Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mystery of Flight 370....Ghost Flight to Where?

The mystery over Malaysia Flight 370 gets more strange by the day. Initially it seemed to be a case of catastrophic failure of the aircraft over water.

But no wreckage. And no claims by a terrorist group of a successful attack on an aircraft as is normal, right? Nothing about this case is "normal."
Photo: Michael Fjetland as Captain, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary (Civil Air Patrol), post 9/11

Then it turns out the aircraft made a turn and that the transponder was turned OFF, something that has to be done by a human in the cockpit. But it turns out that turning off the transponder does not turn off a device in the engines that is designed to "ping" to a satellite to connect to it if the airline had subscribed to the service. Even though Air Malaysia had not subscribed, the device still sends out a "ping" on a regular basis.

And that "ping" went on for HOURS after contact was lost.  The problem is that the "ping" doesn't give a location.

No passenger has been heard from. No phone calls have been made. So what exactly happened on that flight? Did a pilot go lunatic? Was there a hijacking?

It could only be one or the other. I have personally experienced an electrical failure in an aircraft I was flying. I described what happens in a chapter of my book "Better Times Ahead April Fool" entitled "Is This East Texas or the Middle East?"  On that day, I was able to make a cell phone call but couldn't hear because of engine noise. If MH 370 had landed somewhere, you can bet people would be using their cell phones to call out, right? Almost every country has a cell phone network.

As a pilot I know that planes don't just change course on their own with two pilots at the controls - and pilots can use maps to find an alternate airport if their instruments had gone out.

So it remains a brain twisting mystery. What happened on MH 370?

Click "Follow" or "Subscribe" on the tab to the right if you want updates on this strange case of the ghost plane that vanished in the night with over 200 people on-board.

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