Here’s an interesting post by a pilot who is used to flying in the Far East:
To summarise, he believes that there may have been a cockpit fire, either a burning tyre or electrical and that the aircraft was diverting to the long runway at Langkawi. Either would create noxious fumes and could disable the crew. However, burning tyres usually only happen (very rarely) when excessive braking has been used and you don’t use brakes on take off and I’m not sure whether the nosewheel has brakes (the mainwheels do, obviously). Also, I thought that these aircraft were fitted with hold fire detectoirs so that nothing could burn invisibly below the floor. Fire extinguishers are also fitted.
An electrical fre is a possibility but surely the first thing any captain would do is to ask the copilot to send a message to Air Traffic Control and to call an emergency to expedite a safe landing at the nearest available field. None of these things happened so perhaps the spread of the fire was so rapid that there was no time to send a message before isolating the electrics. This doesn’t explain why the aircraft continued for a further 6 or 7 hours. A Mayday call takes seconds and mobilises all emergency assistance immediately. (Repeat after me: “Mayday, Mayday,Mayday. Malaysian MH370. Cockpit fire. Diverting. Request immediate assistance.” It didn’t take long, did it?). Any crew would do this, surely. We hear a lot about ‘Aviate, Navigate, Communicate’ but, for me, making a Mayday call and getting outside help is Aviating, not just communicating.
For these reasons, I don’t buy it. i still think the arcraft was deliberately diverted to Central Asia and has been on the ground safely for ten days.
What I don’t know is: Why?
Bizarrely, I wrote a novel on this exact subject in 2011: Flight Into Darkness #thriller. http://is.gd/cCJ5dU
Author interview on Awesome Gang: http://awesomegang.com/roger-hardy/