MH370 A different point of view. Pulau Langkawi
A lot of speculation about MH370. Terrorism, hijack,
meteors. I cannot believe the analysis on CNN -
almost disturbing. I tend to look for a more simple
explanation of this event.
Loaded 777 departs midnight from Kuala to Beijing.
Hot night. Heavy aircraft. About an hour out across
the gulf towards Vietnam the plane goes dark meaning
the transponder goes off and secondary radar
tracking goes off.
Two days later we hear of reports that Malaysian
military radar (which is a primary radar meaning the
plane is being tracked by reflection rather than by
transponder interrogation response) has tracked the
plane on a southwesterly course back across the
Malay Peninsula into the straits of Malacca.
When I heard this I immediately brought up Google
Earth and I searched for airports in proximity to
the track towards southwest.
The left turn is the key here. This was a very
experienced senior Captain with 18,000 hours. Maybe
some of the younger pilots interviewed on CNN didn't
pick up on this left turn. We old pilots were always
drilled to always know the closest airport of safe
harbor while in cruise. Airports behind us, airports
abeam us and airports ahead of us. Always in our
head. Always. Because if something happens you don't
want to be thinking what are you going to do - you
already know what you are going to do. Instinctively
when I saw that left turn with a direct heading I
knew he was heading for an airport. Actually he was
taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi a 13,000
foot strip with an approach over water at night with
no obstacles. He did not turn back to Kuala Lampur
because he knew he had 8,000 foot ridges to cross.
He knew the terrain was friendlier towards Langkawi
and also a shorter distance.
Take a look on Google Earth at this airport. This
pilot did all the right things. He was confronted by
some major event onboard that made him make that
immediate turn back to the closest safe airport.
For me the loss of transponders and communications
makes perfect sense if a fire. There was most likely
a fire or electrical fire. In the case of fire the
first response if to pull all the main busses and
restore circuits one by one until you have isolated
the bad one.
If they pulled the busses the plane indeed would go
silent. It was probably a serious event and they
simply were occupied with controlling the plane and
trying to fight the fire. Aviate, Navigate and
lastly communicate. There are two types of fires.
Electrical might not be as fast and furious and
there might or might not be incapacitating smoke.
However there is the possibility given the timeline
that perhaps there was an overheat on one of the
front landing gear tires and it blew on takeoff and
started slowly burning. Yes this happens with under
inflated tires. Remember heavy plane, hot night, sea
level, long run takeoff. There was a well known
accident in Nigeria of a DC8 that had a landing gear
fire on takeoff. A tire fire once going would
produce horrific incapacitating smoke. Yes, pilots
have access to oxygen masks but this is a no no with
fire. Most have access to a smoke hood with a filter
but this will only last for a few minutes depending
on the smoke level. (I used to carry one of my own
in a flight bag and I still carry one in my
briefcase today when I fly).
What I think happened is that they were overcome by
smoke and the plane just continued on the heading
probably on George (autopilot) until either fuel
exhaustion or fire destroyed the control surfaces
and it crashed. I said four days ago you will find
it along that route - looking elsewhere was
This pilot, as I say, was a hero struggling with an
impossible situation trying to get that plane to
Langkawi. No doubt in my mind. That's the reason for
the turn and direct route. A hijack would not have
made that deliberate left turn with a direct heading
for Langkawi. It would probably have weaved around a
bit until the hijackers decided on where they were
Surprisingly none of the reporters , officials,
other pilots interviewed have looked at this from
the pilot's viewpoint. If something went wrong where
would he go? Thanks to Google earth I spotted
Langkawi in about 30 seconds, zoomed in and saw how
long the runway was and I just instinctively knew
this pilot knew this airport. He had probably flown
there many times. I guess we will eventually find
out when you help me spread this theory on the net
and some reporters finally take a look on Google
earth and put 2 and 2 together. Also a look at the
age and number of cycles on those nose tires might
give us a good clue too.
Fire in an aircraft demands one thing - you get the
machine on the ground as soon as possible. There are
two well remembered experiences in my memory. The
Air Canada DC9 which landed I believe in Columbus
Ohio in the eighties. That pilot delayed descent and
bypassed several airports. He didn't instinctively
know the closest airports. He got it on the ground
eventually but lost 30 odd souls. In the 1998
crash of Swissair DC-10 off Nova Scotia was another
example of heroic pilots. They were 15 minutes out
of Halifax but the fire simply overcame them and
they had to ditch in the ocean. Just ran out of
time. That fire incidentally started when the
aircraft was about an hour out of Kennedy. Guess
what the transponders and communications were shut
off as they pulled the busses.
Get on Google Earth and type in Pulau Langkawi and
then look at it in relation to the radar track
heading. 2+2=4 That for me is the simple
explanation why it turned and headed in that
Smart pilot. Just didn't have the time.
If you are reading this the first time please read
the two further comments containing corrections and
additions to the above in the string of the comments