The range of flight 370


I hope the passengers and crew are still alive. I just can’t imagine this huge plane getting past and around radar and other tracking in a variety of countries. Is this new range, idea of terrorism and search more of a conspiracy than any of the events leading up to the loss of the plane?

Someone on the Daily News site wrote this:

"There is a distinct possibility that the chain of events including the
apparent lack of communications, odd flight levels and final heading all started as a result of a slow moving fire in the ceiling of the passenger cabin. The ELT on the 777 aircraft was subject to a recall airworthiness directive because the wiring for its back up battery
(lithium) can become pinched and cause a fire.

There have been a couple fires already because of this device.
A fire would have resulted in cascading electrical failures and the crew opening circuit breakers for all non essential circuits. This would include COMM’s equipment, transponder, etc that are not required to fly the plane. The power for the transponder could have been disrupted by the resulting short circuits. Once the smoke incapacitated the passengers and crew, the fire might have extinguished itself from lack of oxygen and the plane continue to fly on its own.If this sounds implausible, ask yourself the question that neither the media or the officials has talked about:

Can someone, who is a plane/aviation expert, answer whether this question is valid? Seems to me that Boeing is big business. Wouldn’t it be a tremendous problem, internationally, if their planes were seen as dangerous? Does the push for a terrorism culprit signal justification for additional laws and compliance of other governments to those laws and overall spying? Or am I wearing a tinfoil hat today?

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Interesting that no one is asking why the plane flew up to 45,000’ and stayed there for a while. Regardless of where (or if) it landed, odds are high that the excursion to FL450 was to depressurize the cabin and eliminate the passengers as a concern. So the hunt is for a crashed/stolen aircraft. I think we can write off the passengers at this point.

Reminds me hopefully of Flight 714 to Sydney

For my future travel, I’ve been checking out airlines that use smaller craft for the hops after the long-haul. Serious.


ELT transmissions require a functioning, powered transmitter with line of sight to one of the satellites equipped to receive those broadcasts. And it requires an event to activate the transmitter (an impact above a certain G level, or a manual activation.) There are lots of things that conspire against all of those conditions being met.

So, does that mean that the commenter was dead wrong? Please explain as if I am in the third grade. Does that rule out the possibility of plane failure?

Yeah, the commenter’s sequence of events is incredibly fragile and implausible. Any pilot knows that rule #1 of an in flight fire (and a 777 is FULL of fire detectors and fire suppression gear so it wouldn’t be a long-burning surprise) is to notify someone on the ground, and then land the plane ASAP. Neither of those things happened. And given that the plane flew for another 5-7 hours, it makes a catastrophic in-flight fire seem more or less impossible. Tin foil hats, and all that.


Pinning it on a culprit - the one villain - clears everyone’s name, and gives media fodder for headlines along the lines of “the hijacker and his dog in 2005!”. Boeing, the Malaysian officials, lots of stakeholders with every interest in that being the outcome. I actually wonder if the Malaysians want the aircraft found at all.

Boeing though will walk through it professionally - they’ve been through enough air incidents to know this dance. They won’t try to cover up, because as you point out, the information is already out there. I’d say also for every Boeing issue, there’s an Airbus issue, and the airlines all know this.

As for 45,000 feet - I’m leaning towards a hijacker (or team) from outside the cockpit, with adequate knowledge to operate the flight management computer, and potentially a subtly unco-operative pilot who knew FL45 might starve the hijacker of oxygen. I think the vertical deviances are amateurs-in-charge.

But then, nothing is clear in all this.

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Hey Rob — just a heads-up that the map was not made by Jim F. but by one of his readers, David Strip of New Mexico.

That’s the thing about aviation in general - everything is pretty well mapped out, trained for, and understood. Pilots know if they screw up on potentially any phase of any flight, including unexpected events, they may well die a very frightening death.

So it increases the pragmatic aspect of evaluation, and sniffing up a scent isn’t so much tin-foil-hattery as identifying very plain facts and highlighting them. Like the Inmarsat data.

But doesn’t it also seem highly improbable that a plane could bypass tracking? Or is the situation such that countries actually seriously lack in that department? Also, maybe you could clear this up for me, the range of the plane’s path was determined by both radar and sonar, according to reports on CNN, the other day: is it possible that the plane flew, crashed, went under water and was carried by currents? Supposedly, the Indian Ocean is rough.

But the 45,000 ft quoted isn’t a hard definitive number. Isn’t it possible that someone lost control with the plane going both up and down, but not to those extreme degrees?

Also, I agree that it would be extremely convenient for Malaysia if this was indeed the pilot’s doing since he was upset about an opposition leader that he supported. That would help twofold; entrenching support for current leadership and washing their hands of the loss of a plane at once. The US would jump on the bandwagon because they want more control over passengers and whatnot.

Yes, it is. FMCs have inputs for direction, speed, height - all of it. If you didn’t know how to work it, you’d likely screw up, but potentially figure it out. The waypoint jinking looks like a pretty amateur effort - if a 777 pilot were in charge, they would have flown a different profile altogether!

Check out for your ocean currents - nice little map halfway down.

The “Bengal Gyre” doesn’t give much hope.



All passengers will become incapacitated within 15 seconds at a 45,000-foot cabin altitude, but it would take quite some time – possibly hours or days – for hypoxia fatalities to reach 100%. A decompression excursion to 45,000 feet, possibly followed by several further hours of decompressed flight at high altitude, doesn’t necessarily mean that the passengers should be “written off”.

I think the map is much too conservative. If someone is creative enough to come up with a plan to steal a 777, they are creative enough to find a suitable improvised landing site. Dry lake beds, frozen lakes, long stretches of highways, even smooth frozen prairies all provide a reasonable chance of an intact – if risky – landing.

And if you’re willing to belly-land and seriously damage the aircraft, you can survivably land in any number of out-of-the-way places.

Not sure why people are thinking the plane would magically decompress at 45k ft - and even if it did, the oxygen masks would deploy. Or am I missing something here. What’s today’s armchair pilot theory?

Service ceiling for a 777 I think is 43k ft. I don’t think 45k would be an issue for the airframe if you could get up there.


First, it’s important to remember that the radar data showing the
aircraft’s altitude is based on primary radar return data that is known
to be inaccurate at great distances from the radar ground stations, as
is the case here.  While I do not believe that the aircraft actually
climbed to 45,000 feet and then made a rapid dive to 23,000 feet

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Pressurization is controlled in the cockpit.

And like all other systems in a plane, I’m assuming there will be some manual control over the passenger’s oxygen mask flow. The pilot may need to shut it off if it is feeding a fire, or once they reach the ground, etc.

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i think the conspiracy thinking here is that the pilots would purposefully depressurize the plane to eliminate the passengers. given that the typical passenger at 1am would fumble with the oxygen mask for longer than 15 seconds. i don’t know if pilots can purposefully depressurize a 777 or not.