Malaysia Flight #370: An Update, 10-days After the ‘Disappearance’

Although authorities have been terrible about delaying the release of information, some information continues to slowly emerge. Now, ten days after the ‘disappearance’, a NY Times article presents more precise information, clarifying the transition of the flight from normal radar ATC handling over the Malaysian peninsula, to crossing over the Gulf shoreline, to loss of contact midway across the Gulf. (takeoff at 12:41 AM, reached cruise FL350 at 1:01, last ACARS message sent at 1:07, crossed the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia at 1:08, and transponder was either turned off or lost connection due to distance at 1:21)

All the more interesting are some exceptional comments by readers who are concerned not just about what happened to the flight, but also about how it is being mishandled by aviation authorities worldwide. Here are four selected NY Times comments, showing the Public intelligence that deserves to be fed real information, not spin…

A perspective from an Ex-Malaysian, new york city posted…

I grew up in Malaysia, came here for college and have stayed since for the past 20 years. I am now an American citizen. There have been a lot of conspiracy theories of the Malaysian government covering up some elements of the incident. I could probably shed light on this, by stating old adage – never attribute to conspiracy what could be easily explained by incompetence. I have relatives and friends in Malaysia and I am back there once a year. The government through years of corruption, single-party rule and a highly cultivated patronage culture, has truly atrophied – there’s a terrific NYT article here that points to this. There’s a general malaise in the country in terms of what’s considered as “good enough” is good enough. Another element at play is the face-saving culture of the patriarchal society. First question asked among the politicians invariably involve “how can we manage this so we don’t look stupid or have our political flanks exposed?”, ironically. Even though it’s a democracy, it’s a fairly authoritarian country where press is owned by the government. Elections are bought and paid for, when it gets tenuous, like this recent one. What you see on display in the conference today is just the tip of the iceberg on the level of incompetence. Welcome to my world in the first 19 years.

alan brown, manhattan posted…

Malaysia’s government and the Malaysian Airlines officials doubtless knew this the first day. Their first concern was not the plane or its passengers but the effect of potential pilot complicity or hijacking/terror on the reputation of the country and its national carrier. They put at risk, because of this concern, many pilots from other nations with their disinformation. By delaying the search of the homes of the pilots they may have fatally compromised the effort to pin down the cause and motivation behind this tragedy.

BHC, Twinsburg, OH posted…

Hundreds of lives.  Thousands of grieving family members not knowing what has happened.   A plane worth a third of a billion dollars.   And missing because the international industry is opposed to spending a few thousand dollars per plane to send a signal to a satellite with the following data: flight number, altitude, longitude, latitude. Not being a physicist, I am not sure these data would provide enough information to find the rest of the plane with the black box, but I am sure the problem is not beyond reach.   It sounds like there is more sophisticated homing device equipment on inexpensive drones. We listened to this issue after the Air France tragedy and nothing was done.

JenD, New Jersey posted…

This is so sad and must be excruciating for the families and loved ones of the missing passengers and crew. I hope they at least get some answers soon.

UPDATE, 3/17/14: — another detailed article at BBC.com. Among other details, it states the 27-yr-old copilot has been identified as operating the flight radio during the last regular transmission.
UPDATE, 3/24/14: — they Malaysian Prime Minister today declared that the flight crashed in the south Indian Ocean. This declaration was based on a new analysis of satellite data by the British company Inmarsat. [article]