This Why Malaysia Has
Note - This is the final section of a much longer article
|Note - This is the final section of a much longer article
link to: http://sofrep.com/34084/alright-goodnight-malaysia-want-know-happened-flight-mh-370/
I think that Captain Shah and his co-pilot, First Officer Fariq Ab Hamid, conspired together to take the plane and passengers hostage in order to force the Malaysian Government to set aside the conviction of PKR opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. It is fair to say that they worked together based on the following facts.
First, air traffic controllers described the interactions with the flight crew as routine and normal. We know that this routine interaction was occurring even as the flight began to deviate from its approved flight plan about 20 minutes after takeoff. This deviation was the result of an alternate flight plan being executed by the Flight Management System computer.
The air traffic controllers say they are certain that the voice saying ďAlright, good nightĒ was the voice of First Officer Hamid, and not Captain Shah. This is significant because normal procedure would have the non-flying pilot communicating with the tower and operating the Flight Management System ≠ that would be the First Officer.
Also significant is that any deviation from the filed flight plan would include an immediate notification by the flight crew to ATC of that change and the reason for it. The plane began to deviate from that flight plan after 20 minutes in flight without such notice to Kuala Lumpur ATC. And we have no report that this deviation was reported by the flight crew, or even noticed by KL ATC.
Next, when the plane reached the limits of Kuala Lumpurís ATC radar coverage, its Flight Data Transponder was turned off. This occurred two minutes after KL ATC handed the flight off to Ho Chi Minh ATC. There is a report that HCM ATC noticed after 3 minutes or so that the plane did not make contact with them, and would have reported that to KL ATC.
What should have happened next is that KL ATC should have noticed that the Flight Data Transponder had been turned off. They would have tried to raise MH 370 by radio, tell them that their transponder was off, to switch to their alternate and ask why they did not contact HCM ATC. If they received no answer, they would have contacted another plane in the area and asked them to try to reach the MH 370 on their own radio. This is standard operating procedure, and yet there is no report of this happening.
There is a report that another plane heard what they believed was mumbling on an open mike that is being attributed to MH 370, but there is no way to confirm this. Until the Malaysian authorities release the transcripts of the full and complete conversation between MH 370 and KL ATC, and disclose their actions upon learning the plane never made contact with HCM ATC, we arenít going to know.
I think the gentle turn to the NNW up to Thailand was done to not disturb the passengers, who would not have noticed the slow turn and were probably asleep for the most part on this red-eye to Beijing. In the dark, and over water, anyone still awake would have been looking out into inky blackness. If the plane had an inflight entertainment system which included a video map of the planeís flight progress, this would have been shut off by the pilots, perhaps reporting to the passengers that it was broken.
I think this may explain why no one made a call, text or tweet saying they had been hijacked. They didnít know anything was wrong.
As the plane flew into the Gulf of Thailand, I think it made a programmed gradual descent down below 5,000 feet and the pilot throttled it back to about 250 kts. On radar it would have looked like a small private plan or inter island cargo plane and would not have attracted much notice from Thailand, which paid it no notice apparently, or the Malaysian military, which also didnít notice it until it was told to look for it days later.
Again, at night and over water, the passengers would not have noticed a gradual descent and slowing of the plane. Shah was an experienced pilot. He probably knew how to exploit the gaps in radar coverage to avoid being noticed. The plane then crossed the Isthmus of Thailand at its narrowest and crossed a sparsely populated Myanmar on its way West and proceeded out over the Andaman Sea.
I think Shah then placed the plane in a circling turn out over the water 200-300 miles out and made his demands known to the Malaysian authorities: Vacate the verdict against Ibrahim or I will dive this plane into the water. If successful, Shah might have planned to return to Kuala Lumpur, or to land in Australia and ask for political asylum, hoping the circumstance mitigated him being charged with air piracy and hijacking. Shah would have left himself enough time and fuel to get back to one of these destinations safely.
Let us assume the Malaysian authorities, relieved that they were not dealing with a real terrorist, called Shahís bluff or made promises Shah did not believe would be carried out. The deadline would have been before sunrise so the passengers would not realize they were still over water and not China. Shah and his co-pilot probably discussed this possibility.
They may have flown about for another hour or two in dawn hours before finally deciding to open the throttles, point the plane at the deck at a steep dive angle and crash it into the ocean. The plane would have accelerated quickly in the few seconds it took to reach the water. The impact, as stated above, would exert about 20,000 pounds per square inch on the airliner as it struck the water.
MH 370 was made of light but strong materials ≠ aluminium and carbon fiber. They arenít built to withstand such pressures. Any materials strong enough not to be obliterated in the impact would sink. The debris that remained would be very small. Water is incompressible. At 500-600 kts and 330 tons, the plane packed enormous inertia. It would be like hitting concrete. Here is what happened to an F4 Phantom (which has much less inertia behind it) when it was sledded into a concrete wall at 500 mph:
The wingtips survived because they were past the edge of the wall.
Because of the speed of the impact (about 700 feet per second) when it hit the water, the nose of the 200 foot airliner would have met the tail in just under 1/3 of a second. That would not be enough time for the deceleration sensors in the Emergency Landing Beacons to transmit an automatic distress signal. For the passengers, there would have been no pain, not even time to feel the crash. A merciful death.
For the Malaysian authorities this would be a political disaster. Malaysian Airlines is state-owned. If they botched the negotiations with Shah, they would own a big part of the blame for that. If itís true that the charges against PKR leader Ibrahim are trumped up, itís even worse for the UMNO-led government, which is struggling to maintain power. The dead Chinese citizens on board are also a big problem for the government. Again, they were business men, not peasants on vacation.
China is not going to be happy with an Islamist governmentís railroading an opposition leader and getting Chinese nationals killed in the aftermath. A full disclosure from the government that this hijacking was a political act intended to secure the release of a wrongly convicted opposition leader could reignite sectarian violence in the country and topple the majority government. When you look at the Malaysian governmentís parsing of information, or the outright falseness of it at times, I canít help but conclude that their government may not want to ever disclose what really happened.
Disclaimer ≠ I donít pretend to be an airline pilot, crash investigator or anything else. What I did do is read every story on the subject I could find critically, noticed inconsistencies between the various sources reporting, and start asking questions about those things to people I know who are smarter than me ≠ an engineer, a rocket scientist, an active flight engineer and an airline pilot.
Iíve linked to the sources I used in this piece. Other sources are more nerdy, like reading about the systems on the aircraft and how they should have reacted to a crash in conversations with live sources. More information may come to light that contradicts my theory. If so, I shall be happy to abandon it to the facts as they become known.
About the Author
Sean Spoonts is a former Navy Anti-submarine Warfare Operator and Search and Rescue Aircrewman in SH-2f LAMPS II Sea Sprite. Graduate of Naval Aircrewman Candidate School Pensacola, AW "A" School NATTC Millington, HS-1 SAR School NAS Jacksonville, FASOTRAGRUDET SERE NAS Bruswick. Duty with HSL-30, NAS Norfolk and HSL-36, NAF Mayport.Post navigation Previous PostNew SOFREP Contributor: Meet Derek Herrera of Marine Special Operations Battalion (MSOB)
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