Malaysia: Flight 370 signals continued for more than seven hours

posted at 10:01 am on March 15, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

After days of denials, Malaysian officials abruptly changed their tune today and admitted that Malaysian Air Flight 370′s systems continued to communicate for far longer than they first thought. In fact, it’s far longer than anyone thought. Although the transponders were deliberately turned off, the satellite communications systems continued to send “handshakes” for more than seven and a half hours — 90 minutes longer than the original flight to Beijing was scheduled to last:

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday that a missing passenger jet was steered off course after its communications systems were intentionally dismantled and could have potentially flown for seven additional hours.

In the most comprehensive account to date of the plane’s fate, Najib drew an ominous picture of what happened aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, saying investigators had determined there was “deliberate action by someone on the plane.” …

Though previously U.S. officials believed the plane could have remained in the air for several extra hours, Najib said Saturday that the flight was still communicating with satellites until 8:11 a.m. — seven and a half hours after takeoff, and more than 90 minutes after it was due in Beijing. There was no further communication with the plane after that time, Najib said. If the plane was still in the air, it would have been nearing its fuel limit.

“Due to the type of satellite data,” Najib said, “we are unable to confirm the precise location of the plane when it last made contact with the satellite.”

And this seems rather key to the conclusion that this was no mere accident:

U.S. officials have said that the plane, shortly after being diverted, reached an altitude of 45,000 feet and “jumped around a lot.” But the airplane otherwise appeared to operate normally. Significantly, the transponder and a satellite-based communication system did not stop at the same time, as they would if the plane had exploded, disintegrated or crashed into the ocean.

Najib said on Saturday that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, was disabled just as MH370 reached the eastern coast of Malaysia. The transponder was then switched off, Najib said, as the aircraft neared the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace.

That’s where this gets interesting. Someone on Flight 370 shut off the data-transmission part of ACARS, but not the system itself. Apparently, that’s almost impossible to accomplish, and the person who shut it down on the plane may not have been aware of the difference. ACARS uses an active communication system that “pings” plane systems to see if they have updates, but even if the data-transmission system is shut off, the ACARS system on the plane will still return the ping if it still has power. Flight 370 continued to send return handshakes to those pings for more than seven hours, which means that the flight was still in the air, or on the ground with its engines running.

That makes the problem of search-and-rescue even worse. The potential range for a 777 in the air for 7 hours out of Kuala Lumpur produces a massive area, much of which is covered by military radar in some very tense contexts. No one but Malaysia has acknowledged seeing the plane on its military radar, but the path taken after the transponders were turned off suggests that the pilot knew how to pick his way through those areas.

And that has Malaysia taking a much closer look at Flight 370′s captain:

Malaysian police have begun searching the home of the pilot at the helm of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, after the country’s prime minister confirmed that the Boeing 777′s communications were deliberately disabled by “someone on the plane”.

Police officers arrived at 53-year-old captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s home on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur shortly after the PM, Najib Razak, finished his dramatic press conference, during which he told reporters new satellite data indicated that MH370 last made contact roughly seven hours after it vanished from civilian radar one week ago.

While the raw satellite footage has helped investigators determine that the plane was still flying long after it lost contact with air traffic control at 1.22am on Saturday 8 March with 239 people on board, it could not discern the aircraft’s exact location, Najib said – putting it anywhere along two possible flight corridors: a northern corridor stretching from Kazakhstan, in central Asia, down to northern Thailand; and a southern corridor stretching from Indonesia towards the southern Indian Ocean.

While authorities had initially focused their investigation on the missing plane on four possible explanations, including possible hijacking, sabotage, or the personal or psychological problems of the crew or passengers, the “new information” that had come to light was forcing investigators to rethink their strategy, Najib said.

“In view of this latest development, the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board,” he told reporters on Saturday.

CNN, whose coverage has been rather hyperbolic, offers a better analysis in this clip, which may have more significance now that Malaysia has begun to focus on deliberate intent. Also, its report on the new developments note that while anyone could have been a hijacker, avoiding hostile radar for so long would have taken a lot of military flight experience:

And the apparent lack of visibility on radar? “Airline pilots are not trained for radar avoidance,” said aviation expert Keith Wolzinger, a former 777 pilot. They like to stay on the radar, because — again — it protects their plane.

Only military pilots, he said, are usually keen on avoiding radar.

This mystery keeps getting stranger and stranger.


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I don’t know what the he11 to believe anymore.

NavyMustang on March 15, 2014 at 10:06 AM

My dad flies 777 for AA and he’s baffled. It’s so bizarre.

blatantblue on March 15, 2014 at 10:07 AM

The guy on the left looks a little dodgy.

OK. I’m just reading tea leaves now. I admit it.

LashRambo on March 15, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Was the system pinging long enough for the plane to theoretically make it to the Mid-East? I think we’ll see this plane in the air again some day and when that happens, it’s not going to be good.

Corporal Tunnel on March 15, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Someone on Flight 370 shut off the data-transmission part of ACARS, but not the system itself.

I don’t believe this is correct.

I heard someone on CNN explain this days ago. Here is my translation:

Flying engine to satellite: “Here is the data”

Satellite: “This guy is a deadbeat, he didn’t pay. I wont transmit this data to ground”

faraway on March 15, 2014 at 10:11 AM

This mystery keeps getting stranger and stranger.

Um, yeah.

cozmo on March 15, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Could anyone besides the pilot(s) use their smartphones* or call out somehow from the plane? Seems to me if the pilots took the plane over themselves and just flew it wherever, one of the flight attendants would be like “where the f**k are we?” If not, then that leads me to believe the plane was hijacked by others besides the pilots and had everyone turn in their phones.

*-Of course, smartphones may not work at those elevations or they could be disabled by the pilot. I haven’t flown in a while so I may be way off base…

ManWithNoName on March 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM

So, it flew for up to 7 hours and did so while dodging military radars over hostile countries? Sounds legit.

Mord on March 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM

I don’t know what the he11 to believe anymore.

NavyMustang on March 15, 2014 at 10:06 AM

No kidding.

Was the system pinging long enough for the plane to theoretically make it to the Mid-East? I think we’ll see this plane in the air again some day and when that happens, it’s not going to be good.

Corporal Tunnel on March 15, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Now there is an unpleasant thought. You could pack a lot of chemical weapons into a stripped down 777

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM

I blame Bush.

Realist on March 15, 2014 at 10:14 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlYzU0kAVSk

Maybe Rod Serling had the answer.

jmtham156 on March 15, 2014 at 10:15 AM

The passengers, including children.

I hate to think what has happened to them.

avagreen on March 15, 2014 at 10:15 AM

I was hoping the passengers were being held somewhere and would be rescued but the 45,000 altitude must have been done to kill the passengers. Turn off oxygen to the cabin and fly up there for a little while. I still have to assume the plane is on the ground somewhere since no wreckage has been found.

KayK2 on March 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM

The simplest answer is easiest:

This is just another terror hijacking.

1. Hijack over the sea (out of radar range)
2. Turn off transponder (like 3 of 4 9-11 jets)
3. Take up cell phones
4. Head back to target (just like 9-11) (Kuala Lampur has Twin Towers)

Radar picked up the plane as soon as it got close to land, so Malaysia knew where this plane was immediately.

The, one of two things happened:
1. Someone onboard splashed the plane (passengers rushed the cockpit, or bad hijacker training)
2. Malaysian air force jet shot the plane down

Only #2 explains the misdirection and lying for the past week.

faraway on March 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Najib said Saturday that the flight was still communicating with satellites until 8:11 a.m

Were multiple satellites picking up the same “ping”, or was it just one?

BallisticBob on March 15, 2014 at 10:17 AM

KayK2 on March 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Yeah, that’s occurred to me, as well. What else would be the purpose to climb so high?

avagreen on March 15, 2014 at 10:17 AM

2. Malaysian air force jet shot the plane down

Only #2 explains the misdirection and lying for the past week.

faraway on March 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Sounds like the plane may have been far out of range of the Malaysian AF at the end of it’s flight.

Not that anything is confirmed.

ElectricPhase on March 15, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Id assume that the plane continued flying for those 7 hours and wasnt idling on a runway that long. I could see maybe 30 minutes or so while they deplaned and got rid of the passengers but not 7 hours.

Could it have flew around the south tip of india and then straight into pakistan or iran? Seems like it had enough fuel and engines were on long enough for the flight time.

Did they ever say anything else about the passengers cell phones? I remember initial reports saying that they appeared to ring a day later?

offroadaz on March 15, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Could anyone besides the pilot(s) use their smartphones* or call out somehow from the plane? Seems to me if the pilots took the plane over themselves and just flew it wherever, one of the flight attendants would be like “where the f**k are we?” If not, then that leads me to believe the plane was hijacked by others besides the pilots and had everyone turn in their phones.

*-Of course, smartphones may not work at those elevations or they could be disabled by the pilot. I haven’t flown in a while so I may be way off base…

ManWithNoName on March 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM

If they were dodging radar coverage areas, chances are they didn’t come anywhere near a cell phone tower, regardless of altitude. Though I wonder if it is possible for the pilot to disable everyone in the passenger compartment, or if he can’t override the safety systems. I think the oxygen masks pop out and turn on automatically when the passenger compartment loses pressure, but I could be wrong.

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM

The simplest answer is easiest:

faraway on March 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM

That’s the thing. There HAS to be a simple answer, in lieu of aliens coming down and controlling all the instruments and transporting the plane to Mars. We just don’t know what the simple answer is. There’s so much data, and then we have the fog that always comes with a breaking story.

The problem is, all the simple answers seem incredible.

LashRambo on March 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM

No. If Malay AF shot the plane down the Brit sat would not have gotten pings for 7 hours. A hypothethis that doesn’t fit the facts is bogus.

philw1776 on March 15, 2014 at 10:24 AM

What about the radar system at Diego Garcia? What is going on?

Pork-Chop on March 15, 2014 at 10:24 AM

What’s the ceiling for SAMs? More than 45k feet?

OldEnglish on March 15, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Stranger and stranger indeed. There are plenty of countries who have spy satellites, monitoring stations and ships used for aerial reconnaissance, especially China, India and USA. So long as the data link is returning pings the ability to triangulate on the aircraft exists. Having 90 minutes of contingency fuel on board is not unusual. Curiouser and curiouser.

simkeith on March 15, 2014 at 10:24 AM

The problem is, all the simple answers seem incredible.

LashRambo on March 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Like the opening of a James Bond film.

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:25 AM

The new directional puts in anywhere between KL and Kazakhstan. What countries also are within that range. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kryzyg, and oh, IRAN

ConservativePartyNow on March 15, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Why would a suicide pilot want/need to avoid radar? Or even hijackers who want to promote their cause?

Hmm.

SteveMG on March 15, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Sudden jihad syndrome?

Remember EgyptAir 990?

“the cockpit door moved. There was a clunk. There was a clink. It seems that Batouti was now alone in the cockpit. The 767 was at 33,000 feet, cruising peacefully eastward at .79 Mach.

At 1:48:30 a strange, wordlike sound was uttered, three syllables with emphasis on the second, perhaps more English than Arabic, and variously heard on the tape as “control it,” “hydraulic,” or something unintelligible. The NTSB ran extensive speech and sound-spectrum studies on it, and was never able to assign it conclusively to Batouti or to anyone else. But what is clear is that Batouti then softly said, “Tawakkalt ala Allah,” which proved difficult to translate, and was at first rendered incorrectly, but essentially means “I rely on God.” An electric seat whirred. The autopilot disengaged, and the airplane sailed on as before for another four seconds. Again Batouti said, “I rely on God.” Then two things happened almost simultaneously, according to the flight-data recorder: the throttles in the cockpit moved back fast to minimum idle, and a second later, back at the tail, the airplane’s massive elevators (the pitch-control surfaces) dropped to a three-degrees-down position. When the elevators drop, the tail goes up; and when the tail goes up, the nose points down. Apparently Batouti had chopped the power and pushed the control yoke forward.

The effect was dramatic. The airplane began to dive steeply, dropping its nose so quickly that the environment inside plunged to nearly zero gs, the weightless condition of space. Six times in quick succession Batouti repeated, “I rely on God.” His tone was calm. There was a loud thump. As the nose continued to pitch downward, the airplane went into the negative-g range, nudging loose objects against the ceiling. The elevators moved even farther down. Batouti said, “I rely on God.”

“The wind outside was roaring. The airplane was dropping through 30,800 feet, and accelerating beyond its maximum operating speed of .86 Mach. In the cockpit the altimeters were spinning like cartoon clocks. Warning horns were sounding, warning lights were flashing—low oil pressure on the left engine, and then on the right. The master alarm went off, a loud high-to-low warble.

For the last time Batouti said, “I rely on God.”

Viator on March 15, 2014 at 10:27 AM

No. If Malay AF shot the plane down the Brit sat would not have gotten pings for 7 hours. A hypothethis that doesn’t fit the facts is bogus.

philw1776 on March 15, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Assuming this news about the engine data is legit, the plane was definitely operational the whole time. Unless it was flying in circles or idling on the ground for most of it, it would be well outside of the range of anything Malay.

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:28 AM

The plane is being fitted with chemical warfare devices to turn a population gay. HA was the test run, this time its for real.

Murphy9 on March 15, 2014 at 10:28 AM

The problem is, all the simple answers seem incredible.

LashRambo on March 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Like the opening of a James Bond film.

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:25 AM

If you’re going to go “oldies”, more like an old Perry Mason TV episode. It’s convoluted, but the facts all fit together in the end. It’s rarely how you think it is. All you know for sure is the guy Perry’s defending didn’t do it. And in this case, all we know is … we don’t know anything for sure, do we.

LashRambo on March 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM

I think the oxygen masks pop out and turn on automatically when the passenger compartment loses pressure, but I could be wrong.

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM

I believe that you are correct, but they only have about ten minutes of oxygen per mask. They are meant to give the pilots enough time to make a fast descent to 10k feet.

OldEnglish on March 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM

I get the impression, after a week, that the U.S. knows a heck of a lot more than what they are saying or allowing to be leaked.

That, in itself, is not at all comforting.

tru2tx on March 15, 2014 at 10:31 AM

I think the oxygen masks pop out and turn on automatically when the passenger compartment loses pressure, but I could be wrong.

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Oxygen masks have a limited supply of oxygen though.

will77jeff on March 15, 2014 at 10:32 AM

At 450 knots the aircraft was flying 520 mph. At seven hours that gives a possible range of 3600 miles. That aircraft did not crash. It’s on the ground somewhere with 230+ dead passengers. Dead from either depressurization or toxic gas, maybe helium pumped into the ventilation system. The two questions for intel types now are who has the plane and what use is it to them? Worldwide or anywhere a plane like a777 could be used airtraffic is monitored and controlled. light plans are filed, transponders activated, and air corridors assigned. How do terrorists slip a triple 7 into that?

xkaydet65 on March 15, 2014 at 10:32 AM

we don’t know anything for sure, do we.

But I have a sneaking suspicion some Islamic nutjob philosophy was involved.

LashRambo on March 15, 2014 at 10:35 AM

xkaydet65 on March 15, 2014 at 10:32 AM

You seem very sure of your wild supposition.

ElectricPhase on March 15, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Apparently no one, including Boeing, thought to include geo-location data packets from inexpensive, embedded GPS chips into the satellite pings. Oops.

Infidelius on March 15, 2014 at 10:36 AM

I get the impression, after a week, that the U.S. knows a heck of a lot more than what they are saying or allowing to be leaked.

That, in itself, is not at all comforting.

tru2tx on March 15, 2014 at 10:31 AM

There are a lot of bits of information that can seriously harm national security just by being released to the public. However, I’m kind of hard pressed to see how the US government would have any additional information that isn’t already public.

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Now there is an unpleasant thought. You could pack a lot of chemical weapons into a stripped down 777

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Or a nuke. Iran may be able to build a bomb, but they are not sophisticated enough to build a long-range delivery system. And what better long-range delivery system than a long-range airliner, with nothing aboard but a bomb and a pilot and as much fuel as they can carry?

Now THAT is a scary scenario. Tom Clancy-grade.

iurockhead on March 15, 2014 at 10:40 AM

My husband says the ground crew would have had to have filled ‘er up back in Kuala Lumpur. Generally, airlines only fill the tank up to the anticipated usage for the flight in question.

Sekhmet on March 15, 2014 at 10:41 AM

I get the impression, after a week, that the U.S. knows a heck of a lot more than what they are saying or allowing to be leaked.

That, in itself, is not at all comforting.

tru2tx on March 15, 2014 at 10:31 AM

We don’t. The government is just as baffled as everyone else.

NavyMustang on March 15, 2014 at 10:41 AM

I don’t see people from the passenger cabin hijacking the plane. That takes multiple moments to do. The pilots would have sent out a distress message.

Id be looking into personal connections between the flight crew and pilots.

Scary to think that the pilot/s and stewardesses may have all been plants together.

blatantblue on March 15, 2014 at 10:43 AM

The, one of two things happened:
1. Someone onboard splashed the plane (passengers rushed the cockpit, or bad hijacker training)
2. Malaysian air force jet shot the plane down

Only #2 explains the misdirection and lying for the past week.

faraway on March 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Or 3. They ran out of gas, because they couldn’t decide where to land.

Fenris on March 15, 2014 at 10:44 AM

What does Rosie think?

Ben Hur on March 15, 2014 at 10:44 AM

The, one of two things happened:
1. Someone onboard splashed the plane (passengers rushed the cockpit, or bad hijacker training)
2. Malaysian air force jet shot the plane down

Only #2 explains the misdirection and lying for the past week.

faraway on March 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM

the problem w/ #2 is the continuing transmission of data long after the plane would’ve been splashed. of course, my post is relying on that being factual and even this far out it seems no one has any real reliable info on this event. #1 is plausible if it took a long time for the passengers to get up the courage to rush armed men.

chasdal on March 15, 2014 at 10:44 AM

I believe that you are correct, but they only have about ten minutes of oxygen per mask. They are meant to give the pilots enough time to make a fast descent to 10k feet.

OldEnglish on March 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Hmmmm. Well, that would also prevent passengers from breaking down the door to the pilot compartment (they would pass out before they got anywhere), and, if they were in the middle of open water, using their cell phones.
But they would have to keep it up until they were sure all the passengers were dead, so as not to risk them waking up later.

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:45 AM

someone wanted a 777.
they didn’t want to buy one.
due to reinforced/sterile cockpit the crew is only answer.

dmacleo on March 15, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Or 3. They ran out of gas, because they couldn’t decide where to land.

Fenris on March 15, 2014 at 10:44 AM

that’s a very good point, flying erratically and varying altitudes will burn gas at a higher rate and if they didn’t plan it right they could easily have ran out.

chasdal on March 15, 2014 at 10:46 AM

I was hoping the passengers were being held somewhere and would be rescued but the 45,000 altitude must have been done to kill the passengers. Turn off oxygen to the cabin and fly up there for a little while. I still have to assume the plane is on the ground somewhere since no wreckage has been found.

KayK2 on March 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Turning off the air conditioning system can be done from the flight deck. If left off the airplane eventually depressurizes. Oxygen masks will drop when cabin altitude reaches 10,000 ft. If done intentionally, that’s all that would be needed to finish off the passengers. They could fly until passenger emergency oxygen is depleted. Whoever is flying the airplane has a separate source of oxygen which lasts longer. Then descend and turn air conditioning system back on. The passengers wouldn’t necessarily know anything nefarious is going on…so may not have been alerted to this being an intentional act in that scenario. They would not have to fly to 45,000 feet to accomplish that.

dont taze me bro on March 15, 2014 at 10:46 AM

We don’t. The government is just as baffled as everyone else.

NavyMustang on March 15, 2014 at 10:41 AM

I don’t believe most of what the government says anymore, so maybe I’ve just become irreversibly cynical.

tru2tx on March 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Anyone curious about the efforts of the Chinese to focus the search in the South China Sea. They produced those sat pix of supposed debris and yesterday they repeated a Viet statement on a supposed seismic event. Both in the South China Sea along the air route from KL to Beijing. Since the satellite data being referenced now is commercial and since the Chinese fly Boeings I’d presume they have access to the engine data. Why would they continue to try to direct efforts to the SC Sea?

xkaydet65 on March 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Or a nuke. Iran may be able to build a bomb, but they are not sophisticated enough to build a long-range delivery system. And what better long-range delivery system than a long-range airliner, with nothing aboard but a bomb and a pilot and as much fuel as they can carry?

Now THAT is a scary scenario. Tom Clancy-grade.

iurockhead on March 15, 2014 at 10:40 AM

On the other hand, Iran already has its own airliners.

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:50 AM

On the other hand, Iran already has its own airliners.

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:50 AM

But using one of their own airliners removes their plausible deniability. They know if they used one of their own, and it was identified as such, they would be turned into a glass parking lot in short order. Maybe they intend to provide the nuke to AQ to do the deed, and keep it (ostensibly) free of their fingerprints.

iurockhead on March 15, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Well I ain’t no flight engineer or pilot, but experts know the range of the missing aircraft, its fuel level at last known point and have an idea of its last flight direction and the run-way requirements for landing – I’d draw a circle on a map of the region and determine possible landing spots. But hey! Wha-da I know?

lel2007 on March 15, 2014 at 10:53 AM

The prblem is there is a lot of information floating around coming from different sources. I’d like to know what information is coming from what country.

crankyoldlady on March 15, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Now THAT is a scary scenario. Tom Clancy-grade.

iurockhead on March 15, 2014 at 10:40 AM

“The Sum of All Debts of Honor, where a passenger plane carrying a nuke explodes over the national mall.”

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:55 AM

xkaydet65 on March 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Bothers me, too. Perhaps, for the sake of face, they would much prefer it to be seen as an accident, rather than an attack on their people.

OldEnglish on March 15, 2014 at 10:57 AM

But using one of their own airliners removes their plausible deniability. They know if they used one of their own, and it was identified as such, they would be turned into a glass parking lot in short order. Maybe they intend to provide the nuke to AQ to do the deed, and keep it (ostensibly) free of their fingerprints.

iurockhead on March 15, 2014 at 10:53 AM

If we are talking a nuke, there wouldn’t be enough left of the aircraft to identify for that kind of thing, anyway. If it was a dirty bomb, though…

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:58 AM

This whole thing is just bizarro. I don’t even know what to believe anymore, so many theories have been debunked. I half expect this new revelation to be wrong too…tomorrow someone will say “well, maybe it wasn’t really 7 hours, maybe the plane’s altitude didn’t drop that far”. WTH? Would the same thing happen if this were an American flight going from Dallas to DC? Would we have that much trouble finding out where it went?

scalleywag on March 15, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Regarding what our government knows:
obama is a pathological liar. he lies even when he does not need to do so, and this attribute has permeated his administration. There is no reason to believe anything stated by our government.

GaltBlvnAtty on March 15, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Anyone curious about the efforts of the Chinese to focus the search in the South China Sea. Why would they continue to try to direct efforts to the SC Sea?

xkaydet65 on March 15, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Agree. Not sure why they would do this. Unless the Chinese shot the plane down.

faraway on March 15, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Could anyone besides the pilot(s) use their smartphones* or call out somehow from the plane? Seems to me if the pilots took the plane over themselves and just flew it wherever, one of the flight attendants would be like “where the f**k are we?” If not, then that leads me to believe the plane was hijacked by others besides the pilots and had everyone turn in their phones.

*-Of course, smartphones may not work at those elevations or they could be disabled by the pilot. I haven’t flown in a while so I may be way off base…

ManWithNoName on March 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Could be both…pilots working in conjunction with some passengers (hmmm…maybe those two with stolen passports?)…

ellifint on March 15, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Why would a suicide pilot want/need to avoid radar? Or even hijackers who want to promote their cause?

Hmm.

SteveMG on March 15, 2014 at 10:27 AM

You’d think a suicidal pilot would want to get it over. Why string things out for 6-7 hours?

bw222 on March 15, 2014 at 11:06 AM

After days of denials, Malaysian officials abruptly changed their tune today and admitted that Malaysian Air Flight 370′s systems continued to communicate for far longer than they first thought. In fact, it’s far longer than anyone thought.

The alternate press, especially the alternate Christian press, was reporting on this days ago. I was posting info n my FB page from these sources.

“But CNN says that’s a lie!”

Yeah, that’s what you get for trusting CNN.

mankai on March 15, 2014 at 11:08 AM

They are not continuing to look in the South China Sea so no need to think China shot it down. When last tracked by radar the plane was headed somewhere far away from China towards India, and it flew for hours afterward as indicated by satellite. The satellite does not give accurate position but can discriminate between the Indian ocean location or near China. The plane was nowhere near China.

philw1776 on March 15, 2014 at 11:08 AM

My husband says the ground crew would have had to have filled ‘er up back in Kuala Lumpur. Generally, airlines only fill the tank up to the anticipated usage for the flight in question.

Sekhmet on March 15, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Which includes fuel for flight to an alternate airport + at least a 45 minute reserve. They would have had a plenty of fuel aboard.

DarkCurrent on March 15, 2014 at 11:09 AM

I feel so bad for the families. If this were a normal incident involving a plane and the ocean, they’d have been able to start the grieving process by now, but there can be no closure when this new, huge search area provides for several scenarios where the plane lands safely. Their loved ones could be alive or, more likely, they could have been killed off in flight, after landing, or in a crash. The wait for solid info must be torture.

DisneyFan on March 15, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Call me a whacko conspiracy nut but I think authorities know exactly what happen to the plane and exactly where it is and why it is where it is.

bgibbs1000 on March 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM

If the plane did land somewhere, the next question is — Can you start it back up again without the engines sending their telemetry signals out, so it can fly completely blind?

If this is some sort of terrorist attempt to use a 777 as a flying bomb, no country would now want to be seen as the source of the reappearance of the jet. And to have a spare set of Rolls Royce engines lying around and a flight crew able to change those engines out to hide the plane’s identity would really be an undeniable sign not just of a terrorist act, but of a state-sponsored one.

jon1979 on March 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM

My husband says the ground crew would have had to have filled ‘er up back in Kuala Lumpur. Generally, airlines only fill the tank up to the anticipated usage for the flight in question.

Sekhmet on March 15, 2014 at 10:41 AM

They usually add some for buffer. And if folks on the ground were ‘in on it’, they could’ve filled it to capacity before it took off for Beijing.

Midas on March 15, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Agree. Not sure why they would do this. Unless the Chinese shot the plane down.

faraway on March 15, 2014 at 10:59 AM

or maybe because that seemed the most likely location based on early information.

DarkCurrent on March 15, 2014 at 11:13 AM

On Tuesday, families were reporting that cell phone calls were going through just not being answered.

mankai on March 15, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Well, the French Southern and Antarctic Lands are basically uninhabited. They are about 3,800 miles as the crow flies from the point where the aircraft disappeared.

And, once it got onto the west side of the Peninsula there wouldn’t be much radar to thread, but I don’t know what they track out there and what the coverage radii are for the few locale in the Indian Ocean.

The problem with thinking this — of them trying to land and arm the plane for delivery elsewhere — is that to do so successfully one has to avoid all civilization in order to prevent being spotted. But that means the choice of targets they would have would also be severely limited. It also means you need to have a logistical support team(s) to deliver not just the arms but the fuel for delivery.

Dusty on March 15, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Call me a whacko conspiracy nut but I think authorities know exactly what happen to the plane and exactly where it is and why it is where it is.

bgibbs1000 on March 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM

I wouldn’t say that for sure, but it’s sad that that is even plausible.

Fenris on March 15, 2014 at 11:14 AM

I read there were defense experts on that flight who might have knowledge pertinent to Iran or another belligerent nation in the east.

mankai on March 15, 2014 at 11:15 AM

They usually add some for buffer. And if folks on the ground were ‘in on it’, they could’ve filled it to capacity before it took off for Beijing.

Midas on March 15, 2014 at 11:11 AM

That’s what I’ve been saying for days. We’re making a huge assumption on the amount of fuel onboard. How hard would it be to bribe someone or have someone in on it to top the tanks off on the ground in a third world country? If the pilot knew they were going to have to evade land-base radar and take a circuitous route to their final destination, he or someone involved with him probably would have had to plan for additional fuel. Landing and refueling doesn’t seem to make any sense to me…

And they couldn’t have assumed that it would take a week before it was realized the plane was hijacked. They probably thought it would be noticed relatively quickly, which means they needed to park and hide the plane as quickly as possible.

Also, why are we focused on the route the plan was flying when it was picked up by radar in Malaysia? The pilot could have easily turned the plane in whatever direction he wanted when he was safely outside the radar’s capabilities. I doubt they would fly straight in the path that they were plotted in on radar.

Timin203 on March 15, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Why steal a plane (for later use) with people in it? That doesn’t make sense.

faraway on March 15, 2014 at 11:16 AM

It also means you need to have a logistical support team(s) to deliver not just the arms but the fuel for delivery.

Dusty on March 15, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Well, that’s the kicker. It seems unlikely to me that they would go somewhere remote if it’s state sponsored, since someone would probably notice an Iranian (for example) tanker somewhere it has no reason to be. It’s not like they can refuel a 777 with 5 gallon gas tanks. It requires a lot of fuel. I would think they would have to land it somewhere where the logistical resupplies would not be noticed, or would at least be able to claim plausible deniability (for example, one of the stans, where is mostly uninhabited, and locals are corrupt, and you could sneak in some trucks).

Timin203 on March 15, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Mysterious Muslims mystify.

BL@KBIRD on March 15, 2014 at 11:18 AM

That’s what I’ve been saying for days. We’re making a huge assumption on the amount of fuel onboard. How hard would it be to bribe someone or have someone in on it to top the tanks off on the ground in a third world country?

Timin203 on March 15, 2014 at 11:15 AM

That shouldn’t be to hard to figure out.

There has to be paperwork confirming the fuel load.

BallisticBob on March 15, 2014 at 11:19 AM

On Tuesday, families were reporting that cell phone calls were going through just not being answered.

mankai on March 15, 2014 at 11:14 AM

If that were true, the cell phone companies would be able to tell everyone where the aircraft was at the time.

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Why steal a plane (for later use) with people in it? That doesn’t make sense.

faraway on March 15, 2014 at 11:16 AM

If it is Mohammedan terrorists, then killing a couple hundred infidels is just gravy.

Fenris on March 15, 2014 at 11:19 AM

My guess, which is worth as much as anybody else’s…

The passengers are dead.

The plane is on the ground, somewhere, getting a new paint job.

We’ll be seeing it again. Soon.

We’re not going to be happy when we do.

Whatever it is we lose, Obama will make a strongly worded speech about it.

trigon on March 15, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Pray for the peace of Israel.

Flora Duh on March 15, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Anyone interested in wild theories from (alleged) professional pilots can read as much as they can take at this discussion site. Lots of technical jargon and arguments. Have fun.

trapeze on March 15, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Perhaps someone wanted to “disappear” to a friendly country.

OldEnglish on March 15, 2014 at 11:27 AM

The plane obviously landed. That is the only way the engines would run past the point where the fuel would run out if they were still flying.

gh on March 15, 2014 at 11:27 AM

[faraway on March 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM]

I was somewhat amenable to this line of thinking but there’s too much data to address the answer for which are improbable. First and foremost is the fact that the aircraft was “pinging” the system for 7 hours. That means the Malaysians didn’t shoot it down for 7 hours.

Secondarily, while the the flight needed to avoid Malaysian radar to prevent being shot down, it also has to avoid Thai, Burmese, Indian, Indonesian, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Bruneian radar for the Malayian to get away with shooting it down and covering that up successfully, because all those other countries are going to hop on the public address system yelling, “We found it, We found it!” as soon as they spot it.

Dusty on March 15, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Commercial flights load enough fuel for the destination plus 90 minutes reserve. If the cell phones could be bumped by a cell tower they would be within the towers range. If they phones were actually responding.

If they think the plane is on the ground and have some idea where it is I would hope they would keep it fuzzy in public and try to rescue the passengers first.

CW20 on March 15, 2014 at 11:27 AM

There has to be paperwork confirming the fuel load.

BallisticBob on March 15, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Not if someone was bribed.

gh on March 15, 2014 at 11:28 AM

If someone wants a “bomb delivery system”, why bother to steal a 777? There aren’t that many of them, since it’s a relatively new aircraft, and one that doesn’t seem to belong is sure to be noticed.
Why not use an older cargo jet, registered to a “legitimate” company (set up for the purpose) that would not draw a lot of unwanted attention?
It’s not as though a bomb – of any type – needs a lot of room; and there are plenty of aircraft that can cross the Atlantic. Stealing something like a 777 full of passengers would seem to be counter-productive to a plot like that.

Solaratov on March 15, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Call me a whacko conspiracy nut but I think authorities know exactly what happen to the plane and exactly where it is and why it is where it is.

bgibbs1000 on March 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM

I can’t disagree with that.

crankyoldlady on March 15, 2014 at 11:29 AM

I wonder if our carrier groups have beefed up security. Of course many different countries could be a target.

KayK2 on March 15, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Call me a whacko conspiracy nut but I think authorities know exactly what happen to the plane and exactly where it is and why it is where it is.

bgibbs1000 on March 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM

You are a whacko conspiracy nut.

gh on March 15, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Totally weird thought, but any possibility Putin is behind this to divert worldwide attention from pending invasion of Ukraine?

matthew8787 on March 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Was the system pinging long enough for the plane to theoretically make it to the Mid-East? I think we’ll see this plane in the air again some day and when that happens, it’s not going to be good.

Corporal Tunnel on March 15, 2014 at 10:09 AM
.

Now there is an unpleasant thought. You could pack a lot of chemical weapons into a stripped down 777

Count to 10 on March 15, 2014 at 10:13 AM

.
My guess, which is worth as much as anybody else’s…

The passengers are dead.

The plane is on the ground, somewhere, getting a new paint job.

We’ll be seeing it again. Soon.

We’re not going to be happy when we do.

Whatever it is we lose, Obama will make a strongly worded speech about it.

trigon on March 15, 2014 at 11:20 AM

.
I’d really like to disagree with you three . . . . . unfortunately, I cannot … : (
.

Why would a suicide pilot want/need to avoid radar? Or even hijackers who want to promote their cause?

Hmm.

SteveMG on March 15, 2014 at 10:27 AM

.
Did you come to the same conclusion, I did?

listens2glenn on March 15, 2014 at 11:33 AM

. Stealing something like a 777 full of passengers would seem to be counter-productive to a plot like that.

Solaratov on March 15, 2014 at 11:29 AM

If they are holding it for ransom having people would make for more leverage.

crankyoldlady on March 15, 2014 at 11:33 AM

You’d think a suicidal pilot would want to get it over. Why string things out for 6-7 hours?

bw222 on March 15, 2014 at 11:06 AM

And a suicide pilot would want to make sure the world was watching as the plane was destroyed, not avoid radar and hide the final destination.

iurockhead on March 15, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Malaysian police have begun searching the home of the pilot at the helm of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, after the country’s prime minister confirmed that the Boeing 777′s communications were deliberately disabled by “someone on the plane”.

Police officers arrived at 53-year-old captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s home on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur …

‘I mean the thing is is that and I get frustrated and there was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country because there are a lot of people who want to use this terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way. I mean they use it as justification for really outdated bigotry.

And so there was part of me was really hoping this would not be the case that here would be somebody who is not the defined…I mean we know even in recent history you have the Hutaree militia from Michigan who have plans to let’s face it create terror.’

- Contessa Brewer on Times Square bomber Malaysian 777 pilot?

Resist We Much on March 15, 2014 at 11:33 AM

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