Flight MH370 – an aviation regulator’s views – 2

I blogged earlier today about this aviation mystery.  It now seems clear that the disappearance of MH370 was a deliberate act and that the aircraft was not destroyed but continued to fly (or at least the engines were continuing to operate according to the ACARS) for about 7 hours after signing off from Malaysian ATC.  The deliberate act came from the flight deck as it takes detailed technical knowledge to disable the ACARS (it needs to be deactivated by flipping the circuit breaker – there’s no on/off switch) plus, switching off a transponder would only be done if it was hazarding the flight.

It is my proposal that the aircraft may possibly be on the ground in central asia. If that is the case then it should have been spotted by radars in the many countries overflown, but in the early hours of the morning, who is tracking an unexpected high-altitude aircraft not squawking its transponder identity?  Who’s even looking?  Maybe only the military, maybe not even them.  If MH370 is on the ground would require the full cooperation of the authorities there, so this theory is ripe for conspiracy and intrigue.  However, I’d like to concentrate on possibilities rather than conspiracies.  Another thing that would give the location of the aircraft away would be passengers’ mobile phones being switched on, but if the hijackers are organised enough to disable ACARS, taking mobile phones away from  the passengers would not be too difficult.  In any case, I hope they are all alive and can be reunited with their families.

Motive?  Tricky.  Malaysia, for all its affable and lovely people, is a secular, democratic but Muslim country and there must be some nutters there; there were enough in secular, democratic but Muslim Indonesia to cause the Bali bombing.  What would they do with an aircraft on the ground in somewhere like Turkmenistan?  If I was a disenchanted Russian Muslim, I’d offload the people, refuel the aircraft then do a 9/11, but aimed at something Russian.  Russia has great air defence systems, of course, so would be well equipped to counter any such threat, but the US also has great air defences and it didn’t stop 9/11.  Never underestimate someone who is prepared to give his life; he has nothing to lose.

I wonder whether the Russians are looking on the south-eastern borders with a worried frown.

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