Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 left behind more mysteries than facts. In the continuing absence of any evidence to indicate what happened to the aircraft, some of the oddballs theories are beginning to seem less odd and more creditable.
One former national security expert, now retired, has offered a different explanation for what happened on Flight 370. “Jack,” a retired Marine Corps general, spent his entire military career, and a subsequent civilian career, in special operations. Jack, in other words, is a spook. He spoke about Flight 370 last night in a telephone interview.
“What gets me,” he said, “is that the Chinese satellite pictures are obviously faked. China has better satellite optics than we do, and we can read a newspaper on the ground from space. Those fuzzy pictures are clearly bogus. The question is why did they release them at all, and then say that they were released in error.”
“So, why release those pictures at all? The Chinese have that part of the planet under constant surveillance from their satellites. That’s their backyard and they want to know what’s going on there all the time. The number of satellites and the quality of their photographic equipment combined suggests that the Chinese released the bogus images because other nations are quite well aware of the capabilities of China’s spy satellites, and it would be unreasonable for them to have seen nothing at all.”
Jack’s opinion is that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is sitting somewhere in a mountain valley or a desert, under camouflage. He has good reasons for his opinion. “If the pilot’s intention was suicide, he had no reason to turn off the transponders, nor did he have any reason to fly at least four more hours before finally crashing the plane. If the problem was pilot error or a malfunction, the crash would have occurred much more quickly, and closer to the original flight path. If a hijacker with some pilot knowledge took over the aircraft, however, some of the erratic actions of the plane become more sensible.”
Reports indicate that the aircraft climbed to 45,000 feet, which is above the operational range for civilian air traffic control radar, which suggests an attempt to avoid radar detection.” The operational ceiling for the Malaysia Airlines 777 is listed as 43,100 feet.
“Jet aircraft operate more efficiently at higher altitudes than lower altitudes, where the air is thicker. The person in control of this aircraft may have taken the plane above its operational ceiling to nurse more distance out of the fuel supply, and then came back down again when the handling characteristics of the aircraft were adversely affected by the higher altitude.” Other sources have suggested the pilot intended to depressurize the cabin and render the passengers unconscious but that maneuver could also cause explosive decompression of the aircraft or cause the wings to lose lift, called stalling, which could have precipitated a crash.”
Jack’s opinion, subject to changing information, is that the aircraft was hijacked by a knowledgeable person or persons who had every intention of eventually landing the aircraft somewhere else. Somewhere may have been Pakistan, portions of which are just inside the maximum range for Flight 370….but that trajectory would have taken the aircraft right over India, and the Indian military is notoriously stern about unauthorized overflights of their territory by unknown aircraft. Pakistan is not the only potential destination for Flight 370, because Bangladesh was also well within the aircraft’s range.
Asked if this particular aircraft could have gone around India, Jack, a pilot, replied, “Probably not, but that does not mean that a highly motivated hijacker might not have tried to nurse that much distance out of the aircraft. Reports indicate that the aircraft descended to 25,000 feet, well below its optimum cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. That would have made a Pakistani landfall much more problematic.”
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may have left behind more theories than facts, but one of the mysteries the investigators are thinking about is where someone would land a hijacked 777. The missing aircraft “only” needs 7,000 feet to land, but it needs 11,000 feet to take off again. Clandestine 11,000 foot runways are in short supply.
The urgency with which various militaries are searching for missing plane a week after it supposedly went down, suggests that there is more than an ordinary humanitarian concern being displayed here. The sheer cost of the search, which is already up in the “hundreds of millions of dollars,”could go up into the billions. International cooperation from bitter enemies also suggests there is more going on here than meets the eye.
Some parties to the search effort, such as Boeing simply want to know what happened to their plane. Their ulterior motive is that hairline cracks have recently been found in the wings of some Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and the Boeing 777 was built of the same materials and in the same manner as the 787, raising speculations that an air frame failure caused the plane to crash. Others have more sinister concerns.
Jack believes the hijackers intended to go somewhere, not just to crash the plane. “ This was no simple hijacking. Why would they bother to wait several hours before crashing the plane? I think they may have taken the aircraft for the specific objective of using it in a subsequent terrorist event. The Boeing 777 is the largest two-engine commercial aircraft now flying, It has a maximum payload of 247,000 pounds, less fuel. A plane of this size loaded with explosives would be a formidable weapon. Equipped with stolen or reprogrammed transponders, this plane could slip into another country’s airspace to deliver its payload to some unsuspecting city.”
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 left behind more mysteries than facts when the huge plane disappeared, leaving some very worried people to figure out what really happened.
By Alan M, Milner