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back to article Planes fail to find 'credible' candidate for flight MH370 wreckage

Australia has sent planes to the Southern Ocean, some 2,500km south-west of Perth, after analysis of what's been described as “commercial satellite imagery” revealed large objects suspected to be debris from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. The search area, depicted below in a map released by the Australian Maritime …

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P_0

Hope they find it.

If found this probably supports the cockpit fire theory more than any other.

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If it flew with the pilots disabled

why did none of the passengers try to call for help with their mobile phones?

Is hard enough as it is to get passengers to stop making calls as the plane accelerates down the runway for takeoff, is the plane was clearly unpiloted then surely the airwaves would have been alive with panic calls to loved one etc just like those aboard one of the planes that crashed on 11-Sept-2001.

Just asking you know.

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Re: If it flew with the pilots disabled

...because it was out of range of cell towers?

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Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

No cell towers in the middle of the Ocean.

Agreed, it looks like it was probably a fire that disabled the crew and passengers with fumes but wasn't severe enough to take the plane down. In the first moments they changed course to head to an airport, but then the plane just travelled on as a ghost plane.

So the pilots weren't terrorists or suicidal and all the fantasies about the plane being diverted and landing somewhere were wrong. Just tragically crashed into the ocean.

I still don't understand why they had enough time to turn the jet but not enough to radio a distress. Mostly this makes more sense, however, than anything else I've heard so far.

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Re: If it flew with the pilots disabled

For quite a while as it flew down the malacca straights and over part of Indonesia it would have been within range of a few towers.

now if all the passengers were knocked out then yes it might have been impossible to make a call.

The Swedish/Danish TV series 'The Bridge 2' contained an episode where a virus was to be distributed over the A/C to the passengers on a plane. You could substitute a knockout/killer gas for the virus and then you have a plane that will fly on autopilot until the fuel runs out.

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Re: If it flew with the pilots disabled

@Jon: Steve Davis must have been making a crap joke that didn't work. Nobody could really be that stupid.

I would not make a call from there because roaming charges are a rip off in Australia,

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Anonymous Coward

Alien abduction seems even more likely....

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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

"I still don't understand why they had enough time to turn the jet but not enough to radio a distress. Mostly this makes more sense, however, than anything else I've heard so far."

Because pilots are trained to sort out the problem first and then communicate with ATC last. Aviate, navigate, communicate - in that order. So if there was a fire the pilots would have diverted to the nearest airport immediately then start trying to sort out the problem. Unfortunately the problem probably meant that the communication facilities stopped working as they turned around. So that's why there was no message from the pilots. They couldn't communicate.

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@p_0

Unfortunately there is far more evidence that supports the theory that this was pilot suicide rather than a fire. I would like to think it was a fire myself as this is far more palatable than the pilot suicide theory however the current evidence just doesn't lend credence to it being a fire.

How dreadful must this be for the relatives of those on board ?

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Facepalm

Hmm.

"Alien abduction seems even more likely...."

I sense I'm probably going to regret asking this AC, but what's your 'reasoning' there?

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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

I still don't understand why they had enough time to turn the jet but not enough to radio a distress. Mostly this makes more sense, however, than anything else I've heard so far.

Pilots are taught there are three priorities when it comes to flying a plane:

1. Aviate (Keep the plane flying)

2. Navigate (Keep the plane on course)

3. Communicate (Keep tabs with others)

It's quite possible that an event that knocked out everyone aboard (similar to Helios Airways Flight 522--note everyone was knocked out before (3) occurred here, too) occurred at the (1) or (2) stage but before (3) could be conducted.

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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

Aviate, Navigate, Communicate in that order...

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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

Some aircraft support the use of cellphones via an on-board picocell and satellite link (roaming costs are huge, of course). The 777 is certainly capable, and some of the Malaysian fleet support it, but I haven't seen a statement as to whether this particular airframe was one of them.

The fact that no calls were made suggests that it probably wasn't (or that the facility was accidentally or intentionally disabled).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @p_0

@rm -rf / "Unfortunately there is far more evidence that supports the theory that this was pilot suicide rather than a fire." Do you always endeavor to see the worst in people, I think you need help, try seeing a shrink.

Pilot murder/suicide is flying a plane into the ground/sea, not sitting in the cockpit for 7 hours waiting for the fuel to run out having disabled your co-pilot. Cockpit fire/decompression is the obvious answer, always has been, despite Govt/Tabloids incessant shouting that terrorists are everywhere and we need to spedn £46 thousand million a year to tackle them.

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Re: @p_0

If that's true that must have been one messed-up-in-the-head pilot. Surely even if he couldn't get any help for himself, he could have come up with a way that didn't take 300+ people with him :(

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Re: @p_0

Sorry, none of that explains why their transponder has been disabled - remember, a transponder that was still able to keep sending minimal blips hours later. And I'm not buying the "too busy to talk" part either - they do have oxygen masks, and whatever one of them did to react to a hypothetical incident, the other could have "phoned in" in the mean time - it's not like the plane was in a dive or something, clearly.

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Re: @p_0

Fire or other inflight accident is almost impossible here. From the flightpath, it is known that the autopilot was reprogrammed and it was following an autopilot course all the way over Malaysia and into the Indian Ocean. So, the autopilot course set was not to get them back to an airport, so it doesn't make sense.

Fumes disabling people is also not possible. The pilots are equipped with their own personal oxygen supplies, which may not have lasted 7 hours, but would have lasted long enough to get control and put out a mayday. We also know that the electrical systems of the aircraft were working at least to some extent (hence satellite 'pinging' etc.). Therefore, how did all the other electrical systems (such as transponder etc.) fail (and all backups) without being switched off?

For a considerable part of the early part of the flight post 'incident', mobile phones would have been in easy range of towers, yet no attempt was made to make any calls. Indeed, if I were flying in the plane, the severity of the initial turn back would have at least caused me concern and would have been obvious to those inside. So, again, why no mobile phone calls.

Also, bear in mind the debris spotted in the Indian Ocean is outside the 7hour flight time of the aircraft (it might have been carried by ocean currents) and is thought to be bobbing just under the surface. The largest part is also believed to be 24m long. If the aircraft entered an uncontrolled descent (say due to fuel running out) and hit the ocean, there is almost no chance of a 24m piece of debris being left. It would hit at high speed (600mph?) and would be utterly destroyed. At that speed, it would be the same as flying into concrete. So, could they have tried to land on the Ocean? Maybe, but why fly there and then try to do that? All in all, this doesn't make any sense at all.

I'm sorry, but all in all, anything but deliberate act (by someone unknown) seems almost impossible. The known information (assuming what we're told is right) seems to rule it out. Whether it's the pilot(s) or someone else, who knows. The known movements of the aircraft seem to rule out accident, as does the inability to find the debris (so far) and the information that some of the known flightpath seems to include segments designed to avoid radar (flying low for instance, but whilst seemingly under control).

The other thing that is very odd, is the actions of the various authorities and entities involved in the investigation/search. The Malaysian officials look about as shifty as you can get. They constantly avoid questions, are now stopping relatives from talking to the press and just generally appear to be hiding things. They keep changing things and maintaining positions when everyone knows something else is true and then having to admit it later. For instance, they denied the flight turned back and went across Malaysia, but then had to admit their own radar had actually seen this!!

Some of the other countries involved also appear to be less than open or exhibiting strange behaviour. The Chinese are strangely silent in many ways considering the large number of nationals on the plane. Yes, there's the odd comment, but not as much as one would expect. Indeed, there is much less noise around it than one might expect. The known information is only gradually leaking out (such as the satellite contacts) and it's almost having to be pulled out of them.

All in all, a very strange situation.

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Vic
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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

Because pilots are trained to sort out the problem first and then communicate with ATC last. Aviate, navigate, communicate - in that order.

That's *generally* true, but pilots are also taught to get the Mayday call out when something goes wrong - SAR is very difficult if you don't know what you're looking for, as we've seen in this example.

The Mayday call is, IIRC, the only bit of the R/T exam that you *have* to get right first time or you will fail. Additionally, it's required during the PFL on the skills test, or you will fail. In an emergency situation, Commuicate trumps Navigate, and comes pretty close to Aviate.

The PIC on this aircraft had - what, 18,000 hours experience? He knew what he was doing. If he'd had the opportunity, he would have got the call or the squawk out. The aircraft clearly had no major handling issues, as we can see from the track it took.

Unfortunately the problem probably meant that the communication facilities stopped working as they turned around. So that's why there was no message from the pilots. They couldn't communicate.

One of the communication methods available to a pilot is to fly patterns - flying 2 left-hand triangles of 1 min per side would alert the radar controller that the radios had failed completely. We know the aircraft was capable of manoeuvring, so this procedure was available to the pilots, so long as they were conscious.

What about if they weren't conscious? That would prove that the FD had already been reprogrammed with waypoints that were not on the flight plan. So if this were the case, something nefarious had already happened.

Vic.

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Re: @p_0

Unfortunately it is likely that such pilots have existed in the past - look up Egypt AIr flight 990; SilkAir flight 185, Royal AIr Maroc Flight 360 and Japan AIrlines flight 350 for examples of (in some cases suspected) murder/suicide attempts by pilots.

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P_0

Re: @p_0

First and foremost I hope that whatever happened, whenever they do find the wreckage, that they find the crew and passengers were unconscious when they hit the water.

Fire or other inflight accident is almost impossible here. From the flightpath, it is known that the autopilot was reprogrammed and it was following an autopilot course all the way over Malaysia and into the Indian Ocean. So, the autopilot course set was not to get them back to an airport, so it doesn't make sense.

Up to a point I would agree that this is the weakest point in the "fire" theory. I don't know how the AP ended up in the Southern Ocean. And I won't pretend to.

Fumes disabling people is also not possible. The pilots are equipped with their own personal oxygen supplies, which may not have lasted 7 hours, but would have lasted long enough to get control and put out a mayday. We also know that the electrical systems of the aircraft were working at least to some extent (hence satellite 'pinging' etc.). Therefore, how did all the other electrical systems (such as transponder etc.) fail (and all backups) without being switched off?

Well, this is a bit of a stretch. In the panic and chaos we would never know what they were doing, or if the oxygen masks were working correctly, if the fire was a sudden flash fire, or if the succumbed to thick smoke. There is no way of knowing how long they had to put on oxygen masks. Even then, they could easily pass out form the heat.

As for the passengers, I don't know. But it may not be relevant to what happened if the flight cabin door was locked and inaccessible.

Also, bear in mind the debris spotted in the Indian Ocean is outside the 7hour flight time of the aircraft (it might have been carried by ocean currents) and is thought to be bobbing just under the surface.

I'm not sure that is entirely true. It seems to be within a reasonable distance of the tip of the southern arc.

The largest part is also believed to be 24m long. If the aircraft entered an uncontrolled descent (say due to fuel running out) and hit the ocean, there is almost no chance of a 24m piece of debris being left. It would hit at high speed (600mph?) and would be utterly destroyed. At that speed, it would be the same as flying into concrete.

We have no way of knowing what the angle of incidence was, what the speed was, etc. So none of the above is fact. In fact I doubt very much that it is the case that in the event of a crash caused by lack of engines that the whole plane would be utterly destroyed (as in no fuselage).

So, could they have tried to land on the Ocean? Maybe, but why fly there and then try to do that? All in all, this doesn't make any sense at all.

I'm not sure you understand the "fire" theory. Nobody was flying the plane down there. The pilots and and passengers were unconscious or dead.

I'm sorry, but all in all, anything but deliberate act (by someone unknown) seems almost impossible. The known information (assuming what we're told is right) seems to rule it out. Whether it's the pilot(s) or someone else, who knows. The known movements of the aircraft seem to rule out accident, as does the inability to find the debris (so far) and the information that some of the known flightpath seems to include segments designed to avoid radar (flying low for instance, but whilst seemingly under control).

There are no theories that make much sense. Terrorism or Suicide don't really hold up to scrutiny. But by and large the fire theory (or some catastrophic event) fits better than any other. Clearly we don't have anywhere near enough information to make better theories.

And again, as I said in the OP, if the debris is indeed the missing plane, the fire theory makes more sense. Why would terrorists deliberately fly to the middle of nowhere to run out of fuel and crash? And if it wasn't for Inmarsat's data, which presumably any terrorist wouldn't have known about, we would never have known where to begin looking.

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Re: @p_0

this is the weakest point in the "fire" theory

It destroys your "fire" theory.

If a fire broke out on the flight deck and instantly incapacitated both pilots, one of the following four things would have happened :-

- The plane flies on to its original destination airport (because the pilots have not told the FD to divert)

- The plane flies to its divert aitport (because they did tell it)

- The plane flies randomly because the FD is no longer viable

- The plane falls out of the sky because it is no longer viable

The important fact here is that none of the above happened; the plane *actually* flew on through a number of waypoints that were neither part of the original flight plan nor part of any divert. This tells us *for sure* that either the pilots were in command of the aircraft, or the FD was.

If the pilots were in command, your theory is destroyed. So let's consider the option that the pilots were incapacitated and the FD was flying.

Where did the waypoints come from? They were not part of the flight. They were not part of the divert. They can *only* have been added by a human on the flight deck. And that destroys your theory as well[1].

Well, this is a bit of a stretch. In the panic and chaos we would never know what they were doing, or if the oxygen masks were working correctly, if the fire was a sudden flash fire, or if the succumbed to thick smoke.

The masks were working. Flight equipment is checked regularly by licenced operatives. The contents of the supply is part of the pre-flight check, and the pressure is continually monitored, with EICAS messages in the event of a pressure drop.

If the fire were sufficiently fierce to have disabled both pilots, there is a strong probabililty of structural damage to the front of the aircraft. It flew a long distance afterwards with no apparent ill effects.

And thick smoke - whilst obviously unpleasant - would not have disabled both pilots within the couple of seconds it takes to reach the mask. The mask harness is inflated automatically on activation and deflated when the mask lever is released to settle the mask onto the face.

And, of course, we still have to account for those extra waypoints...

I'm not sure you understand the "fire" theory. Nobody was flying the plane down there. The pilots and and passengers were unconscious or dead.

So who told the plane to fly there? It's not a decision it would have made on its own. And we do know that either the pilot or the FD was functioning after the turn-around point.

But by and large the fire theory (or some catastrophic event) fits better than any other.

No, it doesn't. I know you've convinced yourself that you've solved the puzzle, but your theory entirely ignores just about all the evidence we've got. Unless we're all the victims of a *substantial* amount of misinformation, it just doesn't hold water.

Vic.

[1] There is the slimmest possibility that a fire event such as you hypothesise occurred subsequent to one or more of the pilots deciding to hijack their own aircraft, with that hijack being prevented from successful conclusion by an accident. But I really don't think you'd find anyone who would believe that.

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Re: @p_0

I think a few people here are posting without pilot's licenses. I've taken tests in a couple countries, and the same thing is the case. You learn to communicate without radios. Even ATC has a means to communicate without radios.

If went for a straight in approach to an airport without radios, you'd be assumed to be a maverick as well as a liability, but an ATC would clear the area for the nutter coming in, and prep the emergency department. They would try to communicate with you using light guns (not as fun as they sound). You can acknowledge these with a waggle of the wings.

Let's assume that this 'flotsam' is not the plane for a moment (last I checked it's not verified), but assume the comms/controls were stopped by a glitch.

SO, as the plane changed direction and flew for a while it was flyable, and at least under *stable* flight. that means it wasn't entirely damaged. If the systems were causing problems, a clever pilot might even assume that Rolls Royce (or others) were monitoring things, and use Morse code in the engine speeds to send a signal assuming it were impossible to alter the controls. It would probably log something in the black box as well.

Tedious, but doable, especially if you suspect the connections to the black box are severed. Doing that when over a country would make for some odd changes in altitude to say *something* was odd. We're not hearing much anything about this though.

The problem with this is that the information given out is piecemeal and handled badly. Other than that, I hope and pray some other explanation other than a crash is found. For the families of those on the plane at least. The rest of the misinformation peddlers can then wonder what to do in penitence (I hope).

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Re: @p_0

For a considerable part of the early part of the flight post 'incident', mobile phones would have been in easy range of towers, yet no attempt was made to make any calls. Indeed, if I were flying in the plane, the severity of the initial turn back would have at least caused me concern and would have been obvious to those inside. So, again, why no mobile phone calls.

If I were a pilot with malicious intent, trying to alter course rather abruptly, I would try to cover it up by putting a message over the intercom that we're about to encounter some turbulence, please fasten your seatbelts, etcetera, then rock the plane while making the turn. No moon, it's dead of night, so not much for an average passenger to get a grip on what course they're flying

Also, bear in mind the debris spotted in the Indian Ocean is outside the 7hour flight time of the aircraft (it might have been carried by ocean currents) and is thought to be bobbing just under the surface. The largest part is also believed to be 24m long. If the aircraft entered an uncontrolled descent (say due to fuel running out) and hit the ocean, there is almost no chance of a 24m piece of debris being left. It would hit at high speed (600mph?) and would be utterly destroyed. At that speed, it would be the same as flying into concrete. So, could they have tried to land on the Ocean? Maybe, but why fly there and then try to do that? All in all, this doesn't make any sense at all.

I don't know how the autopilot (if it was engaged) would react to fuel running out. Would it try to keep the plane controllable, or try to keep altitude? If the latter, it would cause a stall as the airspeed dropped, then an uncontrolled dive and the plane probably already breaking up before it hit the water. But a shallow descent would leave the plane controllable (e.g. the Gimli Glider and British Airways flight 009) until it simply ran out of height.

If the pilot was still in control, and intent on trying to disappear without a trace, he might have tried to put the plane down as gently as possible and sinking it more or less intact. I can't see that happening in the southern Indian Ocean, but on the other hand, he probably counted on crashing in a place no-one would expect the plane to be, plus about as far from land as he could get to hamper any search attempts.

AF447 hit the drink at about 280km/h, and still some parts remained kind of intact and floating

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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

Could the reprogramming have been done before takeoff ie on the ground? When should it have been done? Could the pilots not notice?

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Vic
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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

> Could the reprogramming have been done before takeoff ie on the ground?

Well - yes. But that would mean the pilots were complicit in the disappearance of the aircraft.

> When should it have been done?

It shouldn't. The flight should have been set up when the pilots took command of the aircraft, and their route should match the flightplan they filed,

> Could the pilots not notice?

They would have had to perform the deed, so yes - they would certainly notice...

Vic.

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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

...Unfortunately the problem probably meant that the communication facilities stopped working as they turned around. So that's why there was no message from the pilots. They couldn't communicate...

They were flying close to the ground as they went over Malaysia - close enough for passengers phones to connect to cells. I wonder why no one phoned down, if the plane's main comms were dead?

I suspect that comms WERE possible from the aircraft, and that the occupants were either dead or unwilling to use them...

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Re: @p_0

One possibility I haven't seen mentioned is a sudden emergency (fire, rapid decompression) that knocked out or disoriented one of the pilots but not the other. The remaining pilot would then have a lot on his plate and communicating might have not been a priority, especially if the other pilot was still awake but behaving erratically. In this scenario they could have violently disagreed on what action to take and both started doing things that hampered the other.

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Re: @p_0

"The masks were working. Flight equipment is checked regularly by licenced operatives. "

There was a theory posted on PPRuNe about a week ago by an engineer that quite neatly ticked off many of the elements mentioned above. Well worth a quick read. The original is

http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/535538-malaysian-airlines-mh370-contact-lost-115.html#post8369554

And a later post referencing it discusses a theoretical fire:

http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/535538-malaysian-airlines-mh370-contact-lost-277.html#post8384756

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Re: @p_0

There was a theory posted on PPRuNe about a week ago by an engineer that quite neatly ticked off many of the elements mentioned above. Well worth a quick read.

...But misses the most important one.

Suppose the O2 bottle were to break free, break all the equipment, and punch a hole in the fuselage in the way suggested. The pilots then have no O2 in a hypoxic environment.

Why did the plane fly to a set of waypoints that were neither in the flight plan nor were a divert? A human had to set those waypoints. This would be impossible if the pilots were not conscious.

Vic.

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Alien

Re: aliens

We need no steenking reasons to bring in aliens. They're an universal factor, like deus ex machina or Finnegans Finagling Factor.

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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

"Because pilots are trained to sort out the problem first and then communicate with ATC last. Aviate, navigate, communicate - in that order."

So why did they fiddle with the transponder?

And if the fire took it out, what sort of damage 'footprint' would take that system out but leave the SATCOM system powered for the duration of the flight?

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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

>I still don't understand why they had enough time to turn the jet but not enough to radio a distress

There is a possibility that whatever incident also took out their radio or the pilots were overcome before they could take that sort of action.

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Re: @p_0

@Stoneshop

"AF447 hit the drink at about 280km/h, and still some parts remained kind of intact and floating"

Maybe. But, how big was the largest bit? Also, the photos show a lot of smaller flotsam around it. Single very large piece of wreckage and no flotsam visible? Not really credible.

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Re: @Mad Mike

Maybe. But, how big was the largest bit? Also, the photos show a lot of smaller flotsam around it. Single very large piece of wreckage and no flotsam visible? Not really credible.

That depends, as I've said already, on the way MH370 ended its flight: in a reasonably controlled manner, aka "water bird landing", or dropping uncontrollably from a high-altitude stall. AF447 did something inbetween. Of course that's just one factor in determining how damaging the crash would be; another would be the state of the sea surface. A pic of PanAm flight 6 ditching shows a Pacific that's pretty smooth, so it can happen, even out on the ocean. It would also be informative to know how large the largest floating pieces from ET961 were (no flaps, high-speed ditching in relatively calm water)

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Re: If it flew with the pilots disabled

"You could substitute a knockout/killer gas for the virus and then you have a plane that will fly on autopilot until the fuel runs out."

No need for a gas, only a lack of gas-air.

Gradual decompression would more than suffice. Though, there are alarms that should go off in the case of low cabin pressure.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm.

I'd call AC's comment a joke, but CNN has already ran with the space aliens stealing the plane *and* apparently God was low in aircraft and stole it.

It just goes to prove, the media will run with any story that sells their news product and that the US will deploy an aircraft carrier anywhere money is to be made, but not to find a cheap aircraft.

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Re: @Mad Mike

@Stoneshop

"That depends, as I've said already, on the way MH370 ended its flight: in a reasonably controlled manner, aka "water bird landing", or dropping uncontrollably from a high-altitude stall. AF447 did something inbetween. Of course that's just one factor in determining how damaging the crash would be; another would be the state of the sea surface. A pic of PanAm flight 6 ditching shows a Pacific that's pretty smooth, so it can happen, even out on the ocean. It would also be informative to know how large the largest floating pieces from ET961 were (no flaps, high-speed ditching in relatively calm water)"

PanAm Flight 6 was in 1956 and a totally different class of aircraft in every way and couldn't be used as any sort of comparative. If you've seen the Hudson River ditching, one of the biggest differences is obvious. Props are far better to ditch with than large turbofans hanging down under the wing. These cause all sorts of problems and can easily cause a plane to cartwheel unless the landing is perfect and in perfect conditions. One reason why the Hudson River incident ended well. A pretty damned perfect ditching in pretty perfect conditions.

I think it's also pretty safe to assume the sea surface would be anything but smooth. We're talking about the very south of the Indian Ocean and closer to Antarctica than Australia. The sea state is almost permanently poor around there and certainly has been poor whilst they've been searching. Just about anywhere on the planet would be better than there.

Also, note from the Hudson River incident the correct procedure to even stand a chance of coming out alive. You need to get the tail in and only lower the front at the last possible moment. This is because the engine will catch the water badly and cause the rear to lurch up suddenly, potentially causing a flip. The chances of getting a perfect landing without someone alive at the controls are almost zero and even with someone at the controls, they need to be very experienced and very lucky. Even the captain of that flight said luck had a large part in it.

All in all, it's pretty much clutching at straws. Everything is against it. They're taking a correlation (something in the water somewhere near where they might be looking) and extrapolating that to it being the plane. And as everyone knows, correlation does not equal causation or any form of connection at all. With something like 10,000 containers lost overboard each year, which is the most likely?

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Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

@Adam1.

"There is a possibility that whatever incident also took out their radio or the pilots were overcome before they could take that sort of action."

I'm not sure if people are frequent fliers and trying to delude themselves or what. In an attempt to prove it wasn't deliberate action on someones part, people are chaining together events, which are improbable in their own rights, but together are fanciful.

The flash fire theory for instance. A sudden fire so intense it takes out both pilots almost instantly, yet leaves the plane in a condition to fly for 6-7 hours!! People are letting their desire for this to be an accident override basic logic and common sense. Especially as after the turnaround, there was clear manual input into the flight control computer at least. So, clearly a flash fire didn't kill the crew in one hit, otherwise there would be nobody to program the flight control.

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Re: If it flew with the pilots disabled

@Wzrd1

"No need for a gas, only a lack of gas-air.

Gradual decompression would more than suffice. Though, there are alarms that should go off in the case of low cabin pressure."

Absolutely. However, there was clear manual intervention in the flight control computer after the incident which caused the turnaround. Plus, you have separate oxygen supplies for each pilot for at least a while. Yet, they didn't manage to get a message out? Clearly the electrical systems were still working to a point as the engines were still pinging a satellite. You'd need an insane chain of highly improbable acts to get anywhere close to something that could explain this.

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Re: @p_0

"From the flightpath, it is known that the autopilot was reprogrammed..."

"The pilots are equipped with their own personal oxygen supplies..."

Do you mean like this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_South_Dakota_Learjet_crash

Off course, wearing oxygen masks, but still went down due to air crew oxygen starvation.

Personally, I'll await finding the aircraft and the subsequent investigation results. Anything else is simply guessing and uneducated guessing at that.

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Re: @p_0

"Why did the plane fly to a set of waypoints that were neither in the flight plan nor were a divert?"

To commentard it away, consider this:

Explosive decompression, loss of comms due to condensation, attempt to alter course for triangle distress course and loss of consciousness.

Autopilot resumes altitude, possibly due to incorrect action on the part of hypoxic flight crew and the rest is history.

The pilot suicide theory is a really big stretch, it involves seven hours of flying, that's pretty damned determined when the act could have been performed at any point in the flight and would've been easiest during takeoff.

Fire isn't so plausible, as flash fires are extremely rare and nearly impossible in a commercial aircraft, slower fires would give time to send a distress call.

Slow decompression should set off alarms, but alarms have been ignored in the past and resulted in disaster.

Rapid decompression would give around 8 seconds to get a mask on before severe impairment and eventual disability would occur.

Oh well, we'll have to wait for the aircraft to be found and the investigation to be concluded. Any way you slice it though, it's not a good thing for the families involved.

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Re: @p_0

@Wzrd1.

"Off course, wearing oxygen masks, but still went down due to air crew oxygen starvation."

Agreed. It can always happen, but is vanishingly rare. Also, note the complete difference to this case. Everyone died (or was incapacitated) of hypoxia very rapidly, but the flight control computer didn't get programed afterwards as happened for the recent case. So, it doesn't explain what we know of this case.

"Personally, I'll await finding the aircraft and the subsequent investigation results. Anything else is simply guessing and uneducated guessing at that."

Absolutely. But, I was simply replying to your own suggestion and showing why it didn't really fit the facts as known. We know that the event which caused them to turn around did not knock out the crew as the flight control computer was programed afterwards. So, we know this can't be the case. As to what it actually was......who knows. So, you were actually posting a suggestion (to which I replied) and not waiting for the investigation.

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Re: @p_0

@Wzrd1.

"Explosive decompression, loss of comms due to condensation, attempt to alter course for triangle distress course and loss of consciousness."

Explosive decompression enough to kill or severely disable the crew, but not bad enough to affect the airworthiness of the aircraft? Loss of comms due to condensation, but at least several electrical systems still working? Attempt to after course for triangle distress and loss of consciousness. So, rather than get the oxygen supply on (which would have given them some tens of minutes), they instead reprogram the flight computer and pass out? The above is a series of million to one possibilities. In total, vanishingly improbable.

"Autopilot resumes altitude, possibly due to incorrect action on the part of hypoxic flight crew and the rest is history."

The first thing they would do is get their oxygen masks on. This would remove the immediate hypoxia risk. So, again, what we know seems to rule this out.

"The pilot suicide theory is a really big stretch, it involves seven hours of flying, that's pretty damned determined when the act could have been performed at any point in the flight and would've been easiest during takeoff."

Not really at all. Firstly, there have been several proven cases of this in the past. So, it's a known thing. Also, don't forget that suicide might invalidate insurance policies. Also, you have cultural shame etc. The biggest thing against this is probably the fact that the pilot would have to kill or disable the other aircrew and passengers to ensure no message gets out. Moving from suicide to murder is a big step. Also, if the plane were destroyed, trying to prove suicide would be very difficult without radio trraffic, so why not crash as soon as possible?

As you say, we will have to wait for the investigation and if the wreck is found. The strangest thing for me though is the actions of the Malay authorities and other nations involved. It's all really odd. The Malays have also been proven to have lied and look as shifty as anyone I've ever seen. Why? It's really odd behaviour.

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Vic
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Re: If it flew with the pilots disabled

> you have separate oxygen supplies for each pilot for at least a while

Do we know that?

The 777 can have either one or two cylinders supplying oxygen for the flight crew. I do not know the configuration of this aircraft (I'm working from the FCOM for some Qatar Airways aircraft).

That bit notwithstanding, the rest of your post is on the money.

Vic.

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Vic
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Re: @p_0

Autopilot resumes altitude, possibly due to incorrect action on the part of hypoxic flight crew and the rest is history.

No, that's bobbins.

If the automatic systems took over, that would take the aircraft to wherever the flight crew left it flying towards.

That could be :-

- The original destination

- The divert airfield

- A random position because they'd screwed up entering the divert (which is very unlikely)

The aircraft did none of these. Instead, it followed a route by way of three common waypoints that were nothing to do with either the original flight plan or any feasible divert. This means *for sure* that a human changed the planned flight for reasons unknown.

Vic.

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Coat

Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

Well, it's about time they started building phone masts in the middle of oceans for just such an occasion. :-)

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Joke

Re: Mobile phones don't have remotely enough range

Well, it's about time they started building phone masts in the middle of oceans for just such an occasion. :-)

Oh, they already have. They just decided to make them half a thousand miles high, and start from the top - it's called "satellite phone"...

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This isn't supposed wreckage that Courtney Love claims she found, is it? I'm wondering if someone, somewhere took her seriously.

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Paris Hilton

What?

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Anonymous Coward

> This isn't supposed wreckage that Courtney Love claims she found, is it?

No, that turned out to be a mirror.

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