WHAT happened to Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370?
- The aircraft, a Boeing 777, disappeared from Secondary Radar at 01 20 on the 8th March whilst on route to Peking.
- There are over 1000 Boeing 777 flying to day and more on order from Boeing.
- At the time it was only the third total hull loss of this type of aircraft.
- At the time the only previous fatal accident was at San Francisco when an Asiana aircraft hit the sea wall on final approach because the Korean pilot could not fly the aircraft manually.
- The pilot, Captain Ahmad Shah who was a check and training Captain and First Officer Abdul Hamid did not request to fly together and was selected for the flight by a computerised rostering system. Their private lives could not be linked in any way thus dispelling any conspiracy between them.
- Captain Shah had a sophisticated Flight Simulator in his house; big deal, so have I but not so expensive as his!
- The aircraft registration 9M-MRO, serial number 28420 was a little over half life.
- We have had missing aircraft before but nothing quite like this.
Captain Shah was extremely upset that his close friend Anwar bin Ibrahim, leader of the opposition, had recently been jailed for 5 years for sodomony and wished to correct, what he saw, as gross injustice . He decided to take the ‘plane over to do some dastardly deed with it, and to return to Malaysian airspace, after turning off the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, (ACARS), the Transponder, the Cockpit Voice Recorder, and the Digital Flight Data Recorder. He chose his moment Just prior to calling Ho Chi Min Flight Information Region (HCM FIR) having been told by Lumpur Flight Information Region that his flight had been handed over. For seconds and often minutes you are in “no mans land” at this point.
When the aircraft turned back, it was tracked by Malaysian Armed Forces primary radar. At this point Captain Shah attempted to negotiate the release of his friend and gave the Authorities 5 hours to comply before crashing the aircraft into the Indian Ocean. No Malaysian military aircraft was scrambled and it was not until 5 hours later that Fl. MA370 was reported missing. Negotiations had failed and the aircraft was now well on its way over the Indian Ocean, watching the sun coming up.
This has allegedly been documented in an Email to CNN and a Malaysian tabloid.
Deal breaker for this scenario.
- The FO would not have left his seat at this point of the Sector. The work load can be quite high when establishing contact and entering a new FIR. The Captain would have to incapacitate the FO ; the cockpit fire axe would work , as it has on previous “hi-Jacks” , but as soon as the Captain left his seat to get the axe the FO would take some defensive action including a “hi-jack” call.
- A few “frequent flyers” would have noticed and commented on the aircraft turn back.
- The Captain would never be sure just what the Malaysian Armed Forces would do to prevent his “hi-jacking”.
- If I had been the Captain with fanatical political thoughts ( and a Muslim of course) and negotiations failed I would not monotonously track over the Indian Ocean whilst passengers are trying to kick the cockpit door down; I would have put the aircraft into that magnificent unique ornate railway station in Kuala Lumpur!
This scenario has just too many holes in it.
This possibility has been banded about by conspiracy theorists and those who know nothing about the operation of large commercial aircraft.
The aircraft turned back towards KL(undisputed) then turned North West towards the “ ‘stans” and landed in one of the airfields up there.
Deal breaker for this Scenario.
- It takes about 250,000 USDs worth of ground handling equipment to ensure a wide body aircraft can be “ re-launched”. An aircraft tug and tow bar cost me nearly 100,000 USD nearly 30 years ago! 50 Taliban pushing on the landing gear just wouldn’t work.
- Where’s the passengers?
This is a non-starter.
Prior to take off a fire started in the MEC located under the cockpit floor. This is home to to all communication equipment and the wire looms for the “black boxes”. Unfortunately the crew emergency oxygen bottle is also located there. There have been over 20 cases of fire in this area on this type of aircraft always starting on engine start up but usually detected before take off; non have been fatal but all caused extensive damage.
Mh370 took off with a fire under the cockpit floor and was not detected by the crew. 30 minutes after take off the aircraft reached its cruise altitude (FL350), the fire was now serious and they probably begun to smell it. The structure was weakened and with a pressure of 8.3 pounds per square inch on it an explosive decompression occurred. This took out many avionic boxes including communications and destroyed the Crew Emergency Oxygen bottle. Aircraft can still fly with a relatively small hole blown in the side and ironically on depletion of cabin pressure there is a total depletion of oxygen thus immediately extinguishing the fire.
Now there is no oxygen to the crew ( the passengers would have had 8-12 minutes with their emergency supply), the temperature inside the aircraft is minus 53 Centigrade, and the crew instinctively go through their “total loss of cabin pressure” well rehearsed routine. Before being totally overcome by hypoxia they were able to give the Flight Management System a few commands that would have turned the aircraft back to Kuala Lumpur automatically. These commands were neither totally correct or complete. Sadly the crew were soon brain dead ; the aircraft never reached the lower life sustaining altitude and the cabin occupants sadly succumbed to the same fate . For many hours people on the ground rung passenger and crew mobile telephones, which rang but were not answered. The aircraft then flew for approximately 8 hours as a ghost flight over the Indian Ocean.
Deal breakers on this scenario
There isn’t any!
The exact cause of the aircraft demise we know not. The lack of the whereabouts of the aircraft is due to the lack of action by the Malaysian Armed Forces on the night that an unidentified aircraft showed up on their Primary Radar screen. A pair of interceptor fighters should have been immediately launched to investigate the “intruder”. By viewing the aircraft a lot can be established and if it was a “ghost” flight then arrangements could be made to “hand over” the visual surveillance to other countries viz. Indonesia, Singapore and Australia until MH370 run out of fuel and ditched. I think the most classical massive blunder was the answer from the defence minister, Hishammuddin Hussein when he was asked by an Australian TV station why Malay did not scrabble interceptors to investigate this “intruder”, he replied “but we are not at war with anyone and there is no aerial hostilities against us”. Although this man has a British master degree in Law I have to ask myself what Kampong pokok he came out of! He failed to add that the military radar operators were all asleep and they didn’t watch the radar recorded video until the next morning.