Did Flight 370 continue for four more hours in flight?

posted at 8:41 am on March 13, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The search for missing Malaysia Air Flight 370 may become a lot more complicated, if a new theory by American investigators turns out to be true. At first, the assumption was that the flight ended when the transponders stopped communicating; then military radar suggested the plane may have turned back and reached the other side of the Malaysian peninsula. Now data from engine transmissions to maintenance databases suggest the plane remained in operation for four hours after its last confirmed transmission — which makes the potential search range all but endless:

U.S. investigators suspect that Malaysia Airlines3786.KU -4.08% Flight 370 stayed in the air for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, according to two people familiar with the details, raising the possibility that the plane could have flown on for hundreds of additional miles under conditions that remain murky.

Aviation investigators and national security officials believe the plane flew for a total of five hours, based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from the BoeingCo. BA -0.99% 777′s engines as part of a routine maintenance and monitoring program.

That raises a host of new questions and possibilities about what happened aboard the widebody jet carrying 239 people, which vanished from civilian air-traffic control radar over the weekend, about one hour into a flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. …

But the huge uncertainty about where the plane was headed, and why it apparently continued flying so long without working transponders, has raised theories among investigators that the aircraft may have been commandeered for a reason that appears unclear to U.S. authorities. Some of those theories have been laid out to national security officials and senior personnel from various U.S. agencies, according to one person familiar with the matter.

Malaysian officials dispute this version of events:

Malaysia’s government categorically denied a report on Thursday suggesting a missing passenger jet flew on for four hours after vanishing from air traffic control systems, as the search entered a sixth day and speculation and theories about the plane’s fate continued to mount.

The problem with the denial is that Malaysian officials have very little credibility left in this crisis:

Malaysian authorities have faced mounting criticism about their transparency and their handling of the case, and they struggled Wednesday to say why they were only now revealing the military data. A day earlier, Malaysian military officials gave a series of conflicting statements about whether the plane had indeed tacked west.

Malaysia’s military said it noticed the recorded data only after the fact, not in real time. …

China, which had 153 passengers on board, has been the most vocal critic of Malaysia’s response, and an editorial Wednesday in the state-run Global Times asked whether the Malaysian military “was hiding anything on purpose.”

“We hope Malaysia can face its own shortcomings, and cooperate with China with a more open and candid attitude,” the editorial said.

China hasn’t done much better. The satellite images seen yesterday of potential debris turned out to be days old, and of poor quality. Ships in that area report seeing nothing of what was seen in the photos, but thanks to the delays, the debris spotted might have sunk or drifted far off with the currents. The photos were not announced publicly, but simply posted to a website where no one took notice of them for several hours.

If the plane flew another four hours, it could have made it as far as India or Australia. The Wall Street Journal mapped the new search area that would be in effect under those circumstances:

wsj-flight370-range

It’s the equivalent of looking for a needle in the world’s biggest haystack. On the other hand, it includes plenty of potential landing sites, so perhaps there may be a few more unexpected turns in this story.


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This is starting to read like the beginning of a Tom Clancy novel.

SacredFire on March 13, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Why is there a feature of the Boeing 777 that the pilot can turn OFF the transporter?
I’m sure a suicidal pilot would like to turn off the black box, too.

Marcus on March 13, 2014 at 8:51 AM

The transponders were deliberately turned off. That’s all we know at this point.

Hijacking for ransom? Demands would have been made by now.
Terrorism? TWA 800 had a freak accident, so without a credible claim of responsibility by now I’m not terrified.
Freak accident? Why turn off the transponders?
Pilot suicide? Why bother turning off the transponders, the Egyptian pilot didn’t.

No theory is working out well right now.

rbj on March 13, 2014 at 8:52 AM

If the plan flew another four hours

… it stayed above water longer than ZeroCare.

corona79 on March 13, 2014 at 8:55 AM

I can’t even imagine what family members of the passengers and crew must be going through…until they figure this mystery out, there’s no closure. This just gets stranger and stranger each day.

There’s satellites orbiting Earth that can see a dime on a sidewalk and read the date on it…but a large commercial airliner goes missing?

JetBoy on March 13, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Transporter…transponder…..I’m not a mechanic :)

Marcus on March 13, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Chit like this is why I’ll probably never fly over the pacific…too much blue to cover and not enough valium in the world…and well I’m a chickenchit…

God Bless those passengers,crew and their worried families…

workingclass artist on March 13, 2014 at 8:58 AM

This is so strange.

gophergirl on March 13, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Transporter…transponder…..I’m not a mechanic :)

Marcus on March 13, 2014 at 8:57 AM

“It’s all ball bearings nowadays…Now you prepare that Fetzer valve with some 3-in-1 oil and some gauze pads. And I’m gonna need ’bout ten quarts of anti-freeze, preferably Prestone. No, no make that Quaker State.”

JetBoy on March 13, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Why, pray tell, is (apparently) a pilot able to turn off the transponder?

corona79 on March 13, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Odd.

That an American source from the Boeing Company would leak this rather interesting piece of data the day after a Chinese newspaper published formerly classified satellite images of some blurry items in the South China Sea.

As if to say to the Chinese: “Busted!”

Something is rotten in the State of Denmark….

victor82 on March 13, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Blofeldt.

portlandon on March 13, 2014 at 9:07 AM

Reminds me of Tom Hanks figuring out how big the search radius was for his downed plane in Cast Away. And his wasn’t even as big as this one could be.

This is starting to sound like something out of some action movie or Bond flick. Like a space laser took out the plane and everyone’s hush hush about it.

Doughboy on March 13, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Something severely happened instantly for not one passenger to get off a phone call.

Seems that would eliminate any failures of the airplanes mechanics and electrical systems although it might be hard to make a call on a severe nose dive. Anyhow no calls doesn’t jive with a continued/altered flight.

plutorocks on March 13, 2014 at 9:10 AM

Now data from engine transmissions to maintenance databases suggest the plane remained in operation for four hours after its last confirmed transmission

Officials have already denied this to be the case. But it is hard to tell what the truth is anymore.

I think the biggest thing here is that people living 24/7 “connected” find it hard to think that an entire plane can just disappear. The families must be beside themselves by this point.

Happy Nomad on March 13, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Why, pray tell, is (apparently) a pilot able to turn off the transponder?

corona79 on March 13, 2014 at 9:05 AM

A handful of reasons…from a malfunction to a pilot preference. Not all airspace requires transponders be turned on as well.

JetBoy on March 13, 2014 at 9:11 AM

It’s bunk. No way it flew for another 4 hrs. Reports of the telemetry data continuing for that long are false.

climbnjump on March 13, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Has some California TV reporter told us the names of the crew members?

:)

Electrongod on March 13, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Was it hijacked to Pock-e-Ston?
(hey, Obama can’t say corpsman but he sure can pronounce the HELL out of Pakistan).

ConstantineXI on March 13, 2014 at 9:12 AM

There’s satellites orbiting Earth that can see a dime on a sidewalk and read the date on it…but a large commercial airliner goes missing?

JetBoy on March 13, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Assuming it crashed at some point, there are so many square miles of ocean/land where it could be that it’s not that surprising that floating debris wouldn’t have been found yet by analysts.

DisneyFan on March 13, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Talk about a paper tiger. China’s supposed to be the big dog in the region, and they’re using American satellite technology Billy Jeff sold them in the 90s.

And the Malaysians? Another “modern” muslim country.

Ruckus_Tom on March 13, 2014 at 9:12 AM

I’m not saying it was aliens…

But it was aliens.

Murphy9 on March 13, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Why, pray tell, is (apparently) a pilot able to turn off the transponder?

corona79 on March 13, 2014 at 9:05 AM

A handful of reasons…from a malfunction to a pilot preference. Not all airspace requires transponders be turned on as well.

JetBoy on March 13, 2014 at 9:11 AM

You’d think that on a plane that size regulations would MANDATE the transponder be on!

ConstantineXI on March 13, 2014 at 9:13 AM

I guess commandeering is a new word for hijacking.

crankyoldlady on March 13, 2014 at 9:14 AM

No offense, but SAR101 says you start with the map and a circle centered on the last known position with the diameter equal the available fuel on board the aircraft.

That’s where you begin the search, and you use the circle to weed out reports of sightings and such.

DinaRehn on March 13, 2014 at 9:14 AM

I guess commandeering is a new word for hijacking.

crankyoldlady on March 13, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Yes, it’s MUCH less RAAAAACIST! to say Obama is simply “commandeering” our Constitution than to say he’s HIJACKING it.

muslim roots you know.

Still RAAAAACIST though, just a bit less so.

ConstantineXI on March 13, 2014 at 9:16 AM

My theory: The plane was ‘disappeared’ as the result of an obscure filmmaker, who is definitely a Joooooooooo. He used a mind control programme on the passengers and crew that he embedded in a ‘disgusting’ YouTube video which ‘insulted the Prophet Mo.’ He then was able to employ a magic potion made of the blood of Palestinian children and, Poof Prest-O Change-O Voilà-O!, gone pecan.

But, don’t worry, the Malaysians have a plan to ensure that this never happens again, evah

Malaysian Muslim Group Demands All Flights On Malaysian Airlines Be Sharia Compliant After Flight MH370 Disaster…

A lawyers group has called on Malaysian Airlines to introduce Muslim rules on all flights amidst the current crisis the airline is facing over the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370.

The Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia has urged for Muslim prayer standards to be put into place before flights, as well as for all female flight attendants to be dressed according to Islamic law.

“Everything that happens on Earth and in the sky is Allah’s decision. We pray that Allah gives us signs and pointers so that the passengers can be found,” said the group in a statement today.

The group has further urged the airline to cease serving alcohol aboard its flights.

‘Sharia-compliant’ aircraft don’t crash, you see. Required Islamic prayers by the passengers, no booze or pork, and Islamic(omic)ally-dressed flight attendants (the only thing narrower on the flight than the aisle and footroom are the eye slits in the female crew’s burqas) generate a mind-meld, which creates a force shield around the plane that prevents the Joooooooooooooos from innumerable ways of bringing down aeroplanes.

Resist We Much on March 13, 2014 at 9:16 AM

The transponders were deliberately turned off. That’s all we know at this point.

We don’t even know that. We know they stopped working.

Chriscom on March 13, 2014 at 9:18 AM

A handful of reasons…from a malfunction to a pilot preference. Not all airspace requires transponders be turned on as well.

JetBoy on March 13, 2014 at 9:11 AM

You’d think that on a plane that size regulations would MANDATE the transponder be on!

ConstantineXI on March 13, 2014 at 9:13 AM

If it were on an IFR flight plan most likely it would be mandated to have the transponder functioning.

ATC gets very ‘bossy’ when aircraft go NORDO and turn off the squawk.

DinaRehn on March 13, 2014 at 9:19 AM

The only reason to turn off the transponder is to dissapear the plane.

There might be a number of reason to dissapear the plane, but without any notes, claims, etc from whomever did it, there only remains that someone wants the plane for some reason.

What would that reason be? Someone elsewhere suggested that the plane be repainted, remarked, and sent on some mission loaded with explosives – maybe even a nuke.

Planning was certainly thorough – perhaps at the State level – Iran, N. Korea would come to mind. With a range of 5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles the plane could end up anywhere on Earth. To so completely dissapear the plane means that conciderable resourses where used. Who has those resourses? AQ and affiliates or a State sponsor?

Friendly21 on March 13, 2014 at 9:20 AM

You’d think that on a plane that size regulations would MANDATE the transponder be on!

ConstantineXI on March 13, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Let’s pass a knee-jerk reaction law mandating that it be impossible for the flight crew to turn off a transponder without having any freaking clue what we’re talking about.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:20 AM

You’d think that on a plane that size regulations would MANDATE the transponder be on!
ConstantineXI on March 13, 2014 at 9:13 AM

If not regulations then I would think the owner or insurer would insist on it.

tommyboy on March 13, 2014 at 9:21 AM

You’d think that on a plane that size regulations would MANDATE the transponder be on!

ConstantineXI on March 13, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Squawking what code exactly? A transponder isn’t some sort of passive homing beacon.

Happy Nomad on March 13, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Someone is hiding something – big time.

This many years after 9/11 and we cannot track any airline – anywhere – at any time?

I don’t buy it.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:22 AM

How soon is it before CNN hires Art Bell as their reporter for this story?

Happy Nomad on March 13, 2014 at 9:23 AM

This many years after 9/11 and we cannot track any airline – anywhere – at any time?

Airlines generally don’t move around much. :^)

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:23 AM

I’d look at Tan Son Nhut.

jaime on March 13, 2014 at 9:24 AM

You’d think that on a plane that size regulations would MANDATE the transponder be on!

ConstantineXI on March 13, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Size doesn’t matter there…like it does for filing a flight plan, where smaller private planes aren’t required to, although it’s a good idea in the event something goes awry. In certain airspace, a transponder is required to be on…where there’s a lot of traffic, for example.

JetBoy on March 13, 2014 at 9:24 AM

The transponders were deliberately turned off. That’s all we know at this point.

We don’t even know that. We know they stopped working.

Chriscom on March 13, 2014 at 9:18 AM

And they stopped talking to ATC.

An aircraft of that complexity would most likely have a back up transponder, so that must have been a deliberate act.

DinaRehn on March 13, 2014 at 9:24 AM

This many years after 9/11 and we cannot track any airline – anywhere – at any time?

I don’t buy it.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:22 AM

We’ve had a couple instances in the last few months of large aircraft landing at the wrong airport. Airspace isn’t quite as controlled as you might think.

Happy Nomad on March 13, 2014 at 9:26 AM

An aircraft of that complexity would most likely have a back up transponder, so that must have been a deliberate act.

Not if the plane broke apart.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:26 AM

I don’t know why no one has yet stated the most obvious and reasonable explanation for this event.

It’s simple.

Global Warming has caused the Bermuda Triangle to shift across the globe to Asia.

climbnjump on March 13, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Maybe pirates. They either want to resell it or hold it for ransome. Holding it for ransome could be why Malaysia isn’t being very forthcoming. I guess I watch too much tv.

crankyoldlady on March 13, 2014 at 9:28 AM

When flying high there are two emergencies that are feared by all pilots. (1) Sudden catastrophic decompression and (2) fire, most likely electrical in nature, in the cockpit. Both could cause a complete electrical failure and render main and backup electrical generation systems unusable. The 777 does have a Ram Air Turbine driven alternator which deploys automatically for loss of all engine driven generator power, but it is for flight instruments and flight controls only. Yes the plane could still fly.

I have my ideas, but they are no better than what is being presented and I will remain quite. Imagine me remaining quite. Also, fire can spread unbelievable fast and many good reason why no communication from pilots if fire is the cause. See, I am starting to speculate. Worst I have had is an engine fire and was worried about destruction of the wing and fuel being ignited. During emergencies, I never communicated until the problem was solved. Geez, I hate being serious and I AM NOT N EXPERT ON THE 777.

HonestLib on March 13, 2014 at 9:29 AM

David Copperfield must be envious..

Electrongod on March 13, 2014 at 9:29 AM

The only reason to turn off the transponder is to disappear the plane.

There might be a number of reason to disappear the plane, but without any notes, claims, etc from whomever did it, there only remains that someone wants the plane for some reason.

What would that reason be? Someone elsewhere suggested that the plane be repainted, remarked, and sent on some mission loaded with explosives – maybe even a nuke.

Planning was certainly thorough – perhaps at the State level – Iran, N. Korea would come to mind. With a range of 5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles the plane could end up anywhere on Earth. To so completely disappear the plane means that considerable resources where used. Who has those resources? AQ and affiliates or a State sponsor?

Friendly21 on March 13, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Interesting theory…

Remember, there were at least two deliberate acts – turning off the transponder and no longer communicating with ATC.

Perhaps who ever initiated those acts didn’t know about the engine telemetry…

DinaRehn on March 13, 2014 at 9:29 AM

We’ve had a couple instances in the last few months of large aircraft landing at the wrong airport. Airspace isn’t quite as controlled as you might think.

Happy Nomad on March 13, 2014 at 9:26 AM

This was an international flight – you would think someone on that plane would use their cell phone if there was trouble – thus instant satellite triangulation.

Also – these airlines dump data every few minutes to Boeing’s maintenance center – part of ongoing support.

I could be wrong – if nothing else – this is a monster heads up to modify ALL commercial aircraft.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:30 AM

No theory is working out well right now.

rbj on March 13, 2014 at 8:52 AM

The fear is that someone brought an EMP on board as a dry run or it accidentally went off early.

budfox on March 13, 2014 at 9:31 AM

You’d think that on a plane that size regulations would MANDATE the transponder be on!

ConstantineXI on March 13, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Above 14,500 ft is IFR and you are required to transmit the code given to you by Central. There is also a universal code for a hijacking which apparently was not transmitted. Or if it was they aren’t talking.

From another article it appears engine data was being transmitted every 30 minutes for maintenance requirements. Reading between the lines it would seem a GPS location was also transmitted to review where the engines were at anyone time. If true they likely have the plane located within a 30 minute radius if not closer.

CW20 on March 13, 2014 at 9:31 AM

And the Malaysians? Another “modern” muslim country.

Ruckus_Tom on March 13, 2014 at 9:12 AM

That made me laugh. I now have a picture of some Malaysians in rickety boats searching the Pacific with sextants.

BuckeyeSam on March 13, 2014 at 9:32 AM

HonestLib on March 13, 2014 at 9:29 AM

There is another – structural failure from over-stressing the airframe.

They don’t use very high safety factors in designing the components of an aircraft…. But I’ll keep mum about that.

DinaRehn on March 13, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Perhaps who ever initiated those acts didn’t know about the engine telemetry…

You are assuming the reports about the engine telemetry are correct.

you would think someone on that plane would use their cell phone if there was trouble – thus instant satellite triangulation

Only if someone were actively trying to triangulate it and had the assets in place to be able to do it.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:33 AM

The fear is that someone brought an EMP on board as a dry run or it accidentally went off early.

budfox on March 13, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Maybe somebody’s electronic device wasn’t in airplane mode. ;0

Seriously, I don’t see where there is a “happy” scenerio coming out of this one. And with the passage of time the conspiracy theories are really getting out of hand.

Happy Nomad on March 13, 2014 at 9:34 AM

They don’t use very high safety factors in designing the components of an aircraft…. But I’ll keep mum about that.

Which is why they are falling out of the sky left and right.

/s

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:35 AM

the pilot being able to control the transponder is just common sense. if there’s an emergency part of troubleshooting is to turn systems on and off in certain combinations. if the transponder was part of a problem there could definitely be a need to turn it off. and as another poster stated, we dont know it was turned off, we know it stopped working.

chasdal on March 13, 2014 at 9:35 AM

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:30 AM

You know, you’re right. They might turn off the plane but they couldn’t turn off everyone’s cell phones.

crankyoldlady on March 13, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Only if someone were actively trying to triangulate it and had the assets in place to be able to do it.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:33 AM

The signal is never lost. We know who was on the plane – takes 10 minutes to see if they own an international (w/ SAT) cell phone – say another 60 minutes to dig the database on any ping attempts.

Again – just my thinking.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:36 AM

An aircraft of that complexity would most likely have a back up transponder, so that must have been a deliberate act.

Not if the plane broke apart.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:26 AM

That doesn’t explain the part about the engine telemetry..

BTW, there would most assuredly have to be ways of turning off a transponder if it were to malfunction, etc.

DinaRehn on March 13, 2014 at 9:36 AM

I could be wrong – if nothing else – this is a monster heads up to modify ALL commercial aircraft.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Actually, the idea that a relatively new and modern plane could have a catastrophic mechanical failure is, in some ways, more scary than the idea of terrorism.

Happy Nomad on March 13, 2014 at 9:36 AM

You know, you’re right. They might turn off the plane but they couldn’t turn off everyone’s cell phones.

They were in the middle of the ocean. What do you think the range of a cell phone is?

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:37 AM

I don’t know why no one has yet stated the most obvious and reasonable explanation for this event.

It’s simple.

Global Warming has caused the Bermuda Triangle to shift across the globe to Asia.

climbnjump on March 13, 2014 at 9:26 AM

not shift, EXPAND

chasdal on March 13, 2014 at 9:37 AM

They were in the middle of the ocean. What do you think the range of a cell phone is?

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:37 AM

i’ve made calls to europe on mine,

/s

chasdal on March 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Actually, the idea that a relatively new and modern plane could have a catastrophic mechanical failure is, in some ways, more scary than the idea of terrorism.

Happy Nomad on March 13, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Just read that Boeing says the engines recorded an additional 4 hours of flight time.

HERE WE GO!!

Boeing was receiving telemetry from the engines.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM

I think the possibility that the plane was shot down as a preventative measure is likely.

What are some of the targets within this 2200 mile range of flight?

portlandon on March 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM

That doesn’t explain the part about the engine telemetry..

DinaRehn on March 13, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Which, like everything else, hasn’t been confirmed.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM

There’s satellites orbiting Earth that can see a dime on a sidewalk and read the date on it…but a large commercial airliner goes missing?

JetBoy on March 13, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Exactly. This is a hell of a mystery.

In 10 years they’ll look back on this as something that “could NEVER happen today”.

LashRambo on March 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Of course I could be completely wrong but it seems to me you would turn off the transponders because your plane is being hijacked. From day one, when the authorities said the plane ” disappeared” I thought that was a strange way to phrase it. The fact that no one has taken responsibility just tells me they may not feel like taking responsibility. I am sure people getting on flights right now are taking a second look at their fellow passengers.

KayK2 on March 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM

They don’t use very high safety factors in designing the components of an aircraft…. But I’ll keep mum about that.

Which is why they are falling out of the sky left and right.

/s

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Why do you think that even the heavies avoid thunderstorms?

DinaRehn on March 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM

They were in the middle of the ocean. What do you think the range of a cell phone is?

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:37 AM

We don’t know they were in the middle of the ocean. If they were on or near land someone would pick it up.

crankyoldlady on March 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM

I guess I watch too much tv.

crankyoldlady on March 13, 2014 at 9:28 AM

And I’ve read too many Tom Clancy/Vince Flynn books.

What IF another plane goes completely missing in the next week or two and can’t be found. Talk about terror.

Btw, Clancy’s last book was spot on about Russia taking over Crimea.

CTSherman on March 13, 2014 at 9:39 AM

They were in the middle of the ocean. What do you think the range of a cell phone is?

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Cell phones can be used anywhere on earth – Satellites have total coverage.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Just read that Boeing says the engines recorded an additional 4 hours of flight time.

Unless something came out in the last five minutes, what you read was that some reporter claims that some unnamed Boeing employee claims that they continued to receive telemetry data from the engines.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Hijack a plane. Fill it with explosives. then a im it at (pick target).

unlikely but at this point who can say what is possible.

gerrym51 on March 13, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Cell phones can be used anywhere on earth – Satellites have total coverage.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:39 AM

You forgot the sarc tag.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Rolls Royce also receives the data and according to the daily-mail’s top story this morning, they have not confirmed this information. The WSJ is a less than reliable source although I read somewhere that their source is Boeing who are probably as reliable as RR.

I’m waiting until everyone has played their cards.

gh on March 13, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Unless something came out in the last five minutes, what you read was that some reporter claims that some unnamed Boeing employee claims that they continued to receive telemetry data from the engines.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:41 AM

You might be right – I just sent an email to a buddy of mine at Rolls Royce asking him about engine data transmission. Maybe he will get back to me.

Holy cow – I’m a reporter.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:42 AM

You forgot the sarc tag.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Ever been on a Cruise Ship? They all have satellite cell phones.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:43 AM

gerrym51 on March 13, 2014 at 9:41 AM

My wife is thinking fill it with Sarin.

Another conspiracy theory is to leave the passengers in it and induce the Israeli’s to shoot it down.

It’s probably at the bottom of the ocean though. Indian or Pacific. Won’t be easy to find if the WSJ story is even partly true.

gh on March 13, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Ever been on a Cruise Ship? They all have satellite cell phones.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Which would make them satellite phones, not cell phones.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:44 AM

If we want conspiracy theories … the copilot was young, a bit of a loose cannon, with a Muslim-sounding name … but this doesn’t explain how it all went down, or why. He knocked out the experienced pilot and then did it all himself, to impress Miley Cyrus?

LashRambo on March 13, 2014 at 9:44 AM

One more thought – weren’t there any military ships out there – they routinely scan a half spherical area for traffic.

I better be careful – hate to sound like a conspiracy freak.

This is interesting.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Which would make them satellite phones, not cell phones.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Ok – but – this was an international flight – you telling me no one on board had satellite cell phone access? Not in this day an age.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:46 AM

And with the passage of time the conspiracy theories are really getting out of hand.

Happy Nomad on March 13, 2014 at 9:34 AM

How about misdirection?

We’re focused on this and Russia’s occupation of Crimea. What else is going on that we aren’t focused on?

rbj on March 13, 2014 at 9:47 AM

And with the passage of time the conspiracy theories are really getting out of hand.

Happy Nomad on March 13, 2014 at 9:34 AM

You are right – but it is fun to think about this stuff.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:49 AM

One more thought – weren’t there any military ships out there – they routinely scan a half spherical area for traffic.

I better be careful – hate to sound like a conspiracy freak.

This is interesting.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:45 AM

If true that would be very interesting indeed….

DinaRehn on March 13, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Of course I could be completely wrong but it seems to me you would turn off the transponders because your plane is being hijacked.

KayK2 on March 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM

If you’re the pilot you would squawk the code for a hijacked plane.

If, on the other hand, you’re a Muslim pilot intent on committing Jihad…… Well, you may not neccesarily want ATC to know where you are. Same holds true if this were not terrorism but simply a crazy pilot committing suicide.

Remember that A-10 pilot that disappeared over Arizona after doing some crazy maneuvering? They attributed his death to suicide. Nevertheless, it took them three weeks to find the crash site and they never did find the bombs.

Happy Nomad on March 13, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Hijack a plane. Fill it with explosives. then a im it at (pick target).

unlikely but at this point who can say what is possible.

gerrym51 on March 13, 2014 at 9:41 AM

I hope it’s on the White House.

crankyoldlady on March 13, 2014 at 9:50 AM

…the poor families of these people!

KOOLAID2 on March 13, 2014 at 9:50 AM

I hope it’s on the White House.

crankyoldlady on March 13, 2014 at 9:50 AM

D’oh !

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Ok – but – this was an international flight – you telling me no one on board had satellite cell phone access? Not in this day an age.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Please understand that cell phones do not (can not) talk to satellites. There are special phones, known as satellite phones, that do. Few people have those. But assuming someone on board had one, someone would still have to purposefully track it and have the assets in place to do that. The odds aren’t zero, but we’re getting very close.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Was it hijacked to Pock-e-Ston?
(hey, Obama can’t say corpsman but he sure can pronounce the HELL out of Pakistan).

ConstantineXI on March 13, 2014 at 9:12 AM

I noticed that, too. Pak is right on the edge of the circle. A committed and trained hijacker/pilot could have flown the jet there in the time required.

nukemhill on March 13, 2014 at 9:51 AM

crankyoldlady on March 13, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Attention Ed: Ban hammer, isle three!!!

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:54 AM

For my money, there was a malfunction which caused a catastrophic electrical failure causing the transponder to shut off.

Explosive decompression? Fire on board?

NavyMustang on March 13, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Please understand that cell phones do not (can not) talk to satellites. There are special phones, known as satellite phones, that do. Few people have those. But assuming someone on board had one, someone would still have to purposefully track it and have the assets in place to do that. The odds aren’t zero, but we’re getting very close.

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Ok – my understanding is that Sat phones – ping the satellite every few seconds as a matter of course – that data is held.

I really appreciate your counter thinking to my own – you are making me do homework here – which is exactly the right thing to do.

Good stuff.

I did find out that all Virgin Atlantic airline pilots carry Sat phones. For whatever that’s worth? — probably not much – but it is interesting.

Thanks

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:54 AM

What was the case a few years back when some golf pro was in a jet and everyone on-board was rendered unconscious by hypoxia?
I recall the plane flew for a number of hours on auto pilot.
That seems to be the most likely explanation of what happened here. It just seems with the lack of communication – no one was in any condition to communicate. And because of the wide flight path possibilities, it’ll take a while to find the wreckage…esp. if it’s in 5000 feet of water.

verbaluce on March 13, 2014 at 9:56 AM

verbaluce on March 13, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Payne Stewart.

jake-the-goose on March 13, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Attention Ed: Ban hammer, isle three!!!

db on March 13, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Was that a no no. I beg pardon.

crankyoldlady on March 13, 2014 at 9:59 AM

What was the case a few years back when some golf pro was in a jet and everyone on-board was rendered unconscious by hypoxia?
I recall the plane flew for a number of hours on auto pilot.
That seems to be the most likely explanation of what happened here. It just seems with the lack of communication – no one was in any condition to communicate. And because of the wide flight path possibilities, it’ll take a while to find the wreckage…esp. if it’s in 5000 feet of water.

verbaluce on March 13, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Pretty good, but then you have the transponder turned off, and a highly sophisticated plane, not a 4 seater, and 2 pilots, and no distress call by one or the other. Someone mentioned sarin gas — interesting. But then, how did the plane get turned around.

LashRambo on March 13, 2014 at 9:59 AM

What would that reason be? Someone elsewhere suggested that the plane be repainted, remarked, and sent on some mission loaded with explosives – maybe even a nuke.

Friendly21 on March 13, 2014 at 9:20 AM

It would be a nearly perfect delivery platform. At the selected time, down a real 777 flight out over an ocean somewhere, and bring up the bomber, with its transponder set to mimic the original flight. Then calmly land it, on schedule and with ATC guidance, wherever the original was destined. And then detonate it. Or fly it into a building after veering from the landing approach path.

bofh on March 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Reading between the lines it would seem a GPS location was also transmitted to review where the engines were at anyone time. If true they likely have the plane located within a 30 minute radius if not closer.

CW20 on March 13, 2014 at 9:31 AM

I was definitely wondering about that. But the fact that we’ve seen nothing substantive as to its location means either this isn’t the case, or there’s a pretty nasty conspiracy afoot.

nukemhill on March 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

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