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.