Re: No One Wants The Flight Found
"You'd need the entire crew to be involved in such a conspiracy, or one of the cabin crew would pop to the "toilet" and hit the button on the emergency locator beacon."
Not really, you only need one pilot to leave the cockpit for any of this to take place. It's very possible that one of the pilots left the cockpit, the door closed behind them, and the remaining pilot turned the pressurisation mode to manual. This would mean the cabin would start to depressurise, lose oxygen etc.
Doing this would trigger alarms etc, as well as automatically dropping the overhead masks to the passengers due to the plane knowing it has an issue. The oxygen though would only last 12 minutes with these masks. If there's a panic on board in this event (Which there would be), through that panic more oxygen would be used. Especially if the now outside pilot is banging against the door. The pilot flying the plane has a different oxygen system which (as far as I know) doesn't run out or lasts a lot longer than 12 minutes. The plane loses oxygen, everyone without oxygen passes out. This happened on Helios 522 when the ground crew didn't reset the pressurisation switch from manual. In that instance it took around 20 minutes for the plane to get to an altitude where there was no oxygen and for the pilots to succumb to it.
In this case the plane had already passed 18,000 feet with no issues (altitude warnings on Helios occured at 12,000 ft) after it took off at 12:40am. The last radio message with the flight was at 1:20am. So it had been flying for 40 minutes without an issue. The plane was last seen on secondary radar at 1:20am, then last seen by primary radar at 2:20am at an entirely different position. So the plane had made that sharp turn and deviated from it's course. But if you're the only soul on the plane then you have all the time in the world to go and turn all of the bits and pieces off.
"There are things to learn from this, and one of the big reasons for keeping looking is to find out what that initial event was, and why the pilots and crew did not communicate during or after it."
I know and understand, but by now there will be no physical evidence (in terms of autopsy) that could be performed on any of the passengers or crew. So you won't know whether or not what I said happened and whether the pilot topped himself with drink and drugs while the plane was on autopilot. Physical damage to the plane might be visible if you find enough parts, but even then you could be left with the scenario that the plane itself was fine.
"The aircraft itself did keep squawking, it just had nothing to say - so that's one obvious change to onboard systems."
You have to apply Arkhams Razor to this. The plane crashed through physical interaction as the flight moved in between radar corridors so it couldn't be tracked. The likelyhood this happened without manual input or was pure coincidence is so unlikely it couldn't be considered.
You're then left with trying to find a motive, and sometimes that goes with people to the grave.