Re: A sad end to a terrible event
I'm not really sure why the pilot gets all the flack. He's been declared both a possible terrorist, and as a possible manic depressive mass murdering monster who wanted to take hundreds with him on an elaborate suicide attempt on the basis of owning a computer and having a flight sim installed. Oh, and randomly flying around in that flight sim, as if that's not the entire point and purpose of a flight sim.
Hands up, who has ever flown a flight sim until you've run out of fuel without worrying about landing it because it's a sim and who the fuck cares? Yeah? Me too. It's not evidence he is a murderer. Christ knows how many thousands of simulated aircraft i've ripped the wings/landing gear/etc off of over the decades.
Notably, there are three other very, very obvious factors.
1) The plane may have been defective. The vendor would be delighted to blame the pilot to continue making billions from selling their aircraft.
2) The maintance might have been substandard, in which case the operator might be quite delighted to get away with blaming the pilot to avoid fines, and all of their potential customers running away screaming.
3) The plane was carrying 5400 pounds worth of lithium batteries, from whom the shipper is not likely to admit that they broke safety rules in the way they were shipped and who would be delighted to blame... yeah, you get the picture.
Ok, imagine that on a routine flight that you have a fierce lithium fire from 5,400 pounds worth of lithium batteries that are onboard. The attendants realise and try and fight it with the onboard extinguishers, and fail as they are driven back by toxic choking smoke that spreads to the passangers.
They report this to the pilot, who realises that he has a fire burning holes through his plane and choking passangers. Come up with a solution to that in a few seconds. Deploying the oxygen masks and climbing to an altitude where that might starve the fire of oxygen sounds reasonable to me, as does turning around and heading roughly towards home.
Pilots are taught the axiom “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate” teaches pilots to fly the airplane first, then navigate, and once the situation is under control, communicate.
Pilot is focused on dealing with the situation for mere minutes, and the fire burns through something important and he loses most of the electronics. He doesn't get a chance to communicate via radio before it stops working, everybody suffocates (or passanger oxygen being depleted within a few minutes he dives back to an altitude with air and everybody chokes on the smoke from the fire) and the plane gets recovered by the autopilot avoiding a crash and then flies on autopilot and crashes who knows where.
There is more evidence that the pilot was a comitted professional stuck in an impossible situation than that he was a murderer and personally I think it's a bit unfair to assume that he is one.
It's a possible theory, but no more than that.