The topic was closed before the plane was found

Continuing the discussion from Missing plane “deliberately flew way off course”:

Just figured we all needed to keep going in this thread, at least until we know what really happened.


“How to handle difficult publicity” - page 11. Aah! Guys - only do this when the world isn’t watching!

And how the local rag presented the news.

talk about clickbait!



The Goodfellow theory is being stamped on. Too much navigation, they say.

Anyone got a definitive source for the path the aircraft took? Particularly the waypoint business.

We will never know what really happened. Accident plus deep water equals zero evidence. And people who can’t accept that the world is complex and some things are unresolved will invent conspiracy theories to fill the gap. For every difficult problem, there is a solution which is simple, elegant, and wrong…

I’m really displeased by the media’s handling of all this. They’ve spent all the time since the event trying to find new ways to say “we still don’t know anything”, Once that runs out they’ll switch to finding new. ways to say “why didn’t we just admit we didn’t know anything and shut up?” and keep it going for another month at least.

Bah. The topic should have been closed as soon as we ran out of information.


I know what you mean. But there’s plenty of information.

There’s what we know we can gather, and what we don’t know has been gathered. Military capabilities are both offensive and defensive. The MAD doctrine wouldn’t do much good if you only had 1 minutes warning. I would be surprised, if I knew everything, to hear that ICBMs couldn’t be tracked from launch to strike, every inch of the way.

So applying the tracking method to aircraft - say, bombers - wouldn’t seem far-fetched.

The “key piece of data” in the public domain is the Inmarsart arc. No-one wants this aircraft lost forever - not Boeing, not the airlines. I can visualise a chain of influence / persuasion from Boeing through to the military / government, where you work together to figure out how to “find” the plane and simultaneously minimise publicity of your sensory capabilities - which, in modern warfare, is utterly critical, and will trump anything else.

We kind of forget on a day to day basis why war in developed nations is so limited these days.

The media’s job is to sell “column inches” (metaphor for whatever they’re actually peddling, online or not). So if they ramp up excitement, they sell inches. They’re always going to do that.

With incidents like this, we could run a “grand project” in BB to crowd-source information discovery and analyse the information flow, looking for the gaps, the logic “jumps”, the interstitial data that is seemingly orphaned.

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BBC is live on this find of potential wreckage:

Remember that the search is based on the Inmarsat ping from MH370 while the aircraft was still pinging.

I grant that trying to analyze the analysis capabilities is at least not a null exercise.

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And what we have told has been gathered, plus the revised, corrected or retracted version of what has been disclosed to the public.

That makes it a very hard story to follow unless one is really dedicated to sifting through the announcements, retractions, corrections, etc. and keeping a fix on the timing of them all. Unless you are very cautious, it’s easy to get muddled and start thinking any given tidbit is a fact, even when it has been revised or at least called into question.

One obvious example is the ACARS system. First we were told it was shut off before the last voice contact. Then we were told nobody is sure when it went dark, or how, because all we really know is that it sent a scheduled transmission, the last voice contact happened some minutes later, then ACARS missed its next transmission. So it could have been shut off manually before or after the final voice contact, or could have gone dark for some other reason before or after the voice contact.

And for all I know there has been yet more clarification on this. Either way, there are probably many less attentive people who still think it was shut off manually before the final voice contact.

You can go through a similar process with many more of the information fragments that have been made public.

This is a story begging for a really top-notch journalist with a solid handle on the technical/aviation/remote sensing issues to sort everything out and write a good, clear, factual narrative, gaps and all. It may be too soon to publish something like that, but I hope somebody’s diligently at work on it.

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Yeah, right? It’s a playground for silly stories!

All the stuff I’m on about is before you even get to the silly stories and farfetched hypotheses that get trotted out to fill space and airtime. Even if you try to stick to just the facts, it’s still a nearly hopeless muddle.

Pilot had his own flight simulator - fact.
Forensic analysis of simulator is ongoing - fact.
FBI has been called in to attempt retrieval of deleted files - fact.
OMG, maybe the pilot had been practicing flying the plane directly above another 777 to fool radar until he could reach a top-secret Taliban airbase!!! - stories we make up to add excitement in between dribs and drabs of real info.

Fortunately I have not been following this one on television… I can barely imagine the amount of nonsense people have been absorbing.


Yeah, I really liked the plane following plane “hypothesis” (hyperthesis). As opposed to flying low on autopilot, maximising distance from radar installations. Radar can’t see through ocean, so you’re basically invisible if you fly at 2,000 feet. You can make the autopilot do that.

But - here’s a fact - the Malaysian response has been downright wrong.

From the beeb, today:

British satellite company Inmarsat tells
the BBC there were very strong indications 10 days ago that the plane
would be found either in the southern part of the Indian Ocean or in
Central Asia, and not in the South China Sea or the Malacca Straits
where Malaysian authorities continued to search.

Doesn’t flying at 2,000 feet greatly (but greatly) reduce a jet’s range?

No way to make it all the way to Afghanistan flying that low… barring some additional fantastical yarn that I’m too lazy to cook up right now.

And yes, the Malaysian government has massively contributed to the murk and muddle, and apparently fallen victim to it.

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It’d still go a long way.

@peregrinus_bis, do you have a favoured hypothesis about what really happened? You seem to understand aviation and some related matters very well, so I’m curious to know where the scant evidence points, in your opinion.

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Ach no. Not enough data!

If the waypoint jigging really happened (just west of the Malay peninsula), that indicates someone was feeding the autopilot waypoints. In the event of an emergency, the pilot would, as Goodfellow says, have gone to Langkawi. Maybe the waypoint jigging was a way of losing speed (hard to do funnily enough!) and altitude for the landing at Langkawi, in the absence of other control over the aircraft.

Or, it indicates someone else was controlling the flight via the FMS.

If the wreckage is off Australia, could indicate someone was operating the aircraft - fire or not - and the last thing they did was point it south. Also, if someone were programming the FMS ham-handedly, they could have set an altitude and speed, but failed to indicate a new waypoint or direction, the aircraft would just follow instructions.

There are two many unknowns - but it wasn’t a meteor or alien. I don’t really buy the theft for nefarious purposes theory, but I don’t discount it as impossible, given the stupid things terrorists have tried to do before.


found this

pretty good timeline

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