air crashes

Jan 9, 2016

MH370 and “the captain did it” revisited

There is a very good, but not necessarily completely or maybe even partially correct rehashing of the view that MH370 was hijacked by its captain in

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

A new best estimate of the most likely locations of MH370
A new best estimate of the most likely locations of MH370

There is a very good, but not necessarily completely or maybe even partially correct rehashing of the view that MH370 was hijacked by its captain in The Australian today.

It’s behind a paywall, and it is worth the money.

However it is also important to keep several matters in mind, all of which long term readers of Plane Talking, and numerous other news and analysis sites will be more than familiar with.

Much of the ground covered has been previously discussed here and in a multitude of other places.

There are several points to consider, without assuming the pilot author Byron Bailey is completely wrong or that the ATSB is completely correct.

The evidence for a climb to 45,000 feet soon after the jet was deliberately made invisible to air traffic control has never been produced in detail. In fact the claims as to this happening appeared to emerge in the media echo chamber in the early days of the disappearance.

That isn’t to say it didn’t happen. However it would at that stage of a flight have been a difficult operation because of the very finely balanced requirement of getting a loaded jet to the highest part of its performance envelope.

It would have also been completely unnecessary, as depressurisation at its last reported cruise altitude of 35,000 feet would have just as rapidly incapacitated and then killed everyone other than a pilot that was on board.

Such a climb would also have made MH370 potentially more visible to military radar across the border in Thailand.  It terms of mass murdering those on board, and exercising stealth, this claimed sequence of events doesn’t make sense, although criminal behavior doesn’t necessarily follow sane, logical, premeditated steps.

The Australian report doesn’t say what Byron Bailey thought occurred to disable the transponder on MH370 that identifies aircraft to the ATC systems.  This doesn’t make his story wrong, but it would have been useful to know if he thinks that the captain accessed the below floor electronics and electrical distribution bay via a hatch in the floor immediately behind the cockpit to perform other functions at various times that would have assisted his alleged plan.

It may be that what he says about this was edited out for length or to ‘simplify’ the narrative.

The question as to what the state of the recovered flaperon tells us is important, and probably unresolved. Bailey misrepresents through emphasis elements of the Department of Science and Technology report that the ATSB released with its recent comprehensive update. That report says the final incomplete ping sequence received by the Inmarsat satellite supports an out of control fall to impact on the ocean surface after the second engine flamed out, and suggests that at one point the aircraft became inverted losing line of sight with the satellite.

The inference that report draws is that if a pilot was attempting to make a controlled ditching of MH370 he would do so when there was sufficient fuel remaining to provide full power and operability to the controls. It is a reasonable inference, making the exact state of MH370 in the final stages of its flight something reasonable readers might consider unresolved.

Bailey (as published) makes only one passing reference to analysis done by Boeing, on the flaperon. However Boeing has been involved in the deliberations of the search for its duration and assisted in detail in drawing up the various scenarios considered in its almost constant state of revision. It is more than facile to ignore that involvement in the pursuit of the “pilot did it” scenario, with gratuitous observations about the search effort.

This doesn’t mean Bailey (or Hardy)  or the ATSB are wrong in their general focus in the area now being searched.

They all seem to be in a state of  ‘furious agreement.’ Bailey risks being seen to be hitching his wagon to the inevitability of a discovery of durable wreckage in this general area.

Postscript. Bailey, like the ATSB, seems incapable of querying what happened on the night MH370 left KL. Malaysia Airlines lost an airliner yet made almost no calls to the flight after it was seen to be lost. There was no systematic calling out of  any of the dozens of ships that were under the filed flight paths. There were no reported systematic calls to police stations, kampongs, or the all night security people or doormen at resorts which may have had a view seaward or to the skies across the Malaysia Peninsula at relevant times.

A widely respected airline which flies in this hemisphere told me that had it been one of their flights that vanished, their fingertips would have been bleeding from making repeated calls. Why did Malaysia Airlines give up so easily? Why did it go back to bed? Why did the government on the morning of the disappearance insist that the search efforts be spread further and wider, as it did for many days, when it knew according to subsequent revelations by the then acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein that it had crossed the peninsula on day one?

There is something rotten being concealed about the conduct of this flight, and of the authorities, in relation to their official narratives and actions.


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33 thoughts on “MH370 and “the captain did it” revisited

  1. Peter Lincred

    So why would the Malaysian government sit by and allow their national flag carrier to have its reputation trashed?

    Two obvious options:

    – what was going on would trash the reputation of the government
    – there is a bigger (international?) game afoot and MAS is acceptable collateral damage

  2. Going Boeing

    It’s a logical theory that the Captain did it. He had the technical ability and perhaps the motive. The transponder can be switched off in the cockpit and it is switched to off after every flight to stop secondary radar returns cluttering up the controllers display. Can anyone enlighten us on which type of passenger oxygen system Malaysian has on the 777. I think it would have to be bottles for pax for the routes they fly but not sure. If it was bottles then they can be disarmed from automatically deploying at 14000′. I’m not sure if the chemical generators can be disarmed though. This would possibly change how the scenario would pan out.

  3. discus

    Going Boeing,

    Both systems deploy electrically. Find the right breakers and trip them or isolate the bus they are fed from and they are rendered inoperative.

  4. Ben Sandilands

    Going Boeing and Discus,

    This is but one of the reasons why the chips in personal devices like iPads and phones need to be recovered and examined. Someone among the 239 people on board most likely took an image of the chaos in the cabin. Such images will contain vital clues as to what happened.

  5. Going Boeing

    Thanks but I should have been more specific. If a passenger opens the PSU, if they know how, pulls down on the mask of a chemical unit it will start to generate oxygen. If that was the case then that would have given most people about 12 minutes supply. Portable oxygen bottles also would be available for 15 minutes or so. But then what? No doubt there is a cover up from the Malaysian authorities. Very sad indeed for the families of those lost on board MH370.

  6. [email protected]

    MAS and, most likely, the Malaysian Government knew what was afoot with flight MH 370 well before it flew.

    To me, the “pilot did it” scenario is all too convenient.

    The pilot, an enthusiastic training pilot, was put off duty for a month leading up to this flight, supposedly on stress grounds. However, he was called on to fly MH 370 on that day with the narrative being that MAS were desperately short of pilots.

    Then, why was another pilot taken off that flight and given the days off?

    To me, that smells of Captain Zaharie being told to take time off and wait until his “special duty” was ready. Then when it all went pear shaped, MAS knew there was no point phoning to the plane or alerting anyone. From then on, it was cover up time.

  7. michael r james

    I’ve just read Bailey’s piece and it is fairly frustrating because it is so obviously not written by a journalist or at least someone versed in writing technical summaries. It is riddled with internal inconsistencies. In the second last paragraph he writes:

    [The only thing I can agree on with the ATSB is that the MH370 would probably not be under active–hand flown–control.]

    This seems in total contradiction to what he has written earlier, several times that I am still left wondering it this statement contains a basic typo. Eg, he wrote:

    [Common sense suggests when Zaharie got a low fuel warning he initiated descent while still heading south and performed a controlled ditching under engine power before the engines flamed out because of fuel starvation. The aircraft would sink quickly.]

    Then there is his (and Hardy’s?] “political” theory:
    [(Zaharie may have diverted the plane as a political act. Hours before the flight vanished, Anwar, de facto leader of the People’s Justice Party (of which Zahraire was a card-carrying member) was sentenced to five years in jail after a court overturned his 2012 acquittal on a sodomy charge. Zaharie reportedly attended the hearing.]

    A political act surely involves sending a message to someone. Crashing a B777 and killing 239 people is very dramatic and would make a very big statement. However there has been nothing. Zaharie is very unlikely to have left this to chance and most likely would have deployed social media that would be impossible for anyone to stop. One might invoke various theories that prevented implementation of his ultimate plan, but this is not a parsimonious theory. In fact it is a extraordinarily shaky one. I’d believe the psychotic break idea before the political one.
    To the experts on this blog:
    Much talk about oxygen and decompression etc. If a plane decompresses and the oxygen provided by the masks is exhausted, but then the pilot recovers control, is there enough oxygen or breathable air (for the pilot) to keep going for 7 hours at above 30,000 ft? (I understand that this is why pilots quickly descend to low altitude when there are such problems, and obviously this plane did not fly all the way to the SIO at 12,000 ft.)

  8. Simon Gunson

    Byron Bailey should stick to writing comics.

    MH370’s Mode ES transponder indicated an altitude of 35,000ft at 17:21 UTC. A Boeing 777 is not a ballistic missile and takes some time to climb from 35,000ft to 45,000ft an estimated 19 minutes in fact, so are Bailey or Hardy now asserting MH370 was tracked by radar climbing until 17:40 ?

    On 11 March it was announced radar tracked MH370 climb to 45,000ft then make a U-turn and dive west. How could secondary radar do this for an aircraft which we are told had its transponder switched off?

    And before someone blurts out military radar tracked this, think again:

    Angus Houston announced 24 June 2014 that review of all available civil and military radar tapes by two Thales Raytheon engineers for the JACC showed that MH370 was never tracked climbing to 45,000ft or diving west.

    A little point that these clowns choose to ignore.

    And if there is radar evidence then where is it?
    The JACC saw no radar tape evidence of a climb to 45,000ft and neither did they acknowledge any radar evidence of the alleged detour through the Straits of Malacca.

    A logical conclusion is that there is no such evidence and claims are fake.

  9. Simon Gunson

    Electrical failure between an expected handshake at 18:03 and the ACARS log on at 18:25 UTC indicates prolonged failure of the SDU satellite antenna.

    This rules out MH370 being able to navigate at night around Penang at 17:52 towards VAMPI, then make a precise heading adjustment to cross MEKAR at 18:22.

    This manouvere required AIMS, the electronic navigation brain on a Boeing 777 to be functional. If the SDU was out of operation then so too was AIMS.

    As the ATSB report of 3 December 2015 noted, power failure to the SDU would have been corrected by closure of a tie breaker enabling the Right Independent drive Generator to power both right & left AC Main Bus relays.

    The fact this automatic switching did not occur indicates both Main Relays were disabled. Left only operating off the Standby Transfer Bus would allow the autopilots to keep following a basic magnetic heading, but not navigate from waypoint to waypoint.

    Irrespective what happened after 18:25 the alleged Straits detour before 18:25 could not have happened with the kind of power failure MH370 experienced.

  10. George Glass

    I’m surprised that nobody has asked what did JORN see?Surely the great powers that have the Malacca Straits under the greatest surveillance of any waterway on the planet know much,much more than they are letting on.

  11. Fred

    Going Boeing (#2): The crew and passenger oxygen systems on the 777 both use oxygen cylinders. The Passenger Oxygen switch in the flight deck can only be used to turn the system on in the event the automatic deployment of the masks fails, or to reset the system once the cabin altitude is below 13,500ft. It can’t be used to turn the system off.

    discus (#3): The circuit breakers for the oxygen system are not easily accessible from the flight deck. Someone would have to enter the MEC through the cabin floor and locate the circuit breakers on the relevant ELMS panel to disable the system. That’s not impossible, but it would require in-depth knowledge of the system; far more knowledge than pilots normally learn.

    The system receives 115V AC power from the STBY BUS and 28V DC power from the CAPT FLT INST BUS. Both those buses power essential aircraft systems and they have multiple layers of backup. Isolating them would cripple the aircraft, so I think it’s an extremely unlikely scenario.

    michael r james (#7): The short answer is no!

    Simon Gunson (#9): Perhaps you didn’t read my previous reply to one of your posts (, but some of your technical information is wrong.

    George Glass (#10): I could be wrong, but my understanding is that JORN doesn’t normally operate on a 24-hour basis, except during military contingencies. According to information released to the public by the RAAF, the system has a range of up to 3,000km. That puts its maximum range well short of the Strait of Malacca.

  12. Ted Smith



  13. Danny Miles

    Malaysian flight 370 was carrying “stealth and cloaking” technology. It is now the property of the Carlyle Group. What makes sense to me, based on my experience working with criminals and sociopaths, is that someone was willing to kill to get it. The transponder was probably replaced, with one of those stealth chips. The plane then could be flown into Diego Garcia, and would have looked like any of the B-1 bombers based there, on radar. Every bit of information about the possibility of the involvement of Diego Garcia is of course Top Secret, and can’t be used in the investigation. Handy that. Once they got what they wanted off the plane, they may have flown it into the ocean, using auto-pilot. They would not want evidence of that to show up in the wreckage however…

  14. Seth Knoepler

    Endeavour: You state a few things which I didn’t know are widely agreed upon “facts in evidence” as opposed to plausible inferences or speculations: That Zaharie had been on medical leave until he was assigned to captain MH370; that the official reason for the medical leave was stress; that the official reason that he was asked to captain MH370 was that MH was short-staffed; that he replaced another pilot who was, instead, given the day off.

  15. Dain B

    “A widely respected airline which flies in this hemisphere told me that had it been one of their flights that vanished, their fingertips would have been bleeding from making repeated calls.”

    No they won’t. Planes do not normally disappear mid-flight and when something like this happens with probability roughly 100% you will find plane somewhere on the ground, accompanied by loud bang and substantial fire and smoke. You don’t need to call anyone in hotel to ask if they heard it, it will be already in the news minutes after it happened, even more so in such densely populated part of the world.

    But let’s imagine they did call ships and asked them what exactly ? Whether someone seen plane flying at 10KM in the night sky and were able to determine that it was 777 in Malaysian colors ? If there was crash it would be already reported by those who seen it.

  16. discus

    Going Boeing,

    The passenger oxy system was the chemically generated type and would last approx 22 minutes.

    The crew oxy was 2 x 115 cubic ft cylinders that would give 1 crew member a more than ample supply to execute a long duration flight at cruise altitude whether selected to normal or 100% .

    There were also 15 small (11 cubic ft) portable emergency cylinders distributed around the cabin. These would last longer than the pax units but not as long as crew supply unless one or a few persons had all of them at hand.

    It is possible to have broken open the overhead passenger oxy panels, but it is not easy without some tooling or lever to get ones fingers behind the plastic and break it open. How many would think of this, or be able to do so in an emergency within the brief time before going hypoxic is a worthy point.

    The generators will produce oxy if the pin is pulled from the firing mechanism. It is a manual operation. No power required to activate oxy flow.

    The info regarding the oxy is in in the Factual Information report released last April.

  17. Dan Dair

    Dain B,
    Do you really think like that or are you just being deliberately provocative.?

    Since the flight-plan of MH370 had no overland flight-time for several thousand kilometres once it left Malaysia, your surmises about “ground, loud bang, substantial fire and smoke” seem a little misguided.?

    I would imagine that the “widely respected airline” staff would have been asking, ‘did you notice anything at all which might be unusual or different’.?
    Perhaps a ‘shooting star’ or ‘strange light in the sky’, which ‘sensible’ people might not necessarily want to admit to without direct questioning.?

    Immediately after losing contact with an airliner, any scrap of information might be significant in the subsequent search for the missing airline & hopefully, survivors.?

  18. Dan Dair

    The last paragraph should read;
    ‘Immediately after losing contact with an airliner, any scrap of information might be significant in the subsequent search for the missing AIRCRAFT & hopefully, survivors.?

  19. Sam Jackson

    Byron is a good chap, his intentions are honourable and he clearly believes, fervently, as many others do ‘his’ theory is the answer. To this he is entitled; but like many other theories, not quite all the boxes are ticked. I would need a lot more empirical evidence that ‘the pilot’ was the sole, lone perpetrator. If, and I believe we must, accept that intentional ‘criminal’ activity in some form was involved then it follows that there was, most certainly an educated hand at the controls. A pilot’s hand ? probably, but not necessarily, others can ‘work’ the systems; it’s not an exclusive skill.

    For mine, who’s hand and why? are the question we must ask.

    Between Byron and Ean (that man) Higgens the ATSB get another well deserved flogging; which cheers me up. Good articles from both, together they make a great, balanced team. More please ‘Australian’, their voices are much needed in these dark times for the aviation industry.

  20. Going Boeing

    The point was passengers could have opened the PSU themselves if they were aware of the situation if the oxygen system was a chemical type, however it doesn’t last very long. Climbing to 45000′ in my view was impossible. The aircraft would have stalled at the weight it was at for this flight. If a satellite fails the aircraft will still be able to navigate using the internal IRS system. The same system that is used to give horizon reference and heading/drift along with longitude and latitude. Prior to GPS updating we flew around the world for years using the IRS/INS with updating from ground based navaids only. It’s a degraded mode of navigation but possible in this case.
    waypoints that are defined can be entered manually into the unit and the aircraft will navigate to that point using Lnav and an autopilot. The left CDU and ADIRU will still operate for about 30 minutes on battery power alone.

  21. Simon Gunson

    @Fred no, I did not read your response of 2 January 2016 to Ben’s article of 17 December.

    My understanding of the electrical system was based off my understanding of the B767 system and that was my error.

    However in the B777 both Honeywell designed AIMS cabinets do each have modules that fulfill the same role as the CMU found in earlier designs.

    Each AIMS cabinet integrates 2 CDU, 1 FMC, 1 Central Maintenance unit, 1 Data Communications unit, 1 Air Data computer and 2 Data Convesion Gateways. They are designed to be fault tolerant so the aircraft can continued to be dispatched with known electrical faults for up to 10 days with 99% reliability. This suggests Boeing designed an aircraft for the purpose of deferring electrical maintenance.

    Given the bizarre fact that ACARS still functioned yet did not send any flight data, for example position, altitude, airspeed etc, then it follows that if the electrical failure was not caused by a Communications processing component of the AIMS cabinet, then at the very least the electrical failure prior to 18:25 severely disabled some AIMS functions.

    It could come down to a chicken and egg argument whether a fault started in ELMS which disabled AIMS, or the other way around that a fault developed in the AIMS which caused a failure in the ELMS?

    ACARS itself is simply one of the three digital VHF radios slaved to work for the AIMS cabinets. One can assume that after 18:25 power resumed to the left AC Bus.

    From the SAT phone log on exchanges at 18:39 there was a self test protocol which followed an order. By counting off the self test ACARS exchanges and identifying at which exchange the SAT calls were abandoned one can grasp which test failed and therefore the nature of the failure.

    The first SAT phone attempt failed to pass the power management test = voltage instability in the AC Main Bus relays.

    Jeff Wise questioned whether satellite data had been spoofed?

    These kinds of power fluctuations could explain the PERCEIVED BFO Doppler anomalies and BTO anomalies between 18:25 and 18:28. Satellite data after 18:28 used to theoretically plot MH370’s point of impact and indeed the 7th Arc itself have already been disproven by a fruitless $180m seabed search.

    The second of these SAT phone attempts the incoming call was re-routed from forward relays to the cockpit back to the CCS or Cabin Crew System, not to the IFE system per se.

    Some people focus on this aspect to suggest it was proof that someone hacked the Flight Computer via the IFE merely because one SAT phone attempt was re-routed to the cabin.

    Having said all of that since the ATSB’s report of 3 December 2015 about major power failure early in the flight I have myself sat up and paid more attention to the report of an MEC fire in a United B777 at Heathrow in February 2007:

    Had this fire occurred at 35,000ft we may well have experienced an MH370 like disaster in 2007, not in 2014.

    The sad thing about relatives of MH370 is that their window of opportunity for pursuing this aspect of liability is fast closing yet they have all been led astray by the Pied Piper call of certain people promoting outlandish claims of hijacking to Diego Garcia, or Boeing Uninterruptible Autopilots etc.

    Given that the Malaysian government hired a Russian PR firm called Ketchum to make the Lido Hotel presentations in Beijing, one could not at all discount the possibility that powerful interests including the aircraft manufacturer have not discreetly employed PR firms and even crackpot theorists to develop misleading disinformation.

    Those relatives in their nativity and wishful thinking are squandering a real last chance to hold anybody to account for what may have actually happened.

    I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be an expert in avionics. I have however tried to make sense of the evidence without resorting to the plot from a James Bond novel.

    Some people want to believe so badly in pilot suicide that instead of reasoned, rational debate, vehemently attack others for trying to interpret data differently from their own interpretation.

    You are probably quite right Fred that it appears since the ATSB report last December that the ELMS panel caught fire. It also seems quite likely this caused decompression and that MH370 was a hypoxic flight south.

    I note from the 2007 Heathrow fire it was estimated had that aircraft been airborne when the fire occurred, then structural integrity of the adjacent fuselage skin would have been compromised. In other words, an identical fire in MH370 at 35,000ft would have cause skin melting and decompression.

    This would discount all the pilot suicide theories, also call into question why we have never seen the radar evidence backing claims for a Malacca Straits detour and raise a further question whether Malaysian authorities actually fabricated false evidence?

  22. Simon Gunson

    @Endevour Paul. Zaharie’s sister Sakinab has read your comments and responds through me. She said:

    “Sure Sy…u are given the liberty to quote me!

    Tell these buggers to not waste their talent n time pointing fingers….the wrong way ……rather to use their expertise to locate the bloody plane….that’s the best they can contribute to humanity !!”

    I asked Sakinab if this was leave related to Zaharie’s back injury sustained from a crash during paragliding. He had been given leave for back pain.

    Hi again Sy,

    Just went thru the link u provided…interesting reading!!

    Cannot confirm about his one month medical leave. As was said, we were out for dinner 2 weeks prior that fateful flight ‘n’ things appear very normal. I certainly would have noticed anything out of the ordinary.

    And again…..if he was medically unfit, then MAS has some explaining to do?

    He was his usual boisterous n chirpy self with his “wise cracks ” …My brother n his family, my sister and I, we had an enjoyable dinner that nite. He was in no noticeable pain ‘n’ neither was he stressed up !!!

    As regards his flight schedule…….he was in the roster…..forwarded 1 month ahead of his scheduled flight!!

    All that was said in the post is mere speculation….out of convenience …or plain bull !!”

    Furthermore, in an earlier exchange Sakinab explained to me Zaharie never went anywhere near the court hearing for his cousin in law Anwar Ibrahim. The media have it all plain wrong.

    Of course Zaharie was involved with politics. Malaysia is supposedly a democracy. To somehow link this with a criminal act is like a Republican calling a Democrat a terrorist. This is just filthy underhand mud slinging.

    Zaharie also personally funded an orphanage, you never read about that anywhere. He was a deeply compassionate man who believed in helping people, not hurting people.

    When two Chechen brothers detonated bombs at the Boston marathon, Zaharie posted condolences on his facebook page for the victims. When a fellow pilot responded that it seemed a CIA conspiracy, Zaharie rubbished this and condemned terrorism.

    By the way Zaharie has Irish American relatives whom he loved very dearly.

    None of these Walter Mitty conspiracy theorists seem willing to acknowledge all the positive humanitarian aspects of Zaharie’s life. Why would they?

    It is far easier to attack a man who can’t answer back and in doing so make a name for themselves.

    Personally I am disgusted by those who would kick a man when he is down and unable to answer back. Especially when the seabed search has failed to corroborate the alleged Malacca Straits detour. If suicide was the cause and if the satellite data and radar data were true, then they would have found MH370 by now precisely where they said it was, but they have not.

  23. Fred

    Byron Bailey seems focused on the controlled ditching scenario as evidence of pilot suicide and his report seeks to discredit the end of flight scenario described by the ATSB. He claims that he put the ATSB’s flame-out theory to the test in a 777 simulator and proved that the ATSB is ‘completely wrong’, and yet his own testing and analysis seems somewhat flawed.

    He states the ATSB’s theory that the aircraft entered a left-hand turn must be wrong because ‘when we flamed out an engine at 37,000ft to simulate fuel starvation of the first engine, the autopilots remained on the commanded track’. It is true that the aircraft would remain on the commanded track after the first flame-out; however, the ATSB believes the aircraft ‘began turning left and remained in a banked turn’ only after BOTH engines had failed, a point that Byron seems to have overlooked.

    Byron also seems to have missed the point that the ATSB did not form its conclusions in isolation. Much of the testing and analysis was done by third parties with far more expertise than the ATSB. The end-of-flight scenarios were developed by Boeing and tested in its engineering simulator. One would hope that Boeing has some idea of how its own aircraft would behave under various failure scenarios, even if we choose to question the ATSB.

    Going Boeing & Discus: My apologies; it seems I was wrong regarding the Malaysian aircraft’s passenger oxygen system. My employer’s 777s and those of a number of other operators all use oxygen cylinders for the passenger system. I did not know that Boeing offered the chemical generator systems as a customer option. I have to say it does seem unusual that Malaysian selected the chemical system for an ‘ER’ aircraft. It must seriously limit their route planning. I was also surprised to see the figures relating to the crew oxygen system endurance in the MOT’s Factual Report. Our flight manual suggests the oxygen wouldn’t last nearly that long at high altitude!

  24. discus

    Hi Fred,

    I too was quite surprised by the oxy endurance numbers but there they are.

    As you say, having bottled oxy is the desired fitment on some legs such as flying the Himalaya where descent to safe altitudes is not an option.

  25. Dan Dair

    Simon Gunson,
    It might be helpful if you could explain to the rest of us how you come to be privy to all of this family information.?

    Separately, the search of the sea-bed, based upon what is perceived as ‘known’ about the flight of MH370 has so far proved fruitless.
    If we reassess the difference between what we have been assured is fact by the Malaysian authorities
    what there is actually proof of in the the public domain (perhaps in the process bringing to the public domain, information which has so far remained privileged.?),
    perhaps we,
    & much more importantly,
    those who are actually in control of the search process,
    can re-assess where they’re looking for the wreckage
    & maybe they’ll actually turn-up some positive results.?

  26. Dain B

    @Dan Dair

    I’m not being provocative, I’m trying to put myself in shoes of people in charge of OCC at that time and you should try too.

    1. Plane disappeared off radars and did not contact ATC when it was supposed to and at that time it was supposedly heading towards China.

    2. As it’s fairly well populated area and if plane crashed there would be reports coming almost immediately. There were none, so it did not crash. No shooting stars, no lights in the sky, nothing.

    3. What to do now ? Call every fishermen in the sea and ask if he seen plane that did not crash ? He probably seen tens if not hundreds at that time and would not be able to tell if it was 380 or 777.

    What next ? Remember, it was way out of ordinary situation that never happened before and the first assumption of people in charge of OCC would be plane crashed and there should be debris and reports about it. If nothing out of ordinary happened no one on the ground would notice anything. And if there no crash reports how do you know something happened to plane at all, until it burned all fuel and failed to land at any airport ?

  27. Dain B

    And did you forget that there were in fact at least 1 report of fire in the sky over Gulf of Thailand ? And what happened to that ?

  28. Ben Sandilands

    Dain B,

    That fire sighting wasn’t over the Gulf of Thailand. Please keep it accurate.

    I remember the loss of the Air New Zealand flight in 1979. There were no ships, or villages to call. But Air NZ kept calling the flight, it had people looking for signs of an approaching flight from the south, it assembled a crash team, executives vomited from anxiety and stress (according to later reports) because their plane and 257 people on board were missing.

    It was in the view of those I spoke to, and I’m not alone in reporting this, that the response of the disappearance of MH370 on that night was not only far short of what was humanly decent and caring, but scandalous in the light of admissions subsequently made as to what the authorities in KL actually knew, that morning, and didn’t share with their initial search partners.

    I’m going to call this rotten behaviour for what it was, and your can take your feeble pathetic excuse making to hell.

  29. Simon Gunson

    @ Dan Dair

    I have never made any secret of the fact I became friends with Zaharie’s eldest Sakinab Shah late in 2014 when she commented on a post I made on Facebook group page. We chat at least once a week and not just about MH370. She is a very private person as are all his relatives. This weekend she was annoyed enough allow me to quote her. I might add that Zaharie was far from depressed in March 2014 as he was planning to take his family for driving tour through Italy, so much for your melancholic suicide candidate.

    Sakinab gets insults and threats all the time from people filled with hatred who have never taken the time to learn the facts.

    I view such people as feeble & pathetic for venting such hatred & rage on a woman similar in age to Ben Sandilands.

    Separately Dan, it is rather naive of you this far in the game to assume they really want to find MH370. The seabed search is just a camera opportunity for the Press.

    MH370 could have been found a year ago if they were serious to evaluate all evidence objectively.

  30. Dan Dair

    Simon Gunson,
    Whilst you ‘never made any secret of’ your friendship with Mr Zaharie’s family, I must have missed that posting.?
    I’m pleased that he (& they) have you as an advocate for ‘the-other-point-of-view’.

    Regarding your assertion that;
    ‘The seabed search is just a camera opportunity for the Press.’
    If that’s really the case, it’s a bloody expensive way of diverting attention away from the ‘real truth’,
    whatever that may be.?

    Also, I struggle to believe that opposition politicians in Australia as well as the Chinese government, are not kicking-up a damn great fuss about the waste of vast amounts of their money on this ‘camera opportunity’.

    I’d like MH370 to be found.
    I’d like the reasons for it’s loss to be discovered.
    I’d like anyone criminally responsible to be brought to justice.

    Maybe I am naive,
    but I struggle to comprehend anyone knowingly spending that much money to obfuscate rather than discover the truth.?

  31. Aunty Conspiracy

    “The pilot, an enthusiastic training pilot, was put off duty for a month leading up to this flight, supposedly on stress grounds.”

    @Endeavour says this yet the Factual shows the Pilot In Command as having worked extensively in the week, month, and months leading up to the event.

    Last 24 hours 0:00:00 hours
    Last 72 hours 1:59:00 hours
    Last 7 days 20:39:00 hours
    Last 28 days 91:04:00 hours
    Last 90 days 303:09:00 hours

    Apparently facts are not everyone’s preference.

  32. Aunty Conspiracy

    Any Twitter follower of this saga will know I’m not a fan of Gunson’s play-loose-with-the-facts approach, even if he *might* be doing it with the intention of protecting the PIC’s family. I say might because motive is difficult to ascertain. His motive could be more self serving but in the end is irrelevant.

    Often I agree with Simon. For example I agree there is no official support for the rumours reported that 9M-MRO was ever observed (by any means) climbing to FL450.

    The problem I have with Mr. Gunson is he flits from one bad approach to another. In this one thread we see grasping at the unsubstantiated and flat out errors:

    1) “Electrical failure … indicates prolonged failure of the SDU satellite antenna.”

    No. There are three SDU antennas. And let’s not use “electrical failure” when investigators are only willing to consider that power was interrupted to certain equipment (explaining the SDU outage). Interruption does not have to equal failure.

    2) “If the SDU was out of operation then so too was AIMS.”

    No. Factually incorrect, one can not surmise either or both AIMS cabinets were affected by a *power interruption* to the SDU. Quite the contrary, the SDU can be brought off line by situations that do not affect either or both AIMS cabinets.

    3) “keep following a basic magnetic heading, but not navigate from waypoint to waypoint.” No, as others have pointed out.

    4) “with the kind of power failure MH370 experienced.”

    Exactly what kind of power failure do you *imagine* MH370 experienced? The ATSB has not indicated a massive power anomaly, just that power must have been interrupted, twice, to the SDU. It is easily possible the first could have been commanded by a person; the second by a flameout. There are other scenarios too, but no evidence exists to support any scenario. You talk as if that is not the case, because imagining a massive power anomaly suits your scenario.

    5) “Given the bizarre fact that ACARS still functioned yet did not send any flight data, for example position, altitude, airspeed etc, ”

    There is no evidence whatsoever that “ACARS still functioned”. In fact there was ACARS activity after the last transmission.

    What was functioning as a SATCOM datalink, after power was restored to it. No ACARS activity recorded after that point in time.

    You need to stop using ACARS as a synonym for SATCOM. The two are not the same.

    6) “ACARS itself is simply one of the three digital VHF radios slaved to work”

    Not accurate at all. A VHF radio in data mode simply provides a datalink over RF function. I’m not going to bother with further details because I’ve pointed this out to you before, although history shows you need to be beat about the head with facts for an extended period of time.

    7) “From the SAT phone log on exchanges at 18:39 there was a self test protocol which followed an order. By counting off the self test ACARS exchanges and identifying at which exchange the SAT calls were abandoned one can grasp which test failed and therefore the nature of the failure.”

    You are making stuff up. The specification is very clear on this. Without having the contents of the data packets (not published by Malaysia; some country authorities will do so in a final factual report) we can’t ascertain this at all. From what has been published the SATCOM system appears to have delivered the incoming call to the intended set. No one answered.

    8) “The second of these SAT phone attempts the incoming call was re-routed from forward relays to the cockpit back to the CCS or Cabin Crew System, not to the IFE system per se.”

    Your story continues to deviate farther and farther down the fantasy road. Nothing in the published logs allows for this speculation. Nothing.

    9) “ATSB’s report of 3 December 2015 about major power failure early in the flight”

    Last point for now: The ATSB never said this. They did say:

    An interruption to the SDU may be caused by:
    • loss of AC power requiring an APU auto-start or
    • the cycling of the left generator and backup generator switches with the bus tie isolated (all switches are located on the overhead panel in the cockpit), or
    • the circuit breakers in the electronic and equipment bay being pulled and then later reset or
    • intermittent technical failures.

    The word “failure” is used only once in the entire report, right there.

    Some in the press have latched on to “major power failure” but nothing published in the official account supports this. It’s just good headline writing because drawing eyeballs to a story is, for some organizations, more important than communicating accurately about an inherently complicated story.

    That’s sad. Sadder still Simon’s efforts only serve to further confuse matters for those who aren’t equipped with the time or knowledge to learn otherwise.

  33. Rob Hughes

    Ben and all,

    With regard to the possible retrieval of ipods and other devices from MH370, who will have, or take, custody of them and do the retrieval (if any are ever found and retrieved)? The need for very stringent chain of custody is obvious. It’s notable that France retained custody of the flaperon, and did the analysis, but they had their hands on it on territory under their control from the start. If the wreck of MH370 is located, some time will elapse before anything can be retrieved. During that time we might expect all sorts of pressures to be exerted by the states and other entities involved. Has any of this been figured out in advance?

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