MH370 & The Six Malaysian Muckups

The interim statement by Malaysian authorities into the mystery of MH370 has been released and its painted an increasingly poisonous picture of aviation in that part of the world.  If you wanted to conduct a Harvard Business School analysis into how NOT to manage your aviation business, Malaysia has cornered the market.

Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-260, registration 9M-MRO which disappeared a year ago.  Courtesy of Plane spotters.
Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-260, registration 9M-MRO which disappeared a year ago. Courtesy of Plane spotters.
  • Item 1: One of the batteries on the plane’s Flight Data Recorder had expired in 2012 and no-one had ever replaced them.  No-one in the Malaysian Civil Aviation Authority picked this up.  Shocking.
  • Item 2:  The Supervisor in charge of Malaysian air traffic was asleep and had to be woken up when it became clear the plane was missing – which would have been a disaster for survivors – in fact it took 5 hours for Malaysian authorities to realise they had a crisis on hand.
  • Item 3: The first Malaysian search aircraft took off TEN HOURS after the plane was officially registered missing.  Half a day almost.  Shame.  Useless.
  • Item 4: Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic controllers could barely understand one another, and the Vietnamese failed to respond at all to the first emergency call from the Malaysians.  When the latter had eventually awoken from their slumber.  International aviation is governed by an ability to communicate in English.  But these standards are abused – particularly in this region.
  • Item 5: Malaysian commercial and military ATC’s do not talk to each other.  Which compounded the problem and added to confusion.
  • Item 6: Because the Malaysians were so slow they Vietnamese were also slow, taking another 20 minutes to begin asking why the plane had not reported to them in a hand-over call which is usually supposed to happen immediately after a point is reached.  Like as in seconds.  Twenty minutes @ 600kph is a lot of airspace travelled before the decidedly slow officials started to think about why the silence.

By now if you read this blog you’ll know what I think happened.  The pilot disabled the ACARS & Transponder, told the 1st Officer to go get him something – locked the door and switched off the air filtration and compression system after donning an oxygen mask.  The passengers and crew would have succumbed in seconds to the 36000 feet thin atmosphere and passed out – no time to make a mobile phone call. Then he climbed to 40 000 feet just to make sure.  Everyone was dead within 5 minutes.   One positive for the victims. It was painless and not like a wing coming off and spending minutes in terror plunging to the ocean.

CCTV footage of ilot and 1st Officer clearing security.
CCTV footage of ilot and 1st Officer clearing security.

The pilot then turned and dived steeply avoiding radar.  He  followed a low-level path out to sea past Indonesia, and continued at the altitude for a while.  Or not.  We don’t know.

Finally he ditched the plane in a low speed accident that would have meant little wreckage. It sank to the bottom of the Indian Ocean in one of the deepest and most inaccessible parts of the world.

Why?  Because Pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s wife left him taking their three children on the day of the flight.   And only hours before, Shah’s close friend and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had been arrested on what looks like trumped up charges of sodomy.   Shah knew that the plane was full of Chinese holiday-makers and businessmen and women and he really really wanted the Malaysian government to feel the full weight of an unhappy Beijing. Specifically because he knew how he could make an entire airliner disappear.  He wanted his children to benefit from his life insurance – unlike previous pilot suicides which were not paid out by life insurers.  So that meant DISAPPEAR.  And he more than likely had switched off the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder to further confuse investigators if they ever found the plane.

Simple?  Yes.  Speculation? Yes.  I’m not reporting here.  I’m writing a blog about what I think happened.  Based on a whole year of tracking this event.

Shah also knew what we know that the management of aviation in Malaysia is rife with corruption, maladministration and extremely poor attention to detail so giving this lot the run around was as easy as pie.

And where is Shah?  Did he escape the plane on a raft? No,  he’s more than likely dead.  It was a murder suicide on a massive scale.  Sorry if his relatives feel saddened by this version made public.  But every experienced pilot I’m now reading has come to believe that this is what happened to Flight MH370.

We also now know that the final voice on the ATC recordings was not the 1st Officer as originally reported – it was Shah.

Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 passengers and crew on board after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing, on 8 March.   We may never find the fuselage.

But we may find something.  Here is a picture of where plastics flow around the world’s oceans, courtesy of Adrift.org

Note how plastic from the area where the plane is thought to have landed ends up in a line to Africa..
Note how plastic from the area where the plane is thought to have landed ends up in a line to Africa..
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