News and theories about the missing Malaysian plane

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Angélique, Mar 25, 2014.

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  1. Navygate

    Navygate Previous Member

    OR, a combination of both.

    OR, neither!
  2. Navygate

    Navygate Previous Member

    You know, perpendicular to the plane?

    It seems someone took offence to my light-hearted approach here during a time of dwindling interest to this thread and gave me bad Rep Points.
    I'm sorry if my "Silly" response was misunderstood.
    I hope this clears things up and you can reverse the bad rep.
    I would have PM'ed you but because you failed to identify yourself, I couldn't.
  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    This isn't correct. The aircraft couldn't have accidentally changed course and altitude several times. This portion of the speculation, over all this is easy enough. The real questions are why these course and altitude changes where made and by whom.
  4. RHP
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    RHP Senior Member

    Ok here's my perspective:

    I disagree with the newspaper speculation the two pilots were locked out of the cockpit as someone physically switched off the transponder and changed course. The Malaysians now say they spotted the plane turn left and scrambled fighters to investigate - what did they find and why did they turn back? Too many physical events took place for it not to be caused back human intervention but was it the pilot or a passenger at the controls? The fact no one has claimed responsibility rules out terrorism and suggests suicide. That no one made radio contact with the authorities suggests a single-minded person who was executing a predetermined plan and outside contact would not change his mind. My conclusion is it was probably the senior pilot with a grudge against the world after his Malaysian politician friend was sent back to prison. It's a massive cry for help that his friend would understand, though equally disapprove of.

    What comes out of it is the incompetence of the Malaysian authorities, the fact that planes aren't watched during a flight, that it seems the authorities are half expecting at some stage for someone to steal a plane and fly it to an airbase somewhere. That black boxes should be modified from continuous pining for 30 days to 4x hourly pings for 60+ days. That transponders should not be able to be switched off and that planes should have panic buttons - better the authorities have the chance to react than wait 30 days til they find the black box to understand how they might have been able to intervene.

    And so it goes on. The greatest tragedy is the killer thought it appropriate to take 240 innocent, terrified people with him rather than having the courage to kill himself alone. I agree with all that car death statistics are far worse than air crashes however I guess we all feel more vulnerable in a plane because we are out of our element.

    Edit: as an afterthought, I believe there's a LOT of things that governments know that we're not being told, there's a lot more to this than meets the eye.
  5. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    There are still absolutely no facts except for a few pings, some of which were from wildly different locations, and the approximate location of the plane, which itself is based on a new, unproven and rather speculative computative method, no sign of wreckage as of yet. The Malaysian authorities are incompetent and unworthy of our reposing any trust in their statements. The Chinese claims may be a blend of guesswork, hopeful thinking and fishing for information on their meighbours military capabilities.

    Theories about pilots with spotless reputations and virtually no motives or history of political or other extremism are just that, theories. The path of the plane could just represent a long and courageous battle by dedicated professional flyers to save their plane and their pasengers against hopeless odds.

    I doubt this is Captain Schettino over again, but it may turn out to be be Captain Sullenberger. A lot of folk could end up with egg on their faces here. After a month of feeding on this story things are slow and the media is desperately seaching for something remotely meaningful to put on our TVs and newspapers and will give air time to any claptrap without any investigative journalism or attempt at verification. They don't have to worry about being accused of lies - it's someone else spouting it.

    Hopefully they will be exonerated by some actual truth although I suspect it will be a long time coming. If they are, I hope their relatives sue the individuals making these baseless claims for all their worth, and win big. No doubt they will try to hide behind claims they were "just speaking for the government" just like all politicians everywhere.
  6. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Do you think ? No distress calls were picked up, surely there is sufficient redundancy in radio com that the odds of a plane being able to fly on for hours, but unable to communicate are near non-existent.
  7. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    I have read a possible scenario of an inflight emergency where both the communications equipment and navigation systems got fried. An electrical fire for example (caused by one of those unstable battery packs perhaps?) could have disabled all communications, and released toxic gas into the passenger compartment. climbing to high altitudes and evacuating the cabin air is a possible means of suppressing a fire. The sudden coarse change would have put in into the direction of the nearest airport large enough to land it. If the flight crew and passengers were overcome by smoke and toxic fumes from burning plastic and insulation the plane could have just keep flying until it ran out of fuel, which is what many of the possible flight paths suggest.

    This has happened before, a few years ago an Olympic Airways flight from I think Crete climbed out and cruised North toward the main land. They over flew their airport without any radio contact, flying straight and level. Fighters were scrambled in fear of another 911 hijacking, but the fighter pilots pulled along side and could see both the flight crew and all the passengers through the windows were out cold. they just flew along side it until it ran out of fuel and crashed in the mountains deep within eastern Europe. they were helpless to do anything, it was presumed there was some kind of failure of the cabin air system or a malfunction that released poison gas that put everyone to sleep. the aircraft flew on autopilot until it ran out of fuel.

    what would be the point of flying out of fuel to kill yourself? why not just nose over and hit the water at high speed? So the suicide theory does not really fit the evidence.

    The problem with the in-flight emergence scenario is it does not quite fit all of the available data. however, as pointed out, what they claim to know seems to be in flux. Subject to changes, and so it is hard to know for sure what can be considered facts about the flight. But this is in my mind a plausible scenario, particularly since there has been some bad history with those high tech unstable back up batteries. But also, another possibility is a botched attempt at a high jacking.

    we just do not know until we have verified information.
  8. irineos
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    irineos land architect

    Petros, here you go:

    Something similar may have happened even though there seems to be a lot we're not been told. Hopefully some good will come of it if they ever find out what happened and why.

  9. GhostriderIII
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    GhostriderIII Junior Member

    Odds are the a/c is in one of two places: Diego Garcia - where it's been cut up already and two somewhere in between Penang and DG. No indication of where the Ocean Shield was btwn 20 Mar and 04 Apr, nor where the UK sub was. Of note DG is operated by the UK and is leased to the USN.
  10. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    What I meant is we don't know if there was an accident after the deliberately actions or if there were only deliberately actions without an accident.

    A - After the deliberately course and altitude changes the plane could also been deliberately crashed (or parked somewhere, but this is not likely) by those who were in charge at the time, which isn't an accident.

    B - They could have accidently crashed the plane after the deliberately actions when things went uncontemplated wrong for them.

    A or B, that's what we don't know.
  11. Sailor Alan
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    Sailor Alan Senior Member

    Malaysa 370

    I just came across this discussion. Clearly i have a lot to learn about these forums.

    As one of the designers of this airplane, i feel i might be in a unique position to answer some of your questions. I do agree we are being badly served by the media, it’s hard to tell actual facts from speculation, much of which is very cruel.

    The ‘pingers’ were given 30 days of battery life because no one could imagine needing a longer time to find them. As it was, getting the 30 days approved was a struggle, weight is a big deal on airplanes.
    The transponders are (designed to be) normally turned on as part of the final check before takeoff, and off as soon as a plane lands. This is to prevent a ‘pipper’ or indication, from every plane on the airport from cluttering up the screen. Any of you pilots could confirm actual airline practice.
    As to an ‘emergency’ switch, or button, the pilots have one, the radio transmit switch. Any transmission from any airplane anywhere is monitored, recorded, and sometimes capable of triangulation. Some planes have 2 or more of these buttons per pilot, i cant remember on the 777.
    Having contacts in Boeing, the Australian air force, and the New Zealand air force, i can tell you the Malayan government is doing its best to share all the information it knows. It, like most responsible people, refuses to speculate, and announce information that is not confirmed, or verified. Good on them for this.
    The Chinese sent transport airplanes, not their antisubmarine aircraft, so are poorly equipped for this duty. They are doing their ‘best’ in a very public arena to which they are not at all used. The Malaysian antisubmarine/search aircraft do not have the legs to even get to the search area. Frankly searching in that ocean is pretty hard work. Have any of you guys been in it? With waves like that, flying at 200kt, and even at 500’, unless the wreckage happened to be at the top of a swell at the time you glanced at it, the chances of your seeing it are pretty marginal. This is VERY tiring searching, and the mental strain from knowing your blinking at the wrong moment might miss a vital clue is harsh. Satellite photos from vertically above will show ‘glare’ from any shiny object, especially plastic sheeting. Unfortunately a boat could pass by one of these objects and be on the other side of a wave, and never see it. Regardless, i am a bit amazed there has been no floating debris found, lots of things from an airplane float, including all cabin cushions, and passenger baggage.

    Accident. Though the aircraft status reporting system on this 777 was less sophisticated than later versions, it would have reported on major electrical failures. The chance of any failure, even a major fire, taking out the communications system(s) are basically zero. The incredible number of redundancies, and alternate sources of power/information, was designed specifically to rule out this possibility.

    Flight path. I am inclined to the senior pilot suicide theory, but it is just that, a theory. Apparently he had his wife and children leave him the day before, and his political colleagues arrested the day or so before too. He could have decided to take his own life, its happened before. The most shocking was an Egypt Air 767.
    Pilots do need to use the bathroom, and he could have waited until his co-pilot left the cab, then to somehow lock the door. I don't remember how this door lock is reprogramed. This door opens toward the main cabin, so he could not have ‘blocked’ it in this way. IF he had locked/reprogramed the door, it would have been a clear signal to the cabin staff that something was wrong, and they had several methods at their disposal for communication to authorities. I doubt this happened.
    He could have taken the Co-pilots life, a meat skewer through the neck for instance, but it would have needed a deft and quick move against the younger man.
    IF the report that the voice report, ‘Goodnight etc’ was made AFTER the turn back toward Malaysia, then this indicates the alternate pilot was already in control at this time, strongly implicating whoever this voice was. I think they have ascertained this was the older pilot, but have not heard conclusively.

    The latest projected course turning north between Malaysia and Indonesia implies a radar evading course, and if done at lower level, kind of confirms that. Please note, not even all of Europe, nor North America, is completely covered by radar, the most sophisticated airspace environments in the world. ATC has always relied on responsible reporting of aircraft position by PIC (Pilots in Command), even in the days when they didn't really know this very accurately. Now we use PIC’s reports backed up by ACARS.

    Now we get into the realms of speculation, and poor actual reporting of FACTS. Did the airplane climb to 45,000’, and when. First i am impressed it made it to 45,000’ with that fuel load, but at that altitude it would have been at full climb power, very nose high (high alpha) and must eventually have stalled. If the pilot (or whoever was in the cockpit) turned off the cabin pressurization, most people would die a few breaths after the PSU’s oxygen ran out, but still long enough for someone to possibly call for help. If the pilot also climbed to 45,000’, the life expectancy for all on board would be correspondently far less, and indeed a not unpleasant way for the pilot to die. There is still the possibility that a crew person could use the emergency crew oxygen bottles on board for 30 minuets (i think) or more of life, and could still have somehow raised the alarm.

    The pilot may have done this to remove the embarrassing passengers even if he planed on another destination. Did things go wrong with his plan at this time. More speculation.

    Subsequently to the stall and automatic recovery, the plane would have flown on under autopilot, apparently at full climb power, until it ran out of fuel. There is the possibility the automatic systems triggered the RAT (Ram Air Turbine) when it ran out of fuel, and the plane glided to a ‘landing’ in the water under full control. In this case, the fuselage might have remained intact, a tribute to the strength of the aircraft, and NO debris released into the water at all. In which case we might find the airplane ‘landed’ wheels up, on the ocean floor.
    An incredible incident, and one which will have consequences in the design and equipment of future aircraft.
    If i can answer any specific questions, i will.
    2 people like this.
  12. Navygate

    Navygate Previous Member

    Wow Alan, good for you, thank you.
    I am a bit surprised that given your involvement in the airline industry, you have only just come upon this thread. So be it.
    Thank you for your valuable input.
  13. pdwiley
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    pdwiley Senior Member

    Yeah - basically what I said some time ago. I spent years at sea working on oceanographic research vessels and fishing vessels.

    Sometimes we couldn't find stuff where we knew precisely what the location was. Sometimes we couldn't find stuff we knew was on the surface within 2 nautical miles of us. Sometimes stuff we put on the bottom, in a known location, wasn't there when we came back, or refused to talk to us. When you're dealing with depths of 5000m plus, life gets interesting.

    So not finding any sign of wreckage doesn't surprise me at all. It's a big deep ocean out there and it often isn't very flat, either.

    As you say, if the plane put down in one piece then sank, that'd explain the lack of floating debris. Until it's found, who knows? Perhaps it was ET looking for friends....

  14. GhostriderIII
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    GhostriderIII Junior Member

    I'd still be looking in the Moluccan Straits instead of Oz. The sat data was inconclusive and the pings picked up were in the wrong khz range. The pilot did have on his home computer alternate landing sites that included DG. Somewhere btwn DG and Penang is where I would still be searching. Eyewitness accounts of low flying wide-body a/c that morning were not discounted. Malayan officials bungling of this unfortunate disaster - has me wondering what else they are not telling us.

    I have been an observer during SAR missions over that region many years ago and as a ship's captain avoiding pirates there too.

  15. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    So what was pushing out those underwater signals that were picked up down south just recently ?
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