back to article Malaysia Airlines mystery: Click here for the TRUTH

Scammers are asking truth-seeking conspiracy theorists to ignore the inherent irony and give up some of their private data in order to find out the "truth" about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Scams circulating on Facebook and Twitter purport to offer video reports of the plane being found, some of which …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fell for it!

    doh!

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Fell for it!

      It was clearly taken by aliens. Obviously it will take a while to anal probe 227 of them....

  2. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    It's obvious!

    John Travolta got fed up waiting to meet his chosen deity, used his skills as a trained pilot to hijack the plane and flew off to meet Xenon or whatever the flip Hubbard's make-believe god was called!

    1. nsld

      Re: It's obvious!

      Xenon, the god of car light bulbs?

      I thought Hubbards mythical sky jockey was some volcanic lizard, or was that David Icke?

      1. James O'Shea Silver badge

        Re: It's obvious!

        "Xenon, the god of car light bulbs?"

        That's 'Lucas'.

        "I thought Hubbards mythical sky jockey was some volcanic lizard, or was that David Icke?"

        There's a difference?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's obvious!

          Lucas AKA The Prince of Darkness.

          He was also the inventor of the three position switch - Dim / Flicker / Off.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's obvious!

          Actually, Joseph Lucas was the Prince Of Darkness...

          1. Richard 120

            Re: It's obvious!

            Surely that's Peter Mandelson

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's obvious!

            The Prince Of Darkness???????

            No, that's Mike Jackson, no not that one, the other one.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Jackson

        3. TRT Silver badge

          Re: It's obvious!

          Xoanon was the evil computer god in Doctor Who's "Face of Evil"...

        4. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: It's obvious!

          "Xenon, the god of car light bulbs?"

          That's 'Lucas'.

          No, Lucas is Xenon's nemesis. And also the reason Brits drink warm beer, as he also manufactures fridge thermostats.

          1. Fink-Nottle

            Re: It's obvious!

            > No, Lucas is Xenon's nemesis. And also the reason Brits drink warm beer

            Don't forget ... according to mythology Lucas is often accompanied by minor deity who acts as his assistant - an anonymous goddess associated with a health-giving elixir that counters the after-effects of warm beer. In many cultures this Lucoz-ade is more renowned than Lucas himself ...

    2. WonkoTheSane
      Trollface

      Re: It's obvious!

      I disagree.

      It's obviously the first episode of Lost - from the outside!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        Re: It's obvious!

        "It's obviously the first episode of Lost - from the outside!"

        Hopefully this tale will have a less ambiguous ending than Lost, although I doubt it's going to be a happy one, one way or the other.

      2. Isendel Steel

        Re: It's obvious!

        Almost what I thought - someone is creating a new series

    3. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Re: It's obvious!

      Xenu. The nuke-happy volcano-boy's name was Xenu.

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: It's obvious!

        Cthulhu vs. Xenu @ 5:45

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njcB7xN0Pec

        Re. the jet, I wonder if it's better to have it missing, presumed hijacked, rather than just lost. I figure that still gives the families hope, as opposed to say the Brazil-Paris flight from a years back. But it must be horrible to be so uncertain.

    4. theblackhand

      Re: It's obvious!

      While John Travolta may have been involved, the truth will be revealed when the Malaysian government requests that everybody checks behind their couches and at the back of cupboards and the 777 turns up covered in dust....

      1. twburger

        Re: It's obvious!

        Yes, everything is eventually found behind the sideboard or the stove.

    5. AndyS

      Re: It's obvious!

      I thought Xenu flew DC10s?

  3. Longrod_von_Hugendong

    At least...

    Facebook et al are removing them from their sites. Hope not too many more people are fooled.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

    ...this person. It was the Freescale 20 wot dun it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

      Far Canal!

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

        Or was it really a Boeing 666

    2. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

      Or Obama

      Or Russkies

      Or Iran

      or bloody hell - it's amost as if it's a primer for commentards

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

        Although at least one American government official claims the plane was hijacked so it could be converted into a cruise missile.

        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/16/jetliner-piloted-off-course-but-no-one-knows-why/

        I reckon the Pakistani, Chinese, Indian or American military shot it down, take your pick.

        It may take a while to find and sanitize all the wreckage.

    3. mythicalduck
      WTF?

      Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

      That twitter feed is bizarre, there's 7 posts within the same hour, all start with the same main sentance, then a tiny follow up sentance that changes. Is that a bot twitting?

      And another thing:

      "Freescale Malaysia Airlines 777 stealth technologies can misinform the Russian Crimea invasion forces."

      What the hell does this mean?

      And this:

      "Freescale has stealth simulator to train pilots to turn engines off and on to make Malaysia Airlines 777 invincible and invisible"

      Invincible?

      1. Vic

        Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

        > That twitter feed is bizarre

        I'd say it goes deeper than that; she appears to have a rahter tenuous grip on reality...

        Vic.

      2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

        ""Freescale has stealth simulator to train pilots to turn engines off and on to make Malaysia Airlines 777 invincible and invisible"

        Invincible?"

        Yes. Also inflexible, indefatigable, indomitable, illustrious and, I'd say, glorious and furious.

        She's a nut gone flake...

        1. James O'Shea Silver badge

          Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

          "Invincible?"

          Yes. Also inflexible, indefatigable, indomitable, illustrious and, I'd say, glorious and furious."

          And formidable, victorious, courageous, and majestic.

          "She's a nut gone flake..."

          There's very little doubt of this.

        2. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

          'And formidable, victorious, courageous, and majestic.'

          Not to mention Implacable and Audacious...

      3. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

        "What the hell does this mean?

        And this:"

        It means that she speaks American rather than English.

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

      That's not a person. What "person" tweets 20 times a day about the same subject with nothing new to say?

      That's a bot if ever I saw one.

  5. The elephant in the room

    So what is going on?

    A vanished plane is the kind of story I look to The Register for to inform me about the arcane details of air traffic control transponders, black boxes, space & submarine monitoring capabilities etc.

    How does one infer from the transmission that the satellite picked up that the search corridor is an arc stretching both north and south (geometry pedants you know what I mean) from the last known position?

    Why is there a need to have the functionality to allow an identification beacon on a civil aircraft be switched off in flight?

    Given that there is one known received transmission, can its timestamp be used to identify likely blips in backround static that other radio-frequency sensitive systems on the planet might have recorded, to enable even approximate triangulation?

    Would a 777 crashing into the sea make a noise that could be recorded by submarine listening arrays like SOSUS? If so would the owner of the array consider it to be revealing too much information about their capabilities to mention it?

    1. WonkoTheSane

      Re: So what is going on?

      "Why is there a need to have the functionality to allow an identification beacon on a civil aircraft be switched off in flight?"

      All the electrics are protected by circuit breakers on the flight deck. Sadly it's equally possible to use these to deactivate a functioning transponder as well as kick one back into life after a power spike.

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: So what is going on?

        "Why is there a need to have the functionality to allow an identification beacon on a civil aircraft be switched off in flight?"

        Someone needs to urgently re-do the risk analysis here. Yes, there's a (tiny?) fire risk in having some active electronics on a plane that cannot be disabled by any volitional act in flight. Yes, it might catch fire. Most unlikely, if it's protected by an ordinary fuse inaccessible to the crew, that would shut it down if it drew excessive current.

        But I think we can now see that there is a much greater risk to the safety of both passengers and the rest of us on the ground, in allowing it to be disabled. Potentially, there is now a 200-tonne suicide-piloted missile out there somewhere.

        Edit @Vic

        OK, accepted there are good reasons why the transponder needs to have an off switch. So apply my arguments to the data transmitter that the assumed hijackers failed to totally disable. Instead of meaningless pings, have it return (at minimum) Airframe number and GPS coords.

        1. Vic

          Re: So what is going on?

          But I think we can now see that there is a much greater risk to the safety of both passengers and the rest of us on the ground, in allowing it to be disabled.

          No, I can't see that at all.

          The power switches are all on the flight deck behind a locked door. Only the flight crew and specific members of the cabin crew can get through that door. All crew know intimately that, whatever the threat they might be facing in the passenger cabin, opening that door to an attacker means they will all die.

          So the risk from allowing a transponder to be disabled - and remember, this is only secondary surveillance; it doesn't prevent primary radar contact - is only from members of the aircrew. And if they are prepared to disable aircraft systems, they could just as easily pull the fuses.

          Disabling the transponder and the ACARS is extremely suspicious, but it doesn't turn a 777 into a stealth jet. It does prevent the 7500 hijack code from being transmitted - which would cause the aircraft to be highlighted on every radar screen in range. But even in the event of a cockpit battle between the pilots, turning the transponder on again is just as easy as turning it off.

          Something odd happened on that flight, and I can't help but think that one or more of the pilots was involved. But we're not going to find out until the CVR is found.

          Vic.

          1. Nigel 11

            Re: So what is going on?

            Civilian "radar" relies a lot on transponders. What is its actual spatial resolution of genuine radar echoes?

            As for the military, they won't say. However, I know that there has been a move from active radar to passive illumination, because anything that transmits continuously ends up blown to pieces by a homing missile soon after hostilities commence.

            Scary question: if a civilian jet picked up another civilian jet flying dark a few hundred meters behind it in the middle of an ocean, would anyone notice until it was too late to intercept the suicide-piloted tail?

            1. Vic

              Re: So what is going on?

              Civilian "radar" relies a lot on transponders. What is its actual spatial resolution of genuine radar echoes?

              So what do you want from an aviation surveillance system?

              The transponder you were getting worked up about a few posts back just puts a number alongside the radar image. If you have Mode C (ATPL aircraft will), you also get an altitude from the aircraft. If you have mode S, you get collision-avoidance toys. None of this functionality makes the aircraft any easier to locate form the ground - it just picks them out amongst the sea of other contacts.

              if a civilian jet picked up another civilian jet flying dark a few hundred meters behind it in the middle of an ocean, would anyone notice until it was too late to intercept the suicide-piloted tail?

              That rather depends on how homicidal the pilot of the blacked-out aircraft was feeling.

              Standard practice is to select your altitude according to your track. If pilots stick to this, closing speeds are very much reduced. Anti-collision kit (various types are available) means you get a warning of another aircraft even if you can't see it.

              And you have radar operators in ATC that tell you very rapidly if there's anything that could come close to you.

              So for your hypothetical to be a problem, you'd need a suicidal, murderous pilot flying an aircraft with all its lights out (including internal cabin lights) contrary to standard practices and un-noticed by radar control. I don't think it's a big deal, TBH...

              Vic.

            2. SkippyBing Silver badge

              Re: So what is going on?

              'What is its actual spatial resolution of genuine radar echoes?'

              It depends on a variety of things, but mainly the ratio of the wavelength to the dish size, the bigger the dish the tighter the beam, and the pulse length i.e. the time the radar is transmitting for. The problem is the longer the range you want the worse these factors become as you need to pump enough energy into a pulse to get a detectable return after its travelled several hundred miles.

              Even if your beam is 1/2 a degree in width by the time you've hit 120 miles it'll be a mile wide and probably half a mile or so in depth (this doesn't change with range).

        2. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: So what is going on?

          'Someone needs to urgently re-do the risk analysis here. Yes, there's a (tiny?) fire risk in having some active electronics on a plane that cannot be disabled by any volitional act in flight.'

          Put it this way, you've heard of one aircraft disappearing which may have been helped by the transponder being turned off. What you don't hear about is the hundreds of times the crew have had to turn it off for whatever reason, e.g. fire, or in the kind of underpowered things I fly load-shedding so the battery will last longer when the generator fails.

          I'd say the risk to life from not being able to selectively isolate every bit of electrical equipment is greater than that from someone using that ability for nefarious purposes.

          There's an analysis here: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-sabotage-most-common-factor-in-en-route-accidents-396830/ of the 46 jet airliner en-route fatal accidents, which I think puts this case into perspective in terms of numbers.

    2. M7S

      Re: So what is going on?

      I have no idea about most of your questions, but for the bit about the arc, I understand that the satellite really functions like a basic radar/sonar without any direction capability, so you've only got the distance it was from the satellite at that time with any certainty.

      After that, it's just really a more complex version of "an artillery shell explodes in flight" questions that used to form part of the maths syllabus when I was at school. Plenty of variables such as the rate(s) of fuel consumption for the (uncertain) altitude(s) flown to that point and the possible glide distance from when it runs out but that's what computers are for....

    3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: So what is going on?

      "How does one infer from the transmission that the satellite picked up that the search corridor is an arc stretching both north and south (geometry pedants you know what I mean) from the last known position?"

      Given that those arcs look like part of a North-South great circle, I believe they delineate the horizon visible to the satellite in question at the time of the last received transmission. In order for the sat to pick up the signal the plane should have been somewhere within (Westward of) that line.

      "Would a 777 crashing into the sea make a noise that could be recorded by submarine listening arrays like SOSUS?"

      I find it difficult to believe that someone managed to pull off a hijack as sophisticated as this only to then smash the plane with himself on it into the ocean.

      I believe the real search is now focused on any place that has a runway capable of receiving a B777. I would think that runways capable of being used for take off of a fully bombed and fueled B-29 would be just as suitable for a B777 and I think there was a number of such runways built in that region during the WWII.

      1. Peter Simpson 1

        Re: So what is going on?

        I would think that runways capable of being used for take off of a fully bombed and fueled B-29 would be just as suitable for a B777 and I think there was a number of such runways built in that region during the WWII.

        While I agree with you that these are the places to look first, I suspect some significant amount of vegetation removal (not to mention repaving) would be necessary before the runways are again suitable for use.

        1. Vic

          Re: So what is going on?

          I suspect some significant amount of vegetation removal (not to mention repaving) would be necessary before the runways are again suitable for use.

          I flew over Greenham Common the other day - it's still a monumental gash in the landscape. I don't imagine you'd need to remove any vegetation.

          I've no idea if you can land a 777 on a broken runway without significant damage. But then if someone was planning on stealing this plane, they might have found a runway[1] that wasn't destroyed...

          Vic.

          [1] They exist, even in this country. The chart shows many "disused airfields", and most of them are still viable.

          1. PhilBuk

            Re: So what is going on?

            @Vic

            See the pilot forums on www.pprune.com. When asked if you could land a B777 on an unpaved runway, the usual answer from B777 pilots was 'once'.

            There are also some good explanantions of the arcs from the satellite pings. They are a time of flight for the pings and are measured from a geostationary satellite. So the arcs just show the distance of the last ping received. The gap in the middle is the overlap from the adjacent satellite - the ping was not received by that one - hence the gap.

            Phil.

          2. Fred Dibnah
            Thumb Down

            @ Vic

            "I flew over Greenham Common the other day - it's still a monumental gash in the landscape. I don't imagine you'd need to remove any vegetation."

            You'd have to watch out for cows and dog walkers though.

            Feel sorry for Michael McKay, the Kiwi working on an oil rig off Vietnam, who saw what looked like a burning plane in the sky. He reported it to his bosses and the Vietnamese did a search but found nothing, but the consensus seems to be that they needed to use more sophisticated search tools. Mike is probably sitting on his rig, shouting "Hello!? Is anyone lisnin'??" into the ocean.

            There's a good thread (with intelligent and thoughtful discussion for a change) here:

            https://plus.google.com/106271056358366282907/posts/GoeVjHJaGBz

            Why do the media keep saying the transponder/radar/GPS/Landing lights/whatever were "switched off", when for all we know they stopped working, perhaps because of a fire? Easier to blame the humanoids I guess.

            Was the plane really carrying a cargo of lithium ion batteries?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So what is going on?

        "I believe the real search is now focused on any place that has a runway capable of receiving a B777."

        That is pretty much any paved runway. A B777 can be landed in 6,000 feet and that is a normal runway length for most commercial planes. While the 777 would use all of it, you are also talking about no regard for maintenance costs; full reverse thrusters and full brakes and the airworthiness of the plane afterwards. The weight of the plane makes a huge difference, so chances are, the plane would be run until almost empty. If a hijacker wanted to go even further, they would land at a facility they could take off from as well and throw some fuel in the plane, so they could be well outside of any search area.

        1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

          Re: So what is going on?

          "If a hijacker wanted to go even further, they would land at a facility they could take off from as well and throw some fuel in the plane, so they could be well outside of any search area."

          I suspect that is precisely what they have done. And it all doesn't look good as far as the passengers are concerned...

    4. Vic

      Re: So what is going on?

      How does one infer from the transmission that the satellite picked up that the search corridor is an arc stretching both north and south (geometry pedants you know what I mean) from the last known position?

      The report on the telly says that the satellite can determine the angle to the transmitter, but has no range information, and there's only a single satellite involved - leading to an equi-angle arc on the surface.

      Why is there a need to have the functionality to allow an identification beacon on a civil aircraft be switched off in flight?

      The transponder must be controllable while the engines are running - to do otherwise is likely to make the SSR display unreadable in the vicinity of a busy airport.

      You *could* make the argument that the transponder should be running when there is no weight on the undercarriage - but that adds a lot of complexity to the aircraft (i.e. makes it more prone to failure), and the only thing it really obviates is the pilot deliberately switching it off (which he could still do by way of pulling the fuse)

      Given that there is one known received transmission, can its timestamp be used to identify likely blips in backround static that other radio-frequency sensitive systems on the planet might have recorded, to enable even approximate triangulation?

      No. Aircraft radios are AM or SSB. You're not going to gather any information from the noise.

      This whole affair is very saddening. There is a specific transponder code to notify ATC (silently) of hijack; the transponder being turned off rather strongly implies that someone on the flight deck knew that. Given the locked door, that itself rather implies pilot collusion :-(

      Vic.

      1. GavinC

        Re: So what is going on?

        It's also desirable to be able to disable the transponder in the event that it malfunctions - you don't want it broadcasting false information to ATC, or worse yet, you don't want it setting itself on fire.

        There seems to be a lot of people focusing on why transponders can be turned off, but what benefit would keeping them on at all times actually provide? They are a radio transmitter, which would be next to useless over the oceans anyway, so even if it had been left on, we'd still probably be non the wiser as to the planes location until it made landfall somewhere (assuming it managed to do so).

    5. Florida1920 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: So what is going on?

      Why is there a need to have the functionality to allow an identification beacon on a civil aircraft be switched off in flight?

      Every electronic component contains a compressed volume of smoke added during manufacturing. Sometimes, for reasons not always apparent, one or more components in a device spontaneously decide to release their smoke. So far, no one's ever been able to get the smoke back inside a component once it's escaped. All you can do is remove the power source and hold your breath while the affected components die a slow, smoldering death.

      If you hold your ear close to the device you may hear the components scream. Or else get burned. Don't try this at home.

      One with the smoke & BS detector in the pocket.

    6. Nigel 11

      Re: So what is going on?

      Would a 777 crashing into the sea make a noise that could be recorded by submarine listening arrays like SOSUS? If so would the owner of the array consider it to be revealing too much information about their capabilities to mention it?

      A good question to which you won't get a reliable answer!

      Possibly, the owner of the array will just happen to discover floating debris and won't let on how they just happedned to know where to discover it. Arranging the cover story will take some days.

      It would have been a loud bang compared to, say, a submariner dropping a spanner. So maybe they can inform the world through confidential diplomatic channels that "we are 99% certain it did not crash into the Indian ocean. Search on land. No, I cannot say any more". That, without revealing too much about their actual capabilities.

    7. Richard 126

      Re: So what is going on?

      It is an arc because the only thing measured was time to get a ping from the satellite to the plane. So the plane is somewhere on the surface of a globe centered on the satellite. From that you have to work out that it is lower than 43,000 feet as that is as high as the plane can fly, it is higher than sea-level as we are looking for a plane not a submarine. The extreme north south limitations are the amount of fuel on board and the break in the middle of the arc is the area where the transponder would have been picked up by two satellites and as it wasn't it isn't there.

    8. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: So what is going on?

      "Why is there a need to have the functionality to allow an identification beacon on a civil aircraft be switched off in flight?"

      To stop the latest Boeing aircraft incinerating their passengers apparently....

    9. Jagged

      Re: So what is going on?

      "Why is there a need to have the functionality to allow an identification beacon on a civil aircraft be switched off in flight?"

      They did cover this on the BBC News, and the reason is simply that if there is a fire on-board you will probably want to turn them off and they are a potential source.

  6. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Blndingly obvious from the first day...

    " .....777 had been discovered on the other side of the world in the Bermuda Triangle."

    Duh! Where else could it be??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blndingly obvious from the first day...

      " .....777 had been discovered on the other side of the world in the Bermuda Triangle."

      Someone must have reversed the polarity then. Things usually disappear from within the Triangle, they don't end up there from elsewhere.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Blndingly obvious from the first day...

        Nonsense. Everyone in the know knows the plane is hidden on the dark side of the Moon.

  7. Terry 6 Silver badge
    Happy

    Hoax Slayer

    Gosh. I thought they'd gone the way of all flesh long ago. I used to love that site.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hints

    If the plane was landed on a remote location ( no navigation equipment i.e. no lighting nor radar) , it must have landed at dawn when there was light available, Also if the hijack was carried out by the pilot, he would have surveyed the landing site in person. Tracking the pilot's past traveling history would give the clue where the plane might have probably landed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hints

      777 needs a fairly hefty runway to land. You cannot land it just anywhere. It is not an IL76 or a Galaxy which you can land on your village field (if it is empty).

      There are quite a few suitable runways around the world including some in the area. North of Burma, etc. However, most of them are under constant satellite surveilance too because of drug and weapons trafficking. If the plane is there, it should have been picked up by now.

      In any case, 777 with all passengers "dealt with" and some extra fuel tanks to replace them can fly to nearly any place worldwide. Malaisia has had a history of problems with radical religion too... Just a thought... One I woud prefer not to ponder on for too long...

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: hints

        There are far more runways, if you want only to land or survivably crash-land, with no intention of taking off again.

        This may be a theft or a theft-gone-wrong(*), rather than terrorism. Notably absent from the news reporting, any discussion of the cargo manifest or cargo screening. This may not be mere cluelessness.

        (*) gone wrong: the passengers assumed terrorism, and the flight ended the same way as the fourth 9/11 jet. Or not gone wrong, just psycopathically ruthless thieves committing mass murder.

        1. JCitizen
          Black Helicopters

          Re: hints

          Exactly Nigel 11! Just like flight 93 during 911, the passengers probably figured correctly that they were pawns in a terrorist game, and there was no risk in going all out to retake the flight. How have the terrorists convinced us other wise? Terrorism is truly stupid. It is scary, but if I'd been that stupid 'Bin Stupid Ladin, I would have backed off to lull the world into some kind of Lemming mode! But evil is ALWAYS stupid, so I might as well digress and let others comment away! HA!

  9. Alistair Silver badge
    Joke

    Where are they now type things

    Oh look -- Theres a new shiny on Mars!

    (lets see how **that** flies on faceblat)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Case closed...

    It was a giant UFO who took them away.

  11. Rolf Howarth

    Phone signals

    On any passenger flight there must always be a handful of passengers who have left their cellphone in a jacket pocket and forgotten to turn it off. These would automatically search for a roaming network to connect to, so if the plane flew over land at any point (eg. Vietnam or Indonesia) that should have been logged, even if no-one on board tried to make a phone call.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Phone signals

      I believe not, with the plane at cruising altitude. Not until the plane got down to (a guess) 10,000ft. Question: are there large tracts of central Asia with no cellphone infrastructure? Especially the same, with one or more abandoned Soviet airstrips and no mobile coverage?

      1. Rolf Howarth

        Re: Phone signals

        The largest GSM cell radius is 22 miles and the plane is flying at less than 6 miles up. Obviously base stations are designed to transmit horizontally rather than up into the sky but I think a phone at that altitude would certainly make intermittent contact. Remember we're not talking about whether you can make a reliable phone call, just whether the phone communicates with a base station long enough to register, and for the base station to check with the phone's home network whether it's allowed to roam.

        I thought that remote areas in developing countries often have pretty good cellphone coverage, because that's a much cheaper way to provide telephone service over a large area than having to lay lots of cable.

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: Phone signals

          I was thinking about Scotland and Kazakhstan. I believe that there are large expanses of uninhabited Scottish highlands where you can't get a mobile signal (*). Same in Kazakhstan?

          Don't forget a plane is a metal tube. It's not a perfect Faraday cage because of the windows, but they'll attenuate the phone signal considerably, and the windows point sideways not downwards.

          BTW cruising altitude can be 40,000ft: that's 8 miles.Higher is possible though not used in normal civil aviation.

          (*) I *know* there are small expanses of rural Dorset with the same problem.

          1. JCitizen
            Angel

            Re: Phone signals

            Exactly Nigel 11! Out in the hinterlands of the desert - no one would reach the "ground' in such a plane! Yes they prolly went lower than usual, but we are talking the VAST expanse of the world's oceans! Ever see the movie Cast Away? No matter it is a movie of the pure imagination - the fiction was closer to truth than ever before! Remember Flight 93!! (Y)

  12. flokie

    Why follow random links...

    When there's the David Icke forum if you're after all sorts of "theories"?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    transponder standby or off

    When I learnt to fly, if I didn't want or was required to use the transponder, I switched it to 'off' or 'standby' with the big turny knob on the front panel - disabling any broadcasts from the box. Set it to 'on' or 'alt' (or mode-c or mode-s) when you want it to do its thing. No need to pull panel fuses.

    1. JCitizen
      Coat

      Re: transponder standby or off

      Well I have to admit, that I saw a demo on CNN or something like that, that showed anyone with an ounce of knowledge would be able to disable that - at least the engine data burst was more difficult; but just because it ended 30 minutes before the hext burst is reaching for straws!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmmm

    Has anyone checked Facebook?

    1. JCitizen
      Devil

      Re: Hmmmm

      HA!

  15. caffeine addict Silver badge

    Every day, this feels a little more like the beginning of an 80s Bond movie.

    I'll give it a week before someone suggests a supervillain with an Airbus Beluga super transporter is plucking planes from the sky.

  16. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Irony

    So Facebook is removing a scam designed to trick people into handing over their personal information?

    My irony meter just exploded.

  17. Tubage

    24

    Has anyone got contact details for Jack Bauer, pretty confident he can sort out this little pickle in less than a day!!

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