Both Malaysian and Vietnamese SAR officials have stated emphatically, that their aircraft have previously searched - and again searched (today - Thursday, 13th March) - the area where the Chinese satellite reputedly identified possible wreckage - and "there is nothing there".
One U.S. official at the SAR frontline, is reported to be scathing of the Chinese "find", as a "red herring".
in 1979, A Varig Cargo B707 has vanished not long after its departure from Tokyo in route to LAX. Nothing was ever found, no trace.
In the case of this B777, I would not be surprised if there was a cabin or cargo, fire, the crew being under a high work load and using oxy masks had other priorities and ATC was not the most important. Fire became uncontrollable and the Captain made a successful ditching. Unfortunately, all pax were already dead due to smoke inhalation, and no one evacuated. The aircraft did not brake apart and remained in one piece that is now in the bottom of the ocean. No debris to float. Captain and or FO, could have initially survived.
It is now being reported in the UK Telegraph newspaper that downlinked engine data shows the aircraft "may" have flown for four hours after contact was lost. Why is this story such a fact free zone? The aircraft either flew four more hours or it did not there is no may or probably about it.
It would help the investigation if people resisted the temptation to give the media a headline and checked their facts before opening their mouths!
My 2c's worth on the topic of the contents of the cargo manifest...
Given the total lack of information, the valuable cargo theory is at this stage not an entirely implausible one. BUT:
Having some experience in ground ops, I can safely say that high value shipments have some rather special security procedures, and information is circulated on a very limited need to know basis. In many cases even the shipper does not know which actual flight it will be on until airborne, and the crew does definitely not know in advance.
IF one would want to divert an entire T7 to get at the valuable cargo, that would need to involve some very sophisticated advance planning, and would need the crew as well as several other individuals high up in the decision making chain in the cargo and security areas as accomplices, not to mention the logistics at the other end. It is certainly not something any crew would be able to organize on impulse once seeing the cargo manifest.
Until cargo manifest is released I would call this scenario not impossible, but highly improbable.
Anyone heard of any official reaction on the claims of the WSJ article from any of the involved parties ? It is definitely not a claim to be taken lightly.
So if the manufacturer RR was ever to confirm receipt of engine performance data - and then the assumption of several subsequent hours of flight becomes more sound - then what of the 200 pax and there being no word from then (presumably) since? Can it be assumed that they didn't reach landfall? in this case I suppose fuel exhaustion becomes the premise of speculation.
With the eyes of the world's media upon them, the Malaysian authorities ought be stating verifiable facts of what is known, not simply flight number change niceties on their incident website.
Pom Pax - Malaysia isn't Kalgoorlie - and there have been numerous gold thefts in transit in Australia (including Kalgoorlie - and I am quite familiar with Kalgoorlie, and the lovely yellow metal that has turned many a mind to criminality). A bloke working in the Perth Mint even got away with a substantial gold theft (for a while).
Again, speaking as a retired detective, I have to question the rationale that the cargo would be seized mid-air by taking the whole aircraft.
Having been involved in an investigation of a bullion seizure which was being transported from the airport to its destination, the easiest time to grab the cargo is during its transfer to or from the airport, not while it's in the air.
There are too many unknowns involved in seizing the entire aircraft, including the matter of the 239 persons on board, the risks of detection whilst trying to spirit the aircraft away, finding a place to land the aircraft on the QT, etc.
I just don't buy the "seize the whole aircraft" theory.
Receipt of engine performance data for several hours is compelling, it assumes serviceable electrical channels, serviceable data busses from wing to main equipment centrex serviceable ACARS VHF systems. If this is verified, it's a game changer.
The report said data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from the Boeing 777’s engines indicated the plane remained in the air for a total of five hours – a further four hours after contact was lost.
but how could it fly on for a futher 4 hours without some sort of radar trace, if only as a large lump of metal i.e. without transponder, and if not following the original flight plan route what were various ATC jurisidictions doing, they must have noticed an unplanned intruder ?
Engine performance data are sent automatically through ACARS.
Now, IF such data were actually downlinked by the aircraft and indicate an additional 4 hour flight time, then two questions arise:
1) Where did the WSJ take this information from? Boeing? ARINC? 2) Why did Malaysia Airlines declared at an earlier stage of the investigation that no ACARS had been received after the time the aircraft had disappeared?
Either someone is speculating without any shred of evidence or someone is withholding vital information for some reason.
It struck me as odd, from the beginning, that a catastrophic event would happen right at the point of handover to another countrys ATC, where Comms were weak, and where radar coverage was nearing its limit. Not to say all the holes in the cheese lined up, it's definitely happened before, but .... if you planned to divert an aircraft, where else would you select?
Maybe somewhere that didn't involve immediately flying back over land, being tracked on primary radar and possibly having someone come up to take a closer look.
If I wanted to take an aircraft and head west, I might choose a flight that at least started off in the right direction and was heading out of (rather than into) PSR coverage...
Now we're getting some pilots casting aspersions about the unfortunate captain because he liked to play about with FlightSim on his days off? Seriously?
If you look at the profile of the one casting those aspersions, you'll find an 'artist' and not a pilot. Actually, a lot of pilots were infact saying it's normal for pilots to be passionate about their jobs and use flight sims at home. I use one when it's close to my proficiency check and yes, it does help to home in on those manual flying skills since most of the time when we fly on the line, the aircraft is on automatic pilot.
Originally Posted by mabuhay_2000
Casting aspersions about his actions and character, without a shred of evidence, is in very bad taste and people should know better.
Totally agree, and you'll find those who were defending the captain with his home flight sim, are infact pilots and regular posters on PPRuNe. Unlike the many "one post wonders" who are now swarming this thread with their far fetched and ridiculous Hollywood movie script conspiracy theories.
They may be limited to engine parameters only, and just get added to a file for each powerplant, attracting no attention until someone goes looking for them.
There is clearly more to this than meets the eye.
We're asked to believe that an aircraft known to be fitted with Rolls' engine health monitoring system goes AWOL, and that it doesn't occur to anyone in Derby until several days later to go and look at how long EHM reports were being received from said aircraft.
That beggars belief - if it turns out to be true, heads should roll.