The unsecured electrical and electronics bay located under the floor and behind the cockpit of the Boeing 777-200ER that performed vanished Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is again in the spotlight.
This very well written article on the Jeff Wise blog will not come as a surprise to those who have followed the MH370 mystery on Plane Talking, Runway Girl and Flightglobal as well as closed and open technical forums, but every bit of additional pressure on Boeing and Malaysia Airlines for some long overdue candour and action is to be welcomed.
You can take a narrated YouTube tour of the unsecured 777 electronic and electrical bay here.
Jeff Wise’s point is that a very sophisticated knowledge of the functionality of the electronics and electrical bay, and its vulnerabilities, was likely possessed by hijackers whose presence inside it is implied by anomalous events that show up on the satellite record of (to use shorthand) signalling events between the 777 carrying 239 people and the Inmarsat satellite that would normally monitor the performance of the jet’s two engines and report back to a maintenance support base at Rolls-Royce, their maker, in the UK.
Plane Talking has for some time had contact with airline sources who believe that whatever the intent of the original diversion of MH370, something went wrong with the execution of the plot, and the 777 turned south on a flight to fuel exhaustion and oblivion in the south Indian Ocean W or SW of Perth. Where an Australian managed deep sea search is underway, based on the guidance given by a strategic search committee which reports to the Malaysia authorities who are the lead investigators of the disappearance of the flight.
Such a scenario might be wrong. But it is in the broadest sense, it is where the inquiries in the accident seem to be headed, except that nothing is known of the parallel police investigation.
What we do know is that the Malaysia Government, having deliberately misled its search partners as to what it knew about the course flown by MH370 on the morning of its disappearance on 8 March, has also suppressed two items in the cargo manifest, which among other possibilities, have been rumoured to have comprised gold bullion.
This is not the only thing that has been suppressed for, rather than by, the same government, but more about that sine dei as some Australian judges say.
The role of Boeing in this is important, but not officially explained. Boeing was told in no uncertain terms about the security risks of this unsecured access to critical flight and support systems several years, and as recounted in Jeff Wise’s blog, even Emirates, the largest user of the Boeing 777, brushed them aside at the time.
We will ask Boeing again why it designed such a crock when it came to security in the first place, and why it didn’t put in train immediate mandatory action to close it off. There are times when airlines, regulators and aircraft makers ought to listen to concerned pilots and take what they say seriously. Now there is risk of serious criminal liability arising from an incident in which 239 people died.
Leaving the door open to a potential for hijacking or terrorism is surely indefensible, but c’mon, give us some weasel words anyhow.