Missing Malaysia Air flight appears to have done u-turn before disappearing

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which has been missing for over three days, appears to have done a u-turn shortly after its transponder stopped transmitting and the plane became officially “missing.”

The plane then reportedly flew for another hour, at least, without its transponder.

CNN, CBS and other news outlets have confirmed the u-turn theory with a senior Malaysian military official.

(UPDATE: You can help find flight 370 via a crowdsourcing site – help to scan sattelite photos for wreckage.)

In the image below, you’ll see that the plane took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, headed towards Vietnam, the transponder signal then disappeared just before the plane flew over Vietnam, and the plane appears to have done a u-turn, flown back over Malaysia and disappeared somewhere between Malaysia and Indonesia.

malaysia-air-flight

The debate now is over whether this absolutely was the Malaysia Air flight – CNN is saying that ground radar spotted a plane, but no one can tell if it was “the” plane because they weren’t receiving information from the Malaysian Air flight’s transponder – why the transponder turned off, and why the plane turned around.  Though CNN and others seem to be operating under the assumption that this was Flight 370.

Terrorism is an obvious possibility, but that wouldn’t explain the turn-around, unless the goal was something other than simply blowing the plane up.

While it’s reportedly simple to turn off the plane’s transponder, it’s also possible that some malfunction resulted in the transponder turning off – an electrical failure – and that is why the plane turned around.  One expert on CNN said the plane could fly another hour even after a power failure – and that additional hour would put it over the spot in the Sea of Malaca where the latest radar information stops.

If you look at the larger map of the region, it’s not entirely clear where else, other than Indonesia, the plane could have been heading.

larger-map-malaysia-air-planeNow, one interesting thing to consider is that the plane was headed towards Beijing, China.  Assuming it didn’t have a planned stopover, we then know the distance the plane could have flown.  Here is the distance the plane could have traveled – though you need to take into account that because the plane turned around it lost a bit of its maximum mileage already:

range-of-malaysia-air-flightBut there just isn’t a lot in the direction the plane was heading.

In fact, the Boeing 777 has a range of between 5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles, according to Wikipedia. Beijing is 2,700 miles from Kuala Lumpur, so let’s assume that’s the maximum distance – that’s the red circle above – but who knows – we’d need to know how much fuel the plane had, and the weight of the plane, in order to know if it could have traveled three times that distance. The plane is used for flights up to 16 hours long.  (FYI – a nautical mile is a bit more than a mile, but it’s close enough for our purposes.)

So the map gets a lot more interesting when you add a few more miles to it, including Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and more.  Of course, they’d have to avoid local radar.  Then again, if the plane were picked up by local radar in Indonesia, it wouldn’t have had any identifiying information, so who knows if it was picked up anew anywhere else.

Stay tuned.


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • http://Govt.co.nz where are u MH370

    There just seems to be a lot of theories…..and that about it……are any of you ses actually doing any thing to help in the search….

  • http://Govt.co.nz where are u MH370

    i was looking at mogadishu runway way back in time when Maudive citing was reported …but where do you look

  • RADAR

    On another post a month ago I also favored the island of Socotra (belonging to Yemen) with its 10728 foot x 148 foot runway (03/21), low intensity approach lights and would most likely have had a friendly pre-arranged welcoming committee. There is a large turn-around (concrete) apron that can handle three+ 777′s and a hangar that can hide the same. I believe the route was from the point of lost radar contact SW via a Maldives waypoint and then NW direct to Socotra. There is no radar coverage enroute or at the destination. This would also explain the visual sighting in the Maldives, and the Inmarsat data ping doppler evaluation would be coincident with a to/from with respect to the satellites slant range position. I believe Socotra is the place with a future mission in mind. Simple enough to acquire a Mode-S registration code, duplicate the firmware, wait until the target aircraft goes into maintenance, then file a legitimate flight plan to your target destination using the clone registration.

  • Lori

    On the morning of March 8th sometime between 6:00am and 6:30am I was on my way to work on Kodiak island Alaska. I saw the wirdest thing, pulled over few time to take pictures, still have thease pics. The time zone, I checked it out,it is 16 hour time differance from Kuala Lumpur. It is 1 and 1/2 hour drive to get to work. It was dark when I started to head but getting day light a little more a long the way. from my house in the town of kodiak aK, all the way to work at narrow cape, I saw a very low jaged white jet stream. the jet stream looked like a jagged saw blade. as soon as it was light enough, I took a pic over the water, the jet stream in daylight was now black. On my side of the road where I was standing to take pic, it was still night time . just as I took pic I saw a big flash behine me. I saw a triangle shape craft with lights on all 3 corners, a drone maybe? it wasn’t flying ,just staying pretty still in the sky. The flash was hughe and brite, like some one else also was taking a pic. I thought to my self if this is a jet stream this is way to close to the ground and maybe a plane went down. I did not know about missing plane untill 3 days after the fact. When I got close to work it was blue sky, not a cloud in it. over Bear Paw Beach I saww the end of jet stream, anothe jet stream had crossed thru it from a different direction and the sky was a black checker board pattern. Then I was wondering if 2 planes crashed, did a bomb or meteor get blown out of the sky? took more pics. I know this is not even close to where they are looking, but I still am very confussed about exactly what it was I saw that day. If this was the missing plane, then I am sure our goverment knows exactly what happened to it because Like I said, I wasn’t the only one taking pics that day, either a drone or aliens . That would put the plane over Ugak Bay in Alaska. or it just got zapped or beamed out of sky. What do u think?

  • displaced viking

    Just that the Socotra authorities are arresting the Somali’s, that the refueling is a problem in Socotra. But in regards to the airplane missing, the Somalis would have nothing to do with it.

    Crimea: Yes, I believe that is what I saw, a democratic vote by the people for the people. For the protection of the people, language, boarders, and culture. But you will not find this honest view on like CNN (western mainstream media) for the most part. However their are a few that do try and report the facts, and not a leading editorial in shaping its viewers thoughts.
    Glad to hear that you family will be safe. I found the Ukrainians to be overwhelmingly hospitable and giving.
    When I see the reports about the “Maiden” fascist group running around freely in Kiev and other parts of the nation, strong-arming local government authorities, pro-Russian activist, and now media editors, I am dumbfounded that this is not being reported on western media, some do, but not the majority. They want to report on how Putin is the aggressor and power mad like Hitler (Hillary Clinton), its just intellectually dishonest. But Putin is not the aggressor, he is just doing what a leader should do. Protect ones nations interests.
    All the best to you and your family in Crimea Vladimir.

  • Medawar

    The extreme southerly track the FBI are telling the Australians to search on, leads exactly nowhere, unless the aircraft had rather more fuel than we have been told about, in which case it might have attempted a landing at one or other of the Antarctic landing strips, probably in the Australian Sector. Quite large aircraft have been landed on flat ice, including jets.

    But there’s no way this would have gone undetected.

    However, there was once an “end of the world novel” where someone flies an airliner full of people to an American base on the South Pole to escape the fallout from a nuclear war. I read this thirty odd years ago and cannot remember the title and author. I think it involved a flight down the Atlantic, via Ascension Island. I suppose that might have inspired a flight of fancy from a pilot, but not an actual flight?

    The only way the extreme southern track makes ANY sense as a deliberate choice, would be if the hijacker had somehow arranged for the aircraft to be fueled to near its full capacity rather than to the requirements of the scheduled flight. Were it so fueled, however, that model can fly for nigh on ten thousand nautical miles and that would make Patagonia a possibility via a (south) polar route.

    I’d expect to find in Somalia a lot more than I would there! There are a couple of long military runways, though.

  • RL

    Like we need another theory, but here it goes.
    Socotra seems to me to be a reasonable starting point. The runway is plenty long for landing and taking off a 777. With the fuel that would have been loaded for the flight to Beijing, this would be a very reasonable stretch at a reduced speed to economize on fuel less than an extra 700 miles. At that time of night, with the prevailing winds, the entire population of the island would be unaware of a plane even landing. Has anybody talked to the staff at the Socotra airport? The Socotra airport staff are extremely limited in numbers, say, less than 5 overnight. Heading directly west provides cover under darkness and buys time. The hangar in Socotra can fit a 777 easily is rarely used and is only 270 miles from the coast of Somalia. Lots of places to move people (some or all of the passengers on foot on the island) OR on boats as the airport is so close to the sea. As the world looked for wreckage near the last point of contact, the actual plane was long gone. There is no way the plane could have gone undetected across any part of continental Asia. I hope there is a good end to this story.

  • JR

    There are too many indications that the diversion of the plan was done intentionally and intelligently for me to believe that whoever did it just flew it into the ocean 7 hours after diverting the plane. There was some purpose to this and it just simply doesn’t make sense for that purpose to be suicide without some kind of public statement giving it meaning. I also don’t believe that if the passengers were still alive when the plane touched ground that we would not have had some signal..a cell phone ping, a text message or a phone call seem too likely even if the landing area was remote. I conclude that the passengers were killed when the plane ascended to 45K feet. What easier way to kill so many so reliably than to go to that altitude and prevent the main compartment from appropriately adjusting the environment? Regarding who did it – we’ve all read that the pilot was a supporter of the opposition leader, we’re now reading that he had a private flight simulator at his house (not unusual) that he deleted ALL of the data from a month ago (very suspicious). I believe in coincidences but there is too much here for me to believe this was a coincidence. Whether the copilot was in on it or not I suspect he was because of his final statement, “alright, goodnight” which would make a lot of sense preceding a climb to 45K feet with a depressurized cabin (it would put everyone to sleep.) However, this feels to me to be thin evidence as the statement isn’t entirely unusual. The landing seems most likely in Somalia/Madagascar as others have suggested. Risk of radar detection from India, desire to ensure adequate fuel and need for a relatively anonymous landing site all support that theory. He turned sharply west to make as direct a path to eastern Africa as possible.

  • Maf

    This is possible of course but I think it may have ended its’ first flight earlier than assumed. By leaving the engines on whilst on the ground it would still have emitted a ping. I think it flew West, then South and then South East. It landed, disconnected its’ engine transmitters, and having re-fuelled took its’ passengers with it to be used for some purpose later on. It may now be in Somalia or Yemen in my opinion. I doubt anybody at its’ first port of call even realised it was there.

  • Tyke

    I have been wittering on about Somalia since the plane went missing because it was apparently heading in that general direction, But cannot grasp the “red line”; for me it does not “add up”. Should I dispute the “accurate” data from a satellite? You make your own minds up, but the “sighting” in the Maldives does make more sense.

  • Vladimir Melnik

    What do you mean by “I agree with you, on all points, except that the Yemen Govt has arrested Somali pirates?”.
    Pnce I flew from Socotra to Sanaa on a plane where several captured pirates were transported to mainland.

    Regarding the Crimea – I know the situation there from first hands – i lived there about 15 years and all my relatives there. People are really happy to join Russia. Never seen such sincere celebration after the recent referendum)

  • Vladimir Melnik

    Yes, good operational runway, tower, all necessary equipment and facilities in Socotra airport.
    “Not realistic” I meant not real to hide a plane or landing without be noticed by authorities and local people.

  • ConcernedCitizen

    We should have the track… Inmarsat 8:11 arc… 7:11 arc… 6:11 arc…. 5:11 arc… ect… 1:11 known position on the arc… Work from the known position and limit solutions within range of the aircraft and you get a possible courses with probabilities. Try the most probable track….

  • ConcernedCitizen

    Except for the fact the aircraft was supposed to be on the 40 degree arc at 8:11….. not close to Somalia

  • Preman Kartha

    however the pilots final destination must have been either of the 2 airports in Algeria i.e. el golea or tamanrasset. he would have gone there after refueling in somalia. 2 of the 5 videos posted in the youtube by captain zaharie shah, have the a few numbers which the captain emphasizes (when explaining air conditioning temperatures) which are coordinates of these two airports. these videos are some 8-10 months old and he could be giving out his plans to some group and it could have been rehearsed repeatedly in his simulator for months. the captain finally executed it, the day his friend ex-pm anwar was convicted and sent to jail!!! now that an aircraft and an expert pilot is with some fanatic group, what is to follow could be more sinister…

  • Preman Kartha

    the theory posted by mikeflite is the correct one and should be investigated.

  • meg

    Hello justme-where did you read/hear about the low flying aircraft over the Maldives?

  • meg

    Thanks for posting this Mike-I got curious enough to look at a map of the airports in Somalia. Didn’t realize that there were so many! I think you have a plausible theory here. Seems too odd for the individual piloting the aircraft to change course just to drop the plane.

  • Mikeflite

    MH370 could easily have been flown to Somalia. Why? Tracking the whereabouts of MH370 using data released as of March 18th 2014, we know that the plane U-turned back over the Malaysian Peninsula and was tracked by military radar heading west out towards the Indian Ocean. Pings received from an Inmarsat satellite prove that the plane was sending signals, and presumably flying, for between 6-7 hours. By flying down towards the 5 degrees latitude, the plane could follow the latitude line towards the west, along the curve of the Earth’s surface, over the Indian Ocean where it would be undetected by any ground radar. Assuming the plane flew at 550mph against the prevailing winds at the altitude stated by the Malaysian Government of 29,500 feet, then it would have flown the 3,750 miles to Somalia, a journey taking 6.8 hours, This would fit the data given and would be well within the plane’s fuel capacity. As it approached the Somalian coast, it would continue to remain undetected by another country and could have landed at an airport such as Galcio, or even Mogadishu itself. To any observers it would look like any normal civilian airplane coming into land.
    Mikeflite UK.

  • doubleducks

    And why is that? They have a 10,000 foot runway, enough for the 777 to land and take-off. And it is under the very good control – of what? Do they have a control tower? What is the frequency for approach? What are their hangar facilities?

  • Maf

    You also assume the worst regarding the passengers. I see no reason to believe they were harmed because surely somebody callous enough to turn off the oxygen would actually keep them alive as insurance/human shields. I feel they will be found – alive.

  • justme

    Great to find this, as it supports my thinkings too! And a low flying plane was spotted over Maldives on Saturday morning – which bolsters the theories for Madagascar/Somalia. I haven’t looked at the timings to see if it would be possible for the plane to get to the Maldives by 6:15 am local time, but I’m sure someone on here will have done the math!

  • displaced viking

    I agree with you, on all points, except that the Yemen Govt has arrested Somali pirates. Which is great that they warding off the Somali low-life’s.

    The militarization of Socotra is a hot topic for the past decade for anti-terrorism. The Airport, was rumored to have been built to U.S. air force specs, and that the U.S. wants to put a navel base with submarine support. As well as the Russians. I too would hate to see that, just in my brief reading of the islands cultural history and environmental rarity.

    Agree with you on Crimea and Ukraine. Its just blatant intellectual dishonesty of the situation there, that stinks of EU, UN, US, IMO, etc…wanting the resources of Ukraine. I have traveled to Odessa (I am not saying, and does not mean I am an expert on Ukraine), but enjoyed my time there with the Ukrainians, so I have had a personal interest on what is going on there. Its really sad to see such tensions building again. Most people do not know who George Soros is, and what he has said about Ukraine, Putin, and the EU, if the EU does not take control of Ukraine, the EU will fail. disgusting! Ref: http://news.yahoo.com/soros-ukraine-could-ruin-eu-094500664–politics.html

  • displaced viking

    China is setting off on a search of the area of water to locate the “debris” of their satellite findings. So their still is, in Chinas mind, of the possibility that the plane crashed. News reports that the water in the area is a few hundred feet deep, so the black box beacon’s would be picked-up in that depth of water. If they do locate the aircraft in that location, still does not rule-out foul play, as for the systematic shutdown of safety systems in the aircraft. However, The changing of the initial direction and the higher altitude does resemble the 1996 TWA 800 flight that crashed into the Atlantic off of Long Island (NY to Rome) flight, due to a fuel tank explosion (shorting wire). Below is a link that is a good read as well as photos of the recreation by the CIA of the three segment breakup, locations on the plane of breakup, the continued travel of the airliner after it lost the cockpit and lower belly of the aircraft.

    Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TWA_Flight_800

  • Maf

    Hi JD. Where did you get the info about the climb, dive and turn?

  • JDSoCal

    The flight crew wouldn’t notice a climb to 45,000 feet or a dive, or a 180? Unlikely. The passengers and flight attendants were probably killed n seconds by turning off the AC at high altitude.

  • meg

    I doubt nothing in this post 9/11 world.

  • Vladimir Melnik

    Very strange information. Sounds official, but very far from reality the same as Mr. Obama information on the Crimea issue in Ukraine)
    Actually, Socotran community hate Somalian pirates and usually immediately report if any appear in the vicinity of the island.
    Refuelling pirate hub is absolutely unrealistic. All fuel is kept in Hadibo capital town which is under control of Yemeni secuirity and military personnel.
    Pirates can take fuel if attack poor Socotran fishermen. But they do not have much fuel in their boats…

    I very much hope that I will never see both Russian and US military on this pearl of Indian Ocean)

  • displaced viking

    Vladimir,I have traveled much, and appreciate unique places like Socotra, and myself would like to visit this island one day with my family. Besides that, here are just a few news reports about the Somali pirates using Socotra for refueling. And yes, the Yemen Authorities have arrested these pirates, but the refueling still takes place. It is obvious that their are Somali sympathizers their in Socotra.
    Maritime Security Asia: http://maritimesecurity.asia/free-2/piracy-2/somali-pirates-using-yemens-socotra-island-as-fuel-base-to-extend-their-range/

    Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/05/uk-yemen-somalia-pirates-idUSLNE76403M20110705

    This article sites NATO about the refueling hubs in Socotra, Al Arabiya News: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/07/21/227591.html,

    Further, here is a brief military history of the plausible construction of the Socotra Airport for military use in the future. BUt looks conclusive, that it is under civilian control, and not Russian nor U.S, who have both been pressing the Yemen Govt for the use of the island for military bases. But the Airstrip was built to Military specs. (length)

    http://www.wikileaks-forum.com/yemen/299/the-useful-yemeni-island-of-socotra/24044/msg54535#msg54535

  • knickyknicky

    Nope – I did not know that.

  • Maf

    Hi JD. If the pilots are responsible then until the plane landed no passenger would have any inkling. Not even the flight crew would know. To get the passengers off without complaint you would probably fake an emergency or cite a diversion due to weather or something. The passengers would be moved to a ‘terminal building’ where co-conspirators would be waiting. Unless openly challenged no problems would ensue especially if food and water were supplied. Obviously after a period of time the passengers would become suspicious but by then they would have no mobile phones or any means of contacting the outside world. This is one possible scenario. I just think everybody is looking in the wrong place – this has been well planned and the perpetrators would have thought of everything down to the last detail. If I wanted to land a plane and not be noticed how would I do it? Firstly I would need somebody on the ground, preferably in the tower of a rarely used airport. I then need this airport to either be disused or for my flight to appear to be a regular flight. The regular flight would have been cancelled due to mechanical reasons caused by another co-conspirator. This airport would probably receive two or three flights a day. Nobody on the ground seeing the plane fly over or land would think anything amiss as to them it would appear to be the regular flight or just another charter flight. I have a feeling that this plane is right under our noses and I am pretty sure that contact has been made with at least one government.

  • Medawar

    Someone on Sky News last night was raising the point that we knew who the passengers were, but we didn’t know about any cargo not connected with the passengers. He speculated that this could have been something immensely valuable.

    Computer chips (made in Malaysia) can be very valuable per ton, and there’s quite a lot of gemstone dealing and even jewellery and gemstone trade fairs.

    Some individual people are valuable, too, for what they know as well as who they are.
    I’ve been given some information about some passengers with links to the computer industry in Texas, which I will read through today…

  • Medawar

    The pilots are usually responsible for specifying and checking the fuel load. The pilots are the key suspects. I think the authorities are allowing themselves to accept a datum supplied to them by the perpetrators.

  • Medawar

    The ground crew is under investigation. The aircraft could very easily carry enough fuel, the pilot might have arranged for extra fuel to be loaded. If someone planned this at all, they would probably have planned that.

  • Medawar

    The wheels came off the BA flight because of the high rate of descent, not really because of the surface.
    Three VC10s full of Royal Marines pulled off landings on an unpaved runway in the New Hebrides in the early eighties, when there was an attempted coup by mercenaries apparently employed by a North American mining company. This had seemed so unlikely a possibility that the mercenaries had failed to obstruct the runway.

  • adi

    if it can reach Madagascar so it can manege to Somalia by flying at high altitude and flight changed its altitude which is mention in news.

  • JDSoCal

    You can’t just assume that India has its south-facing radar on and covering every square inch in the middle of the night. They don’t exactly have NORAD capabilities.

  • JDSoCal

    You do realize that spy sats don’t cover the entire earth 24/7/365? they have to be aimed, and most don’t see in real time, but they still have to be manned, and their photos analyzed by real people. Plenty if time to hide a plane in a hangar before the sats can see anything.

  • JDSoCal

    Yes, it makes no sense, the perfect crime, tunnel under the bank undetected, get out with the money, then light it all on fire.

    It assumes both a rational and crazy perpetrator at the same time.

  • JDSoCal

    And how do 1 or 2 pilots control 200+ starving, scared, angry passengers, especially post 9/11?

  • Robin

    If you see my reply above you might agree with me that Somalia might be out of reach given the criteria I have outlined above.

  • Robin

    It would not have made Somalia without taking on fuel. The fuel loading is measured quite precisely at the point of embarkation so that it lands with as little as safely required. All up weight with passengers, crew and luggage would also limit flying distance to a lot less than portrayed in the ‘red circle’ in the 3rd diagram. For it to land it would require collaboration from the country it landed in too, so I think you can rule out Australia etc. Personally, I think it is unfortunately in the sea somewhere but heaven knows why!

  • Robin

    It wasn’t a satisfactory landing though, it lost all it’s undercarriage and was classed as a crash landing. No one in their right minds would risk an unpaved landing in a 777!

  • Medawar

    I am an engineer. Including various electronic fields which involved a lot of digital signal processing. Essentially, JORN analyses “static” to constantly map the ionosphere, and bounces radar signals off it. They come back so scrambled that before DSP was available the results would have been perceived as being as good as random, but actually it’s not and there’s an awful lot of information there.

    It’s the same kind of technology which allows an Astute Class submarine to pick out the acoustic signature of a target ship from all the noise in the North Atlantic, even if the target is very nearly on the far side of the pond compared to the submarine.

    The UK Air Defence Region increasingly relies on an entirely passive “radar” which does a similar processing job on the signals of literally thousands of mobile phone mast timebase signals at once to track the movement of pretty well any airborne object through all the racket. This is about a tenth of the cost of a conventional military radar and can “see” stealth aircraft just as easily and accurately as normal ones.

    At the very least, there is a twenty year technology gap between the UK and most Asian powers, including China but just possibly excluding Japan. Australia is just as far ahead, but in a different direction. In America’s case, research into very advanced radar doesn’t always translate into investment in very advanced radar, perhaps because no-one wants to invalidate all the investment in stealth programmes by building something that can track stealth aircraft, for only $6M a unit…

    The actual technology problem in this case, though, is not radar detection of a 777-200ER with its transponders deactivated, but reliable correlation of the active radar return of a 777-200ER, with the absence of any “secondary” radar return from a transponder. If it’s an older radar setup, the military operator doesn’t necessarily know that he’s seeing something that his civilian counterpart cannot see, and the civilian air traffic controller doesn’t know what he cannot see.

    This is why we are seeing the truth emerge after the event: the information was gathered and electronically logged, but it wasn’t necessarily presented in a helpful way to operators in real time.

    The RAF fairly regularly intercepts civil aircraft which inadvertently approach UK airspace with transponders off or which aren’t responding to radio calls from ATC. None of these aircraft are difficult to detect, but the key is that there’s an AUTOMATIC classification of anything that’s detected which isn’t also communicating. The usual public reaction to this diligence is a complaint about the occasional loud bang over land if the interception is urgent enough for the sound barrier to be broken. Perhaps those complaints will stop now?

  • Vladimir Melnik

    Socotra is not “odd place” – just unique and beautiful island under the very good control.
    Landing there is not realistic.

  • Vladimir Melnik

    Socotra is absolutely not realistic destination.

    And who told you “hosts the Somalian pirates”?!
    Yes, it is close to Somali, but never pirates use it as a base. They will be immeditely arrested by Yemeni authorities.
    +
    Socotra airport is under good good control. If any unuathorized landing – it would be known immediately to authorities and to many thousands of local people – it means this news in half an hour in internet. Socotra version – is not realistic.

    P.S
    I know this unique and beautiful island. Very soon plan to visit it again and check it on the spot))

  • Budgie

    I agree.

  • Maf

    Like many others I suspected all was not as it seems and initially believed that the plane had been stolen for use as a flying bomb. However I have now discounted that and believe the passengers are being held for ransom. Somalia sounds an interesting possibility but I think it unlikely and I also think it unlikely that the plane was flown to Afghanistan. I have a theory but am hesitant to air it as these people are so well organised that any loose suggestion may result in many deaths. They will be watching the news and web chat so everybody needs to be careful what they say. I will research my theory privately.

  • meg

    I just find it odd that there’s still talk of the plane going down in the Indian Ocean. I mean, why would somebody go through the trouble of turning the aircraft around if all they wanted to do was take it out? Why not just DO IT as it goes on its intended route? I have to admit it would be the perfect crime-make searchers believe that it went down in such a large body of water that it will likely never be found, all the while landing at some location and being used for whatever purpose that it was stolen for. I’ve read a lot of posts about potential landing spots in that area of the globe and I too believe that the aircraft is on dry land.

  • Camilla_Sunshine

    or desolate paved runways; at Ayni.

  • Sarah Brunner

    Are you a pilot as well Medwar? Thanks for the info – very interesting stuff…..

  • ConcernedCitizen

    Madagascar would be 6500 – 7000 km from the point contact was lost for a total flight of 7100-7600 km. For a flight time of 7.5 hours the speed would be 946-1013 km/hr. The maximum specified airspeed for the 777 is 950 km/hr. So the top of Madagascar could be in range. However, the plane would have had to fly near to Diego Garcia. I see Madagascar as unlikely.

    BTW the plane would be about 2500 nm west of Australia.

    7.5 hr flight time from 3/15/2014 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia_Airlines_Flight_370

  • Medawar

    777 aircraft CAN land on unpaved runways, because British Airways landed on on the grass in front of my brother’s office a couple of years back, and very startled he was too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_38

    He was working late after everyone else had gone home, had papers arranged on the floor around his desk, and happened to look up and out of the window just as a Boeing 777 filled the field of view and bounced across the grass. Too late in the day to be scared, really.

  • Medawar

    I can remember reading articles in Flight International (paper copy, not web) which stated that JORN was being used to support Australian exploration of Antarctica by monitoring slow-moving icebergs and glaciers. That suggests capabilities orders of magnitude better than the wikipedia map and article. Certainly, that type of target gives a radar no help, either in terms of doppler or material.

    The thing about over the horizon radars is that 90% of the capability lies in the signal processing, to make sense of distorted returns (along more than one return path) from thousands of miles away. This is bound to improve over time, even if the radar hardware isn’t changed, because software is de-glitched and, most importantly, the database on what each type of “static” implies for signal distortion, is constantly growing with each hour or day of operation.

    I am pretty sure, also, that signal processing and computer databasing hardware will have been updated several times since initial switch-on, so JORN will have been maturing nicely.

  • medawar

    There was apparently a possible detection about 1,000nm west of Australia, which might imply Madagascar.
    see:
    http://www.aircraft-charter-world.com/airports/africa/madagascar.htm

    There are three airfields there which are definitely long enough for a 777 (more than 5,000′ long) but there’s another five which are only just under that length, so a skilled pilot with, allegedly, his own simulator at home, could have practiced getting it down in 4,900′.

    We’ve not been told much about the political trouble in Madagscar, but there has been some and I don’t know if the government actually controls all eight of the possible airfields. There are even a couple more which might allow a 777 to land with zero safety margins, but I think we’d better ignore anything much below 4,300′ long. One of the naval airfields is about twice the required length for a 777, possibly engineered for B36 bombers back in the day.

  • Sarah Brunner

    Agree. ALTHOUGH, you’d hope that those countries with the capability to do so HAVE been looking at these kinds of scenarios, just behind closed doors, eh? Especially after day two or three when no wreckage was found. Perhaps there was a long enough delay to land and hide a 777 before exact land locations were under scrutiny. This blog has been great – some very interesting knowledge coming from you guys, thanks a lot!

  • displaced viking

    Thank you, and I wonder too of how much information has not been released to the public.

  • ambers

    Has any of the search parties flown over Somalia. Loads of pirates there. If the aircraft made a U turn, it could have flown direct to Somalia. It is in line as the crow flies…???? Fly over deserts too…why not.

  • knickyknicky

    Wouldn’t US spy satellites be able to spot a 777 that had landed in an odd place like Socotra? If the plane has landed somewhere, I wouldn’t be surprised if the CIA and other spy agencies already know where it is but have to keep it quiet for obvious reasons.

  • Steve

    And if the objective of the terrorists was to get a flying bomb to crash it on some buildings in Europe like Sept. 2001 ?
    So the plane maybe somewhere like Pakistan or wherever.
    Really it is terrific that the pilot can shut off such transmission equipments.

    It is urgent to find this plane, wherever it may be and put the sky radars in alert

  • Medawar

    In flight refueling is neither possible nor necessary with this aircraft. There is an island near to Yemen with an airfield on, where it could have refueled, but it would also have been noticed.

  • Medawar

    I’ve been thinking Somalia for some days, not so much for technical reasons as because most of the passengers are Chinese and the Chinese government has been persecuting a Turkish-speaking muslim minority in the country. (This ethnic group used to live all over northern Asia.)

    There are a large number of people from this minority being held in Thailand, and there are fears they will be liquidated if handed back to the Chinese, which is what the Thais have done in the past.

    I don’t suppose the hijackers will actually let any Westerners go with extracting concessions, but I suspect that the demands will centre on the treatment of muslim minorities by the Chinese. I’d also be pretty sure that the Chinese government won’t be honest with the relatives when it receives the demands (it may have them already) but will try to emphasize any blame that might attach to Malaysia, either airline or government.

    But, technically, seven hours gives you Somalia and a landing, with a slightly better margin of safety than Yemen and a landing. If there are hostages on the ground in Somalia, then probably the Kenyan army is the only one strong enough that’s also brave enough to operate in Somalia, for a rescue. US Forces and more particularly politicians have a phobia about being on the ground in Somalia, and China just doesn’t have the infrastructure or power-projection capability to effect a rescue mission.

    What China could manage, however, is an absolutely vicious punitive bombardment or blockade.

  • Medawar

    The very middle of the Indian Ocean is probably covered by all the sensors protecting the American base on the British island of Diego Garcia. I suspect it went North of the protected zone.

  • dell

    teenagers know it all don’t they. when we grow up we get stupider and more humble.
    you may be right, but there’s a bit more to it honey.
    debris from the plane should have been spotted by now. they don’t just completely disappear when they crash. certain spy agencies around the world (NSA etc) can read a newspaper in your back yard from an orbiting satelite. but no debris has been seen.

  • mmm

    I’ve been saying this for days! People used to say to me “oh no that can’t ever be” but now it is the talk of the town. The fact that they couldn’t trace it off the start pointed to this scenario for me, absolutely! If they had a more open mind, they would have been searching differently from the start!

  • Poluta in Australia

    Nice to find some realistic, free-thinkers. You may recall that initially Malaysian Authorities stated the 777 had sufficient fuel to get to Beijing, plus enough for another 2 hours in case it had to remain in a holding pattern overhead Beijing, this means it had enough fuel for another 7 hours of flight time. My first thoughts were that it had gone to eastern Afghanistan/Iran via Burma (Myanmar), but Indian radar would have followed it. Therefore Somalia region is highly possible, especially if this was pre-planned and In-flight re-fuelling had been arranged off the east coast of Africa.

  • Speculator

    Please check scanned images from satellites 2 days after plane went missing. Location Somalia. Check for blips and plane might have been repainted to military colours

  • Bill in Arizona
  • said

    i don’t why their blaming Somali people their nice

  • rrjkr

    If the intent was to fly the plane somewhere for some nefarious plan, Somalia would be a good choice. No land masses in between, remote and plenty of abandoned air fields It’s about 1000 miles farther, but the plane could have taken on more fuel than recorded with a ground crew co-conspirator..

  • Sarah Brunner

    Really interesting Medwar, I had never heard of JORN. You’d think though, if any country has relevant information, they’d share it pretty quick with the agencies, wouldn’t they? Or is that utterly naive!

  • Scott

    according to malay mail http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/london-based-satellite-firm-says-mh370-registered-signals-on-its-network

    The plane had enough fuel for it to fly until 8:30 am. That gives it another 7 hours of flight time after the last know point, and extends the flight radius to the Mid East and Africa. In addition, depending on the satellite transponder being used, there may be a coverage gap in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

  • Medwar

    I think that the plane could have carried more fuel than needed to reach Beijing, because fuel is cheaper in Malaysia than China. 239 people is nowhere near a full load, too.

    There has been enough political trouble in Madagascar for it to be possible for the plane to be on the ground there without the authorities being able to go and look. But the easiest countries to reach on the far side of the Indian Ocean, especially without being detected, would be Somalia and Yemen.

    The Australians have very advanced over-the-horizon radar, so I think they’d have spotted it if it went that way. In fact, the Chinese were both offended and shaken when it transpired that the Jindalee Operational Radar Network “JORN” routinely watched Chinese jet fighters taxiing to the runway, let alone taking off and flying.

    If anything could have tracked the plane across the Indian Ocean, JORN could. It’s notable that the Australians are the only ones not saying anything at all about this. They may know, but it might be best for them to keep quiet, if the plane is on the ground and there’s a chance that the passengers are being held hostage and not already dead.

  • Sarah Brunner

    Little titbit from Reuters: “Two sources said an unidentified aircraft that investigators believe was flight MH370 was following a route between navigational waypoints – indicating it was being flown by someone with aviation training – when it was last plotted on military radar off the country’s north-west coast.” Agree with those below saying we the public don’t know the whole story so far… the situation is transfixing, for sure.

  • Sarah Brunner

    Yes and an excellent time to “hide” unrelated but disturbing news stories, as the UK govt is fond to do.

  • Sarah Brunner

    Thats interesting too – haven’t seen much in the way of breakdown of passengers in the news. Wasn’t aware of the stolen airplane precedent – surprised THAT has had a mention at least! They’ve mentioned that French flight enough that took years to find.

  • Sarah Brunner

    To ME, what you’re saying sounds totally plausible to me. Why aren’t they saying anything about the PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE scenarios such as this? I suppose behind the scenes, they’re fiercely investigating ALL of the possibilities (I’d think the Americans would be, for sure) but just not publicising? Fascinating story nonetheless.

  • Amy

    If you were to add up every persons maximum luggage and then to add the rough weight of the plane then estimate the average persons weight then you would have a rough idea.

  • BwinSF

    I thought this 2 days ago when the change of direction became public. I wouldn’t be surprised that the plane’s passengers were meant to be used as hostages and were going to be flown to Somalia, or an island used by Somalian pirates, or terrorists. It certainly would bring a big reward. The Middle East is out because Israel would prove to be an obstacle.

  • ConcernedCitizen

    Nice work on this blog.

    Perhaps the plane is in Africa or Yemen in a dry lake bed undergoing preparations for a terrorist attack. Hopefully the passengers are safe. Socatra, Yemen makes sense for the plane’s first destination but it would have to be long gone by now. Looks like the flight distance would have been 6300 km (flying around India and including the “known flight path with the turn around”). There should have been enough fuel for this.

    However, we hear the engine data only transmitted for four more hours after losing contact ( for a total flight time of five hours). This means the plane is probably in the Indian Ocean… Even six hours isn’t enough time to make it to Socatra or Iran.

  • pura pirateria

    s o m a l i a n p i r a c y .. ?

  • Elizabeth Faraone

    what’s all this craziness … the plane just crashed because something was wrong with it … and now they can’t find it

  • Questionable

    Here is an interesting development. An Australian Man that boarded the plane gave his wife his wedding ring and watch to give his toddler sons if something should happen to him. Evidently he was supposed to be going on to Mongolia for new work according to the wife. She was on a Piers Morgan interview tonight. He had formal military training.

  • itsKobs

    Apparently the said this might have been from an alien invasion, but WTF? That must be very irrelevant for that to occur. You never know. But the stolen passports? Ba Bang! That must imply to the point that the 2 men using stolen passports hijacked the plane. They were arabic looking. Here’s the CCTV screenshot of them:

  • sherryl

    Aliens

  • displaced viking

    Which would still make them valuable, but concur with your point. They do not have knowledge/capability in creating the intricacies and the complexities of design of the chips. But would have knowledge in manufacturing the chips and/or other advanced technology.

  • getinit56

    You may very well be right. I don’t know. Good point.

  • creeper

    It does provide a nice distraction from the current troubles of our administration.

  • creeper

    Except that those were production engineers, skilled at turning out large quantities of chips and not at cutting-edge design. They’re low-value hostages/targets.

  • creeper

    John, Malaysian authorities are discounting the military’s claim of a turn-around today.

  • displaced viking

    That was great, sorry to hear about the unemployment. My wife’s grandfather was Mensa, with certification by Nixon. Never graduated high school. An intellectual is not based on academia; rather, the ability to adapt and overcome.
    Id rather be Mel Gibson on a bad day, than a coward or a manipulator or clever, which is all of intellectual dishonesty.
    Keep the faith brother!

  • dcinsider

    Benghazi.

  • getinit56

    Thanks. To many now days, I’m a backwards, backwoods, racist, teabagging, uneducated redneck from GA. Lol. I am a currently unemployed and uninsured truck driver without any college, that has had many entrepreneurial exploits in which I’ve lost everything in the past six years. Yet, I’m two measly points from qualifying for a Mensa and I do desire to have my mathematical mind put to use. If I don’t get my rear in gear and get back to working, (for someone, hopefully, this time) . I’m going to wind up like Mel Gibson in that conspiracy theory movie, ha!. I do appreciate the compliment. Nice to find a troll free blog where people exchange ideas more than rhetoric.

  • displaced viking

    Could be, just looked at the photos of the captured drone. Was damaged. notice in the photos they do not show the underbelly, and there is a dent in one of the wings. Could have ran out of gas. However, many reports on the possible capability of remote takeover. It really is just inevitable that it can happen with the advancement of technology.

  • displaced viking

    Electronic Warfare is very real, and has a long history militarily. It is used as a defense and offence. In Vietnam, The U.S. use to send out aircraft, ahead of airstrike, and drop aluminum foil, to foil (no pun intended) the SAM missile radars, and jam them.

  • displaced viking

    Agree, was a thought of mine, a theft of intellectual property. The Iranians are no stranger in taking hostages. The U.S. State Department employees in Iran in 1979. intellectual property is the most valuable property, who owns it, can and does in short, own the rights and the first to develop and use the product produced from it.

  • getinit56

    There’s also the matter with these people. 20 people from an american company that was working on or had a next generation cell phone encryption design. http://media.freescale.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=196520&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1907348&highlight=

  • displaced viking

    Agree about the security concern…. can you imagine the new protocol, “NO ELECTROIC DEVICES ABOARD ANY PUBLIC COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION SERVICES”.
    The U.S.Navy, yes, maybe, but was not a concern. I did also read that they were doing maneuvers. Here is a major concern. Why did the Malaysian military choose NOT to send aircraft up to the unknown radar blip heading west, as they are suppose too, in protection of Malaysian airspace. Does not mean they are to engage, they are suppose to lay eyes on the aircraft to identify it and make contact with it.
    State sponsored Airport: That’s why I believe that Socotra could aid in this. It is the closest “possible sponsored safe harbor for an act of hijacking”.
    Your obviously a learned individual. Great conversation, thank you.

  • getinit56

    Story of two drones captured. One confirmed. Ive read else where it was done by hacking their gps navigators. http://www.globalresearch.ca/another-american-drone-captured-by-iran-washington-feels-trepid/5314601

  • Camilla_Sunshine

    In theory, based on IF’s – the shorter route, slightly off center line of the Bay of Bengal would have taken the flight to the sparsely populated Western most region of China or cutting above towards Tajikistan and from there – – guessing that it wouldn’t have been Pakistan or Afghanistan.

  • displaced viking

    Agree about the drone, I heard of the incident of the drone takedown in iran, but am only know, like you informing us, that it was taken down by remote control. Possibly the way, as you said, to give them the ability to take immediate control of the aircraft once it had leveled out at 35k feet.

  • displaced viking

    If you click on the Dots, a satellite image of the airport will show.

    Source: http://en.allmetsat.com/airports/islands-indian-ocean.php?icao=OYSQ

  • displaced viking

    Map of Airports in the Indian Ocean, and the average coverage is 100 miles. Socotra is SE (yellow dot) from Yemen and due east of Somalia. Malaysia is on the right of the map.

  • getinit56

    Right. Good point. I agree with you. One of the angles I’m seeing is that if was indeed a hijacking, taken to where ever. I could see not only the US angle on wanting it quite but for all involved. For the US, it would spark all new concerns and fears over the airline industry as well as a black eye for the FAA, Boeing and the administration for having prior knowledge of the jets capability to be hacked. There’s no way of knowing of course but if that indeed happened. The fix for it would be extremely costly and difficult to solve. It could as well spark a whole new breed of tech hijacking and the soft wear for it could spread even faster with publicity. Think about it. If this was a taking of a jet. No bomb, no weapons on board. Unless they got to a state sponsored airport. That jet could be isolated and cut off from the world. The whole airport could regardless and with the Communist country’s involved. They could be willing to sacrifice all the lives on board rather than give them a platform or even acknowledge the event. Sadly being under our current government, I could see them helping in this from the corporate and administration aspect by providing that technological isolation of the plane. Jam it. No calls in or out. The US Navy knew right where that plane lost ground radar contact from the get go.

  • displaced viking

    Further, if the two (Iranians) are known to have stolen passports, and the two others in the above photo would be of major interest, as they knew and have aided criminal activity on an International scale. The Malaysians and Interpol must have great concern of who those two others are and what they know, as in the direct knowledge of a major security concern as well.

  • displaced viking

    I come from a family of pilots, military and commercial. So my intrigue can be self explained. But more than that, I believe for you and me, like everyone else, its the innocent loss of life, and/or the vulnerability of human lives (souls) aboard the safe haven, of an aircraft. I have also heard that report about the “black” person, but also found a photo that was reported and shown on mass media, showing the two suspects that stole the passports/visa’s with two other people, and one of them was black (is this where the black individual came from?). The photo was taken prior to the two individuals boarding the 777. Also they released the photos of the two, in the same clothing at the airport. So here are my thoughts why this is terrorism and or hijacking, (thus the same). The passports were stolen over a year apart, up to two years prior, as I remember, in Thailand from two separate nationalities (Italian and Australian), being used by two same nationalities (Iranians), that show up at the same location (Malaysian International airport), who know each other prior to arriving to the airport, pic below), purchased in cash by an Iranian businessman so the two can “seek refugee status in Europe”. I agree with you, something is up. One question is, how is it that there is a photo of the two men with two others prior to boarding the aircraft. I think it would be just a journalistic inquiry at the least, to find those two others are (faces blurred in photo), and talk with them. Maybe they have, but have not seen it.

  • phreeon

    John, you’re going hard is the MS Paint with these maps

  • getinit56

    It was also warned of its security issues of being hacked and possibly from an on board laptop. We need not forget that the Iranians remotely hacked and landed one of our most advanced drones a few years ago. It is also telling that the eye witness stated one man was black and looked like a soccer player, now he’s Persian. I think this board has some of the best thinkers on it. Glad to of found it. I don’t know why this has intrigued me the way it has. Something is up, no doubt.

  • displaced viking

    Thank you John for your posting of this Blog and discussion, Good Job.

  • displaced viking

    The Boeing 777 cost over $250,000,000.00 USD. And is more technologically advanced than any-other commercial aircraft in the world.

  • displaced viking

    Past history of one stolen commercial airliner. 2003 Boeing 727-223 disappearance. Never found. stolen from Qatro, de Fevereiro Airport, Luanda, Angola. Owned by Angola Airlines.

  • displaced viking

    I don’t understand why the idea that the plane could have been hijacked and taken to Iran, could not be possible. (edit mistake of my posts first sentence).

  • displaced viking

    I don’t understand why the idea that the plane could have been hijacked and taken to Iran. Path of least resistance, or simplest answer based on the facts. Two Stolen passports by Iranians. The transponder on the aircraft was turned off manually, that leaves ground radar to track the aircraft. At the most capable distance, is around 100 miles from shore. Meaning that the aircraft will disappear from any radar if it is over 100 miles from land. The Malaysian Military Tracked an Unknown civilian aircraft (coming from civilian airspace) heading west, then lost tracking of it, because it went out of the range of their radar. Also, All aircraft carry more than the exact amount of fuel needed. i.e…. and their is a set amount for commercial aircraft needed in case of flight delay on tarmac, holding patterns over airport of destination because of flight traffic storms, having to fly to alternative airports because primary airport is inaccessible…
    Now where could they take it, if they did not directly take the plane to Iran? The island of Socotra, apart of Yemen, would be a good destination. As it also hosts the Somalian pirates, for refueling on their attacks of cargo ships, and has a 11,000 (10,827 exact) foot runway, which is enough to land an aircraft of the 777 size., More importantly, would not be detected by radar, as the flight path would be over the ocean, and is in the capable fuel range (not maximum capability, of the 777, just what fuel at a minimum would be on the aircraft for its said flight plan to Beijing). Could have landed and refueled their for another destination.
    With that said, no their is not a hanger their that could house a 777. So, it could not stay their in hiding too long.
    Why Socotra? It is one of the most remote places on earth, but it has a 11000 foot (2 Mile long), runway on it. This is as long as the Denver Airport, and Atlanta Airport. Now Socotra is suppose to be a beautiful vacation destination, as it has unique plant life, and cultural history, but even with that, that runway strikes me as odd for its length.
    Its Yemen. Yemen Militants are connected to Iran, as Geo-politics go.
    Also have hope that the passengers and crew are alive and well.

  • benb

    Came back from Costa Rica Saturday. At the gate they got on the PA and said no gels or liquids allowed. Just before getting on the plane—on the gangway–they searched our luggage a second time.

  • Fred Fong Fan (FFF)

    The story goes like this .. Back in China a group of separatists claims the Western Autonomous Region in Peoples Republic in China ” XinJiang ” to be turned into a new country Named ” East Turkey ” ..
    Naturally as the Western of China shares a common Border with all Middle East and Muslim Countries , sharing the same tradition within the Chinese ethnicity..

    Regular clashes takes place in the Autonomous region every day but hardly the news reaches outside China…

    Recently a group of people with sharp weapons butchered 30 people in a railway station in China several days back ….
    This is the real interesting part , where the two stolen passports holders looks like Iran citizenship , but to my knowledge the there is a real conspiracy within the authorities who overlooked everything,
    Can the authorities confirm that they are Iranian and are these Persian people’s family being traced and located out , background and history taken ??
    Within the 150 plus Chinese passengers there was a 19 years old Uyghur artist .(belonging to the community of people who claims freedom )…

    All these makes it a very easy way to do a sabotage and hijack a plane.

    Disguised as passengers highly technical and combat capable people gets aboard..the flight takes off when they capture the plane in a tactical way without letting others understand in matter of moments , while the other team kills the pilot and navigator without letting them any distress signal……
    Now they turn off all the signalling systems , flies away the border of Malaysia towards west in a low altitude which is intercepted by the land authorities and they assume it to be a crash :…

    Search should be conducted in Somalia/Pakistan/Afghanistan remote areas..

  • ( Fred Fong Fan)FFF

    I used google to find out if in this world have anyone else thinking the same way like me ..and your blog came in front of me.. I have to prepare several assumptions the same way you are doing .. I had been posting the same thing in a different blog named ” Shanghiist ” .I had been using a name FFF(Fred Fong Fan ) .

    http://shanghaiist.com/2014/03/11/taiwan_alerted_china_of_potential_a.php

    I will come back to your blog soon..

  • FFF

    Masterminded plot – extremely technical and combat capable persons get in the cabin disguised as passenger – hijack , control of plane .. disappear )

    - ( pattern for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 hijacked to Somalia / Afghanistan )

  • Dr Fitz

    At this point, i would rule out the possibility of any survivors since there is no way (in 2014 )that any “hijacking terrorist” would be able to contain the number of people reported on the flight with technology (at least here in the US) unless an explosive device was used. Accidents do happen as we all know and guarentees in air travel is no different than car transportation although airline experts will report varying statistics related to safety in air travel suggesting the industry is “safer”.I know (via news reporting) that problems existed with this particular aircraft and maintenance was performed to remedy a wing which had been damaged. obviously, they reached their projected cruise altitude 30,000+ or this story would be different in reporting. At this time, as an American and married to a transatlantic/pacific captain, I feel horribly to the flight crews family> US media is reporting negatively on the “behavior ” of one of the pilots and the Aussie girl being allowed to “jump seat”. Seriously? Like our NFL commentators say. “Common man”. The only way the media learned of this was because she called and sent pictures. Sadly, I flew Delta last week and the cockpit door remained open until the doors were secured. Anyone can take a picture and fabricate despite in the US-airlines prohibit or restrict photography of the cockpit. CLOSE THE DOOR!

  • Camilla_Sunshine

    Yes, and after you assess the Fuel/Petro Service records along with Total Weight at lift off, factor in the precautionary (2) extra hours and there you have it – suspect that the potential distance would then increase.

    (there were no reports of “weather” to deplete fuel consumption nor, confirmed fuel dumps which match the Petro)

    Left by North Left – (these hunches with gut feelings may be scientifically illogical; but given that nothing is turning up in the current process – )

    The sheer torment of not knowing, has got to be unbelievably cruel, draining and emotionally wrenching for their loved ones. Thankfully, a massive effort is being made to find them regardless of disparities with location and so forth.

  • cole3244

    i don’t believe the public is getting the whole story.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    I found your directional arrows on this one clearer than CNN’s; at first I thought their graphic showed a plane bound for Kuala Lumpur that veered right a little.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well they’re not exactly fancy :) But I do good photoshopping of photos, but don’t have circles and lines down :) I do think they help, especially the circle of how far the plane can go, which I came up with before CNN had it :)

  • SkippyFlipjack

    John I think you need to take credit for your maps. :)

  • waguy

    There are several considerations when calculating a fuel load. First, enough fuel to travel to the destination given current winds aloft. Second, fuel to travel to an alternate airport (an alternate may not be required if the destination has suitable runways & weather). Third, fuel for known contingencies, such as long taxi, anti-icing equipment operation, typical holding times for traffic, etc. Fourth, standard excess fuel of 45 minutes or 10% of flight time, depending on whether it’s international or domestic. Fifth, ‘tankering’ fuel – if the fuel is more expensive at the destination, it might be cheaper overall to carry enough fuel for the following leg(s), even though you burn more fuel to carry the extra weight. So, if fuel is cheap in KL and dear in Beijing, and extensive holding was anticipated, and the alternate was distant, the flight could have been carrying a LOT more fuel than just that needed to get to Beijing.

  • Indigo

    Possibly . . . or perhaps a close encounter of the third kind?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That was my assumption Becca, they would take on an hour extra fule or something.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    According to the FAA, they generally require a fuel cushion of about an hour flight time. I would imagine something close to those requirements are pretty much universal for all big airlines.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’m sure a professional pilot could answer the question more precisely, but my understanding is that weight/fuel calculations are an essential part of every flight checklist, and they typically only load enough fuel to make it to the next planned destination, plus a predetermined percentage safety margin.

    So that circle you drew on the map, John, is probably accurate, plus maybe another few hundred nautical miles.

    My own wild-assed guesses: (1) The dudes with the phony passports will just be nobodies. (2) My money is on catastrophic electrical/mechanical failure, caused by reasons as yet unknown. (3) Maybe the plane did turn back to the west, in an off-course attempt to return to Kuala Lampur or at least be able to attempt to ditch on land rather than at sea.

    Either that, or it’s crashed on an island and a fellow by the name of John Locke has just discovered his paralysis has been mysteriously cured…

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

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