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Old 11th Mar 2014, 07:05
  #1614 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: SFO
Posts: 21
As a pilot, I *think* we can discard a couple of theories suggested recently:

1. "Urgent", but not instantaneously critical situation, eventually leading to crash. If the aircraft had some kind of failure that eventually led to the aircraft descending and crashing, the pilots would have almost certainly made a mayday call. The first duty of any pilot is to deal with the situation at hand, "aviate", but once it is clear that the situation is serious, almost any professional pilot is going to take a few seconds to make a radio call in the blind. That is ingrained in training. We just do it. We've all had to do it at one stage or another coming up through our training. It's almost automatic and it doesn't stop you diagnosing the problem and taking action. Unless it is so bad that the plane is literally falling apart or you genuinely have lost all radio contact without notice, which would be highly unusual.

2. "Hypoxia". Once on autopilot, which the aircraft would have been in cruise at FL350, even an explosive depressurization would have left the plane in cruise all the way to Vietnam, at which point the transponder would have started responding to radar pings. And of course, worst case, the plane keeps cruising and runs out of fuel way up in mainland China. It's not just going to disappear.

Four search days have gone and there's no trace along the route of flight. An enormous aircraft. 12 year old 777 in calm weather from a carrier with a good safety record. I can't think of any more likely scenario, than, as much as I hate to suggest it, but it all points instantanous catastrophic event, e.g. bomb.

All things considered and in the absence of any information, am I alone in thinking that this the most likely cause?

There is, on average, a handful every decade. Fortunately, almost all are prevented:

When most people think of an airline bomb attack, I'd say they'd think of Lockerbie in 1988. Probably because it was Pan Am and a 747. But there's been a few since then.

I just can't think of a more likely scenario at this stage, however unfortunate. 777's have an exceptional track record.
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