Malaysia Air Flight 370 may have flown 2,000 miles in Chinese airspace?

UPDATE: Now they’re saying that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s transponder was turned off BEFORE the pilot (or whoever) said “alright, goodnight” to ground control.  I’d be curious if that “proves” the transponder was shut off for nefarious reasons. Meaning, if they had to shut transponder off because it was malfunctioning, would they have notified ground control of this in the “alright, goodnight” communication?


One of the two new possible paths for missing Malaysian Airline Flight 370, laid out last night by Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Nazib Razak, has the plane potentially flying over China for possibly 2,000 miles.

It’s an odd air path, as it’s difficult to imagine that China wouldn’t catch an unidentified plane flying for 2,000 miles in its airspace.  And if China did catch such a plane, one might be concerned that it would shoot it down.


Clearly the Malaysian government is aware of the difficulty of flying a plane through Chinese airspace. And the fact that they’re still suggesting that this is one of two possible paths means they wanted this information out there, information suggesting the plane may have flown over China for up to 2,000 miles.  It’s just very interesting that the Malaysian government has not discounted this path.

The other possibility the Prime Minister laid out has the plane flying south from Kuala Lumpur, to the southwest over the ocean.  Which is more plausible, in terms of ease of execution.

Though flying south offers fewer potential theories as to why even do the hijacking (if it was one) at all.  Look at the surrounding countries on the northern path.

Now, keep in mind that the red line above is not necessarily a flight PATH.  It’s a possible location at a single point in time, somewhere along that red line.  The line doesn’t show us necessarily how the plane got there, it just says that when it pinged it was there at that one point on the red line.  So it’s possible the plane only JUST crossed into Chinese airspace, just above Laos, for example when the flight ended.  Then we’d have to figure out what brought the flight to an end.

Just a reminder, last night the Malaysian Prime Minister said the plane appears to have flown an additional 7 hours after its last official contact with ground control – meaning, it flew 7 more hours after it did the infamous u-turn.

One other bit of odd news, Malaysian police finally searched the home of one of the pilots today. Today. One week after the plane disappeared.

You can read our earlier coverage of the missing Malaysia Airline flight here.

The NYT has a good analysis of the various possibilities, and says investigators are favoring the southern flight corridor possibility.  Though that still doesn’t answer why you’d fly a plane thousands of miles over the ocean, just to crash it.  And if the crew and passengers were incapacitated, then why were there all those course and altitude changes at the beginning?

Here’s a rough map showing both potential paths. CNN just explained that they came up with this path from a satellite ping over the Indian Ocean (or so).  So we think we know the distance the plane was from the satellite, enabling us to draw a circle.  But we don’t know where on that circle it was.  And the reason the circle stops at Kazakhstan in the north is because that’s the outer limits of the available fuel.


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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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26 Responses to “Malaysia Air Flight 370 may have flown 2,000 miles in Chinese airspace?”

  1. Alexander Kuch says:

    i think
    american analysists are somewhat closer however to find the plane is a really a
    big puzzle if it is hidden and protected politically under one country. Even in
    my dream it is hard to Interpret. I saw a plane under a map of a country with a
    color red . Sad, It didnt really tell me which Country. I thought it was the
    map of China but it was not U-shape but similar to a Piece of paillard. It is
    also difficult to say if it was Malaysia huh .It was just dream lol!

  2. Why not Zoidberg?

  3. And where is the right place?

  4. BillFromDover says:


  5. BillFromDover says:

    Nothin’ like having enough fuel on board to reach your destination, is there?

  6. BillFromDover says:


  7. BillFromDover says:

    Don’t bore the Neanderthals with physic and science as most are only attuned to Fox News and terrorists.

    BTW, is it true that John McCain just ejaculated that we are all Triple 7s now?

  8. Cdop says:

    Well, I read somewhere the daughter of Malaysia Prime Minister was engaged/married to Daniyar Nazarbayev, some guy connected to Kazhakstan’s Prime Minister, so surely, the place cant be going there

  9. DLup says:

    The arcs on the map are not flight paths, they are allowable locations of the plane when it pinged the Inmarsat satellite based on the travel time of the signal. At the time of the last contact with the satellite, 8:11 AM Malaysia time, the plane could have been approximately somewhere along either of those arcs, not traveling along the arcs.

  10. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Well, a NASA satellite caught a large smoke plume from North Sentinel Island. And it’s not like the natives are friendly

  11. pappyvet says:

    They’re searching in the wrong place.

  12. Bookbinder says:

    Right. Eric Schmidt knows where every android cell phone is every minute, so it seems unlikely we don’t know where this thing is.. My bet is that NSA knows all and far more than they are telling us. Probably has eyes on the target right now. As to fuel it is standard practice in all transportation to take on just enough fuel to reach the terminus, be it an aircraft, a truck or whatever, it’s just too costly to move around a lot of excess fuel, so if the engine transponder was working beyond what it would take to get to Beijing, it was probably on the ground in low rpm mode.

  13. LosGatosCA says:

    2745 air miles, 5 hours of flight time – LAX to Boston is 2600 miles.

    NY to London – 3000 miles

    Pretty long flight.

  14. cole3244 says:

    if the search area expands anymore there might be a consideration of refueling in flight.

  15. loona_c says:

    Regardless where it went, why haven’t there been reports of cell phone calls (in or out)?

  16. Silver_Witch says:

    I totally believe it is the “look over there – shiny”….so that we are not paying attention to what Russia is doing – or even Feinstein.

  17. The_Fixer says:

    While that’s an interesting theory, I doubt that these exploits are in the wild. In the article you linked to above, it was more of a proof-of-concept-see-how-easy-this-is type of activity. I think the security researcher here is above-board and is not letting this out there right now. He said that he wanted to give time for them to patch the systems.

    Of course that doesn’t preclude others from doing it, I suppose. It’s unreasonable to expect that only one person knows this information. But would anyone wanting to do this have access to those who have the knowledge to do it?

    I really think it’s less technical compared to that scenario. If we’re to believe the telemetry and this plane was flying in excess of 40,000 feet and then drops within a minute to a bit over 20,000 feet indicates a couple of scenarios. One is a massive electrical problem that made the plane uncontrollable, at least in terms of making it obey the pilot’s commands.

    Another is an aborted hijacking. Clearly, whoever was at the controls while this was happening was incompetent, or perhaps people were fighting over the controls? Was the pilot trying some kind of maneuver to get possible hijackers off-balance?

    An odd story, that’s for sure.

  18. bkmn says:

    I have a hard time believing that the US or some other country does not have a satellite keeping visuals of the entire earth at every minute. Even in the dark a plane occasionally will cause a reflection, from moon light or some other source that could be seen from above.

    I also am curious as to how much fuel the aircraft had on board. For a flight that left after midnight with an arrival time in the early morning, even with a time zone difference it seems that the plane had a lot more fuel than it needed for its flight if it traveled seven hours after going silent which was over an hour into flight.

  19. AnitaMann says:

    A big airplane that just disappears and can’t be found for more than a week? I’d say it’s newsworthy. Far more than say, Justin Bieber and the ilk.

  20. MyrddinWilt says:

    Which might have been the point of the operation. Putin wanting to distract attention?

    Kazakhstan is actually a banana republic type country where kidnapping the passengers of a 777 might be considered a plan. The President behaves much like Idi Amin used to.

  21. Indigo says:

    “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

  22. leathersmith says:

    alternatively, its “hey,, where’s the large shiny object full of people?” perhaps now there is a rogue 777 in unknown hands. Will it show up sticking out of a large building somewhere?

  23. magster says:

    In defense of the media on this one, I’m interested. It’s really a bizarre freakin’ story.

    I’m interested in Ukraine too. Why not both?

  24. BeccaM says:

    It does sometimes feel like, “Look at the shiny object!” doesn’t it?

  25. I don’t see why the media is following this story as aggressively as it is to be quite honest. Meanwhile Russian forces have left crimea and seized a town in Ukraine proper.

  26. TonyT says:

    Randi Rhodes had a good theory yesterday. This was a trial run by hackers.

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