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Old 03-15-2014, 06:37 AM   #341  
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The awful news reporting is now saying the plane flew for another 7 hours. Based on its last known location, could it have made the east coast of Africa? If the perp flew optimum altitudes and LRC, there are plenty of terrorist organizations operating in Africa that could help whomever flew it there use it as a future terror instrument. Once you get south of India and press west, there is no radar coverage. The only things down there are Diego Garcia, the Maldives, and a few other island clusters. Having flown that route many times in something a lot less fuel efficient than a 777, I believe it's plausible, if they had enough gas.
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:21 AM   #342  
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Rick, since we're considering the scenario of a carefully planned event by someone who knew the aircraft well, the perpetrator could have disarmed the automatic deployment of the O2 masks by pulling the cb and used the direct manual control of the outflow valves to dump the pressure quickly.

Also, even if the masks dropped they would only provide 15 minutes or so and they would be confined to their seats. I'm gonna call this scenario "plausible".
Yes, it's certainly headed towards plausible. But letting the masks drop would actually help control the cabin...the folks in back would put the masks on and be immobilized, as opposed to the ten biggest ABPs trying to break down the cockpit door.

That would buy time for the bad guy by allowing the cabin to rise to whatever FL the plane was at...by the time the O2 ran out in the back it would be too late for the pax.

Regardless of the dump limit on the outflows the cabin WILL rise to the aircraft's actual altitude if the packs are off. How long it takes depends on how leaky the fuselage is.

That's one explanation for the altitude changes. The other could be an uncontrolled airplane with no AP experiencing gradual shifts in pitch trim.

But it's starting to look more and more like deliberate action in light of the reported course changes using known waypoints.
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:23 AM   #343  
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First.... I can't take much more of Wolf Blitzer. He's gotta go. Painful to listen to his "expertise".

Second.... How about an out of control avionics or electrical fire at altitude? Improper maintenance or something leads to a fire that takes out an essential bus that has the primary radios and transponder on it (or they quickly start pulling circuit breakers when smoke or flames enter cockpit), they make a turn to try to divert but are overcome by smoke or fire which takes out passengers as well. The San Fran crash shows the 777 can take a lot of damage but stay together for a while (perhaps while on fire). Fire burns itself out as they climb or run out of oxygen (or maybe it just keeps smoldering/burning) but plane keeps flying off autopilot and makes the altitude changes shown as it flounders around until it just runs out if gas or belly lands intact into the ocean and eventually sinks with no ELT going off.

Thoughts? Just an option that doesn't involve suicide,terrorism, aliens, or another season of Lost.
This is what I suspect. Fire in the E & E bay (or whatever they call the main electronics bay on a 777). I believe in the 747-400 and 777, this bay is in front of the forward cargo bay, and under or just aft of the cockpit. Maybe fire caused by adjacent hazardous cargo in the cargo hold, if it was near the E&E bay? (UPS 6) Causes a loss of major electrical busses. Happened to Swissair 111; UPS 6.

While dealing with loss of electronics, crew starts a turn for an emergency return to Kuala Lampur. Midway through the turn, overcome by toxic fumes, controls released.

The 777 is a fly-by-wire airplane. Now unguided, it will fly at at a trimmed airspeed, I think (can't remember. The A-320 flies at 1-g, but I think Boeing went with airspeed...been too long since 777 school, and I never flew the airplane...got bumped post 9-11).

If it is airspeed-trimmed, it will climb and descend in a phugoid (sort-of) until it runs out of fuel, or hits something.

I don't see how the Malaysian officials or news media are jumping on the statement "the transponder and ACARS were deliberately turned off..." To say so with certainty would require a "Being turned OFF signal," not just a sudden or progressive loss of signal.

For the "deliberate pilot action" crowd, I would say a guy with 18,000 hours and 33 years at the company isn't a likely suspect. A 27 year old who likes to invite good looking women in the cockpit isn't a likely suspect either.
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:41 AM   #344  
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I personally am still not buying off on terrorism/criminal activity. I am in the turned back due to some sort of system failure (return to departure point and "safety" of known airport) and then after that a possible crew incapacitation maybe linked to original system failure.

Malaysias "conclusions" may be a failure to own up to error in original SAR and incident response. There is some obvious momentum to the terror angle and they are jumping on the train to deflect attention away.


My opinion
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:50 AM   #345  
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First.... I can't take much more of Wolf Blitzer. He's gotta go. Painful to listen to his "expertise".

Second.... How about an out of control avionics or electrical fire at altitude? Improper maintenance or something leads to a fire that takes out an essential bus that has the primary radios and transponder on it (or they quickly start pulling circuit breakers when smoke or flames enter cockpit), they make a turn to try to divert but are overcome by smoke or fire which takes out passengers as well. The San Fran crash shows the 777 can take a lot of damage but stay together for a while (perhaps while on fire). Fire burns itself out as they climb or run out of oxygen (or maybe it just keeps smoldering/burning) but plane keeps flying off autopilot and makes the altitude changes shown as it flounders around until it just runs out if gas or belly lands intact into the ocean and eventually sinks with no ELT going off.

Thoughts? Just an option that doesn't involve suicide,terrorism, aliens, or another season of Lost.
That's actually been my first guess all along. Mainly because I didn't see any terrorist motive to simply crash an airplane owned by muslims, flown by muslims, with a lot of muslim pax.

But it's starting to look like the plane tracked known waypoints that were not on it's original flight plan. I'm also starting to think the bad guys might be able to rationalize murdering or kidnapping a bunch of muslim pax if doing so allowed them to obtain a WMD to be used later against the west.

Still pretty far-fetched because terrorists don't like taking a lot of operational risks and this scenario would have many moving parts and a lot of ways for things to go wrong. But maybe not entirely implausible. The key ingredients are there...

1. Suppose: One pilot is a bad guy (I'm not sold unless there's hard evidence)
2. XPDR/comms turned off (but didn't know about the engine data CB)
3. Altitude changes to disable pax
4. Tracking known waypoints (not on original route)
5. Stays airborne for hours

A ghost ship with no AP and all crew/pax incapacitated might do 3 & 5, but #4 would be a real stretch. Also 3 & 4 seem mutually exclusive for a ghost ship...3 would require the AP to be off/failed, 4 would require the AP to be functional.
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:53 AM   #346  
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I think the engine altitude data is somewhat unreliable, as at one point it reported an altitude loss of 40,000 feet in less than a minute. Unless it was in a full-up dive sustaining 450 knots the whole way down, it can't possibly fall at that speed (in flight breakup or some other failure)...
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:56 AM   #347  
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This is what I suspect. Fire in the E & E bay (or whatever they call the main electronics bay on a 777). I believe in the 747-400 and 777, this bay is in front of the forward cargo bay, and under or just aft of the cockpit. Maybe fire caused by adjacent hazardous cargo in the cargo hold, if it was near the E&E bay? (UPS 6) Causes a loss of major electrical busses. Happened to Swissair 111; UPS 6.

While dealing with loss of electronics, crew starts a turn for an emergency return to Kuala Lampur. Midway through the turn, overcome by toxic fumes, controls released.

The 777 is a fly-by-wire airplane. Now unguided, it will fly at at a trimmed airspeed, I think (can't remember. The A-320 flies at 1-g, but I think Boeing went with airspeed...been too long since 777 school, and I never flew the airplane...got bumped post 9-11).

If it is airspeed-trimmed, it will climb and descend in a phugoid (sort-of) until it runs out of fuel, or hits something.

I don't see how the Malaysian officials or news media are jumping on the statement "the transponder and ACARS were deliberately turned off..." To say so with certainty would require a "Being turned OFF signal," not just a sudden or progressive loss of signal.

For the "deliberate pilot action" crowd, I would say a guy with 18,000 hours and 33 years at the company isn't a likely suspect. A 27 year old who likes to invite good looking women in the cockpit isn't a likely suspect either.
My thoughts as well, but doesn't jive with tracking known waypoints...assuming it was actually tracking them and didn't just "fly by in that general direction".
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:08 AM   #348  
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Originally Posted by HTBH View Post
First.... I can't take much more of Wolf Blitzer. He's gotta go. Painful to listen to his "expertise".

Second.... How about an out of control avionics or electrical fire at altitude? Improper maintenance or something leads to a fire that takes out an essential bus that has the primary radios and transponder on it (or they quickly start pulling circuit breakers when smoke or flames enter cockpit), they make a turn to try to divert but are overcome by smoke or fire which takes out passengers as well. The San Fran crash shows the 777 can take a lot of damage but stay together for a while (perhaps while on fire). Fire burns itself out as they climb or run out of oxygen (or maybe it just keeps smoldering/burning) but plane keeps flying off autopilot and makes the altitude changes shown as it flounders around until it just runs out if gas or belly lands intact into the ocean and eventually sinks with no ELT going off.

Thoughts? Just an option that doesn't involve suicide,terrorism, aliens, or another season of Lost.

I agree with this scenario as well. Also I am highly suspect of any radar track or altitude data coming from the Malaysian Military. I'd like to know the mx history on this particular airframe too, but I'll be the Malaysians have already 'lost' the log books!

And now, thanks to CNN's reporting from a 777 sim yesterday, every Jihad Wannabee knows how to find and turn off the transponder, and how to operate the autopilot, and how to get down into the E+E bay to further disable the radios!

Can't wait for the next terrorist attempted takeover of a 777, now that they know how to do it!

Idiots.
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:10 AM   #349  
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From the course I've seen released it appears after flying back over the peninsula it appeared to avoid other nation's territorial airspace...it went back out to sea and turned in a northwesterly direction...if it was a crew incapacitation event I doubt it would fly such a course in that manner.
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:15 AM   #350  
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If you're "tracking known waypoints", maybe you're trying to nail another airplane on an airway. Not as dramatic as showing up somewhere to crash into some significant landmark.

Why is the press so focused on the theory that this thing was meant to land, THEN used as a bomb? Seems cumbersome. They could have showed up in a number of important places in India, Pakistan, or even Saudi Arabia, and enjoyed the element of surprise.

Which is what leads me to believe that whoever did this was trained, but not quite trained enough, and didn't get their math completely right, or made some simple mistake along the way. That's about all we have on them so far.

I am less and less inclined to believe anything but a criminal act, but I agree with those that are keeping an open mind on the pilots' role. It's very likely one or both paid the ultimate price trying to protect their airplane, or never saw it coming, whatever was done to them. Sounds to me like the biggest transgression attributable to the flight crew is that on some flights, the F/O was filmed and photographed with another Captain, having guests in the cockpit. And they smoked in the cockpit.
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