- Posted March 15, 2014 by
Castle Rock, Colorado
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Detailed theory on Malaysia 370- what could have truly happened in the flight deck of the Boeing 777
UPDATED MARCH 16th.
Beau Brant- International US Airilne Pilot
Flying a commercial jet is a huge responsibility for taking care of peoples lives and getting them from point "a" to "b" with care and 110% safety in mind at all times. I am a international commercial airline pilot and have been following this story 24 hours a day since it broke. I teach human factors and CRM/TEM (cockpit resource management, threat and error management)- tools we use as pilots to solve problems, work out situations and keep the aircraft in a "safe" operation at all times.
This story has what appears to be a complete breakdown of a professional flight deck. I wanted to share my theory I have after absorbing more information over the last few days. I tried to write this so non-pilots and the general public can follow and understand the aviation language as well. First, from the Malaysia flight schedules..most of the Kuala Lumpur flights on the 777 are 6pm departures getting in at midnight (flight #MH 360) in Beijing, CN, This was one of the few flights a week departing at midnight, a time when most people would be sleeping (MH370). The plane was not booked full and can hold 282 passengers, had 239 total with crew, so a good time of open seats and lighter load. This seemed like a recipe that was well planned out. The 777 is one of the most reliable planes in the air...period, with a tremendous amount of redundant systems. I will bet this plane did not have a mechanical issue, it was all a deliberate act to take the plane and create a giant mystery and chaos.
Now to my theory, I looked carefully at the Jeppesen navigation charts I have over Malaysia , east Asia as well as the Indian ocean regions. There are many islands, flight "jetways" and a few areas of military operations areas. I truly feel the pilots are responsible for this situation 100%. The Captain was a Check Airmen and the First-Officer was a new transition to the Boeing 777. We do what is called IOE (initial operating experience for the first 25-50 hours) before released to the normal flight schedules. From what the reports say, this First-Officer was new to the airplane- and this is why I rule him out as he doesn't have the thousands of hours on the 777 as the Captain has earned. The latest on the Captain is this:
The Mail on Sunday says Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was an "obsessive" supporter of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and the pilot may have attended his latest trial just hours before taking charge of the missing Boeing 777.
Apparently Captain Z.A. was obsessed with politics and was highly supportive of the opposition in Malaysia. Investigators have been trying to extract data from his laptops on his home simulator. No findings have been revealed yet.
"Meanwhile, Britain's Sunday Telegraph reports that an al-Qaeda supergrass told a New York court last week that four to five Malaysian men had been planning to take control of a plane using a bomb hidden in a shoe to blow open the cockpit door. Convicted British terrorist Saajid Badat reportedly said the Malaysian jihadists, including a pilot, were "ready to perform an act". Todays update from the Malaysian officials have confirmed that flight 370 has been deliberately diverted, and that it flew on for hours after contact was lost.
To me, this is a perfect time to take out your new F/O (first-officer) and possibly knock him out, then slowly dump the cabin pressure so everyone was basically "fall asleep" and pass out with hypoxia setting in...this would possibly include even the flight attendants if they didn't get to the portable oxygen canisters on board. The 777 drops the masks at 14,000ft cabin altitude, a pilot can manually control this and keep this from reaching that point, pull the circut breaker (as if on a maintenance flight) or even if masks dropped in back- could wait until the oxygen generators run out of oxygen and passengers run out of oxygen. In a decompression situation, we normally would rapidly descend to 10,000ft to get to a safe breathing altitude. The pilot responsible would have been able to stay in his oxygen mask (its it's own contained system with several house of oxygen on board), and waiting until he has control of the cabin. Once that's done, the Captain has complete control....I hate to blame him, but I have a feeling there is a reason he had a 777 simulator in his home and very curious to see how entering his home and seeing his computer data on this simulator to show what "simulated" flights he may have flown. If this is true, he is probably a brilliant man and had this strategically planned for some reason that none of us can comprehend. The plane shut off the transponder right before the FIR ( boundary between Singapore airspace/Malaysia going into Ho Chi Minh Airspace of Vietnam), the last words form the pilots was " all-right goodnight"- meaning probably getting handed off to Vietnam ATC center. This was the perfect time to shut down the transponder, not check in with ATC, make the turn and then do the magic he did. As we note, ACARS communication and transponder were shut down 14 minutes apart.
At this point the plane would have approx 6-6.5 hours of fuel remaining and now knowing his thought out route, dropped below 29000 ft (I saw a report that the military radar picked the plane up at this altitude approx) this is below RVSM airspace (below 1,000 ft separation of other planes) and then he may have dropped as low as possible over the water. Jets like to fly high for best fuel savings, this airplane would have had to slow way back to save fuel (assuming the pings via the ACARS transmissions show what altitude it was at...im just assuming low) to avoid radar. Some fisherman said they saw a plane low over the water....but that story went away quick...but this is why I think it was low.
Now back to my charts.....I looked on my jeppesen charts and google earth and found several islands with runways that would be in reach of that plane, and since it wouldn't have much fuel to reach this intended destination...would be able to stop quickly and land. If it was a suicide mission, why would a pilot fly 4-5 hours- up to 7 hours and then crash? The pilot would have pulled an Egypt Air 990 and dove it in to the ocean or sea right when it first happened. I am attaching a google image of a remote island near Male' in the Indian ocean...would be within reach and I only see two buildings on entire remote island. It's nothing factual...just doing to show there are airports within reach that are remote and could handle this jet with no radar surveillance. I think we (government/military) need to find that ring with a fuel burn at a low altitude, and search every island in that ring in the Indian ocean. The ACARS (aircraft communication system to talk to the company, ATC, maintenance control, get weather..its our internet on the airplane) did send messages giving some information that hasn't been released yet....but somebody know something and it will be found. This would be the most bizarre hijacking, theft of the 21st century.
I truly think the plane is intact, I don't know about the passengers or crew...but I don't think it's in the "bottom of the ocean" as the Pentagon states. As of Sat March 15th, the latest data "leaking" is that the airplane gave a communication "ping" for over 7 hours. This would have made the airplane extremely tight on fuel at the end, but could have reached as far as Kazakhstan. The plane would have had to climbed in altitude to reach a further destination, as flying low burns much more fuel. There are conflicting reports of low and high altitudes, but I do feel this was so well planned and the altitude changes were to give conflicting information to anyone who would be analyzing this later.
The report could have two options of where it could have gone, but here is what the latest press release is. I truly feel the plane it'self is intact SOMEWHERE, but very concerned about the fate of the passengers and flight-attendants in the back. Many have asked about being more than two pilots on board, many international flights have 3-4 pilots (if over 8 hours and over 12), but this flight was under that time and only a Captain and First-Officer.
Information from international and Malaysian officials indicate that the jet may have flown for more than seven hours after the last contact with the pilots. The area of the search has broadened.The plane's last communication with the satellite, a northern corridor stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand and a southern corridor stretching from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean even to west or northern Australia.
Some quotes of information from March 15th-:
"Based on new satellite information, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, was disabled just before the aircraft reached the East Coast of peninsular Malaysia"
"Shortly afterward, near the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control, the aircraft's transponder was switched off. From this point onwards, the Royal Malaysian Air Force primary radar showed that an aircraft -- which was believed but not confirmed to be MH370 -- did turn back."
Thanks for your time and feel free to add any comments, share or ask anything you can-