Video: Flight 370 turn programmed into cockpit computer?

posted at 10:01 am on March 18, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The mystery of Flight 370 continues today, with new information that has intensified the focus on the two pilots in charge of the Boeing 777. Sources within the US investigation tell the New York Times that the hard left turn taken by the flight when it broke contact had been programmed into the computer, and not manually executed by the pilots. That strongly suggests that the pilots intended to take the airplane and its passengers, says the NYT, although it’s not known whether the programming was changed in flight or on the ground before take-off:

The first turn to the west that diverted the missing Malaysia Airlines plane from its planned flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing was carried out through a computer system that was most likely programmed by someone in the plane’s cockpit who was knowledgeable about airplane systems, according to senior American officials.

Instead of manually operating the plane’s controls, whoever altered Flight 370’s path typed seven or eight keystrokes into a computer on a knee-high pedestal between the captain and the first officer, according to officials. The Flight Management System, as the computer is known, directs the plane from point to point specified in the flight plan submitted before a flight. It is not clear whether the plane’s path was reprogrammed before or after it took off.

The fact that the turn away from Beijing was programmed into the computer has reinforced the belief of investigators — first voiced by Malaysian officials — that the plane was deliberately diverted and that foul play was involved. It has also increased their focus on the plane’s captain and first officer.

Anyone who did this would have to be familiar with Boeing systems, although not necessarily the 777. This would have another implication — it would probably have delayed alerting passengers to the seizure. Using the computer to accomplish the diversion would allow the plane to change course gently enough not to alarm passengers, keeping them in the dark for at least a while. However, the altitude changes that later took place had to have alerted them at some point.

CNN interviewed one of the reporters, Michael S. Schmidt, on the implications of this discovery:

The two possible tracks for Flight 370 take it northwest and southwest. Thailand’s discovery of the anomaly suggests, at least for the moment, that the flight took the northwest track. That would lead it toward India and the Central Asian republics at the end of its fuel range.

NBC’s Today had more today as well:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Malaysian authorities haven’t covered themselves in glory thus far, so no one still really knows what went on. All we know is that the plane appears to have been taken on purpose, that no one knows exactly what that purpose was, and no one is credibly claiming responsibility for the hijacking. And we may never know more than that.


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The plane is in Iran or Pock-E-Ston.

ConstantineXI on March 18, 2014 at 10:04 AM

QUIT wasting American resources looking for this damned plane…

OmahaConservative on March 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM

There is still the simple possibility of GIGO.

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:08 AM

OmahaConservative on March 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Three Americans on the plane and good practice for the sailors and airmen.

The destroyer has been pulled off and the American contingent now consists of a single aircraft.

I think the military can handle that.

cozmo on March 18, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Sources within the US investigation tell the New York Times that the hard left turn taken by the flight when it broke contact had been programmed into the computer, and not manually executed by the pilots.

Sigh. This whole thing is SUCH a mess.

I can’t figure out how the NYT comes to the conclusion that the turn was caused by entering data into a computer rather than executed manually by a pilot. What in the external data, i.e., the radar tracks, would indicate that?

NavyMustang on March 18, 2014 at 10:10 AM

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Well duh.

I may be beginning to form a semi-conspiracy theory myself.

Wasn’t there lots of tabloid stories about secret Nazi bases at the south pole?

The southern track…

cozmo on March 18, 2014 at 10:12 AM

cozmo on March 18, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Did you note in the article the Acars telemetry the carrier has with the FMS on-board? That’s pretty cool. Although I’m not sure I like the idea of a ground based station having the ability to ping a military aircraft and detect fly nav info.

Then it begs the question, do they have resolution on the actual grid that was entered. If so, look there. Or on a course line to there.

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:15 AM

The NYT can do investigative journalism now…
But was AWOL when candidate Obama was trekking around in 2008?

Go figure…

Electrongod on March 18, 2014 at 10:15 AM

pilots I’ve talked with (in the past) told me they often initiated turns this way, iirc it maintains yaw and stuff better and is more gentle on the passengers.

dmacleo on March 18, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Well duh.

cozmo on March 18, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Did one of my posts somewhere along the way give you the impression I was an idiot?

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:17 AM

NavyMustang on March 18, 2014 at 10:10 AM

You saved me a question.

QUIT wasting American resources looking for this damned plane…

OmahaConservative on March 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM

I used to be a Boyscout.

Be prepared.

Shy Guy on March 18, 2014 at 10:17 AM

also they don’t have to disconnect AP doing it this way do the alt won’t change

dmacleo on March 18, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Sigh. This whole thing is SUCH a mess.

I can’t figure out how the NYT comes to the conclusion that the turn was caused by entering data into a computer rather than executed manually by a pilot. What in the external data, i.e., the radar tracks, would indicate that?

NavyMustang on March 18, 2014 at 10:10 AM

At this point everything we hear or read is B$. Multiple Governments were covering up what was going on from the get go. They knew something was extremely wrong with this situation the minute they found out form Boeing that the engines were still transmitting flight data at least seven hours after the plane dropped off radar contact and was presumed lost because that’s what everyone wanted to believe.

They knew pretty much that the plane had been flown somewhere and they blew it looking in the wrong places.

Johnnyreb on March 18, 2014 at 10:21 AM

QUIT wasting American resources looking for this damned plane…

OmahaConservative on March 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM

How is it a waste of resources to look for a plane with over 230 souls on board? Those families deserve to know what happened, at the very least. Also, do you really trust any of those governments in that area on this? I sure as hell don’t.

changer1701 on March 18, 2014 at 10:21 AM

pilots I’ve talked with (in the past) told me they often initiated turns this way, iirc it maintains yaw and stuff better and is more gentle on the passengers.

dmacleo on March 18, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Yep it’s true. Most systems have a “Turn Over” or “Turn Prior” selection that they additionally consider. Depending upon the degrees of turn over a waypoint you may want to toggle between the two methods to keep the aircraft in better turn rate coordination or avoid excursions from the legal lateral limits of your flight path. It will generally be a better turn that a pilot would make. Generally.

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:23 AM

QUIT wasting American resources looking for this damned plane…

OmahaConservative on March 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Hear, hear.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 18, 2014 at 10:23 AM

All we know is that the plane appears to have been taken on purpose, that no one knows exactly what that purpose was, and no one is credibly claiming responsibility for the hijacking. And we may never know more than that.

So the plane was turned by computer. Hacked into by person or persons unknown perhaps?

We are never going to know the truth here. Time to leave the NTSB support and pack it in otherwise.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Maybe the Tolly bon has it?

Those poor passengers. They likely were suffocated when (and if) the plane rose to 45,000 ft and the cabin was depressurized.

Imagine the familes… the agony they are in waiting to find out about their loved ones.

rightside on March 18, 2014 at 10:23 AM

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:15 AM

YOU’VE REACHED THE LIMIT OF 10 FREE ARTICLES A MONTH
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Gonna’ have to wait until next month to read it.

cozmo on March 18, 2014 at 10:24 AM

QUIT wasting American resources looking for this damned plane…

OmahaConservative on March 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM

I’d like to find it to ensure it doesn’t get used against us. That’s worth some effort on our part.

Ed Morrissey on March 18, 2014 at 10:25 AM

legal lateral limits

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Is that one of those tongue twisters to determine the sobriety of pilots? Because if you can’t say legal lateral limits three times fast, you probably shouldn’t be in the cockpit. ;0

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 10:26 AM

I wonder if it is possible to program (hack) the system to lock out manual control after the new waypoints kick in.

db on March 18, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Malaysia keeps misdirecting every day. They did something embarrassing that night.

Maybe they shot it down thinking it was a terror flight. Maybe it was a hijack/hostage situation gone wrong.

faraway on March 18, 2014 at 10:26 AM

I can’t figure out how the NYT comes to the conclusion that the turn was caused by entering data into a computer rather than executed manually by a pilot. What in the external data, i.e., the radar tracks, would indicate that?

NavyMustang on March 18, 2014 at 10:10 AM

In the article, they discussed the Acars system. The carrier sees whats going on or entered into the flt nav on their FMS.

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:27 AM

The horse is still dead and the Humane Society will soon be on the case.

However, there was an actual bit of news published yesterday in the – brace yourself – New York Times. We now know that there were phones for passenger use in the business class section of the plane.

corona79 on March 18, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Did one of my posts somewhere along the way give you the impression I was an idiot?

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Please do not give me that kind of an opening.

Especially after rescinding my moratorium on using rotorhead.

GIGO is about the only way to go with all the conflicting information.

I would like to know more on the decision of the US pulling out the Kidd. And what is the significance of the blue box along the southern track.

cozmo on March 18, 2014 at 10:28 AM

How is it a waste of resources to look for a plane with over 230 souls on board? Those families deserve to know what happened, at the very least. Also, do you really trust any of those governments in that area on this? I sure as hell don’t.

changer1701 on March 18, 2014 at 10:21 AM

There is a law of diminishing returns here. How long do you devote warships, sattelite time, or other resources to Flight 370? It isn’t the only operational need.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 10:29 AM

I’d like to find it to ensure it doesn’t get used against us. That’s worth some effort on our part.

Ed Morrissey on March 18, 2014 at 10:25 AM

If it gets back in the air (somehow) that will be easier to spot than searching 1/10 of the Earth’s surface (and below) for it. I don’t think a 777 will just sneak up on our air space (though, with the inept fools in our government and military now, this is certainly possible). But, it certainly ain’t worth the effort to be looking all over tarnation for it. Not in any way, shape, or form.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 18, 2014 at 10:29 AM

I’d like to find it to ensure it doesn’t get used against us.

Ed Morrissey on March 18, 2014 at 10:25 AM

And I thought forged BCs were tinfoil.

If you’re going to steal a plane, why on Earth would would you steal one with people in it???

If you need a plane, why not buy/steal/hijack a cargo plane? Or one on the ground?

Iran and Pakistan already have thousands of planes.

This is the nuttiest theory out there (well, except for aliens). I’m ashamed.

faraway on March 18, 2014 at 10:30 AM

corona79 on March 18, 2014 at 10:27 AM

I still haven’t quite figured out exactly what kind of troll you are.

cozmo on March 18, 2014 at 10:31 AM

legal lateral limits

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Is that one of those tongue twisters to determine the sobriety of pilots? Because if you can’t say legal lateral limits three times fast, you probably shouldn’t be in the cockpit. ;0

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 10:26 AM

IFR routes have lateral limits. Stray without permission or on a vector and you’ve violated airspace. Then you end up chasing butterflies where somethings highly illegal. Don’t chase imaginary butterflies into something highly illegal.

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:31 AM

In the article, they discussed the Acars system. The carrier sees whats going on or entered into the flt nav on their FMS.

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Then why is there any question about when the navigation was entered in? That info should be logged and very easily accessible.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 18, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Someone should ask Obama about this. One of the few things he actually knows something about is hard left turns.

SacredFire on March 18, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Malaysia keeps misdirecting every day. They did something embarrassing that night.

Maybe they shot it down thinking it was a terror flight. Maybe it was a hijack/hostage situation gone wrong.

faraway on March 18, 2014 at 10:26 AM

If Malaysia was culpable in any way or is proven to have deliberately mislead operations- well that isn’t going to go over well when you’ve got twenty-some nations searching an entire hemisphere worth of space. Frankly, I don’t think they’d cover-up by just having the plane disappear.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 10:33 AM

The plane is in Iran or Pock-E-Ston.

ConstantineXI on March 18, 2014 at 10:04 AM

More likely Pakistan. A direct route to Iran would take the plane over Indian airspace, and India has seen enough terrorist attacks that it would likely scramble jets in response to an unidentified airliner entering its airspace, especially after one was reported missing.

The hijackers would have probably avoided India by flying around it to the south, then flying north off the west coast of India toward Pakistan. If the plane went around India, it probably wouldn’t have enough fuel to land in Iran.

The hijackers may have had accomplices in the Pakistani military guiding the jet to a military airstrip in Pakistan. We do remember that Bin Laden was hiding a few miles from a Pakistani military base, and everybody looked the other way.

Steve Z on March 18, 2014 at 10:34 AM

NavyMustang on March 18, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Exactly my question: How do they know this?

Isn’t it time for ‘real-time’ black boxes? They need to be tied into the main power system and cannot be accessed/disabled except through an exterior access panel. Real-time telemetry – flight data and digitized cockpit voice recorder – all sent to satellites so there’s no gap in coverage. A lack of data for 10 minutes from an active flight sets off alarms.

We could pay for it by disbanding the TSA and using their funds, since the TSA is useless anyway.

Timothy S. Carlson on March 18, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Could somebody explain how they allegedly know about altitude without the transponders on? Is that one of the bits of information that the “handshakes” of ACARS would have provided?

Of course, the Malaysian government has so muddled the timeline I think all we can say with certainty this long after the fact is that the plane did not arrive at its scheduled destination.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 10:36 AM

In the article, they discussed the Acars system. The carrier sees whats going on or entered into the flt nav on their FMS.

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:27 AM

I was wondering about that but could not remember if AP disconnect (reqd to do a manual turn) was recorded by acars. I THINK it is but cannot remember.
depending on integration levels/software/etc acars could record everything but I seem to remember ALL would record an AP disconnect even if not recording actual fms entries.
but been so long since I read any service bulletins/FAA stuff I may be wrong.

dmacleo on March 18, 2014 at 10:37 AM

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Then why is there any question about when the navigation was entered in? That info should be logged and very easily accessible.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 18, 2014 at 10:32 AM

You would think. The more I read. The weirder it gets. Like something very simple is being made very complicated as a detraction maybe? I really wouldn’t bet any big money on anything yet. But I know people put bad info into FMSs and if there isn’t a crosscheck by another crewmember to discover the error …

“Pigs … In … Space”

As we say to our students.

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:37 AM

I’d like to find it to ensure it doesn’t get used against us. That’s worth some effort on our part.

Ed Morrissey on March 18, 2014 at 10:25 AM

With this administration, we’ve bared our neck to the world.
That this plane is missing is not an immediate threat.
The Affordable Care Act, the Keystone Pipeline, Lois Lerner and the IRS thuggery are threats, among many, to America in progress.

vityas on March 18, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Could somebody explain how they allegedly know about altitude without the transponders on? Is that one of the bits of information that the “handshakes” of ACARS would have provided?

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 10:36 AM

its capable of that, that I know.

dmacleo on March 18, 2014 at 10:38 AM

If you need a plane, why not buy/steal/hijack a cargo plane? Or one on the ground?

Iran and Pakistan already have thousands of planes.

This is the nuttiest theory out there (well, except for aliens). I’m ashamed.

faraway on March 18, 2014 at 10:30 AM

I agree, the theory is out there… But to play devils advocate for a second.

I have to imagine there aren’t too many civilian cargo carriers flying planes that big — probably FedEx, UPS, DHL, and Chinese and Russian companies. Who probably all keep better track of their planes. Also, it seems the pilot might be in on it, so this could have been just the easiest way for them to grab a plane.

As to why Pakistan or Iran wouldn’t use their own planes — game this out. If the theory holds, and the Israel gets nuked or whatnot by an Iranian plane, Iran gets the return fire from Israel and the US.

If, on the other hand, the plane does its thing, but Iran vehemently denies it, would the US really go to war on a hunch? Especially with the current admin and their obsession with working with the “rational” Iranians? It would give the Iranians / Pakistanis/ whoever plausible deniability, or at least enough of it to buy time.

But if you ask me, the thing probably crashed somewhere. Even if it landed, I doubt it’s taking off again. That’s a HUGE plane.

Timin203 on March 18, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Using the computer to accomplish the diversion would allow the plane to change course gently enough not to alarm passengers, keeping them in the dark for at least a while. However, the altitude changes that later took place had to have alerted them at some point.

Not necessarily. The captain could get on the speaker and say they’re descending to avoid weather or turbulence. Given that it’s the middle of the night, and the plane was over open water, the passengers would be none the wiser as to this…or how far the plane has actually dropped.

JetBoy on March 18, 2014 at 10:39 AM

I was wondering about that but could not remember if AP disconnect (reqd to do a manual turn) was recorded by acars. I THINK it is but cannot remember.
depending on integration levels/software/etc acars could record everything but I seem to remember ALL would record an AP disconnect even if not recording actual fms entries.
but been so long since I read any service bulletins/FAA stuff I may be wrong.

dmacleo on March 18, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Yeah, I don’t know either. In our aircraft the coupled flight director will only change the flight path of the aircraft though several FMS (FLT PLAN) or keyed (Direct To) features. We can use the director to change alt but we have a single limited feature for a programmed climb or descend and it still has to be initiated by the pilot. Currently, we can’t program an altitude change. Many of the features they discuss are above capabilities I’m familiar with. (But would love to have)

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Could somebody explain how they allegedly know about altitude without the transponders on? Is that one of the bits of information that the “handshakes” of ACARS would have provided?

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 10:36 AM

The other source would be the data transmitted by the engines to the satellite. I’m sure that included altitude data.

What would be nice is a consolidated timeline of events, including data from ACARS, the engines, radar, etc. Has anybody seen something like that?

ZenDraken on March 18, 2014 at 10:46 AM

The Pilot was related to the opposition leader convicted in the trial he attended shortly before the flight.

This just gets weirder…

“Furious Chinese families today threatened to go on hunger strike until the Malaysian government tells them the truth about the fate of their relatives aboard the flight which went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Ten days after the airliner vanished an hour into its flight, hundreds of family members are still waiting for information in a Beijing hotel.

Around two thirds of the 239 passengers on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are Chinese.

Families vented their pain and anger on Chinese representatives sent by the airline to meet them on Tuesday and demanded to see the Malaysian ambassador.
‘What we want is the truth. Don’t let them become victims of politics. No matter what political party you are, no matter how much power you have, if there isn’t life, what’s the point? Where is compassion?’ asked one middle-aged woman angrily…”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2583217/Revealed-Pilot-RELATED-jailed-Malaysian-opposition-leader-families-lost-relatives-threaten-hunger-strike.html#ixzz2wKG6fit1

workingclass artist on March 18, 2014 at 10:47 AM

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:44 AM

suppose I could fire up flightsim here and see :)
although that may brand me as someone wanting to take over a plane just because I have flightsim :)

dmacleo on March 18, 2014 at 10:47 AM

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:15 AM

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Gonna’ have to wait until next month to read it.

cozmo on March 18, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Or you could just Google the headline and access it that way. The NYT paywall doesn’t block access thru Google.

kcewa on March 18, 2014 at 10:51 AM

However, there was an actual bit of news published yesterday in the – brace yourself – New York Times. We now know that there were phones for passenger use in the business class section of the plane.

corona79 on March 18, 2014 at 10:27 AM

If the ACARS can be disabled, wanna bet that the passenger phone system can be, too?

Shy Guy on March 18, 2014 at 10:53 AM

A new day, a new theory.

Does media just keep doing this to get more viewers on TV and hits on websites?

albill on March 18, 2014 at 10:54 AM

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:44 AM

suppose I could fire up flightsim here and see :)
although that may brand me as someone wanting to take over a plane just because I have flightsim :)

dmacleo on March 18, 2014 at 10:47 AM

When you get curious about Flight 370 you talk with people on Hot Air about it. When you talk with people on Hot Air about it, you want to fire up FltSim and study the on-board systems and flight path of Flight 370. When you fire up FltSim and study the on-board systems and flight path of Flight 370 the NSA monitors and sends the FBI to haul you away.

Don’t let the FBI haul you away!

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:58 AM

What would be nice is a consolidated timeline of events, including data from ACARS, the engines, radar, etc. Has anybody seen something like that?

ZenDraken on March 18, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Malaysian authorities have come under fire the last couple of days for not being able to provide a definitive timeline. Apparently stuff like the timing of turning off the transponders keeps moving in the information they provide.

The real question is how much of this is disinformation about what they know and how much of it is that they’re in over their heads.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 10:59 AM

I wonder how much of the secrecy around this is driven by the Snowden revelations.

I think certain govt’s may know what happened but, after being embarrassed by that fiasco, they don’t want to admit they have the capabilities to monitor the airspace of other countries. Or that they’re spying on their airlines.

kcewa on March 18, 2014 at 10:59 AM

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:58 AM

LOL!

And it is probably best to leave that kind of stuff to CNN. They were actually in a 777 simulator this weekend.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Hi cozmo.

Tan dah…
Courtney Love found it!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2583143/Courtney-Love-claims-located-missing-MH370.html

Brat on March 18, 2014 at 11:03 AM

albill on March 18, 2014 at 10:54 AM

It has created quite a diversion from Obamascare and all other things Obama hasn’t it? Makes you wonder what else is really going on doesn’t it.

Brat on March 18, 2014 at 11:06 AM

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Thanks for the first good laugh of the day.

Brat on March 18, 2014 at 11:03 AM

What would we do without Courtney. I would like to find out.

cozmo on March 18, 2014 at 11:06 AM

If Malaysia was culpable in any way or is proven to have deliberately mislead operations…

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 10:33 AM

What would Obama Momjeans do?

Tsar of Earth on March 18, 2014 at 11:07 AM

I find it curious that the plane/satellite ping/”handshake” remained equidistant from the satellite for 5+ hours. Thus the map graphic suggests that the plane traveled along an arc either to the north or south, keeping its same distance from the satellite. It’s far-fetched to think that the pilots would do that since they likely did not know that they were being tracked by this “handshake.” It’s one thing to follow an inconspicuous corridor from one to/through another, and another thing to stay exactly equidistant from an unknown satellite, even if that equidistance keeps you approximately in some suspicious corridor. I think the evidence of the handshake suggests that it is more likely that the plane landed or crash landed (relatively soon after ping-only tracking began) and power was somehow maintained for several hours to keep the ping going. That is the simplest explanation for the ping remaining at the same distance from the satellite.

From reports this scenario was discounted because it is uncommon to keep the power going if you land or crash, but here the uncommon seems more likely than the far-fetched. Laos and Indonesia are two possibilities.

Finally, I haven’t heard any update on the wife/child moving out the day before the flight. Did they 1) hide, or 2) did they have a domestic clash and openly move elsewhere?

G. Charles on March 18, 2014 at 11:09 AM

IFR routes have lateral limits. Stray without permission or on a vector and you’ve violated airspace. Then you end up chasing butterflies where somethings highly illegal. Don’t chase imaginary butterflies into something highly illegal.

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:31 AM

No kidding. I once heard Oakland Center ask an airline pilot to alter his course three times. The third time the tone was do it or you won’t have a licence when you land. Controllers have the hammer.

CW20 on March 18, 2014 at 11:10 AM

If you’re going to steal a plane, why on Earth would would you steal one with people in it???

Same reason the 9/11 hijackers waited until the aircraft reached cruising altitude. Easier to take over a plane already in flight than parked on the ground. If you take it over on the ground, you may not get off the ground, and if you do, the plane will be tracked from wheels up, and probably shot down. No way it can be used for anything different it it’s being tracked.

If you need a plane, why not buy/steal/hijack a cargo plane? Or one on the ground?

Again, easier to take control of an aircraft while in the air. Believe it or not, cargo facilities are very secure. Harder for someone to blend in on a cargo jet when there is maybe 3, 4 people on board.

Iran and Pakistan already have thousands of planes.

True, but can they fly?

RandallinHerndon on March 18, 2014 at 11:10 AM

If the theory holds, and the Israel gets nuked or whatnot by an Iranian plane, Iran gets the return fire from Israel and the US.
[...]
Timin203 on March 18, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Do you really think so? I’m not so sure that this administration would take that step. And for all I know, they could have already told the Iranians as much, through deeds, if not words.

bofh on March 18, 2014 at 11:10 AM

If you need a plane, why not buy/steal/hijack a cargo plane? Or one on the ground?

Iran and Pakistan already have thousands of planes.

Maybe these pilots only flew this kind of plane.

crankyoldlady on March 18, 2014 at 11:10 AM

If Malaysia was culpable in any way or is proven to have deliberately mislead operations…

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 10:33 AM


What would Obama Momjeans do?

Tsar of Earth on March 18, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Not a damne thing. That’s why I am so frustrated at our resources being pissed away on locating the damned thing…

OmahaConservative on March 18, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Anyone who did this would have to be familiar with Boeing systems, although not necessarily the 777. This would have another implication — it would probably have delayed alerting passengers to the seizure. Using the computer to accomplish the diversion would allow the plane to change course gently enough not to alarm passengers, keeping them in the dark for at least a while. However, the altitude changes that later took place had to have alerted them at some point.

If the plane climbed to 45,000 feet, as reported, it would become unstable, since the stall speed (minimum speed required to maintain lift) in thin air is close to the top speed of the jet. An inexperienced pilot (such as a hijacker) could have temporarily lost control, then regained control at a lower altitude.

This would have alerted the passengers that something was wrong, and some of them may have been plotting a revolt similar to what occurred on United Flight 93 on 9/11.

Unless…the hijackers depressurized the cabin at high altitude, which would kill the passengers by anoxia, while using oxygen masks in the cockpit for themselves. Since it was reported that the plane later flew at only 5,000 feet, the hijackers could remain conscious at that altitude without oxygen and without re-pressurizing the cabin.

So when is the U.S. Government going to search every airstrip in Pakistan and eastern Iran? Now THAT would be a good mission for a drone! A lot more productive than a wild-goose chase in the Indian Ocean…

Steve Z on March 18, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Mystery……mainly because there are so many Muslims and Islamic entities involved. The wildest speculation is possible when it comes to mysterious Islam. Would another Muslim nation accept a secret landing and keep the hijackers secret? They would have to be in on it.

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

Boeing Source: Missing Plane is in Pakistan

petefrt on March 18, 2014 at 11:08 AM

The Israelis seem to take that seriously…not that I blame them a bit…

Hmmmm….

workingclass artist on March 18, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Someone should ask Israel what they know. They used to have the best intelligence. But they probably wouldn’t say anything unless asked.

crankyoldlady on March 18, 2014 at 11:12 AM

QUIT wasting American resources looking for this damned plane…

OmahaConservative on March 18, 2014 at 10:05 AM

I’d like to find it to ensure it doesn’t get used against us. That’s worth some effort on our part.

Ed Morrissey on March 18, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Hear, Hear

Oil Can on March 18, 2014 at 11:13 AM

What would be nice is a consolidated timeline of events, including data from ACARS, the engines, radar, etc. Has anybody seen something like that?

ZenDraken on March 18, 2014 at 10:46 AM

We may not want the bad actors out there to know we have certain capabilities.

The better for their planning.

Tsar of Earth on March 18, 2014 at 11:14 AM

G. Charles on March 18, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Last I heard, the story of his wife and kids leaving home had been debunked.

petefrt on March 18, 2014 at 11:14 AM

“plane is in Pakistan?”

Pure rumor, like it was said on the first night to have landed in China. It would be good news for the hopes of the families, though.

G. Charles on March 18, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Is it possible that there was an explosion the transponder quit working and all the rest of this data is just phantom signals and noise. The information we have been getting has been changing quite a bit and these are nations with radar systems that are not as sophisticated. Has anyone seen or heard from say the engine builders confirming that there were definite communications from the plane after the transponder quit working. The reason I ask is very strange there are NO cell phone calls or communications from anyone on board at all, you couldn’t completely disable all those people and all those devices at the same time without somebody getting a call or communication off, could you?

tte415f on March 18, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Do you really think so? I’m not so sure that this administration would take that step. And for all I know, they could have already told the Iranians as much, through deeds, if not words.

bofh on March 18, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Our whimpy government wouldn’t but Israel would if they knew who it was.

crankyoldlady on March 18, 2014 at 11:15 AM

debunked

Thanks.

G. Charles on March 18, 2014 at 11:15 AM

I believe I’ve found the most plausible and most rational explanation of what had happened to this flight. From an experienced airline pilot Mr. Goodfellow.

“The left turn is the key here. This was a very experienced senior Captain with 18,000 hours. Maybe some of the younger pilots interviewed on CNN didn’t pick up on this left turn. We old pilots were always drilled to always know the closest airport of safe harbor while in cruise. Airports behind us, airports abeam us and airports ahead of us. Always in our head. Always. Because if something happens you don’t want to be thinking what are you going to do – you already know what you are going to do. Instinctively when I saw that left turn with a direct heading I knew he was heading for an airport. Actually he was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi a 13,000 foot strip with an approach over water at night with no obstacles. He did not turn back to Kuala Lampur because he knew he had 8,000 foot ridges to cross. He knew the terrain was friendlier towards Langkawi and also a shorter distance.

Take a look on Google Earth at this airport. This pilot did all the right things. He was confronted by some major event onboard that made him make that immediate turn back to the closest safe airport.
For me the loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense if a fire. There was most likely a fire or electrical fire. In the case of fire the first response if to pull all the main busses and restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one.

If they pulled the busses the plane indeed would go silent. It was probably a serious event and they simply were occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire. Aviate, Navigate and lastly communicate.

What I think happened is that they were overcome by smoke and the plane just continued on the heading probably on George (autopilot) until either fuel exhaustion or fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. I said four days ago you will find it along that route – looking elsewhere was pointless.”

sailwind on March 18, 2014 at 11:17 AM

I’d like to find it to ensure it doesn’t get used against us. That’s worth some effort on our part.

Ed Morrissey on March 18, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Israel Prepares for Possible Attack by Hijacked Malaysian Plane

petefrt on March 18, 2014 at 11:19 AM

very strange there are NO cell phone calls or communications

I heard that when the (presumably) pilots turned of the planes two communication systems, that it would have also included the seat phones and/or cell relays. Thus the only way cell phones would work is if they were close to a tower. So I don’t find that lack of calls so strange.

G. Charles on March 18, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Could somebody explain how they allegedly know about altitude without the transponders on? Is that one of the bits of information that the “handshakes” of ACARS would have provided?

Of course, the Malaysian government has so muddled the timeline I think all we can say with certainty this long after the fact is that the plane did not arrive at its scheduled destination.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 10:36 AM

You don’t need a transponder or ACARS. Military radars are designed to work against “non-cooperative” targets. They determine the altitude of the target by solving the trigonometry of range data, elevation angle of the antenna and elevation of the return within the ‘cone’ of the radar beam.

Depending on the sophistication of the radar, this can either be very precise, or just a ballpark number. I’m not sure about Malaysian military radars, but I’m guessing they’re not state-of-the-art.

ZeusGoose on March 18, 2014 at 11:19 AM

correction: “turned off the plane’s …” not “turned of the planes”

G. Charles on March 18, 2014 at 11:20 AM

What would Obama Momjeans do?

Tsar of Earth on March 18, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Express his deep disappointment in the mis-statements the Malaysians have made over the past week.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 11:20 AM

In the 90′s, on a short flight to the arctic, I asked if I could visit the cockpit. Once there, the pilots kindly invited me to stay for the entire flight.

One thing that struck me is how little flying they actually did: there was a keypad on the steering column. They wouldn’t actually touch the the steering column, they would just punch numbers into the keypad and the plane would turn with no hand on the stick. They only took the stick two seconds before the plane touched down, meaning they did more driving than flying.

Just thought that might give slight insight on how modern airliners are flown.

Johnny 100 Pesos on March 18, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Someone figured out how to steal a passenger plane full of people. I wonder if whoever stole the plane has also figured a way to fool people into thinking it is a normal airliner when they send it back up with a nuke inside and point it toward some major city. Somebody better find it.

KayK2 on March 18, 2014 at 11:21 AM

dmacleo on March 18, 2014 at 10:47 AM

When you get curious about Flight 370 you talk with people on Hot Air about it. When you talk with people on Hot Air about it, you want to fire up FltSim and study the on-board systems and flight path of Flight 370. When you fire up FltSim and study the on-board systems and flight path of Flight 370 the NSA monitors and sends the FBI to haul you away.

Don’t let the FBI haul you away!

hawkdriver on March 18, 2014 at 10:58 AM

ROTFLMAO… Winner winner chicken dinner…

oscarwilde on March 18, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Depending on the sophistication of the radar, this can either be very precise, or just a ballpark number. I’m not sure about Malaysian military radars, but I’m guessing they’re not state-of-the-art.

ZeusGoose on March 18, 2014 at 11:19 AM

That might not be a good guess. Their national airline was flying a pretty state-of-the-art aircraft. Relatively new too.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 11:22 AM

What I think happened is that they were overcome by smoke and the plane just continued on the heading probably on George (autopilot) until either fuel exhaustion or fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. I said four days ago you will find it along that route – looking elsewhere was pointless.”

sailwind on March 18, 2014 at 11:17 AM

I said that a couple of days ago. It looked to me as if they were heading back to Malaysia.

crankyoldlady on March 18, 2014 at 11:25 AM

sailwind on March 18, 2014 at 11:17 AM

No Mayday calls? No cell phone calls? Nothing in the form of communications? Then the engine data communications for several hours.

It’s a good argument, but it seems every one has holes.

Oil Can on March 18, 2014 at 11:25 AM

If the plane climbed to 45,000 feet, as reported, it would become unstable,

Steve Z on March 18, 2014 at 11:11 AM

No, the 777 is rated for operational ceiling of 43,700 feet; 45,000 feet is well within the required safety margin for the 777.

oscarwilde on March 18, 2014 at 11:27 AM

“plane is in Pakistan?”

Pure rumor, like it was said on the first night to have landed in China.

G. Charles on March 18, 2014 at 11:14 AM

There are quite a few independent and disjoint circumstances that fuse and contribute to this single latest theory – in contrast to earlier ones.

It’s almost in Occam’s Razor territory now.

Tsar of Earth on March 18, 2014 at 11:28 AM

As to why Pakistan or Iran wouldn’t use their own planes — game this out. If the theory holds, and the Israel gets nuked or whatnot by an Iranian plane, Iran gets the return fire from Israel and MREs from the US.

Timin203 on March 18, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Statement corrected at the request of the Obama Regime

RandallinHerndon on March 18, 2014 at 11:29 AM

When you boil it down the crux of the mystery really is why were there no messages from anyone in the plane. If it weren’t for that we would assume it went into the ocean.

crankyoldlady on March 18, 2014 at 11:30 AM

When you boil it down the crux of the mystery really is why were there no messages from anyone in the plane. If it weren’t for that we would assume it went into the ocean.

crankyoldlady on March 18, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Ok. I’ll bite.

1. Cellphone jamming from early in the plan.
2. Depressurize cabin, suffocate passengers a little later.
3. Descend to low altitude. Two reasons: under the radar and to…
4. Fully depressurize, open the door, dump the bodies before landfall.

Tsar of Earth on March 18, 2014 at 11:35 AM

dump the bodies before landfall.

Tsar of Earth on March 18, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Dead bodies float once decomposition is under way. No way no one isn’t going to notice 200 bodies floating.

CurtZHP on March 18, 2014 at 11:37 AM

I still haven’t quite figured out exactly what kind of moron I am.

cozmo on March 18, 2014 at 10:31 AM

This ain’t Peanuts, so giving Lucy five cents ain’t gonna help.

corona79 on March 18, 2014 at 11:37 AM

When you boil it down the crux of the mystery really is why were there no messages from anyone in the plane. If it weren’t for that we would assume it went into the ocean.

crankyoldlady on March 18, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Because cell phones only work under a certain altitude if you are close enough to a cell tower, without aid from the plane. The planes cell repeater and satellite wifi can be turned off from the cockpit.

oscarwilde on March 18, 2014 at 11:42 AM

crankyoldlady on March 18, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Because cell phones only work under a certain altitude if you are close enough to a cell tower, without aid from the plane. The planes cell repeater and satellite wifi can be turned off from the cockpit.

oscarwilde on March 18, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Oh… and there are no cell towers out in the ocean…

oscarwilde on March 18, 2014 at 11:43 AM

corona79 on March 18, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Yes dear. changing quotes doesn’t help your idiocy.

cozmo on March 18, 2014 at 11:43 AM

The plane (or parts thereof) is almost certainly under water-either in the South China Sea or Indian Ocean. If CRAZY PILOT ACTED ALONE THEORY bis correct, the plane is either in the southeast corner of the Indian ocean (keep flying until you run out of fuel in the most remote spot on earth) or if misdirection was the game, it in the deep Pacific somewhere east of the Philippines. In these latter scenarios the plane will probably never be found.

MaiDee on March 18, 2014 at 11:44 AM

corona79 on March 18, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Yes dear. changing quotes doesn’t help your idiocy.

cozmo on March 18, 2014 at 11:43 AM

It’s a favorite tactic of immature narcissistic Juveniles.

oscarwilde on March 18, 2014 at 11:46 AM

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