Saturday, March 22, 2014

Malaysian Flight MH-370 - Can Logic Solve this Mystery?

If anything, the continuos and often contradictory analysis of the ill-fated Malaysian Airline flight must be gut wrenching for the families and friends of those on board. The analysis by the different bubble heads, as well as the gale of misinformation and incompetence of the Malaysia and Chinese authorities with false hopes raised first around Oil Slicks, reported sightings of fire by oil rig men, and later the misplaced sign off by the co-pilot in the timeline by authorities, and now two debris findings in South Indian Ocean that have come up with nothing. Even the pings to the satellite and radar sightings have been totally mashed up, it is hard to know what to believe these days! This must be hard.

Two questions are outstanding about MH-370. Where is the plane? What happened to it? The first question can only resolved by search- which is going on extensively as we speak. But just like Titanic, this may take forever and the black box may never be found. So now, is the time to start asking the second question: what happened to MH-370?

In the midst of all these, anecdotal evidence including two missing passports used on the flight, pilot attending opposition trial, key stroke used to divert the plane and the transponders being shut down have led many including the government of Malaysia to jump into very wild conclusions - that anyone familiar with any form of investigation understands may be fatal in search of the truth. Your first guess, is usually a wrong one.

But as a student of science, we understand the difference between emotion, perception and logic. It is as such important to try to identify what the facts, and try to deduce improbable events (eliminate those), and probable ones (investigate those). See these web pages for reference - ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR


  • The Malaysian 370 Flight was going to Beijing and on it, were two competent pilots and screened air passengers at 12.41 am. Transponders and ACARS were on-board to help track. 
  • Last contact with Malaysian Air Traffic Controller was 1.19am, last contact was made with plane verbally - "All Good Night"
  • At 1.21 am transponder stops responding 
  • At 1.37 am attempted contact with ACARS failed 
  • 6.30 am was expected arrival time, Malaysia Airline did not acknowledge loss until 7.24am on its Facebook Page
  • At 8.11 am the last handshake to satellite was established
Note, I did not mention radar sightings and all- because those are not definitive facts but probable events


  • At Approx 1.30 am Air Traffic Controllers loses contact with the flight (what this mean, is unclear; I think it is meaningless as ATC just tries to routinely establish contact so 1.21am might has well have been it)
  • At 1.28 am, Thai Military Radar Senses Probable Plane heading in opposite direction; problem is this time data should be taken with a grain of salt. The radar monitor might have been using his wrist watch. So it should not be in the fact timeline
  • At 2.15 am, Malaysian Military Radar detects what is believe to be the plane over Pulau Perak Island in the Straits of Malacca, in opposite direction. Problem is, Malaysian Military obviously feeling embarrassed came up with this info much later and we simply can't believe their timing given that government's track record. So while it is probable, it is not a fact.
  • Malaysian investigators claim waypoint to divert plane was key punched in by someone in the cockpit few minutes before ACARS shut down. They claim Flight Management System reported this to ACARS, who in turn reported this and then, shut minutes must play between punch, FMS Transmittal and ACARS report. Again, as reported by non-credible Malaysian sources. So I move this to probable, but probably a fact. 
  • No Co-Pilot Maliciousness. At 1.19 am when the co-pilot said "good night", plane was experiencing problems, hostage taking or interference. It appears to me, given our timeline that all was well at 1.19am. So all claims as this being evidence of foul play is just plain wrong.
  • Rapid Decompression theory is equally hard to believe given that the plane was still in the air many hours later 
  • Electrical fault could have led to transponders and ACARS shut down, but there are many verbal ways to communicate trouble in a long flight and especially since the plane was in the air given the satellite data and continued to pinged- it had electrical power; so this does not make sense. 
  • Hostage taking or political terrorism also is not probable given that no one is taking responsibility.
  • Pilot error should be eliminated given the very deep experience of the pilots;  very unlikely a good flying man will fly 7+ hours in the wrong direction.
  • Mechanical failure also doesn't make sense given the radar evasion, and long flight afterwards. The plane was fine and was working well. 
  • Airplane loss of compression has to be eliminated knocking everyone off, as if this was the case the pilot compartment is compressed separately in large planes like this- and very unlikely events leading up to this took place at the exact point when an hand-off between Malaysian and Vietnamese controllers was going to happen
  • All cuckoo theory including black holes, exchange of codes in mid-air among many others, deserve no time in the sun. 

This leaves us with three possibilities:
  • Landed at Secret Location, for Future Use - this is by far the most tenuous of the possibilities. This will make sense in view of radar evasion, long flight into possible no-man's land on both the northern and southern route provided by satellite and the lack of claims by any group. However, is it possible to land a plane with 239 people on board and no one is squeaking? Is it possible to land a plane in the digital age with no trace? Hard to believe. 
  • Pilot or Passenger Suicide- This will be consistent with evasion, no trace and flying no where. But the lack of suicide note or circumstantial evidence about the pilots/crew especially and the passengers
  • Incapacitated Pilot Due to Sudden Compartment Loss of Compression, immediately after waypoint was punched in routine re-routing- this by far the most technical, and believable outcome. First, we must note that the pilot section is compressed separately. Second, it happened before. The only variant to that event will be a Pilot Waypoint Entry- which happens quite more often than we're made to believe according to experienced pilots. The flight path now shown as an abrupt reverse may also be exaggerated due to the fact that unconscious pilots cannot follow up on their waypoint entry to redirect to normal flight path. Agony- pure agony! Indeed the same reason why decompression happened may have led to transponder and ACAR loss, and in an era where pilots are behind reinforced doors- no one could have been able to intervene as the plane went down in the middle of no where. 

Addendum: Based on additional evidence, there is also a possibility the pilot was incapacitated by passenger (hijacker) intervention. This is a combination of two of the scenarios above, and will explain the multiple turns, and the plane was probably steered into the pacific  by someone not experienced as I doubt a pilot will make this false move- no statement made. This person could be the hijacker or someone that overpowers him.


There are few things we need to know to eliminate one or two of the above possibilities:
  • Further investigation of all on-board, especially the two Iranians with the fake passports. Commonsense. 
  • Indeed, the Southern path is no longer the only viable path of no-detection according to experts. Given updated data, this flight might have gone over Burma and avoided India/Pakistan. We need the Burmese to confirm they're helpless to enemy air raid.
  • Also, new data suggest this plan would have gone over Indonesia thousands of islands if it were heading the south. The Indonesians also need to talk and let us know if they saw anything, or they're also vulnerable to future China/US/Russia Invasion.
CONCLUSION: There you go- the world of clandestine secrets and inability to man-up to vulnerabilities is what is keeping this puzzle from getting resolved.

PS: I'm neither a trained pilot, flight engineer nor aviation expert. I have flown a flight simulator only once in my lifetime. However, I have a passion for flying and strategic thinking; flew 89 times last year alone, and on track to double that this year.  I'm intrigued by flying though, and hope one day to acquire a private pilot license. So, do not quote me or pass this one. These are musings of a logical mind- ONLY. 


this is