Saturday, 15 March 2014

MH 370
Image courtesy of PPRuNE

The amount of conjecture over the disappearance of this aircraft has reached ridiculous proportions.

The bottom line is that there are very few facts to report.

The aircraft took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 8th March 2014 at forty minutes past midnight. It climbed to its altitude of 35,000 feet and was travelling at 471 knots true airspeed when it ceased all communications and the transponder signal was lost around 1.30am.

That's what we know.

Since there there has been speculation about hi-jacking, mid-air explosions and decompression.

The fact is, until wreckage is found, or the aircraft turns up intact somewhere, it is simply all speculation.

The mystery does have some personal resonance for me, as I flew (with my wife and daughters) from Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur in 2007 in the aircraft that disappeared. We took a stopover in KL before flying from KL to Ho Chi Minh City on a Malaysian Airways Airbus.

How do I know it was the same aircraft?

I have this weird tendency to jot down the registration of every aircraft I fly in. In this case it was  9M-MRO - same aircraft.

The decision to fly Malaysian was deliberate, based on decisions about seat pitch and fleet age. In the case of Malaysian, both were an improvement over Qantas, and similar to Singapore Airlines which took my sons and myself to South Vietnam on the first occasion I went back.

One thing is intriguing if you look at the map I posted, courtesy of PPRuNE.

Note the route which according to automated data that was transmitted after regular contact was lost, can be plotted from these transmissions.

It hugs the borders of the Air Traffic Control zones.

What does this mean? Your guess is as good as mine, but some are suggesting that if it was deliberate (and it's hard to imagine it wasn't) the person in control of the aircraft was trying to confuse ATC.

Until we know more, hope is always better than conjecture.

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...