Malaysia Flight #370: An Update

It was a full nineteen days ago that first word appeared of a flight that had ‘disappeared’. A flight with 239 on board, all of whom trusted the safety and security aspects of today’s commercial aviation system. What followed was a series of mis-steps in which authorities repeatedly withheld information while also disseminating misinformation. People around the globe became increasingly upset about aviation officials – both with the airlines, and with the regulators. Frankly, the story became less about the 239 fatalities and more about the big question: can we trust that those who focus on making money in aviation will deliver a safe service/product and will also deliver the real transparency we all demand?

Debris Field MH370 032614Now, nineteen days on, it appears relatively certain that the flight did end up crashed far from land, on the surface of the south Indian Ocean. The map presented here links to Leehamnews.com, one of the best sources for both news and commentary about this terrible aviation event.

The latest headlines are announcing satellite identification of an apparent debris field, more than 1,500 miles west of Perth, Australia. A DailyMail (UK) news article provides numerous satellite images, maps, and photos. The article goes on at length, and offers details into the marital problems the flight captain was allegedly experiencing. In fact, the article notes that a friend of the 53-year-old captain, “…also a pilot, said Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had been left rattled by his family problems, and didn’t appear to be in the right state of mind to be flying. He warned that it was ‘very possible that neither the passengers nor the other crew on-board knew what was happening until it was too late’….”

One of the more informative news items was a CNN interview of airline pilot and writer John Nance; here is a link to a YouTube video of that interview. Mr. Nance has a deep background in aviation, and his theory seems about as close as we can come to a relatively simple, best-fit explanation of what happened. He concludes an intentional action where the aircraft was depressurized at altitude to kill the passengers, and then the autopilot was used to fly off to a remote crash location. The instigator may have been onboard terrorists, or it may have been one (or both, though seemingly less likely) of the assigned flight crew. And, due to the remote crash location, we may never know the full and true story.

In this world, rife with stress and conflict, some people may go collectively dark and join others as organized terrorists. Others may go singularly dark and not see the evil when they take other lives while they commit suicide. We have to protect against both possibilities. Perhaps the best protection is to simply learn to get along.

UPDATE, 4/1/14:Leehamnet has posted an interview with former-NTSB investigator Greg Feith, who notes it is highly probable we will never find the wreckage. Feith states that the flight did NOT climb any higher than 35,000 feet. He goes further and discusses the aircraft and the ATC system, effectively debunking most theories. The one theory  he does NOT debunk is the idea that this was a suicidal action by a rogue-pilot.