Skip to comments.Flight 370 Probe Sharpens Focus on Sabotage
Posted on 03/14/2014 5:49:30 PM PDT by gandalftb
The investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 sharpened its focus on sabotage, according to aviation and industry officials, amid strong indications that one or more people on the plane deliberately changed its course and tried to mask its location.
In the ensuing minutes, a second system sent a routine aircraft-monitoring message to a satellite indicating that someone made a manual change in the plane's heading, veering sharply to the west.
Such a turn wouldn't have been part of the original authorized route programmed in the flight-management computer. Those system-monitoring messages are suspected to have been disabled shortly afterward.
A physical disconnection of the satellite communications system would require extremely detailed knowledge of the aircraft, its internal structure and its systems.
The satellite pings stopped roughly five hours after the other systems stopped working, cutting off all identifying signals from the plane. Aviation investigators are trying to determine whether someone would have had to climb into an electronics bay located on the plane's lower deck to disable that equipment.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
These are all highly intentional acts requiring training that pilots aren't given, or would care about.
The only point to disabling so many systems would be to hide the bearing of the aircraft from ground radar and the radar of other aircraft.
Regarding the military radar tracking that showed extreme changes in altitude, some military radars can track the altitude of a "non-cooperative" target. However, tracking is imprecise at longer ranges due to the very narrow vertical beam width broadcast.
The 777 is certified to about FL430 so FL450 is flyable but the decompression would cause most passengers to pass out. In my opinion the pilot did so to stop an attempt by passengers to retake the cabin. The pilot can also dump the cabin pressure and a few minutes at that altitude would kill nearly everyone in the cabin.
This morning CNN stated it was Lithium Batteries that was aboard on the plane and that may have caused an electronic shut down.
I believe the pilot or pilots intended to fly on to India and degrade a ground target.
Likely, the maneuvers used up too much fuel and the pilot, realizing he couldn’t make the target, decided to nose-in to the Bay of Bengal before they were spotted by Indian radar.
Flying to the end of the aircraft’s range uses up fuel that would float to the surface and cause an easily detected fuel slick.
Choosing their flight plan likely considered that Thai and Burmese military radar are usually turned off after 2300.
A fire on board would cause any responsible pilot to make for any nearby airport and they would be radioing Mayday.
They darn sure wouldn’t fly another four hours and turn off all communications during an emergency.
I haven’t been following all the news about this aircraft so my questions might be old hat and already hashed over in other threads. Here goes:
Is there a possibility of this aircraft being taken as you describe and being flown to another country within its fuel range without being detected? Seems like a stretch in this age of electronics but in this way, the passengers and crew might be used as hostages or killed but the intact aircraft could have its markings changed and the electronics modified to fit the profile of another aircraft, airline and/or flight plan at a later date and attack another target like a Trojan horse. Maybe something coming into Dulles. Seems to me that loading the plane with passengers and getting as close to a target with innocents to add ‘cover’ for visual contact from fighter protection might be a very real ploy. In addition, the grisly choice of shooting down the aircraft with innocents onboard and protecting a target would still make propaganda either way for terrorists.
Excuse my post if this is redundant and already covered elsewhere.
I would hope that any military radar could track a uncooperative target. I mean... I wouldn’t expect a bomber to present itself willingly, unless it was flying the normal routes, and it’s sponsor thought it could get away with presenting a friendly IFF.
It’s funny that it is called “transponder” nowadays. It used to be called the IFF. Which is more common, I wonder, in the aero industrial complex?
I suspect at least with US military radar, we have very high accuracy even at crazy distances. A function of our well developed IT infrastructure. After all, accuracy is really more down to the mathematical signal analysis, not so much the radar analog section in the corner (though the cleaner the radio receiver, the better the computer results). The faster the computer, the more complex the filtering algo can be, since they will still complete in near real time. We probably have some amazing stuff that can re-analyze digitally recorded radar signals in non-real time to look over events of some question.
I’ve also wondered how much space based radar we have around the planet as well.
Your explanation sounds good, except for, if the hijacker(s) were so sophisticated, how could they made the simple mistake of miscalculating the fuel?
If it's true the aircraft was observed on radar at 45,000 feet, I will speculate that the pilot on his own oxygen staged a cabin depressurization, the passenger oxygen masks deployed but were depleted and everyone but the cockpit crew died. There is a supplemental portable oxygen tank for cabin crew but I don't know how long that lasted. Apparently in the Helios event a cabin attendant survived long enough to get into the cockpit after everyone else was dead but was unable to fly the aircraft.
Honestly? Look how many supposedly brilliant criminals get caught for a tail light violation or speeding.
With these religious fanatics, they may well have relied on Allah to make up a dew hundred gallons. I’m serious.
Whoever did this - and it’s pretty clear by now that it was not an accident and in fact took pretty sustained intervention over a long period of time - knew an incredible amount about these planes, the conditions, the surroundings, etc. I doubt that it was a one-person job.
However, I find it hard to believe that, after having done all their homework, they wouldn’t have calculated exactly how much fuel they needed to reach their destination - under whatever circumstances - and even left fuel to spare. Why succeed on the complicated stuff and mess up on something so simple?
I think the plane is out there somewhere, and I’m not really sure what the target might be. The younger co-pilot who had a Middle Eastern Muslim name but very Chinese features might be a possibility, if the goal was to attack some power they thought was “dissing” the Muslims (China or Russia). On the other hand, the direction in which they were finally headed doesn’t seem as if that would be likely.
The first “wanted” photograph they issued was of a black Italian soccer star because supposedly the person with the stolen Italian passport “looked like” the soccer star, Mario Somebody-or-Other. What he looked like was African, from the large group of African refugees in Italy, while the stolen passport holder looked completely ME and did not resemble him in the least. So I wonder if somewhere, a photo of an African (Somali, Kenyan, Nigerian) with terrorist connections has turned up and this was a way of trying to get some identification of him.
From what I’ve read - and I know nothing except what I read, since the only thing I know about planes is that I like a window seat - the plane could have reached Africa around the region of Somalia or Madagascar. The biggest problem, according to another poster, would have been getting past Diego Garcia, but then, they seem to have figured out all the other ways of avoiding detection, so maybe they came up with something on this one too.
Megyn Kelly is doing very informative show noq
But the level of sophistication which gandalftb has described in this post, leads me to believe that fuel levels wouldn't have been neglected in the planning.
Maybe something went wrong in the execution.
“Is there a possibility of this aircraft being taken as you describe and being flown to another country within its fuel range without being detected?”
In the Bay of Bengal, yes, after Thai and Burmese radars are switched off and you flew below FL10 and were not transponding. India wouldn’t be able to identify friend or foe and an incoming threat would likely make it to the target. India is entirely focused on threats from Pakistan.
We have an extensive radar facility on Diego Garcia which is about due south of the tip of India. That is why we are not bothering to search to the SE of India, we would have spotted them.
There is only a landing strip in the Andaman Islands and we would have checked that out right away.
There were five Indian nationals on the passenger manifest.
Presumably investigators are looking into these individuals to see if any are radical muslims.
They need not have run out of fuel, a terrorist pilot might have just screwed up and splashed it as he reduced altitude approaching the Indian border and was trying to fly low just over the water to avoid being spotted by Indian air control radar.
Here’s a panoramic view inside the avionics bay of a 777:
Which is why Occam says it’s far more plausible that sudden impact caused the ACARS to stop sending data than any human act. Especially since one was received after 5 hours.
Pilots are trained to fly first and radio for help whenever they can. 777 are two man crews so if one is fighting a fire the other guy is on oxygen keeping that sucker airborne. Any type of intense fire in the avionics bays will melt wiring. 777 are fly by wire so no control if your wiring is melted together.
I had a bird that had a fire that melted all the autopilot wiring together. Pilot could not disconnect the autopilot system. He pulled the circuit breakers but because the wiring was fused this did not remove power. He could not turn, descend nothing,the only control he had was engine control so he could slow down or speed up. He was able to overpower the autopilots clutches after 15 minutes of fighting the controls.
IFF is short for Identify Friend or Foe and is used exclusively by the military for incoming threats.
We have the best radar in the world, especially at sea. The eastern Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal has not been a theater offering threats beyond what Diego Garcia can monitor.
Flight 370 was just too far away for us to track.
Well, Muslims tend to screw up a lot. The ‘workplace accident’ thing. If we assume that they did in fact plan meticulously for this, the odds of them barfing it up increases directly with the level of complexity involved. That is of course true foe the best of men with the best of skills. But when Muslims are involved, you are on the opposite end of the spectrum.
That said, It’s all just IMHO/speculation on my part. They DID pull off 911. I just think it’s more likely than not they hosed it.
Radar Suggests Jet Shifted Path More Than Once
Fuel usage depends on range and payload and flying conditions. Unexpected head winds, flying below FL30, trying to ascend to FL45, etc. all would burn up a lot of extra fuel.
Typically these aircraft are only given enough fuel for 45 minutes extra flying time. India is a long way off, at the end of their range under normal conditions.
My guess the pilot calculated his range, saw that he couldn’t make, especially flying under FL10 to avoid Indian radar, and dove in hard to keep floating debris to a minimum.
Wasn’t it the Beagle Mars probe where braniac scientists forgot to convert miles and kilometers?
Unbelievable ...all of it.
I like your theory. Hopefully we’ll find out.
Agreed, the limit switches on the cabin air outflow valves will limit the cabin pressure to about 14,000’ by going fully closed during an ascent.
The cabin leakage is about 1,000 feet per minute up to FL350. Above FL430 the leakage is much higher, the masks deploy but at that altitude there would only be a few minutes of oxygen. Incapacitation of the passengers would happen within minutes.
The pilot would be quite safe for an extended time.
That is a part of the disinformation by Malasia that has plagued this investigation.
Sad but we almost have to rely on our own press now. -Tom
The pilot doesn’t get to choose how much fuel is onboard. that is determined by the flight plan.
Significantly more fuel is used when not flying straight and level at the programmed cruising altitude. We can know from the turns, high altitudes, rate of ascent, the fuel usage.
Reduce the expected range by 25% and you barely make India.
Most of the theories on this thread fail to take into account a complete lack of any attempt by passengers to communicate a problem with the aircraft!
Of course, because if you have the fantastic knowledge of avionics required for all this to have been done by a hijacker, you would have no idea about the fuel capacity of a B777.
I mean if one wants to attack a target in India using a hijacked jet the obvious place to hijack the jet would be over the Gulf of Thailand in a jet flying from Malaysia to China. Because as we all know there are no jet aircraft anywhere near India.
ACARS was disabled early in the flight. Malaysia doesn’t subscribe to the full reporting ACARS anyway.
The supplemental engine condition telemetry that goes to Rolls-Royce by satellite is what was broadcasting about every 30 minutes for the rest of the flight. That ended when the flight ended.
“That is a part of the disinformation by Malasia that has plagued this investigation.
Sad but we almost have to rely on our own press now. -Tom”
No it wasn’t. It was a simple misunderstanding by reporters of a valid point the Malaysian official was trying to make.
When the word got out that two passengers had boarded using stolen European passports a reporter asked how could two presumably Asian passengers (as it turned out they were Iranian so could easily pass) board using European passports. The official replied that name does not automatically indicate race and gave as an example the famous Italian footballer Mario Balotelli who is ethnically a black African.
That was all, no misinformation it was a mistake made by international news organisations including US news agencies. Trust me, anyone who solely relies on the US media for international news coverage is in for a severe disappointment.
Indeed, the best laid plans...
Passenger aircraft don’t fly with full tanks, only enough to get to their destination + 45 minutes.
How would the pilot explain the need for more fuel? Once the payload is determined by the weight of the passengers and freight, the fuel amount is determined by the ground crew fuelers. Excess fuel would only increase the payload for no reason.
No, the pilot was stuck with the fuel onboard, it was always an iffy mission to India.
Then I'm lucky to be alive, as it has happened to me on multiple occasions where my flight was delayed for more than 45 minutes while in a holding pattern waiting for permission to land.
India is a long way off, at the end of their range under normal conditions.
Not correct. From the position of their last reported voice contact near Vietnam it is only about 2/3 as far to, say, Hyderabad, India, as it would have been to continue on to Beijing, not taking into account wind currents.
Why not hijack the plane in India, or Bangladesh, or Pakistan, or Afghanistan, or Sri Lanka? All countries with plenty of jet airliners and millions of disaffected people with experience in terrorism.
Why hijack the plane in Malaysia a country half an ocean away?
People really need to engage their logic in this case, they are letting their imaginations run wild over what I suspect will eventually turn out to be a run-of-the-mill plane crash.
Domestic flights that anticipate holding pattern delays carry more fuel. You probably don’t want to know that your flights probably landed with less than 10 minutes fuel.
We’re talking Beijing, long distance international flights here.
Terrorism is a political act. Hydrabad is not going to be high on the target list, as compared to the capital at New Delhi which is much farther inland.
If one or more of the pilots are the hijackers, then that answers your question as to why KL was the origination point.
Otherwise, it may simply be that the terrorist cell they had available to pull this off was based in Malaysia. There was information given by a terrorist captured in Britain a few years that there was a Malaysian cell which included a pilot that was given a shoe bomb constructed by al Qaeda.
You say it’s “half an ocean” away. It’s not that far to India, it’s significantly shorter to India than it is to their original destination of Beijing.
Malaysia Air is notorious for sloppy security.
There are many non-Muslim Chinese in Malaysia, especially on a flight to China that few Muslims go to.
The other countries you name are Muslim and flights to and from them are going to be full of Muslims.
You’re not going to get your 43 virgins if you kill a plane full of Muslims.
Yeah right, another 10 minutes and we would all have been dead.
Terrorists would turn up their nose at the opportunity to crash a jet into one of the largest cities in India, if it wasn’t New Delhi, according to you? Yeah, right.
Well, damn. As an FAA air traffic controller for 35 years, I was lied to all that time, and before that as a Navy radar tech. How could I have been so gullible as to believe the equipment I used every day was for military use only? They shoulda put labels or something on it.
Oh, "incoming threats" would not be using IFF, not wishing to be seen. At least anyone other than kamikazes.
Oh, by the way....it's Identification Friend or Foe, not Identity. It is also called "secondary radar", and in fact is only radar used by most ATC facilities.
Do you get good cell reception up there at 35,000 feet over the ocean?
I’m leaving on a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll be back again!
There were dozens of Muslims on board the flight including the pilots, cabin crew and a heck of a lot of passengers. There would be much fewer Muslims in a plane flying from Sri Lanka or Southern India and those places are one heck of a bit closer to, you know, India than Malaysia is.
As bad as 9/11 was, I don’t think they had nearly the success they really intended. First plane hit relatively high on the tower - probably thought they were going to knock it into the other - perhaps into the other tower so as to take both out. Think they had backup plans - so when 2nd came on the scene it hit the other tower lower - fire did cause the 2nd tower to fall first as much more weight bearing as structural integrity started to fail. 3rd plane appeared to try to hit the White House but couldn’t see it in time so circled around and did damage to the Pentagon - again the backup plan. 4th plane - passengers sacrificed themselves in keeping the terrorist totally unsuccessful at getting to a target.
911 was a horrible day, disaster - but it could have been 10x worse.
If this does turn out to be terrorist, I would agree they didn’t achieve their planned result, but once again did kill innocents.
“Seems to me that loading the plane with passengers and getting as close to a target with innocents to add cover for visual contact from fighter protection might be a very real ploy.”
There was a novel many years back with a plot line where the ChiComs flew a passenger plane carrying a nuclear weapon into the US with Korean War prisoners seated at the windows so intercepting fighters would see white faces and think it was a normal airliner out of comms.
Anything is possible. Would Obama have the nads to order the USAF to shoot down a planeload of civilians on the possibility it was a Trojan Horse?
I can’t argue with a single thing you wrote.
That said, there is one thing they have down to a fine art. Justifying whatever they do. As long as they kill in the name of Allah’ they ‘win’.
Eventually modern man will get to the place in his collective mind that they did in the past. Say...about right before the crusades started. Ultimately we fight an us or them war. Because that’s the war they have repeatedly told us they are fighting. It doesn’t really matter how libs bitch and cry. Because their bitching and crying will bot stop anything. It only makes the final outcome all the worse.
It’s certainly a demonic twist on the kind of self sacrificing devotion that used to be characteristic of Christendom. But Christendom always wanted to use it to further the work of a God who really was beneficent. This Allah wants to make and keep men mad.
Buildings in the flight path prevented any lower hits on the towers. They also didn’t know that a steel framed building would basically shred an aluminum airplane.