Flight 370 programmed to do u-turn 12 min. before saying “goodnight”

The flight computer of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was programmed to do the now-infamous “u-turn” 12 minutes before the copilot signed off to ground control by saying “all right, good night,” NBC News is reporting.

At first blush, it would make the turn look premeditated. Though we wouldn’t know if it was the pilot or copilot behind the plot, or whether it was someone esle forcing them.

NBC is saying that we shouldn’t read much into this, because pilots routinely plug alternate paths into their flight computer in advance, just in case they have an emergency mid-flight.  But that stretches credulity for a number of reasons.


According to a timeline over at Reuters, the transponder was shut off at 1:21am, two minutes after the copilot says “all right, good night.” If the new flight path wasn’t nefarious, and was only a normal precaution, then why did the transponder get shut off only 14 minutes later, something, we are told, pilots never do?

And if the transponder was shut off because of a dangerous electrical malfunction, that’s a heck of a coincidence, coming only 14 minutes after the pilots just happen to prepare for a possible, but not expected, emergency.

And then, six minutes later, Thai military detect an unknown plane flying the opposite direction, meaning the emergency change of direction that no one expected to implement, just got implemented – only 20 minutes after it was plugged into the computer.

Now, keep in mind, we don’t know who NBC is getting this from. I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into it if it’s from the Malaysians.  But this just keeps looking more and more like foul play.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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18 Responses to “Flight 370 programmed to do u-turn 12 min. before saying “goodnight””

  1. joanne says:

    What surprises me is that we’re getting lots of satellite and other info from India, Malaysia, Australia, Great Britain, Thailand, France…but none at all (or so it seems) from the US, which has by far the most powerful tracking systems on the planet. It doesn’t make much sense. I wonder, is it just the paranoia that people will be able to see their capabilities or do they know something they’re not letting on? For example, that the plane got hit by a missile by mistake and considering the likely fallout (including financial and military), there’s a cover-up going on. It wouldn’t be the first time….

  2. waguy says:

    John, the info about the turn being already programmed in the FMS, and prominently visible on both pilots’ map displays, was mentioned by Rachel Maddow’s March 18th guest Greg Feith, former senior NTSB investigator. I hope he had a good source! I wonder if the ACARS logs were part of the data the Malays turned over to the NTSB?

  3. BillFromDover says:

    Myself, I would go with locally hacked… as in the cockpit.

  4. BillFromDover says:

    Frozen poop?

    I suggest ya give CNN a call immediately as they are constantly seeking another angle on this constantly revolving mystery… especially a bird at 37,000 feet dropping frozen brick-turds.

    Somehow, I smell the next video game smash hit… Angry Turds.

  5. BillFromDover says:

    Not to mention… stale?

  6. BillFromDover says:

    Nah. The international super-secret commando-call for help is this:


  7. BillFromDover says:

    I wouldn’t hold my breath for either.

  8. BillFromDover says:

    And so can mischievous spirits.

    After all, the 1st thing that comes to mind with a fire in the cockpit is to immediately remove the fuses powering a transponder.

    Fuck the extinguisher.

  9. shan says:


    What if the co-pilot had given a hint with the unsual sign off – ?”ALL RIGHT GOOD NIGHT”

    1. Trying to tell the flight is heading toward the RIGHT from the last know point.

    2. the 4 words must have some code..

    3. this could have indicated the direction NSEW, WSNE, ……….

    for ex: A L L R I G H T G O O D N I G H T
    1 12 12 18 9 7 8 20 7 15 15 4 14 9 7 8 20

    25 62 41 58 – this would have indicated the 4 directions.

    Lets think out of the box

  10. pricknick says:

    It’s really getting old isn’t it?

  11. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Scary thought from a Huff Post headline.. we may never find the plane, or not until some diver stumbles upon it decades from now. We may never know what happened.

  12. usagi says:


    tldr; The transponders get cut off when you pull the electrical buses when you discover there’s a fire. A slow moving fire can get serious very quickly and incapacitate the crew. Mechanical failure can still overtake modern aircraft.

  13. BeccaM says:

    Something else to keep in mind throughout this investigation: There will be erroneously reported information, and there will be misinformation. Some of it will be through miscommunication or misunderstanding; some may be deliberate.

    In the latter case, the Malaysian government was already caught in a lie regarding whether or not they picked up the aircraft on radar — their act of pride and attempted face-saving resulting in days lost searching in what now seems to be the entirely wrong area of ocean.

    If there is embarrassing information, those who know it might very well be reluctant to release it. Someone who does know something might be tempted to spin it or to report it inaccurately. And finally, we should realize that the government (political), the military, and the airlines (commercial) are all organizations with separate agendas, which might not always be in alignment with each other.

    The U.S., Australia, India, and other nations in the area are simply trying to help. Again, Malaysian authorities are in damage control mode. Since MH370 had so many Chinese nationals on board, the Chinese government is understandably annoyed.

    Like I said, these pressures can and will likely lead to ‘facts’ which aren’t, hypotheses offered up as proven explanations, and prejudged outcomes. I don’t think anyone will really know the truth of what happened — accident or deliberate, means-motive-opportunity — unless and until wreckage is found. Or the plane itself is found.

  14. cole3244 says:

    i heard someone today say leaving one area with alright goodnight didn’t sound like something a pilot from malaysia would say, i wonder if that could have been a call for help?

  15. AnitaMann says:

    Oh goody, more unnamed “sources” saying something that will be debunked/retracted by the Malaysian govt. tomorrow. Don’t read too much into it, indeed. Any good mystery needs at least a few substantial clues, not 99 percent red herrings.

  16. MyrddinWilt says:

    I think this new information kills the SCADA theory. The timing is wrong. The SCADA attack can’t start until after the last transmission to the tower or else why aren’t the pilots saying that their plane won’t respond to commands?

  17. Bookbinder says:

    Well, foul play coupled with an accident. In 2005, a plane from Crete(?) to Athens lost pressure, everyone succumbed, and the plane continued to fly itself right past Athens until it was stopped by a mountain range, and not gently. One can easily imagine a bird or satellite debris or frozen poop from another jet slamming through the wind shield into the cockpit.

  18. There is still the possibility it was remotely hacked.

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