Reuters: Radar data suggests that the missing Malaysian jet was flown far off course deliberately

posted at 11:21 am on March 14, 2014 by Allahpundit

One theory that’s been kicking around the Internet is that the crew and passengers fell victim to a Payne Stewart situation. The cabin depressurized, everyone blacked out, and the plane continued on blindly via autopilot until it ran out of fuel and crashed. It’s a horrible accident, not foul play.

So much for that theory.

Analysis of the Malaysia data suggests the plane, with 239 people on board, diverted from its intended northeast route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and flew west instead, using airline flight corridors normally employed for routes to the Middle East and Europe, said sources familiar with investigations into the Boeing 777′s disappearance.

Two sources said an unidentified aircraft that investigators believe was Flight MH370 was following a route between navigational waypoints when it was last plotted on military radar off the country’s northwest coast.

This indicates that it was either being flown by the pilots or someone with knowledge of those waypoints, the sources said…

“What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards,” said that source, a senior Malaysian police official.

If the plane was on autopilot, presumably it would have continued on in a roughly northeastern direction towards its destination in Beijing. Instead, it made a hard left — and then, somehow, it stayed on the aerial “road” (i.e. between the waypoints) instead of veering off randomly. Imagine blacking out behind the wheel on cruise control and the car not only turning but then staying in its lane on the highway for hundreds of miles. Assuming the sources are right, someone had to have been steering.

More evidence of deliberate action:

Two U.S. officials tell ABC News the U.S. believes that the shutdown of two communication systems happened separately on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. One source said this indicates the plane did not come out of the sky because of a catastrophic failure.

The data reporting system, they believe, was shut down at 1:07 a.m. The transponder — which transmits location and altitude — shut down at 1:21 a.m…

That means the U.S. team “is convinced that there was manual intervention,” a source said, which means it was likely not an accident or catastrophic malfunction that took the plane out of the sky.

Obvious question: If this was some sort of suicide mission, either by one of the pilots or a hijacker, why bother shutting down the data systems? Why, for that matter, bother flying west at all? Just take the plane down and be done with it.

A new theory based on the “pings” the plane sent while flying west towards the Indian Ocean was that it was headed towards the Andaman Islands. In that case, though, where would it land? The editor of the islands’ newspaper says there’s no way a 777 could show up at the local airport without attracting notice. And if this is a hijacking, how come there’s been no information after a week about possible suspects onboard? The two Iranians with stolen passports were mentioned early but counterterror officials dismissed them quickly. Usually after a hijacking, authorities are able to deduce fairly quickly who the likely suspects are from the passenger manifest and interviews with friends and family. Not this time. Was it a lone wolf who left few red flags or do they have a lead and are keeping quiet about it for now until they have better evidence?

One more mystery. If the plane was in the Indian Ocean headed west, why was there a “seismic event” in the ocean south of Vietnam, not far from the jet’s last known location, on the night it disappeared?

The signal detected by two stations in Malaysia appeared to indicate that a small tremor occurred on the floor of the sea at 2:55 a.m. about 95 miles south of Vietnam, the scientists said in a statement posted on the website of the University of Science and Technology of China.

“It was a non-seismic zone, therefore judging from the time and location of the event, it might be related to the missing MH370 flight,” said the statement. “If it was indeed an airplane crashing into the sea, the seismic wave strength indicated that the crash process was catastrophic.”

The area where the tremor was detected about 70 miles from where the Boeing 777 was last heard from, and 85 minutes after the jet carrying 239 people lost contact, according to South China Morning Post newspaper.

Must be a coincidence. Seems fairly solid at this point that satellites were being pinged by the plane hundreds of miles west of that location. The timeline doesn’t make sense either; surely the plane would have covered more than 70 miles in 85 minutes after it went quiet.

If this really is terrorism, though, why has there been no chatter? Gen. Tom McInerney casually wondered this morning on Fox News whether maybe jihadis targeted the plane because they need a delivery mechanism for, er, a nuclear weapon. I’m thinking there must be better ways to quietly procure a plane, though, than by kicking off a global manhunt for a missing jumbo jet.

Any theories on all this, “Ancient Aliens” guy?

aa

Update: Here’s a charming theory forwarded from a friend. Sleep tight, America.

My wife has been saying for a week that terrorists landed it in an obscure airport and are loading it up with uranium to detonate over a large city.

How much uranium could they possibly have to require a 777 to disperse it?

Update: My friend replies that they might not need a jumbo jet for its size but rather for its range. If you’re looking to hit a target in Israel or Europe and you’re starting in Malaysia, you need a plane that can fly long distances. In that case, though, why have they waited a week to get the jet back up in the air? If you’re going to do something like this, where you land a jet, load it up with something, and then aim it at a target, you need to work quickly before western intel figures out what’s happening. The alleged terrorists here have waited a week. Doesn’t add up.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

Also, the auto-play videos on Hot Air have me just about at wit’s end. I’ve started avoiding this site because of them.

KGB on March 14, 2014 at 2:51 PM

JetBoy: Lol,…..quite the tune:)

canopfor on March 14, 2014 at 2:36 PM

An epic story like that coconut witch doctor thing (where do you find this stuff…lol) needs a tune of the same caliber.

JetBoy on March 14, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Also, the auto-play videos on Hot Air have me just about at wit’s end. I’ve started avoiding this site because of them.

KGB on March 14, 2014 at 2:51 PM

http://internet.wonderhowto.com/how-to/disable-annoying-autoplay-media-chrome-firefox-safari-and-internet-explorer-0139641/

JetBoy on March 14, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Heard a Triple7 pilot say the other day on radio that the plane is designed to basically ignore any kind of weather, and designed to stay aloft, and with power failure designed to coast to easy landing and float on water. He said that human intervention had to be involved

ConservativePartyNow on March 14, 2014 at 2:38 PM

A soft landing in the ocean? Geez.

sentinelrules on March 14, 2014 at 2:56 PM

http://internet.wonderhowto.com/how-to/disable-annoying-autoplay-media-chrome-firefox-safari-and-internet-explorer-0139641/

JetBoy on March 14, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Thank you. I’m heading home from work in a few minutes, I’ll try it there.

KGB on March 14, 2014 at 2:58 PM

My dad is a 777 pilot for AA. He is absolutely astonished by this whole thing.

We were flying back from Grand Cayman yesterday, and we were discussing a lot of possibilities. Among them is the SATCOM antenna issue, but who knows! It’s so bizarre.

blatantblue on March 14, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Malaysia Airlines flight missing, March 2014
6m
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on missing Malaysian airliner: President Obama is ‘very concerned about the suffering the families have to endure’ – @JimAcostaCNN
end of alert

canopfor on March 14, 2014 at 3:03 PM

canopfor on March 14, 2014 at 2:36 PM

An epic story like that coconut witch doctor thing (where do you find this stuff…lol) needs a tune of the same caliber.

JetBoy on March 14, 2014 at 2:51 PM

JetBoy: I have a sh*t-load of Twitter News Linkys:0

canopfor on March 14, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Being a big Tom Clancy fan…

Question for those who would know: are the transponder codes absolutely unique to each individual aircraft?

Would it be possible to counterfeit another airliner’s transponder code if one wanted to insert a rogue 777 into, say, Washington DC or Jerusalem airspace?

If the rogue 777 behaves normally and air traffic control didn’t know it was the missing Malaysian jet because it was showing on up radar as some other civilian aircraft, no one would take any action against it.

Maybe its much more complicated than that?

Pless1foEngrish on March 14, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Probably already been said – but – the Langoliers have already chewed it up and crapped it out by now…

dentarthurdent on March 14, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Maybe its much more complicated than that?

Pless1foEngrish on March 14, 2014 at 3:09 PM

yea a bit more complicated. i dont see that occurring

blatantblue on March 14, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Third time’s the charm …

Boeing was warned that the 777 was hackable

I posted this the other day in AP’s “irresponsible speculation” post:

I don’t think this plane was “hijacked” in any of the traditional meanings. My response was to your scenario #4 re: cargo on the plane.

There is no way trained pilots DIDN’T know the plane had been turned around. The First Officer was “new” enough” (~ 2,000+ flight hours) that he would be a likely “inside job” candidate.

Military radars are routinely recorded so someone has had time to rerun the plane track enough times to be confident (or forced) to admit the new location.

The two Iranians traveling under false passports probably don’t have terror connections … but they could be mules carrying special electronic packages courtesy of Iranian scientists.

Interesting test case – remotely hack the computers on a quarter billion dollar plane and turn it into the world’s largest drone … with the convenience of a rated pilot to go “hands on” if things get glitchy.

Keep the plane … or ditch it somewhere far away from where it is supposed to be?

Ditch it … you’ve sent the message to the folks you wanted to get it.

PolAgnostic on March 11, 2014 at 11:25 PM

.

PolAgnostic on March 14, 2014 at 3:12 PM

This is truly a mystery. From what I have heard there is a way to track these planes while they are in the air but it would cost something like 70 cents per ticket. I say it is time to make this mandatory in every commercial airplane.

SC.Charlie on March 14, 2014 at 3:20 PM

The simplest answer is the most likely.

This is a simple repeat of 9-11.

1. Hijack an airliner with lots of fuel.

2. Turn off transponders.

3. While over the sea and out of cell phone range, take all cell phones from passengers. Tell them it’s a hijacking and remain calm and everything will be OK.

4. Turn the plane west and head to sea, then turn back toward a major city (likely the Twin Towers)

One of 2 things happened:
1. Either they crashed into the sea (passengers overtook, or bad piloting), or

2. the Malaysians shot the plane down.

#2 explains the stalling and disinformation.

Either way, nobody wants to admit that we still have terrorists in the sky.

faraway on March 14, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Just because the children are American doesn’t mean their parents are or whoever might have been with them. Why haven’t we found out who they are by the way?

crankyoldlady on March 14, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Right, the parents could be US permananent resident, or better yet…illegals :)

jimver on March 14, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Heard a Triple7 pilot say the other day on radio that the plane is designed to basically ignore any kind of weather, and designed to stay aloft, and with power failure designed to coast to easy landing and float on water. He said that human intervention had to be involved

ConservativePartyNow on March 14, 2014 at 2:38 PM

A soft landing in the ocean? Geez.

sentinelrules on March 14, 2014 at 2:56 PM

It’s been done before. Probably not with such a big plane though.

Pan Am Flight 6

Del Dolemonte on March 14, 2014 at 3:45 PM

JetBoy: Lol,…..quite the tune:)

canopfor on March 14, 2014 at 2:36 PM

An epic story like that coconut witch doctor thing (where do you find this stuff…lol) needs a tune of the same caliber.

JetBoy on March 14, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Harry Bellafonte might have one, though his fixation is generally with bananas :)…

jimver on March 14, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Also, the auto-play videos on Hot Air have me just about at wit’s end. I’ve started avoiding this site because of them.

KGB on March 14, 2014 at 2:51 PM

If you are using Firefox, go to Firefox and download NoScripts and install it for free.

John the Libertarian on March 14, 2014 at 4:10 PM

…take all cell phones from passengers. Tell them it’s a hijacking and remain calm and everything will be OK.

faraway on March 14, 2014 at 3:37 PM

After 9-11 that no longer applies.

cozmo on March 14, 2014 at 4:29 PM

a mystery that would do ‘Banacek’ proud.

Is this a precursor of more attacks?

RonK on March 14, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Also, the auto-play videos on Hot Air have me just about at wit’s end. I’ve started avoiding this site because of them.

KGB on March 14, 2014 at 2:51 PM

That was driving me crazy too, but I finally figured out how to stop it. I’m using Chrome, and there’s a way to stop them in ‘Advance Settings.’ It’s made my life here way easier. Just search for ‘Chrome’ and ‘Ad Block.’

WhatSlushfund on March 14, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Sharp Changes in Altitude and Course After Jet Lost Contact

BallisticBob on March 14, 2014 at 5:24 PM

It would do that if a Malaysian jet was firing at it.

faraway on March 14, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Why do transponders have “off” switches in the first place? (I mean unless you’re flying a super-secret stealth bomber?)

whatcat on March 14, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Malaysia military radar shows missing jet climbing to 45,000 feet, well above approved flight level for the Boeing 777, just after it disappeared from commercial radar, and dropping to 23,000 feet in under a minute when it neared Panang.

The missing airliner was less than one minute from being picked up by Vietnam’s civilian radar, and at the edge of the limits of the Malaysia’s civilian radar, when it ‘disappeared’ from Malaysia’s civilian radar.

Military radar continued to track the airliner as it made a sharp turn to the northwest, and tracked it through several aviation way points as it made it’s way across Malaysia and beyond, finally ‘disappearing’ again from Malaysia’s military radar still headed northwest on the west side of Malaysia.

When the airliner ‘disappeared’ from Malaysia’s civilian radar system in the blind spot between Vietnam’s civilian radar system and Malaysia’s radar system, it had approximately 7 1/2 hours of fuel remaining if the plane remained at normal altitude and under normal flight conditions.

It appears to me that whoever was at the helm of the Boeing 777 deliberately used those radar limitations to their advantage. This would require an individual well versed in exactly where those limitations were along the flight path.

This brings me back to the pilot of the flight having a Boeing 777 flight simulator in his home and his friends reporting that he spent an extraordinary amount of his time using that simulator to run every possible scenario, and a great deal of experience flying commercial runs in the region.

thatsafactjack on March 14, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Why do transponders have “off” switches in the first place? (I mean unless you’re flying a super-secret stealth bomber?)

whatcat on March 14, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Something about that it’s not required when they’re on the ground.

BallisticBob on March 14, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Something about that it’s not required when they’re on the ground.
BallisticBob on March 14, 2014 at 6:33 PM

That’s a silly reason. If nothing else they could be set so they turn on when they’re not in contact with the ground. Seems to me they’d want to know where such expensive investments are at all the time.

whatcat on March 14, 2014 at 6:41 PM

9-11 hijackers turned off transponders in 3 of the 4 planes

faraway on March 14, 2014 at 6:54 PM

It appears to me that whoever was at the helm of the Boeing 777 deliberately used those radar limitations to their advantage. This would require an individual well versed in exactly where those limitations were along the flight path.

This brings me back to the pilot of the flight having a Boeing 777 flight simulator in his home and his friends reporting that he spent an extraordinary amount of his time using that simulator to run every possible scenario, and a great deal of experience flying commercial runs in the region.

thatsafactjack on March 14, 2014 at 6:30 PM

I mentioned that pilot upthread-the pilot’s home flight simulator was nothing more than the off-the-shelf Microsoft Flight Simulator, hitched up to 6 separate monitors. It wasn’t anywhere near as sophisticated as the huge commercial flight simulators used by the airlines.

And it’s not a dedicated 777 simulator-the MS Flight Sims he used (FS9, AKA FS 2004, as well as its successor, FSX) also run many other default planes. In FS9, the 777 is available in 4 separate liveries, all fictional airlines.

But there is no doubt that the pilot could have used this simple home flight simulator to plan such a scenario, because the 9/11 hijackers also used Microsoft’s Flight Simulator (in their case, FS 2000) in their training.

Ironically, at the time Microsoft’s Flight Simulator was released in 1999, legendary flight school operators John and Martha King released a home video where they showed viewers how to get the most out of that simulator.

One of the segments had John King flying a plane between the 2 WTC towers. Haunting.

Del Dolemonte on March 14, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Del Dolemonte on March 14, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Thanks, Del. I read your post upthread with interest. I’m pressed for time the last few days, dropping into this site and researching only as time permits, and shorthand references seemed expedient. Your post added needed clarity.

thatsafactjack on March 14, 2014 at 7:47 PM

Del Dolemonte on March 14, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Thanks, Del. I read your post upthread with interest. I’m pressed for time the last few days, dropping into this site and researching only as time permits, and shorthand references seemed expedient. Your post added needed clarity.

thatsafactjack on March 14, 2014 at 7:47 PM

We’re too far down the road now for explanations that include a natural answer. Evidence points to a dangerous outcome the next time that 777 is seen again.

If the CIA isn’t 24/7 working-at-all-costs on this, they’re crazy. If they can’t stop this bird from getting in the air, I fear we’re going to see a major disaster coming.

itsspideyman on March 14, 2014 at 8:55 PM

Reuters: Radar data suggests that the missing Malaysian jet was flown far off course deliberately

Lesson learned — apparently Chinese radar and/or satellite snooping is not up to par.

Or is it? Are the Chinese playing dumb?

The disclosures of who knows what is a chess game.

farsighted on March 14, 2014 at 9:56 PM

This is way out there, but any possibility Putin is behind this to divert worldwide attention from pending invasion of Ukraine?

matthew8787 on March 14, 2014 at 10:01 PM

The fact remains that it is possible to land a 777 on 3000 feet of runway albeit it takes about twice that much distance to take off again.

Five days ago I sarcastically suggested that the plane landed on one of the Andaman Islands and that the crew and passengers were brunching with Amelia Earhart. Ironically, today an Andaman Islands landing is one of the scenarios being considered.

Personally I think the plane (or pieces thereof) are lying on the Ocean bpottom–either the South China sea or Indian Ocean-take your pick.

But if the plane did continue flying for five hours (of which I am skeptical) then a pilot plot or hijacking are possible. But if these pilots were smart enough to fool the whole world, maybe they are smart enough to employ a little misdirection–maybe, after a head-fake west, they turned east and landed at some abandoned (but recently renovated)WW2 airfield in Indonesia or New Guinea. That’s possible if the plane can land in 3000 feet.

MaiDee on March 14, 2014 at 11:30 PM

My theory: Indian Airlines IC814, December 24, 1999.

Christien on March 15, 2014 at 12:23 AM

I thought it interesting Iran almost immediately accused the U.S. of “kidnapping” the plane.

rlwo2008 on March 15, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Only two scanarios where terrorists/pirates would take a plabe cloaded with passengers.

1 hostage ransom or exchange for prisoners.
2 Intimidatiion. We’re mean mutha phuckers. You saw what we did to 239 people. We’ll do the same to you if you don’t play our way.

BOTH scenarios require PUBLICITY and all we have is silence.

as for using a civilian plane for military purposes. The refitting would take weeks if not months. Might it not be easier to steal a military plane from some lightly (or incompetently) guarded third world country. Some nice shiny, relatively recent U.S. fighter-bomber equipped with guided missiles and a bomb or two?

Remember, that (if reports are accurate) the plane ascended to an impossibly high 45,000 feet. And if other reports are accurate, the plane flew subsequently for “more than 7 hours”. I am high skeptical of the 7 hour flight but if its true it was moat likely on auto-pilot with everybody (including pilots) deed of oxygen starvation. the auto-pilot somehow straightening the plane out on level flight until fuel ran out. No witnesses at any point?

MaiDee on March 15, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Saw comments that alluded to a theory where ATC asked an aircraft to Squawk Standby while in flight.

Never.

Would … not … happen.

If they’re on an IFR flight plan the next ATC transmission you’d receive is Radar Lost, Radar services terminated. There is a push to require them to be in the Normal Mode at larger Airports for ground surveillance also.

Just would never happen.

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 8:26 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3