The hunt for the Malaysian Airlines missing jet


In the past 24 hours there have been some positive developments in the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet. It now seems most likely that the plane crashed in the Indian ocean. Until the wreckage is found I urge caution as to what might have happened during the flight.

In particular I caution against making the assumption that there was some kind of terrorism involved in the disappearance of that flight. There are many other possibilities to consider.

First of all, the Chinese and the Australians are leading the way in pin pointing what might be wreckage, but to date all we can do is state the obvious, that they have spotted some flotsam in the ocean. We will know more when the ships in that region actually find the flotsam and it gets identified as being part of the missing aircraft but until then, we simply do not know.

Second point to consider here is the alleged telephone call on a telephone that was purchased in secret. My first thought when I heard about this was not that the captain of the aircraft was in touch with terrorists, but that he used the phone to make contact with a secret lover. His current wife is young and she has 2 young children, but he also has adult children. The man is a moderate where Islam is concerned, and his wife is not compelled to wear the usual garb, neither is his daughter. On the other hand, the phone might have been purchased in order to make contact with other members of the Social Justice Party of which he was a member. He was a support of Ibrahim the jailed former Prime Minister who had trumped up charges raised against him by the current regime. Just like the terrorists they fear someone listening into their conversations, but these are not violent or fanatical people.

Third point to consider is the likelihood that something on board the flight went wrong aka some kind of mechanical failure. This leads me back to the bracket of the transponder. Boeing had a notice regarding the transponder bracket for this particular jet. There is a requirement for airlines to do a maintenance check to look for cracks in the bracket. If the check had not been done to date, then there are implications. As far as the flight is concerned, one possible scenario, though unlikely is that the transponder bracket cracked. As a result, there might be a slow decompression that would cause both crew and passengers to lose consciousness. This would lead the plane to keep on flying until it crashed.

The explanation that I have given, although it is most likely what happened, does not explain why the plane was seen to veer off course as though it was returning to Kuala Lumpar. This could be easily explained if one takes into consideration the skill and dedication of the captain of the aircraft. The change in course is an indication that the two pilots recognized that something was wrong and that they were either attempting to return to Kuala Lumpar or at least find a location where they could safely land the jet. The direction of the new flight path does in fact suggest one particlar location. If, after changing course the cabin crew could not control the situation that had developed, and in fact had been rendered unconscious as a result of something happening on board the aircraft, then that could explain the trajectory of the new flight path.

Until the wreckage is located we simply do not know the nature of what happened on board. I believe that it is wrong to start screaming terrorism as some have done, just because the pilot and co-pilot are Muslim. These men are professional people and in the case of the pilot, he was a man dedicated to his family as well as to his job. The fact that he had his own simulator is a sign of how much he loved his job as a pilot. It is not a sign that he was involved in furthering Islam via acts of terrorism.  There are other possible explanations and until the wreckage is recovered, and the accident investigation teams get to work, we will not have any definitive answers. Until then, I believe that it is totally wrong to blame either pilot on board for the disappearance of the jet. This includes claims that it was a suicide.

Accident investigations are very thorough and the assigned investigators will get to the truth of what happened. If, after examining the wreckage in minute detail, they cannot find evidence of any mechanical failure, or of say a bomb going off, only then can anyone deduce “suicide”. Too much has been made of the fact that the pilot had certain political affiliations. This man was too professional to allow such affiliations rule his life to the point that he would risk everything to kill so many people. We have to wait and see.

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6 responses to “The hunt for the Malaysian Airlines missing jet

  1. This one has me stumped.

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    • Yes. I cannot understand the feeling of being stumped. Until the wreckage is found then we cannot assume to know what happened.

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    • I will tune out until something definitive is discovered. Too many lies being told for me to pay attention…

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    • I am not sure that they are lies, because I think people have been second-guessing.

      To understand the difficulty of the search is to at least get a handle on the fact that there are currents.

      The part of the Indian Ocean that was being searched is known as the Roaring 40s. The seas are very choppy. The debris that was spotted on satellite is at this point in time nothing but flotsam to be found in the ocean. It could be anything from litter dumped by an ocean cruise liner to a container that had fallen off a container ship!!

      The fast flowing currents also means that the actual site of the crash could be anywhere that is a lot closer to Malaysia than people are allowing. Until some actual wreckage is found we do not know the answer.

      The analysis that was done by Immarsat was innovative but it was tested prior to information being released. From that analysis it was determined that the flight path was the southern arc, rather than the northern arc. This at least gave some hope of locating the wreckage.

      I am betting that the actual site is north-west of Australia but still in the Indian Ocean. This would be in line with the latest information and calculations.

      I continue to not accept that terrorism was involved. I also think that it is unlikely that the pilot decided to commit suicide with the concurrence of the co-pilot. I do think that something catastrophic did occur just after the co-pilot signed off and the transponder stopped transmitting.

      Accident investigations are very interesting and I have seen many episodes of accident investigations on the TV. Some of them involve the failure of the transponder to continue to transmit. There are several possibilities for what might have occurred that exclude terrorism. Also, I discount blaming the pilot until after the investigation has been completed, and will be happy to accept that he was to blame only after it is concluded that there was no mechanical failure to explain what went wrong.

      In the meantime, keep in mind that the bracket holding the transponder was subject to a maintenance notification by Boeing. That could be significant when the wreckage is found and the investigation is completed. There are lots of other possibilities to consider too. We just have to wait and pray that the wreckage will be revealed very soon.

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    • Thanks for all of the info, Aussie. Clearly you are more interested than I am. Maybe I will just follow you instead of the TV coverage.

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    • 🙂 My husband is a retired logistics and aeronautical engineer. He retired as a Wing Commander from the RAAF and then worked for a Defence Company. He has an interest in such matters.

      It was after I read some very laughable ideas and suggestions on other blogs that I decided I needed to put the record straight about what might have happened.

      I maintain that we will not know anything for certain until wreckage is found and it has been examined. Aircraft investigators can tell from the wreckage if there had been an explosion. They can get all sorts of information from the wreckage prior to checking out the black box.

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