Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by UMBS Go Blue, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    9,900
    ...and none of the countries involves in the search can spend unlimited amount of resources to continue the search indefinitely. At some point even Malaysia will have to end the search if nothing comes up.

    I do hope all the airlines will make modifications to their planes so that each plane can always be tracked and that things like the transporder cannot be shut off manually.
     
  2. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2001
    Messages:
    11,167
    FWIW, Alf majored in aerospace engineering and worked for years on military aircraft. He's been reading about this every day, and still thinks it was an unfortunate combination of mechanical failures.

    Just think about it. First of all, if there was a hijacking, why make it look like an accident? What's the point? And hijacking a plane like this, making it disappear for a week with no word from its 200+ occupants and landing it on a mysterious island (with an equally mysterious runway suited for a plane that size) has never been done before. Even the 9/11 hijackers only had to point their planes toward a building. You can't learn to land a plane like this from watching YouTube. And surely ONE of the 200+ passengers would try to make a call or send a text or something. You have to make all sorts of crazy assumptions to get any of that to work.

    Alf sent me this link from a retired pilot, and it's almost jaw-dropping how simple the explanation is. https://plus.google.com/106271056358366282907/posts/GoeVjHJaGBz

    That pilot basically says, there was a fire that made them turn off the electronics. (That's what you do with an electrical fire.) The pilot realized he needed to land the plane ASAP, and made an immediate turn for the closest airport he knew of. He's a senior-level pilot, of course he would know the closest airports wherever he was. But he just ran out of time. The smoke probably overcame them and the plane crashed.

    Occam's razor. The simplest explanation with fewest assumptions.
     
    mag and (deleted member) like this.
  3. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    5,034
    That's a nice simple explanation, but I'm not sure how well it works if the problem was a fire, especially given how long the plane flew afterward. As for the rest, perhaps if it was a hijack, they made the pilots fly the plane in a certain way. The passengers could have been incapacitated. Unless it's a plane with wifi, the passengers might not have had any easy way to communicate their distress.

    As an aside, IIRC, the Swiss flight he mentions wasn't trying to ditch in the ocean; it wasn't a botched water landing, it was a crash.

    ETA: I've mostly been reading James Fallows's posts about this - he addresses theories as they come up and discusses which ones do or don't make sense. Patrick Smith's updates on his Ask The Pilot site are also good. In their most recent updates, Fallows brings up a Tintin story and Smith addresses this wacky theory:
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  4. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2001
    Messages:
    11,167
    I still think it's impossible to keep a hijacking quiet this long. Corrupt governments can't hide this sort of thing forever - our news media only wants to get the scoop. Nobody owes anyone anything.

    Someone would have taken responsibility. Somebody would have demanded ransom. And surely, if they just wanted a plane, there would be easier ways of getting it than kidnapping 200+ civilians from multiple countries. Once we find out who they are, there will be multiple powerful countries hunting for them. Not like the US going after Osama bin Laden by our lonesome, but China too especially. Where would they find the time to hide a 777 and retrofit it if China is gunning for them? The US could just send a drone out and they would be done for in a week. And if we knew a 777 was out on the loose for whatever reason, every ATC and radar seeker would be looking out for it. If nobody replies from it, it gets shot down. Why take that chance by hijacking a fully-loaded passenger jet before the main event?

    The most brilliant and yet moronic hijackers ever, if that was the case. They have plenty of good reasons not to, while only one reason for success.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  5. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    5,034
    Hijackers can be moronic, and they can fail - the Ethiopian flight mentioned earlier in this thread being a classic example of both.
     
  6. skategal

    skategal Bunny slave

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,766
    Yes he is quite wrong about the Swiss Air flight. Air traffic control up the North Atlantic Coast knew the flight was in trouble due to the 'Pan, Pan, Pan' distress signal given by the crew. The crew were instructed to land in Halifax, NS as it was the closest airport but plunged in the ocean while trying to dump fuel before landing.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/timeline-swissair-111-crash-investigation-1.1048424
     
  7. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2001
    Messages:
    17,504
    Maybe not. If it is the pilots who are responsible, the easiest thing for them is to steal one of the planes that they know how to fly and can access easily from an airport they are fully authorized to use. Otherwise, how easy is it to get a plane? Especially one that can go long distances if that was the plan all along?

    As for the passengers, collateral damage. If they are on some mission that they believe in, 200 people is nothing - and in fact necessary as part of the ruse of obtaining a big plane.

    And here's a thought - maybe the pilots were actually delivering the plane to someone else, so they are either in it because they believe in some cause, or they are being paid to deliver it. They land/deliver the plane, take their money and disappear, and they're out of it. Whoever bought the plane now has the issue of dealing with the passengers (and any additional crew not in on it). Next job, deal with the plane.

    True, to retrofit the plane for private use and cover up it's previous identity is likely a big job - or is it? If they people who bought it paid a couple of pilots to steal it, maybe they have other people who can basically chop shop it. Or, and this is a scary thought, maybe the intention is for the plane to be used only once, so hiding its identity doesn't matter because the intention is to destroy it during whatever it's next use is. Another guess, maybe at least one of the passengers was in on it to keep an eye on the passengers, and perhaps even on the pilots if indeed they were being paid to do this.

    This is something I haven't seen much of in the news coverage - why? We assume hijackers are making a political statement/act of terror, or doing it for some sort of ransom, so they'd have to go public. Now that the focus is on the pilots, all the analysis I'm seeing is focused on how they could have pulled it off - not why. I guess without knowing where they were headed it's hard to guess their motivation, but at the same time, surely trying to figure out that motivation might tell us where they went.
     
  8. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Messages:
    3,273
    how can a plane "shadow" another plane without being noticed by the plane it is shadowing?
     
  9. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    Joined:
    May 24, 2002
    Messages:
    13,320
    This makes the most sense. It flew for hours until it ran out of fuel and crashed somewhere remote.
     
  10. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2001
    Messages:
    17,504
    I'm guessing that's fairly easy - if the shadower is behind and either above or below the lead plane, they will have no visual contact. If the movies and tv are anything to go by!

    I think I saw an episode of Mayday where after a mid-air crash a kind of detector was installed in planes so that an alarm would sound if they were on course to collide or come too close, but that wouldn't apply to another plane simply following. Plus, if the second plane has turned off all their transponders etc, even the anti-collison system might not detect the second plane.
     
  11. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    5,034
    Fallows on that theory:

    Smith:

    Both find the "emergency and diversion, incapacitated pilots, plane continued on new course until it crashed" to be one of the more plausible scenarios offered so far (Smith notes that he suggested something similar several days ago). I think the questions about that one is whether 1. there was any communication after what should have been the emergency and 2. did the plane made multiple course changes over a lengthy period of time. If either of these happened, that explanation doesn't hold up so well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  12. skategal

    skategal Bunny slave

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,766
    Could a plane be on fire in the air for 6 hours without crashing with the pilots incapacitated?
     
  13. misskarne

    misskarne #ForzaJules #KeepFightingMichael

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    5,887
    If left on Autopilot, yes, it could stay in the air for six hours with the pilots incapacitated. The fire part I would doubt.

    But this puts me in mind of the Helios crash mentioned upthread; where the lack of cabin pressure was so subtle, so slow, that no-one ever noticed it, no-one ever realised, and they just all gradually...fell asleep. The plane flew on until it reached the end of its fuel, then crashed.

    Now, is it possible that the pilots realised they had a problem, input the turn into the autopilot, then passed out? All aboard are now unconscious, so no calls/texts. The plane does not receive any further instruction, so keeps flying on its last heading, until it runs out of fuel, then crashes in the sea. No-one on board knows anything because they're all unconscious.
     
  14. skategal

    skategal Bunny slave

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,766
    Yes, I agree. I don't think the fire part is plausible at all. If it was something like air pressure or poisonous gas (carbon monoxide, maybe?) it would make more sense.

    Here is another theory by another experienced pilot who thinks it was highjacking.

    http://marklberry.com/2014/03/16/high-alert-mh370-found/
     
  15. misskarne

    misskarne #ForzaJules #KeepFightingMichael

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    5,887
    This is becoming insane. The Indian Ocean search area originally was almost the size of Australia itself!

    The Indian Ocean is huge and deep. This is going to be another Air France. It could be years before it's found, or never at all.
     
  16. Twizzler

    Twizzler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2002
    Messages:
    1,227
    Now there are reports that files were recently deleted from the flight simulator the pilot had at home.

    Have there been any reports/interviews of his family? They seem awfully quiet in all of this...
     
  17. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    5,034
    A Helios-like scenario also makes sense because hypoxia can make people become disorientated or confused and can result in hallucinations and irrational behavior - which would explain some of the strange flight maneuvers. In Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer describes the effects of altitude-related hypoxia on climbers, who are at least acclimatized. People flying at cruising altitude wouldn't be.
     
  18. skatefan

    skatefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2006
    Messages:
    5,219
    This theory was put forward here with the suggestion that highly unusual manoeuvres by the plane plus no communication, could have been considered as a major threat and it was shot down - although surely a mid air explosion would have been seen and reported by those on the ground? Unless it was over the ocean or uninhabited area.
     
  19. Kaffeine

    Kaffeine Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,307
    I've been bouncing from this thread to the thread over at at another forum Airliners.net. One theory thrown around was that if it was an act of terror, disappearing without a trace would be the point. Taking a loaded airliner full of people and making it vanish. Not knowing who they (whomever the person(s) responsible) are, how they did it and therefore no clue if they would do it again...until the next plane disappeared.

    I personally don't think that's the case...but gave me the shivers nonetheless.

    I am leaning towards mechanical failure with a crash in a remote part of the ocean but the transponders being turned off still bugs me.
     
  20. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    11,313
    Eh, until the next plane disappears, I don't think it is very effective as terrorism. I'm a really nervous flyer (I don't trust physics) and I'm not concerned about disappearing out of the blue.

    Unless a group can "prove" they did it and plan to do it again.
     
  21. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Messages:
    20,569
    ?!
     
  22. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    11,313
    Yeah, I just don't. Flying terrifies me. So do those bobsled roller coasters where the ride car isn't held to the track by any means.
     
  23. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Messages:
    20,569
    I can understand being scared of it. But I cannot understand 'not trusting physics.'
     
  24. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    11,313
    If you fully trust the physics behind it, what's to be scared of?
     
  25. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    7,240
    That the person responsible for implementing the physics made a mistake.
     
  26. wickedwitch

    wickedwitch Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2002
    Messages:
    11,362
    Emotions aren't always rational. That's what makes us human.
     
  27. Sofia Alexandra

    Sofia Alexandra Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    5,726
    I just had a thought - imagine that some terror group has hijacked the plane and landed it somewhere, and are keeping the passengers and crew as prisoners. Could be that the pilots were in on it, keeping everybody calm and away from their mobile phones by giving some bullshit explanation as to why they had to turn and land elsewhere. The terror group keeps the plane and the prisoners quietly hidden away for some time, and then they load the plane with people, take off, and aim it at their target of choice. Imagine the absolute uproar if the nation under threat decided to shoot the plane down...
     
  28. misskarne

    misskarne #ForzaJules #KeepFightingMichael

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    5,887
    In this day and age...SOMEONE would have made a call. It's hard enough to get some people to pull their heads out of their as$es these days long enough to remind them that the rules about no cellphones apply to THEM too, so I can't imagine that ONE PERSON wouldn't have made a call, sent a text, tweet, facebook post, something.
     
  29. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Messages:
    20,569
    But fear isn't always a rational feeling.
     
  30. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    11,313
    Well, when gravity stops working, don't say I didn't warn you.

    (Glad you recognize fear is not rational- because clearly "not trusting physics" is irrational.)