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Was this a failed attempt by MH370 to make an emergency landing at Penang?[/caption]
One of the many unanswered questions during the three year long saga of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is ‘when did it go so wrong that the situation became unrecoverable.’
Which is really two questions, since the starting point that has defied a proven explanation is ‘what went wrong’, followed by the event that prevented the pilots from saving the plane.
Australian MH370 researcher Mick Gilbert, who has rejected the ‘pilot did it’ explanation and proposed that there was a severe and sudden control crisis in the cockpit, says there appear to be very significant clues in the Lido Hotel graphic that was shown by Malaysian authorities to the next of kin on March 21, 2014, 13 days after it vanished over the Gulf of Thailand en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people onboard.
Which is exactly three years ago tomorrow morning.
In this paper
he says that when that data is run back to Penang it lines up with the end of the Standard Terminal Arrivals (STARS) approach to Penang called BIDMO 1A .
This is the route that MH370 would have taken if the crew used the Flight Management System's Alternate Airport function to manage a diversion from near IGARI which is the choice they would have been most likely to have made in a crisis.
Mr Gilbert says there is evidence that they were flying parallel to and about 5 nm off the route – which that is called a strategic lateral offset and its what you do when flying a diversion when you can't contact ATC.
It’s an interesting analysis the stitches up a number of questions arising from the controversial Lido Hotel slide, and from both ends, the approach to Penang and departure up the Strait. As MH370 flew across the northern approaches to the Straits of Malacca there is a hint in the data that something was causing the airplane to drift to port. Mr Gilbert says it might have been a small hull burn through on the Captain's side of the flight deck but also says he can't prove that.
Critically in terms of recovering from the crisis that caused MH370 to diverge from its intended flight path to Beijing this analysis infers that the pilots became completely incapacitated or unable to take control of the airplane as it passed through waypoint KENDI and went past Penang, which may have their intended emergency landing field at the outset.
A review of the first three years of the MH370 mystery
In the Crikey Insider
today the sad and embarrassing state of media coverage of MH370 is reviewed, several popular myths about its disappearance are punctured, and the unsound decision of Australian and Malaysia to abandon the search just when it might have been close to success is highlighted.