Saturday, March 15, 2014

Malaysian Airlines Flight #370 Hijacked

I have contributed to several aviation forums on the mysterious loss of Malaysian Airlines #370 but have not talked about it on the blog because I thought it was too technical and, perhaps, not enough interest. 

So much has occurred today that I believe it is worth this posting.

The plane was hijacked (fact) and was flown to the Far East, probably to Kazakhstan or one of the surrounding nations (most likely scenario of the two paths it could have taken).

To confirm the plane was hijacked, just go to the New York Times, Washington Post, or Wall Street Journal sites. No point on spending time on that fact.

The second fact is that the hijacked 777 continued to "ping" a communications satellite over the Indian Ocean for 7.5 hours after the transponder and other equipment was turned off (indicating the approximate start of the hijacking). Because the angle of the aircraft from the satellite can be determined, there are two possible paths: one toward the South Pole and other toward far west China or the Far East nations of the former USSR. This map from the Malay government came from the Washington Post 

over at, an aviation aficionado took the map and plotted the range of the aircraft and airports long enough to land the plane (dots).

Assuming, given the politics of the world today, it is more likely the aircraft went toward the northwest rather than toward the South Pole, here is a more refined map assuming the Boeing 777 flew between 70% and 100% of its cruise speed of Mach 0.84. Don't take the path too literally. 

We have no idea whether the plane crashed or landed. 

From a factual standpoint, I have no knowledge other than what is here. Please reread that sentence.

Going into the area of speculation, given there has been no ransom demand for the hijacked passengers, what would someone do with an intact 777? 

One would hope the NSA and DHS are taking time off from spying on Americans and harassing grandmothers at airports to work on this question and, perhaps, a proactive strategy to deal with it. 

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