested, because there is simply no way to remotely pilot a Boeing 777 or any other commercial plane. People seem to have a vastly exaggerated idea of how modern jetliners are flown — that is, they vastly exaggerate the capabilities of cockpit automation, and what a person with access to this automation, whether from inside or outside the plane, would be able to do with it. People read and hear things out of context — simplified explanations and experimental applications of technology — and they extrapolate unrealistically. And it’s not as if the pilots don’t monitor and crosscheck a plane’s progress when its autoflight system is engaged. We are constantly doing that. If something were messing with one or more of the system’s modes, we’d know it, and could easily disengage that mode and fly using basic course, altitude, or power commands. Worst-case, we can switch the automation off completely and do everything by hand.

WHY NO PHONE CALLS?    Some have wondered why, assuming the jet was hijacked, passengers did not place cell phone calls to loved ones, as occurred during the 9/11 attacks. Does the absence of call records suggest the passengers had been incapacitated somehow, or that the plane had met a sudden end? No. Unless an aircraft is flying low and within range of a cell tower, cellular calling from a plane does not work. Your phone will not maintain a signal. Some airplanes are equipped with special technology that permits calling via satellite or using radio frequencies to transmit cellular calls, but I’m uncertain if Malaysia’s 777s have this technology. Even if they do it could have been intentionally turned off or suffered a power failure, no different from the plane’s other communications equipment.

THE MISSING MAYDAY    Lack of a mayday call: No matter an aircraft’s location, the crew is always in contact with both air traffic control and company ground staff. When flying in remote locations, however, this is often a more involved process than simply picking up a microphone and talking. Exactly how it’s done depends on which equipment the plane is fitted with, and which ATC facility you’re working with. Flying over open ocean, relaying even a simple message can be a multi-step process transmitted through FMS datalink or over high frequency radio. In an emergency, communicating with the ground is secondary to dealing with the problems at hand. As the old adage goes: you aviate, navigate, and communicate — in that order. And so, the fact that no messages or distress signals were sent by the crew is not surprising or an indicator of anything specific.

INTO ORBIT    Of the wackier ideas I’ve been hearing, my favorite is the one that goes like this: Would it be possible for the 777 to have climbed clear out of the atmosphere, so high that “it disintegrated,” went into orbit, or otherwise became impossible to track or locate? In normal circumstances I wouldn’t burden the rest of you with an answer to such nonsense, except that no fewer than five readers already have asked some version of this question. The answer is no. It is totally impossible for that to happen. At a certain altitude, a plane’s engines will no longer provide enough power and the wings will no longer provide enough lift. The plane will no longer be able to sustain flight. All commercial passenger jets have maximum certified cruising altitudes below 50,000 feet or so. And even this altitude isn’t always reachable. The maximum altitude at a given time depends on the plane’s weight, the air temperature and other factors.

HYPOXIA    Could a rapid loss of cabin pressure, perhaps as a result of a fire or some other problem, rendered the flight crew, and possibly everyone else on the plane as well, incapacitated, at which point the plane continued on before eventually crashing. This is conceivable, yes (though maybe no more so than assorted other scenarios). Depressurizations by themselves are perfectly manageable and almost never fatal (see chapter two of my book for a story about the time it happened to me), and something that all airline crews train for, but only if the crew understands the problem and does what it’s supposed to do. See Helios Airways.

THE STOLEN PASSPORTS    Interpol says the Iranians with stolen passports were migrants hoping to be smuggled into Europe. There are thousands of people jetting around the world on forged or stolen documents, for a variety of shady reasons, but that doesn’t make them terrorist bombers.

PILOT EXPERIENCE    It’s doubtful this was any factor. The captain of the ill-fated flight had logged close to 20,000 flight hours, a substantial total by any standard. The first officer (copilot), on the other hand, had fewer than three thousand hours to his name. Pilots in North America — those like me, at any rate, who come up through the civilian ranks — generally accrue several thousand hours before landing a job with a major airline. We slog our way through the industry in a step-by-step process, building experience along the way. Thus it would be unheard of to find a Boeing 777 copilot with such a small number of hours. In other areas of the world, the process is often different. Pilots are frequently selected through so-called ab-initio programs, hand-picked by carriers at a young age and trained from the start to fly jetliners. We can debate the perils of this method, but I tend to doubt it’s anything more than a side note. Plus, flight hours in and of themselves aren’t necessarily a good measure of a pilot’s skills or performance under pressure. And any pilot, regardless of his or her logbook totals, and regardless of the airline, needs to meet some pretty rigorous training standards before being signed off to fly a 777.

 

All we know for sure is that a plane went missing with no warning or communication from the crew. The culprit could be anything from sabotage to fire to a bizarre mechanical problem — or, as is so common in airline catastrophes, some combination or compounding of human error and/or mechanical malfunction.

And all the while people keep asking “how can a plane simply disappear?” It’s an idea that to many makes no sense in an age of instant and total connectivity. But consider: if somebody yanks the power cord out of your computer, suddenly all the wonderful immediacy and connectivity of the internet is effectively vanished. Similarly, all of the fancy equipment in a 777’s cockpit is only useful if it’s actually running. Thus, together with an absence of primary radar over much of the ocean, the idea that a plane can disappear becomes a lot more conceivable.

And no matter who or what is to blame, we shouldn’t let this latest tragedy overshadow the fact that air travel remains remarkably safe. Worldwide, the trend over the past several years has been one of steady improvement, to the point where last year was the safest in the entire history of commercial aviation. Hopefully their number continues to diminish, but a certain number of accidents will always be inevitable. In some ways, the weirdness of this story speaks to how well we have engineered away what once were the most common causes of crashes. Those that still occur tend to be more mysterious and strange than in decades past (have a look at the year 1985 some time, for an idea of how frequent large-scale air disasters once were).

Meanwhile, it’s fascinating how this story has moved from being one about a presumed airplane crash to, really, a mystery story. It’s the very missing-ness of the plane that the public finds so captivating. If and when the wreckage is discovered, I have to wonder if suddenly people will stop paying such rapt attention. If so, that’s too bad, because the question at hand ought to be what happened on board the jet, not where is the jet.

I say “if and when” because I think people need to reconcile with the possibility that the plane might never be found. I know that sounds absurd in an age where fast and easy answers are taken for granted, but it could very well happen.

 __________

 

Malaysia Airlines was formed in the early 1970s after its predecessor, Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA), split to become Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines. Both carriers are renowned for their outstanding passenger service, and both have excellent safety records. Cabin crews of both airlines wear the iconic, floral pattern “Sarong Kabaya” batik — a adaptation of the traditional Malay kebaya blouse.

Malaysia Airlines’ logo, carried on its tails from the beginning, is an indigenous kite known as the Wau. True story: In 1993 I was in the city of Kota Bahru, a conservative Islamic town in northern Malaysia close to the Thai border, when we saw a group of little kids flying Wau kites. At the time I didn’t realize where the airline’s logo had come from, but I recognized the pattern immediately. It was one of those airline/culture crossover moments that we aerophiles really savor.

Malaysia Airlines logo

 

Related Story:
DATELINE BORNEO:MALAYSIA AIRLINES AND A TRIP TO THE EAST

 

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1,200 Responses to “The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370”

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  1. Eagle in NYC says:

    Still no admission that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was remotely flown to a secret Red Army air base in China after the Red Army “gamer” the pilot met online was given control over the plane and then promptly killed everyone including the pilot by rocketing it up to 45,000 feet and then back down to below radar? (Intentionally killing everyone onboard because the remote “gamer” controlling the plane was obviously unaffected by the maneuver.)

    The Chinese are building secret airstrips on disputed islands or they could have easily flown it to a secret base inland. They had the fuel to fly the plane to Beijing, plus the safety cushion.

    In a few years the Chinese will “inexplicably” mass produce accurate knockoffs of the Boeing 777, like they have every previous Western plane, as the Soviets did before them.

    • Patrick says:

      And the Chinese stole the 777 for what reason, exactly?

      >>> In a few years the Chinese will “inexplicably” mass produce accurate knockoffs of the Boeing 777, like they have every previous Western plane, as the Soviets did before them. <<<

      The Chinese have produced virtually no large commercial jetliners of their own, ever, knockoffs or otherwise. What are you talking about?

      In any case, the several Chinese airlines, including Air China and China Southern, operate their own fleets of 777s. Why would they need to steal one from Malaysia?

  2. ask says:

    What’s up to every one, it’s in fact a good for me to pay a quick visit this site, it consists of
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  3. derlieberudi says:

    The pilot had a private flight-simulator to practice flying the airplane into a volcano never to be found and create the greatest mystery of flight.

  4. Frank Blackstone says:

    No one seems to want to address the Avionics compartment on that plane , Seems that is the key to making it disapear and prehaps the hiding place if indeed it could be a take over frome below..

  5. Victor says:

    This might sound crazy but with so much corruption in today’s world. I think it could happen. Either one or both pilots could be in on it. Pilot flies plane to high altitude purposely causing hypoxia while they or just him wore an oxygen mask. After transponders are off, they fly to some 3rd world country to sell the plane. There are more corrupt people in this world than terrorist. The cost of a Boeing 777-er200 is 269 million.

  6. David A Palmer says:

    Very interesting web site, as an aviation industry professional (Engineer and PPL some heavy time and still work in aviation) I have only one comment, it is an aeroplane, aircraft or if a US American then Airplane. A “Plane” is what Carpenters and Joiners use to shave wood, its very solid, quite heavy and definitely doesn’t fly! :-) As for MH370, I would go 100% with your theories, I wont jest about this either, a lot of innocent people died on that flight and our responsibility is to find out what happened and prevent it happening again.

  7. […] The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight … – Transponders, Conspiracy Theories, Rogue Pilots and Media Madness: A Continuing Series on the Disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines 777. UPDATE: June 26, 2014… […]

  8. Vidor says:

    I’m surprised to read Mr. Smith suggesting that hypoxia might have been a cause of the accident. Of course, Mr. Smith is an airline pilot and I am not. But this layman doesn’t understand how hypoxia could possibly be the cause of the loss of MH 370.

    We know the transponder was turned off at 01:21 local time. (Incidentally, I also do not understand Mr. Smith’s comments in this article to the effect that turning the transponder off didn’t matter because the plane was over open water–the plane was within radar range of both Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh and was being tracked by radar in both places until the transponder was turned off. So it would certainly seem that turning the transponder off did matter.) Hypoxia would not turn the transponder off.

    Furthermore, we know via other data that the plane made at least three turns. Military radar indicates that the plane turned sharply, reversing course and flying over the Malay Peninsula. Then, after crossing the peninsula, it turned from a southwesterly direction to a northwesterly direction. The second leg of the flight, after the sharp turn to the southwest, would have taken the plane over the island of Sumatra, but the second turn to the northwest direction avoided the island of Sumatra, instead following the Strait of Malacca to the Andaman Sea. The last radar contact shows the plane headed in that northwesterly direction, but we know that the plane must have made a third turn at some point after that, because the satellite data shows the flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean, far south of where the plane was last spotted on radar.

    How does the hypoxia theory account for those facts? How does hypoxia account for the transponder being turned off? How does hypoxia account for the plane sharply deviating from its flight path and taking three turns? How does any cause other than human action explain the plane making three turns?

    And beyond the fact that it’s hard to imagine anything other than human action, does not the timeline rather strongly suggest that human action caused the disappearance of the plane? The goodbye between Kuala Lumpur and the plane, which was anticipated and routine, took place at 0119 local time. Exactly two minutes after that, at 0121, the transponder was turned off. At 0125, just four minutes after the transponder was turned off, the plane made its turn. Turning the transponder off and making turns strongly indicates that someone was flying the plane and directing it to make those turns. The fact that the transponder was turned off two mintes after Kuala Lumpur said goodbye, and the plane turned four minutes after that, suggests that someone on the plane was waiting for the signoff of Kuala Lumpur before turning off the transponder and turning the plane.

    That would have to be one or both of the pilots, would it not? And we have reports that Captain Shah’s wife had left him immediately before the flight. What we know indicates that it’s more likely than not that one or both of the pilots intentionally flew the plane into the ocean. Maybe he/they deliberately selected someplace far from land in deep water where the plane would never be found.

    Anyway, I’d like to hear Mr. Smith’s theory on how, if hypoxia were the cause of the accident, the transponder was turned off and the plane made three sharp turns. Or if there’s any conceivable cause other than deliberate human action for the transponder to be turned off and the plane to make three turns.

  9. Malorie says:

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

  10. nicholas Robinson says:

    The pundits are at it again: this time, a YouTube video led to the “Professional hijacking” of MH370 (http://tinyurl.com/mhmhc8o).

    So, suddenly “The captain did it” theory is out the broken window at 36,000 feet below the surface of the Indian Ocean.

    I see. It was an “ultra-professional hi-tech hijacking never before witnessed in history, because, you see, some National Geographic special stupidly gave a grand tour of the instrument bay hidden beneath the flight deck.”

    Okay, fine. The captain DIDN’T do it. Some incredibly talented hijacker — unnamed, of course — managed to perform all these activities, only about 99% of which a trained 777 captain with years of experience would have known about — but remember, this hijacker gets a lot of his information from a video on TV, never ever having actually had the experience of infiltrating an ACTUAL instrument bay during passenger flight, escaping the notice of everyone on board — and hijacks MH370.

    Then he cunningly plots it to crash into one of the most inaccessible places on the planet! And leaves no message behind, no reasons for doing so, is not one of the passengers aboard who have been scrutinized to the Nth detail on background etc. — no, he somehow escaped all THAT business — yet he manages to pull off the hijack of all time, because it surely would have to qualify for that distinction — for ABSOLUTELY NO HUMANLY DISCERNIBLE REASON.

    Humanity amazes me. PEOPLE ARE SO UNREMITTINGLY DUMB. How the FUCK did we ever get to the top of the food chain?????

    • michael.leduc says:

      Here is my thought on this, does anyone else recall, that the Malaysian president actually at the beginning of this whole story, that he called the U.S, to take a look at their radar, now if the malaysian are so worried about their security by revealing what they can see, why! would they call the states, only because on this particular matter something very unusual occured, an most countries who are neutral to the U.S would be obligated to tell them, first before going public. I won’t theorize on what happened, but let’s remember the lies they said as well as trying to blame the pilots, now today I read, the radar controller fell asleep, they are trying real hard, to get away from this, so now it’s the controller fault. your right Donald Cricks,{ we are not stupid} lets see what other excuses they make.what we need is a true independant investigator an that person is out there, normal just like you an I, but maybe there is a new to be born Sherlock out there, who does not work for any type of government. wish I had the time or resources to do so, but I don’t, what I do believe is capturing the first words an comments made at the beginning of this story, by the Malaysian president. They have their own techs who can read radar an repair, but they called the states, to look at it.????????…………

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  13. Brock McEwen says:

    Please read the linked tweet, which links to an open letter to MH370 investigators.

    And share with others, if it resonates with you.

    Thanks in advance.

    https://twitter.com/Brock_McEwen/status/514791229834272768

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  16. Anthony Gennaro says:

    Dear Mr. “Ask the Pilot”:
    I am a Private Pilot in the USA with about 500 hours. This is not the reason for my letter. In the early 1990’s when I was discharged from the US Navy, I went to work for an Airline Catering Company out of Boston, MA / Logan International call “Marriott in-flite Services. My job position was to cater commercial airlines. Later I was promoted to Airline Coordinator and my duties were to check and inspect that all catering items were aboard the Aircraft before departure. My focus was the 5 Trans-Atlantic Flight from BOS-LGA; 747-200, BOS-GLA, BOS-AMS, BOS-CDG, BOS-AMS and BOS-FRA: all DC-10-40 Aircraft. I also catered 767’s, The SST Concorde, Airbus 340, 747-400’s et al. the DC-10 in comparison to B-777 is a pretty good comparison. NWA Flew 38 First and 256 Y Class PAX with a Crew of 12-15. Now I am thinking of all the equipment, Lermer carts and trays, Plastic cups, foam cups, stir sticks, napkins, ovens, plastic food ware, cardboard boxes, duty free items, half filled liquor bottles will float along with all the other aircraft equipment. Now with all that equipment and galley nomenclature; investigators and searches haven’t even found a G-Damn Bloody STYROFOAM CUP! Not one cup, cart, napkin, tray liner, plastic flatware has washed up anywhere. NOT ONE has washed up on an Aussie or Kiwi Beach, or countries in the Northern IO. I mean WTF? There are literally thousands of cups on these planes. My theory, one of the flight crew got the other out of the cockpit to check something…perhaps in Avionics that required him to leave the flight deck. When one pilot leaves the flight deck, the other has to go on O2, just in case. Well the just in case happened. I believe the Captain, got the FO to leave the cockpit under the auspices of checking something; anything. he Then get out of his chair, locks and bolts or barricades the Enhanced since 9-11 cockpit door, Jumps back in the left seat, goes on O2, begins to depressurize the A/C and climbs up to over 40K for a few. Maybe some Pax and the FO figure there is a problem and begin to pond on the door wearing a portable mask unless he disabled those before leaving Penang.he was first on board. He does some wild maneuvers down to 20K and then back up and leaves the A/C depress for 30 minutes. He is then satisfied everyone’s dead and during that time he is punching in his waypoints in his FMS. Killing the IFF and if I were any of those countries around Malaysia I would invest into better anti aircraft radar because nobody noticed the gigantic commercial airline flying low over at least 5 countries or near them and air defenses saw nothing. He then flew out to, God knows where. I think he went to somewhere. I know it was the Captain in my heart. It was released that he was a meticulous date and time keeper and was very anal about being at appointments on time, He wrote everything down. His datebook, Calendars on the fridge…everywhere. It’s very strange that the days immediately following his last flight to Beijing. He either cancelled or made no appointments for after that flight. He wrote nothing down and had no appointments. This fact. It has been confirmed. And there is your smoking gun. The only reason is why he did it; and why not one friggin’ Styrofoam cup has washed up anywhere!
    Anthony Gennaro

    • nicholas Robinson says:

      Anthony

      Just FYI, I am so completely in agreement with your hypothesis that I just cannot believe that this thing could be perceived as happening in any other way. It really helps that, since I seem to have been barking into the wind since about a week after this happened and this is the theory I came up with, NO ONE has seen fit to agree that this is the ONLY POSSIBLE WAY TO EXPLAIN what happened to MH370.

      Well, one quickie book, but let me tell you, perhaps not EVERY hypothesis that was proposed may have happened the way they say it happened — same for your hypothesis, and mine — but BASICALLY that is the only possible way MH370 disappeared — I’m really glad I have a sane ally with actual experience in the business to back up what to me seems to be a completely ignored “Account of Events,” even by the numerous talking heads and “industry pundits” that have sprung from their boxes, heads on springs and clown hats firmly glued on, to debate these ludicrous “what ifs” that to me, and now obviously to at least one other sane person, YOU, are so ridiculous as to be in the same genre with little green men and flying saucers.

      To me, there is no “mystery” about what happened to MH370: the pilot, for whatever reasons, brought the fucking thing down, finis, finito, “point,” full stop, period.

      I just cannot WAIT for that bloody black box to be found that is going to prove everything you and I have just said.

  17. Richard B says:

    The story goes that the Captain’s wife had left him and that he was somewhat upset….. One of the many problems with the steel flight deck door is that it would be all too easy to lock out everyone, including the other pilot if/when he leaves the flight-deck for a “comfort break” or whatever. It would have been easy enough to depressurise the a/c while the remaining pilot used his oxygen mask until the drop-out system ran out. (Alternatively he could have left everyone conscious, but helpless.*) Repressurise and fly on until either the fuel ran out for a glide approach, or he decided to do a controlled ditching when he felt he had gone far enough. As we saw in the Hudson river event, the aircraft did not break up, apart from an engine detaching. I reckon that this is a likely scenario, and if correct, and the aircraft sank intact, there would be no wreckage to find. The prospect of there being a, possibly, never solved mystery might well have appealed to someone whose balance of mind was disturbed. For me this is the only scenario that fits the bill…..
    (*I think that he would have killed those in the cabin in case they might manage to evacuate the a/c.)

    • ToddM says:

      The new search area makes more sense. I posted earlier that I ran this four times on a flight simulator. All of the times were within 10 minutes of actual times all the way to exiting the coast off Thailand. After rounding the northern tip of Indo, you had to fly at just above stall speed at 360 knots at 37000 feet. I will rerun at 400 knots and see where I end up at the time of crash. It is likely the pilot picked this location due to calm seas. I base this on the idea the plane is intact at the bottom of the ocean. There is no other reason to come back towards Australia.

      • Patrick says:

        Dude, how are you coming up with these stall speed numbers? 360 knots? 400 knots? No commercial jet flies at anything close to (indicated) speeds like those.

        Not that the general assertion of your comment is unreasonable: It is possible that one of the pilots carefully ditched the aircraft, keeping it more or less intact in the process.

        • A Boeing 777 at 36000 feet will almost certainly want to stall at 350 kts. I reran the simulation based on the new search area flying heading 170 off of Indo at 450 Kts at 36000 feet. I had to turn to heading 185 for the final 45 minutes to stay around longitude 100. Engines were killed at 8:10 am and crash occurred at 8:34 am at E 100.52 S 29.1. I was approximately 796 miles West North West of Perth. This seems to coincide almost exactly with the search area. It also makes sense the Pilot would be running closer to cruise speed rather than just above a stall speed for four hours of flight.

          • Patrick says:

            Commercial planes don’t fly anywhere close to 350 knots (indicated airspeed) at cruise altitude. Are you talking about true airspeed, or maybe you aren’t calculating correctly.

  18. zmarszczki says:

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    • backpacker says:

      Thanks christopher lawyer,

      that was quite insightful and VERY helpful.

      • nicholas Robinson says:

        Uhh . . . do you possess some Universal Translator that I haven’t heard about? Because whatever it was that “Christopher Lawyer” wrote certainly wasn’t in English. I’m wracking my brains: perhaps it was some obscure dialect of Klingon?

        Your linguistic talents are impressive indeed!

  20. Jenny says:

    After this incident, Malaysia Airlines is experiencing another tragedy about the plane shoot. I hope Malaysia Airlines and the victims’ relatives will recover and can be given justice.

  21. Woking says:

    I imagine pilots use autopilot for the same reason I use cruise control in my car. Driving on an empty highway, there is no reason to vary speed, and keeping my foot pressed on the accelerator for hours is tiring for my ankle, for no benefit.

  22. Rimpy sharma says:

    Great article, I have noticed that lately such mysterious incidents have increased in the aviation industry. I regularly travel through Malaysian airlines and all my journeys have been quite pleasant. I really like their hospitality and customer service assistance. As travellers we should always research well before choosing an airline.

  23. Matthew Barich says:

    People are calling Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 a mystery.

    But to me, it’s not a mystery.

    I’ve known for 3 months what happened.

    Contrary to the media, it was not aliens, or a fire, or a decompression:

    One of the pilots (Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah) deliberately disabled the aircraft’s communication and tracking systems, turned the plane off course, and crashed it into the Southern Indian Ocean.

    Similar things have happened before. Ever heard of Silkair 185 or Egyptair 990?

    Sure, with those crashes, the pilot crashed the plane without turning off course. But Zaharie had a better idea. Pull the circuit breakers to the aircraft’s communication and tracking systems, and to the black boxes. Then turn the aircraft off course, and crash it into the Southern Indian Ocean.

    What is the point? The point is obvious. The Southern Indian Ocean is one of the most remote locations in the world. Of course he didn’t want them to find the wreckage of the plane.

    Based on the information we’ve been given, there simply is no other explanation for what happened.

    If there were a fire severe enough to suddenly disable the aircraft’s communication and tracking systems without warning, the plane would crash within minutes.

    If there were a decompression, the pilot would descend to an altitude where the air is thick enough to breathe, not turn the plane off course.

    Unless, of course, he deliberately caused the decompression.

    • Ceb Jorliss says:

      Wow Mathew you KNOW what happened..amazing. Hell all the air crash investigation teams can go and find other work as all anyone has to do is give you a call and you will KNOW the answer.

      I don’t think so

      • Matthew Barich says:

        I’m not the only one that knows. Many of the investigators know as well. We just don’t know all the details.

      • nicholas Robinson says:

        I so enjoy people who jump up to criticize other people while offering no competing theories of their own. Way to go, Einstein.

    • Hiyodori says:

      Let’s take a huge leap and assume, for sake of argument, that the pilot did deliberately crash the airplane.

      Wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect that he would prefer that the world (local government, terrorist group, whatever) see that result of his actions, instead of hiding it in “one of the most remote locations in the world”?

      • MWnyc says:

        Not necessarily.

        For instance, the pilot who crashed EgyptAir 880 gave no indication of wanting the whole world to know; having just been fired the previous night over repeated sexual assaults, he just wanted to kill himself and take the airline’s plane and passengers with him, and he did it at whatever moment he happened to worm his way into one of the pilot seats. (Why the pilots hadn’t been told that he’d been fired is a mystery to me.)

        There’s just no way to know for sure.

      • Matthew Barich says:

        With both Silkair 185 and Egyptair 990, the pilot who crashed the plane gave no indication of wanting the world to know.

        In the case of Silkair 185, the captain pulled the circuit breakers to the black boxes before crashing the plane.

    • nicholas Robinson says:

      Matthew

      Ignore the clumsily sarcastic comment below your post. Of course you are absolutely 100% spot on — perhaps a few details (maybe many) happened differently than the way you hypothesize, but the ESSENCE of your argument — that the pilot, for whatever reasons, deliberately set out to crash the plane, killing everyone on board including himself and in the process making it as difficult as possible for anyone trying to find an explanation — maybe he’d been reading too many “Earhart” books — is precisely what happened. Even being a non-professional — I don’t think you need to have an aviation degree to figure this out — I knew that this, or something extremely close to it (I initially fingered the co-pilot) was the only possible explanation, within about TWO WEEKS of the disappearance.

      I am also very bad at math, but I do know how to add, and 2+2 still equals 4, and the math in this little equation, to anyone with half a brain, was precisely that simple; I just cannot believe how any other explanation can possibly be floated.

      As for the ridiculously cynical rebuttal to your post, I can only say to that writer: you have your head so firmly up your ass that you’d need Drano instead of toothpaste.

  24. Alex says:

    80 Chinese Engineers and Technicians for military stealth technology and radar technology have been on board of MH470.

    • toughluck says:

      They may have very well been on an MH470 flight (if there was one), but this is about MH370.
      Sigh… When will these absurd conspiracy theories end? Probably never, but could you at least present your “facts” with at least basic consistency? There were supposed to be 20-something originally, now it’s 80? How much longer until the number is at 400? 4000?

  25. Rod says:

    “This is another example of the media relying on outside specialists (military sources, aeronautics professors, researchers and bureaucrats) to comment on commercial airline operations — something they often know very little about.”

    The statement quoted would be absurd (and, I would hope, unlikely) even from an aeronautics professor or researcher. Surely. I mean, what is this dude Angus Houston smoking? And why would he feel that it was incumbent upon him to share his ignorance in this way?

    One other thing: Did you know that Rastafarians are forbidden to eat glass?

  26. ok now says:

    ok that is it !!!! we should all just now say it was shot down !!!! till they can really prove otherwise ??? the only logical explanation for such a cover up is that it was shot down !!!!!!! of course those in power will use anything to keep a shoot down as far away from public knowledge so I will be surprised if my comment is even published. time for that Mark Twain quote : it is easier to fool people then to convince them they have been fooled !!!!!

    • alan warwick says:

      Unanswered questions.Proof of oil slick in south china sea was not that of mh370.Why was the plane asked to change course shortly after take off.Why did it take 17 minutes for the vietnamese air traffic controllers to respond after the planes dissapearance.No proof of the transponder being switched off.Why was it not picked up by military radar over malaysia if indeed the plane did change course.If the plane ended up in the indian ocean auto pilot would have had to be engaged manually. Was there any mayday message.Why were no jets scrambled after the dissapearance remember 9 11.My conclusion is that its in the south china sea after being shot down or has been plucked out off the sky by some greater force.We are not meant to find this plane.

  27. After the victims and families, the big losers in MH370 are the lawyers…they don’t know whom to sue, and why!
    BTW: Why so much talk about pilot experience? On overseas flights the computer’s flying the aircraft after departure control clearance until approach control (and sometimes beyond).

  28. Brock McEwen says:

    (NC = Normal Cruising true air speed)

    On March 28, the ATSB issued a statement that said:

    1) We’re moving search site 34% closer to last radar contact point
    2) Reason: now believed MH370 used MORE fuel BEFORE losing contact

    Both theory and practice hotly dispute any link between 1) and 2).

    Key point: they never changed the TIME MH370 crashed – just its POSITION. This forces a SPEED 34% slower than the NC originally projected. As a jet slows, it must descend, and plow through denser air. Too slow, and it costs MORE fuel to stay aloft for a set period of time than it does at NC.

    Theoretical support: a recent study by Delgado/Prats: “Fuel consumption assessment for speed variation concepts during the cruise phase”: Fig.6 (p.8) shows he impact of systematically varied TAS on fuel consumption. These results suggest endurance is maximized at a mere 13% below NC; the graph’s curvature, if extended, suggests that endurance at 34% below NC would result in POORER endurance than at NC.

    Practical support: in 2005, a Boeing 777-200LR broke the endurance record for commercial aircraft (22 hours, 42 minutes). It did so by flying 11,664 nautical miles, for an average ground speed of 513.8 knots – very CLOSE to NC, not 34% slower. Even after allowing for potentially strong tailwinds, the implied TAS would still flatly contradict the official theory’s implicit assertion that endurance is maximized by plowing for several hours through dense air, not coasting on top of it.

    Why is the aviation community not shouting at the top of its lungs demanding the ATSB answer this key question: “if your model update left MH370 with LESS endurance available for the southward leg, why did it shift you to a scenario that required MORE endurance?”?

    • toughluck says:

      At a given engine setting, the plane will use the same amount of fuel per unit of time. Yes, it will slow down, but other than that, if the plane’s airspeed is above stall speed, it will stay aloft for about the same time (not counting the time it will take for the plane to fall).

      • Brock McEwen says:

        Only up to a point, tl – otherwise, endurance would be maximized by turning the engine OFF.

        As speed reduces, the endurance BENEFITS you correctly describe are eventually overtaken by additional energy COSTS required to maintain altitude (camber lift reduced -> must be replaced by deflection lift -> more drag -> more thrust required to offset).

        If the plane is allowed to constantly descend, then these costs are mitigated – but new ones arise: the lower your altitude, the more the plane needs to fight to plow through denser air.

        If you were right, then the endurance (longest TIME in the air)record I mention above would have been set using a very low cruising speed. It was not – it was set using a very HIGH cruising speed.

      • Brock McEwen says:

        Apologies – missed your “above stall speed” qualifier” – so I retract the “turning engine off” comment.

        But the rest of my comment is valid: once at altitude, there is a minimum speed – which is well in EXCESS of stall speed – that maximizes endurance. The speed at which the record was set proves it, and the physics I describe above explain it.

        • toughluck says:

          I stand by my point: for a given power setting, if the plane stays above stall speed, the endurance, expressed as time, is going to be the same.

          • Brock McEwen says:

            I actually think we’re BOTH right – all I’m saying is that, for large commercial aircraft on long flights, minimum drag = maximum endurance = minimum power setting required to maintain altitude – ANY altitude – is achieved at surprisingly fast speeds, and at a surprisingly high altitude. Boeing set the record by getting up and over the atmosphere, and then coasting (at nearly top speed) for 22 hours.

  29. Rod says:

    “My hunch is that a malfunction, rather than foul play, brought the plane down. A poorly handled decompression, for example, caused by a structural problem or windscreen failure. Or a catastrophic electrical failure combined with smoke, fire or fumes that rendered the crew unconscious. Granted that doesn’t totally jibe with the evidence, but none of the theories do.”

    Especially with the mess the Malaysian government has made of communicating with the public, it’s rather hard to say what the “evidence” is at this point.

    However, if one accepts the possibility of pilot suicide (with — precisely — the intention of making the event an insoluble mystery), then locking yourself into the flight deck, shutting down all evidence-producing devices, telling the autopilot to fly you to the Southern Ocean, then knocking back a nice big barbiturate-laced vodka or three makes a sick sort of sense.

    And God knows there are plenty of nuts out there.

  30. […] we get yet another annoying conversation about transponders. My full critique is here… http://www.askthepilot.com/malaysia-…es-flight-370/ PS […]

  31. I reran my initial simulation and I wanted to share my results. Mind you this included all of the known altitude and turns from known data. I ran it with the mind set of a rouge pilot. Specifically I flew just below maximum speed for a given altitude thinking that a rogue pilot would want as much distance as possible. That put me 10 minutes ahead of last radar contact off the coast of Thailand.

    I remained at 4500 feet from coast of Thailand to NW coast of Indo. Afterwards, I flew at a slower speed than previous run. 385 knots, 37500 feet in altitude and a heading of 180, (Due South), after rounding NW Indo. That put me into the search area right on time.

    It was eerie watching the sun rise with SW Indo slipping away behind me. When I reached 3 1/2 hours from shark bay and had 2/12 hours of fuel, I knew I was at the point of no return. I ditched at S25 E94 at 8:37 am.

    Nothing in my simulation raised any inconsistencies with all publicly released data. I think the search is right on target and will locate the final resting place with in a few months.

    • Brock McEwen says:

      Very helpful additional perspective, Todd – thanks.

      Was 385kts GROUND speed?

      The “HIGHEST PROBABILITY” path published last week requires 323kts ground speed for the last 2 hours – roughly 326kts GS average for the six hours post-radar. Can you explain the difference?

      Finally (and sorry for the inundation): are you able to make the ORIGINAL search site (roughly 480 knots GS, I believe), or do you run out of fuel?

      Thanks!

    • Brock McEwen says:

      Further inundation – this time just an FYI: when I cross-ref the published “HIGHEST PROBABILITY” search zone against Google Earth, I get S20s E103 – 586 nmi NE of your S25 E94 ditch point, and 270 nmi closer to VAMPI.

  32. nemrod says:

    so seeing that the plane might never be found you now say that your hunch is that a malfunction brought it down? right after the plane’s disappearance you wrote that there was clearly something nefarious going on in this case. the pilots should all stick together, huh? you know well that multiple changes of the plane’s course and altitude make hijacking and suicide the most probable cause. The person who intentionally brought this plane down might now kind of get away with it.

    • Eirik says:

      Whatever happened to that plane, it doesnt make any sense (stating the obvious…) compared to other “similar incidents”. Because;

      1 – Malfunction;
      This can still be the case. Something might have happened which cut off all communication and they kept struggling with the plane until it crashed. They may have lost all vital instruments which explains the erratic change in altitude and heading. To navigate at night with no instruments and absence of a horizon and landmarks is extremely difficult, if not impossible. It doesnt take long until you dont have a clue about heading and which altitude you`re at.

      2 – Hijacking;
      Either the hijackers succeeded or the pilots and/or passengers were in control after fighting them off.
      Lets pretend the hijackers were in control and the plane were in good shape and all instruments and communication were still working. Like Patrick have mentioned several times; why are there no one taking responsibility for the hijacking? Why did they hijack a plane without knowing they could acually fly it and land it safely somewhere? Of course, the whole point of the hijacking could be just to crash it and kill everyone onboard (suicide hijacking). But they didnt have to keep flying for several hours before crashing the plane.
      Lets pretend the pilots were in control after the attempted hijacking. They would, if they could, turn around or land at the nearest airport. No words from the pilots.
      Or, both the hijackers and the crew were eliminated and some poor passengers did what they could for as long as they could.

      3 – Pilot suicide/hijacking;
      All he (or they) had to do was turn off the autopilot and crash the plane. No need to fly around for several hours, changing heading and altitude and eventually decide enough is enough and crash the plane. If the pilot(s) wanted to hijack the plane and take it to a destination of their choice, they already knew the fuel status and how far that would take them instead of running dry in the middle of nowhere.

      All 3 theories creates a lot of questions. But I dont think we can rule out any of them as more or less unthinkable at this point.

      • toughluck says:

        The first officer would not know how to navigate from the stars at night, but the captain would (although he would probably be rusty).
        However, out of over 200 passengers, do you seriously believe NOBODY would have a GPS-equipped phone? They could ask and get any number of them, place them behind the windshield and see their position constantly — battery life doesn’t mean a thing, since you wouldn’t turn on unused phones, just those you are using, and switch once the battery dies.
        Plenty of methods of navigation were still left to them.

        • Patrick says:

          >> The first officer would not know how to navigate from the stars at night, but the captain would <<

          I’m curious how you came up with that idea. First of all, it’s not like captains are trained in certain types of navigation, while first officers are not. Training for both positions is more or less the same.

          Either way, celestial navigation hasn’t been taught to pilots since the 1950s, so far as I know.

          • toughluck says:

            I meant the age difference — the first officer was 27 years old, the captain was 53.
            Even so, celestial navigation was only used until the sixties, so unless Capt. Ahmad studied it himself, you’re right he wouldn’t know it, since he was trained in the eighties or later.

        • Eirik says:

          “However, out of over 200 passengers, do you seriously believe NOBODY would have a GPS-equipped phone?”

          Seriously, I believe most phones today have GPS.

          Even more seriously; I find it hard to believe they would collect all phones and throw them on the “dashboard”, one by one till the battery ran out, and navigate successfully.
          Driving around in your Lexus looking for a Jack in the Box is one thing. Navigating a B777 is something else.

          Best case scenario; the phone would tell you where you were, you still have no clue about heading, speed and altitude.

          • toughluck says:

            GPS gives you position if you are in sight of 3 satellites. If you are in sight of at least 4 satellites, it also provides your altitude.
            GPS also gives you speed, but even if it didn’t, you could compute it yourself.
            Finally, new phones usually have a compass. Other than that, a compass is something so low-tech that you could slap it together at the very least, but I imagine the plane has it. Finally, you can compute heading just by looking for some standard features in the sky (I don’t know the reference points in southern sky, but it’s Polaris in the North).
            At worst, if you do have a position reading, take two readings and compute the angle between your N/S and E/W heading and you have your heading.

  33. […] (See Smith’s fuller explanation of transponders, radar, cabin decompression, and different elements of airline flying right here.) […]

  34. Betty Morgan says:

    Why can’t at least the wings be made of carbon steel or something lite that could be made to float? At least long enough for a water landing and escape.

    How much truth is in the up and down altitudes and the use of fuel?
    All those experts and they can’t find it yet after a month of continuous searching? They must be looking in the wrong direction.
    Would wind direction have any influence?

    • Eirik says:

      Many airplanes already have carbon fiber wings, which are light and extremely strong. Im not sure what material the 370 had.
      The wings are the most likely part to float as it is, depending on damages on impact of course. The whole plane could actually float in perfect conditions, remember the Hudson landing. Although it wont float forever, obviously.

      Wings are designed to make the plane fly, not to make to plane float ;)

      Altitudes and use of fuel is correct. The lower the altitude, the more fuel it burns. If you wonder why, you can google it. Too much to explain here :)

      • toughluck says:

        If the wings don’t disintegrate on contact with water and the fuel tanks were empty, they will float for weeks since the fuel tanks are filled with nitrogen at that point (regulations require tanks must be filled with inert gas as they are emptied).
        However, wings usually do disintegrate and the fuel tanks fill with water quite rapidly.

        Oh, and “plane at lower altitude uses more fuel” is inaccurate or wrong. It will use more fuel per unit of distance covered, but this is simply because the plane flies slower at the same engine power setting.
        Second, the plane will actually use a lot more fuel for takeoff at higher altitudes.
        Please be as precise as possible. This really helps prevent unnecessary communication issues.

  35. Betty Morgan says:

    I am convinced that 777 is nearer land. I feel, that, similar to Swissair 111, there was a failure of the entertainment equipment so that perhaps it caused a fire where the smoke made it impossible for the pilots to see or breathe and that before they ditched, they tried to get rid of fuel and land somewhere on the peninsula. Perhaps it is in an uninhabited bit of land, or nearby in shallower water. What I would like to know is have small boats been all around the perimeters looking for debris. I have not had any answer to this at all.
    It makes sense to me, but I am willing to be corrected.

  36. I finally got a chance to fly the route on a flight simulator using a 777ER. I was amazed at how all of the times lined up almost perfectly. I am now convinced the pilot was making a run towards Antarctica. He knew he would never make it but expected to get to the Southern Imarsat ping arch where the search was originally. His descent to 5K used up a ton of fuel. Must have known Malaysia or Thailand were looking for him as evidenced by radio chatter. I was also amazed that after you round Indo, put your heading at 180 (Due South) you end up exactly where they are looking for it. My speed at 450 knots brought me to the search area an hour early so speed was likely 400 knots from Indo to crash site. That is a very slow speed designed for fuel economy. I still believe he landed intact as the reason for no wreckage.

  37. I find it hard to believe that anyone, let alone a pilot could think this is anything but a in flight hijacking. No amount of malfunction can account for multiple turns to avoid Thailand and Indonesia and ending up off of Australia. Even the pilot of this plane new better than to go near Indo. If they had flown over it would have been seen. Instead it went around. This is a pilot hijacking or passenger hijacking. If we find the plane at the bottom intact like I think we will it will prove no malfunction. Just really bad intent.

    • Eirik says:

      Even if it did land intact, which I doubt, the water pressure down there will probably tear the plane apart.

      • Actually, if you let the water in the pressure would be equal inside and out. I don’t know if you could do this through the pressurization system or if you would have to crack a door. Any aviation experts have any thoughts?

        • Patrick says:

          Who said what now?

          Look, a survivable landing in the open ocean would be difficult enough.  Finessing with outflow valves and doors to equalize pressure or whatever….?   I’m not even sure what you’re asking, exactly, but this is silly speculation.

          • The miracle on the Hudson proves it can be done without setting off the ELT. The fact that we have zero debris in an area indicated by Imarsat Pings, Pinger locator, and likely point of no fuel all point to a water landing. If you have a better explanation that fits all of the data above I am all ears. What you call silly speculation, I consider a logical assessment of the facts

    • Patrick says:

      Possibly it was a hijacking. Like I said, I’m not ruling anything out.

      But by whom? For what?

      Terrorist groups don’t hijack planes in order to disappear them intact at the bottom of the ocean. That makes no sense, strategically, and would be extraordinarily difficult to coordinate and pull off. Terrorism is always low-tech, low-risk (look at September 11th).

      And if it was one of the pilots… again, what’s the point? If you’re on a suicide mission, why not simply crash the damn plane into the ocean, right then and there, like the EgyptAir pilot apparently did. Instead, you embark on a long, elaborate, convoluted mission, flying for several hours, all for the purpose of not being found? Why?

      • It is my belief that the pilot cracked as a result of the opposition leader being convicted on trumped up charges. Since Malaysia owns the airline, he wanted to make the plane disappear, causing a large loss financially and illustrating the likely incompetence of the ruling party in the subsequent investigation. He did not want his role revealed and felt he could make the plane disappear forever. This required a water landing which I am confident he managed to pull off.

  38. […] no bounds. Meanwhile, even as Dr. M is solving the mystery, airline pilot Patrick Smith, of the Ask the Pilot blog, says that it is farther than ever from […]

  39. Patrick: The flight MH 370 is in the caldera of Supervolcano Toba, Sumatra. I have no doubt about this. Please email me about where you and I should take this from here. Sincerely , Michael Flanagan
    M.D. ret.

  40. […] no bounds. Meanwhile, even as Dr. M is solving the mystery, airline pilot Patrick Smith, of the Ask the Pilot blog, says that it is farther than ever from […]

    • Anonymous says:

      mh370 facts took off 12.41 at 1.19 am said good night NOW THIS THE CLEVER BIT AT 1.20 AM THE CONTROLLER sent a signal to the autopilot telling it to switch off the oxygen and land the aircraft and as autopilots do as they are told it did it AT 1.30 am it gently landed the plane on the sea it floated for a little while by this time all the people were lifeless 239 WERE DIED NOW I HAVE ANOTHER THOUGHT 4U9525 WAS IT BROUGHT DOWN BY THE CONTROLLER IN SPAIN ALL HE NEEDED TO DO WAS SAY DIVE I FEEL ANDREAS LUBITZ WAS TRYING TO RIGHT THE PLANE WHEN IT CRASHED HE WAS CONSIDERED A GOOD PILOT AND A GOOD SON

  41. […] no bounds. Meanwhile, even as Dr. M is solving the mystery, airline pilot Patrick Smith, of the Ask the Pilot blog, says that it is farther than ever from […]

  42. […] no bounds. Meanwhile, even as Dr. M is solving the mystery, airline pilot Patrick Smith, of the Ask the Pilot blog, says that it is farther than ever from […]

  43. Thomas Turk says:

    This charade is to hide an embarrasing situation and is well beyond anything Malaysia could conjure up, ie to bury 370 in the deepest part of the Indian O with it’s imagined dying pings. What is the embarrassment to Malaysia?. Is it the civil radar plot of MH370 showing an unidentified target moving at 2,500mph and then stopping? That while MH370 does a few sharp turns, but NOT back, instantly drops to sea level, shoots forward and disappears! Is THIS the information that they cannot release to the public because then they would be the laughing stock as unidentified targets do NOT exist? IF this radar plot is a fake, then Malaysian MUST show us the original to prove that.

    There is NO proof MH370 went South. The statement by Inmarsat that they had analysed inmarsat RF signals using doppler shift analysis is a lie. The RF signal is almost certainly not recorded (only the extracted data such as aircraft identity) so there was nothing there to be analysed. That is why Inmarsat had refused to turn up at THEIR briefing.

    NO miltary radar plot from Malaysia, Thailand nor Indonesia, nor satellite data has been presented to confirm this large target heading S, or even back over Thailand, S of Phuket. Of interest is that CNN, Al Jazeera, The Indpendent UK , Daily Telegraph UK and Straits Times are blocking all commenters from posting the link to the civil radar plot or even discussion on the plot.

    http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com/videos/ufosinterdimensionalultraterrestrials/ufo-in-the-radarreadings-of-malaysia-airlines-flight-370.html

    Ufos and ets? Before you fall down laughing, or uncomfortably want to scream fraud, fake or nutters because nasa, seti and astronomers tell us there are NO ufos under intelligent et control flying around here.

    google Larry King, CNN, Ufos shut down missile silos in US, UK and USSR.

    google Wikipedia. Valentich, Cessna ufo abduction, Melbourne, Australia. (Full radio transcript recorded).

    open http://www.theyfly.com

    IF this was a ufo/et abduction, they may all be alive, but not coming back anytime soon.

    I am a Rtd Airline Training Captain with multiple UFO sightings. In 1972 we carried Govt(?) UFO report forms in our Nav Boxes, (Super VC10s out of Nairobi, Kenya). I am quite comfortable with the ufo phenomena.

    I was the Pilot Union’s rep. at all aircraft accident investigations in the 4 countries that owned the airline. That function was to ensure pilots got a fair hearing, even if deceased.

  44. Thomas Turk says:

    Still waiting for approval? Uncomfortable with ufos?

  45. Thomas Turk says:

    Why was my comment censored on the last posting? I post it again. If it gets censored again I guess I need to add askthepilot to the censors list.

    This is just a charade to hide an embarrasing situation, well beyond anything Malaysia could conjure up, ie to bury 370 in the deepest part of the Indian O with it’s imagined dying pings. What is the embarrassment to Malaysia?. Is it the civil radar plot of MH370 showing an unidentified target moving at 2,500mph and then stopping? That while MH370 does a few sharp turns, but NOT back, instantly drops to sea level, shoots forward and disappears! Is THIS the information that they cannot release to the public because then they would be the laughing stock as unidentified targets do NOT exist? IF this radar plot is FAKED, then Malaysian must give us their actual for comparison.

    There is NO proof MH370 went South. The statement by Inmarsat that they had analysed inmarsat RF signals using doppler shift analysis is a lie. The RF signal is almost certainly not recorded (only the extracted data such as aircraft identity) so there was nothing there to be analysed. That is why Inmarsat had refused to turn up at THEIR briefing.

    NO miltary radar plot from Malaysia, Thailand nor Indonesia, nor satellite data has been presented to confirm this large target heading S, or even back over Thailand, S of Phuket. Of interest is that CNN, Al Jazeera, The Indpendent UK , Daily Telegraph UK and Straits Times are blocking all commenters from posting the link to the civil radar plot or even discussion on the plot.

    http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com/videos/ufosinterdimensionalultraterrestrials/ufo-in-the-radarreadings-of-malaysia-airlines-flight-370.html

    Ufos and ets? Before you fall down laughing, or uncomfortably want to scream fraud, fake or nutters because nasa, seti and astronomers tell us there are NO ufos under intelligent et control flying around here.

    google Larry King, CNN, Ufos shut down missile silos in US, UK and USSR.

    google Wikipedia. Valentich, Cessna ufo abduction, Melbourne, Australia. (Full radio transcript recorded).

    open http://www.theyfly.com

    IF this was a ufo/et abduction, they may all be alive, but not coming back anytime soon.

    I am a Rtd Airline Training Captain with multiple UFO sightings. In 1972 we carried Govt(?) UFO report forms in our Nav Boxes, (Super VC10s out of Nairobi, Kenya). I am quite comfortable with the ufo phenomena.

    I was the Pilot Union’s rep. at all aircraft accident investigations in the 4 countries that owned the airline. That function was to ensure pilots got a fair hearing, even if deceased.

    • Yo Moer says:

      IT WAS ALIENS!!! TOTALLY ALIENS!!!
      Now let me get my tin foil hat, before they start taking control of my brain.

  46. CruxAustralis says:

    Could a fire or an electrical surge (or similar incident) affecting the left circuit breaker board on the 777 cause the failure of the transponder, ACARS, and communications with ATC, among other ?

    Also, windshields on 777 seem to have a history of incidents, including one affecting 9M-MRG, most seemed minor and recoverable, but could it start a fire that could lead to question above?

    Could that explain the ensuing plane’s behavior?

    Thanks

    • Craig says:

      You cannot be serious? Have you been watching the news?

      • CruxAustralis says:

        Patrick’s entry dated April 26 is clear enough. I rest my case. Sometimes it’s better to understand plane structures and avionics than just watching CNN ;)

  47. […] pilot explains everything that the media gets wrong The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 0 __________________ I can make it to the gate in 2.6 seconds….can […]

  48. Eirik says:

    At this point, Im almost more curious what kind of simulator CNN will put Martin Savidge in.

  49. Dear Patrick: I have thought long and hard about the fate of MH370. It is my view that it—the airplane— lies in the caldera of Supervolcano Toba in Sumatra. I wish to make l a deal with you: If the airplane is in the caldera, you pay your own way; if l it is not in the caldera, l shall pay your way. Please let me know, immediately, Patrick, if you would like to take up my offer. Thank you. Regards, Michael Flanagan, M.D. f et.

  50. Jenny says:

    After weeks of thinking, watching, reading … And knowing absolutely nothing about flying …I have come to a horrendous conclusion.
    Something happened on the flight that left the person(s) in control of the plane 2 choices.
    1. Attempt to land (or crash) on terra firma with the new knowledge or belief that this would result in a catastrophe with many thousands killed
    OR
    2. Sacrifice the lives of everyone on board to save the lives of thousands and avoid catastrophe. So take the plane and the source of the potential catastrophe as far away from land and populated places as possible.
    Whoever it was chose the second option.

    • toughluck says:

      Once they have made such a decision, there would be nobody to stop them from following through.
      So why didn’t they contact ATC?
      Furthermore, if Diego Garcia was indeed within range, I am sure this would have been a better destination, since DG would be equipped to deal with almost any contingency.
      Finally, they would have a fair chance of ditching in shallow waters or on a beach of some remote island, if Diego Garcia was not an option. Either way, they had options.

  51. Navjot says:

    In my previous comment I was not attempting to provide an explanation for why this plane crashed or if even that the plane had crashed because of a rogue or mentally disturbed pilot.I was simply providing my opinion based on the assumption that the plane had in-fact been unlawfully commandeered. The plane would have been flown either manually or on autopilot for the seven hours until it crashed supposedly in the Southern Indian Ocean. Someone on the plane must have noticed that something was amiss because the fact is the plane never made it to China and was in the wrong position and heading in the wrong direction for the majority of the flight. The passengers could have noticed that it was still pretty much dark when the plane went down when the sun would have risen over Beijing and it would have been about seven o’clock there. The erratic flight profile of the plane suggests that it was being flown by an experienced pilot who was trying to avoid radar contact. It was just the timing of the accident, given that it had occurred just days after another pane had been hi-jacked and the constant media scrutiny given to the hi-jack theory that prompted me to give my account for what may have happened. Again, we will only know what actually happened once the black boxes and the wreckage of the plane is located and an investigation is launched. The media has really been unprofessional in how they have handled this disaster. They attempt to make out reasons why this plane may have crashed without fully understanding how aircraft work and how planes are tracked in flight. But to me the vast majority of possible mechanical failures seem unlikely as the plane continued on for several hours and no distress signal was received. Only a Helios flight 522 repeat type scenario involving the pressurization of the jet or a catastrophic electrical failure could explain the strange movements of the plane or the lack of distress signal. We will just have to wait ans see what the investigators find if and when this plane is located.

  52. Bart J. Zoltan says:

    I have been watching the search for flight 370 with fascination and interest. The smarts brought to bear appear to be impressive, and for weeks it seemed the searcher were “almost there”.

    All along it occurred to me that maybe we ought to do what engineers do when they have great uncertainty. Model and simulate. The modeling seems to have gone well, but with no results yet. With each day, the aircraft’s signature (footprint?) in the Indian Ocean fades.

    Is it practical to set up one of the many jets in the “airplane graveyard”, fit it with engines and guidance, certified for flying.

    Then, fit the plane with all the GPS transducers and data recorders possible, and allow the unmanned aircraft flying out to sea unmanned from Australia, to run out of fuel, (as we believe 370 had done) over the Indian Ocean.

    If properly instrumented, we would at a minimum have some idea of the nature of the impact, the spread of the debris field (remember everything is instrumented) over a period of ninety days. Similarly we could track the oils, fuel, etc. and see how long it takes until it is subsumed by the sea.

    Expensive, but not greatly so, considering the knowledge that might be gained. Comments or critiques welcome.

    • backpacker says:

      Yes, that could be an interesting exercise to see what you see.

      I had a related idea a couple weeks ago when the pings were the news. Since the geosynchronous satellite has a slight worble in its so-called ‘stationary’ track, they could use that worble along with the Doppler Effect to determine which direction that plane really went.

      I wondered how helpful it might be to have aircraft queued up to head both north & south from the last waypoint and let them loose when the satellite arrived at the same point in its path as it was on the night that MH370 went missing.

  53. Navjot says:

    But if the captain had flown the plane of course, there were seven hours between the plane being deliberately taken off course and crashing into the Indian Ocean. One question i have is why did no-one try to o anything to take back control?? The passengers on United 93 during the 9/11 attacks used a trolley to smash the cockpit door down and tried to regain control of the plane. Couldn’t the passengers have done that here?? I know that the door is built to be bullet proof and designed to be hijacker proof but something must have been done by the crew. And where was the first officer or the cabin crew member who is supposed to stand guard when one pilot is out of the cockpit. It’s beginning to look like this is a copy of the Ethiopian Airlines 702 hijack this year where the first officer took the plane to Geneva (i think, might be wrong) after the captain went out of the cockpit and the first officer somehow either disabled or tampered with the cockpit door locking system and flew it to Geneva. This should have served as a wake up call but obviously the corrupt so called ICAO safety organization did not pay enough attention and so here we are a month and a bit later after a plane carrying 239 innocent people which has crashed and whose wreckage still has not been located. Think about the lives and the millions which could have been saved if the ICAO had taken the Feb. 2014 incident seriously. I love aviation for all its beauty and engineering marvels but I sometimes think that there are those at the top who are trying undermine the public’s confidence in the safety of air travel to keep their pockets full. This was a completely avoidable disaster that should not have any place in our modern aviation era. I would welcome other fellow users thoughts on my opinion.

    • Eirik says:

      - One question i have is why did no-one try to o anything to take back control??

      We dont know what happened on that plane. Maybe someone did try?
      Its impossible to try to figure out what really happened up there.

      – Think about the lives and the millions which could have been saved if the ICAO had taken the Feb. 2014 incident seriously.

      You have to remember that flying is still THE safest way to travel, by far. Each day there are thousands of successful arrivals and departures around the world. The list would be endless (and impossible) if the industry were to protect itself from any hypothetical threat. Just because there was one nutty pilot doesnt mean that this is something likely to happen again anytime soon.
      And if there really is another nutty pilot out there, Im pretty sure he would figure out a way to hijack or bring down a plane, no matter what ICAO did to prevent it.

      I heard someone on tv suggesting that pilots should not be able to plan or even know who they were flying with. The pilots flying together would be a secret until they met for preflight briefing so that two pilots were unlikely to plan a hijack or something else.
      I almost fell off my couch. This is typical media stuff and only adds to the public hysteria. Pilots are the last thing to worry about and its incredibly unjust to suspect them based on one nutty pilot.

    • backpacker says:

      What do we think of your opinion? We think its a fail. An epic fail. And you are probably trolling us…

      As a conclusion, it shows baseless assumptions and retarded development – unless you know something that no one else knows.

      At this point, we don’t know how much of the deviation is due to mechanical failure, emergency event, pilot error, or malfeasance by a pilot or someone else. So it is an assumption to say the it was deliberately flown off course.

      Likewise, it is still an assumption that it has crashed in the Indian Ocean. That has yet to be proven or even indicated by any debris. You even argue against yourself when you point to the fact that no wreckage has yet been located.

      Why do you believe that no one tried to do anything to take back control? What do you base this conclusion on? Maybe they tried unsuccessfully? Maybe they were all MIA as well?

      Or even if they were successful, if sleeping passengers woke up and tried the trolley trick that you proposed, who knows if any of them knew how to operate a jet? So-called taking control may not have made any difference if no one had spent years learning the control system of a 777-200ER.

      How do you know that either of the pilots left for the loo – much less that it was the Captain…as you imply? How is any of this beginning to look anything at all like Ethiopian Airlines 702 other than what you are inventing? What information did you hear/see about what actually happened on-board MH370? Where you there? Are you the only known survivor?

      What do you know about what the ICAO did or did not do after Flight 702? That incident happened 2/17/17 and missing flight MH370 departed 19 days later on 3/8/14. Did you really expect that an international agency would have implemented some reactionary, worldwide plan in only 19 days? And imposed such a plan on hundreds of private businesses (airlines) such that those companies would have retro-fitted thousands of planes and/or trained tens of thousands of employees? C-mon, man!

      Failing to do all that, it is now your contention that the ICAO is a corrupt organization? You should be starting to see why your guessing looks to show retarded development of the conclusion, if not the concluder.

      Its another assumption that there are 239 innocent people. Sure, some, even most, might be innocent. But here you are arguing against yourself again. Unless you believe that a rogue pilot who deliberately takes a plane off course, and looks himself in the cockpit is himself innocent, then how do you get to 239?

      Do you have any idea how business, finances, and economics work? Really, even the slightest idea?? Those at the top of the airline industry line their pockets when passengers are paying fares and flying more and more. But when planes go missing, the opposite happens. Some people lose faith in the airline safety which suggests that they will take fewer flights meaning that the airlines earn less revenue and lower profits. Also, losing a $250,000,000 asset does nothing to help fill the pockets of those on top. In fact, it does the exact opposite. Since the company now has to replace that vehicle, they have much less money with which to help themselves. Have you been watching? Does this missing plane make it more likely that Malaysian Airlines will A) give their CEO a big raise; or B) go out of business?

      Thanks for guessing – unfortunately, that is not what this website is about. The next time you are tempted to respond, you might want to get some sense first. It could even be helpful to read Patricks book Cockpit Confidential so you do look like such a noob.

      Cheers!

  54. Tom says:

    According to the poll: “5 percent believe the disappearance is related to supernatural or alien activity; and 3 percent think it was shot down by a foreign government.”

    While neither possibility is terribly likely, I find it slightly amusing that more people hold space aliens or magic responsible than foreign governments.

  55. fiona says:

    with this new co-pilot’s cell phone was turned on but no calls made — it made me think he turned it on in hopes of being tracked but didn’t make call because somebody was watching/controlling him.

    I recently watched a netflix doc on the kennedy plane the went down by Martha’s vinyard. in the doc it was really convincing that it was sabatoge by an unidentified second pilot. apparenty fuel gage was turned to off which wouldn’t be necessary for a nose dive suicide. the nose dive also occured immediately following last time Kennedy Made contact with — an air tower – or whatever they are called. watching the doc rekindled the idea that with Malaysia flt somebody intentionally rerouted plane immediately after the last contact because it would give them biggest window of time before somebody noticed they were not in contact. And also took the plane as far away from where it might be found as possible in homes of making discovery of black box as unlikely as possible.

    There was talk of a murder as possible motive early on — that somebody(s) with a lot of tactical power wanted somebody(s) on that plane dead — and this was elaborate way of getting it done with no evidence. pretty elaborate. but also effective if that was it.

    • Eirik says:

      Obviously I have no idea what was going on in that plane or in the cockpit. But the thing about his cell phone trying to get connection is something very different from making a phone call (if that was ever tried). The plane might have been low enough to be able to pick up a signal, but the speed is what makes it hard, if not impossible, to get a stable connection.

      Im not sure if you compared Malaysian flight with the Kennedy accident in any way, but that plane was flying much lower and slower, so in that case it would be possible to use a cell phone.

    • Yo Moer says:

      Patrick has already explained this time and time again. The co-pilot wouldn’t be be able to make any cell phone call at all nor have any reception.

      Cell phone towers only have a range of a couple miles, that’s why in a city you see lots of cell towers everywhere; big, small, visible, hidden, on top of buildings, on top of businesses, etc.

      They were flying over the ocean most of the time far from any cell tower reception. And even over land, at normal cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, that’s 5.6 miles from the ground far away from any cell tower reception. Period.

      • Eirik says:

        I heard an interesting (crazy?) story last night on CNN.
        This Australian guy whos been on CNN lately, mid 60`s, grey hair and glasses (looks like a character from The Muppet Show – no offence).

        They were talking about the cell phone signal picked up from one of the pilots. He then said its highly possible since he once received a text message at 35000ft when flying from Perth to Melbourne.

        Now, first of all, when youre flying between Perth and Melbourne, close to 70% of the flight is over the ocean.
        In addition to that, there is a lot of rural areas before you approach any of those cities. Based on cell phone coverage maps in Australia, there are not many spots along that route you would pick up a cell phone signal. Much less at 35000ft.

        He didnt say which carrier he flew with, but a wild guess would be Virgin or Qantas. Both of them have cell phone service on some of their planes. But those signals are coming from satellites.
        NOT from cell towers on the ground.

        I would be surprised if he dont know the difference.

        If it was that easy, why would airlines spend tens of millions of dollar for satellite cell phone service onboard?

        Too bad thats all he said and no one even questioned him.

        Im sure Ive spent close to 5000 hours at FL350 and I have never seen a single dot on my signal bar. Heck, I usually lose the signal once they close the door at the gate.

      • Patrick says:

        All true… though you can, occasionally, pick up a momentary signal at high altitudes. It might last a few seconds, but it won’t be reliable enough to place a normal call over.

  56. Gerald says:

    Q: How does the autopilot behaves if the engines are running out of fuel?
    Does it still try to keep flight level/direction programmed. -> this would result in a stall situation i assume since speed will go down without engines running. And as far as i remember autopilot will then switch off if situation cannot be handled anymore, right?
    OR will the autopilot keep the aircraft in a stable flight situation still? -> this would result in a nose down, keeping at least the programmed direction and a minimum speed level to avoid stall.

    • Eirik says:

      When the engines are running out of fuel, eventually all systems will shut down, including the auto pilot. Generators onboard are depending on the engines to run. There are back up systems but those will only last for so long. If the pilots were awake they would still be able to control the plane, to some degree.
      But in this case, where it seems like no one(?) actually were flying the plane, it will just become a glider and end up wherever the weather and other factors decide.

  57. dan says:

    Question: Doesn’t the fact that the pilot (whoever it was who made the last transmission) did not contact HCM when he was given the frequency, indicate that it was one of the pilots who hijacked the plane? Isn’t it standard operating procedure to do so immediately? If so, then one should be able to rule out the possibility that any catastrophic error could have occurred within those few seconds.

  58. Navjot says:

    To cloak an aircraft would be extremely difficult. Firstly how would the equipment be brought on-board the aircraft? I would also assume that this equipment would need to be assembled or otherwise readied for it to begin working. And then once the aircraft has been smuggled what then? Leave it on the the tarmac to rot?? Use it for another terrorist attack? What about the crew and passengers? You could shoot them or keep them prisoner but you would need to keep them away from any communication from the outside world. It would be an extremely difficult task to pull off, especially considering that if the plan fails it will cause great embarrassment to your country or organisation and lead to a long and bitter legal case and possible sanctions and other prosecutions. Better of cloaking one of your own fighter planes and flying it over North Korea and bombing Pyongyang to show off your technology.

  59. Motu says:

    i have this wild imagination,coupled with aviation and ATS background which prompts me to say:
    It is some state sponsered technology test where technology ” How to make a object/ aircraft untraceble by Radar and communication System”.
    u will surely agree that this would be very useful defence tool for any country.
    We already have low flying stealth aircrafts which cannot be tracked by radar. We have jammmers which when activated would not allow any onboard eqpt to be tracked.
    The amount of expertise required and the planning to execute it requires consistent short-term testing of technology and huge coverup exercise on media .
    Only state sponsered programme can do this… and what are few lives of common men in pursuit of technolgy superiority..

    • backpacker says:

      The hard part is to make an invisibility cloak big enough for a jumbo jet, strong enough to withstand the sub-sonic winds, and retardant enough to not catch fire.

      • Yo Moer says:

        You know, ever since stealth technologies first started developing the priority were to hide it. The less your enemy know the better.

        Add that if someone had the resources to make such a good stealth, jamming technolgy possible, if they were intelligent people they would test the equipment in a controlled enviroment. It’s not like you can’t buy or lease a big jet airliner to test your tech. Why be so dumb as to cause an incident to draw the attention of all the world? You’d only see such stupid plan or behavior from a cartoon villain failing to read the evil overload list.

        The

  60. Mark says:

    Why aren’t planes that fly over oceans required to have an EPIRB that releases from hydrostatic pressure in water. This is standard technology on ships and it seems like there have been multiple airline crashes at this point where locating the crash site would have benefited from having these.

    • Yo Moer says:

      There are proposals for blackboxes to be ejected on water crashes. But burocracy is usually one of the obstacles for a lot of things in aviation. Even if the proposal is heard and accepted, for it to become law it will take years, and add more time for new planes to be equipped with it or older ones to be retrofitted.

      • Mark says:

        That makes sense, going forward.

        But I just don’t understand why EPIRB technology, which has been around for a long time and is used on every ship, hasn’t already been deployed on airplanes. Ejecting the black box (and making it buoyant) seems like a major modification. But a little locator beacon popping off under 4 meters of water would have greatly helped searchers find both Malaysian Airlines 370 and Air France 447, I think. It’s lightweight, tried, and true technology (and I suspect relatively cheap.)

        It seems like a no-brainer, and usually when a solution seems like a no-brainer, there’s a pretty sophisticated reason it isn’t being done. (At least when it comes to airplanes.)

        • toughluck says:

          > Ejecting the black box (and making it buoyant)
          > seems like a major modification.
          Agreed. And it wouldn’t help at any rate. You kind of expect and want the black box to stay with the wreckage.

          > But a little locator beacon popping off under 4 meters
          > of water would have greatly helped searchers find both
          > Malaysian Airlines 370 and Air France 447, I think.
          > It’s lightweight, tried, and true technology
          > (and I suspect relatively cheap.)
          Agreed. Obviously it would drift away after some time, but in the short time after the flight is lost, it would still be possible to locate it very accurately.
          HOWEVER, that assumes you are looking in the right location. In the case of MH370, it’s not clear whether it would help. Even if it had 100+ km range, you would still need to be at least fairly close by to detect it. The search shifted to southern Indian Ocean after a week, meaning the beacon could have been quite a distance from the impact site.
          Now, I don’t really know if it’s possible, but GPS receivers are ubiquitous today. Would it be possible to add one to such a beacon and have it record its location every hour or so, starting with the moment when it is released from the plane and acquires signal?
          Once it’s finally retrieved, it would clearly indicate where the impact was and how the ocean currents moved it from its original position.

          > It seems like a no-brainer, and usually when a solution
          > seems like a no-brainer, there’s a pretty sophisticated
          > reason it isn’t being done. (At least when it comes
          > to airplanes.)
          I thought the same thing. But then again, there were suggestions to add surveillance cameras to planes and record footage from them on another black box. The weight of the whole system (minus the armor on the box itself) would be around several kilograms, and the cost would be pretty much negligible, so it makes sense.
          But it also makes sense to record more than just last two hours of flight deck conversations. As I understood some articles, there will only be two hours’ worth of voice recordings, which is fairly useless if there indeed was a struggle in the first hours of flight. I mean, come on, a cheap SD card can hold several months’ worth of speech with compression, down to maybe a few days if good quality is desirable.
          Honestly, with some advances in aviation technology, it’s usually outmoded when introduced and while upgrades could be made cheap and efficient, they are never carried out.

  61. Navjot says:

    Another question:

    When KAL 007 was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1983, the Americans had top secret radar that they gave to the investigators which had tracked the plane when it was shot down. This is thirty years later and we still didnt know where the plane was until last week or so. I know that the transponder wouldnt have given information as there is a lack of radar coverage over large streches of the oceans. However there are hundreds of satellites orbiting Earth of which some are operated by several of the South Asian nations. Having an un-identified aircraft flying over this region would have triggered alarm bells in several countries radar stations. Either these countries are pathetic in their tracking capabilities or they are very relunctant to share information. Surely one or two satellites would have picked up something that night. Despite the limitations of tranponders and other tracking software, nothing simply disappears without a trace. On the IFE system on aircraft, you can see the exact position of the aircraft as it continues on its flightpath. However, i would assume that this can be disabled or tampered with to avoid panicing the passengers. There was nothing out of the ordinary about this plane and it had an experience captain and first officer. Either something is amiss or this is a very sad and tragic combination of coincidences and errors.

    • HughW says:

      Assuming that the Ocean Shield is actually listening to the MH370 pingers, the chance that they were so dead on in finding the correct location right off by calculating the 7th Satellite ping is pretty improbable. In all likelihood, someone’s “top secret radar” or satellite date has put them on this spot. Whether it’s US or Chinese information, or someone else, they don’r want their capabilities made public. But surely, there’s some information flowing to the Australians under the table.

  62. Navjot says:

    What if the plane is never found?? I mean until now we’ve haven’t even had a single sighting of any wreckage. The black box pinger’s will run out in about a day or so and without them the plane will become much more difficult to find. I wonder if the rescuers will ever stop looking for it even if it takes 5 or 10 years. If it is never found then it will become the greatest modern aviation mystery ever. One criticism i do have is why the countries involved namely India, China, US and Australia aren’t deploying more assets in the region? It took only one day to send warships to counter the Chinese offensive in the South China Sea. If the Chinese and US work together the plane could be found today.

  63. William Denis Guest says:

    Australia’s suggestion that they have to keep looking for the pinger is ridicules. If the Ocean Shield is dragging a HIGH-TECH pinger locator at a walking pace, and if detects a signal consistent with flight 370…you are there. It only has a range of two miles. Not sending down the ROV to that four square mile area defies explanation.

    • Yo Moer says:

      You know, it isn’t like at 1.99999 miles you get a clear signal and at 2.00001 mile suddenly it cuts off and you don’t get a signal anymore. Also we don’t know what equipment or standards they use to say signals have a range of 2 miles. You can also factor in that some of the equipment the searchers are using might be more sensitive and might detect a signal from longer distances.

  64. bob says:

    please take the time to read the following article, though it may not seem familiar at first to you depending on your awareness as you read it in full you will see the connections and possible evidence that leads to the possible truth behind the missing flight 370, if you find this article truthful I urge you to look deeper and share with others

    http://divinecosmos.com/start-here/davids-blog/1159-flight-370

  65. D White says:

    Three questions:

    If transponders are easily interchangeable, plane to plane, it is even possible that the plane that was on the original ATC secondary radar wasnt MH370. That there is a two-minute space of time at the time right before departure that there was no contact and assumption that the plane which takes off with code sign of MH370 is actually MH370. And that this distraction plane had to turn away from entering Vietnam airspace, because Vietnam would have caught on to the fact that it wasnt a 777. There was one early report from Malaysian airlines on the first day that the plane never took off.

    Given that pilot’s flight simulator had a Diego Garcia landing, but since it is so top secret, how likely is it for these kinds of games to have such a destination? For anyone out there who has flight simulator game, can you say how common or easy it is to get Diego Garcia settings on your flight simulator game? Are we falsely assuming that it is a landing spot whose details are public information in games?

    Found a strange connection. So many techies on board, including 30 defense contractors, one of whom is/was a China Telecom executive of China who had just participated in the C&MA (construction and maintenance agreement) signing for Sea-Me-We 5, a submarine cable planned to run from Asia to Europe. And in the recent past months, ASEAN Defense Minster Meetings and ASEAN Defense Industry Collaborative were laying out an ASEAN defense minister-to-defense minister direct phone line (possibly through submarine cables) in the event of an emergency. Strange connection between so many defense contractors on board, a kind of Southeast Asian military industrial complex in development, and the defense ministers who had built up a direct working relationship. It is possible that there was desirable information or military technology on board. It is possible that there were state secrets on board that would have made it to China if the plane wasnt stopped. Anyone see more to these connections than mere coincidence?

    • toughluck says:

      I won’t comment on your first paragraph since it’s ridiculous conjecture with no basis in reality. The flight identified itself as MH370, no question about it. There’s a fair chance there were some plane spotters who have picked it up.

      > Given that pilot’s flight simulator had a Diego Garcia
      > landing, but since it is so top secret,
      Top secret? Hardly.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diego_Garcia
      There, along with pictures and a detailed map. It even has an IATA designation. It’s on Google maps, along with high-resolution satellite picture. It’s far from inconspicuous.

      > how likely is it for these kinds of games
      > to have such a destination?
      AFAIR, MS FSX includes quite a number of airports, Diego Garcia is not in the default installation, but it’s not hard to find it. Google: microsoft flight simulator x fjdg

      > For anyone out there who has flight simulator game,
      > can you say how common or easy it is to get Diego
      > Garcia settings on your flight simulator game?
      VERY easy.

      > Are we falsely assuming that it is a landing spot
      > whose details are public information in games?
      Ridiculous assertion. DG is an interesting spot, a very easy runway in an interesting location with the added bonus of being a military airport.

      > Found a strange connection. So many techies on board,
      > including 30 defense contractors,
      Where did THAT come from? Last I heard there were 20 Freescale top secret scientists, and nobody even used the phrase “defense contractor” until I debunked the theory on CNN’s website. You’re really grasping for straws here.

      > one of whom is/was a China Telecom executive of China
      > who had just participated in the C&MA (construction
      > and maintenance agreement) signing for Sea-Me-We 5,
      > a submarine cable
      NOTHING STRANGE ABOUT THAT! There are literally THOUSANDS of submarine cables in the world with hundreds added every year. FYI, it’s not some secret technology and it’s not a cable to, I don’t know, pull submarines with!

      > planned to run from Asia to Europe.
      This one had me guffaw. I know many Americans aren’t very handy with a map, but a submarine cable running from Asia to Europe? You’re either trolling, or you’re very, very stupid. Really, do yourself a favor and invest in an atlas.

      > And in the recent past months, ASEAN Defense Minster
      > Meetings and ASEAN Defense Industry Collaborative
      > were laying out an ASEAN defense minister-to-defense
      > minister direct phone line (possibly through submarine cables)
      Seriously? Let me offer an analogy that has exactly the same information value:
      I drive to work every day (possibly using a public road).

      > in the event of an emergency. Strange connection
      > between so many defense contractors on board, a kind
      > of Southeast Asian military industrial complex in
      > development, and the defense ministers who had built up
      > a direct working relationship.
      For countries with a long history of bitter struggles and whose indigenous technology is rather lacking, forcing them to purchase weaponry from more developed countries, this is really a long shot.

      > It is possible that there was desirable information
      > or military technology on board.
      Sure. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of other things that may have possibly been on board as well:
      – guns
      – drones (hey, a quadcopter counts as a drone)
      – stealth planes (so stealthy that nobody noticed them)
      – a nuclear reactor
      – a nuclear bomb
      – big foot
      – Elvis
      – alien corpses
      – live aliens
      Feel free to add your own. The fact that something may (or may not) have been on board doesn’t mean a thing unless you have proof it was.

      And I’ll stop here, I won’t comment on the last two sentences in a futile attempt to keep myself sane.

      • Yo Moer says:

        I think he meant secret documents that prove that Vaccines are a worldwide conspiracy and if they arrived to China and later disseminated they’d have caused the collapse of many pharmaceutical companies. While China comes out on top since people would now depend on their traditional herbal medicines and the world free from autism. That’s why MH370 was ‘disappeared’. ;)

      • Marie says:

        But an unidentified plane flying toward Diego Garcia would be considered as hostile just as any unidentified plane flying toward a US target would be – Correct? Unlikely the officials at Diego Garcia would have allowed it to land at Diego Garcia because there was no logical reason for it to be in the area and it would be too risky to whatever assets the US has on the ground at Diego Garcia- Correct?

        I have been doing some reading into what happens when aircraft stray into restricted US airspace and the US is quick to take action in every case. They do their best to ensure a good outcome for all but are clear that they won’t stand for a plane heading for a major city or significant target. In the case of a big airliner, ridiculously off course with nowhere else to land in the Indian Ocean the US Military wouldn’t have a lot of choices of what to do with the plane – perhaps escorting it to a less perilous Australian airport when, sadly, the plane ran out of fuel well before making land.

        This scenario would certainly explain the miracle of how the Australians shifted the search area and almost immediately were rewarded with the pings. After all, with almost 4 million dollars sunk into the search by the US perhaps it was time to put the charade of searching to an end by providing a little inside information. Kind of explains the lack of wreckage too – there was lots of time to tidy up the surface before the search finally dropped to the south.

  66. ray slatton says:

    if plane crashed in ocean…there would be some debris. alot. if shot down or broke midair..somethings just do not sink. nothing has floated to any shores in 30 days…as far fetched as seems…plane landed somewhere for future use.

  67. ray says:

    if plane crashed in ocean…there would be some debris. alot. if shot down or broke midair..somethings just do not sink. nothing has floated to any shores in 30 days…as far fetched as seems…plane landed somewhere for future use.

    • Yo Moer says:

      It depends on ocean currents where it crashed if debri might ever reach some shore. If lucky it might reach a shore in 30 days like you said, or maybe like some debri from the 2011 tsunami it took 2 years to reach a shore, or maybe never like some pockets of plastic garbage in the oceans.

  68. Andrew says:

    Since we are exploring all possibilities – could anyone with technical expertise hide in the avionics bay and create havoc from there? If this is where ACARS was disabled ….

  69. Ceb Jorliss says:

    A Chinese ship, the Haixun 01, has reported picking up some ‘pings’ in the search area.

    It is not yet known whether this is related to MH370, but the nature of the signal is such that a black box is suspected.

    I suspect a maintenance issue rather than pilot error but then my opinion is worth nothing. As always there will be a chain of events that lead up to the accident and this is now the most difficult air crash investigation to date.

    I hope enough of the wreckage is found especially the data and cockpit voice recorders. We all need to know what went wrong so we can stop it happening again.

  70. bai says:

    With all these acronyms being thrown around, it is confusing.
    I found this site which may be helpful if others are confused too:
    http://www.aviationtoday .com/Assets/ACguide(1).pdf

    My question: How are AWACS, ACARS and AHMS different in relation (or in contradiction) to:
    (1) data of the ping(s) that have been thus far reported?
    (2) data of the last partial ping?

    THANK YOU!!!

  71. Marie says:

    Patrick

    Theories aside I have a legitimate question about something.

    On FlightAware it shows outbound from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing information on consecutive days for aircraft serial number 9M-MRO and 9M-MRQ but no return flights out of Beijing to any destination for these planes show up. However, FlighAware shows both of these planes flying out of Kuala Lumpur on the very next day, 24 hours later, back to Beijing. There are other planes that show this happenstance, but not many.

    I understand that the route identifier would change (9M-MRO is not always MH370) but the plane serial number ID for the transponder wouldn’t change, right? 9M-MRQ is also shown flying into LA on January 27 but on January 29 it is departing out of Kuala Lumpur again without any flight information showing how it got back home. I know part of that is time zones, but it seems weird that it is tracked by the transponder leaving Malaysia but not returning. There was no flight scheduled officially by Malaysia Airline from LA to anywhere for that plane.

    Would airlines fly a plane back empty and that is why they don’t show up on FlightAware? It seems really expensive – would they fly it back with cargo only instead?

    • Patrick says:

      I don’t think you understand how transponders work.

      Transponders do not identify a particular aircraft. They are not a fingerprint of a specific plane. They identify a FLIGHT, based on the four-number CODE that the crew enters into the transponder. And that code is always different.

      Air traffic control identifies you via this code, NOT THE TRANSPONDER ITSELF. You could swap transponders from plane to plane, flight to flight, and it would make no difference. Your code is different, day to day, flight to flight.

      In fact the code will often change OVER THE COURSE of a flight.

      • Marie says:

        Thanks – the transponder thing seems complicated. Why does the code change over the course of the flight – is it geographic?

        What does 9M-MRO refer to? Is that specific to the plane itself or does that change from flight to flight?

        I have really enjoyed reading your essays and your story about the exploding toilet was pretty hilarious. You have a really great way of explaining things in an entertaining way. I am a nervous flyer and all of the information about turbulence really resonates with me. Thanks for that! My husband will be particularly grateful to you next time we fly. :)

        • Patrick says:

          >> Why does the code change over the course of the flight – is it geographic?

          That’s the best way to describe it, yes. As you move from one air traffic control sector to another, controllers will sometimes give you a fresh four-digit code. Not always though… it’s common, especially on domestic flights, to complete a whole flight without a code change. Other times, particularly on transoceanic flights, your code might be assigned two or three times as the flight progresses. Over the ocean or when crossing other non-radar areas, we dial in a generic default code — “2000.”

          >> What does 9M-MRO refer to? Is that specific to the plane itself or does that change from flight to flight?

          That’s the plane’s registration. Think of it like a license plate. It’s painted on the back of the fuselage. 9M is the prefix for Malaysia. (N is the prefix for the United States.) Registrations will often change over the course of a plane’s lifetime.

          • Marie says:

            Thank you. Wow -pilots have a lot to keep track of up there!

            If you have a minute I have a couple of other questions

            What is code sharing. Is it something other than the code changes you described or does it serve some other function?

            Also, how do countries keep track of how to calculate overflight fees? Is it an honour system situation? I read some flights are a little longer because they route out over water to avoid the fee?

      • Sarah says:

        “Transponders do not identify a particular aircraft.”

        If transponders do not identify a specific or particular aircraft, what does?

        • Patrick says:

          They identify whatever FLIGHT CODE you dial in. I’m trying to make the point that transponders are easily interchangeable, plane to plane.

  72. Derek M says:

    Personally, I think it was some mechanical failure. I can’t imagine a suicidal crew member or passenger would fly the plane for hours before crashing into the Indian Ocean. For what it’s worth, I can’t see any real alternatives to mechanical failure.

    • Marie says:

      How do you explain the actual route changes after it turned around. If the problem happened before they turned around and incapacitated them before they could land why isn’t the plane in the Andaman Sea, the Bay of Bengal or crashed somewhere in India. That is pretty much where the plane was pointing after the turn? Not sure if the fact that the plane made a nifty turn to avoid Indonesian airspace has been debunked but if not, how did that happen. And if not that, how was the turn to the south made?

      • Anoop Alias says:

        Yes Marie..my very same thoughts .If the Plane was on autopilot after it did the sharp west turn ;does autopilot fly change directions ?

  73. Nad says:

    Strange my comment regarding Diego Garcia is awaiting moderation…thats never happened on here before :/

    I read this from someone on another site its a very logical written piece:

    Look at nothing but the facts, strip away all opinion and gossip, and all theory. Considering just verifyable data – factual data from the day and the following day only:

    Pubilic radar is consistent with the only reputable eyewitness, who saw “a burning plane” in the sky just NNE of where it was “last heard from” on public radar (like 5 mins after it disappeared from radar view).

    Then nearly a week later to this, media report on military analysis of corporate satellite data that had become available all of a sudden; (This means the official statement concerning the military satellite data that nobody has as yet seen).

    These military satellite reports cannot and must not be believed until there is hard factual evidence of it. The public radar data is the only universally agreed source of verifyable information, and so a factual investigator must discard the media gossip.

    • backpacker says:

      So what are you saying?

      The closest I can decipher from your words is that the last bit of truth was left for us over the South China Sea and/or Gulf of Thailand. Is that your point?

  74. PJS says:

    Diego Garcia. This US base has a lot of capabilities. Very advanced long-range radar for air defence, but also sensitive underwater listening to monitor submarine activities in the Indian Ocean. And lots of other communication and surveillance systems. They would have detected MH 370, either as it flew into the extended area around DG or perhaps even the noise from the 777 crashing in the ocean. Strange that they have not made a statement.

  75. toughluck says:

    Here’s something for the weekend, a theory that fits nicely (and if it doesn’t, just change it a bit):
    The plane didn’t crash. Rather, it went through a time-space wormhole and moved back in time four thousand years, flying to Beijing and crash-landing on a field there. Consider how similar Beijing and Boeing are… 777 is a lucky number for the Chinese…
    The passengers and crew are revered by the locals, and with their gadgets and knowledge of technology, they create the Chinese civilization.
    Instead of searching in the Indian Ocean, there should be full-scale excavations done in Beijing to uncover the plane and, undoubtedly, the burial grounds of the passengers.

  76. Yo Moer says:

    Pretty encouraging numbers for the rational explanations, but at the same time not. 1 in 10 thinks someone was able to land a big plane and hide somewhere, holding hundreds of innocent people for almost a month without any demands or reasons. And 1 in 20 thinks Aliens, Black Holes, Dragon Triangles or whatever took the plane… Bring the iin hats!

  77. Navjot says:

    First of all, why would a captain, who has spent almost his entire life at the controls of an aircraft suddenly decide to commit suicide? His colleagues described him as a quiet, passionate person who loved his job. I find it difficult to understand why they would be so heavily demoised without any clear proof. The planes flight path also raises some questions. The plane had first ascended to 45,000 feet before descending to around 25,000 feet. In order to survive hypoxia the person in command would have needed to have access to the oxygen masks and have guts of steel to fly through the most dangerous airspace in the world with a high chance of miscalcualtion by a hot-headed military controller and get shot down. I think who ever did this was either doing it to test the South Asian air dfenses in preparation for an attack or or to send a political message. Nobody flys a plane into the ocean for nothing. Maybe the North Koreans or Americans are involved in a this so called “tragedy.” All in all it may just be a classic case of human error or technological malfunction.

  78. josetha says:

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  79. Billy da kid says:

    Assumptions:
    1. The plane that was lost on primary radar was the same one that was picked up on secondary radar.
    2. 100% belief in Inmarsat, even though there is a chance of error, and without any other competing view.
    3. Plane ended in the Indian Ocean. Northern corridor search ended based on 100% belief in Inmarsat.
    4. Lives are lost without hard proof.
    5. Focus on only four areas of possibilities – terrorist, hijacking, personal problem, and psychological.

    Pattern:
    First stating conclusion and then search for and collect evidence that fits that conclusion.
    First limited parameter of possibilities, and not consider other possibilities.

    • toughluck says:

      You’re wrong about the northern corridor assumption. It was finally ruled out as soon as all relevant countries denied the plane could have entered its airspace undetected by military radar. And don’t give us any crackpot theories how the plane was stealthy or how some countries didn’t detect it. Thailand does not have OTH radar capabilities and their radar operators have been foolish to have allowed an unidentified aircraft in their airspace and not raise any alarm.

      • Marie says:

        Except would some bored radar tech watching so many commercial plane blips flying along the commercial corridor REALLY notice one extra plane. If you look at the radar map it looks like there are 12 planes heading through that corridor at any given moment even at that time of night. If MH370 didn’t stray off the approved flight plan and if it stayed at 295 with it’s transponder off it was more or less invisible to other commercial flight traffic and to ATC.

        Really, would anyone really have “seen” it? I doubt very much that the radar operators are looking for anything other than something deviating from the path or sneaking in another way. I doubt also they pay a lot of attention to changes in flights due to weather, maintenance etc either, IF they even get that information. I think the only reason the Malaysian military even took note of it AFTER THE FACT when they were asked was that it was slightly outside the usual route. It wasn’t until it reached the coastline that it would have got in line with the others, virtually hiding in plain sight. If, of course, it didn’t go south and get intercepted heading in the general vicinity of Diego Garcia and dealt with by the US as a hostile intruder.

        • toughluck says:

          Except would some bored radar tech watching so many commercial plane blips flying along the commercial corridor REALLY notice one extra plane. If you look at the radar map it looks like there are 12 planes heading through that corridor at any given moment even at that time of night. If MH370 didn’t stray off the approved flight plan and if it stayed at 295 with it’s transponder off it was more or less invisible to other commercial flight traffic and to ATC.

          Except you’re thinking about ATC. I specifically mentioned military radar.
          1. You’re assuming it was going along a commercial corridor. There is no indication that this happened in this flight.
          2. The military do ignore all commercial planes, but one flying with its transponder turned off should raise an eyebrow and YES, they WILL notice “one extra plane” if it’s showing up as a huge red blip on their radar.

          The plane did not identify itself as “MH370″ on anyone’s radar so it would have been an object of interest to any radar operator. To do otherwise is dereliction of duty and as I mentioned, it’s a grave offense in any military in the world. This will no doubt be downplayed and hidden, but I fully expect the radar operators will be, or already have been, dishonourably discharged — quietly.

          If it went to Diego Garcia, it would have crashed some hour or two short of reaching the runway. End of story.

          • Marie says:

            Actually, I did reference both. ATC wouldn’t have seen the plane because no transponder transmission and it was not flying a normal altitude so no other planes would have eyes on it and Military radar did actually see it – the were simply not alarmed by it because it was just another commercial plane flying another commercial route. No one has been able to tell me if military radar techs actually match up the little blobs flying along the commercial routes with the flights, including delays or last minute schedule changes. Just one more little blob flying along, not causing any trouble or cause for alarm. Go and have a quick look at a flightracker and you can see how easily this plane could have just slipped into the stream considering the stream is pretty much right at the place where the plane went either North or South. Not hiding under or over another plane, just cruising along with them. Remember, the Malaysians didn’t even raise the alarm until long after this flight would have crashed or landed so nobody would have been looking for one extra flight on an already crowded commercial flight path. Nothing fancy. And this wouldn’t have been a couple of guys acting alone either – there would have been people waiting for it at the final destination because you wouldn’t steal a 777 just for a joyride. Plus, still no debris. 8 million people are searching on Tomnod and still nothing in the water. Granted, it’s a big ocean but you would have thought someone would have identified something other than dead jellyfish and cast off fishing gear by now. But as I understand it now, the theory is that the plane landed much like the Miracle on the Hudson except nobody got out of the plane and deployed the life rafts so it just sunk, completely intact.

            Having said that, based on the math and conjecture which has everyone searching the southern Indian Ocean, although that shifts on the daily recalculation of the suppositions, I still contend if an uncommunicative, commercial airliner was heading generally in the direction of Diego Garcia or for that matter, Australia, there would have been serious consequences. It is inconceivable that it could have slipped past a high-test military facility un-observed. And if it was observed what’s the harm in saying where it is, unless of course, you put it there. That is a lot of ugly public opinion to wear no matter how you spin it. Also, current math has them searching beyond Diego Garcia on spec – what makes you think it crashed well before the island and why is the search not centered there? It’s no wormhole theory I give you that.

          • toughluck says:

            > Actually, I did reference both. ATC wouldn’t have seen the plane because no transponder transmission and it was not flying a normal altitude so no other planes would have eyes on it
            Wrong, they would have seen it, just without flight data.

            > and Military radar did actually see it – the were simply not alarmed by it because it was just another commercial plane flying another commercial route.
            Awesome. So, let’s say you want to bomb Bangkok. You just take a B-52, fly a commercial route to Bangkok, drop your bomb load and nobody suspects a thing? Get serious. Not B-52? Take a 777 and fly it into a building (aka 9/11). You’re seriously thinking that a plane with a transponder off is “just another commercial plane” not worth investigating? You’re deluding yourself to fit a theory.

            > No one has been able to tell me if military radar techs actually match up the little blobs flying along the commercial routes with the flights, including delays or last minute schedule changes. Just one more little blob flying along, not causing any trouble or cause for alarm.
            Of course they see transponder communications. The second a transponder is off, the plane should become highlited as an object of interest.

            > Go and have a quick look at a flightracker and you can see how easily this plane could have just slipped into the stream considering the stream is pretty much right at the place where the plane went either North or South. Not hiding under or over another plane, just cruising along with them.
            You did NOT just recommend fr24, did you? That would be just silly! See how many question marks (“?”) you can spot. Normally there’s just one per several dozen, or even less. Those question marks are always of interest!

            > 8 million people are searching on Tomnod and still nothing in the water. Granted, it’s a big ocean but you would have thought someone would have identified something other than dead jellyfish and cast off fishing gear by now.
            You’ve no idea. You really underestimate the scale of the search. Let me suggest something to you: Go out and find a cricket in your city’s lawns, but do not look closely until you think you have seen one — then take a closer look. But not instantly, but slowly, like take 10 minutes before you’re close enough to see it. Chances are it will be gone. THAT’s closer to the scale of what’s being looked for in Tomnod.

            > But as I understand it now, the theory is that the plane landed much like the Miracle on the Hudson except nobody got out of the plane and deployed the life rafts so it just sunk, completely intact.
            Ridiculous. Hudson was still and the A320 is a narrowbody. B777 is a much larger widebody plane and the only ever successful ditching of a smaller widebody — a 767 — was performed eighteen years ago, and it was in very calm sea. To date, nobody else ever successfully ditched a widebody and certainly not in the Indian Ocean while it was autumn and where waves are several meters high. The difficulty of this is unbelievable and simply descending onto water is not going to work.

            > Having said that, based on the math and conjecture which has everyone searching the southern Indian Ocean, although that shifts on the daily recalculation of the suppositions, I still contend if an uncommunicative, commercial airliner was heading generally in the direction of Diego Garcia or for that matter, Australia, there would have been serious consequences. It is inconceivable that it could have slipped past a high-test military facility un-observed.
            Indeed. That’s why it was never close to DG. Again, you’re underestimating the size of the Indian Ocean. Yes, it is smaller than Pacific or Atlantic, but it is still inconceivably huge. The plane had fuel to go to Beijing plus maybe 400 miles. Where the plane deviated, there was ~700 more miles to DG than to PEK. How do you think it could have gone to DG on the reserves it had?

            > And if it was observed what’s the harm in saying where it is, unless of course, you put it there. That is a lot of ugly public opinion to wear no matter how you spin it. Also, current math has them searching beyond Diego Garcia on spec – what makes you think it crashed well before the island and why is the search not centered there?
            You’re thinking of old data. They revised their search area based on fuel estimates precisely because the first one was too far away for the plane to have been there.

            > It’s no wormhole theory I give you that.
            I’m seriously wondering if you didn’t recognize the sarcasm there.

      • backpacker says:

        You’re wrong about the northern corridor assumption. It was finally ruled out as soon as all relevant countries denied the plane could have entered its airspace undetected by military radar. And don’t give us any crackpot theories how the plane was stealthy or how some countries didn’t detect it. Thailand does not have OTH radar capabilities and their radar operators have been foolish to have allowed an unidentified aircraft in their airspace and not raise any alarm.

        There is another assumption involved with accepting the southern corrider assumption:

        We/you/media/authorities/everybody seems to ASSUME that all relevant countries are TELLING THE TRUTH when they denied that the plane could have entered their airspace. For example, if some state agency planned and paid for such a maneuver, then why would we expect them to tell the truth and say that they detected the plane?

        • toughluck says:

          There is another assumption involved with accepting the southern corrider assumption:

          We/you/media/authorities/everybody seems to ASSUME that all relevant countries are TELLING THE TRUTH when they denied that the plane could have entered their airspace. For example, if some state agency planned and paid for such a maneuver, then why would we expect them to tell the truth and say that they detected the plane?

          Because we’re not talking about one country, but several. It would have been impossible for the plane to get to China without flying through the airspace of several other countries along the way. At least one other country would have detected it and they would have absolutely no vested interest in lying, since they would be interested in uncovering the motives of the final destination country.

          • backpacker says:

            Hold up a minute. There are several countries located on the northern corridor that MH370 could access without flying over any other country. For example, the most obvious would be northern Myanmar (Burma) which is a direct flight into their airspace. Eastern Thailand is also on the northern corridor and that’s an easy zip-zag back in. Also look at eastern India (Aranchal Pradesh). Sure, it could be a tricky flight path but you can get there flying only over India.

            Furthermore, it hasn’t been confirmed that the westbound flyover of the Malay peninsula is really MH370. East of the peninsula, the following countries lie on the Inmarsat ping map and are readily accessible via direct flight w/o violating anyone else’s airspace: Cambodia, Vietnam, & China…as well as Malaysia (Borneo) and Indonesia (Borneo, Java).

        • Marie says:

          I’m with you on the unreliability of the reporting of the truth from those nations. First of all they don’t really want anyone to know what their capabilities are, up and down the scale. Second, who wants to admit they were the dummies who watched this plane fly right past them and didn’t have the slightest idea it shouldn’t have been there. Also, is every second of radar transmission saved for later review? Can you actually go back and count the airplanes after the fact to see if there was an extra little blip? If not, do you want to be the technician to tell your superiors that you really weren’t paying that much attention? If you are that nation and you can rewind the tape, do you really want to tell the world that, your bad, you weren’t actually paying that much attention? I would also guess there is some alarm that gives you the heads up if somebody veers off the main path – I mean, your new car can now tell you somebody has slipped into your blind spot so I would guess your radar system might not completely make you rely on your own keen focus in the middle of the night, so really, do you actually need to count them up ALL the time? After all, what are the chances that somebody was going to try to slip a big old commercial airliner past you in the middle of the night…. not possible. Right? I guess everyone’s money is on the worm hole thing…

          • toughluck says:

            > I’m with you on the unreliability of the reporting of the truth from those nations. First of all they don’t really want anyone to know what their capabilities are, up and down the scale.
            Not really. They’re perfectly fine with having everyone overestimate their capabilities. Plus, Thailand released the information very reluctantly and only after an official inquest.

            > Second, who wants to admit they were the dummies who watched this plane fly right past them and didn’t have the slightest idea it shouldn’t have been there. Also, is every second of radar transmission saved for later review? Can you actually go back and count the airplanes after the fact to see if there was an extra little blip?
            There’s raw data available usually. And it’s specifically to review whether the operators were diligently performing their duty.

            > If not, do you want to be the technician to tell your superiors that you really weren’t paying that much attention? If you are that nation and you can rewind the tape, do you really want to tell the world that, your bad, you weren’t actually paying that much attention?
            Thailand was already criticized for it, and the operators are going to be severely reprimanded for ignoring a plane that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

            > I would also guess there is some alarm that gives you the heads up if somebody veers off the main path – I mean, your new car can now tell you somebody has slipped into your blind spot so I would guess your radar system might not completely make you rely on your own keen focus in the middle of the night, so really, do you actually need to count them up ALL the time? After all, what are the chances that somebody was going to try to slip a big old commercial airliner past you in the middle of the night…. not possible. Right?
            If this was USA, Canada, a country in Europe*, Russia, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, etc., then yes, they are paying attention and no, they will not allow an airliner to slip past. Plain and simple.
            However, you are talking about countries that are in constant chaos and reorganization. This is a severe hamper to its normal operations.

            *) And even then, you can’t presume too much. I mean, the Polish official (military) airliner crashes in Russia and the local government is upholding the official Russian version that has been proven, time and again, incorrect or flat out wrong on several key facts, it never launched an investigation of its own, leaving it all to Russians, and some of the people directly responsible for the disaster were promoted rather than discharged, so who knows?

  80. Ceb Jorliss says:

    There have been a number of smoke in cabin incidents involving 777-200er. From the ones I was able to track down they start around 2011.
    Probably the one that interested me the most was British Airways registration G-VIIF, flight BA-177 from Heathrow to JFK. Smoke in cockpit. Can’t seem to find the results of any investigation into that incident.

  81. Billy da kid says:

    Just the facts please (and dont call me Shirley):

    1. According to the new official transcript, MAS370 self identifies by voice as “MAS 370″ but later when handing off from Lumpur Tower and Lumpur Approach changes to “Malaysian three seven zero” – and after that the voice doesnt change back or interchange those terms.
    Question: Is it indicative of someone else communicating, or is it strange to use one or the other terms?

    2. 20th minutes and 40th minute
    I read somewhere that the cockpit is “sterile” for the first 20 minutes of flight (sorry, I dont know what that means to be a sterile cockpit), and then accessible by the flight crew at the 40th minute. If this is true and we we look at the time on the transcript, we can see that the 20th minute is between the two redundant calls about FL350, and the then the so-called turning off of the transponder happened right before or right after the 40th minute.
    Question: Is there any clue here?

    3. There is the long silence between 01:01:19 when ATC tries to communicate, and 01:07:55 when MAS370 finally responds, however MAS370 had always been quick in earlier responses. This six minute silence sounds peculiar and could possibly be the time when any hijacking was going on.
    Question: Aside from hijacking, what could the pilot have been doing to not respond for so long? If one pilot was busy for example in the bathroom, wouldnt the other pilot be around to speak up?

    4. The Lumpur Radar (Area) transcript looks off. How is it that at 12:46:51 both MAS370 and ATC were talking at the exact same time? I guess they were talking over each other’s voice?

    5. Can a pilot sync up the transcript along with the flight radar, and see if anything seems off?

    6. I read about ACAR as well as another system called AHM, which sent out pings for different things, ACARS for events like departure, cruising altitutde throttle back, and landing gear deployment. And AHM pings sent based on regular time intervals, as opposed to being trigger by flight events. As we are being withheld information about all the pings, could it be that the last ping and the last partial ping are representing different systems? Could it have therefore be an indication of landing gear being deployed?

    Thanks so much!

  82. toberd says:

    Sort of by accident I found a thread on a website where a professional pilot from Maylasia was asking for information on how to change the airplane identifier in a 777 ACARS system. Although this is an old post, it is an interesting question. Why would he want to do that? The URL:

    http://www.pprune.org/engineers-technicians/472227-boeing-777-acars-aims-user-guide.html

    All I could find out about the poster was that he was from Malaysia and was a BMW enthusiast. I would think the FBI or another organization would want to check it out. Does anyone know how to communicate this to them?

  83. Yo Moer says:

    About that letter talking about tracking and as pointed out by you Patrick, planes are already tracked and his argument is pointless anyways. Since you need a system onboard the airplane to send data or status and those will alwasy have the risk of malfunction, damaged or tampered with. There are patents, proposals for systems like cloudsourcing where planes track or keep tabs on each other creating a network, but that won’t change a thing since those systems are onboard the airplanes and subject to the same risk as when tracking with VHF or satellite.

    And covering any comments asking if VHF/Sat fail, why radars can’t keep track of planes over the ocean. It’s because of the curvature of the Earth, once an airplane is a certain distance in the middle of the ocean thanks to the curvature the airplane will be out of sight from the radar.

    And really with all this media coverage, the following acronym would be the most fitting, MEDIA = Mass Erradicating & Destroying Intelligent Arguments.

  84. Johnny Crow says:

    These are a few weeks old but still in essence amongst the best articles I’ve read about Flight MH370 and how poor journalism and the populist press inevitably perpetrates and thrives upon Chinese whispers – (no pun intended).

    http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/media-conspiracy-theorists-malaysian-airlines-flight-mh370?utm_source=vicefbuk

    http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/how-does-a-plane-dissapear-martin-robbins-mh370-malaysia-airlines?utm_source=vicefbuk

    At least the obvious trolling on here is in some way gratifying in that it is not serious. As opposed to some of the ill informed theories being postulated by apparent refugees from reddit.

  85. cavoli_amari says:

    ???
    REMOTE CONTROL This one is full-on James Bond.
    ???

    «Boeing last week received a US patent for a system that, once activated, removes all control from pilots to automatically return a commercial airliner to a predetermined landing location. The “uninterruptible” autopilot would be activated – either by pilots, by onboard sensors, or even remotely via radio or satellite links by government agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency, if terrorists attempt to gain control of a flight deck. »
    Dec. 21, 2006
    By: John Croft
    Washington DC

    “http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/diagrams-boeing-patents-anti-terrorism-auto-land-system-for-hijacked-210869/”

    ???????
    U. S. Patent – Nov. 28, 2006 – No.: 7,142,971 B2
    ???????

    • toughluck says:

      That’s still in the realm of science fiction. And if it turned out Boeing and/or US govt. can control planes remotely, you can rest assured every airline in the world would cancel all orders for Boeing aircraft and turn to Airbus.

      • UDog says:

        Not science fiction. The US used remote control to land pilotless planes on aircraft carriers during atomic tests in the pacific in the 40’s and 50’s. In 1984, the FAA did a remote control crash test of a Boeing 720. The 777 is a fly by wire aircraft, so remote control is a lot easier – all you need is access to the flight computer which controls the plane.

        Impossible to hack a flight computer you say? Here’s a BBC story:

        ‘Security researcher Hugo Teso was able to “hijack” the systems to feed false navigation information to a simulated jet that made it change course.” (April 2013 – a year ago)
        http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-22107433

        So if an amateur can do it with parts bought off ebay, what can the government do with unlimited funding? Probably a lot more than most of us would care to know.

        • Patrick says:

          I’m getting fed up with this stuff.

          And there is no such thing as a “flight computer which controls the plane.” People seem to believe in some proverbial “computer” that does all the work. I don’t understand what this is.

          And that Hugo Teso experiment, which I blogged about (see the blog archive), was a contrived and controlled experiment. Regardless… it changed the plane’s course. Big deal. The pilots would then change it back. Or they could ignore the FMS and fly using basic course commands. Or they can disconnect the autopilot totally and steer by hand. And even if you could carefully control the jet’s course, speed, and altitude, and somehow couple it onto an ILS approach (this would entail hacking into several separate systems), you still couldn’t get the gear down or configure the thing for landing.

          And what exactly does any of this have to do with the Malaysia Airlines flight?

          • UDog says:

            I’m getting fed up too, with silly statements like:

            “no such thing as a “flight computer which controls the plane.”

            Fly by wire has been around for some time.

            “Fly-by-wire (FBW) is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface. The movements of flight controls are converted to electronic signals transmitted by wires (hence the fly-by-wire term), and flight control computers determine how to move the actuators at each control surface to provide the ordered response. The fly-by-wire system also allows automatic signals sent by the aircraft’s computers to perform functions without the pilot’s input, as in systems that automatically help stabilize the aircraft.[1]” (Wikipedia)

            I don’t quite understand why you would make such statements, but I suppose you have your reasons.

          • Patrick says:

            Right. Fly by wire basically replaces cables. But, the paragraph above, if taken literally, does not mean what you think it means. To the layperson it sounds pretty impressive, with phrases like “flight control computer” and “automatic signals,” but you’re not seeing the bigger picture. The 767 I fly — an early-80s era jet without fly-by-wire technology — has three “flight control computers,” none of which “fly the plane.” It also has the means to “perform functions without the pilot’s input” such as trimming and speed control when the autoflight components are engaged.

            Now, if you were really going to hack into a FBW system, about the best you could hope for is rendering the plane uncontrollable more or less instantly. I can’t imagine there would be a way to steer or guide the plane with any accuracy. We’re talking about basic maneuverability inputs to the ailerons and elevators.

            And if you could steer or maneuver with any precision, how would you then interface these raw guidance commands with any sort of actual navigation or altitude changes? The FMS has nothing to do with any of this, so you’d need to hack that too. Which wouldn’t work, because the pilots can easily and instantly disconnect everything from the FMS and use simple course (heading) commands, either via an autopilot (I believe there are three autopilots on the 777; same as the 767.) or entirely manually.

            And we haven’t even gotten to power (thrust) control yet. Is the autothrottle system hackable too? Control over pitch and bank isn’t going to be useful if you haven’t got control over thrust also. The autothrottle system is entirely separate. And if it’s acting weird, the pilots can simply switch it off. They could also fight against any rogue control inputs — unless, somehow, you’ve completely disconnected the steering column and trim controls from the FBW servos.

            And finally… you’re going to somehow get this thing on the ground? How? Have you also hacked into the LNAV function and the ILS frequency selector? And how are you going to adjust the flaps and slats for lower speeds, deploy the landing gear, and so on? These are mechanical controls.

            Did it ever occur to you that maybe you’re reading and hearing things out of context — simplified explanations and experiemental applications of technology, and that you’re extrapolating unrealistically? Because that’s exactly what you’re doing. In terms of how planes actually fly, how the automation works, and what pilots do, it’s pretty clear that you don’t know what in the world you’re talking about.

            That’s not an insult. I wouldn’t expect you to know or to really understand this stuff unless you were a professional pilot.

            What is it that makes people such know-it-alls when it comes to flying? Everyone is a fucking expert, to the point where a non-pilot will actually argue with a pilot about the basics of flying. I’m hardly the best or smartest pilot on earth, but it took me 25 years to get where I am, and here I am being told by people who don’t fly, and who aren’t pilots, how wrong I am about how planes fly and what pilots do. I wouldn’t claim to know how to perform brain surgery, or how to operate a nuclear power plant, and even if I’d read extensively about those topics, I doubt that I’d go arguing with a surgeon or a nuclear technician based on what I’d read on Wikipedia.

    • Patrick says:

      Just for starters… This patent was a basic prototype for something that is many years from a useful or practical application, assuming it will find a useful or practical application at all. The Boeing 777 was designed a quarter of a century ago.

      • Tim H says:

        I very much appreciate the original piece, Patrick, and your attempts to follow up with some of the readers who have been posting their crack-pot (and utterly misinformed) theories.

        But I fear you’re wasting keystrokes. There will always be a committed (with members who perhaps should be committed) group which will latch onto any informational gap and fill it with wild imaginings. Nothing short of using secret DARPA technology to imprint reality onto their brains will change that. ;-)

  86. Dennis says:

    If one was to believe in UFOs, there have been stories about huge mother ships. Could one of them have hovered over the plane and sucked it up into it’s cargo hold, then flown away? I am not trying to be sarcastic. But it does appear the plane just disappeared.

    • toughluck says:

      There’s one problem with this theory: Where would the mothership come from? It would probably have to be huge and it would release a tremendous amount of energy that would be detected across the globe.
      If it came from outside the solar system and slowing down, it would be detected as far as the Oort cloud, so we would know in advance we’re having visitors.

      • Patrick says:

        No, the “one problem” with this theory is that it involves aliens from outer space.

        The plane did not “disappear.” It crashed into the ocean.

  87. ivo reuning says:

    Is it possible, that due to some technical problem, fire, smoke, or similar,the crew was incapacitated, the plane continued on auto pilot, and then made a soft automatic landing in the sea without breaking up, similar to the landing of the jet on Hudson River ? It would then sink slowly to the bottom of the sea, without leaving debris floating on the surface.
    Or if it crash landed, could it break up in such a way, that the main fuselage remains intact, wings and engines breaking off, but everything sinks to bottom of sea without leaving floating material on top ?

    • toughluck says:

      The autopilot will not glide an aircraft and it cannot perform ditching. So rule out this possibility. Assuming the plane glides on its own, it will hit water and to quickly summarize your theories:
      1. Soft landing in rough ocean: Impossible.
      2. Breakup into large parts. I suppose it could happen, but it would be the best bet for the search operations.

      Third theory, however, is more plausible. When a plane runs out of fuel and is not controlled, it will enter free-fall. There’s no real terminal velocity for an aircraft, since it will disintegrate before achieving Vt. Therefore, the aircraft will break up before hitting the surface at high speed, and this impact will cause any large parts to break up into debris.

  88. Mark R. says:

    Nice comment about USA Today, which I have heard called USA Decay. When it was first created I immediately noticed its newspaper boxes looked like televisions. It’s not the very last place I’d look for facts but it’s definitely well below average.

    I lean toward the Helios type incident if not deliberate intention (by the pilot or co-pilot or a hijacker). But if the debris isn’t found there will certainly be a modest industry of science fiction writers coming up with fantastic explanations.

  89. Nad says:

    I got sent this on email a few days ago I didn’t know wether to laugh or cry…..

    This will be soon made into a film by Paul Greengrass with either Matt Damon or Mark Wahlberg in the lead.

    There’s a new conspiracy theory going around about the disappearance of Malaysian Flight MH 370. It goes like this:
    When the Americans were withdrawing from the Afghanistan, one of their command and control systems (used for controlling the pilotless drones) was hijacked by the Taliban, while the American transport convoy was moving down from one of the hill-top bases. The Taliban ambushed the convoy and killed two American Seal personnel, seized the equipment/weapons, including the command and control system which weighed about 20 tons and packed into six crates. This supposedly happened in Feb 2014.

    What the Taliban wanted was money, by selling the system to the highest bidder. The Chinese were very eager for the technology. Just imagine if the Chinese could master the technology behind the US’s command and control system, rendering the American drones useless! The Chinese sent a team of top defense scientists to check the system and then agreed to buy it from the Taliban.

    Sometime in early March 2014, the Chinese scientists and the six crates of equipment made their way to Malaysia, thinking that it was the best covert way to avoid detection. The cargo was then kept in the Chinese embassy under diplomatic protection.

    Meanwhile the Americans got the assistance of Israeli intelligence, and together they were determined to intercept and recapture the cargo.

    The Chinese calculated that it would be safe to transport it via civilian aircraft so as to avoid suspicion. After all the direct flight from KL to Beijing takes only 4 1/2 hours, and the American would not hijack or harm the civilians on board. So MH370 was the perfect carrier.

    There were five American and Israeli agents on board who were familiar with Boeing operation (the two “Iranians” with stolen passports could have been among them.

    When Flight MH370 was about to leave the Malaysian air space and reported to Vietnamese air control, an American AWAC jammed their signal, disabled the pilot control system and switched over to remote control mode. That was when the plane suddenly lost altitude momentarily.

    How could the AWAC can do it ? Remember 911 incident? After the 911 incident, all Boeing aircraft (and possibly all Airbus) are installed with a remote control system to counter terrorist hijacking. Since then all Boeings can be remote controlled by ground control tower. A similar remote control system is used to control the pilotless spy aircraft and drones.

    The five American/Israeli agents soon took over the plane, switched off the transponder and other communication systems, changed course and flew westwards. They did not fly east to Philippines or Guam because the whole South China Sea air space is covered by Chinese surveillance radar and satellites.

    The Malaysian, Thai and Indian military radars actually detected the unidentified aircraft but did not react.

    The plane flew over North Sumatra, Andamans, Indian ocean and then landed in the Maldives (some villagers saw the aircraft landing). It refuelled and continued to Garcia Deigo, the American air base in the middle of Indian Ocean. The cargo and the black box were removed. The passengers had been eliminated through oxygen starvation. The MH370 with the dead passengers were then flown (via remote control) and crashed into South Indian Ocean, making it look like the plane eventually ran out of fuel and crashed, and putting the suspicion on the captain and copilot.

    The Americans put up a good show, first diverting attention and search efforts in the South China Sea while the plane was on its way to the Indian Ocean. Then they came out with conflicting statements and evidence to confuse the world. The Australians were their accomplices.

    The amount of effort put up by China, in terms of the number of search aircraft, ships and satellites, searching first the South China Sea, then the Malacca Straits and the Indian Ocean is unprecedented. This indicates that China was very concerned, not because of the Chinese civilian passengers, but because of the high value cargo and its eight top defense scientists.

    Incredible? Perhaps we will find out in a future episode of Wikileaks

    • toughluck says:

      You lost me four times.
      1. When you mentioned that the Taliban somehow captured a drone control system. There’s no such system, other than human pilots flying the drones using standard military comms. True, the drones can be automated, but then they don’t rely on any signal from a base.
      2. When you mentioned that the Chinese would master the technology behind controlling drones and making them useless. It’s not like drones are some derelicts left behind by aliens that you would need to ‘master’ in order to control them. They could just switch the frequency and encryption and call it a day.
      Then, I presume the control system is heavily encrypted and protected against tampering and any attempt to recover data from it would render it useless.
      Anyway, I would actually expect the US to do two things in such a case. First would be a new stuxnet straight at the military heart of the Chinese. Second would be leading the Chinese to believe they can control drones remotely only for the system to spectacularly fail when they actually use it in combat.
      3. Remotely controlled airplanes. What a load of bollocks.
      4. Eight top defense scientists. Those Freescale workers? Were they Chinese or American defense scientists after all? A suggestion: don’t buy a new car or Freescale will remotely control it and drive you off a cliff in it to keep you quiet.

      • Nad says:

        If you read my first line I said “I got sent this and didn’t know wether to laugh or cry”…it certainly was not written by me and its not what I believe, just thought I’d share.

  90. Abraham says:

    [IRONIC MODE = OFF] The fact that there is an unanswered question just means that a question is not answered. Sometimes is our own ignorance, other that for some specific reason/interest not all information is disclosed, etc. Of course, mystery experts, conspiracy theorists and priests dwell well on those gaps.

    The apparent contradiction you mention, pings vs. velocity, to me (and I’m not at all an expert so corrections are welcome) is not. You did not miss the part of the pings being absolutely identified with the missing aircraft, but you did miss the part where the pings do not provide absolute aircraft position (otherwise most probably the plane would have been found already). Those pings indicate that the plane was within a satellite cell (how big cells are? probably many miles). Such data comes from a single source (it cannot be triangulated with another source for further accuracy and corrections) and furthermore, estimated velocity is calculated using the Doppler effect. There is nothing wrong, the science is pretty sound on this, but again we are working with estimates and ranges and not with absolute values.

    So to me, there is no mystery or conspiracy on those calculations being corrected or improved.

    [IRONIC MODE = ON]

  91. Carole says:

    Hard to know who out-stupids the other – CNN or USA Today. Is the following really CNNs idea of breaking news and a developing story?

    “Boeing 777 Will Struggle to Maintain Altitude Once the Fuel Tanks are Empty”

    No idea if this photo is photoshopped or not.

    http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/03/29/ru8ytesy.jpg

  92. Dana Hartsock says:

    I hate what passes for reporting in this mystery. We all heard about pings. I guess I missed the part about the pings being absolutely identified with the missing aircraft. It certainly was assumed but I personally never heard it expressed explicitly.

    Next we have the new search area based on new estimates of the speed of the aircraft. Okay, flying faster, comsuming more fuel. How does this jibe with the seven hourly pings reported? If it went down sooner than previously estimated are there now excess pings attributed to the this aircraft and what does that say about the new estimates? Again I have not heard any reporter or expert comment on this.

    Dana

  93. Ajay M says:

    Is it possible that the main pilot had some kind of hallucination of entering the earth at a specific point on the ocean floor. The Diamantina Fracture Zone in the Indian ocean where the search is focused on, has a clear ‘X’ marked on an otherwise flat ocean floor.Pilots are human and they are subject the same mental health issues normal people are.

    • Abraham says:

      This is the most logical theory I’ve encountered. And it must be true, because pilots are indeed human, aren’t they. Since this sentence is true, the rest of the paragraph must be also true.

  94. Questions relating to the sudden loss of flight MH 370

    1.Could the pilots of a modern Boeing 777-200 get lost if their computer navigation system suddenly failed in flight & could this explain why the plane turned around/got so drastically off it’s intended course?

    2.could the pilots have been trying to re-boot the computer systems if the computer tried to send computer error messages and how long would this take to be restored/recovered?

    3. could a 777-200 still fly on auto-pilot if the pilots were overcome by a in flight fire?

    4. if the flight crashed could the wreckage be at a depth of 20,000/30,000 feet in an ocean trench and if so how would the black boxes survive being submerged in a depth so deep & for how long?

    5. could the same/similar errors that downed Air France flight 447 have reoccurred in the case of the disappearance of flight MH370, And if so how will the truth ever be known if they can’t find the wreck site?

    6. how safe is the Boeing 777 series of airliner following the recent crashes of Asiana airlines flight 214 & British airways flight 38 & Malaysian airlines flight MH370?

    • toughluck says:

      1. They would have to be really bad pilots for that to happen. They knew they were on the right track, and if their navigation systems suddenly reported they weren’t, they would have been aware whether their plane was turning during that time!
      2. A pilot wold have to comment on this.
      3. Yes. But if the course was not changed, the plane would have continued on to PEK and entered a holding pattern there. See Helios Flight 522.
      4. Yes it could. Yes, the black boxes would be recoverable. See AF 447. FDR and CVR use solid state storage and they are remarkably resilient. Even old magnetic tape was reliable in case of catastrophes, though. People have the misconception that if a human being can’t survive somewhere, any technology will not survive these conditions, either.
      5. Not really. Weather was excellent in their primary flight path, and even though it was already autumn where MH370 is believed to be resting, if the crew was disabled, the plane could not fly, etc., human error would not be a contributing factor (as opposed to AF447).
      6. It is still very safe. No fatalities in BA38 and its root cause was resolved. Asiana was caused by human error. Even if MH370 turns out to be an aircraft malfunction, it is still very safe to fly (although Airbus A340 will then take the crown of being the safest plane in civilian service). However, this is just statistics. You can never rule out human factor and the fact that in some cases the passengers were just very lucky (e.g., the plane they took unexpectedly exploded the next day, luckily killing nobody), and the plane will still retain its excellent safety record.

    • Patrick says:

      1.Could the pilots of a mo

    • Patrick says:

      1.Could the pilots of a modern Boeing 777-200 get lost if their computer navigation system suddenly failed in flight …?

      No. There are procedures to follow if such a thing happened. And it would be very unusual for there to be no secondary sources of navigation. In the area where the MH flight was last seen, there would have been basic VOR and other nav sources available. Worst case, even a total FMS/IRS/GPS failure over the open ocean, we carry supplemental info that provides basic course instructions.

      2.could the pilots have been trying to re-boot the computer systems…?

      What does “re-boot the computer systems” even mean? A 777 isn’t a MacBook Pro.

      3. could a 777-200 still fly on autopilot if the pilots were overcome by a in flight fire…?

      I suppose it depends on the fire. It also depends what you mean by “autopilot.” People love lumping all of a plane’s automation capabilities into that one word.

      6. how safe is the Boeing 777 series of airliner following the recent crashes of Asiana airlines flight 214 & British airways flight 38 & Malaysian airlines flight MH370…?

      Well, the 777 has been in service since 1995, and this is the first large-scale, presumably catastrophic event. And it may not have been an accident.

      3. could a 777-200 still fly on auto-pilot if the pilots were overcome by a in flight fire?

  95. Kathie Long says:

    Thank you for the thoughtful analysis; I have both of your books. I recommend them for anybody who flies. I am checking this site for updates, because the media is so d#%m stupid. It does seem clear that this flight is down, all aboard lost, and I am sad.

  96. Jenny says:

    Interesting site, information and comments.
    I have a question: if the plane turned around (effectively 180 degrees) and headed south west … Surely it ends up flying over land again and into someone’s airspace where it would have been picked up ….???

    • toughluck says:

      It was picked up, but it caused huge embarrassment for Thai military whose radar picked it up. The plane did not turn back per se. It flew over Thailand, and even though it was detected as an unidentified aircraft, the air defense did not act upon this. This is gross dereliction of duty and in some countries this would result in years in prison for the radar operators.
      Plus, their military radar coverage speaks volumes about their air defense capabilities, which are apparently really poor.

  97. Company Gimmicks says:

    What was in the cargo someone did not want it to reach Beijing?
    Why China sent so many ships for SAR?
    How many Chinese Govt. tech. staff – Engineers / scientists on the flight?
    What was the cargo?
    The flight had enough fuel 8Hrs to reach Diego Garcia and looks like it did head there as the people of Maldives saw the low flying aircraft.
    The passengers and crew would have become unconscious if the flight was deliberately plunged from above 30,000ft .
    The Hijackers with the unconscious passengers and crew could have flown it to Diego Garcia to unload a precious cargo.
    Then refuel the aircraft and remotely control it to fly from there to remote Indian Ocean with timed explosives Where no one can find or salvage it.
    Boeing/US Air Force has the capability of remotely flying aircrafts and Boeing Engineering has done it too.
    That is why US sent very little support for SAR. It must be the work of CIA the creators of Osama Bin Laden.
    Technology wise who has the expertise to do this – US Defense.
    Sorry to the good citizens of US – THE COMPANY is capable of doing anything under the sun being financed well without questions.
    Pity the souls of the dead – my deepest condolences to the aircraft staff and the passengers. And nature will make someone pay by natural disasters. Its the rule of nature no nation can avoid. God Bless Their souls.

    • toughluck says:

      Amazing what some people will do for a good mangosteen, huh? But seriously, let’s go over some of your assertions, since some of the points are pure speculation, and it doesn’t make sense to comment on them.
      2. Well, ~160 passengers aboard were Chinese, Beijing was the destination and China is the greatest local power, and the only one able to field so much equipment. More practically, this is an immense opportunity to practise and test their maritime patrol skills.
      5. Diego Garcia is 8 hours away, and the plane had 7h30m worth of fuel, less if you account for the hour that already passed, all under optimum conditions. DG is British territory leased out to USA, there’s hundreds of people there, it’s not like you can land a plane there without anyone knowing and rest assured there would be at least one whistleblower. Maldives are at least a two hour diversion away from DG. If the plane was flying low and over Maldives, it would have never made the distance to DG, let alone Maldives.
      6. Why would the plunge be necessary? And if the passengers and crew would become unconscious, why wouldn’t it affect the hijackers? It’s not like a 777 has provisions for plugging in a g-suit. Add to that the fact that a 777 is not a fighter jet (gee, are you surprised?) and it’s not designed to withstand significant forces acting on it. Passenger jets have been known to disintegrate during uncontrolled descent and the scenario you are suggesting is worse for the airframe.
      7. I can’t even imagine why the hijackers would need to get people on board unconscious. If they managed to overpower all passengers and crew that would prevent them access to the flight deck and had nefarious motives, they could probably kill everyone aboard with their bare hands.
      8. Why refuel and fly out? Why not just cut down for scrap and and melt it down? There’s risk that it IS going to be found and that this ruse would be detected. Why risk it?
      9. USA has the ANZUS treaty and under its considerations, the Indian Ocean is Australian responsibility. US has a token presence there and there are no carriers available for an operation. What the US did send is quite a lot already, though. P-8 Poseidon is just entering service with US Navy as the most sophisticated ASW platform to date and is probably the best bet for the search. In fact, I’m sure that Boeing would love to have this plane find the first actual debris from MH370 and put it in the limelight for finding it. There, I just suggested another party to the conspiracy. Knock yourself out tying Boeing into your tapestry.

  98. […] turned off the transponder to be invisible to radar.”  Patrick Smith already has taken apart much of the inanity of this “theory,” but I’m floored by the claims that turning […]

  99. nemrod says:

    everything points at the pilots. the flight path was apparently deliberately changed at least 12 minutes before they made the last contact with ATC. so it had to be one or both of them. the last known position of the plane is the middle of the Indian Ocean. there’s only one scenario that fits: pilot suicide.

  100. Tracey says:

    Check this out ..

    http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/545653/20140329/malaysian-airline-flight-370-disappearance-boeing-777.htm#.Uzce1PmSxAo

    Basically it reads – the International Business Times reported that the billionaire Jacob Rothschild ( Illuminati member )is now the sole owner of a patent semiconductor for Freescale, who had just happened to have launched a new radar electronic warfare system days before Flight 370 vsnished.Four co-owners of the patent plus 20 employees, mostly engineers, were onboard, now missing.
    Freescale shareholders include Carlyle Group of private equity investors with past advisors including former US President George Bush Snr and ex British Prime Minister John Major.
    Carlyle’s clients include Saudi Bin Laden group company owned by the family of Osama Bin Laden.

    …..Frightening connections but the debunkers I guess will continue to scoff and mock…I would love to be proved wrong in my suspicions believe me!

    • toughluck says:

      That ridiculous assertion again?
      Did you know Freescale is more than a defense contractor and that their defense contracts are a tiny speck in their profits, with automotive electronics being the greatest contributor of revenue?
      Regarding FS employees on board, do you realize that to actually work in the defense industry, the person must be cleared to work with top secret tech, and that usually requires US Citizenship? I’m not a US citizen, I work for a company that serves defence contractors and US military, and I can’t even take a glimpse at their service requests, much less check any details, and you’re suggesting a foreign national would work on military technology? On what planet?
      Did you even read the patent? Do you know what it entails?
      The patent is for a new method of laying out dice on a silicon wafer to optimize the number of obtained circuits. It’s not rocket science and the patent is one of many methods that you can apply mathematics to the question of the optimal layout.
      Second, do you realize that Freescale had full rights to the patent one way or another? The four Chinese inventors named in the patent are not its owners! The assignee, Freescale, is. Furthermore, all technology companies protect their assets by requiring all inventions patented by the employee during his course of employment to be transferred fully to the employer (which usually entails a monetary reward).
      The deaths of these passengers changes nothing in terms of patent ownership, licensing or allowed usage.
      Third, there’s no certainty that any of the four inventors were actually aboard MH370, even though you can match their names with the manifest. However, the manifest makes no mention of the employer whatsoever. With over a billion Chinese people, you would expect some of their names to duplicate. In fact, due to their naming conventions, there were no fewer than 5 individuals with exactly the same name on the plane!
      What’s frightening is that some people will believe any ridiculous conspiracy theory that fuels their paranoia.

  101. Anoop Alias says:

    Possible scenario:

    As the flight cross the south china sea ..
    1. some people emerge from the flight saying they are from CIA and wants the captain and copilot to move away and they take control because the plane has X in it . Given the gravity of the situation the crew agrees

    2. A highly trained fighter pilot(or group) turns of all communication systems and takes the plain to a secret facility without anyone being let known .They make sure to make the least noises in any radars

    3. The one thing they forget is the hourly ping tracked by the UK based private company .

    4. The plane is either destroyed or taken to an unknown airstrip or military base

    5.US joins the rest of the world for a massive hunt..while they know what really happened . One must notice that satellite data about possible debris is coming from nations like china,japan ,UK and even Indonesia and no such info from a country who probably owns and operates the largest number of satellites! .

    6.US send in highly trained FBI agents with a secret motive to sabotage the investigation with false data or know how much the investigations by the other countries are progressing

    • Ajay M says:

      Is it possible that the main pilot had some kind of hallucination of entering the earth at a specific point on the ocean floor. The Diamantina Fracture Zone in the Indian ocean where the search is focused on, has a clear ‘X’ marked on an otherwise flat ocean floor.Pilots are human and they are subject the same mental health issues normal people are.

  102. Great article. It’s sad how many people are so willingly being mislead by “experts” showing up on CNN, Fox, etc. Ignorance is running riot.

  103. Analysis1 says:

    My approach to this is more about removing what didn’t happen based on the available information rather than attempting to determine what did happen without information. Personally, I think there is a lot to be determined from what initially occurred around the Malaysian peninsula.

    Events that were dismissed by Malaysian authorities even when they happened and have not been revisited since are important. Firstly, around 8 separate police reports of a low flying large aircraft were made by locals around the 1.20am time at Marang Beach on the east coast of Malaysia and a couple more at Bachok beach, around another 150km north. I see these events as rather significant as they suggest that the plane flew directly back down its initial course from the IGARI waypoint to KLIA, then at the coast line turned right and flew in a north westerly direction to intercept a vector between the IGARI – VAMPI waypoints before continuing on the already identified VAMPI, GIVAL, IGREX path before turning south. The interesting aspect here is that to fly up the east coast of Malaysia would be fundamentally a manual task as there are no waypoint to track to or from. I would also suggest that as the plane was already much closer to KLIA than Langkawi there was no attempt to get the plane down due to some structural event. Even adding to the Canadian pilot article where he suggested that the plane would have gone for Langkawi as the terrain was lower is false. The geographical elevation along a vector from IGARI to Langkawi is almost identical to one from IGARI to KLIA, and KLIA would have much better support for an emergency. So I would suggest the path taken would indicate nothing critically wrong with the plane that needed immediate attention or disabled the pilots or systems.

    Furthermore, for a flight that turned so far south, the route taken around the Malaysian peninsula strongly indicates a deliberate intention to be avoided. 1) it crossed the peninsula at the Malay, Thai border which, would tend to not alert the ATC of either country, then proceed to make a very wide berth around a very active surveillance of Indonesian airspace. All up, very deliberate and with a fully functional plane.

    Suicide of the pilot would also seem something to be ruled out. Far too complicated a flight path and avoidance of detection for someone interested in ending it all. Someone with grown children who most likely would not wish a legacy of his actions to forever remain with his children. At his age, people mellow out. You have strong views and persuasions but tend not to be so intent on such drastic actions. As for being a strong supporter of the Malaysia opposition; many Malaysian would be strong supporters and want to see an end to the cronyism and corruption that exists today; and anyone who attended Anwar’s trial would not have been surprised at the decision albeit disappointed. If you were to make a political statement with the plane, there are some much better places you could have crashed the aircraft to get attention.

    So a quick summary, for me, is that there was nothing wrong with the plane ad it was deliberately flown where it went, and the pilot was not responsible for any suicide mission. Beyond that, it just becomes theories and guesses but I would have to lean strongly to a suggestion that the plane was not flown (at least voluntarily) by the MAS pilots, and with no motives coming forward there is only speculation. My curiosity is leaning toward an interest of “what” might have been on the plane…

  104. Vinny Noggin says:

    Anyway,through all this media mania, I keep thinking of the Lin Biao “incident” (crash) back in 1971…

    And it doesn’t look like Ukrainian Navy dolphins will be employed.

    Sometimes it’s all very sad.

  105. Glo Gluv says:

    I don’t get it, that they can’t even find the smallest things. It’s like the jet just vanished into thin air, and what about the passengers? You would think they would find something. To not find anything at all yet, seems really strange to me.

  106. toberd says:

    The news this morning (3/28) carried a story that the search area was being adjusted northward because “the plane was flying faster, therefore using more fuel, therefore must have run out of fuel sooner”.

    Like all of the statements made about this flight, it makes little sense. It ran out of gas sooner, but still stayed in the air as long as previously estimated!

    It seems that most of the flight information used in the search came from the satellite pings. Reading previous posts here, there seems to be a lot of misinformation about these pings. First, these pings were initiated by the satellite, not the satcom tranciever in the plane, and are evidently done on a routine basis by the satellite to see who is out there. According to news reports the satellite company provided airplane position data based on the time between the ping being sent out and the reply from the airplane, as well as doppler information from the reply.

    I have been unable to find ANY detailed engineering description of how this was accomplished. Presumably this information was recorded, since the analysis was not completed for a couple of weeks. As an engineer, I would ask the following questions:
    1. What was the accuracy and granularity of the time measurement of the ping response time in the satellite?
    2. What time assumption was made about the response time within the satcom receiver between when the ping was received and when it transmitted a reply? Was it based on the exact model number of the system in the plane?
    3. How did you measure the doppler shift and what is the accuracy of that measurement?
    Note that there would be a tolerance assocuated with each of these questions. I don’t know what these tolerances are since they have not been stated, but if there is any sloppiness at all, the results would be indeterminate. For if the tolerance of 1 is +- 1 millisecond, and the tolerance of 2 is +- 1 millisecond, making the total round trip tolerance +- 2 milliseconds, then the plane could have been anywhere, since the positional error would be more than 1000 miles per millisecond. Also the doppler shift would depend on the accuracy of the frequency source in the transponder.

    If anyone has seen a technical description of the satellite ping data I would appreciate a reference to it.

    Another problem is the rumor, started by CNN, that the aircraft had gone down to an altitude of 12,000 ft. Has anyone confirmed this?

    The catastrophy theory seems to rely on the fact that some failure disabled the transponder and ACARS system, while not affecting the autopilot. While a properly trimmed aircraft could maintain roughly the same altitude for 7 hours without an autopilot, it would wander in direction.

    So many question, no answers.

  107. laurent gambourg says:

    In the case of the flight M370 some explain the loss of flight instruments as the transponder by fire. This fire is even responsible for the asphyxiation of the crew.

    The case of Malaysian flight reminds the tragedy of Helios airline flight . The plane due to loss of pressurization became a ghost plane because all the crew fainted. He crashed an hour after when he reached the end of its fuel.

    Thats nobody understands for the flight M370 its why there has been simultaneous loss of the instrumentation as the transponder with what could be a loss of pressurization. Also why an electrical problem. This is why we talk of fire.

    Whats nobody has mentioned so far is that all electrical equipment is designed to operate at a certain air density, for ensure his cooling.

    A passage to the pressure altitude level 350 for which he is certainly not designed could have produced malfunctions by simply overheating.

    As your computer can not work to its full potential if it loses his ventilation.

    It should be noted in this respect that the fans have been in Helios flight declared unserviceable certainly by early 4000 m not because they stoped but because they loss their cooling ability due to the low air density.

    If electrical equipment are designed to be operated at an air density of 35 000 ft , i am not sure.

    Laurent Gambourg

    • backpacker says:

      Its been stated many times that the massive altitude change to 45,000 feet is an unreliable fact based on an inherent weakness of land-based radar over 200 miles away. But even if MH370 did change elevation, the transponders somehow lost power prior to the aircraft’s climb.

  108. Abraham says:

    Thank God finally CNN cleared the mystery out. The plane was sucked by a black hole. Probably one of those the so-called scientific are trying to create at the CERN escaped without anyone to notice and runs free around the atmosphere.

    We all pray that next thing the black hole sucks its CNN.

    • Ajay M says:

      Is it possible that the main pilot had some kind of hallucination of entering the earth at a specific point on the ocean floor. The Diamantina Fracture Zone in the Indian ocean where the search is focused on, has a clear ‘X’ marked on an otherwise flat ocean floor.Pilots are human and they are subject the same mental health issues normal people are.

  109. UDog says:

    “…there is simply no way to remotely pilot a Boeing 777 or any other commercial plane.” Nonsense, not true, and you know it.

    Remote control of aircraft has been around since WW2 if not before. FAA used remote control in a crash test of a 720 (in 1984!).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWuvGoKdWFM

    The capability to remotely take over a distressed aircraft is built in to the 777.
    Easy to do with a fly by wire aircraft.

    “All we know for sure is that a plane went missing with no warning or communication from the crew.” Well no, we do know a lot more – and we know that something stinks.

    A lot of shippers now use battery powered GPS trackers on cargo shipped by air, and passengers can buy inexpensive GPS trackers for their luggage. I wonder how many such GPS trackers were on board the airplane? Not only that, the engines had GPS too. So the position was known, at all times. I wonder where the trail of bred crumbs lead?

    (Male airport in the Maldives is on Malaysian Airlines Route Map. It is within range of the plane. The plane was sighted there at a time consistent with a flight to that area.)

    Commercial fleet vehicles like trucks use GPS trackers as well, providing management with real time positioning data and messaging services. Hard to believe airline management hasn’t equipped their fleet of multi-million dollar planes with these inexpensive gizmos. If I were running an airline, I’d sure want to know where my planes were. UPS already uses this system on there fleet of aircraft. Hard to believe Malaysian airlines doesn’t have something similar.

    To say we don’t know where the plane went and where it is now is not credible. Probably at least one passenger’s family in China activated a GPS luggage tracker and got a signal that gave the lie to all the denials and we don’t knows by the officials. (Maybe that’s why they threw the water bottles) The people a Rolls Royce know, as does Boeing, and a lot of others.

    I don’t know what happened to the plane or where it is now, but the ever changing official story does not add up, and neither does this story.

    • Abraham says:

      Yes, something stinks indeed. What they don’t talk about is what invaluable cargo loaded into that plane. Something important, very important, probably classified. Rolls Royce knows, Boeing knows, who knows who else knows.

      The plane is fully computerised, and we all know we can install a trojan in a computer and then take control and divert.In order to install the trojan, you need access to the airplane computer systems. Hence, we are talking about an inside job. Inside Rolls Royce, inside Boeing and may be others.

      Question is once they’ve took control of the plane and the released the virus to knock-out everyone, how to unload the valuable cargo. This is easy to do, it is indeed being done since WW2 is being done, and you know it if you’ve watched enough Steven Seagal movies. After that the plane was left with the autopilot to its fate.

      Unfortunately, the trojan has probably been programmed to simulate a fire on board, overwrite the black box and immediately erase himself with out any clue.

      So we will never, ever, ever know the whole truth of what happened.

  110. Tracey says:

    Just to make it clearer..( am tired )

    Last contact was at 1.21am. Add 41 min flying time to reach original departure place. Now add the 4 hours 24 min..

    1.21 plus
    0.41 plus
    4.24
    —–
    6.26 am

    Uncanny eh

    • Pelegrin says:

      The Flight to Beijing was 6 hours, but the plane had 7+ hours of fuel on board; I’ve even heard as much as 8 hours.

  111. Tracey says:

    oops..typo error.

    Flight370 departed Kuala Lumpa at 0041am, last contact at 0121hrs.
    I think the math still holds up..

  112. Tracey says:

    Flight 370 had enough fuel to go from Malaysia to China = 2628 miles
    Therefore it would have had enough fuel to reach Diego Garcia = 2617 miles, just south of the Maldives.

    Plane resembling Flight 370 reported heading south over the MALDIVES.
    Tomnod satellite imagery given to public to search, never once covers Maldive area, despite possible sighting….why ?
    Flight 370 leaves Malaysia at 1.21am, flies for 41 min before losing contact. It is 4 hours 24 min flying time from Malaysia to the Maldives. Add those 41 min to 4 hours 24 min, and you get 5.05am.
    Now add 0505 hours to departure time of 1.21am.
    You now have 6.26am………sighting at Maldives approx 6.15am.

    Diego Garcia is a TOP SECRET US Military Base leased from the UK, just south of the Maldives.
    If a Faraday cage was used to stifle electric fields, then cell phones and GPS would not be getting or receiving signals.
    Malaysia is unwilling to disclose details of the cargo onboard.
    Flightradar have altered mapping of the Flight370 flight…do some research, go to Youtube and start digging.
    They won’t find plane debris in the ocean IMO…the plane is elsewhere.

    • Yo Moer says:

      So US special operatives kidnapping planes full of passengers land it at the Maldivas for secret plot to brainwash them for some manchurian candidate or erase their memories, so they can fill the plane with chemtrail chemicals and fly it back to China?

      OMG I need a new supply of tinfoil hats!

      Can’t people find a simpler explanation? Like there are thousands of planes flying over the sky, why can’t it be any other plane flying over the Maldives. But no, to conspiracy theorist it can’t be any other thing than MH470, it must be MH470.

      • Tracey says:

        Diego Garcia, not the Maldives. Cargo unknown.

        Well hope you are right and me, along with many others are wrong in our thinking.
        I keep forgetting how upfront and honest our Governments are!

  113. Dimus says:

    FOX, CNN and other news channels are obsessed with mystery of 370 but very little attempt is made by commentators to try to combine known facts in a meaningful way. Here is one of attempts to find possible clue what can actually happened.
    1. It is low probability of terrorist act – nobody claimed anything or demanded. But can be – nobody took responsibility for 9/11 as far as I know.
    2. Low probability of fire – it happens fast and plane cannot fly 5-6 hours after. Lithium battery hypothesis does not stand by this reason too.
    3. What else? What if that plane was transporting something or somebody illegal – call it “important cargo”. It eventually was worth more than 200 lives.
    4. Pilots were most probable accomplices and could agree to cooperate with some criminals. Check if any of their relatives will become rich in a near future. All action was planned and 1st pilot had prepared on himself on simulator – operation and flight were non trivial. Look if any other passenger was trained pilot to disprove this idea.
    5. What happened? As soon as Malaysian air control area was left pilots turned the plane back across Malaysian peninsula but above Thailand (plane was on radars). Somewhere in Malacca strait there was a ship waiting for the cargo. Cargo was dropped with parachute or on a raft. That is why plane descended to 12000 ft to be precise and find the ship. Then pilots turned autopilot on, programmed flight direction to the most lonely part of Indian ocean, said goodbye (second time) and jumped from the plane on parachutes.
    6. Altitude was set back high (or very high to avoid meeting other planes) to ensure flight to last as long as possible until fuel ends. That is why plane debris was found “nowhere”.
    7. Option: 2 Iranians with false passports had finished pilots at the last minute and jumped themselves. Their eventual role was controllers and pilots probably did not know about them. It is very naive to think that Iranians were refugees: they can travel to Europe with Iranian passports freely directly from Dubai or whatever and will be welcomed in Europe as refugees with all possible perks. Need full search about them, history, connections, etc. It is quite possible that mother in Frankfurt will find her son alive sometime…
    8. Important Clue: about 5 passengers who decided “last minute” not to fly 370 and their luggage was unloaded from the plane following regulations. Need to check them very thoroughly. Their decision is possibly a planned action and the best way to place “cargo” on the plane. People who were sent to unload luggage could be accomplices and brought the cargo in their vehicle and were not observed or passed security check. It is possible that few of them actually stayed in the cargo deck during the flight and helped to discharge it (drop out), also bring parachutes. Would be very desirable to find who actually brought the luggage back to the airport to these 5 people.
    9. Try to restore ship routes in Malacca strait during this night. Those who did it were in a hurry and did not fly too far from Thailand shore. There could be fishermen who saw some ship or speed boat and plane or paratroopers. Probably pilot called to this ship on his cell 8 min before the flight when the ” luggage team “reported success. Unfortunately Malacca strait is a very busy route, but whoever planned the operation new about it: the ship in such case does not need to deviate much from its course that can attract attention.
    10. Need actually some hypothesis about cargo: drugs, nuclear weapons, materials, parts? What can Malaysia produce? Otherwise could be transit.
    11. Sorry about passengers – they probably did not understand anything for a long time. There was no need in fire or any depressurization: it could quickly damage the plane but criminals wanted to push the plane as far as possible from the scene.
    12. Cargo could be a human or one (more) of the passengers. Check If there were any “important” people on this plane?

    • backpacker says:

      Unfortunately for all of us, there is precious little value in your wordy speculation. Your 12 numbered items point to 3 pretend situations (parachuting pilots, “important cargo”, and Iranians). Any of us could sit around and make up 100 other possibilities that are all equally as (un)likely.

      The stated facts about your ‘important clue #8′ were quickly modified over 2 weeks ago. The official report was revised from “5 people did not board (and their luggage was removed)” to “5 people who did not check in.” That suggests roughly ~ 2% of the passengers didn’t show up for a midnight, red-eye flight. That is an entirely believable rate. Because of it, airlines have compensated by routinely over-booking flights and forcing paying passengers to be placed on a waiting list. Apparently 4 of those 5 seats were gobbled up by passengers who were flying on stand-by.

      You did write 1 lucid thought that might point to a motive. Authorities need to know WHO and WHAT was on the plane; the answers might point to some motivation for someone. They have released the passenger list and have started working to discover which of these people were more than just names on a list. There might be some connections/relationships that haven’t been publicly released.

      Investigators have also examined the cargo manifest. They told us about lithium batteries, but there may be other undisclosed cargo that intrigues them as well. People sitting at homes on their computers guessing and inventing scenarios don’t really help anything…

  114. Travel says:

    Why not send aircraft carriers with helicopters and drones to scan the potential areas for debris?
    Also, has Malaysia sent aircraft or ships to assist in the search?

  115. Bob Snodgrass says:

    There is no wreckage, no bodies, as I expected by now they would probably fake, maybe yet to come, and no real good explanation that makes any sense out of the known circumstances of the disappearance of this plane. I am very surprised at the ridiculous theories and senseless explanations that people come up with and fail to see the most obvious simple explanation accounting for all the known circumstances. First-off he truth is that even with todays publicly known technology, not to mention secret military technology and surveillance, something like this could only be an inside job. The reason for the pilots eerie calmness as he said goodnight, his last known audible words, is easily explained by the fact that he had no idea what was about to happen, as just after saying goodnight the transponders, all communications, and any other precautions that would have been in place, along with complete control of the plane were all remotely cut-off and taken over, this is why we could not hear his distress calls or attempted communications as the plane then rapidly ascended, as was originally confirmed, and then was remotely depressurized quickly killing everyone on board before descending and being remotely guided drone style in to wherever it is now, likely in preparation for step #2, something we have known for a long time is our greatest danger for which we are all currently sitting ducks, a sneak nuclear attack on the United States by commercial airliner. A much greater threat than even the best intercontinental missile ever made, as especially in the hands of such a criminally genius, meticulous, technologically advanced organization able to pull-off what they have already done, it can reach anywhere in the world, fly straight through missile defense systems without appearing as anything unusual, and deliver any desired payload or weapon of mass destruction with pinpoint accuracy to any target without us even knowing what’s coming until it’s too late. Almost, if not all of the media is either owned by, or sponsored by corporations owned by the most evil elitists and institutions in the world who would like us think of something else, and be ignorant to the true magnitude of the danger that we are in the midst of, and who surely would not hesitate to attack our own people in order to quell the building uprising and anger over what our corporate controlled government is doing to us, and as an excuse to launch a devastating war which would generate massive revenue for the multi-billion, if not trillion, dollar weapons industry, and more specifically the relentlessly greedy evil institutions who have more control, if not nearly complete control, power, and proportionately much more money than ever today who own our politicians, control our government, and just as they have been shown throughout the history of war to do, would as always, benefit hugely from it.

    • Patrick says:

      This letter is a very good and very distressing example of a type of thinking that has become pervasive.

      “….I am very surprised at the ridiculous theories and senseless explanations that people come up with and fail to see the most obvious simple explanation accounting for all the known circumstances….”

      Me too. And that simplest explanation is a crash into the ocean.

      “….the truth is that even with today’s publicly known technology, not to mention secret military technology and surveillance, something like this could only be an inside job….”

      This is simply false.

      “….and being remotely guided drone style in to wherever it is now, likely in preparation for step #2….”

      There is no way in a million years to remotely pilot a Boeing 777 or any other commercial plane. I’m frustrated by how often this idea is suggested. Remotely control it how? People seem to have a vastly exaggerated idea of how modern jetliners are flown — that is, they vastly exaggerate the capabilities of cockpit automation, and what a person with access to this automation, whether from inside or outside the plane, would be able to do. You cannot fly a jetliner by remote control, period. This is made worse by a media that has no idea what it’s talking about, and that loves to drag out “experts” who similarly know very little about the realities of commercial flying, and who wind up propagating these crazy theories.

      “….something we have known for a long time is our greatest danger for which we are all currently sitting ducks, a sneak nuclear attack on the United States by commercial airliner….”

      As I ask in the story (I’m beginning to realize that most of the people leaving comments have not actually read the post they are commenting on), putting aside the exceptionally difficult task of stealing and then secretly landing and hiding a 777, what sense would it make for a terrorist group steal a commercial jetliner full of passengers from one of the most prestigious airlines in the world, guaranteeing that everybody on the planet will be looking for you? Any of a thousand cargo planes or business jets would do the job just as well, with only a tiny fraction of the attention.

      • Marie says:

        First of all let me say that I in no way believe remote control is involved in this incident whatsoever, but I would be interested in knowing a little bit about this:

        “According to Flight Global, Boeing has applied for a U.S. patent that could return an aircraft to a predetermined airport in the event that terrorists gained control of a flightdeck:

        http://www.flightglobal.com/Articles…auto-land+system+for+hijacked.html”

        There is a patent filed in the US for a system such as this. Just a theory for now and the patent is “just in case” or is this a real thing.

        Just asking

        • Yo Moer says:

          Depends on the kind of patent. But many individuals or companies submit patents for mere “ideas” so they are protected by law so others don’t steal their “ideas”. There are patents for cold fusion reactors, space elevators and any kind of sci-fi like technology, do you see them in real life?

          From “idea” to reality there are many steps.

          • dan says:

            We already know that this technology exists as it was used in the 9/11 attacks. If you think that a few terrorists who had problems landing a single engine Cessna could maneuver and fly 747s into buildings, then you have lost all touch with reality.

    • backpacker says:

      Responding to Bob Snodgrass post #495:

      The toughest part of your conspiracy theory may be to get the 777 up in the air. So if you are right on a terrorist goal, then the best opportunity would have been to commandeer the jet and crash into Petronas Towers or China’s Imperial Palace/Forbidden City…whatever, wherever. If you are stuck on some nuclear device, why not bribe the loading crew? Or substitute your personnel to act the imposter and load the device onto the jet?

      What we can be sure of is that those Rolls Royce engines are flagged. The second they ping/respond to a ping, its ON all over again. Secondly, you speculate that the jet would masquerade as any regular international flight in order to deliver a nuclear payload. For that to happen in plain sight under everyone’s noses, the jet would need to be operating with a transponder.

      What do you think would realistically happen when the MH370 transponder code shows up on someone’s ATC radar? – wait, on second thought, please don’t answer

  116. Pelegrin says:

    What I can’t quite understand is If this debris that’s being found is from Flight 370 then how is it that a plane that crashed to the ocean would produce so much debris from I imagine pretty much gliding downward after running out of fuel. If the plane exploded in the air then I could imagine a wide and varied debris field, but I just don’t picture the plane breaking up into so many small to mid-sized pieces in a scenario of running out of fuel and coming down to the ocean surface in one piece.

  117. Marie says:

    IF the data is true that the plan appears to have made an adjustment to avoid Indonesian radar, given what happened on 911 and given that terrorists like US targets is it really so farfetched to think that this plane was comandeered to hit Diego Garcia.

    Further, given what happened on 911, is it so farfetched to believe that the US Military, faced with a civilian plane heading straight for them that was not communicating, would it not be safe to assume that they would have taken some sort of action.

    Further, given that the US was officially saying quite early after MH370 went missing, with NO supporting evidence, that the plane was at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

    It would not have been the first time a country (Korean Flight 007 for example) would not have come forward and told the international community that they had shot down the plane for security reasons, particularly in an area of the world where there is little oversight and not much chance of any eyewitnesses to the event itself.

    This is no more farfetched than the idea of a plane that was on fire with all crew and passengers onboard incapacitated flying itself to the Indian Ocean, including numerous route changes and certainly just as farfetched as believing on September 10, 2001 that two civilian jetliners were going to deliverately fly into the World Trade Centre buildings the next day. I would also ask you this, if another plan was hijacked and started toward a prized target on US soil, what steps exactly might be taken to stop them today. Surely there is a plan in place with the military for such a situation that probably involves just such a solution.

    • Eirik says:

      Lets say someone shot down the plane. Why would they do that when/if the plane were in the middle of the ocean? There is no risk out there and no building they can crash the plane into.
      If they thought there was a risk they would still have some time to monitor the plane and see where it was heading before shooting it down.

      If it was shot down out there I would lean more towards an accident that no one wants to admit.

      • Marie says:

        There are buildings on Diego Garcia. It is a US Military Base, allegedly the “new”, less accessible Guantanamo Bay. That would make it a little more than attractive to terrorist groups as a big, juicy US Target.

        In fact, if you take out any of the turns AFTER it diverts its course to Beijing the plane is flying directly AT Diego Garcia unless it takes the reported left hand turn to run down toward Australia. If it is a malfunction and it was just flying along under autopilot toward Diego Garcia the US military radar could not possibly have missed it. Maybe they just watched it crash into the sea once they determined it was more or less unmanned at that point and told the world at that point that they were “sure it was at the bottom of the Indian Ocean” well before any other agency was giving any credence to that location.

  118. Carole says:

    Hi Patrick. So I re-read Chapter 6, specifically the part on lithium batteries. An extremely interesting 747 crash that you didn’t mention occurred in July of 2011. An Asiana cargo aircraft crashed into the ocean just west of Jeju on a Seoul – Shanghai route about 50 minutes into the flight. Contact with Seoul ATC was made by relay through a Korea Air plane that was near the stricken 747. The plane also exhibited an unstable vertical profile, at one point descending 10,000 ft in 90 seconds.

    “The main-deck pallets included two which were listed as containing dangerous goods, loaded into the positions designated ML and PR, adjacent to the rear freight door. Among these hazardous shipments were lithium-ion batteries – for use in hybrid electric vehicles – as well as highly-flammable and corrosive liquids, for integrated-circuit manufacture, plus lacquers and paints.”

    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/fire-brought-down-asiana-747f-in-just-18min-376916/

    (Wasn’t the Dubai UPS 747 fire nearer the nose?)

    I know we’re not supposed to speculate, but given what you said in Chapter 6 and given the dangers of lithium batteries and given that the NTSB says oxygen masks and goggles are pilot unfriendly, doesn’t the lithium battery theory fit well with the known circumstances of MH370?

  119. Vasiliki says:

    I am curious to know how a plane can break into so many pieces when it was clearly identified in Maldives as flying VERY low … does anyone know, in a scientific manner, what speed is required for a plane to crash into the surface of the ocean to cause extreme breakage? My instinct tells me if the reports in the Maldives are true it is more likely that htis plane should have sunk not broken and therefore the pieces found support conspiracy work behind the scens and not natural causes.

    • Eirik says:

      It depends on the angle of impact and a lot of other factors.
      But it wont hit the ocean and sink in a totally intact condition. There will always be some wreckage.

    • Vic says:

      If the Maldives sightings were true, whatever is floating in the current search location would not be related to 370 as I don’t think the plane had the range to go all that way west then back all that way southeast, especially at low altitude.

  120. Pawl says:

    Such horsecr&p! WHERE THE HELL IS THE DEBRIS FROM THE “CRASH?” The LARGEST CONSPIRACY OF ALL IS THAT THE PLAN WAS INVOLVED IN A CRASH!? WTF?! WHERE ARE THE PIECES?

    • Patrick says:

      Well, by the same token, if it wasn’t a crash, WHERE IS THE PLANE?

      How do you surreptitiously land a Boeing 777 full of passengers? There isn’t an airport in the world where this could be done with any real degree of secrecy.

      And even if this were possible, WHY? None of the proposed reasons for such a bizarre and extraordinarily difficult scheme make sense in the first place.

      The plane is in the ocean. Why no pieces yet? Because the ocean is gigantic, and because they’re not sure which route the plane took, and because the dynamics of crashes, and the type and amount of resultant wreckage, can vary.

      Wreckage or not, the theory that the plane is in the ocean is by far the most plausible one. Why are so many people hellbent on the conspiracy angle?

  121. […] systems to avoid detection. (Patrick Smith, of the popular Ask The Pilot website, pointed out in a recent blog post that “very few of a plane’s components are hot-wired to be, as you might say, ‘always […]

  122. Waheed says:

    What is this? Anything related to an Aircraft?

    http://www.haveeru.com.mv/news/54175

    • Eirik says:

      Not related to a B777 at least.
      Looks more like an air valve or something like that.
      But if you`re thinking about FL370 you can skip that theory.
      Does it even float?

      • Waheed says:

        Thanks Erik. But couple of hours ago, this came up. Please have a look.

        http://www.haveeru.com.mv/news/54178

        • Eirik says:

          Never say never. Although there are already many “hard to believe” theories out there, I find this one hard to believe too.
          Simply because this is the only part they have found around there that might come from an aircraft. What about other items following same current if that thing ended up there? Or maybe they havent been searching for anything else yet.

          But again, never say never. Nothing will surprise me at this point.

  123. Pilotman says:

    Finding the flight recorders will be extemely difficult since we still don’t know the exact position of the crash. Floating parts are moving and this is not going to be easy. We might have to accept not to have any explanation.

  124. Usman Khan says:

    Dear Mr. Patrick Smith

    Can you give your opinion on remarks from Malaysian Prime Minister.

  125. Binky says:

    As has been mentioned frequently, the 500 lbs. of lithium batteries in the cargo are suspect. There have been too many previous incidents where this type of battery ignited on planes–and that raises an important question, which is: are there specific conditions unique to aviation, that make Li-ion batteries more dangerous on planes than ground testing has yet revealed?

    Here are two possibilities unique to air transit:

    1. Rapid, dramatic pressure drop as the plane ascends, causing one or more of the batteries (which themselves are highly pressurized internally) to burst, short other batteries, and ignite. All it would take would be one slightly weak battery casing or seal–one that wouldn’t ever be a problem on the ground, but which fails under the rapid onset of a big pressure differential.

    2. Electric current induction in the battery cargo as a result of flying through close-range, HIGH POWER GROUND RADAR on takeoff! Don’t know if radar can penetrate the metal skin of a plane–but if it can, the high power/high frequency RF pulses probably could induce sudden, out-of-range current and/or thermal micro-conditions, resonances, or transients inside some or all of the batteries, that might cause failures, shorts, and disaster. Consumer batteries in the cargo are NOT designed to be “flight-certified” equipment. This radar-related risk needs to be seriously investigated and tested!

    Both of these possibilities need to be rigorously tested in ground labs–they are both conditions unique to aviation, and outside the range of standard testing that these batteries are certified through.

  126. Yo Moer says:

    If the plane really crashed into the South Indian Ocean after many hours of flight coupled with Air France accident a few years ago it shows the weaknesses in the blackbox/cvr systems. First, in both cases the 30 days limited life of the beacon which hinders the search when it’s most needed as in this cases. And now since MH370 flew for many hours after what would have triggered this incident in the first place, any audio from the CVR from that time would already be lost since it only holds the last 2 hours. This kind of weaknesses shouldn’t be there now that we have digital media and systems.

    There’s proposals for ejectable blackboxes as well as video in the cockpit. But they should also look at increasing the maximum recording time.

  127. Zach says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing ATP’s (and the industry’s) recommendations for reform on ensuring constant access to flight data, having a competent international investigatory organization, and increased protections for passengers.

    On that last item, here is a nice story on the inability of pax and cabin crew to communicate with the outside world, in the eventuality that the pilots are incapacitated or unwilling. Can we go ahead and say that at least one reform should be a separate com system for the cabin, completely independent of the cockpit?

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/missing-malaysia-airlines-mh370-crew-could-not-have-raised-the-alarm-20140326-zqn41.html

  128. Zach says:

    Way back on Day One went they couldn’t find any wreckage or ping in extremely shallow water at the site of the transponder “fail”, I thought this might be a Swiss-Air type fire, or a de-compression event.

    But that position quickly became untenable, for a variety of reasons, not least that a plane supposedly ravaged by fire would still have to be capable of traveling as far away as the edges of the Southern Ocean.

    These two posts (the linked post, and the one by Albert Driver that it cites in the text) combined are excellent reasoning that serves as an iron-clad case that 370 is not a fire-related accident.

    http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/535538-malaysian-airlines-mh370-contact-lost-409.html

  129. dvr1inc says:

    A golfer, named Payne Stewart had a private jet, that lost oxygen to the plane. All onboard died quickly. The jet frosted from cold altitudes, continued flying until it ran out of fuel. It changed directions in flight, and was shadowed by military jets. They were able to see in the cockpit and account what happened. It eventually ran out of fuel and crashed in a remote area. Flight 370 seems eerily familiar to this incident.

    • Zach says:

      Did they lose communication with the aircraft itself?

      Were there several hard turns after the cockpit went radio silent?

      Did the aircraft change altitude several times after the cockpit went radio silent?

  130. Chris E says:

    Thank you, Patrick, for being a much needed voice of reason amid the hysteria and conspiracy theories. Great job on CNN (sorry you had to share the airtime with “Scary Mary” Schiavo.

    (PS: I did get a chuckle out of the Flight 714 references from the TinTin comics in the comments)

  131. David says:

    To justify the taking over of Iraq, we were mislead to believe that there were weapons of mass destruction. It transpired there was lies rather than weapons of mass destruction…

    In the 1950’s the CIA had all of us, and the Russians, believing there were UFO’s; when really it was the CIA in disguise. As a result, the Russians didn’t shoot down the strange UFO look-a-like planes. Also as a result therefore, CIA got lots of intelligence and photos of Russian military bases.

    The attempt to find the Malaysia plane is another lie. A huge long arc of a possible location is suggested. Chinese and many other nations, are asked to compromise their security secrets. The resulting data assembled, can now be studied by UK and USA. CIA know exactly where the plane is but have created the event to gather intelligence and information on the eastern block of nations. What a disgusting stunt to pull at the expense of innocent people. Give back the passengers!

    • Mark R. says:

      I have no idea which theory – if any – is even close to true about the crash, but it is astute to point out the CIA was behind the UFO story. The first “citizen” effort to supposedly expose “the truth” about UFOs had the acronym NICAP. NICAP had the first director of the CIA on its board. Stealth planes look very “saucer” like in their cross section, if you look at them from the front – especially the B-2, some of the new drones and even the SR 71.

      It’s good to be skeptical of official claims but it’s equally important to be skeptical of counter claims that the government is lying.

  132. David says:

    To justify the taking over of Iraq, we were mislead to believe that there were weapons of mass destruction. It transpired there was lies rather than weapons of mass destruction…

    In the 1950’s the CIA had all of us, and the Russians, believing there were UFO’s; when really it was the CIA in disguise. As a result, the Russians didn’t shoot down the strange UFO look-a-like planes. Also as a result therefore, CIA got lots of intelligence and photos of Russian military bases.

    The attempt to find the Malaysia plane is another lie. A huge long arc of a possible location is suggested. Chinese and many other nations, are asked to compromise their security secrets. The resulting data assembled, can now be studied by UK and USA. CIA know exactly where the plane is but have created the event to gather intelligence and information on the eastern block of nations. What a disgusting stunt to pull at the expense of innocent people.

  133. Dave Wilson says:

    Occam’s Razor: “…among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.” – Wikipedia

    It’s in the water…

  134. Eirik says:

    Totally agree about CNN. They have totally wiped their schedule since this happened. Don Lemon looks like he havent slept for weeks. And those poor guys in the simulator must have spent 100 hours in there. Yesterday, CNN had the same “Breaking News” on all their shows from 5pm to 9pm. And the “breaking news”? Search for plane is suspended due to weather.
    Even Wolf Blitzer is running out of theories. Then you know its time to stop and just stick to the facts.

  135. RR says:

    Time for an update Patrick.

  136. Zach says:

    Question: what are the logistics of setting up the towed underwater locator beacon?

    The beacon itself is small, but the type they are using has a tow line of up to 50,000 ft. The beacon then could be air-dropped into the search area for a ship to retrieve and activate…but the tow line would have to be shipped out (unless a vessel in the area already had the necessary length and strength). But at 1500 miles away from Perth, it would take 36 hours at top speed for a vessel with the tow line to make the search area…wasting valuable time.

    Second question: how do they keep other shipping in the search area away from a tow line that might stretch several miles (even if mostly underwater) to avoid clipping the line, or noise interference. And is that why the line is so long: to filter out the noise of the tower, as well as other shipping traffic?

  137. Nicholas Robinson says:

    Okay, so my co- pilot suicide theory is dashed — or is it?

    Admittedly, none of it much matters now. By the time they recover the black boxes — IF they recover the black boxes, which according to my info indicates they’re 2,000 feet DEEPER than AF 447’s — that would be a mind-boggling 14,000 feet down — then the FDRs are going to pretty much tell them zilch. The CVR will have recorded two hours of nothing and the data recorder will just have everything that we already have guessed on it.

    Barring a suicide note, this will be an Amelia Earhart incident.

    Too damn bad, but I’m praying this WAKES UP some fuckers to putting into action all the technology that currently allows passengers to surf CNN but doesn’t let PILOTS access the internet — or let the plane be tracked in REAL TIME with regular old automobile GPS technology.

    Tombstone economics . . . the airlines come through yet again with flying colours.

    Just because the chance of you being struck by lightning are vanishingly small, nonetheless would you not AVOID hiding under a tree on a golf course in a thunderstorm?

    Just because airliners crash at AT MOST once a year recently, as Patrick constantly points out, does that still mean we shouldn’t be putting cameras in the cockpit, have self-jettisoning FDRs, real-time aircraft data reporting — I mean YES, it WILL mean billions of dollars from SOMEONE, but to someone whose 5-year-old son went down on MH370, do you think they give a shit who pays for the information that lets him know what the last moments of his son’s life were like?

    I do not rest my case. I would like to hear Mr. P’s opinion on this particular subject . . . his would be a carefully reasoned and rational response to precisely this question. After all, planes don’t fly themselves and I am pretty sure Mr. P would want his family to know what had happened to HIM.

    Rest in peace in your watery grave, all you souls who gave your lives hopefully that others might LIVE. Rest assured, we will all be joining you one day in the not-too-distant future.

    • backpacker says:

      “Rest in peace in your watery grave, all you souls who gave your lives hopefully that others might LIVE.”

      Sorry, there’s no evidence to date indicating anyone gave their life. Yes, lives may be gone but no one heroically GAVE them.

      I grew so tired of that post-9/11 rhetoric about 3000 heroes bravely giving their lives in the World Trade Centers. BS. The only people who we could possibly consider as to giving their lives are police & firefighters who voluntarily entered the burning/crumbling building in order to save others. The people already there were victims, not heroes. To label unfortunate victims as heroes degrades, or insults, everyone who ever has been a hero.

      Same goes here. I’m not trying to be cold-blooded, let’s just use vocabulary correctly and call things as they really are.

  138. whizzkid says:

    The best guess with the facts to hand is that the plane suffers a mishap (electrical fire maybe caused by the lithium batteries)coincidentally at the time of changeover from Malaysian to Vietnamese airspace. This coincidence causes a major red herring. This is anyway when the pilot notices the problem/emergency (smoke from cargo hold…maybe accompanied by minor explosion/s) and that it has caused the communications systems on board to fail (burnt out). Pilot immediately turns aircraft to seek the nearest airport (Langkawi? is there another?)haven. To starve the fire of oxygen expert pilot rises to 45,000 for as long as passengers not compromised with oxygen shortage. Then plot re-descends to 12,000ft, an altitude passenger can breathe without oxygen masks and to prepare for descent. Flight path directs to closest airport but plane controls get damaged and pilot, crew and passenger are unable make descent, overfly Malaysian peninsula and continue helplessly bound in southwards flight path till running out of fuel… so no plot,no hijacking, no conspiracy, nothing sinister just an able pilot and crew, doing their level best but overcome by insurmountable technical issues …

  139. […] was a hijacking. There are various theories […]

    • Achilles says:

      I don’t see how the fire theory can work – all the airplane fires I’ve heard of have pretty much destroyed the plane. I’ve never heard of one that allowed the plane to keep going until it ran out of fuel many hours later. Surely for the fire theory to work, we have to posit that there was a fire severe enough to knock out a perfect storm of communications/navigation systems – or just the people on board – but that was completely extinguished before it could do any more. Is that even possible?

      My money is on pilot suicide, with a remote location chosen either for life insurance or shame-related reasons: whichever one it was didn’t want anyone ever to be able to figure out what he’d done. It’s difficult to believe we’ll ever know.

  140. Zulu says:

    My theory is somebody had something really valuable (like a fusion reactor prototype schematics or whatever) onboard, which he was supposed to deliver to Beijing, but some powerful guys (Illuminati or whatever) decided to snatch it for themselves in such a way that it would be impossible to trace the thing. To that end they put a superagent on this plane and/or bribed pilot(s) and/or the carrier of the object.

    So my question is:

    Is it possible to program the autopilot in such a way that after 1 to 4 persons jump off the plane with parachute, it by itself regains altitude and cruise speed and travels further until it runs out of fuel?

    • backpacker says:

      Is it possible to program the autopilot in such a way that…(plane)…by itself regains altitude and cruise speed and travels further until it runs out of fuel?

      I’m not going to address the conspiracy theory. As for auto-pilot, I would not be surprised in the least if a pilot would be able to enter in a hundred different waypoints if he wanted to. He could also program desired altitude at each waypoint as well. Auto-pilot is much more robust (especially on a 777) than simply pointing 208 degrees SSW at 32,000 feet.

      • If you have complex software running on crippled hardware (e.g., as a consequence of fire damage, over temperature as a result of a fire, power spike or some cascading combination of all these) then practically no system behavior can be ruled out.

        The latest information on the flight path is that they dropped to 12k feet when they turned around. The latest information on the cargo is that it contained lithium batteries and radios, the latter possibly with batteries installed. The latest information on the air search is that objects consistent with a debris field have been spotted. All of this is consistent with a hypothesis of fire, initiation of turn to emergency airfield, crew and passengers being overcome, and a crippled flight control system keeping the aircraft in the air until it ran out of fuel and crashed.

  141. Keef Wivanef says:

    If you scour the oceans for floating debris you are bound to find SOMETHING.

    Excuse me for stating the bleeding obvious but if you think that floating object might be the wing or the fuselage of the airliner you are deluded.

    Airliners are not made of balsa wood and tissue paper.

    They are made of Aluminium and other materials that DO NOT FLOAT.

    The wreckage of previous airline disasters has always been found on the ocean floor.

    The plane was headed for ANTARCTICA?

    M’kay…….right…..whatever.

  142. backpacker says:

    There is one assumption that most everybody is treating as if it were a fact: that the vehicle heading west over Malaysia is MH370. All I have seen is that both the Malays and Thais had tracked some unidentified vessel – the Malays assume it is likely to be MH370 because it fits the same general time and place where MH370 went missing.

    The FACT is that both countries tracked a “mystery” plane that flew over Kota Bharu, Malay Peninsula, VAMPI, GIVAL, and IGREX waypoints.

    The ASSUMPTION is that this mystery plane is MH370.

    My question is this: does the timing/distance equation pertaining to the next Inmarsat ping coincide with the known location of this mystery plane enough to verify/confirm that it could be MH370?

    Its important to pin down facts, even convert assumptions into facts. If the answer to this question is “no”, then this one little detail could make a BIG difference…

    • Vicky says:

      I am not knowledgeable about planes at all.. Please pardon my question if silly! I keep on hearing about ELTs going off if plane hits the water. If it did I fact go into the water since they are searching in Indian Ocean..well, why haven’t they gone off?? Can anyone comment on that. Can they be disabled? Can plane be in the water but ELTs don’t go off? How do they work? Does it transmit like black box transmits? Thanks.

    • Ray says:

      Backpacker, I agree with you and I have had that question from the beginning as well. I also believe that there was approximately a six minute gap between the last air-traffic control communication with flight 370 and the first radar tracking of that Westerly headed aircraft. It would appear to me that the potential exist that the aircraft being traced at that point is not definitively flight 370. Another item that I have not seen discussed is the fact that normal procedure would have flight 370 in periodic verbal communication with Malaysia airline dispatch center. I have not heard anyone ask for the transcript of any communication between the flight and their dispatch center. I would think it would be an important clue to know what was said from the cockpit to the dispatch center and vice versa.

    • billbai says:

      Agree with backpacker that it is not a proven fact that mystery plane was actually MH370.
      It is important to distinguish fact from assumption.
      There are so many holes in this investigation that I am glad the FBI is formally involved now.
      Still cant help feeling Malaysia Airlines and gov officials are hiding things:

      1. Why didnt Malaysia military alert SAR, during the first precious couple days, about the possible mystery plane radar sighting on other side of peninsula?
      2. Why did they even try to photoshop the images of the Iranians?
      3. What about reports of the other people who were using fraudulent passports?
      4. What about reports of the people that checked-in but didnt board, but were reassured their check-in bags were taken off?
      5. What about the report of finding an airplane life raft off Malaysia west coast, but then saying that it sunk before they were able to get it out of the water, and never reported an attempt to go down and get it?
      6. What about the report of the captain being a last minute swap, while the original pilot Anas Mazlin’s wife left a facebook comment that she was so thankful was that her husband wasnt on board?
      7. What about the report of the Malaysia ambassador in China saying that the plane had landed safely in Naning?
      8. What about the report of passenger’s families being told by Malaysia airlines at the Beijing airport that the plane never took off?
      9. What about the report of Malaysia officials refusing to question the wife of the captain for “cultural” reasons, while the life of the passengers are at stake (and finally FBI finally twisting their arm to do so two weeks after plane went missing)?
      10. What about reports of debris being spotted in the South China Sea during the first two days of SAR, spotted right before dusk (such as an object that looked like an airplane door) and said they couldnt go and get it because it was dark, and both times (day after day) they couldnt find it the next morning?
      11. What about the report of cell phones ringing and the mobile QQ app showing as online?
      12. What about the report that they knew about the South Ocean debris since last Sunday and alerted a Norwegian ship to go check it out, which took four days to get there, but could have easily sent planes over there in a four hour flight?
      13. What about the report of them taking a few days to get their hands on the flight simulator?
      14. What about that strange reference to Balotelli and then the quick denial by another official?

      Did anyone else make note of any other suspicious information?
      Please share for the record?
      Because there is going to more smoke and mirrors, it’ll be too hard to keep track.

      Malaysia can only retract so much information and blame incompetence.
      If there is so much incompetence and misinformation, you cant blame people for thinking there is some cover-up going on.

  143. Mark Moxham says:

    Did MH 370 have on board wifi capability?

  144. Hey Skipper says:

    The transcript is a fake.

    Which was immediately apparent, because none of the terminology is even remotely correct.

  145. gari says:

    Something that always gets me when this kind of thing happens, is why don’t aircraft have some kind of beacon or transponder that ejects from a sea-crashed plane?

    I mean, fishing boats to oil tankers have devices that activate if they capsize or sink, yet a 140 tonne airplane can cross the same stretches of water without any of this maritime distress equipment?

    Come to think on it, why aren’t black boxes designed to float? Why do we always have this farce of the ‘race against time’ to locate the boxes before the batteries die?

    I’m a complete schmuck, and even I can see a need for some way of locating a lost plane at sea with means other than luck. To me, in some ways, aviation seems so backward…

    • backpacker says:

      While not exactly what you’re asking for, life rafts send radio signals when deployed.

      Everything could malfunction some time or another. I suspect that a post-crash ejection beacon would require some type of explosive or pressurized device. You want to add something like that to the worldwide fleet? It might make locating easier, but would surely mean that there are more downed airliners to locate.

      Even if they made a bouyant black box, bouyancy probably would be of little value since box should be securely bolted or welded to a 300,000 pound machine.

  146. billbai says:

    Oh, geez. I think I may have found different pieces of this mysterious puzzle that fit together.

    After examining the newly released transcript, I found the timing of events to be a curious thing, and then found there seems to be some inconsistencies between it and supposed facts from news reports. I will save speculation on motive until the end, and first will go through the points in time that can help explain what could have happened.

    1. ACARS & “pings”.

    This is the best place to start because this revelation was independent from MAS investigators, and although MAS initially denied it, they had to accept this info, the hard evidence is irrefutable.

    Let’s walk through it. MH370 take off at 00:41 should have been the first ACARS data transmission, although not mentioned in reports it is supposed to have taken place because of the way ACARS reports pre-specified flight events: take-off, reaching cruising altitude, landing gear. Well, the first reported ACARS transmission is at 1:07. We are told that it was turned off because it should have transmitted again at 1:37, since it suppose to do that at half hour intervals. We are also told that the deliberately-disabled ACARS continued to send out “pings” with the first of 7 automated hourly handshake “pings” at 2:11, and continuing on to the last “ping” at 8:11, even though we are not given the data of the intermediary “pings”.

    So I found these times suspicious. Whether we are talking about half hour or hourly intervals in transmissions or “pings”, it should be consistent, but it’s not. For example, 1:07 and 2:11 arent consistent with the half hour or hour intervals. If it was 1:07, then 1:37, then 2:07, then 2:37, etc. On the other hand, if we’re talking about 2:11 data transmission, and go backwards by half an hour, there should have been one at 1:41, then 1:11, and the first one at 0:41, which happens to be the exact time of take-off. So I found that very suspicious, how these times correspond to each other, at first making me contemplate if maybe MH370 identification was replaced with another plane, but that cant be true, since ACARS are not dependent on transponder id, but rather the actual device which is hardwired into the Rolls Royce engine, making it impossible to be swapped mid-air.

    Then, I noticed that the 1:07 signal actually corresponded with one of the two redundant pilot reports to ATC that the flight had reached the cruising altitude of 35,000, which would have been one of the pre-specified ACARS flight events, and therefore 1:07 was a moment for a signal to be transmitted, as opposed to being based on the half hour or hourly interval trigger.

    Because of this confusion in timing, I did more research on ACARS and learned that actually there are two data transmission devices on the 777 both of which send to Iridium satellite system, but have different purposes. One of them is this ACARS, another is AHM or Airplane Health Management System. ACARS is the one that reports engine data according to pre-specified flight events and not by time intervals, and since there was no subsequent ACARS signal after 1:07, it would mean that the plane never actually completed the next event, which would have been deployment of landing gear, which suggests that it landed without its gears down, most likely over water. On the other hand, AHM is the system which reports according to time intervals and is subscriber based, which has been referred to before in reports about MAL not subscribing that and thus not being able to locate the aircraft. The aforementioned “pings” were coming from the AHM and not the ACARS system. Therefore, the conclusion that the ACARS was deliberately disabled is not necessarily true, and the handshakes were actually empty “pings” from the unsubscribed AHM system.

    Now this does not explain what happened, but it helps put things in perspective. Regardless of whether we are talking about ACARS and AHM, one thing for sure is that the transponder was turned off and that was done manually and thus intentionally, given the aircraft stayed in control and deliberately veered in different directions through waypoints without ever sending a distress signal (assuming this wasnt a cyber hijack).

    2. Transponder.

    If we look at when the transponder was switched off, we can understand reports that it not only coincided with the plane reaching its first waypoint Igari (as was instructed by Malaysia ATC) but it also coincided with the plane entering the “grey area” airspace between Malaysia and Vietnam. But I would further add that, by looking at the time in the transcript, we can see that the transponder was turned off at about the 40th minute of the flight. And from an article I read about flight protocol (in a Guardian online article entitled “What happened to MH370? A pilot and a flight attendant give their views”) apparently the pursuer himself (the person in charge of the cabin crew) cannot access the cockpit until 40 minutes into the flight. Is that a coincidence too? Makes me think that the pursuer or someone else whom the pilots trusted was able to enter the cockpit at that time, order them to turn off the transponder by means of threat, and later tell them to fly according to waypoints that would skirt around radar detection.

    Another point which drew my suspicion but dont know if it is relevant because I could not up with an explanation for, is that the flight protocol article mentioned that the flight deck is sterile for the first 20 minutes of flight. Well, the 20th minute coincides with the first of two redundant communications between MH370 and ATC that “MH370 remaining in flight altitude 350″. In between those two messages, at 1:01 ATC tried to reach MH370 but goes unanswered and was radio silent until 1:07 at which point the same message is repeated. Could the co-pilot gotten up for a bathroom break and forgot if he had said it, so he repeated himself? Could the messages have been repeated because each pilot said it once? Could it have been a signal from the co-pilot to ATC that something was amiss? ATC tries to communicate with MH370 at 1:08 but while most all previous communications were quick responses within seconds, the response to the 1:08 message wasnt replied until a minute and a half later.

    3. Motive.

    Speculation becomes much heavier at this point, but we can see how different motives fit into the course of events, for example, what happened after the transponder was switched off? From radar reports we know that the plane flew up to 45,000 and then plunged down to around 30,000, it didnt plunge into the sea, but kept on flying and somewhat unevenly. This sounds like it was being flown manually and out of emotion, rather than by the calm and steady hand or the auto-pilot.

    These unstable maneuvers can lead one to think that the excessively experienced captain was already not in control of the plane, and possibly the co-pilot was being ordered to fly. Maybe the captain was eliminated as a way to show the co-pilot that they meant business. Without the captain, the young co-pilot could have been more malleable.

    Or even possibly the co-pilot was involved, although this theory doesnt sound likely since he was engaged to his flight school sweetheart, he comes from a well-connected family that may have helped him land the job of a 777 pilot, and he had his whole life to look forward to. He wouldnt have needed life insurance and if he really did, would have likely waited until after getting married so his wife could benefit from it. However, depictions of him as a playboy dont help paint a wholesome picture of him and one can easily imagine that he could have gotten mixed up with the wrong people and been compromised.

    If it were a crew member responsible for the missing plane, they could have spiked the water and drinks with poison or sleeping pills in order to incapacitate the passengers.

    Suicide by one of the crew members could have been a motive to fly up and plunge down, but then they chickened out and instead of direct hit on the sea, they decided to just fly out into the open ocean in order for the suicide to not directly be a mass murder of the passengers. For suicide theory, I found that MAS has been planning to file for bankruptcy and wonder if a crew member was worried about their and their family’s financial future due to that.

    Another possible situation was that special covert agents were on board and were instructed to deviate the plane from its flight path and plunge it into the farthest reaches of the earth, because of some highly dangerous cargo, for example nuclear or biochemical weapon. As you may remember, a UN-backed international nuclear agency was called in quickly at the beginning of the SAR and reported that they did not find any explosion in their satellite images, but I wonder if they believed the plane carried nuclear items.

    And of course, the theory that these covert operative were after some specific cargo or person and then jumped out of the plane after it was placed on auto-pilot, instead of landing it (since the ACARS never reported landing gear coming down) in order to get rid of the evidence.

    • backpacker says:

      Thanks for doing some research–that’s helpful. Acknowledgements, additions, & corrections

      Supposing that ACARS is an event-triggered system – that could explain the seemingly random 1:07 time point. Even if you are right that the next triggered event would be landing gear, the engines would still attempt the hourly electronic handshake.

      You rightly wonder why the next ping was at 2:11 instead of an hourly 2:07? There is latency…relating to time delay over distance, but I believe we can disregard that notion since all the others seem to happen ‘on-time’ even though those are theoretically further & further afield from the Inmarsat satellite. The ping protocol might be something along the lines of a) Ping on takeoff; b) ping on every relevant event; c) ping every half hour until sustained Flight Level; d) ping hourly…but waive the routine hourly ping within 5 minutes of a preceding event ping. So this would give 0:41, 1:07, 1:11 (waived), 2:11, 3:11, etc. I believe engine pings are a redundancy to ACARS that weren’t shut off.

      Radar is less reliable relating to heights. That being said, I’ve seen the numbers suggest the airline went to 45,000 then plunged to 23,000 (not the 30k you mentioned).

      Your 40th minute co-relation is a very good catch. I had read that article but didn’t apply it to take-off. So now there are 2 huge coincidences at this time that are hard to over-estimate.

      1) The jet disappeared at the perfect place between leaving Malay air and entering Viet space.
      2) The jet disappeared at the first moment when someone new could access the cabin.

      If either of the pilots were involved in some plot, a crew-member accomplice could have entered. Here’s a question: was the flight-school sweetheart an attendant on MH370?

      Another version is that an attendant could have been coerced to give up the code by a hijacker/special agent/terrorist. I’m not ready to say neither that there was a plotting pilot nor that there wasn’t a plotting pilot. I have my theory on that, but I’m not sure how that speculation helps.

      For example, here I’m embellishing what someone wrote on http://www.balloon-juice.com/2014/03/18/mh370/

      Two additional ideas with no proof…
      1) the pilots react to a fire appropriately but inadvertently kill the passengers through a cruel convergence of smoke, failing systems and/or their attempts to save the plane as they try to starve the fire of oxygen at 45,000 feet. The pilots themselves survive and try to make it to Lakwami. When they discover all passengers dead, they don’t know what to do and bypass that landing window. The plane shifts course several times as they struggle to come to terms with the situation. Feeling shame and grief, they set the plane south along the pinged path to clear their thoughts, come to terms, consider options, hide all evidence of their fate. Effectively its suicide after the fact, not really pre-meditated.

      2) the pilots die from the smoke but set the autopilot. The passengers survive and eventually break into the cockpit. But no one knows where they are or how to fly or land a plane. Communications are out. Perhaps someone manages enough to alter course, first north and then south, the latter because they are looking for Malaysia. But south is the Indian Ocean and they run out of fuel.
      I guess anyone can make this stuff up, and until or if we know, it’s about as good as anything.
      ———-

      Here’s another coincidence that’s hard to over-estimate:

      The engines stopped pinging at about 8:10 a.m. Is it a coincidence that the pinging stopped at almost exactly the time that the plane would’ve run out of fuel?

  147. Hey Skipper says:

    One of the pilots clocked the other with the crash axe, then committed suicide.

    It is the simplest theory that encompasses all the known facts. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

  148. blondecurve says:

    I can’t seem to find an answer to this question so I’m hoping someone on here may know. First of all, my heart goes out to these families. Can’t even imagine what they’re good through! With that said, if the disappearance of this flight was caused by a person on this flight – I’d find hard really hard to believe that not ONE soul knows anything about it. Not a close friend or family member? Does anyone know if the families have been thoroughly questioned? Driving me crazy.

  149. Cam says:

    Has anyone checked on and around Kerguelen Island? It’s a remote French colony with very few permanent residents, and no airport – but a plateau on its western end that could conceivably act as an isolated landing strip. The island sits within an hour’s flight of the extreme southern tip of the ping arc, you can see it inside the “pink area” of http://i.imgur.com/zNgnicG.png

    Clearly the hijacker was not on a suicide mission – why go through all the trouble of changing course, avoiding detection, and flying 7+ hours if you just planned to crash into the sea. Kerguelen is the only viable landmass in this direction.

    I would be cautious about the Inmarsat data – the company has (inexplicably) not actually released the data of the previous six pings – just commented that the aircraft appeared to be flying straight and at a consistent speed away from the equator. That makes no sense, unless they’re only referring to the last 3-4 pings. In any case, other scenarios are possible, and could be verified if the full data were made public.

    • backpacker says:

      Hope this helps…

      Jeff Wise on Slate.com writes,

      Inmarsat revealed some crucial information. “The ping timings got longer,” Inmarsat spokesman Chris McLaughlin stated via email. That is to say, at each stage of its journey, the aircraft got progressively farther away from the geostationary satellite’s position, located over a spot on the equator south of Pakistan, and never changed its heading in a direction that took it closer—at least for very long.

    • backpacker says:

      The recent Inmarsat press release might douse the theory that contemplates if MH370 could have tailed, or flown “in the (radar) shadow” of flight SQ68 from Singapore to Barcelona. It looks as if that flight path draws nearer to the geo-synchronous satellite location before it pulls away…at least that’s what SQ68 is doing tonight LIVE on Flight tracker.com.

      • backpacker says:

        I wondered if this same “flying in the shadow” theory might work on another flight. I even thought I might be onto something! I caught my breath when I saw the target SIA68 flying to Barcelona intersect the Hong Kong to Johannesburg flight SAA287 in the throat of the Malacca Strait. Could this be something?

        Alas, there wasn’t enough time available to make that 10.5 hour flight. Even ducking out in Madagascar requires nearly 8 hours. Madagascar is somewhat inside the projected arc, but there is some leeway. Another fault to this notion is that the flight path to Madagascar also draws a little nearer to Inmarsat before going further…which fails for the same reason as the Barcelona flight.

  150. J. Douglas says:

    Has anyone seen how turbulent the seas are off of southwestern Australia? Does anyone really believe anything like an airplane wing could remain intact and floating for over a week under those conditions?

    • Pelegrin says:

      Just the question about it continuing to float is one thing but, even if so, it almost certainly would’ve drifted thousands of kilometers by now.

      Seriously, part of me is thinking that there should be a part of the search in the area where they think the plane might have gone down into the ocean; searching that area for signals at the bottom from the black boxes, and it could actually incredibly be a less widespread area than that searching for objects floating on the ocean if indeed they’re still floating on the ocean. I think there’s less point in spending days and days searching for something they may never find, rather than searching for the main body of the airplane which if there will remain basically wherever it is waiting to be found.

      • Nicholas Robinson says:

        Why will no one listen to me? (Cue tiny chin violin with paper clip for bow)

        Listen: Given a mystery, people are bound to speculate. The longer the mystery goes unexplained, the more ludicrous the speculation. Read my lips: NOTHING EVEN REMOTELY SINISTER happened. Well, depends on your definition of sinister.

        I call it more like “heartbreaking.”

        YES it was thoroughly planned. BUT NOT FOR THE REASONS ANYONE THINKS.

        The First Officer, Fariq Abdul Hamid, was ONLY 27 YEARS OLD, for crying out loud.

        Why don’t you ask Patrick what the pressure on a 27-year-old man who lives in a repressive, idealogically backward country, with 24/7 indoctrination in the Koran, who just happens to be one of the lucky ones to get an incredible, unimaginably fantastically prestigous job in ANY country, let alone Malaysia, who has HAD THE CHANCE to see what life is like in the West for people of his stature, yet probably being hammered down in his airline by the higher-ups who CONTINUALLY REMIND HIM WHAT A PUNK HE IS in no uncertain terms — trust me, I have lived among the Asians for a total of 15 years so I am not speaking from a racist viewpoint — but in his airline, he is less than dirt, he is a junior piece of shit who gets lectured every single day WHY he is a lucky, privileged piece of shit, with hints that maybe DADDY got him to this position — come on, you can all see where I’m going.

        In Asian culture, it doesn’t matter how many bars you have on your shoulder — if you are 27 years old you are a PUNK who really SHOULD be living in Mummy’s basement and working at the bank, not flying around on Boeing aircraft surrounded by TRUE HEROES who have put in 11,000 hours to your 2,800 . . .

        Well, the pressure is going to be mind-bendingly enormous. Why has no one clued into this factor?

        HIS was the LAST VOICE on the microphone. Abdul Hamid did it — it’s so very clear to me that it seems like for everyone else who are seeing aliens and explosives-laden 777s hitting Israel — FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, this was a 27-year old man who wanted to commit suicide, who knew EXACTLY how to pull it off, who no doubt spent weeks if not months planning it — EVERY TIME IN A 777 was a dry run for him — and then just implemented his plan.

        It worked PERFECTLY. I will not go into the details of how he did it — that’s for others to figure out — but JUST ADMIT THAT HE, ONE PERSON, had the knowledge, the ability and if you accept my theory, THE MOTIVE to pull this off.

        He MAY well have killed all the people behind him in the cabin in implementing his plan, but no doubt he did so with a heavy heart. To him, he was just putting them to sleep. And then, he was going to put himself to sleep and do his damndest that the plane would NEVER BE FOUND so it would always be a mystery and his family would not have to bear the shame.

        I challenge you: please tell me just HOW you believe he could not have pulled all this off all by himself?

        I rest my case. It is THAT SIMPLE, and if you look at it logically, that is the MOST LIKELY EXPLANATION for why this plane went down.

        • Pelegrin says:

          Wholy crap! And I mean with the “W”. What a jaded perspective you have of Asian culture in general but also of Malaysian and Malay culture. I suppose, anything to help justify your ideas that if someone is a member of such a culture then we shouldn’t be surprised that they might commit some horrific act, either as they see mandated by their culture or as a personal cry out from beneath the pressures of their culture. It’s not as if Western culture, and especially US culture hasn’t created its own all-to-frequent insanity victims.

          There may be some foul-play here, motivated by a psychological disturbance or otherwise, but it’s highly unlikely motivated by some repressive culture or society as you’re making it out to be. Malaysia is a Muslim country, but it’s a democratic Muslim country with religious freedoms and a whole variety of religions exist there. It’s not the repressive society that you’re making it out to be. Get a grip on your negatively slanted views.

        • John says:

          to Nicholas Robinson: Sir, you need to be more careful with the things you say!

          What if the pilots did everything they could to save the passengers from a catastrophic accident like a massive fire? And they decided to commit suicide after saving the aircraft but not the people in it?

          You see…? I hope you do.

        • backpacker says:

          “I rest my case. It is THAT SIMPLE, and if you look at it logically, that is the MOST LIKELY EXPLANATION for why this plane went down.”

          You keep coming up with so many fantastic and dramatic scenarios! If this theory is really that simple and logical, the 1 you truly believe, then why do you keep inventing all the other new pet theories of yours?

          What is most galling is that you write it as if it is a logical fact. While it may seem logical to you, in reality, it is merely an opinion. I get that you are trying to put 2+2 2gether in a way that makes sense to you, but please remember, you are just guessing.

          You earn more credibility when your writing reflects these 2 truths:

          1. You don’t know what happened.
          2. You don’t know the motive for why it happened–if there is a motive.

  151. Justice says:

    There has been a lot of suggestion that Airlines or manufactures should update the Black Box for a new transmitted “cloud based” system. The airlines, manufactures, and “Aviation Specialists are all saying it would cost too much to upgrade. It seems that they would all prefer the 29 countries assisting to “front the bill” for the 100’s of Thousands (possibly even millions) of dollars used for the search. All this just proves that Airlines and the companies associated with the Flight Industry care more about a buck than the safety of their customers. I noticed that the writer has failed to mention that flight 370 deviated from its intended flight path 12 minutes before the pilots signed off from Malaysian Airspace. This fact is indicative that pilot foul play was definate. What we don’t know if it was for an actual goal or was it simply pilot suicide.

  152. billbai says:

    just reviewed the images online of the waypoints and turning points which Malay military radar says MH370 did in the Malacca Strait, but there are a couple different trajectories.

    Anyone know which one is right?

    By the way, at some point, there must be limits to using incompetence on the part of the current investigators as an excuse for these lapses in judgement, that is before cover-up theories start becoming more reasonable. For example, if Malay military tracked the plane crossing the Peninsula, why did they let all those countries and all those resources be wasted in the Gulf of Thailand, or at least why didnt they mention the possibility of the Malacca Strait as a search point? And now regarding the new sighting of debris in the South Ocean, the Norwegian ship that supposedly arrived there first said that there were told about the debris location on Sunday and it took them four days to get there. Why wouldnt aircraft be told about this four days ago and at least fly over and drop a buoy to mark the spot or at least look for the debris? Apparently its only four hours to get there by plane. And why is this minister of defense who also happens to be minister of transportation stuttering when he says that it is heart-wrenching for him too, during the press conference. It almost seems like they are hiding something, like they dont really hope for a quick rescue but rather a slow search? Those families have legitimate reason to be concerned about the handling of this investigation. I cant imagine how I would react if it were my family member on that plane.

  153. billbai says:

    just reviewed the images online of the waypoints and turning points which Malay military radar says MH370 did in the Malacca Strait, but there are a couple different trajectories:

    https://lh4.ggpht.com/-ITNlJAhgPL5IGd5H8dsqi-6Wn_-38aVvcIEGhVtsp7S0Ya7gmrTBBpwjuJ5OluG1yRP-U6yRE0cL74y05eI=s0

    http://ktwop.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/mh370-presumed-diverted-flight-path.jpg

    Anyone know which one is right?

    By the way, at some point, there must be limits to using incompetence on the part of the current investigators as an excuse for these lapses in judgement, that is before cover-up theories start becoming more reasonable. For example, if Malay military tracked the plane crossing the Peninsula, why did they let all those countries and all those resources be wasted in the Gulf of Thailand, or at least why didnt they mention the possibility of the Malacca Strait as a search point? And now regarding the new sighting of debris in the South Ocean, the Norwegian ship that supposedly arrived there first said that there were told about the debris location on Sunday and it took them four days to get there. Why wouldnt aircraft be told about this four days ago and at least fly over and drop a buoy to mark the spot or at least look for the debris? Apparently its only four hours to get there by plane. And why is this minister of defense who also happens to be minister of transportation stuttering when he says that it is heart-wrenching for him too, during the press conference. It almost seems like they are hiding something, like they dont really hope for a quick rescue but rather a slow search? Those families have legitimate reason to be concerned about the handling of this investigation. I cant imagine how I would react if it were my family member on that plane.

  154. Barry Gold says:

    > Would it be possible for the 777 to have climbed clear out of the atmosphere, so high that “it disintegrated,”… The answer is no. It is totally impossible for that to happen. At a certain altitude, a plane’s engines will no longer provide enough power and the wings will no longer provide enough lift. The plane will no longer be able to sustain flight.

    I had thought there was a condition called the Coffin Corner, where the stall speed is equal to the critical Mach number. If you get into that situation and don’t do _exactly_ the right thing, the aircraft starts to fall — which increases its speed. You then get Mach shockwaves hitting critical parts of the airframe.

    _Could_ this have happened? I don’t know.

    Would the pilots have been stupid enough to get into this? It seems unlikely to the point of impossibility.

  155. C.H. says:

    The further south position could perhaps reflect the continued path of the plane after it over-flew the way point.

    • Pelegrin says:

      After being turned around and crossing over Malacca Strait, the plane was then heading SW, but the Earth’s rotation turned that SW direction ultimately into a southern direction.

      • Bob says:

        Objects on the earth don’t work that way. If the earth is spinning at 1000mph at the surface approximately, then according to your theory, if I drop a ball, the earth will move under the ball and it will end up at at a point roughly 1500 feet away if it takes one second to drop. Under such conditions it would be impossible for one to fly in a western direction at less than 1000 mph but we do it every day. This is like the comments about the plane floating into space. It doesn’t work that way either. You need 25,000 mph to escape the earth’s gravity.

        • Pelegrin says:

          I’m going to accept my ignorance and trust your knowledge. But then I must ask, if those points on the map are indeed satellite pings of the plane as it flew essentially southward, then why the continual subtle but constant drifting away from a Southwest to a southern course, and then ultimately to a southeast course? It started at 95 degrees East, got as far as 82 degrees East and ended at 87 degrees East. Can you give me some other explanation for that?

          • Bob says:

            I’ve lost understanding of where all these posts are but any variation in the fight path can be easily explained by saying someone is at the controls of the craft.

            Your comments however got me to thinking about the pings and the question of accuracy. Perhaps this has been discussed here and confirmed in the media, but were independent tests performed on other planes during the period before the last ping arc determination. What I’m asking is whether they shut a few planes down and then looked at the pings and were able to determine the arc location for these test planes with some level of accuracy (precision?). That seems to me would be something they did as the credibility of the arc and pings went up substantially from when it was first released by the wsj.

          • Zach says:

            So I would agree with Bob: the answer is that there was a person at the controls.

            However, I’ll add that on another forum someone claimed that the drift you cite was due to the difference between South vs. True South, and how that might tweak the compass heading as a plane neared Antarctica (if not manually corrected).

            I can’t vouch for that; just passing along what I read.

          • backpacker says:

            I believe my earlier answer still holds: in that part of the world, magnetic south is considerably east of South Pole. Both points seem to be in the same general direction when you are at the equator. But as you get nearer and nearer to the South Pole, the divergence (declination) becomes more and more apparent. If the jet’s navigation was tuned to magnetic south, then the flight plan would seem to adjust/drift to the east as it increased its latitude and neared the Antarctic.

            Here’s a way to look at it for anyone living on any continent in the world. From where you are, stand up and do your best to point in the direction of the Big Island Hawai’i (no, not on a map, but in real life). Now point in the direction of Honolulu on the island of O’ahu. Both times you’re pointing in the same general direction. Now if you were a lot closer, like 100 miles away, you would be pointing in 2 distinct directions. The extreme would be if you were on the island of Maui where you could stretch both arms out to each side and point NW to O’ahu and SE to Hawai’i.

    • C.H. says:

      I was commenting on post 451 – could the southern arc location be a mistaken coordinates meant for Beijing.

      However, I (still) favor mistake coordinates sending the plan to the northern arc (a reversal of lat and long) – my post 437.

      The southern arc makes sense for hiding the crashed plane. The northern arc makes more sense for major accident resulting in a long ghost flight.

  156. Zach says:

    I think we’ve A)got a good sense of where this thing is at now, while B) having floated every imaginable theory as to how and why.

    With the struggles of Immarsat in mind, as well as the general ineptitude of Malaysia and some of its neighbors, what I would enjoy is a new thread that tackles potential solutions regarding A) the continuous capture of flight data in real time, B)an international investigative organization, and C)greater protections for passengers. (I would suggest that a supranational “A” would make “B” possible).

    I think a good starting point for the discussion is today’s WSJ report on Immarsat almost single-handedly trying to push the Southern solution for 10 days.

    Thanks

  157. Howard Lippin says:

    If If If …

    1. Okay, the plane had a catastrophic failure (of whatever kind), the pilots followed their training, tried to fix the problem and get back to an airport for an emergency landing, seems like the most plausible START of a theory to me.

    BUT:

    1. Why did they overshoot the targeted airport?
    2. If they were overcome, and the plane was already set to the return course, then they kept flying until they ran out of fuel. So why isn’t the search focused on that flight path to its logical end?
    3. How did the plane, with incapacitated pilots, make the altitude changes? Unless…
    4. If there were a fire, would the pilots go to the high altitude to put the fire out, then return to a low altitude, but by that time the damage was done to the electronics (including comms) and control and the plan was disabled? Then could it still be able to fly for 7 additional hours? Or would it go straight down on its return to lower altitude?

    Alternative “Hijack” theory, a la 9/11; The cockpit is breached by hijackers who knew how to operate the plane, just like the 9/11 hijackers. THEY killed the pilots and took control of the plane, THEY executed the “u-turn”, but then they lost it. Maybe THEY were counter attacked, explaining the up and down and erratic flying. BUT that theory doesn’t explain how 230 passengers couldn’t get a message out (cell towers notwithstanding–how about Sat phones?) AND it doesn’t explain the 7 hour flight. UNLESS, again, the hijackers are incapacitated and AGAIN the flight continues on the programmed vector so AGAIN the search should be focused on that flight path.

    Where am I wrong?

    • backpacker says:

      1. $1,000,000 question. Supposing that they were fighting fire or whatever while over land, then why make so many course corrections in the Malacca Strait without turning around and hitting up Langkawi Island once again? If they had time to input waypoints, why not input Langkawi Island as a way point?

      2. Not enough time & fuel. The logical end in that direction would be on the 40 degree arc around the Immarsat satellite above the Arabian sea midway between India and Somalia. Their westward movement is vectoring directly towards that geo-synchronous location. That yields the DR Congo or Central African Republic on the other side of the arc. In the 5.5 hours they remained airborne, they would not have either time or fuel to make it to the 40 degree point on the west side of the satellite.

      3. A properly trimmed aerodynamic vessel will self-correct to some degree. Those would appear as gentle mid-course corrections and not drastic swings in heading nor elevation.

      4. Need to get the timeline correct. Either the pilots are capable or incapacitated. If capable, would they point to the sky? Oxygen is a major contributor towards sustaining/accelerating a COMBUSTION fire. Perhaps high altitude could starve such a fire of its oxygen. Flames may turn to embers but I seriously doubt they would completely extinguish a fire. Fires take a long time to go out.

      **Speculation alert, not a proven fact ->** On the other hand, I imagine that the principal contributor to an ELECTRICAL fire is power supply more so than oxygen. If so, then altitude change and oxygen starvation wouldn’t have such a significant affect on a fire.

      Continuing with your scenario, supposing pilots unable to manually or hydraulically influence speed or direction due to disabled electronics/communications or incapacitated pilots. Plane should continue flying its westward heading, buffeted by winds pushed one direction or another. Constant speed would keep it mostly level and if it veered up or down, the trim would level it out once again.

      Two caveats are:
      1. If an engine flamed out, that would make a significant impact on projections.
      2. If the descent from 45K to 27k was too steep and the airliner gained too much speed, then its possible that the trim couldn’t catch up fast enough to make a difference prior to splashdown.

    • Pelegrin says:

      Look at my reply to backpacker, just above your post. I think that explains the different ultimate location of the plane in relation to what appeared to be it’s original more southwest direction as it was crossing over the Malacca Strait.

    • Andrew says:

      The route was reprogrammed and the plane did a turn. And then we come to the seeming out of bounds climb to 45000 feet. This in my mind marks loss of control. A previous post (#348) suggests autothrottle going to full thrust due to voltage surge. Perhaps someone can explain autothrottle a bit more?
      It seems you have to invoke some failure that is not fatal to the plane but is fatal to its occupants. Very hostile environment at 45000 feet. If hull seal is compromised what happens to the cabin temperatures for example?

  158. Pelegrin says:

    http://www.weathergraphics.com/malaysia/contrail.shtml

    There seems to be a bit of a turn to the east in the last two satellite pings, would that possibly suggest that the right engine may have died first and the left engine then pulled the plane to the left (east) before it too eventually died from the fuel being terminated? It just seems a strange little turn in the last 1/2 hour or so of the flight.

    • backpacker says:

      Just taking the weatherman’s word for it–and who even knows his credibility?–he writes,

      “This backtrack fully compensates for magnetic declination and wind field changes, producing a curved and slightly uneven path.”

      In English that would seem to mean that the closer something actually approaches the South Pole, the greater the variance you’ll notice between magnetic south and true south. Near Amsterdam Island, the magnetic declination is -40. That’s a big number. In that part of the world, magnetic south is pretty far east of the South Pole and would explain the drift and why the east-turning curve in the flight path (please see map) http://geomag.org/info/declination.html.

      Again, my evaluation is completely based on how I interpret the weathergraphics link you presented–I’m pretending that it is credible. I’m in no position to say whether or not their analysis is correct.

      • Pelegrin says:

        I think what we, or at least I, neglected to consider is the movement of the Earth itself. The plane was originally heading in a southwest direction, but if there were no adjusting of its course with respect to the Earth’s rotation then that southwest direction would little by little turn into a southern direction and, as we see on that satellite plotted map, ultimately turn into a southeast direction.

  159. billbai says:

    A look at the map of the earth showing KL, Beijing and the location of spotted debris in the South Ocean (as seen here http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/03/20/article-2584816-1C6FFBBC00000578-608_634x558.jpg ) makes it look like the position of Beijing and the South Ocean location are almost identically opposites in terms of north and south positioning. Could this have been a coincidence or deliberate/accidental computer programming mistake?

    • Pelegrin says:

      Curious observation… Not exactly correct though. Opposites from an east-west, yes, pretty much. Beijing is about 18 degrees further east from KL, and this potential final location of the plane is about 17 degrees west of KL (more or less in both cases). However, Beijing is about 37 degrees north of KL, and this ocean location is about 51 degrees south of KL (again, with respect to where the plane may ultimately have entered the water).

  160. jesus marval says:

    Don’t theorize that much. The copilot commited suicide and that’s it. Not the first time, and sadly maybe not the last one…

  161. J. Douglas says:

    Patrick,

    Your update disputes the “shadow the Singapore flight” theory but you assume MH370 would have been directly underneath the Singapore plane. MH370 could have been just above. And how could they land unnoticed? Simple- they were in friendly territory, and Pakistan isn’t very cooperative. Remember they had Bin Laden living right next to one of their top military sites?

    Someone in Boeing thinks it’s there, must have a good reason.

  162. Lisa Sheridan says:

    Seems like the whole point in hijacking a plane to use it as a weapon is that you are already in the target’s airspace. What’s the point in hijacking a plane and flying it to Pakistan, to re-route somewhere else when Pakistan has it’s own planes?

  163. Andrew says:

    Aviate, navigate, communicate. Maybe communicate is at the end but it’s part of the process of dealing with an emergency. If there was a malfunction of some kind requiring action starting 1:21 am and vhf emergency radio frequency still active at 1:30 why was no communicating call made? Did the hearing of mumblings at 1:30 by the other plane trying to make contact mean there was a conscious response of some kind ? Or could they be unconscious and their mumblings transmitted automatically on that frequency. Could someone clarify? I understand it only takes 5 seconds or so to communicate an emergency. There are two pilots. Surely one would have 5 seconds to transmit. If it was confirmed that someone reprogrammed the route after 1:21 am then it seems someone would be capable of making a 5 second emergency call immediately afterward. What am I missing here?

    • Eirik says:

      1 – Their intentions was to communicate once they had the situation (whatever that might be) under control, but for some reason they were never able to do so

      2 – They did not want to communicate, as in delibarately taking the plane somewhere else, or whatever they were up to

      3 – Someone else took control over the plane and the pilots never had a chance to communicate

      • Pelegrin says:

        http://www.weathergraphics.com/malaysia/contrail.shtml

        Those coordinates put it fairly close to Amsterdam Island, but even further south. My, what a remote place for the plane to finally end its flight. Another 2 hours of so, and it would’ve ended in Antarctica. The ocean currents in that part of the world are severe, as it’s the northern edge of what’s called the “southern ocean” in which the currents really have nothing to stop them from flowing totally circular all around Antarctica. If there were some debris on the ocean surface from where the plane hit the water, wow, it would be far, far away from there by now, somewhere south of Australia probably, if still floating. And with the ocean currents in the area, if they find the fuselage, it’ll likely be a truly tough retrieval of whatever they can bring up. The only slight positive in that respect is that it looks as though it would be lying on the Southeast Indian Ocean Ridge, which would mean that the average water depths there are about 3000 meters (the Air France plane was like 4000 meters down).

        • backpacker says:

          Very lonely place indeed. While they all would have had 238 others to converse with, that’s hardly the point and little consolation.

          AMSA’s news out of Australia saying a satellite located a little something-something in the S. Indian Ocean coincides neatly with this finding of a possible contrail shadow. It also places the debris along the arc defined by the pinging satellite.

          Seeing the raw imagery, I can see what they theorize could be a possible contrail shadow. But had I been reviewing that imagery myself, I don’t believe I would have detected it.

          • Pelegrin says:

            Adding in this potential correction…
            If those points on the map are indeed the satellite pings of Flight 370’s engines, and if the plane was still flying at significant altitude, it could likely drifted onward a distance further from that last ping. That being the case, the plane then want be found on the Southeast Indian Ridge; it could have passed beyond that and have ended up in the South Indian Basin, and then you do have waters that are 5000 meters deep, which is deeper than where the Air France flight was found in the Atlantic. And also, that would put the plane no longer in what’s officially called the Indian Ocean but rather in the Southern Ocean, only about roughly 350km from Antarctica.

          • Pelegrin says:

            I seriously doubt that anyone would’ve been “conversing” with anyone; I think they were likely all dead long before the plane reached that point.

          • Pelegrin says:

            Another adjustment here… I think that 5000 meters is overstating it. It’s probably more like 4000 meters, which makes it more or less the same as with the Air France plane.

  164. Eirik says:

    Regarding the various flight simulator theories.

    I will be very surprised if they find out he actually used that for training purpose for carrying out such a stunt.

    Yes, the Flight Sim is close to real when it comes to instruments and how to fly the plane, but its not even close to real when it comes to his real flight experience and the training hes done in a REAL simulator during his years as a pilot.

    The scenery in flight sim is very basic and unless you buy add on programs for the specific area you want to fly and land in (if its available at all…), you will not be able to recognize the area when you go there in real. Much less train for a crazy landing.
    And training for a landing on water is useless in this kind of simulator (again compared to his real experience and training for such a scenario).

    He had all the training and experience he needed and using a pc game for anything like this is unthinkable.

    Why did he delete the files? Pure coincidence. Dont we all delete files now and then? But one thing is for sure, he did not delete those files to save space on his disk. You could have 1000 files like that and it would not exceed 10MB. A guy with an advanced pc like that would NOT run out of space due to flight sim files.

    He loved flying and used his flight sim as a hobby.

  165. Joe - certified flight instructor says:

    Patrick, you responded to me but you’re posting is not visible to everyone else, and you’re just asking why they would do this. How would I know, I don’t think like a criminal, but obviously for criminal reasons, to your question of why.
    If you watched the Ed Schultz show yesterday, which Capt. Tom was on, he basically had the same idea that I did without specifying which country they would have landed in.

    It makes a lot more sense than most of the other hairbrained theories.
    By the way, that would not be a James Bond type of plot, James Bond was supposed to be a good guy.

  166. Marko says:

    Just referring back to what backpacker said about the delay between the satellite sending a transmission and the response being received back at the satellite. It seems to me that for a satellite at 35000km altitude looking at an arc 4000km away, the required accuracy in the timing to see a plus/minus 1000km accuracy in distance would be about 700nanoseconds, ie 700-one-billionths of a second. So lets imagine that the satellite “pings” the plane. The plane’s reply is delayed by say 1-microsecond. That would imply that the plane was actually much closer to the satellite’s location projected onto the Earth’s surface, which would be somewhere in the Indian Ocean. One possibility then is that the plane suffered a catastrophic failure. It was redirected by the pilots to the azimuth of the closest airport. Pilots overcome by smoke and plane continues straight ahead into the ocean, and does not make any turns to the north or south. Seeing that there is no apparent motive for crashing or hijacking this plane. This would also seem the most logical possibility.

  167. Joe - certified flight instructor says:

    I can’t figure out why almost no one has noticed this, but it would be very easy for the plane to stay over water and out of radar coverage and fly around the South tip of India and then make it into Pakistan or even Iran on 6 to 7 hours of fuel at normal cruising speeds. Not a stretch at all. I did a rough plan of the route on skyvector.com and it would be easily doable.
    Remember two Iranians were on the airplane with stolen passports and supposedly their background checked out clean, but background checks don’t always mean much.
    Food for thought.

    • backpacker says:

      Yes with 1 fatal flaw. The SE corner of Iran is approximately 2900-3000 miles from the last waypoint. At 500 mph, that’s 6 hours -> less time if they drive faster. The last ping was 5.5 hours after the waypoint, so yeah, its doable, margin of error, etc.

      Unfortunately for your theory, that last ping places them on a 40 degree meridian away from the satellite which would put them in the NW corner of Iran instead of the SE corner. That’s at least 1500 miles (3 hours) further, if not 2200 miles.

      Supposing they were maxing out at 535 mph, they still wouldn’t have had enough time to fly all the way up the gut of Iran to get to where the pinging satellite says they’d have to be–even within standard deviation of error.

  168. Frenchy says:

    Regarding the “hide under another jet” …how close was this other airliner? A “stern chase”takes a lot of fuel and time, all the while 370 is still “visible”. If a high aspect intercept is required then at least a 2- 3 g intercept would be needed.

    • backpacker says:

      I believe its “hide in the shadow of another jet” not “hide below another jet.” From the point of view of ground-based radar, that so-called shadow would be above the other plane. Shadow vessel trails a little bit to mirror where other vessel is going and keeping out of sight so other airliner would never see it unless its pilots were diligently studying their rear-view mirrors(!). My round-number WAG is < 1000 feet, maybe 500'. At 500 mph that might seem close, but think about how close the Blue Angels fly to each other maneuvering at high speeds.

      Even though transponder is off, the pilot is eaves-dropping on conversations the other jet is having with flight control towers so that he can anticipate and shadow any moves. Adrenaline would be high flying this close and that would keep pilot awake and alert.

      Stern chase wouldn't necessarily take much time since jets often don't go full speed. They need to make their gate on time, not ahead of time. MH370 could have taken a proper pursuit angle, timed its run to meet them at the pass or even beat them there but at a higher altitude.

  169. David Dailey says:

    I’m not informed on all the facts and I have no master theory but….

    If you wanted to knock everyone on a flight unconscious (No calls)could you raise the elevation to 45,000 feet, ask you co-pilot to check something in the back of the plane, put on your oxygen mask and depressurized the plane?

    Couldn’t you kill everyone at 45,000 feet doing this? Would the oxygen masks drop? Can they be disabled? Might you say “good night” before doing this?

    • Richard says:

      According to Patrick, the short answer is, yes.

      The pilots could do this. The pilots have access to far more oxygen than the crew/passengers who only get about 20 mins worth under the assumption that the plane can easily be flown down to an altitude where oxygen is sufficient (10k ft) within that time frame. Should the pilots be unable or unwilling to do this, those using the drop-down masks will soon become unconscious once the oxygen runs out.

      • Richard says:

        Note, also, with the masks deployed, the passengers are pretty much tethered to their seats. They will be far less capable of rushing the cabin without having a mask on.

  170. backpacker says: Mystery solved... says:

    …the mystery of moving posts, that is!

    When replying to an upstream comment, if you mistype the reCAPTCHA response, then when you try to re-post with another reCAPTCHA response, your comment will appear at the very bottom of the blog (most recent comment) rather than after the comment you intended to address.

  171. Fran Muephy says:

    Why was the malaysian air force not deployed when the Transponder was
    turned off/failed.Surely this would be a sure indication something was amiss especially as radio contact was also lost.

  172. Sam says:

    The fact that MH370’s first deviation was to the west means it is not on the southern arc. If the person flying the plane wanted to go south, he or she could have turned south immediately. The initial turn to the west means the plane went north and somehow avoided detection by military radars.

    • Richard says:

      The arcs are not flight paths, they are estimates of where the plane could be at its last ping; the plane could be anywhere on that arc (not just the end of it). The accuracy of the arc will be determined by the precision of the timer on the satellite.

      So the plane could have swung west, then south and then east back to Australia where the flight path hits the arc estimate.

  173. C.H. says:

    OK, how about the following scenario:
    (1) Pilots put in several new coordinates to fly around some
    turbulence, but they mix up lat and long (rookie move, but I know I
    have done it too). This adds a way-point way north of Norway and one
    way north of Finland.
    (2) Fire or depressurization hits, knocking out everyone.
    (3) Plane turns toward hard left on schedule and then turns again more
    to the north….crashing somewhere in the Himalaya (in a remote
    location).

    • Pelegrin says:

      What about hallucinations which may have been caused by oxygen deprivation?

      • C.H. says:

        Interesting suggestion. Could a fire cause a failure of the environmental control system resulting in a slow lowering of cabin pressure? The pilots would have to have not noticed the issue to still be able to give the “good night transition” after confusing the coordinates, but before the plane turned left.

        • Richard says:

          The pressurization alarms will go off whether the depressurization is rapid or slow. Slow is far better – more time to put on masks.

  174. […] time or the means to send a distress signal? We really don't know for sure. But keep in mind that pilots are taught to "aviate, navigate, communicate" — in that order. Meaning their #1 priority is flying (and safety). #2 is direction. #3 is communicating with ground […]

    • Frenchy says:

      In a single place aircraft, like an F-16, the call to ATC declaring an emergency is done WHILE maintaining AC control and following EP’s. If memory serves, MH 370 has a two person crew…

  175. backpacker says:

    Exactly, that is why they have given an arc around a satellite location as the basis for the search area. They measure how long it takes to get the ping response and convert time to distance to establish the arc. The plane could be anywhere along that arc that it would have the fuel to get to. From what we know, the satellite only has the time response data, and no targeting/locating data.

    My 2 head-scratchers are still:
    1) Unless they have significant other data, why have the ruled-out the missing middle segment that include Malayasia itself? Flight could be a huge circle returning to Indonesia or Malaysia.

    2) Why not release the intermediary, hourly ping information? Those pings definitely are puzzle pieces.

    • backpacker says:

      My preceding comment was an intended response to Richard at 304,

      “Also, unlike some reports, the pings do not include location information. This would explain the two disparate course they are now searching. My guess it that they are reconstructing the path by communication transit time (converted to distance) to the satellite and other factors. Geometrically this could generate multiple paths in opposite directions.”

      • Richard says:

        I agree about the intermediate pings – they would eliminate some confusion, one would think.

        I was also thinking that I cannot imagine the satellite manages clock time down to anything more precise than milliseconds. Plus/minus one millisecond would be plus/minus 186 miles.

  176. brain muscle says:

    Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 fell where indicated working with Petrochemical platformy.Airplan dived steeply, so went into the water nose not razrushilsya.Poetomu no debris, no spill topliva.amolet stuck in the ground and the nose is worth vertikalno.Ili other accident?

    • Tycho B says:

      The evidence, thin though it is, suggests that this is a mass-murder and suicide by the co-pilot, with an attempt to wipe out all evidence.

      The course changes were programmed before the co-pilots’ last message (according to ACARS). This required training. It could not have been done without the captain knowing it. The captain was a last minute addition to the flight, so it’s unlikely that they were working together. The captain was probably killed or locked out of the cockpit.

      The copilot waited until the ATC handoff, said his “goodbye”, then shut down the transponder and probably ACARS, flight entertainment (satellite phones) and data recorder at that point.

      The plane went to 40,000′ and was depressurized to neutralize anyone else within seconds. Pilots have a pressurized oxygen mask, no one else does.

      The plane then followed the autopilot aiming for the deepest point underwater, or the furthest point from land, making recovery as hard as possible.

      After two hours, the cockpit voice recorder looped over the events and at this point the co-pilot could pull the circuit breaker for that too.

      When the fuel almost ran out, he could put full power on the throttle and aim down to have the strongest impact. This would have the greatest chance of destroying the data recorders AND the emergency radio locators (which is why we didn’t get a distress signal).

      • Richard says:

        In 777’s they have pretty advanced FDRs. They can record for many hours, have their own power, and are in the tail of the aircraft physically away from the pilots.

  177. billbai says:

    Because of so many variables involved, we have to also consider the multiple and various intertwining combination of things going on, a confluence of two or more of the possibilities: accidents, coincidence, failure, coverup, deliberate hijacking, etc.

    With this in mind, I remember there was one piece of news that I saw a few days ago that havent seen reported on again – that this red-eye flight was also a sort of training flight for the young co-pilot, such that certain hypothetical emergency scenarios were either programmed into the computer or in other ways given to the co-pilot. I dont know how involved the pilot would have been in terms of programming stuff into the computer or purposefully acting like we was turning electronic equipment off. Anyway, that piece of news reminded me of one of things that occurred on the day of nine eleven – that there were some secret NORAD exercises going on (can be found on wikipedia under “United States government operations and exercises on September 11, 2001″) which confused people about whether the hijacking was intentional or a friendly exercise. It represents a confusion between military and civilian plane craft activity in relation to in-air computer simulations, and it in the case of MH370, I wonder if the the plane computer was programmed with all these kinds of ups and downs, turns and waypoints. This is more a question of a plane expert. What is involved in these kinds of training flights in terms of what is programmed in the cockpit computer and could that have been a possible variable?

    • JS says:

      Sounds pretty farfetched. The media likes to make a big deal out of a co-pilot having “only” 2700 hours (roughly) of logged flight hours. It’s a shame that the media doesn’t put that in context for people.

      2,700 hours is still a heck of a lot of flying. You don’t get certified to fly passenger jets–let alone huge ones on intercontinental flights–unless you know what you’re doing.

      Let’s put it in context.

      I trust a 27-year old surgeon with 2,700 hours of operating room experience plus prerequisite schooling to perform surgery on me.

      I trust a 27-year old mechanic with 2,700 hours of experiencing fixing vehicles plus prerequisite schooling to fix my car.

      I trust a 27-year old veterinarian with 2,700 hours of practice plus prerequisite schooling to be able to treat my dog.

      I trust a 27-year old pilot with 2,700 hours of experience, who is certified on the jet that I am a passenger on, and who has graduated from a specialty school dedicated to his profession, to get me safely from point A to point B without needing more practice.

      I could go on but you get the point.

      The co-pilot had thousands of hours of flight time. He was certified to fly 777s. In short, he knew what he was doing. Yes, I’m sure he went through continuing training like all pilots do, but they have simulators for that. They don’t need to do it on almost fully loaded jets in the middle of the night.

      But you airliner pilots can correct me if I’m wrong.

      • Patrick says:

        Well, to be fair, and as I wrote about in the very blog post you just commented on, in North America it would be unheard of to be a first officer on a 777 with 2,700 hours.
        In these parts, to be taken seriously as a candidate with a major carrier, you need at good 5,000 hours or so — most of which would have been accrued flying for other commercial carriers. And that’ll get you a first officer’s slot on a 737 or A320. You’ll maybe get to fly a 777 at some point before you retire!

        • JS says:

          I understand about the hours (excellent article by the way). I live in the US and I’m grateful when I fly for the rigorous training and experience the pilots have. My point / question though isn’t about the hours, it’s about in flight training. The whole frenzy people make over the first officer’s hours flown is just a pet peeve.

          Would any major airline deliberately mis-program their flight systems on an intercontinental flight that has passengers on board?

          By trade I’m a network engineer for a company with a global network and billions (with a b) of customers. I can’t imagine mis-programming our production equipment to test someone. And I just have to worry about outages and media exposure, not lost lives.

          I’m not an airline pilot though. Would they do something like that?

        • 1stclassparisinternational says:

          Well I do not agree with this statement. Working for Lufthansa has allowed me to fly A330 just after 2000 flight hours and B747 after 4000. I know some pilots that waited much longer and some that could fly 747 after 2500 hours… i belive we should not take it general.
          Some pilots become captains after 5000 hours and I know pilots with 20000 that are still sitting right… so let’s not make rules out of this

    • backpacker says:

      this red-eye flight was also a sort of training flight for the young co-pilot…

      I, too, saw that bit the other day about a possible training exercise. Perhaps manually entering codes is part of the training? (…deferring to Patrick).

      Perhaps this was the Captain’s means of coercing the FO to do some of the work? Or even have FO fly the plane while the Captain was entering so-called “training codes”?

      I’m still not on-board with the suicide option, but if it really were training, couldn’t the Captain present a training scenario that the proper response would be for the FO to go below deck to check for or put out a fire, or whatever, just to get him out of the cockpit and then lock everyone else out?

      OK, I’m just making stuff up here, but the training bit could help explain a lot of the maneuvers, twists, turns, inclines, declines. Yes, they have simulators for that, but its one thing in a simulator, its quite another up in the sky. At night. Over water. Compared to daytime, its more disorienting, fewer visual references, greater reliance on equipment, fewer passengers awake to complain.

  178. colin fitz says:

    This appears to be the place to obtain answers to questions that have been annoying me about the disappearance of the Malaysian passenger jet. Facts are thin on the ground whilst, as time passes, speculative theories become facts and more and more outrageous.

    One of the few facts we know is that the systems used to identify flight MH370 were disabled during the initial part of its flight. We also know that Thai military radar tracked an unidentified plane; the Thai military have stated that, whilst they observed an unidentified aircraft, it posed no threat to them, did not attempt to enter their sovereign airspace, therefore no action was taken by them. I’m wondering, is there an established protocol for handling an unidentified aircraft that does enter your sovereign airspace because one of the other facts we know is that an unidentified aircraft did enter Malaysian airspace, the aircraft Malaysia assume was flight MH370, which means that some action / decisions must have been taken. One would have thought that the Malaysian military would have attempted to contact the aircraft, ask it to identify itself and explain its intentions? If no response what next, scramble fighters? Attempt visual communication? Then, if not compliant, what next? It appears, to me, to be inconceivable that the Malaysian military would allow an unidentified aircraft to firstly enter then pass through its airspace and then allow it to merrily go on its way.

    The other question I have regards the hundreds of Smartphones on the aircraft, forgetting their cellular ability for the moment, many would have been left on along with their gps facility. My understanding is that gps devices comunicate only one way, not two way, so as a means of establishing location they’re useless; useless until they communicate that information through a cellular network, hence the reason I can see where I was, or at least where my phone was, yesterday, last week or last month via systems such as Google maps location. When the unidentified plane flew back over the Malaysian pennisular why didn’t some of these phones become visible to these systems as we all know phones do work when flying over a land mass.

    Finally, the unidentified plane / planes observed by Thai and Malaysian military, how is it possible to identify them as flight MH370 or is it just an assumption on their part?

    • backpacker says:

      Let’s keep Thailand out of it. They didn’t say it was MH370, they said they monitored an unidentified flight that wasn’t a threat to them. They corroborated with the Malays.

      The Malay military is in a no-win situation in a region that strongly grasps saving face. They can’t say that they didn’t see the flight, but they also can’t say that they did see it but did nothing.

      To date, the Malays haven’t looked competent at much of anything in this matter. Its just as likely that they never saw it, that they saw it and didn’t know what to do about it, or even they knew what to do, but didn’t do anything. Who knows, maybe their jets weren’t fueled up, or pilots were at a Tailhook convention, or, or, make up 1,000 other stories…

      Regarding smartphone gps while they were over a land mass, a quick question is in order. Is smartphone gps derived from satellites or from cell phone towers? If its terrain-based cp towers, then they might not be trained toward the skies to catch smartphones whizzing by at 500 mph 5 miles overhead. Also I believe they need 3 simultaneous points to triangulate a location.

  179. BillyBob says:

    Here is what happened: the captain is enraged about his party’s political leader/ hero going to jail accused of sodomy. He has just seen the trial live, a mockery of justice, totally humiliating. He lives alone (separated from wife, sons have moved out of the house) and has been “flying” around the Indian ocean, Australia, Indonesia,…with his flight simulator. He takes off from KL determined to “make a stand”. During the hand-off from Malaysan ATC to Vietnamese ATC he programs the flight management computer to fly West, then South to Australia, where he plans to land the plane, make a political statement about lack of democracy in Malaysia and ask for political asylum. He sends the co-pilot back to the cabin to run some errand and locks him out of the cockpit. He turns off the transponder, ACARS, … to avoid being chased by Malaysian fighter jets. The co-pilot tries to brake into the cockpit with the help of passengers and crew. Eventually they do, several hours later, before the plane can land in Australia. The pilot ditches the plane into the Indian Ocean, north-west of the Australian coast. End of the story.

  180. Chris says:

    Hello Captain Smith,

    Thanks for your hard work to provide smart and thoughtful analysis on MH 370. A question on the electrical fire theory: don’t we also think that the plane was aloft for many hours after the transponder was turned off? I understand that pilots aviate, navigate, then communicate. Even with an electrical fire, it seems the plane was aloft long enough that we would expect a captain or co-captain to ATC a message, is that not so?

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us.

    Best,

    Chris

  181. BillyBob says:

    Here is what happened: the captain is enraged about his party’s political leader/ hero going to jail accused of sodomy. He has just seen the trial live, a mockery of justice, totally humiliating. He lives alone (separated from wife, sons have moved out of the house) and has been “flying” around the Indian ocean, Australia, Indonesia,…with his flight simulator. He takes off from KL determined to “make a stand”. During the hand-off from Malaysan ATC to Vietnamese ATC he programs the flight management computer to fly West, then South to Australia, where he plans to land the plane, make a political statement about lack of democracy in Malaysia and ask for political asylum. He sends the co-pilot back to the cabin to run some errand and locks him out of the cockpit. He turns off the transponder, ACARS, … to avoid being chased by Malaysian fighter jets. The co-pilot tries to brake into the cokpit with the help of passengers and crew. Eventually they do, several hours later, before the plane can land in Australia. The pilot ditches the plane into the Indian Ocean, north-west of the Australian coast. End of the story.

    • backpacker says:

      “He turns off the transponder, ACARS, … to avoid being chased by Malaysian fighter jets.”

      Military uses primary radar. Any Air Force that relies on transponders and ACARS of incoming bogeys won’t be flying free for long!

      Transponder & ACARS are for secondary radar…Transponder helps civilian aviation authorities ID & control flights, ACARS automatically relays flight conditions and status updates of various machine components.

      The storyline of busting down a door, fight, dumping into the sea is all a bunch of extra drama that doesn’t really advance the plot.

  182. Mitsu says:

    Fire theory is bunk. Come on, it isn’t consistent with what is known already about the disaster. The plane continued to make several programmed course changes at GPS waypoints hours after radio communication was lost. Obviously the fire theory cannot be correct. Also the last known position of the plane from the satellite pings is inconsistent with this theory. I was hoping for a bit better than this, Mr. Smith; I’ve read your column with interest for years, but lending credence to this obviously wrong theory that has been making the rounds of the Internet is really below your standards, or should be.

  183. thasleem says:

    did anyone checked for the earthquakes,plate tectonic movements on those areas where the aircraft is suspected to be drowned,,sometimes after crashing into sea it might got burried by the earth ,i dnt think tht the transponders can work beneath the earth

  184. Lisa Sheridan says:

    It’s possible that the coverup is really just stalling. China, the US etc are probably not only searching for the plane but for other countries that have such bad attention to their own radar coverage that a plane can turn onto differnt flight paths, drastically change altitude and go unnoticed. It’s obviously a huge security hole for any country in range of them. And Malayasia or the US can’t really say outright that the plane was not evading radar but screaming for attention.

  185. jack says:

    Malaysia has an airline alliance with China. Do they share responsibilities? Why is that everybody is willing to post a theory about a missing flight but nobody contemplates a coverup?

    It’s been 10+ days “searching” for something it may very well be hidden on purpose.

  186. suman says:

    Iadmit to fire theory but if and when the flight disintegrates the already light parts of the plane become lighter making floating on the ocean easy because of buoyancy. And ocean water is dense. So it would have parts floating for days if not weeks.

  187. J. Douglas says:

    The blog referred to in post 374 offers the most plausible scenario for a diverted flight. MH370 went west on a programmed flight path to the general time and vicinity of a flight from Singapore to Spain. With transponders off, MH370 could have flown just above or below the Singapore flight and remained undetected to it and ground radar. By listening to radio comms, MH370 could easily follow the same path, effectively shadowing it.

    The Singapore flight’s route took it right over Afghanistan and Pakistan. Parts of Pakistan are in turmoil, and there are 3 airstrips in Taliban control capable of landing a 777. People at Boeing believe the jet is in Pakistan (Even though transponders were off, keeping MH370 off of cockpit displays, the Singapore flight’s computers still might have noted an object nearby).

    If this jet is in Pakistan, and I believe it is, the plan may have been to use it in an attack on Israel, which has been on a heightened state of defense. Apparently they have suspicions.

    The biggest reasons no one would want to believe this very plausible scenario is it is too damn scary to consider.

    • John says:

      OMG You guys from Israel are such unscrupulous individuals. You are always trying to shine on the news with the most outrageous ideas. Sometimes very stupid ones. For real.
      How is that a country which is very used to warfare on a daily basis will fear a hijacked flight as a doomsday scenario?

      Have a little decency for the family of the missing crew and passengers PLEASE!?!?!?

      • J. Douglas says:

        I am not from Israel, I’m not even Jewish. I just understand the reality that some people want to wipe Israel off the map.

  188. Lisa Sheridan says:

    re: the fire theory

    Isn’t the fire theory still plausible even with the turns at various waypoints that occurred after the langkawi airport heading? Couldn’t they have intentionally programmed the turns ahead of time incase they missed the airport?

    How do you try to get the attention of ATC with no communication system, knowing the crew may be incapacitated at that point and without flying over populated areas in case you crash?

    Wouldn’t you fly at altitudes not used on normal flight paths, stay over water as much as possible while turning frequently? And wouldn’t it be easiest to program these turns at waypoints?

    It seems like they could have intentionally programmed this behavior in (or some of it) in case the landing failed before their death to serve as a red flag. And it was totally missed by military, etc.

    • Lisa Sheridan says:

      … and the final flight path after the turns, whatever that was, ended up being erratic after auto-pilot and the computer began failing.

  189. Randell Jesup says:

    The fire hypothesis has problems unless reports are wildly incorrect (always possible, but I think going too far here):

    * The pilots would have needed to decide to use the autopilot to revector. Seems unlikely they’d be interested in a nice, slow smooth turn if they were looking to get on the ground ASAP. But maybe they wanted hands free to deal with stuff, AND had the time/composure to enter the codes. And in a fire, how do they know it’s not the autopilot, or about to take the autopilot out? A real pilot could say: in a fire situation where you’d be disabling electronics, would you put your trust in the autopilot or have one person flying the plane and the other dealing with everything else?

    * If they did revector and were incapacitated, I presume after passing the target the autopilot would either a) loop back to it, ad nauseum, or b) continue on a straight line waiting for a new waypoint, or c) (if it was ‘inserted’ without cancelling existing ones) head off for Vietnam. I suspect a) isn’t how it works, and c is very unlikely and would have caused it to make a hard/unusual turn while still on radar (and they’d know).

    * The problem with b) is that apparently it continued to go to additional waypoints until out of radar coverage. Certainly they’d have noticed if it straight-lined past the first waypoint and kept on that heading until out of coverage. And the 8am ping indicates it went north or south after leaving coverage. So b) just seems to fail on all sorts of levels, leaving nothing.

    * Lots of improbabilities around which equipment was apparently disabled and what apparently kept working.

  190. My thoughts on this from the beginning was that something incapacitated the crew and the plane flew on uncontrolled until it crashed or ran out of fuel. The fact the plane turned toward the nearest large airport (Langkawi)suggests the crew knew their was a problem and tried to divert.

    My thought is did the plane suffer a rapid decompression that incapacitated the crew. After the incident the plane climbed to 47000 feet, well above the limit of the 777. It then dove to 23,000 feet, then erratically moved up and down for a period. This suggests to me the plane was flying uncontrolled, and stabilized at it’s equilibrium altitude after a roller coaster ride. I have limited flying experience, but I do know most planes will fly themselves if trimmed previously for straight flight, even without an auto pilot working.

    Could this have been an explosion in the cockpit, or maybe the windshield blew out causing havoc on the bridge due to decompression??

  191. Eirik says:

    I feel like typing this in caps lock, but I`ll behave.

    Patrick, seriosuly…you gotta stay away from CNN. Although I always knew what you were referring to when you wrote in your book that the media is misleading the public when they write about aviation, I have never seen or heard so much bullshit as Ive done when tuning in to CNN.

    Like tonight with Don Lemon, that id***.
    When you were trying to calm down the speculations, he almost seem irritated cause you are “ruining his case”. Or whatever he is thinking.

    Whenever there is a LOGIC statement that doesnt match their crazy speculations they seem to shut it down and interrupt.
    They just LOVE to speculate and throw out the most hilarious theories.
    In fact, the only theory I havent heard so far from CNN, is that the plane landed on the moon. Im waiting for it though.

    I was so furious tonight when that guy said he preferred to be on a US carrier. As if they are so much safer than anyone else.
    Patrick, Im glad you agreed with Richard Quest on this one. You have been flying all over the world and know the truth.
    Although Don Lemon did his best to interrupt that part too!
    The only reason Americans (ref; CNN) think US carriers are more safe than others, is probably because they dont even know the name of any other carrier. Ignorant much!

    Thanks for doing your best to bring balance in the discussion, Patrick. Its just too sad you dont get enough time on air to speak out.

  192. Ray says:

    When did or how often does Malaysian Airline Company Dispatch
    Expect to hear from flight 370? It is my understanding that normally an airline such as Delta, United, etc, periodically communicate with their airlines while in flight. They might be communicating a request for passenger information, gate change, a change in anticipated weather ahead. I have not heard any reporting on communication between Malaysian Airlines dispatch and flight 370. Is that considered normal?

  193. HughW says:

    Patrick.
    Thanks for breathing a little realism into the CNN circus. They certainly have engaged a few clowns.

  194. billbai says:

    Chinese cell phones dont have voice mail, and as someone who has lived in Beijing for over 10 years, I know that whenever the phone is off, there is no ring, there just isnt. And the Chinese twitter accounts QQ just wouldnt be showing online, that is really bizarre. The telling thing is that there were so many hi-tech guys on board, including Chinese hi-tech senior executive who surely had state secrets, they must have tried to find a way to send out e-communication, unless of course they had no chance. This for me is a sure sign of the sudden depressurization theory. If there were so called jammers on board, wouldnt they have also jammed the pings from the AWACS?

    Speaking of AWACS pings, one of the reasons that was given about how it was possible for the satellite to no longer receive any more pings was if the plane left the line of sight of the satellite by the curvature of the planet. Never mentioned if ping would have been transferred to another more proximate satellite, or if there were one at all in either of those two directions. Anyway, I would suggest there to be two circular radius drawn, one showing the limits of a jet fuel, and another one showing the limits of that satellite to receive pings.

    • backpacker says:

      ACARS, not AWACS. They are 2 completely different controls.

      Satellite is miles and miles above the earth, much higher than jets fly. So how far would jet have to go to have contour of earth interfere with satellite? Too far.

      There are other geo-synchronous satellites up there as well. No one has reported that any other satellite has a reading from MH370.

    • Richard says:

      Cell jammers are specifically designed to only cause interference on the cell frequencies. Shouldn’t effect other electronics.

  195. billbai says:

    Could the mumbling that was heard by the other plane have been the pilot/copilot/hijacker speaking through an oxygen or smoke hood?

  196. jay says:

    Patrick just saw you on The Kelly File, great info. Each theory has some holes mostly because lack of clear info… but pilot suicide appears least possible. I agree a small chance of mechanism failure but mostly hijack. Update I doubt. I also think if plane turned before it was dumb move for it to be pilot AND lucky chance radar/Malay air control ignored the oops this plane is turned and in wrong direction. No one on ground questions when call for good nite occurs?

  197. Anthony Gennaro says:

    I believed from the beginning that the aircraft slowly depressurized and the flight crew, as they were being slowly overcome with hypoxia, switched off TCARS in their delusionary state and reset the autopilot to a different course: all along thinking they were taking the correct action. Hypoxia can be very insidious being it affects almost everyone different. Euphoric feelings, acting drunken etc., are some of the signs. If this was coming on slowly they may have been incapacitated before they realized what was happening if they ever did realize it. In their Nitrogen induced hallucinations they thought they were doing the right thing, climbing to FL 45 Thousand, descending to FL29Thousnd. or one pilot passed out first leaving the co-pilot to try to fix the problem in his inebriated state, making the weird last call to ATC’ “Everything’s Fine, good night”, or whatever he said. The flight flew on its new course until it ran out of fuel and fell into the Indian Ocean. It’s happened before. “HELIOS Greek Airliner”, “Payne Stewart’s Private Jet Charter”. When I heard of the FAA Advisory about the SATCOM Antennae and its possible repercussions to decompression and aircraft loss. I thought of this right away. Arc hems Razor…the simplest explanation it usually the right one. I think Mr. Spock said that also.
    —the writer is a private pilot with over 2000 flying hours.

    • Robert says:

      In wayback USAF times I had a decompression chamber checkout in hopeful anticipation of a Mach 2 ride in an F-106. Alas, that never happened but I recall from the test that the effects of hypoxia are exactly as Anthony writes.

    • backpacker says:

      So are you implying that there is no pressure gauge/monitor/warning system in the cockpit? No alarms going off alerting the pilots ahead of time about their own impending toxic Hypoxic conditions due to inadequate cabin pressure?

      That doesn’t seem to be a viable theory.

  198. Zach says:

    Patrick, I just took a look at what the guys at TIGHAR were saying (definitely some aviation knowledge in that group) and while they don’t rule out pilot suicide, they are seriously considering this as a sophisticated cargo grab…that is still in process.

    I think we have to respect that perspective.

  199. BillyBob says:

    Hi, two questions:

    1. how long would it have taken the co-pilot (with the help of crew members and passengers)to break down the cockpit bullet-proof door if he had been locked out of the cockpit by the pilot?

    2. if a passenger had an iridium satellite phone on him/ her…wouldn’t he/she had been able to place a phone call from the plane?

    thanks.

  200. Crazy Motts says:

    Here’s my analysis of what might have happened. Looking into the technical as well as the circumstantial elements of the case is very important.

    http://crazymotts.blogspot.in/2014/03/what-happened-to-malaysia-airlines.html

    • Pelegrin says:

      Here’s a scenario which I still believe is the closest to what really happened:
      http://www.wired.com/autopia/2014/03/mh370-electrical-fire/

      That is it! And sincerely, it’s what I’ve been thinking all along. And electrical malfunction and quite possibly caused by a fire if not specifically an electrical fire. They were all either dead by the time the plane crossed the Malacca Strait or seriously incapacitated. Who knows when or if the plane will ever be found, but if there’s any evidence left to analyze by that time, I’d put my money on some scenario very similar to what’s described by Chris Goodfellow.

      • Travel says:

        I read that Australian working on an oil rig in the South China Sea saw a big fireball in the clear sky about the time the plane is reported to have turned. He gave his position in detail and said he tried to send the information by email to authorities about this, but there was no reply. He then emailed the information to his superiors at the company he was working for on the oil rig. Was this ever checked out for a possibility? I have not seen anything else about it.

        • Pelegrin says:

          I’ve often thought about that, and even though it really seems to fit, at the same time I can’t see how it does. If there were some fire that an oil rig worker could see, you’d have to think that it would be an engine fire. And I can’t see how the plane could’ve kept flying for so long if that were the case. For it to be an electrical fire, I don’t see how someone on the ground (or on an oil rig) could possibly have seen it at that elevation.

          However, if it were something original related to a fire with the landing gear, I suppose that one way the pilot might try to extinguish it would be to open the landing gear; and in doing that, then perhaps someone on the ground might possibly see the flames in the sky on a clear dark night. But hey, I don’t know if any of that is even possible.

  201. suman says:

    have a theory, What if the plane is now drowned between india and somalia? How?
    1) Satellite points to either the plane had move south or north from the straight since north is heavily guarded and has military activies am reducing the possibilities. Now take south there probably is a huge radar gap down south which would take the plane around srilanka and india.
    2) plane by now has exhausted most of the fuel where there is no big airport/country with a big airport or is there, under the circumstances of hijacking the pilot then operating the plane will not land in a populated country which is india so the plane has to be ditched somewhere a pre destined poimt between india and africa where the waters are known for piracy.
    Safe landing senario:
    The flight got ditched in the water and passengers transferred to ferries and taken to some location. Sunk flight using small explosives just enough foe sinking the plane. Probably the pilot was practicing ditching using the simulator.
    Unsafe landing: all dead.

  202. suman says:

    Ihave a theory, What if the plane is now drowned between india and somalia? How?
    1) Satellite points to either the plane had move south or north from the straight since north is heavily guarded and has military activies am reducing the possibilities. Now take south there probably is a huge radar gap down south which would take the plane around srilanka and india.
    2) plane by now has exhausted most of the fuel where there is no big airport/country with a big airport or is there, under the circumstances of hijacking the pilot then operating the plane will not land in a populated country which is india so the plane has to be ditched somewhere a pre destined poimt between india and africa where the waters are known for piracy.
    Safe landing senario:
    The flight got ditched in the water and passengers transferred to ferries and taken to some location. Sunk flight using small explosives just enough foe sinking the plane. Probably the pilot was practicing ditching using the simulator.
    Unsafe landing: all dead.

  203. Frankly says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the calmest, most rational discussion of this ordeal I have seen. So tired of the babbling baboons of TV breathlessly speculating about martians and moon beams.

  204. suman says:

    Ihave a theory, What if the plane is now drowned between india and somalia? How?
    1) Satellite points to either the plane had move south or north from the straight since north is heavily guarded and has military activies am reducing the possibilities. Now take south there probably is a huge radar gap down south which would take the plane around srilanka and india.
    2) plane by now has exhausted most of the fuel where there is no big airport/country with a big airport or is there, under the circumstances of hijacking the pilot then operating the plane will not land in a populated country which is india. And to cruise further west the plane now has no fuel.
    3) simulator in pilots home? What if the pilotbhas been practising to ditch – term used for water landing. Then hw will do it somewhere between best of kerala and mumbai but not very close as there are radars tracking so somewhere predetermined point between india and africa.
    Senario of safe landing:
    1) An area full of pirates may be there was a pirate ship waiting for the plane and then transferred the passengers to different voat and then took off sinking the plane with small explosives small enough to sink the plane.
    Senario 2: the plane sunk end of story.

    • backpacker says:

      India and Somalia are both too close to the geo-synchronous satellite; that satellite is about half-way between India & Somalia almost exactly where you are pointing to.

  205. Nick N says:

    This is by far the the most logical explanation – I just read it on businessinsider.com

    Chris Goodfellow

    A lot of speculation about MH370. Terrorism, hijack, meteors. I cannot believe the analysis on CNN – almost disturbing. I tend to look for a more simple explanation of this event.

    Loaded 777 departs midnight from Kuala to Beijing. Hot night. Heavy aircraft. About an hour out across the gulf towards Vietnam the plane goes dark meaning the transponder goes off and secondary radar tracking goes off.

    Two days later we hear of reports that Malaysian military radar (which is a primary radar meaning the plane is being tracked by reflection rather than by transponder interrogation response) has tracked the plane on a southwesterly course back across the Malay Peninsula into the straits of Malacca.

    When I heard this I immediately brought up Google Earth and I searched for airports in proximity to the track towards southwest.

    The left turn is the key here. This was a very experienced senior Captain with 18,000 hours. Maybe some of the younger pilots interviewed on CNN didn’t pick up on this left turn. We old pilots were always drilled to always know the closest airport of safe harbor while in cruise. Airports behind us, airports abeam us and airports ahead of us. Always in our head. Always. Because if something happens you don’t want to be thinking what are you going to do – you already know what you are going to do. Instinctively when I saw that left turn with a direct heading I knew he was heading for an airport. Actually he was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi a 13,000 foot strip with an approach over water at night with no obstacles. He did not turn back to Kuala Lampur because he knew he had 8,000 foot ridges to cross. He knew the terrain was friendlier towards Langkawi and also a shorter distance.

    Take a look on Google Earth at this airport. This pilot did all the right things. He was confronted by some major event onboard that made him make that immediate turn back to the closest safe airport.
    For me the loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense if a fire. There was most likely a fire or electrical fire. In the case of fire the first response if to pull all the main busses and restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one.

    If they pulled the busses the plane indeed would go silent. It was probably a serious event and they simply were occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire. Aviate, Navigate and lastly communicate. There are two types of fires. Electrical might not be as fast and furious and there might or might not be incapacitating smoke. However there is the possibility given the timeline that perhaps there was an overheat on one of the front landing gear tires and it blew on takeoff and started slowly burning. Yes this happens with underinflated tires. Remember heavy plane, hot night, sea level, long run takeoff. There was a well known accident in Nigeria of a DC8 that had a landing gear fire on takeoff. A tire fire once going would produce horrific incapacitating smoke. Yes, pilots have access to oxygen masks but this is a no no with fire. Most have access to a smoke hood with a filter but this will only last for a few minutes depending on the smoke level. (I used to carry one of my own in a flight bag and I still carry one in my briefcase today when I fly).

    What I think happened is that they were overcome by smoke and the plane just continued on the heading probably on George (autopilot) until either fuel exhaustion or fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. I said four days ago you will find it along that route – looking elsewhere was pointless.

    This pilot, as I say, was a hero struggling with an impossible situation trying to get that plane to Langkawi. No doubt in my mind. That’s the reason for the turn and direct route. A hijack would not have made that deliberate left turn with a direct heading for Langkawi. It would probably have weaved around a bit until the hijackers decided on where they were taking it …

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/malaysia-plane-fire-2014-3#ixzz2wLD5xEFA

    http://www.businessinsider.com/malaysia-plane-fire-2014-3

  206. Zach says:

    So I’ve been certain it was a suicide run, terror-related or personal. And I fully expected it to be found in short order somewhere near the end of the satellite arc in the Indian Ocean, 1,000 miles off of Perth.

    But then I read this: http://www.haveeru.com.mv/news/54062

    I guess it’s still anyone’s guess.

    • backpacker says:

      Color me skeptical, if you like, I’m unaware of the light quality.

      Its 1600 miles to Kudahuvadhoo. Would it be light enough for them to see color & detail on a red-eye flight? Flying west, they are racing away from the sunrise; though sunrise may seem to come earlier over water.

  207. Inspector Gadget says:

    Passengers phones have been connecting but not answered. A relative to the victims stated ‘If I could get through, the police could locate the position’.. I’m sure if the phone is connecting you don’t need it to be answered. If its ringing its on, if it’s on it can be located. An iPhone or any other GPS phone can be located by just about anyone.

    • Patrick says:

      I heard an expert on TV debunking this, claiming that just because there’s a ring on the dialer’s end, that does not mean you are actually reaching that phone.

      • Inspector Gadget says:

        If a mobile phone is OFF, there is either; a constant tone or the network providers unavailable message NOT a connecting tone.

        • Yo Moer says:

          Actually that depends on how your provider set it up.
          In my provider case, it just rings as if you’ve reached the other phone. But after ringing a few times comes the recorded message telling the phone is “turned off”, “out of reach”,”not answering” or whatever. So those might just have gotten the default behavior from dialing a turned off or out of reach cellphone from their providers.

  208. Larry Hulden says:

    Which kind of navigation equipments need landbased contact and which may work independently of such contact?

  209. Nick N says:

    This is my theory –

    It was the crew – and they are currently in Somalia – during the refueling process they gave the airline the data for enough fuel to travel to Beijing – however they instead bribed or told the fueling mechanic to give the plane more fuel. The mechanic has not come forward because of fear of loosing his job, getting in trouble ect. They proceeded to fly the normal path – then – we all know the rest of the story. Transponder was turned off, the flight turned left turn towards the Maldives and flew at 5,000 ft toward Somalia.

    What about the passengers? They are currently being held hostage. While over the ocean whomever was in control of the plane took all communication devices from the passengers and placed it in the electronics bay while they were tampering with the ACARS system.

    No one has claimed responsibility because the plane is currently hidden in a hanger, under a camouflage netting, or already flown to another region. I believe the plane and the passengers will be held for ransom, the plane will be sold on the black market, or it is already being repainted and outfitted with explosives.

    This is my theory – please poke holes to it, give me your thoughts, lets discuss it.

    • Frankly says:

      A) you would not need to take anyones cell phone while in the air over the ocean, no cell towers.

      2) Held for ransom by someone that has not bothered to send a ransom note?

      iii) Assuming they could get a 777 down & hidden in Somalia without anyone ever picking up a hint of it, further pretending the plane could be repainted and outfitted with the doomsday device – where would you propose the target would be? You don’t think the sudden appearance of a 777, particularly one not behaving in an expected way sending the expected signals would somehow slip passed all the air defense systems to hit . . . what location? Maybe the DRC but it other than that the thing would be met with fighters & very possibly remeoved from earthly existence

    • backpacker says:

      I like what you did there, up to a certain point.

      Its easy enough to see how, with a enough baksheesh, someone could get additional fuel to get to so many more datapoints on the far side of the satellite map…along the 40 degree contour line pinging from the satellite. This supports an unstated, yet over-arching premise of your theory which is: the jet could be a lot further afield than anyone imagines!

      We would throw out the old constraint of “how far could they fly with the amount of FUEL they had?” and replace it with the new constraint “how far could they fly in the amount of TIME they had (additional 5+ hours until the final ping)?”

      Your idea works in principle (which is more important anyway) but not in specifics. Primarily, Somalia is too close to the satellite. So are Maldives, Seychelles, Madagascar, Yemen, Oman, Iran, and all but the northern fringe of Pakistan.

      New places on the 40 degree meridian could now include S. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, NW border of Iran, SE Turkey, NW Iraq, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Chan, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, & Swaziland. Do any of those places sound suspicious for any reason? I think they could reach any of these spots with a full fuel load.

      I have NOT done the math to see which of these places they would have had the time to get to.

      Another thing: you mentioned them flying at 5,000 feet. That could be a radar-evasion tactic vs land-based radar but is not needed over the relatively empty Indian Ocean. In fact, they’d get better air-speed and go further if they were flying at standard 30-34,000 elevation due to thinner atmosphere.

      Something else that weakens your original premise is speculating on other specifics such as hostages, cell phones, ransom, black market, repainted, & explosives. You’ll get further working it out 1 piece at a time.

  210. Pierre S. says:

    Farfetched plot ??
    1-Turn off some of ACARS comm modules.
    2-Turn off transponder.
    3-OK Goodnight.
    4-No voice contact with Viet. No questions asked after unsuccesful attempt via other aircraft ?
    5-Veer west then get out of range of radars. Turn off other ACARS modules.
    6-??At some point later (maybe hours after 2or3 hourly pings received) Aircraft personality module (APM)containing unique ICAO assigned address turned off or disconnected below deck. Plane now invisible. Out of radar range and no APM pingable from satellite.??
    7-APM being a line replaceable unit, a “spare” unit somewhere on land AND ALONG THE ARC BEING SEARCHED could have been reprogrammed with MH370 address and turned on for a period therefore establishing the last pinged location.
    8-Plane is safely landed somewhere ???

    I told you it was farfetched or is it ?

  211. Eirik says:

    I cant believe all the stupid talk on CNN. Specially Ashleigh Banfield. I do know the host have to ask the silly questions now and then just to have the guest explain it to the audience, but jeez.
    Shes got a plug in her ear, someone should tell her when its enough.
    Sorry, I just had to say it…

  212. JD Fensty says:

    Somewhat of a general question, but specifically relating to the “Goodfellow” theory (as Patrick points out, that he had much earlier) of a fire or other emergency and a turn toward the nearest large airport.

    That’s logical up to a point – except that point is that it’s fairly well established as of now that the plane made several turns and adjustments that are generally being reported as “done by an expert pilot or the autopilot which is unlikely to be programmable by anyone other than an expert.”

    Goodfellow’s own theory states the same, basically, that the pilots were eventually overcome and the plane flew blindly on autopilot until ending up in the ocean.

    Point of my question is: Given, “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate” is it likely the pilot(s) would program the autopilot for anything other than ‘straight and level’ (if even that?) during the initial stages of an emergency?

    I sure don’t think so, but I have no way of knowing – hence the question.

  213. HR says:

    So…just wondering why the hell CNN just told the world where the E compartment was (just behind the cockpit) a little door in the floor that leads to all Circuits ??? oh well..

  214. MRG says:

    New interesting theory: Did Malaysian Airlines 370 disappear using SIA68/SQ68 (another 777) radar shadow?

    “After looking at all the details, it is my opinion that MH370 snuck out of the Bay of Bengal using SIA68 (another 777 flight bound to Barcelona, Spain) as the perfect cover. It entered radar coverage already in the radar shadow of the other 777, stayed there throughout coverage, and then exited SIA68’s shadow and then most likely landed in one of several land locations north of India and Afghanistan.”

    http://keithledgerwood.tumblr.com/post/79838944823/did-malaysian-airlines-370-disappear-using-sia68-sq68

  215. […] il pilota e blogger Patrick Smith continua a rispondere alle varie domande che circolano in rete (il Boeing 777 è un aereo sicuro? […]

  216. toughluck says:

    This link really needs to be put on the Internet as often as possible. Please read it and let us know what you think:
    https://plus.google.com/app/basic/stream/z13cv1gohsmbv5jmy221vrfyiz3vdhbop04

  217. Singha Merah says:

    StevenSG asks:
    “3 – what about the previous pings? Wouldn’t those previous pings, in sequence, give us a better notion of the flight path, either north or south, given the last Malaysian radar contact?”

    Tycho B asks:
    “Why hasn’t Inmarsat released the other “arcs” so that we could see the plane’s progression over 7 hours?”

    According to the New Straits Times (here: http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/font-color-red-missing-mh370-font-plane-flew-low-to-avoid-radar-1.516965):

    “Investigators are also calculating to determine how far the aircraft may have flown and the possible landing sites.
    “<>
    “Data harvested from Inmarsat was not able to do that as the static satellite could only detect the pings at a 40o angle.”

    I am not sure how reliable this remark is – it is attributed, unsurprisingly, to “sources close to the investigation”, and it has not been circulated by any other news agency. However, if it is accurate it implies that all 6 pings received by the geostationary Inmarsat-3 F1 satellite at 64.5o E (35,800 km over the Indian Ocean) were measured to have a dip angle of approximately 40o. It is this dip angle that was used to construct the first “arc” map published by the Malaysian government on 15 March (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BiwklVICcAAl2YV.jpg:large). If the dip angles are all the same then the arcs will all lie on the same circle, hence there is no need to publish the others.

    This added information, if true, invites many other unwelcome conclusions however. The first of the series of 6 pings was received by Inmarsat-3 F1 at 3.11 am Malaysian time, and it is well nigh impossible that MH370 could have travelled from its point of last radar contact off Penang at 2.15 am to any point on the 40o circle in under an hour. Nor is it likely that the plane would have travelled along a route that kept it at pretty much the same distance from Inmarsat-3 F1 for the next 5 hours.

    So either the New Straits Times is wrong, or the angle measurements deduced from the Inmarsat-3 F1 data are unreliable – meaning that the red arcs are fantastic and anyone intending to search them is off on yet another wild goose chase.

  218. RK says:

    What if the radar observations are wrong? If the plane continued it’s flight path it would pass the ring of the satellite, where the last ping contact took place. This area has been ruled out because there is so much radar coverage. But how good is/was that radar coverage realy? Is it not possible that the radar contact that the militairy saw was actually from an other unidentified plane? Maybe a spy plane or a plane involved in drug traficking?
    Also with such an experienced pilot it would not be inconcievable that if the plane was put down over water it would have been put down intact. Maybe it just sunk, which would explain the absence of debris. Everybody could be searching in the wrong area…..
    So far every theorie voiced on the news is so far feched and searches are coming up with nothing to substanciate them. I would suggest going back to the drawing board!

  219. Lisa says:

    Patrick – I imagine you are quite busy these days answering a lot of question and I have another one for you. You say:

    ” There are hundreds if not thousands of business jets and cargo planes out there, traveling the world more or less anonymously, that would be equally suited to such a scheme.”

    Wouldn’t the military watching their radar just assume, if MH370 flew a recognized flight path, like SQ68, that it was just another one of those more or less anonymous flights, especially if it didn’t deviate from the path and therefore, posed no immediate security threat. Also, I have been delayed on flights a lot – would the commercial airports notify the military that one of their flights was deviating from their normal travel time?

  220. […] 7. “A rapid loss of cabin pressure rendered the flight crew, and possibly everyone else on the plane as well, incapacitated, at which point the plane deviated from its course before eventually crashing.” (Ask the Pilot) […]

  221. Waheed says:

    Just wanna share it.

  222. stephen says:

    For a look at the 777-200 flight deck checkout this page: http://meriweather.com/flightdeck/777/fd-777.html

  223. B says:

    Is this credible explanation?

    A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2014/03/mh370-electrical-fire/

  224. SunilKM says:

    Maldives island residents report sighting of ‘low flying jet’

    http://www.haveeru.com.mv/news/54062

  225. SunilKM says:

    Hai sir, inviting your attention towards this news portal.

    http://www.haveeru.com.mv/news/54062

  226. Lynn says:

    Although I am not in aviation I have taken a keen interest in the disappearance of this flight. I kept on coming back to Patrick’s website and blog for inside info of what actually happens in the cockpit. First of all a plane going down always leaves me traumatized because of the sad loss of life and the heart ache of family members of the deceased. However in scrutinizing the news hoping that the plane is found, I came across the two guys from Iran with stolen passports and to my dismay found the photos which were so badly faked. And from there on I just had question marks.

    I then discovered this video and it just added to the questions.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNZtz-HVy6c
    (It shows that the flight path has been altered on the Flightradar24. I do not know if it can be changed and how original this information is.)
    (The info give by Malaysian government is so scarce and sometimes contradicting that it can not be relied on.)

    If the disappearance of this flight is not just a plane accident then hijacking or terrorism would be the next option. Looking at info on this article the following stands out:

    http://www.pisau.net/russia-puzzled-over-malaysia-airlines-mh370-capture-by-us-navy-prayformh370/

    (Cellphones were jammed)

    Critical to note about Flight 370’s flight deviation, GRU experts in this report say, was that it occurred during the same time period that all of the Spratly Island mobile phone communications operated by China Mobile were being jammed.
    China Mobile, it should be noted, extended phone coverage in the Spratly Islands in 2011 so that PLA soldiers stationed on the islands, fishermen, and merchant vessels within the area would be able to use mobile services, and can also provide assistance during storms and sea rescues.

    (Could this also jam the communication systems on the plane? Probably not.)

    (Airplane remotely controlled?)

    As to how the US Navy was able to divert Flight 370 to its Diego Garcia base, this report says, appears to have been accomplished remotely as this Boeing 777-200ER aircraft is equipped with a fly-by-wire (FBW) system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface allowing it to be controlled like any drone-type aircraft.

    (Found on this website)
    http://www.maxresistance.com/new-world-order-highjacked-flight-370/

    What could make a plane disappear from civilian radar while at 36,000 feet yet still be visible on military radar? ONE THING, and it looks like a UFO (as some have speculated) only it’s attached to a boeing jet – the antenna on a U.S. Air Force AWACS plane.

    (If the plane was hijacked what would the motive be? Passengers?)

    http://www.maxresistance.com/new-world-order-highjacked-flight-370/

    This is how the elites get richer and richer, by any means available including murder. This is a story about greed, wealth, power and world domination. Have you pieced together the puzzle of missing flight 370 to Beijing China ?? If not, here are your missing pieces. Patents Patents Patents and the wealth they bring.

    [link to http://www.4-traders.com

    Four days after a missing flight, a patent is approved by the Patent Office for maximizing dies on a wafer. 4 of the 5 Patent holders are Chinese employees of Freescale Semiconductor of Austin TX. Patent is divided up on 20% increments to 5 holders. Peidong Wang, Suzhou, China, (20%) Zhijun Chen, Suzhou, China, (20%) Zhihong Cheng, Suzhou, China, (20%) Li Ying, Suzhou, China, (20%) Freescale Semiconductor (20%) If a patent holder dies, then the remaining holders equally share the dividends of the deceased if not disputed in a will. If 4 of the 5 dies, then the remaining 1 Patent holder gets 100% of the wealth of the patent. That remaining live Patent holder is Freescale Semiconductor.
    Here is your motive for the missing Beijing plane. As all 4 Chinese members of the Patent were passengers on the missing plane.

    (Motive perhaps the cargo or both passengers and cargo?)
    http://www.pisau.net/russia-puzzled-over-malaysia-airlines-mh370-capture-by-us-navy-prayformh370/

    What first aroused GRU suspicions regarding the MV Maersk Alabama, this report continues, was that within 24-hours of off-loading this “highly suspicious” cargo load bound for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the two highly-trained US Navy Seals assigned to protect it, Mark Daniel Kennedy, 43, and Jeffrey Keith Reynolds, 44, were found dead under “suspicious circumstances.”

    Perhaps this is not the place to post this information as it might not technically be about aviation and procedures on flights but if all else has been looked at and there are no answers then perhaps we get into the yet unknown scenarios.

    What happened to the plane? Who knows? Perhaps in a couple of days the wreckage will be discovered deep in the ocean and the black boxes will only provide information of the last two hours.

    None of this information is verified and might not be true, the same as information provided by government of Malaysia and main stream media might not be true. I am still hoping that the plane will be found intact on some remote island and all the passengers are well and alive. Perhaps that is the fairytale?

  227. Roger says:

    to the administrator

    Please would you remove my surname from my earlier message. – Thanks.

  228. Roger Booth says:

    Bearing in mind how secretive both the Chinese and the North Koreans are it is quite likely that the plane was hijacked by the North Korean State in order to take either the chinese passengers as geneeral hostages or there was a particular chinese passenger that they wished to ‘aquire’. Although North Korea is NE of the plane’s original destination they would need to approach the country via Mongolia in order not to be identified en route. These countries are sopposed to be friendly states but with North Korea being so unpredictable one cannot know what private tiffs they may have. There are probably a number of airfields in N Korea where the plane oud land without a problem.

    • backpacker says:

      Don’t think so. While North Korea is wildly unpredictable, China is their BIG Brother, their friendly protector and/or sponsor.

  229. TimM says:

    I understand that all US-built airliners have been fitted for many years with technology intended to enable ‘the authorities’ (US) to take over an aircraft “in distress”. [“Bush announces new airline security measures” (PBS)].

    The program was subsequently classified as confirmed in the 9-11 hearings.

    Having just watched an insightful BBC report into the political instability in Malaysia being caused by the missing aircraft – a government not used to being criticised by its people and a people not used to asking questions of its government – I was wondering if we finally have a means and a motive.

    By all informed accounts, the known behaviour of the aircraft since the last voice communication was so sophisticated it must have been carefully pre-planned, or rather pre-programmed, down to flying along the exact border of the Malaysian ATC area, possibly flying at 45,000 ft for a time to render the occupants unconscious, before joining standard flight corridors but mid-way between adjacent standard cruising altitudes (as the collision avoidance system would have been innoperative). My best guess would then would be the craft took the southerly route then carried out the perfect ‘miracle on the Hudson’ style landing in deep sea about as far from land as anywhere could be and sank without trace.

    Finally, I like the fact that it is a US plane that has just been assigned to search that area. Will it be found and evidence planted to give a new public narrative or quietly ignored to make the current Malaysian regime look incompetent?

    • backpacker says:

      “I was wondering if we finally have a means and a motive.”

      Allegedly the pilot agrees with the opposition movement against the long-standing regime. The opposition leader was recently jailed day(s) prior to the flight. So maybe the pilot wanted to do his part to help discredit the government? #paybackisabitch

      “My best guess would then would be the craft took the southerly route then carried out the perfect ‘miracle on the Hudson’ style landing in deep sea about as far from land as anywhere could be and sank without trace.”

      You completely lost me here. To have such a complicated plan RELY on a mid-oceanic “Miracle in the Hudson” event seems folly.

  230. billbai says:

    bumped to 380

  231. billbai says:

    They cant be sure that the transponder and ACARS were turned off at different times, and yet they still believe foul play was involved. This seems to me that hijacker scenario has become supported solidly from various other pieces of evidence. This leads me to think the depressurization theory sounds right.

    An article discarded the idea that the hijacked flight’s quick rise to 45k right after the turn westward was not to depressurize the cabin and make unconscious the passengers, under the reasoning that the hijacker had already gone through great lengths to be so deceptive and the people’s lives were valuable to the hijacker, such that it wouldnt make sense to depressurize the cabin, but rather give some explanation to the passengers. However, this doesnt smell right.
    1. I think with dramatic ups and turns, the air crew would have checked in on the pilot and if the flight path monitor became disconnected and unviewable from passenger seats, suspicion among the steward crew would grow.
    2. The hijacker sounds like he had a detailed plan. As I read elsewhere, “Every action taken by the person who was piloting the aircraft appears to be a deliberate one. It is almost like a pilot’s checklist,” said one senior captain from an Asian carrier with experience of jets including the Boeing 777. So, the quick rise would likely have been part of the plan, with a specific purpose – disorient the passengers and crew.
    3. Not likely that all of the 200+ passengers were of use to the hijacker, as he would have to keep them all alive and feed them, shelter them and worry that they dont try to escape. It is possible that a few of the passengers were valuable to the hijacker, such that the hijacker could go and collect these people and give them oxygen through mask/tank. But also possible that the hijacker after going through great lengths to get this far, didnt want to risk anything, like passenger phone calls, passengers breaking down the door, or stewards trying to relay an emergency signal to ground control. Likely that he wanted all the passengers out of commission.
    4. For motive, I suspect a person like this hijacker, who is obviously someone who was highly technically skilled and trained, and technologically sophisticated enough to carry out this operation, the hijacking was actually not about the people, but rather the electronic equipment and cargo of key hi-tech passengers, that is, the secrets and technology on board. I know investigators are combing through background checks and psychological assessments, but have they any clue about the content of the electronics on board. What exactly were those people working on in Malaysia, what were they bringing back?

    Outstanding Questions:
    1. If we go with the idea that the hijacker had a meticulous checklist plan, wouldnt he have turned off the transponder first before turning west? That is, he (I’m using he, but could be a she) would have become transponder invisible first in order to further create the image of an in-air accident, rather than divulge that the plane was changing course. Maybe there was a fight? Any other explanation?
    2. Going with the theory that MH370 shadowed SIA68 in order to be undetectable as a separate blip in the radar map, couldnt the military radar records show not only altitude and direction but also speed, and therefore be able to judge if the pace of the plane was done in a way that would be consistent of getting ready to fall behind SIA68?
    3. How reliable is their conclusion that the co-pilot was the one who said the final good night? Are those communications recorded? The image that comes to mind is Han Solo acting like a storm trooper when they were rescuing Leia in the Death star.

  232. Pelegrin says:

    [Quote]today, Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya stated that the ACARS system, which communicates every 30 minutes, was still active at 1:07 a.m., but failed to send its next scheduled update at 1:37 a.m. Thus, the system could have been disabled at any point within the 30 minute window. As a refresher, the plane’s other communication system, its transponder, failed at 1:21 a.m.[/Quote]

    I’m pissed at all the mis-information there’s been in this story. The above is exactly what I was saying the other day when the report came out that the ACARS system was turned off before the transponder spotted sending messages. That’s simply not known, and finally that mis-information is being cleared up.

    And now we hear that at least part of the plane’s change of course was computer manipulated, not manual manipulation. Again, leading at least to the possibility that someone else could’ve altered the plane’s flight plan.

  233. Joe M says:

    I understand why the transponder can be turned off – but why not either require a ground based monitor to OK or inquire why and have some override to stop it. Alternatively, I would think in the age of redundency it would be feasible to have a second independent system that would turn on or be turned on remotely in the event of a manual shutdown which is suspicious. Think of the time, lives and money that might be saved with such a back up system. Maybe even some of the hit of 911 could have been adverted with a quick response that could have been guided to the hijcaked planes. I am simply not willing to accept he easy asnwers given that it is for safety and electronic. Even Appolo 13 found a way to solve its problems and make it home safely.

  234. Tycho B says:

    Some questions that I don’t see the media asking:

    Why didn’t the Emergency Locator Transmitters ELTs go off upon contact with the water? Is this normal is airplane crashes? Can they be disabled by a pilot?

    Can a pilot depressurize a cabin and kill everyone? Some sources say yes, others say no.

    Why hasn’t Inmarsat released the other “arcs” so that we could see the plane’s progression over 7 hours?

    Could any weather satellites see the plane’s contrails, or any spy satellite see the heat signature at night?

    Have any of the passenger’s cellphones connected to any cell tower in any country after the transponder was turned off?

    Will Boeing remove the capability of turning off ACARS from their software?

  235. JFO says:

    The NYT has just reported that the change of flight path was programmed in the cockpit. (That would be 9:30 PM eastern time, 3/17)

  236. StevenSG says:

    I need help understanding something:

    1 – the ACARS system, even disabled, still pings the satellite about every hour

    2 – we have maps of where the LAST ping was, in long arcs over Asia and the Indian ocean

    3 – what about the previous pings? Wouldn’t those previous pings, in sequence, give us a better notion of the flight path, either north or south, given the last Malaysian radar contact?

    What am I missing?

    —-
    On another note, can someone please loan me a large round red rubber nose to send to Malaysia’s Transport Minister for him to use during “Press Conferences”?

    • backpacker says: Mystery solved... says:

      3 – what about the previous pings?

      That’s been my question too. I wonder if those previous pings would give a finite range of probable flight paths where authorities and computers could mathematically interpolate the end destination? We could both be mistaken though.

      I’m starting to think that the last 2-3 waypoints already indicate a herky-jerky, evasive flight pattern. If the pilot kept up such a pattern, then extra datapoints might not be indicative of anything ~ though it would eliminate some of the furthest end-points.

  237. Joe P says:

    Question:
    The arc pics from the Inmarsat satellite data floating around from the 8:11 LAST ping to the Rolls Royce engines place the plane on one of the two lines in Asia or West of OZ.
    Now – should there also be other pings, e.g. an hour before at 7:11, and a ping two hours before 6:11, and so on, thus we should have multiple arcS at different times and potential locations. Just the last arc is shown on news. The earlier satellite ping data combines with last radar and min/max flight speeds would narrow down the area on the last arc and give an idea of direction. I see none of this. I thought it pinged hourly? Should not there be a series of arcs from the satellite data? Can someone explain this?

    http://s1.ibtimes.com/sites/www.ibtimes.com/files/styles/v2_article_large/public/2014/03/16/mh370-positions.jpg
    http://tvaraj.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/satellite-contact-map-by-sergio-pec3a7anha-archie-tse-and-tim-wallace-source-malaysian-government.jpg?w=584&h=478

  238. […] 7. “A rapid loss of cabin pressure rendered the flight crew, and possibly everyone else on the plane as well, incapacitated, at which point the plane deviated from its course before eventually crashing.” (Ask the Pilot) […]

  239. Melissa Choi says:

    Patrick, someone shared this on my Facebook wall: http://keithledgerwood.tumblr.com/post/79838944823/did-malaysian-airlines-370-disappear-using-sia68-sq68

    Somebody basically suggested that MH370 was able to fly under the radar by tagging behind SQ68 (another 777) that was in the vicinity at the time. Is it possible?!?!

    I’m inclined to agree with you – that the plane is lurking somewhere at the bottom of the ocean. I was just curious what you thought of the above suggestion!

  240. Papet says:

    Wondering if anyone has thought of the pets possibly traveling on MH370 and implanted tracking devices under their skin that are turned on when pet goes missing for tracking company to locate them. Pets may have traveled in cargo, or with passenger under seat, and may not have been declared, too.
    Also, ex inmates, ex military special ops types, even diplomats might have gps tracking and may not even know it.
    Kids sometimes have this done to prevent missing children problem. May be adults now and may still have tracking chip.
    Luggage sometimes has this, kids backpacks. Needs to be activated by tracking company to locate it.

    • Richard says:

      As far as I know, the chips implanted in pets are RFIDs without a battery and thus transmit using the power of the scanning device (otherwise you’d have to explant to change the batteries). In general, the type of battery powered transmitters that you are talking about will only broadcast a few hundred meters at most. (The kid locator devices work off the cell/wi-fi bands – no cell or wi-fi point nearby, no location). The FDR would likely have the best transmitter on board the aircraft and even that battery will be dead in about 30 days.

  241. Pelegrin says:

    There’s only one possible suicide angle that might fit… Again, going on the idea that perhaps one or both of these pilots were coerced into doing some terrorist act by someone threatening him with killing their family members. The suicide angle might then work like this, for instance… The pilot kills his co-pilot, then flies the plane so high (45,000 ft) so as to seriously incapacitate or kill the passengers, and then the last part of his mission was to crash the plane into the Petronas Towers, but before doing it he became so grief-ridden with all that he had already done that he decided to fly the plane where no one would ever find it, committing suicide in the process, and hopefully his family and no one would ever know what he had done. Also hoping that those who had threatened to kill his family would not follow through and think that he just failed in his mission.

  242. David M says:

    The mystery is indeed fascinating as it seems more and more that this was a well planned operation. Whether it went according to plan or not I don’t know.

    There is a lot about this that reminds me of a John Nance novel – Scorpion Strike in which a military aircraft enters a country by undetected, and does so by turning off all communications, and the hiding in the shadow of a commercial airliner.

    Strikes me that the planners of this operation, picked their timing at the hand-off to another ATC, in an area with little radar coverage, in a location they could switch to another airway. As outlandish as it seems, I’s be giving this serious consideration that the aircraft did evade military radar and did fly the northern route. I suspect it has been seen on radar, just not recognised – maybe a radar return masked by another aircraft.

    I haven’t figured out the motive. But somebody might tempt you with several million to deliver a 777 to an organised group. My thinking, it has to be inside job of some kind.

    Anyway – read the part of Scorpion Strike where they do this – makes you wonder.

  243. […] A pilot can shut the whole thing down by disconnecting a circuit breaker, and the plane’s manual would tell him how to do it. That’s for good reason, Patrick Smith, an airline pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential, wrote on his blog: […]

  244. Sofia says:

    Someone tried to overtake the plane for nefarious purposes and the pilot(s) flew & ditched it into the South Indian Ocean to avert higher death toll, much akin to what the 9/11 captain did in the PA field.

  245. Richard says:

    I don’t see a cloaking device as being plausible. The US is the most advanced when it comes to radar-evasion technology but any look at stealth aircraft design tells you that it isn’t a problem overcome purely with electronics. For as long as there has been radar there have been attempts to defeat radar and decades of research gets us smaller, interesting looking airplanes (and boats). And we’re talking massive R&D costs too. So maybe China might be in that game. Regardless I don’t see any government testing it on a commercial aircraft.

    The potential flaw with theory that the Chinese shot the plane is that it was apparently pinging long after they would have first cleared Chinese airspace. It was daylight by the time the plane stopped pinging, easy enough to get a visual on a MA 777 by any fighter group sent to shoot it down.

    I think the southern ocean route(s) are really the only options.

    • StevenSG says:

      “It was daylight by the time the plane stopped pinging, easy enough to get a visual on a MA 777 by any fighter group sent to shoot it down.”

      I’m not so sure it was daylight over western China at the last ping; China only has one single timezone (Beijing time), which means the sun comes up very late out in Xinjiang.

    • backpacker says: Mystery solved... says:

      What gets overlooked is what if the government (in this case China, but in reality any government including India, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, etc) wanted/expected/invited/arranged ahead of time for that jet to enter its airspace?

      Then they would have no reason to mention to the world any relevant radar evidence of the plane. Just saying’…

  246. Achilles says:

    I’d be interested in an informed opinion on this piece:

    http://v4v6.cnn.com/2014/03/16/opinion/palmer-malaysia-flight-370/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

    Absolutely everyone else has been saying for days that an experienced pilot must have been guiding the plane. Is it really possible that the flight just happened to make turns at known waypoints? The piece doesn’t address that…

    • backpacker says:

      No. I don’t imagine that a jet would randomly turn at a waypoint toward the next waypoint. Especially after coincidentally losing its communication system exactly in the dead-space between leaving Malay air control and Viet Cong (ok, Vietnam) Air Control. There’s a significantly higher probability that it was ALIENS! (I’m NOT suggesting anything alien, just using the analogy to point to how slim the odds are of so many improbable events happening in lockstep progression)

      A much simpler explanation is that those waypoints were programmed into the flight control panel or else the jet was manually directed there by someone piloting the plane. For example, someone with 20+ years flight experience in the region would know the locations of those markers.

  247. Phil says:

    Your March 17 update appears very misguided: “…In the meantime, can we please stop talking about transponders?” Why? Because “…on Sunday, Malaysia’s transport minister said key communication equipment that keeps the ground updated about the health of a flying aircraft and its engines was disabled on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 BEFORE [emphasis mine] the last recorded conversation with the cockpit.

    “Yes, it was before,” Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference Sunday in response to a reporter’s question about whether the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, of Flight 370 was disabled before someone said, “All right, good night” from the cockpit.

    The ACARS system being disabled before the last voice message from the cockpit backs up thinking by experts that somebody with intricate understanding of the Boeing 777-200 jet and its systems tampered with communication equipment on board.” http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304914904579441812954932236

    So it seems virtually certain that the pilot or pilots KNEW the systems had been disabled before the last voice message. Thus, information about the transponders is important we should not stop paying attention to or asking about them.

  248. […] to how well we have engineered away what once were the most common causes of crashes,” Smith writes. “Those that still occur tend to be more mysterious and strange than in decades […]

  249. The Malaysian authorities never outright said it was a hijacking – they did say the findings point to deliberate action, which also could mean pilot suicide or drunk pilot or something else that doesn’t require an outside force.

  250. kim says:

    I agree with the points above, especially #1.

    Not sure if this has been mentioned previously, but an informant had indicated (before flight 370) a plot involving Malaysian terrorists was in the plans: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/03/16/malaysia_airlines_mh370_investigators_examine_9_11_style_plot.html

    A question about radar detection: Do all countries keep reliable records of their radar monitoring? So for instance, if someone was asleep at the wheel, would they even be able to go back and view the radar from days ago?

    Pakistan states they have no information on the plane and that their radar did not detect it. Didn’t they also assure us their country was not harboring Bin Laden?

  251. Dan Tootle says:

    How was this B-777 equipped with communications equipment? Did it have HF Data Link, SATCOM, HF voice, UHF voice, VHF voice, TCAS, ASCARS (which carrier SITA or ARINC), etc.? Was the aircraft configured with in flight WiFi over broadband Satellite communications?

    What has SITA or ARINC said about air/ground comms with AFCS/FADEC links?

  252. JFO says:

    This morning another piece of [perhaps extremely significant] news dribbled out of Malaysia– that the plane may have flown under 5,000 feet. Well, where was THIS information 5-10 days ago?! The flow of information (or lack thereof)is so insanely infuriating. Also, could this now change the search area parameters?

  253. Mike says:

    I am curious to know the passenger list on this flight as well as what type of cargo was loaded. Were there passengers of some importance on this flight? Was there cargo of some sort that someone or some group of people were really interested in?

  254. warsesa says:

    Could this plane have flown into stratosphere and burnt up? maybe this is why no one can find debris!

  255. warsesa says:

    Could this plane have flown into stratosphere and burnt up……is this why no one can locate the debris?????

  256. Naresh says:

    WHY NOT BUILD PLANES WITH WATER GLIDING DEVICES FOR EMERGENCIES. MOST
    PLANES ARE ALMOST ALWAYS FLYING OVER WATER.

  257. George Williams says:

    Is it possible that someone on the aircraft changed the transponder code to represent another aircraft and they flew the aircraft below radar horizon to air space where a corrupt controller guided the plane to land in a terrorist state? If they had rendezvoused with a plane that had that code and closed within a few hundred meters, that front plane could shut his transponder off and the rogue flight turn its own and follow the former into into air space controlled by conspirators. Both aircraft would be seen as one by controllers at such a range.

  258. Andrew says:

    Oilfeed worker several hundred kilometres to east of position of plane. Due to curvature of earth he would not have seen that plane “high in the sky”. It would be close to the horizon if not below it by my quick calc.

  259. Richard 2 says:

    My post got lost so posting again:

    Here’s a scenario:

    The pilot would have to take care of the co-pilot. He tells him to go and speak to someone in the cabin for example, or take a break.

    He then locks the cockpit ascends the plane and depressurises the cabin. The crew and passengers fall unconscious and/or perhaps die.

    He then descends to below cruising height till he makes the second turn up the Malacca straights towards the Andaman Islands when he again ascends to cruising altitude. All this is borne out by the evidence. Where he goes from thence is less clear. Possibly around Sumatra to the southern Indian ocean where the plane finally plunges into the sea.

    The possible motive? He is depressed and has flipped. His wife left him the previous day with his 3 kids. He wants to end it all, doesnt quite have the courage to plunge into the Earth, just drifts along till he can no longer do so.

    PS It is the senior pilot. Why? It has been confirmed that he radioed All Ok AFTER he switched off the transponder. He is a tech Geek. He can order around the much junior co-pilot.

  260. Richard says:

    Here’s a scenario:

    The pilot would have to take care of the co-pilot. He tells him to go and speak to someone in the cabin for example, or take a break.

    He then locks the cockpit ascends the plane and depressurises the cabin. The crew and passengers fall unconscious and/or perhaps die.

    He then descends to below cruising height till he makes the second turn up the Malacca straights towards the Andaman Islands when he again ascends to cruising altitude. All this is borne out by the evidence. Where he goes from thence is less clear. Possibly around Sumatra to the southern Indian ocean where the plane finally plunges into the sea.

    The possible motive? He is depressed and has flipped. His wife left him the previous day with his 3 kids. He wants to end it all, doesnt quite have the courage to plunge into the Earth, just drifts along till he can no longer do so.

    PS It is the senior pilot. Why? It has been confirmed that he radioed All Ok AFTER he switched off the transponder. He is a tech Geek. He can order around the much junior co-pilot.

  261. Raymond Suelzer says:

    Is it possible for a plane to fly maybe 6 or 7 thousand feet below another aircraft to avoid radar detection?

  262. Draven says:

    What is insufferable is the utter smugness of the Malaysian minister of transport who hogged the press briefings (of absolutely NO INFORMATION), who answered questions put his way brusquely with no elaboration(which IS the point of blooming press conferences). The amount of bungling under his watch and the others in Malaysia with regard to this particular incident is mind-boggling(no checks on passports,passengers,crew members,radar detection,communication between his ministry and that of the air force,etc)These people HID actual information that they KNEW the plane went elswhere (by way of radar blips detected by Malaysian military) and kept on giving the same load of tripe to the relatives,the press and the rest of the world, in their “press briefing” where they kept on appearing like rock stars,in their fancy suits and neck ties,palm-oil slicked hair, waving and smiling to the press.To me, that is just grotesque.
    The relatives and any sane air travellers have every right to be infuriated by their antics.

  263. Nicholas Robinson says:

    THE MYSTERY IS FINALLY SOLVED!!!!!!!!

    People, gather round — we NOW KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 370 beyond any possibility of a doubt!

    You can all relax, because MH370 is in the caring, capable hands of the US NAVY! How we have all missed this, I just do not know. But we have been spinning all these wild speculative stories about this misbegotten flight — when the US NAVY HAD IT ALL ALONG!

    Please check it out — resolved and reported by our rock-solid, dependable reporters at the esteemed and venerable news legend, Pisau.net. Thank Allah this wild ride is at an end and we can all rest easy, g back to our warm and cozy homes and raise a toast — to the US NAVY!

    http://tinyurl.com/njqfrqk

    • romiha says:

      Replying to Nicholas Robinson re US Navy has MH370 at Diego Garcia. Just. Wow.

      • backpacker says:

        My first thought was that “Pisau” was the Malay word for “The Onion” #translationFAIL.

        That there are a mere 7 comments to that article, it seems pretty much too laughable for most people to even comment on.

        That being said, I have not completely discounted the idea that it might be at Diego Garcia or in the hands of the US Government or even a state agency of some other country.

        Its just that if someone comes up with the right answer for all the wrong reasons, then they are as mistaken as people who come up with the wrong answer.

  264. Rod says:

    Suicide mission? Wouldn’t have been the first (see Egyptair 767).
    So why not take pills? Because of the insurance. OK, so you fly wayyyy out over a deep part of the Indian Ocean where they’ll likely never find it and crash it there.

    But if you’re going that route, why not — since you’re already half-way across the Gulf of Thailand — just head east and make sure you stay outside Taiwanese and Philippines military radar range, then crash it into the deepest ocean in the world: the Marianas Trench? They’d never fish it up from 11 km down.

    Total mystery. Awaiting next installment.
    Nor have I ever seen Patrick’s blod so alive with self-sustaing comment, i.e. idle speculation such as the above.

    Selah.

  265. Simon Gunson says:

    The explosion and flames in the sky sighted by an oil rig worker have not been given enough weight. An explosion does not necessarily mean the whole aircraft will break apart and there are many instances of localised damage with the aircraft still flying. I recall an uncontained engine explosion on a Boeing 767 a few years ago out of Brisbane and remember the Qantas A380 engine explosion? My point is this, if the MH370 aircraft had poor maintenance a faulty generator could have caused voltage drops and taken the ACARS offline, but left the radio working. Pilots may have noticed voltage drops and decided to run two generators in parallel. When there are two generators in parallel current will want to reverse current flow to the faulty generator, but normally a diode prevents this. When a diode burns out in this situation there will be sudden huge voltage discharge and surge through the electronics, enough to cause an explosion and flames, enough to trip off the transponder and to rupture the pressure hul and also enough to signal the autothrottle to push engines to maximum thrust. This would explain MH370’s clim to 45,000ft and has nothing to do with terrorism or pilor suicide.

  266. Suzie Kellie says:

    Sorry if this has been posted before but I tried to read the whole thread and did not see ref to this….. Is it not standard procedure for an airline pilot to sign off with the word “Roger” instead of the now famous words, “All Right, Good Night”, Perhaps the wording I am looking for is that should he/them not said… Roger, Good Night?

    • Richard says:

      Using “Roger” would be very unusual actually. Communication with ATC gets the facts across in short bursts but other than that the use of common courtesy words are common. I bet you can find some ATC feeds rebroadcast on the web right now if you want to check it out.

  267. Gilles S. says:

    Pelegrin says:
    “But again… For what purpose?”

    Don’t be too rational, it might be “a culture-bound syndrome (…) that originated in Malaysia” – “a highly volatile syndrome that doesn’t typically end well for those involved” (quote from Mental Health Monday–Running Amok http://lbdiamond.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/mental-health-monday-running-amok/ randomly found on the web – plenty of similar more scholarly sources on Google Books).

  268. romiha says:

    I’ve missed a lot of interesting replies here due to the upthreading phenomenon. Just spent the last hour searching for “March 16″ and reading replies posted on the 16th scattered about. Quite an interesting bit about the Petronas Towers.

  269. Nicholas Robinson says:

    Hello all,

    It’s your lunatic prognosticator here again with a new theory — or at least a new concept. I just got through reading about the Malaysian air force’s pathetic behavior in allowing this plane, which now we knew they had somewhat positively identified (will they ever say? We might never know) to keep flying along its merry way over its own territory, with nary a scramble here or a warning there.

    The article went on to say that indeed, the US was caught unawares on 9/11 and sent its jets out to sea, not expecting an attack from WITHIN.

    This article also pointed out that far from being a global backwater, Malaysia possesses one of the highest-prestige attack sites in the world — the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

    I think it is fair to say that they DWARFED the Twin Towers in size and scope. So, why was the Malaysian military not more umm . . . PROACTIVE in seeking out our famous “blip” and at least, checking it out?

    No matter, but this brings out a huge new question: Osama Been waited patiently for several years to put his little plot into effect — the mark of a true strategist, no matter what a murdering brute he may have been. And we know that “sleeper cells” were supposed to have been planted here and there (hey, what happened to them? Did they all go to sleep?)

    SO . . . why not the absolutely brilliant idea of taking a young, radicalized man when he’s say, 17 — and then, patiently putting him through flight school, in THE TRADITIONAL MANNER, not haphazardly like they did Atta and the rest — and then . . . wait. If it took them seven years, it took them seven years. It’s been, may I remind you, OVER 12 years since 9/11.

    So we get young, enthusiastically Westernized co-pilot, Fariq Ab Hamid, a “nice” little Muslim name if I ever saw one — and train him from the ground up. For this ONE MISSION.

    What, are you going to tell me “That’s ridiculous, they could never pull it off?” I’m sure twelve dozen CIA anti-terrorism units would have laughed you out the door if you had proposed 9/11 to them on 9/10.

    But the evidence — hello — says that they not only pulled it off, we owe them however repugnant, GRUDGING RESPECT for their incredible success. I doubt four planeloads of our finest Navy SEALS could pull off such an attack in the heartland of Saudi Arabia — don’t you?

    This is NOT to be mistaken for admiration for those cockroaches — it isn’t. But my point, and that article’s point is, what the hell does the Malaysian air force EXIST for? Isn’t that PRECISELY why they exist? What, Thailand is going to pull a surprise attack on them at any time, thus, prepare for the worst!?

    That’s ludicrous. Even our own air force on 9/11 could be thought in some minds to have “helped Allah greatly in this operation” by basically being completely disorganized, and dare I say it — outwitted and outclassed. If you factor in the sheer ineptitude of the New York fire and police departments — their radios can’t even TALK to each other, ferchrissakes, they hate each other so much — you will get a situation tailor-mde for good patient folk like Osama Done-Been (thank Allah).

    I mean, yeah, he got what was coming to him, after ten years of fruitless and blood-soaked muddling around the Islamic world on our part, but that’s no consolation now.

    Why, then, is it not only possible, but PROBABLE, that Al Qaeda or a satellite might not have planted a Fariq Ab Hamid into our civilian aviation world, in the most innocent-seeming of roles, “a fun-loving, friendly guy who loved flying . . .” and then, just . . . waited.

    Shades of Manchurian Candidate, sure, but who now actually believes the next big hit is going to come from gels hidden in shoes? The Bad Guys have already proven that yes, they can outwit, outwait and outDO us if they so wish — and a lot of them DO so wish — to the DEATH — so, my, and that article’s basic question remains: WHY did the Malaysian military, bungling jerks that they now seem to be — until you look at our OWN military on 9/11 — not scramble fighters IMMEDIATELY upon watching MH370 mosey its transponderless way up and down the Malaysian peninsula, seemingly at will?

    IF the Petronas Towers had been a target (if you don’t what they are, please look them up) in the capable hands of Fariq Ab Hamid, that almost fully-fuelled 777 could EASILY have switched directions mid-stream and smashed squarely into those buildings. Considering Fariq Ab Hamid was a FULLY-TRAINED and pretty much CHECKED CAPTAIN for the 777, is no one aware what possible damage he could have done at the helm of that plane? I think we — and especially the Malaysian military — should be breathing huge, gulping sighs of relief that apparently, THIS time that didn’t happen.

    9/11 happened not because of a failure of resources, not a failure of security, not a failure of diligence, but a failure of IMAGINATION.

    Having 36 F-15s at hand, fully fueled and ready to zoom up in the air at a minute’s notice is about as effective as having 20 unarmed Slingsby T67 Firefly trainers at your beck and call, piloted by a few enthusiastic first-year student pilots IF THEY ARE NOT USED in the capacity for which they have been INTENDED.

    Alternately said, why even bother with a Malaysian military?

    Hindsight is a beautiful woman (or man) but it’s FORESIGHT that we all need, in all its ugly possibilities.

    If you look at this whole thing on some levels, it can be extrapolated that we just dodged a HUGE bullet. And again, it’s easy to lambaste the Malaysians for what they did not do, but were we really any different on 9/11?

    If you spend years and millions of dollars training an individual to perform a certain task, and when the time comes to perform that task, you are unready, unwilling or just downright UNIMAGINATIVE to send him out to do his job, then you might as well have trained a Malaysian lar gibbon in his place rather than the dozens of fighter pilots I assume the Malaysian air force has on hand.

    I’m not saying this was a terrorist plot. Far from it. It was probably just some guy going looney-tunes on us, for whatever reasons — the Sandy Hook dude, the Newtown dude, the Batman dude . . . but for a looney-tunes guy, whoever he is, he has pulled the 400 thread-count wool over the eyes of thousands of professionally trained and equipped “experts,” has yet again slammed a boulder into our sandhill of “preparedness” and has proven that evil does not come wrapped in a black box spitting flames or foaming with malice, but rather in an ordinary brown-paper package that says nothing except “To Whom This May Concern.”

  270. Tsee Lee says:

    I know you don’t want to speculate, but can you list possible reasons for the abrupt altitude changes as the plane diverted from its flight plan? Mainstream media reports have discounted passenger hijacking, assuming that the crew and passengers would rush the cockpit if they suspected or knew about it. But what if the initial climb depressurized the cabin and knocked out everyone on the plane without oxygen masks on? How long would it take them to regain consciousness, and would it give the hijacker(s) enough time to subdue everyone?

    I also read that commercial/experienced pilots like to stay at round number altitudes, instead of the FL295 the plane was last known to achieve. What do you think of that?

    • Nicholas Robinson says:

      I don’t want to cast aspersions on ANYONE because of race questions, but it would be my strong bet that because the passengers consisted mostly of Chinese (mainland Chinese — there is a big difference, I would imagine, culturally, between them and say, Cantonese or other slightly Westernized Chinese) that most, in the face of possibly some uniformed figure barking orders, would be more than reluctant to “rush the cockpit,” let alone leave their seats to do anything.

      Furthermore, assuming it was indeed one of the pilots who was the perpetrator, even a planeload of burly Americans would be so confused by what looked to be their own pilot taking over the plane, that most would be reluctant to “jump the gun” and disable him. After all, he was their ticket to getting back down safely, alive — if either of the pilots was the perpetrator, I will wager that not a single soul aboard — even a security “plant” — would be willing to attack or hurt him.

    • Simon Gunson says:

      Tsee thank you for thinking intelligently, between 29,000ft and 36,000ft are normal cruise altitudes. The Boeing 777 service ceiling is 43,100 so to climb to 45,000ft is illogical and at the extreme capability of the aircraft itself. In fact at this height the aircraft’s stall speed was so high it matched the cruise speed causing the aircraft to stall and tumble to a lower altitude (23,000ft)and fly off west.

      If the cabin was de-pressurised before this illogical climb to 45,000ft, then unconsciousness for passengers would have taken minutes followed by death in their sleep. Pilots could have lasted longer with better oxygen supply but the real question is whether the aircraft was controllable before this crazy climb?

      My concern is that investigators are ignoring the oil rig worker’s sighting of an explosion and flames high in the sky. This almost certainly de-pressurised the aircraft.

      My theory is that a cascading electrical fault from a faulty generator caused an explosion, then commanded engines to maximum thrust and scrambled electrical controls, knocked out the transponder. If the aircraft stalled at 45,000ft with engines running it could have recovered by itself without autopilot or real pilots, since most aircraft are inherently stable and recover with enough altitude and thrust. It is quite plausible for such an aircraft to wander around the skies with both pilots dead or unconscious.

    • backpacker says:

      Possible reasons:

      1. Intentional cabin de-pressurization/murder as you already pointed to
      2. Un-intentional cabin de-pressurization due to some on-board mechanical/electrical/auto-pilot incident
      3. Evasive maneuvering to get away from something…expected flight patterns, radar, missiles, aliens, whatever anyone might think of
      4. Maneuvers/simulations for Co-pilot certification
      5. etc.

  271. Carl says:

    Before this missing Malaysian jetliner, travelling south in the Indian Ocean, runs out of fuel, cruises & glides at wave height on the ocean, drags the tail in the water, before coming to a halt, resting on the water, then slowly sinks, there will be no wreckage, isn’t it?

  272. K.C. says:

    I have been flying for 45 years — for 22 years in the Navy and now as a civilian pilot. I have thousands of hours of flight time. Here is what I believe happened:

    1. There appears to have been only 1 flight crew on board the flight (<8 hour flight). Assuming this, either the pilot or co-pilot took over control of the cockpit and disabled the other flight crewmember;

    2. Then the pilot put on his O2 mask and depressurized the entire plane and also disabled the passenger's O2 masks. At 35,000 feet this would have killed everyone on board in about 3-5 seconds. Remember the Payne Stewart plane mishap;

    3. The pilot then turned off 1 of the transponders, followed some minutes afterwards by the second transponder. He initially forgot there were 2 transponders, but remembered after he spoke to ATC;

    4. Because breathing O2 at 35,000 ft can be difficult, the pilot then reduced altitude to FL 260 and proceeded to the west. His natural reaction to traveling west would have had him pick an even altitude and at 260, breathing O2 in his mask would have allowed the O2 to be absorbed into his blood;

    5. The pilot then either traveled to the northwest for a landing site, or, more likely, simply continued to the southwest until fuel eventually ran out about 9-10 hours later. The plane ended up in the vast wasteland of the South Indian Ocean where it will never be found and the pilot is in heaven with his 77 virgins;

    6. The reason the second scenario is more likely is that no signals from any of the passengers cell phones have occurred which is more likely over vast areas of open water (southwest route) than over land (northwest route);

    7. It is also likely that years from now, with still no evidence of MH 370's whereabouts, there will be continued speculation over this flight in much the same manner as with Amelia Earhart and Judge Carter.

    • Kennedy family says:

      Most sensible suggested outcome yet K.C.
      For me this might not be an attention seeking plot but it certainly reeks of a bit of smugness. It’s so perfectly planned, flying between radars, disabling communications, my theory is the cabin was depressurised which killed the passengers, the plane for over 7 days now has been undetected, I can see the pilot very proud of his sophisticated knowledge. The world is following his mastermind, the maylasian and indeed other world governments and military have been outsmarted. Maybe that is reason enough.

    • Richard says:

      I doubt you are due 77 virgins for killing dozens of fellow Muslims. And as far as I know, there’s no jihad declared against China. In general, murder of innocents is a cardinal sin (as with all other major religions). If this were done for fundamentalist religious reasons, this would be a particularly weird target.

    • backpacker says:

      1. Preposterous! When you say flight crew, if you mean 1 pilot and no co-pilot, I do not imagine they would allow that in a 777. If you are referring to flight attendants in the main body, that is equally unfathomable since the customer-service friendly Malay Air would have more than 1 attendant for 200+ passengers. Either way, you completely lose credibility with assertion #1.

      3. I heard the second transponder was below the deck…I do not know the veracity of that claim. If it really is below, you are suggesting that the pilot took the jet to 45,000 ft, killing everyone else, re-stabilized to 26k, left the cockpit to turn of 2nd transponder all in 14 minutes while under limited air, and on portable O2 himself? I find that incredulous

      6. This is a non-sequitor. Cell phone participation is irrelevant whichever direction they flew. Flying at altitude, cellphones would not work well–as has been mentioned here 40 times already.

      Cellphone receivers are pointed toward the ground. We lose connection while driving at 55 mph often enough in rural areas, how much more so when a jet is so many miles above down-directed antennae, over water where there are no towers anyway, flying at 500 mph? Passengers in 1st-class could not call passengers in cattle-class unless there was some kind of on-board wi-fi relay dedicated for phone communication.

  273. romiha says:

    I have a question regarding these “pings” the satellite(s) “pick up” from aircraft – at what point do the pings stop? For example, an aircraft in for repairs, inspection, not in the air, etc. Do the satellite(s) still pick up “pings” from those aircraft as well?

  274. hammerton says:

    The long flight to suicide in the deep waters of the Indian Ocean may have been designed to prevent anyone from ever finding the plane and determining what actually occurred. This could be motivated by the pilot’s desire to not void life insurance policies that have a clause for no payouts for suicide. Also, an indeterminate end of the flight would leave open the possibility of his family getting legal settlements.

    • Nicholas Robinson says:

      I assume that all the passengers will be checked for having made any sudden (or not-so-sudden) new life-insurance policies for vast amounts of money. On top of that, they will also need to have had the proper training in flying a 777.

      I think that this investigation could be carried out in about 20 minutes, if we discount infants and children from purchasing huge life-insurance policies AND training to become 777 captains.

    • backpacker says:

      That supposed long flight to nowhere in the Indian Ocean would also tie up any purported Insurance settlement for an extremely long time. Insurance would not pay until the plane was found, the passengers/crew found dead, and the relevant ‘discovery’ phase fully evaluated.

      Remember, it took 2 years to find the Air France plane and its black box in the Atlantic –> even though they found jetsam on the surface within 48 hours of its disappearance.

      So for your insurance scam theory, you have to consider that claim payout = 2 years + investigation/discovery time. The corporate settlement angle would include up to 10 years in legal wrangling.

      I would think such a desperate attempt would be wanting a more immediate payback.

  275. Paul Jay says:

    The series of missteps, especially by Malaysian authorities, appears to be mind-boggling. This would only be a short-term issue – understanding that we are all still sensitive to fates of all aboard, except that there’s still a (slim?) chance that the airplane landed somewhere and is being refitted for use as a terrorism device.

    It has been reported that, amongst other things:

    Some Malaysian authorities knew very shortly after the plane’s continuing flight and course changes, due to the radar blips, but allowed the massive international search to go forward even though it was entirely in the wrong area.

    The authorities did not immediately visit the residences of the flight crew (not accusing any of the crew here, mind you) after the plane went missing.

    There were great discrepancies between the reports of the Malaysian government authorities and military command.

    Internationally, more immediate oversight of Malaysian air transport control operations was not demanded.

    No matter what happens, if any of the above proves true, the international community should immediately insist upon extremely tight supervision of all Malaysian air transport, both military and civilian, or they should face harsh sanctions.

  276. hammerton says:

    The long flight to suicide in the deep waters of the Indian Ocean may have been designed to prevent anyone from ever finding the plane and determining what actually occurred. This could be motivated by the pilot’s desire to not void life insurance policies that have a clause for no payouts for suicide. Also, an indeterminate end of the flight would leave open the possibility of his family getting legal settlements.

  277. hammerton says:

    Why was there no resistance or alarm on the part of the passengers or non-cockpit crew? A scary possibility is that the inexplicable ascent to 45,000 feet was done to kill the passengers and cabin crew. If the plane depressurizes at that altitude the o2 from the bags isn’t enough. The plane can be depressurized by shutting the engines off. The steep dive after reaching 45k may reflect a stall, which depressurized the cabin, and then the engines were restarted.

  278. Ben James says:

    Thank you for this enlightening post – it is good to know the media is as sloppy with reporting in your field as they are in the fields I have trained in. This has been a really intriguing story, and I am dying to see how it unfolds – can’t wait for the movie on this Mystery of the Malaysian Airliner fiasco. There was a chick over here who had been on board one of those Malaysian Airlines flights before, and she said that her and her friend were invited to sit inside the cockpit with the pilots (one of them being the pilot on the aforementioned missing flight), and they even showed them pics of selfies they had taken with the pilots, inside the cockpit, whilst the plane was flying. So, apparently security was pretty lax.

    • Nicholas Robinson says:

      “Chick?”

      “Selfie?”

      The Summer of Love was 47 years ago and “selfie” is at best, questionable as being an English word at all.

  279. nycman says:

    There’s still very little information about what was done after the last ATC contact with MH370. Around 1:38 am both Ho Chi Minh City and KL ATC can’t see it on their radars, and ask a nearby aircraft to try to contact, but, per reports, they just hear garbled sounds. And then what? They called it a night and went home? Search the net and you can find nothing as to what the response was after this point. Who did they call, what did they do? Shouldn’t some kind of emergency response be activated at that time? Instead, they wait till the morning to mount the response, and even later to look for where MH370 might have went. Those few hours after 1:38am, nobody’s talking about. A search for a timeline gets you nothing.

  280. LSS says:

    Patrick,

    What is your opinion of the aviation journalist Flying with Fish (tweeting at https://twitter.com/flyingwithfish)? His theory (as I understand it) is that the pilot flew MH370 to Iran (evading radar detection by trailing very close behind another flight – also, apparently India’s radar detection wasn’t activated!?!), the 20 Freescale employees were given over to the Iranians, and everything remaining (passengers, crew, plane) was eliminated. In this scenario the Freescale employees have knowledge that helps the Iranians with their atomic weapons program.

    Of course it sounds ridiculously far-fetched, but some folks on the airliners.net forums are taking him very seriously and he appears to have a fair number of sources in DHS and (presumably) elsewhere.

  281. LSS says:

    Patrick,

    What is your opinion of the aviation journalist Flying with Fish (tweeting at https://twitter.com/flyingwithfish)? His theory (as I understand it) is that the pilot flew MH370 to Iran (evading radar detection by trailing very close behind another flight), the 20 Freescale employees were given over to the Iranians, and everything remaining (passengers, crew, plane) was eliminated. In this scenario the Freescale employees have knowledge that helps the Iranians with their atomic weapons program.

    Of course it sounds ridiculously far-fetched, but some folks on the airliners.net forums are taking him very seriously and he appears to have a fair number of sources in DHS and (presumably) elsewhere.

  282. If you want your comment to appear at the bottom of this thread, I believe you need to “reply” to the last comment, otherwise comments seem to be getting lost upthread.

  283. Randall says:

    Even if the cockpit voice recorder is found, it probably only has the last two hours or so on it. The sounds from the point where the plane was taken over were probably recorded over a few times in the hours the plane flew afterwards.

  284. Tycho B says:

    I want to know why the emergency locators didn’t go off when the plan crashed. Can they be disabled?

  285. Tycho B says:

    Because CVR only records 2 hours. If you fly 6 hours you wipe out whatever happened on the CVR. And you can ditch the plane in 4km deep water instead of 50m coastal waters. And you can ditch it in an unknown location not in the middle of busy waterways.

  286. Richard says:

    Wha? My last comment inserted 322?! Please go read if you want more of my thoughts, ha.

    Anyway, new discovery: easy enough to by cell phone and electronics jammers for really cheap. For under $500 bucks, maybe much less you could scatter 3-5 around the plane and disrupt all cell service on the plane, whether you are flying low near towers or not. I had heard of museums etc., using such systems but did not know how cheap and easy they are to get. Hell, you can buy them for your car so you and your kids won’t be tempted to use the phone while the car is in motion.

  287. Richard says:

    So can we agree that if any messages were successfully sent from the plane we would have heard about it by now? So that leaves two options:

    The victims (for lack of a better word but really just anyone who wasn’t involved in the hijacking) were not capable of sending out any messages. Most seem to agree that this would require the shutting off of oxygen/pressurization to the main cabin. It is definitely the case that the pilot and cabin systems are separate but I am not sure even the crew has a 7 hour supply. That might mean extra tanks would need to be smuggled aboard. Probably not an insurmountable task. It would be very helpful to know if it would be difficult or impossible to depressurize the plane while in flight (well, in a way that wouldn’t make the plane difficult to fly).

    The victims were capable but failed to get any messages out to any recipients. Even if, perhaps especially if, the hijacker(s) were brandishing weapons I am sure multiple people would have tried. But the problem is that they just weren’t in a place were the cells could connect. Or by the time they realized (if the hijack was more subtle) they weren’t in a place to connect (i.e., no one tried until it was too late). For that matter it would be rather easy to build/buy (they are pretty cheap really) a jamming device on the cell band that would prevent calls/text from connecting; after all a plane is a relatively small zone. On the other hand, while such a jamming signal would be incoherent, I would think electronic surveillance would flag it as unusual and worthy of investigation.

    Votes?

  288. stella says:

    Hi I dont know if its been asked before and Iknow very little about planes,could it be possible if the pilots seen a missile coming and turned off the tracking system,the smoke,damage etc from the missile affected the pilots they drifted on ,apparently one media report said an oil rigger seen plane in flames at first location.?

  289. J. Douglas says:

    Cell service has a limited range. How extensive is Malaysia’s network? And being miles above, when cell towers are designed for maximum coverage on the ground, I imagine you would have to be pretty close to a tower to get a reliable signal, and even then, at 500 mph, you’d be out of range quickly.

    Two Muslim pilots up front, two Iranian passengers with stolen id’s, who knows who else on board might have been involved. Add a prearranged destination, some portable ground support equipment and teams ready to go, and it is not an impossible thing to divert this plane.

  290. Sid says:

    Does anyone know if there are gaps in military/civilian radar on the northern track suggested by the last ping at 8:11 am that could be exploited by a highjacker to fly without detection into one of the ‘stans? Have they determined at what point in the flight the aircraft ascended beyond 40,000 feet and for how long it stayed there? Hiw long for hypoxia at that level? Can pax oxygen be turned off while leaving cockpit O2 on?

  291. Pelegrin says:

    This could well be the Chinese. The timing of that Chinese satellite image of supposed debris in the Gulf of Thailand came just as there was beginning of a shift of attention to the Malacca Strait and the Malaysia military radar sighting. That Chinese “mistake”, as it was later called, allowed the investigation of the plane traveling west to be delayed yet one more day.

  292. Rod says:

    My guess is that the US and Russians (and plenty of other counries) have satellites with highly developed infrared capacity to detect the launch of a missile. They must also detect hot aircraft exhaust.

    Assuming this is so, and above and beyond all the primary military radar in operation near land masses, would there not be records of this aircraft’s progress across the globe after the transponders were turned off?

  293. Loki says:

    Why does the Malaysian transport guy keep on saying “we have nothing to hide” at each press conference?
    Why did the Malaysian police raid the pilot’s residence?
    Why does the Americans are searching in the Indian ocean when the Chinese/Vietnamese/Malays,etc are tripping over themselves in the wrong area?
    What ways can these planes be tracked(known to the Americans, but NOT divulged to the rest of the world)?
    Can somebody within the Malaysian govt be involved in this hijacking(as it is now becoming slowly apparent)?
    Is the Malaysian govt prevaricating because it knows some radical muslim element has hijacked the plane?
    With one pilot inviting women over to the cockpit area, how secure are todays passenger planes-security wise?
    I believe these are the questions we should be asking.

  294. Pelegrin says:

    We need a “LOST, Flight 370″, forum.

  295. Pelegrin says:

    Here’s an interesting article for those interested in an espionage angle:

    You Won’t Believe What Spies On Malaysia Plane Were Doing
    http://beforeitsnews.com/events/2014/03/spies-on-missing-malaysia-airline-plane-5-major-defense-contractor-companies-26-intel-passengers-2432766.html

  296. I think the suicide theory is extremely unlikely, and what an inconvenient way to do it and why take everyone with you? Can’t imagine this being the case. As for the pilot with the home simulator–if he was up to no good, I think he would have destroyed the evidence prior to trip and certainly wouldn’t have been photographed smiling in front of it.

    It is bizarre that this has not been thoroughly investigated however and makes me think the investigators are not doing a very good job at all.

  297. John Micerglobe Lasu says:

    I think the airline went beyond gravity, went to outer space

  298. Radaan says:

    Ok…Haven’t checked until now on what’s been said since yesterday. I’ll pose the question again for those of you who thinks it’s a suicide. Why…why…why…would someone who wanted to commit suicide…after apparently taking control of the plane when the transponders were turned off…then turned the plane around…fly for another 6 or so hours, in the dark…instead of just ditching the plane in the ocean immediately?

    • Amy says:

      Given all of the information that’s come out now, I think pilot suicide is the most likely reason for all of this.

      I’m guessing he chose to fly out into the Indian ocean for two reasons. One, he liked flying so much that he wanted to spend his last hours flying the plane over the open ocean. And two, he didn’t want anyone to find the wreckage so that someone (or multiple people) could benefit from an insurance policy.

  299. yvonne says:

    The whole investigation from now will be concentrating on WHY?

    Whatever is behind this very well planned abduction relied on the assumption the world would make that the plane has crashed.They are 7 days ahead and tracks will be covered well by now but we can with luck and a lot of help find out where it landed.

    Not likely the actual aircraft was the reason…………more likely the cargo, be it human or otherwise.

  300. Nicholas Robinson says:

    Scenario X87L9:

    There are two hijackers. They have somehow smuggled a gun on board. Or are using the old “fake bomb” trick. No matter.

    As the plane reaches cruising altitude, one of them walks up front, maybe pretending to get some water or use the restroom. Maybe he DOES have a liquid bomb; it doesn’t matter. He has waited for the flight attendant to open the cockpit door. He pounces, gets into the cockpit, then says the usual hijackery things and whatever he says freaks the pilots out enough to do what he says to do.

    He is now joined by hijacker #2. They are both semi-knowledgeable about aircraft systems — perhaps have small aircraft training.

    They tell the pilots that they want to fly to, say, Mecca. It doesn’t really matter. First, they order the pilots to turn off the transponder. Then, Hijacker #1 stays with the pilot while Hijacker#2 goes off with F/O to go turn off other devices.

    Meanwhile, Pilot is forced to make the turn, being watched carefully by Hijacker #1. He programs in waypoints heading for wherever it is that the hijacker wants to go. Surreptitiously, he somehow begins a slow climb, heading for past the ceiling of the 777. I’m not sure if he can somehow depressurize the plane by himself but his plan is to incapacitate everyone on board, don an oxygen mask and then retake control. At first, Hijacker #1 doesn’t know what’s going on — Hijacker#2 is still with F/O turning things off. He doesn’t have to know what things to turn off — he can just say “I know all about these planes, so you’d better turn everything off that can let the ground know where we are. Or I’ll set off the bomb. F/O, not wanting to take any risks, does at he is told.

    Rapid decompression suddenly occurs but Hijacker #1 twigs to what the pilot is doing and sits in F/O’s seat and avails himself of the F/O’s oxygen mask.

    From then on, my story becomes murky. But all the people in the back are out, maybe permanently. Hijacker #1 now tries to make sure pilot is taking them where he wants to go — or, perhaps both are incapacitated by the decompression, so now we have a plane programmed with a few waypoints — maybe even a destination — but with no one now at the controls, or perhaps one of the hijackers at the controls, the plane starts descending, ascending, whatever.

    But it keeps flying until it ultimately runs out of gas and crashes in unknown wilderness.

    I know there are enough holes in this theory you could drive battalions through — it’s much more likely that one of the pilots — probably the younger F/O — takes control of the plane and incapacitates the pilot, or, co-opts him in turning off all the relevant devices, then incapacitates him and perhaps the rest of the jet using the depressurization method, then finds himself alone at the controls perhaps with a landing strip in mind. Conversely, his intention all along has been to crash the plane; he just does not want any evidence to point to him for whatever reason.

    Maybe he gets smashed on little liquor bottles and passes out. Plane crashes.

    They seem to know that the plane actually went through certain waypoints — but I never heard precisely HOW they knew this. And if they knew that, why didn’t they know the approximate position of the plane when it finally went completely dark?

    Sure, my story is quite a tall tale. But I am willing to bet that one of the pilots was the perpetrator, for sure. There is no mystery about how one person could have been down below the cockpit shutting things down — the perpetrator could just have incapacitated the other pilot, or forced the other pilot to accompany him around the plane turning things off.

    Somehow, they are going to find out by hook or by crook if any of the passengers had evan a remote knowledge of flying — you can’t hide months of flight school from your friends and family. And a 777 pilot has made it quite clear that if you WEREN’T CHECKED OUT ON A 777 — say, you were checked out on an Airbus A320 — you would not have had the knowledge to go through the triple’s systems and know what to turn off or how to do it. Thus, this points again at one of the pilots. And I’m willing to bet it wasn’t the elder one.

    If you accept the facts that they have put on the table — that a human being must have done the things that were done after that last “Good night,” then you MUST accept that it was either one of the pilots or someone who HAD TRAINING ON A 777.

    This requires no scenario-inventing; it is simply an INCONVERTIBLE FACT based on what all the various entities have insisted happened. In the end, what happened to the plane does not really matter — safe to say it is not sitting on the runway at some remote jungle air strip — what matters is finding out who the perpetrator was. And only an atom-by-atom take-apart of every person on that plane is going to yield the answer of who the person was who did this.

    Planes do not program themselves, turn off specific instruments in order to thwart being found, or continue flying for indeterminate amounts of time.

    There should be no “mystery” about WHAT happened — the mystery should be in WHO did it and WHY they did it. And finding that out should possibly be the easiest thing of all to do, lacking the plane or any wreckage from it. You can take my mythical story and spin it 100 other ways, but the fact remains that this is a Whodunnit and not a Whereisit.

    At least, by deductive reasoning, that’s the only possible thing left to explain this mystery-that-shouldn’t-be-a-mystery.

  301. Apologies for the double posting.

  302. Pretty compelling evidence for a hijack, and probably an inside job. I’d look first at the cabin crew, with the rest of the team, including someone with pilot training, among the passengers. Weapon(s) smuggled aboard or stashed by maintenance or baggage handler. Most probable target some city in India.

    Cabin crew hijacker uses status to gain access to flight deck, the rest of the tragic and bloody scenario best left to the imagination. Purely guesswork, but if true, the remaining question is: why didn’t they complete their mission?

  303. Pretty compelling evidence of a hijack, and probably an inside job. I’d look to a member of the cabin crew rather than the pilots, with the rest of the team (including someone with pilot training) among the passengers. Weapon(s) smuggled aboard by crew member or stashed in advance by maintenance or baggage handler. Most plausible target some city in India.

    Cabin crew member uses status to gain access to flight deck, the rest of the tragic and bloody scenario can be left to your imagination. If all this guesswork is true, then the question is: why didn’t they complete their mission?

  304. GuyFawkes73 says:

    Put this in your pipe and smoke it……….you steal a plane, fly it to a pre-selected destination, say, Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean (home of the US military with a runway long enough to take off and land a 777 and within the 5 hour flying range), kill the passengers, load a nuke, and fly it to where every you want, and detonate. Instant false flag…..blame whomever you want….and makes for a very scary scenario.

  305. […] (See Smith’s fuller explanation of transponders, radar, cabin decompression, and other aspects of airline flying here.) […]

  306. Sid says:

    Is it theoretically possible to manually turn off or disconnect the ACARS?

    • Richard says:

      Yes, though based on other sources I have read (which sometimes are conflicting) even when off the system checks sat connection on a regular basis (the pings). This is probably done so when the system is turned back on there isn’t a lot of handshaking required to start sending and receiving actual data.

      Also, unlike some reports, the pings do not include location information. This would explain the two disparate course they are now searching. My guess it that they are reconstructing the path by communication transit time (converted to distance) to the satellite and other factors. Geometrically this could generate multiple paths in opposite directions.

  307. anon84816 says:

    Here is something I found on the pilot Zaharie Shah’s facebook january 2013

    Politics of fear.. This is what it’s boiled down to… Questioning the qualification of the individuals who dare to standup. (Anuar or Hadi .) These are our only hope to restore democracy. 50 years in power by a single party (coalition) does not say much about democracy in the country. If these leaders willing to stand in the line of fire the least we could do is support them. They might not be perceived to be the best candidate but sacrifice is necessary to achieve the goal of free democracy. When you renovate a house you have to suffer all the consequences. From dust, to the contractor that run off with the money, Aliens workers keeping an eyes on your family. WHY DO YOU RISK THAT? Because at the end after all the loss of extra ringgit for overprice items the contractor billed you and you elude the alien predators from robbing your house and harming your family you know it will be worthwhile.”

    Don’t know if that means anything but it shows he didn’t like the political situation in his country… at this point we have to scrutinize these details.

  308. yvonne says:

    Going back to suspects…..gotta be the 2 Iranians with the false passports……….so is plane in Iran now?

  309. J. Douglas says:

    Reports now say the engines pinged for about 8 hours. Iran itself is now theoretically within range.

    What was the flight time to Beijing? Isn’t it standard practice to add a couple more hours worth of fuel in case of circling or diversions?

  310. Pilotman says:

    I think it will still take some weeks before they find it. They don’t really know where is the aircraft and the surface where they have to look is so huge and still increasing everydays… RIP.

  311. Antionne says:

    It is very worrying that public and media attention are (intentionally?) diverted away from the plausible theory of decompression and damaged antennas scenario towards the more sensational (‘terror’, ‘lost’) speculations that ease off pressure from Boeing to be more forthcoming about potential problems with the 777. Can anyone out there attract the attention of serious reporters?

  312. Clues says:

    Not that easy to try to land, discretly, such a plane.
    Where can we find a small, but long enough (1,5km as it is the minimum landing distance of the 777 200er), airport in this area ?
    Some small island with an aiport…
    Impossible ?
    Look at Great coco island…..

  313. Cynic says:

    Is it possible to swap transponders?

    Could it be that the real MH370 transponders were on some other, smaller plane – a red herring to lead investigators astray?

    The small plane probably rode alongside MH370 for a while then separated into a zig-zag course, with its transponders giving off signals that everybody assumes were from MH370?

    So everybody runs off looking in the Indian Ocean, but the real MH370 probably flew stealth mode, just above the drink, to a secret location to be used later for a nefarious mission?

    In that case, search missions should be looking in the opposite direction from the Indian Ocean, near countries with poor or patchy radar, inefficient military or air force, probably within a 1000 miles of the coast of Malaysia.

  314. Jim Tucker says:

    I have not heard or seen anything that can’t be explained without invoking pirates, (calling Peter Pan) but it seems that nearly everyone is just leaping with joy at that explanation.

    Pat, am I way off here?

    If something happened to depressurize, and it interfered with flight crew O2 they had about 10 seconds of useful consciousness or so. Hard to tell what people losing the ability to think correctly might do. Their actions pitch the plane to 40000 feet or so, where nearly everyone on the plane is put to sleep by the lack of O2 already, except for a small number, perhaps, that manage to get some O2. They try to fly the plane, and perhaps they are fighting some control that is still engaged, but have no radio or other way to communicate. Since the plane was turned around it flies back across the islands where they try to land or do something, but they wind up flying out to sea, and crash.

    A damaged, broken, perhaps had a fire, plane with nearly everyone or everyone dead flying until it runs out of fuel.

    I just don’t see any evidence of pirates yet, without starting to make things up.

    Unless one thinks there is a pirate out there who thinks they are going to scare people by disappearing airliners like David Copperfield. As far as stealing one, I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t just lease one for a month, or knock off a cargo carrier.

    These big ones have controls, people with guns, safety doors, all sort of things that make it hard, and there are so many other easier way s to get a plane like that.

    Could be, but it seems like a leap.

  315. billbai says:

    Malaysia PM mentioned Turkey as a possible destination and I paste below some related notes that I have been collecting:

    1. There was Chinese Uighur passenger name: MAIMAITIJIANG/A, passenger 99 on manifest:
    http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/content/dam/mas/master/en/pdf/Malaysia%20Airlines%20Flight%20MH%20370%20Passenger%20Manifest_Nationality.pdf

    2. He apparently was flight simulator trained, had a PhD from the UK and was a lecturer in the electrical and electronics engineering department of a Turkish university:
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/missing-malaysia-airlines-jet-investigation-paying-special-attention-to-chinese-uighur-passenger-20140313-hvifh.html
    and
    http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/as-search-for-mh370-continues-police-take-close-look-at-uighur-passenger-cr

    3. Confusingly, there were other accounts that reported the sole Uigur on the plane under another name Memetjan Abdullah, a 35-year-old Uyghur oil painter from Kashgar:
    http://news.wypr.org/post/vanished-malaysian-airliner-carried-artist-whose-name-vanished-too

    4. Recently a Turkish cleric has called on jihad against Chinese:
    http://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/uighur-muslim-jihadi-we-are-coming-o-buddhists-killing-you-slaughtering-you-and-cutting-off-your-heads/

    But doesnt make sense, with so many other Muslims on board, how could they all be sacrificed. Unless the plane landed and they were removed, and the rest of them to be … on video tape, as has been done before. I am really hoping this is not the case, but it seems like Rupert Murdoch has been pushing this idea all along:
    http://news.oneindia.in/feature/missing-mh370-to-bin-laden-rupert-murdoch-finds-a-link-1412633.html
    and
    http://inagist.com/all/444652513476632576/

  316. billbai says:

    http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=0041c1b9-d938-4956-a88e-436c8fc8ba45&k=33368

    Post 911 planes can be controlled from outside and are uninterruptible…

    anyone can verify this?

  317. Are you kidding me? says:

    After all the comments you’ve posted here (and who knows where else?), you didn’t even realize such a simple and basic fact?

    Please step away from the keyboard for a while, I’m trying to get to the end of the comments and don’t need to have to skip over nonsense to get there.

    Thank you.

    • Are you kidding me? says:

      What the devil? My comment was NOT for the general audience here, but was most certainly a reply to Fiona.

      Issues with ReCaptcha re-directed my comment to top level somehow.

      Here’s what I replied to:

      ————
      > Fiona, please remember that Viet Nam airspace
      > is where MH370 was headed, NOT Chinese.
      ————
      >> oh. didn’t even realize. thanks
      ————

  318. B says:

    Interesting reading.

    Haven’t read all the comments, but Patrick, I have a question:

    First of all, could some sort of disastrous event — but not “smashing the plane immediately into smithereens” disastrous — cause the transponder to fail, then 14 minutes later, the data transmitter (is that the same as “ACARS”?) -I mean, a severe structural failure, perhaps involving rips in the plane… Couldn’t that kill one instrument, and only finally destroy another one 14 minutes later? (Via further structural rips, perhaps impacts of objects/ structure within the cockpit… or a fire that somehow survives briefly but does not consume the plane [how does fire fare in oxygen-deprived environment, anyway? if depressurization is involved?)

    -2nd question: If pilots/crew are incapacitated by hypoxia or other events, CAN the autopilot — whether swiftly programmed by a not-fully-incapacitated pilot, or, whatever — fly a course that includes going through those “navigational waypoints”? Or does that kind of flying imply an ABSOLUTE requirement that a person is at the controls?

    Could a confluence of events have come together to create this?

    Thank you for your thoughts. -B

  319. Pelegrin says:

    Have they discovered anything about either of those pilots which might point towards them being potentially suicidal?

    And if it wasn’t a pilot but someone else who managed to take control of the plane, well it’s a hell of a scenario to have someone on board who was not only capable of taking control of the plane but also knew what to do to direct the plane in a particular manner and effect the controls to hinder detection, and at the same time be suicidal.

    • LDC says:

      That is similar to my question–pilot suicide has been mentioned as a possibility since the beginning, so why haven’t we heard anything from people who knew the pilots (or the crew)? I’ve heard some personal stories about some of the passengers, but not about the pilots.

      • backpacker says:

        I am not on-board with the pilot suicide scenario. But in a related note, I am curious why the officials have not declared who actually said the final words “alright, good night”. Was it the Captain, First Officer, or neither? Speculation has been FO due to common practice, but I have not seen that officially confirmed.

        Malaysian Air has to have someone who can ID the voice print. Or Flight Control. Or even voice recognition software. Why has no one definitively said who done it? Give us that much, at least!

        Whatever answer they give, it would reduce, by half, the theories and speculation out there.

  320. fiona says:

    to borrow from the old “the butler did it” — who better than the crew to both gain access to the cockpit and subdue passengers

    if anybody BUT the crew did it — why didn’t the crew individually attempt to message for help as they would be first to know something was wrong/

  321. Van says:

    The main question is , was there anything worth stealing? Aircraft routinely transport currency and gold and other high valued items. If someone knew this, and would not hesitate to kill over 200 people (hence..no phone calls or msgs). then consider the following the sequence of events …..(1) whoever is in charge of the cockpit turns off the transponder (2) initiates a turn back toward Malaysia (3) dons his oxygen mask and starts to depressurize the aircraft .(4) the passenger masks deploy and he tells the passengers there is an emergency and to put on their masks (5) the aircraft is still at altitude so after 12 minutes the passengers all pass out and die (the plane flew another 30-45 min after turniing…passenger oxygen is only good for 12-15min0 ..(6) the pilot dumps some fuel to leave oil slick and misinformation (7) When close enough to landing field, drops below high altitude radar (8) lands at night somewhere where associates are waiting and has provided enough lighting.(9) cover the plane with tarps so it will not be seen easily from the air…(10) off load your loot……6days head start…..cnn, beauracracy and political egos extend their time

  322. Kim says:

    I understand that some of the communication equipment could have been shut off. Is it possible to shut off, or avoid communication with the black box?
    Thank you for all the information you have provided here to help me (us) understand the workings inside a plane!!

  323. Adrian Maher says:

    There has been a wave of sensational speculation regarding this MH370 flight from last week. But my thoughts concern the very nature of this flight. Firstly we know that it was a check flight for the FO on the 777. In that context, is it not conceivable that the Captain would have assigned a variety of theoretical diversions to simulate weather or engine failures, all while tracking to Beijing? I am a pilot and every check flight I have had involves untold torturous exercises, all theoretical. But to that point, if they would have practiced them, then surely the FO would have been required to enter these into the FMS? That could start to explain the track change, following the NAV Waypoints. Now consider the 12 year old 777. An FD has recently been released regarding possible slow decompression due to corrosion of a panel near the comms area. Given the context of such a busy cockpit, is it not reasonable to assume the pilots may have missed the alert for cabin pressure, supported by the possible mumbling on the radio shortly before loss? As far as the Transponder is concerned, this sits just below the left hand of the FO. Now we know Hypoxia can make people do funny stuff, so is it also now possible to imagine that the FO in his confused state disabled the Transponder to possibly encode 7700 but passed out before turning it back to transmit? If you accept the premies here, then the plane would have then flown onto IGARI waypoint, turned to follow the FMS flight plan amendment to Alor Star, following what ever Flight Level was entered in for that ‘theoretical’ track and then continued well on into the Indian Ocean. If you now accept all of this, given the flight time, the plane would have come down between Diego Garcia and Male in the Maldives.

    Please let me know your thoughts?

    • Ronald says:

      My thoughts are, “Thank you for some thought-provoking words!”

      This thread has been getting sadly more incoherent and you’re a breath of fresh air.

      Cheers

    • Jennifer says:

      My hypothesis: I think this is actually what most likely happened. And to add to your description-I think that while the plane was ascending to an elevation suitable for cruise control, there was a gradual decompression issue that set in especially during the 3 or so minutes after the pilots left Malaysian airspace and as they entered Vietnam else airspace. At this time the Japanese were trying to communicate with the pilot who is mumbling due to lack