July 23, 2016

The pilot of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 conducted a simulated flight that followed the presumed flight path of the lost plane.

The 2 flight paths, plunging southward:



"New York has obtained a confidential document from the Malaysian police investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that shows that the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, conducted a simulated flight deep into the remote southern Indian Ocean less than a month before the plane vanished under uncannily similar circumstances."

32 comments:

Laslo Spatula said...

The lesson I take from this is only get on planes with white pilots.

Male white pilots.

Male white pilots with distinguished hair.

Male white pilots with distinguished hair that look like Peter Graves.

That should do it.


I am Laslo.

Bob Ellison said...

Oh, that's solid evidence from Malaysia and New York Magazine.

I remember flying on the Microsoft flight simulator from one airport to another and deliberately crashing the plane because landing it was so difficult. I should be in jail or something.

Bob Ellison said...

Laslo, don't eat the fish.

Quaestor said...

Laslo, do you like movies about gladiators?

Quaestor said...

Laslo, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?

rhhardin said...

It used to be that you planned a flight by drawing a pencil line on a map; which itself was just a rough plan.

After a while you knew the reachable area so well that you stopped doing that at all.

Then came electronics and radios and even today apparently GPS. I doubt pilots today can even navigate.

Navigation consisted of making good guesses about what landmarks are on the map and what landmarks aren't. And the rule don't change course unless you're sure.

CWJ said...

Bob Ellison,

I had a first generation flight simulator from the Atari era. When I discovered that nothing bad happened when I went off the runway, I gave up on taking off altogether. From then on, I just taxied from airport to airport. It was great perverse fun for awhile.

Roughcoat said...

Spooky.

I mean, what's spooky is, the so-called Deep Pacific and Deep Indian Oceans. Gives me the chills thinking about it. More remote than the moon; more mysterious. Into the "vasty deep" and all that. It's like another dimension: that place at the edge of Medieval maps: "There be dragons here." Does anyone know what I'm getting at? Do you feel the same way about it?

The Drill SGT said...

The fact that Zaharie apparently practiced flying until he ran out of fuel over the remote southern Indian Ocean suggests the current search is on the right track — and that another year of hunting might be a worthwhile investment.

what is the return on an investment of more millions?

mockturtle said...

My old version of Flight Sim 2000 began with the narrator suggesting that one could fly into the Empire State Building. He said something like, 'Wouldn't that be cool?'. Does anyone else remember that?

madAsHell said...

This is old news. I recall the search of the pilots house, and discovering the waypoints in the simulator was revealed shortly after the crash.

Unknown said...

Indeed, SGT, a million bucks would buy a lot of electricity and a lot of electrodes for a lot of the pilot's family and friends.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"I mean, what's spooky is, the so-called Deep Pacific and Deep Indian Oceans. Gives me the chills thinking about it. More remote than the moon; more mysterious. Into the "vasty deep" and all that. It's like another dimension: that place at the edge of Medieval maps: "There be dragons here." Does anyone know what I'm getting at? Do you feel the same way about it?"

Buckley had a good column once "Republicans and the Deep Blue Sea."

William said...

Do you have to shout Allah Akhbar before you kill a lot of people, or do you get credit for silently reciting the prayer to yourself?.....I know that there are neo-Nazis and postal workers who engage in such actitivies, but the Islamic faith generates a remarkable number of lunatic mass murderers.......,,I would ask Catholics to question why their faith generated so many pedophiles and so many prelates willing to cover for them. I would also ask Muslims to question why their faith produces so many killers and so many imans who encourage such lunacy. I would also ask liberals why my question directed against Catholics is pertinent and why my question directed against Muslims is bigoted?

mockturtle said...

I would ask Catholics to question why their faith generated so many pedophiles and so many prelates willing to cover for them.

The Reformer, John Calvin, in his Institutes of the Christian Religion blamed the prevalence of sexual perversion in the priesthood on the 'celibacy' requirement and the monastic systems. Rabelais also had much to say--and satirize--about monks and priests.

EDH said...

Perhaps this was a "cargo cult" in reverse?

A pilot imagined that if he just flew his plane into the vast ocean a small island airstrip would appear where he could land safely.

The [cargo cult] name derives from the belief which began among Melanesians in the late 19th and early 20th century that various ritualistic acts such as the building of an airplane runway will manifest in the appearance of material wealth, particularly highly desirable Western goods (i.e., "cargo"), via Western airplanes, though the meaning of the behavior is more complex than a simple misunderstanding of capitalistic commodity fetishism on the part of the Melanesians.

Unknown said...

Why would an experienced pilot need to practice flying until you run out of gas?

Original Mike said...

From the article: "However, it’s not entirely clear that the recovered flight-simulator data is conclusive. The differences between the simulated and actual flights are significant, most notably in the final direction in which they were heading."

I did not know that investigators knew for certain the plane's actual flight path in detail. Is that the case?

Fernandinande said...

Laslo Spatula said...
That should do it.


They should also sound like Slim Pickens.

Scott said...

Original Mike said...

From the article: "However, it’s not entirely clear that the recovered flight-simulator data is conclusive. The differences between the simulated and actual flights are significant, most notably in the final direction in which they were heading."

I did not know that investigators knew for certain the plane's actual flight path in detail. Is that the case?

7/23/16, 1:38 PM


Not in detail, no. What we have is a series of periodic check-ins with a satellite channel that give us distance from the satellite's geostationary position at that point in time. That gives you a rough set of data points (in this case south after he transited Indonesian radar coverage), and with that you can determine course and speed. The alternative would have been a north turn (Same distance front he sat, opposite heading)) which would have taken him over land and through radar coverage which would have picked him up.

Basically, when you look at the map there, the turn south into the Indian Ocean is satellite data and 'best guess backed up with evidence', the stuff before it is pretty firm since in addition to the sat data, you have other radar tracks that give you more data. It's actually very impressive that we got this much information on what happened. The question of what caused this is still unsolved (and a subject of fierce debate since if it's mechanical, the manufacturer is on the hook for a big chunk of liability payments, if it's 'Pilot went crazy', the airline, and if it's terrorism, probably the government.

sane_voter said...

the comments to the article at NYMag are a whole lot more interesting than the article itself.

Original Mike said...

Thanks, Scott, that's what I thought. The NYT article is poorly written (surprise!) referring to the hypothesized flight path as "actual".

So my question is, given that they haven't found the plane searching where they think it is, why aren't they searching at the end of the of his flight simulator course? Just a thought.

Clyde said...

I'm certain that's just a coincidence and that the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was just a tragic accident... NAAAAAHHHHH! It's terrorism. Had you going there for a second, didn't I?

MayBee said...

I would love to know what the official thought is about it. They obviously don't think it was mechanical or they'd ground the plane.

We never heard much more about the Iranians with fake passports.

richlb said...

Rotheram, Germany on New Years Eve and the French Bataclan should make it apparent that actual facts in an investigation are intentionally witheld to make the guilty look better.

Guildofcannonballs said...

All apologies, the article from 1/25/1952 by Buckley is entitled "Party and the Deep Blue See" or "The Party and the Deep Blue Sea" without Republican in the title, although it (Republican) is in the sub-head.

Scott said...

As for why they are searching there, it's because the best data points they have show that as the point in the plane's course where it would have run out of fuel and crashed. Keep in mind that they are flying over open water with zero landmarks or points of reference, so in a situation like that the pilot would be relying on instruments and a map (think flying from LA to Hawaii for comparison, once you get off the coast, there's nothing to orient yourself on). The problem is by the time they could zero in on this area, first a good deal of time had passed, and this is not a major shipping lane so the odds of a passing ship noticing anything were poor. In addition, when the plane went down, you have some very deep and not well mapped at all underwater terrain, so spotting anything is difficult at best. For comparison, notice it took more than a week to retrieve the black boxes from the EgyptAir flight that got blown up over the Mediterranean, and that was a lot more data/radar coverage, MUCH shallower water, and in a much much more active area for planes and ships.

As for MayBee's question, it's very possible we will never know what happened exactly. The leading culprits are a terrorism/suicide by the pilot (or possibly a terrorist hijacking that went very bad) for human factor, alternately something mechanical/electrical that knocked out the crew (loss of pressurization or toxic fumes from a fire?) and disabled enough electronics to lose all the communication channels but not the autopilot (which flew the plane until it ran out of fuel and crashed). Both theories are certainly possible, but both have some large questions to be answered, which we don't have the data for.

Also, as I pointed out upthread, there's a lot of money involved in pinning blame (about 40 million US dollars worth before any additional lawsuits). If the pilot is responsible (or maintenance), that comes out of Malaysian Air's pocket, so they want to make sure that blame is pinned on someone else. Mechanical fault like a fire could be pinned on Boeing as the plane manufacturer, so again, they want the pilot to be a nut. Terrorism and the Malaysian government could be found liable, especially if they had hints and did nothing. That gives the potentially liable parties a LOT of incentive to pin the blame on someone else with any 'discoveries' like this flight sim.

TL;DR, take a lot of the speculation with salt and check who is saying what and who has an incentive to say what.

Sebastian said...

"The leading culprits are a terrorism/suicide by the pilot" IOW: flying while Muslim.

David said...

"The 2 flight paths, plunging southward:"

Note the verb choice, students, energizing a mundane sentence.

mockturtle said...

"The 2 flight paths, plunging southward:"

Note the verb choice, students, energizing a mundane sentence.


And technically wrong. One doesn't 'plunge' southward any more than one 'plunges' northward.

David said...

One definition of plunge is a dive into liquid. This flight was a long horrifying dive.


jeyi said...

While the waypoints and the crash strategy obviously had to have been developed and determined considerably in advance, the pilot was a fervent follower of "Islamic reformer" politician Anwar Ibhrahim, Dr. Mahathir's former closest protégé.

Anwar, who had a decade earlier been tried and convicted of sodomy, jailed and ruled inadmissible to Malaysia's political life in what almost certainly was a kangaroo trial convened at Mahathir's behest, has been more-or-less rehabilitated and began to emerge as a political force to be reckoned with in Malaysia. So once again, he was run through a new sodomy trial.

His final court appearance and sentencing was the morning that MH370 was due to fly to China, and the pilot —who had been also experiencing marital problems, with some reports that his wife and children had moved out of the house just days before— was unquestionably sitting in the audience at the courtroom, when a new guilty verdict, jail term, and re-exclusion from politics was decreed by the judge/jury.

Disappearing the plane, its crew, and all of its mostly-Chinese nationals passenger manifest was the most costly and embarrassing possible revenge against the Malaysian establishment, and with the final plunge into the depths of the Indian Ocean 23,000km off Australia's west coast would seem to assure that the black boxes could never be found. But the pilot was evidently unaware of the system in operation where monitoring signals from the aircraft's engines would be routinely sent to satellites, and that data could be used to reconstruct the course, altitude, and ultimate end of the plane.