MH370 Day 6: tracking the missing flight

We don’t have anything to add today to the self-explanatory news in the last 24 hours that electronic signals tracked Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 and this is increasingly being viewed as a criminal act.

This graphic is worth reproducing here, based on a Reuters article and published on Twitter, depicting the route of the airplane.

35 Comments on “MH370 Day 6: tracking the missing flight

  1. Veer Savarkar International Airport (IXZ), Port Blair, Andaman Island has a 10,800′ runway. I suppose IXZ has already been looked at?

  2. Thank you for your updates. I would dispatch immediately a SR 72 to take some photos at Port Blair which seams to me to be the only one with at least 10,000
    My earlier theory and prayers seams to surface. I do hope all the passengers are OK. Is the cargo manifest ever been released?

    • Good point, re: cargo manifest Stefano Perer. Ironically, I was just visiting Singapore & KL. Singapore has one of the largest gold depots in the world, along with a thriving jewel market. The security in both airports was both polite and severe, as are the penalties for breaking them. I too hope the passengers are OK, yet the ‘fake’ passports have me baffled. Both airports seem to be crawling with friendly “travelers”, who ask a lot of questions.

    • If such an “SR72” spy plane existed…

      I know Malaysian Airlines will try to pin this on Boeing, like they did on the first day. Perhaps they’ll take a swipe at RR, too.

  3. Geeze—- that rules out any accident, decompression, etc. Either it landed on an island or was driven into the deep …..

    By who- for why ??

    • The 777 is not down safety anywhere. You don’t hide a 777

      Criminal activity mans one of the pilots took it off (or the world most knowledgeable and intelligent hi-jackers who then could not figure out where to go to go other than out into the Indian ocean.

      SR71 has been retired years back. .

    • How does this “rule out” an accident or decompression? I can understand if it is lower down in the list of possibilities with the information we have. What I’d like to know is why 230+ other people on board couldn’t make any sort of distress call/text home during such a kidnapping, At the very least, the cabin crew could have sensed something was terribly wrong and made some attempt to pass information to the ground.

      • Basically you have to look at what is plausible vs fiction.

        Decompression drops oxygen masks. Assume that did not happen and .

        Aircraft continues straight ahead on auto pilot (one U2 did it and the golfer Paine). That is up through Vietnam more or less. That did not happen.

        Decompression followed by erratic inputs by the damage and or pilots in hypoxia and then incapacitated is getting into a serious stretch. It could happen but then you have an erratic aircraft wandering around in the vicinity at random.

        You also have to believe that it would shutdown the Transponder AND the ACARS system (data, not the ping). and not damage any other flight critical systems. That is beyond selective.

        You then have to find a mechanism the aircraft successfully makes a 120 degree turn (from that track and from the last Radar pickup if thats true),
        then makes a series of turns all the while maintaining altitude with pilots dead.

        Or you can assume a human agent, be it hi-jack or terrorist.

        If they knew enough to turn a transponder off (not a huge stretch but a bit) but also the ACARS, but so capable to fly a 777 and then did not know where to go but successfully flew an aircraft for 5 hours with what intent?

        I am a rated pilot (commercial with instrument rating) I have flown the simulators but I have to turn over speed and stall portion off as I tend to rip the wings off once I start to maneuver the aircraft. It is not easy as the movies make it. Short periods periods daylight yes, this kind of stuff in the DARK, absolutely NOT. Get into one and try it, its impossible unless you know how to fly instruments in the dark. Vertigo sets in and its over.

        That gets into such an implausible set of processes and events (and no one has identified anyone in the passenger list that would fit that profile).

        On the other hand, there are a number of cases of pilots going off their rocker and committing suicide. If you remove the why and ask WHO, the you would have person with the technical ability to make the aircraft do what its obviously done, its a pilot. In the cases of suicide the pilot got or waited for the other pilot to leave the cockpit and locked him out , or in the case of Egypt Air suicide waited until he left (that pilot made it back but instead of knocking the co-pilot in the head he assumed it was a mistake and got into his seat, at which point the co-pilot aka suicide turned the engines off). You can also bash the other guy over the head with a heavy object (fire extinguisher and I believe there may be a fire axe in the cockpit). It would be messy (per the FedEX DC10 attempt and could push someone into a completely fugue state with no longer a clear goal though thats gettign into an area I have no clue on nor evidence.

        No its not pretty, no there is no motivation listed as I don’t know nor really care.

        The test is, does it explain all the technical l aspects of what occurred? I have yet to find a hole in the reasoning. Its explains all of them.

        you can back-fill the so called motivation if you want (the authorities would, nothing I can do about that as its a pilot screening issue that obviously has failed on a number of occasions now)

        Do I keep looking for other explanation, yes. But I have said for along time now that the reason there was no wreak (debris) found was the aircraft was flown out of the area. It could have as easily been off to the East or S.E. into the South China sea and the same situation, no debris as no one was looking and its now so scattered to be unlikely to be spotted. If it is its been so long a back drift calculation is going to result in 10s if not hundreds of thousand of square miles to look.

        • What I’m saying is that, given the information, accident or decompression is improbable, but not impossible. If it was a hijack, I would still like to know why 230+ people and cabin crew did not attempt to make any sort of distress call with their phones for several hours. Do you assume that the pilot figured out a way to silently knock out everybody else in the plane? Like deliberately depressurizing while deploying the oxygen supply only for himself?

          Hypoxia does not have to kill someone instantly and it may result in altered state of consciousness, leading to erratic inputs. If we look at Helios 522 (, even though the flight crashed about 3 hours after the problem set in, ” Autopsies on the crash victims showed that all were alive at the time of impact, but it could not be determined whether they were conscious as well.” So, I don’t see why we can rule out a disoriented, feeble pilot making confused inputs sending the plane on an erratic path, and fiddling about with the communications controls messing it all up.

        • The question is, of course, that if someone aboard with malicious intent wanted the aircraft (-or an aircraft) to unsuspiciously disappear without a trace, why not do it instead on a regular MAS 777-200ER flight to, say, Frankfurt, where it would have had the correct flightpath through the waypoint sectors towards the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

      • What I’d like to know is why 230+ other people on board couldn’t make any sort of distress call/text home during such a kidnapping

        Perhaps there was no cell phone tower out in the ocean?

    • (if) ‘A deliberate act’, by who ? … that’s an easy one : by one or more of the 239 individuals who were known to have boarded MH-370 (+ blind passengers ?). For why ? Again, a guestimate comes to my mind, if reformulated into “whose purpose does the crime serve ?”. Look at the timing and look at the effect : all the world’s Media and Agencies fixing their spotlights onto ASEAN, away from … Crimea, Ukraine … ? As (if) a ‘deliberate act’, the obfuscation of 9N-MRO has the fingerprints of a first-rate state Agency … follow my eyes, who wants a Datcha In Crimea ?

  4. He said SR-72, not SR-71. The SR-72 is the supposed replacement for the SR-71. But you do not need a secret airplane (whether real or imagined) to do that kind of recon, the U-2 would do just fine.

  5. My mistake, early am and a U2 would do fine (or a Global Hawk or?)

    ELTs go off on hard landing (short strip) or under any control (ditch or into jungle) That leaves bloop.

  6. If hijacking is a credible scenario, could Phuket have been a possible target? it seems plane was heading there at some time. Clashes between army and some Southern Thailand communities did occur in the early 2000s. This does not explain change of direction to Andaman of course. Maybe pilots, once they realized hijacker’s intent, distracted them and flew towards empty sea to save tourists lives. At this stage every unlikely theory seems possible.

  7. I would more than welcome input on the PIL theory (Pilot Induced Lost)

    Once you rule out logic (a human being would not do that) and accept they not only could but have done so in the past it tracks. Again no idea on why and the different from normal suicide pattern (typically they just stuff it in).

    If we ignore the illogic of why someone would do it and see if it tracks that they could do it then it tracks terribly well.

    And for anyone’s knowledge, I grew up on CAAA/FAA field stations in Alaska, we had a close connection to flying even for a state that is closely connected by everyone with flying .

  8. Scott: Can we get a link to the track shown? It looks like locate points but no one has said you can do that with a ping, balloon symbols look like a goggle lat and lat, but the two color dots are?

    Obviously not a transponder fix as they extend West of the first white one at last known location. Pings and direction change for a white one? The non white dots seem to be on a line with no track change.

    Last one is the final ping?

  9. What are the odds of an unknown sequence of events ending with successfully ditching the plane in water? The Asiana crash has shown how resilient the 777 is. Then it would have sunk in one piece, a la Hudson River A320. No debris. Possibly a deeper sea.

    Assuming a criminal intent still sounds like rushing to a conclusion. Even with a 10-man army somehow hiding on board, 220 people don’t just get subsumed like that.

  10. Anyone know what the recording time of the black box is on the 777? Remember the Helios flight which depressurised, it flew on for so long the recordings of when the event happened had been wiped.

  11. With all the experts media talking how nobody yet had considered:

    1) why the cargo manifest is still unknown
    2) could have the aircraft be stolen ? (for its cargo)
    3) the ACARS messages that can’t be turned off because the circuit breaker is in the electronic bay (under the cockpit) could indicate that a second set of pilots got the controls. Its original crew would have know that engines have transponders and would have pulled that breaker for a complete stealth operation.
    4) could these 2 pax with fake documents be ATPs (Airline transport Pirates)
    5) the accident happen at night so no outside references for any passenger to trig any alarm and probably the IFIS also had be turned off therefore no map to show its heading.
    6) to disable any interference from the passenger the cabin altitude could have be
    altered too.
    7) Port Blair in the Andaman Island has more than 10,000f. runway and 6000 are enough for a B777
    8) when the disappearance of MH370 was noted? giving to the potential pirates the advantage of 5 hours time?
    9) any other unusual flying activity in the areas of interest?

    still unanswered question:
    Why only now the engines ACARS information is surfacing? to cover up the military surveillance capability of the states involved?

    I am praying that I am right that the randevouz with another aircraft have been done so we will have back our passengers and the B777. it would be awesome.

    • My thoughts exactly. It’s what, or who was on board, that could be the target.

  12. In one report this morning it seems that after a couple of erratic turns near the island of Phuket the aircraft maintained a steady heading to the NW, however it seems the aircraft climbed steadily to 45,000 ft (close to the operational ceiling of the 777) and then dropped back down to 23,000 ft. The Malaysian Air Force has at least one Air Defence 3D radar that I know of and possibly a couple more. These would be able to give the target’s range and height but not it’s identity. My conclusion is that the pilot put the aircraft into a slow steady climb to ensure that it climbed above the radar horizon which at 45,000 ft extends the range of detection out to around 275 nm. In this way the pilot would hope that his position would be detected by someone. Presumably however this gradual assent was eventually noticed by someone who immediately ensured the aircraft dropped back down to 23,000 ft and probably below the radar horizon which at that height would reduce the detection range to around 180 nm. This would certainly match the facts and suggest that one of the pilots was still at the controls but probably under duress.

    I think it is also significant that the turn from its original track towards Vietnam was initiated after leaving Malaysian control but before connecting with the Vietnam ATC organisation. This gave a window of opportunity to turn off the SSR transponder and initiate the turn before any concerns were raised by Vietnam ATC. This would suggest a deliberate attempt to deceive the ATC authorities and hide the reversal of course. It is just too convenient for this to have happened by chance. I strongly believe this is an extremely sophisticated hijacking but for what purpose goodness knows.

  13. I am completely baffled by this and I am also guessing: Somali pirates ? The 777-200 could possibly have made it all the way to an abandoned airstrip in Somalia, just across the Indian ocean. A long flight over land (India, China) seems very improbable as the jetliner would have been detected by military radar systems.

  14. 2C; I too am completely baffled by this, though I’m far from “Somali pirates”. This could be the most sophisticated heist in history, which includes cooperating ground people. As Mr. Perer above notes twice, MA has not released the cargo manifest, and at this point, I doubt they will. Off the record, supposedly all Ukraine’s gold left for New York last week, in the middle of the night. Next door Singapore has a lot more-to be sure.

  15. granted no one yet knows for sure- but what I find somewhat amazing is that for the most part- most news agencies and even the malay prime minister seem to want to avoid occams razor. Now that its fairly certain it was a hijack- well planned- by ?? , many want to insist that the jacker wanted to land the plane somewhere, hold chinese for ransom, steal a cargo full of gold, etc. Possibly true. But that process gets back to the pre 911 version of how /why a person-persons wanted to hijack a plane . . .

    Yet to be mentioned a ” simple ” terrorist act by one or two persons who want to be martyrs and enjoy the 50 virgins . . . fly to the deepest part of the ocean- as far away from land/islands/radar, air traffic and ‘ put it in…put it in ” With a 400 to 500 mile radius of a search area- it may be a while before any wreckage is spotted, and what with drift, wind, waves, etc, perhaps thee pinger ELT will have run down . . .

    Doesn’t take a crew, does take a long time planning, dodging known radar, etc.

  16. Pingback: Large debris field spotted in MH370 search–is it from the airplane? | Leeham News and Comment

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