MH370: Triumph of the Weird

Well, here we are in cold-case land, scratching our heads. Some $150 million has been spent and no plane. Where does that leave us?

For one thing, with radically altered probabilities of what might have happened.

Imagine that we dial the clock back to August, 2015. You’re Warren Truss and this the story that your data is telling you:

Based on this default story, you’ve concluded that there’s a 97 percent chance that the aircraft hit the ocean within a 120,000 sq km box. What about the other 3 percent? Let’s imagine there’s a 2 percent chance that it’s somewhere else in the SIO, and a small but finite chance — let’s say 1 percent — that, for unkonwn and uncalculable reasons, the plane didn’t go into the SIO at all.

Time goes by. You search out all but the 1 percent of the search box that your sonar equipment can’t image (e.g. seabed crevasses), throw up your hands, and call it off.

So this is how things now stand: Of the orginal 100 percent, 96 percent has been scanned and ruled out. Here’s how remaining probabilities now stack up:

Of course, these are all very rough numbers. The point being, no matter how you slice it, the scenario that was once nearly a dead certainty (flying into the SIO search box) is now less than an even bet, and outcomes that once barely merited an asterisk are now not only possible but probable.

The most probable category, according to this rough calculation, would be scenarios of the second variety. But if the data is valid, how could the default story be wrong? How could the plane have wound up somewhere in the SIO outside the search box? To square that circle, you have to choose one of the assumptions above and bend it. For instance, one might imagine that the 18:40 BFO value was not caused by the plane flying south, but by a plane that descended–perhaps, say, for a descent into Car Nicobar–and then changed plans and flew instead to, say, Antarctica. Or maybe the plane didn’t fly straight and fast, but flew slowly in a curve toward the Cocos Islands, creating a pattern of ping rings that only happened to look similar to those generated by a plane flying fast and straight.

Such eventualities are so unlikely that, back when the search box was being drawn, it was easy to simply discard them. But now that the most reasonable options are off the table, this very geographically dispersed (and hence impractical to search) population of possible endpoints collectively adds up to “very likely.”

Then again, it’s also now significantly more plausible that the plane didn’t go south at all, or that if it did it wound up in the search box but then fell into an unscannable crevasse.

Whatever happened to MH370, it wasn’t the default story told by the data, but rather something that in the summer of 2015 would have been discarded as hopelessly implausible.

215 thoughts on “MH370: Triumph of the Weird”

  1. @Hank: To my knowledge there is no factual information available to us that unequivocally answers your question. Opinions vary as to how stable the roll attitude is with A/P off and the FCS in normal mode. The performance of MSFS in that regard is unlikely to change the opinions that have been expressed.

  2. buyerninety posted February 13, 2017 at 8:30 AM:

    “undeniably” is a statement of opinion, not fact.

    Have you found anything else in my replies that is opinion, not fact?

  3. @Gysbreght

    I have not been able to find any description of the actual 777 control laws for the roll axis. One is provided with a Youtube based on the PMDG 777 simulation, but it not clear whether the simulation exactly implements the software in the actual 777 FBW computers.

    The exact 777 control laws are certainly known by many people – but as you state, participants in this forum may not know, including me. PMDG would know what they implemented and why. A 777 pilot would know what happens when they hand fly the plane and just take hand of the yoke.

    I was hopeful that someone in this forum may know a 777 pilot or someone that would have a contact at Boeing.

    I have been able to verify that the Airbus A330 uses P command and bank angle hold for angles below 33 degrees, but it is more difficult to confirm Boeing.

  4. @Hank: “I was hopeful that someone in this forum may know a 777 pilot or someone that would have a contact at Boeing. ”

    There are thousands of 777 pilots, but I doubt that any one of them has had the opportunity to fly hands-off, A/P off for sufficiently extended periods.

    As to contacts at Boeing, that is a really big company, and I suspect only a handful of them would be dealing with the questions you are posing.

  5. @buyerninety. B777-Electrical “‘individual equipment items’ listed were not stated as being a complete (exhaustive) list….” Yes that is what I sought to expand.

    Fair enough re references. Because of manual access and copyright I tend to leave some out.

    The reference here is the Training Manual, in fact not copyright. At 24-09-00 p147 dated 05/1/97, the list including individual equipment items is:
    * Galley loads
    * Utility buses
    * Equipment cooling vent fan
    * Galley chillers
    * Recirculation fans
    * Lavatory/galley fans
    * Electronic seat equipment
    * Hydraulic pumps.

    Above this list it states, “These are the loads that the ELMS can shed and
    the general sequence it sheds them:”

    The same page says, “The ELMS does not monitor the backup generators for load
    shed control.”

    The AMM, which is copyright, dated Sept 5th, 2004 does not differ.

    I hope you get somewhere with rational heading changes with an unconscious crew. A nose wheel or any other main electrical bay explosion could take out electrics and oxygen and hypoxiate the flight crew shortly after an emergency turn though how the aircraft subsequently navigated and the SDU recovered has belied that as plausible and it would add to the Gilbert fire hypothesis.

  6. @all (in particular @all psychics)

    Is there a possibility that the enigmatic ‘SDU re-boot’ was not really a re-boot but the activation of a substitute SDU? Such a substitute may of course have been somewhere other than on-board the MH370 aircraft.

  7. @Shadynuk

    That possibility has been talked about, and it certainly is possible (actually pretty easy). The arguments that finally had me discard it are:

    1> It would require a significant level of sophistication to anticipate that the ISAT data would be used in the manner it was used. It is not clear if anyone really understood that a priori. Matching the BFO offset would also be tricky. Never did really figure out how that might be done.

    2> Motive for doing so is absent.

    3> Debris indicates an ocean terminus. Unless you want to postulate planting of debris.

    Basically, a spoof and variations of a spoof no longer have significant appeal.

  8. @buyer ninety, on the SDU/TCAS offloading by the back up generator, Boeing 777 – Systems Summary (Electrical) Smart Cockpit. com, under Back Up Generators

  9. @StevanG @Gysbreght

    A line pilot could tell in a few minutes or less if the control system held the wings level with hands off the yoke. Any 777 pilot would know. Would not take a test pilot. The pilots do not fly 100% on autopilot and they do not always keep a hand on the yoke when they do other flight deck functions.

    You’re right about Boeing. Only the flight control development group would know the actual control laws. I worked with them on the 767/757 for the Thrust
    Management System control laws but have not had contact since the aircraft certified in the early 80’s.

    Whoever did the simulations in support of ATSB would know or know who knew.

  10. @Hank, I think it would be very maddening for a pilot if a plane’s controls were designed in such a way that, once a coordinated turn was established, the plane would spontaneously decide on its own to level out without a control input to that effect.

  11. @Jeff

    That is not how it works. The roll rate is proportional to the angle of the wheel not the bank angle. A certain pressure/angle might command a roll rate of 2 degrees of bank per second. This would allow the plane to reach 20 degrees of bank in 10 seconds. The pilot would release pressure. The control holds the bank at 20 degrees. If a gust upsets the aircraft to 25 degrees it automatically returns to 20 degrees. The pilot has to reverse the yoke to command it back to level. The 777 exactly does for roll control. This is a roll rate command and bank angle hold fly by wire mode.

    What I don’t know is what this P mode does when the bank angle is zero and the control is centered. Does it treat zero bank the same as 20 degrees and hold it too or does it treat zero bank different and not return the wings to level if a gust tips it to 5 degrees.

    It is easier to not treat zero degrees bank as a special case. This does not level the wings from a commanded angle. It just treats a bank of -30, 0, 15, and 30 the same way and holds the bank angle existing when the yoke is centered.

    If the autopilot was off and the yoke was neutral with the wings level, it is possible that the plane could just fly wherever. Atmospheric disturbances would tip the wings and change heading but the wings would return to level and stop the turn.

  12. @DennisW. His theme. “But could 9M-MRO just flown itself without the autopilot and with an unconscious?crew.”

    Best look away.
    That dam sounds like quite a repair job, if not worse.

    @Hank. Roll stability, no autopilot.
    From the Training Manual, 27-02-00, p7, “The pilots or the autopilot commands control the PFCS. The pilots can override the autopilot.” (PFCS is the Primary Flight Control System. PFCs are Primary Flight Computers.)

    That to me says there is nothing in between which would provide enhance static roll stability, i.e.tending to return an aircraft from a disturbance.
    (I should add for completeness that ‘pilot input’ in the above context would include any control wheel inertia and column inputs with no pilot at all).

    Under manual PFCS operation the same page says, “The PFCs calculate the flight control commands based on
    control laws and flight envelope protection functions. The control laws supply stability augmentation in the
    pitch and yaw axes and flight envelope protections in all three axes.”

    Page 8. “The PFCS has three modes of operation: normal, secondary, and direct. Normal mode operates when the necessary data are available for the PFCs and the ACEs. All the control laws, protection functions, and the AFDCs operate. When the PFCS detects the loss of important air and attitude data, the PFCS operation changes to secondary mode. The PFCs and the ACEs operate but the PFC control laws and protection functions downgrade. The autopilot cannot operate in secondary mode.”

    (I leave ‘direct’ aside. Page 29 says, “In direct mode, the command calculation uses control laws contained in the ACE hardware”.)

    Normal mode. At p32, the functions of the PFC include:
    • “Supply stability augmentation
    • Supply flight envelope protection”

    As above the stability augmentation function applies just to pitch and yaw and is concerned with yaw damping, turn co-ordination and gust suppression i.e. mostly dynamic stability.
    The same page lists envelope protections, which in the roll axis include just bank angle. However that is applied as a counterforce in the wheel against the pilot in the wheel but just at bank angles of 35deg or more so not germane.

    Secondary Mode. The Training Manual p40 is more emphatic than page 8 above, “A simplified set of control laws operate the PFCS in secondary mode. The protection functions are not available”.

    Loss of pilot heat at fuel exhaustion causes reversion to secondary, Gysbreght saying that ADIRU speed data apparently being adjudged insufficiently accurate/reliable – but you can see that the mode in fact matters not anyway.

    I hope this helps, though it does not address ‘natural’ static roll stability of the aircraft, eg conferred by dihedral. On that, since Boeing reckon the aircraft would turn left (mostly) or right on fuel exhaustion, that indicates it is not statically stable in roll I think, autopilot off and in fact it could be slightly unstable.

    As I see therefore the aircraft is free to roll in response to gusts or small trim residuals, damped just by dynamic roll resistance, opposed/enhanced/stimulated by any “natural” stability.

  13. @Hank

    A pilot who is friends with 777 drivers? That’s me although I’ll confess I’ve gotten a bit bored with “what does the plane do when xxxxxxx” scenarios. But I’ll offer the following on your questions:

    When you turn the yoke, you bank at a rate commensurate with the deflection of the yoke. When you reach your desired bank angle (up to 30 degrees), you can center the yoke and that bank angle will be maintained until you roll out of it. Past 30 degrees you begin to take responsibility in all the axes up until about 45 degrees at which point you’re responsible for everything except envelope protection. It’s exactly like flying anything else, except the workload is lower as far as your hands are concerned.

    You will also need zero back-pressure to hold level flight in the turn, provided you entered the turn in more or less level flight and the bank angle is less than 30 deg. Again, lower workload.

    If you entered a turn in a non-level attitude, I honestly don’t remember if pitch-control holds a Vert Speed or a deck angle. Whatever it does, you don’t really perceive the assist, except to feel “wow” this thing is really easy to fly.

    Having said all that, you need to know that the pilot incapacitation theory has been dead for a long time. You can visit the gravesite. Digging it up is illegal.

  14. @Jeff wise

    Every plane is designed to keep the plane level without any human control.
    The V-shape between both wings is designed for this as you should- and offcourse know.

    In level flight without actuating control surfaces but disturbed by gush-winds or something else the angle of the right or left wing would loose lift automatically push the plane to level again.
    That’s the inherent stability every glider plane and also all commercial jets are designed around.

    The tendency of V-shaped wing planes like a B777 is to level out horizontally without control inputs.
    A vertical stabilizer somewhat left or right or a shut off engine would only cause some skidding and drag but not forcing the plane in a steep bank angle if all wing-control-surfaces where in neutral position.

    With no pilot-inputs and no A/P inputs we have to assume the plane was on its own and on its inherent stability.
    What means keeping wings level by design like an unpiloted glider.

  15. @Ge Rijn, I’m a glider pilot, and that’s now how it works. A plane is not a boat; the dihedral, while no doubt aiding stability, will not return a plane to wings-level. If you let go of the controls the plane will roll off to the side and dive. Mike Exner has written about this a great deal on many forums.

  16. @DennisW regarding “who cares?”

    Personally I believe this was a very well planned and executed suicide mission. Others in this forum believe that 9M-MRO was hijacked and taken north. In both of these scenarios the full functionality of the AP/FD is available.

    But David Soucie, Richard Quest, and others seem to favor the theory that there was a fire and/or rapid decompression that caused the pilots to divert toward Penang and then lost consciousness. But the discussion of how 9M-MRO turned North and ended in the SIO is never really

    While I do not favor the ghost flight, I believe that the FBW system can keep the aircraft in the air without the AP. I have not seen any discussion that 9M-MRO could have randomly just flown itself for 7 hours. Everyone talks only about AP modes.

  17. @Hank, I’ve worked with David Soucie and Richard Quest and can personally attest that neither of them has more than a surface understanding of the technical aspects of this case.

    @Gysbreght, The ATSB, too, has made it clear that in the absence of active piloting a 777 (but really, any plane) will enter into a spiral dive. This is extremely well trodden ground.

  18. @Hank: Keeping the airplane in the air several hours is one thing, maintaining a more or less constant heading is something else.

  19. @Jeff Wise: The ATSB has not revealed the scenarios that they asked Boeing to simulate. Apparently one or two of those scenarios ended in a spiral dive, but most didn’t.

  20. @Jeff Wise: Take for example the yellow trace of the Nov. 2. 2016, figure 6, End of Flight Simulations. The final turn has a radius of about 14 NM, compatible with a bank angle of 3 degrees at the probable trim speed of 200 kt.

  21. Matt Moriarty

    Thanks. You description of the aircraft roll control mode is as I understand it to be. The aircraft will roll in or out of a bank at a roll rate which is proportional to the force (displacement) applied to the yoke. Up to some bank angle, it will then automatically hold the angle during the turn.

    I suspect, but don’t know for certain, that if the pilot rolls the plane to a zero bank angle and releases, the system will hold the zero bank angle.

    The system is designed to provide automatic turn coordination and pitch compensation as you note. Great flying qualities.

    I am not promoting the dead pilot theory – I believe this was a planned flight to somewhere. But I have not seen anyone ever discussing that it would be even remotely possible for 9M-MRO to stay in the air for seven hours without the autopilot engaged.

    Ge Rijn

    Jeff is correct about the dihedral. For a model glider its dihedral is very large and with the rudder keeps the plane level. But in most planes, there is no inherent roll attitude stability and they just roll off into a spiral dive.

    The only way that 9M-MRO could stay upright for seven hours is if the PFCS normal mode roll axis logic maintained the bank angle at zero or the autopilot was engaged. All of the discussion to date has only been about which AP navigation mode was engaged for the last leg of the SIO trip.

  22. @Hank: To keep the wings level during extended periods, I think you need the AP in ATT mode championed by Oleksandr some time ago.

  23. @Hank

    “But David Soucie, Richard Quest, and others seem to favor the theory that there was a fire and/or rapid decompression that caused the pilots to divert toward Penang and then lost consciousness. But the discussion of how 9M-MRO turned North and ended in the SIO is never really explained.”

    My comment was a bit snarky, and I apologize for that. I was and am in a bit of a funk relative to this whole affair. I don’t see any possibility that the search will be resumed, so it would seem that further analytics are pointless. Some serious breakthrough on the investigative side is about the only thing that might start the ball rolling again.

    The notion that some scenario not involving a deliberate piloted diversion is the answer is simply preposterous.

    Carry on.

  24. Jeff,

    I have not seen any serious discussion by Soucie or Quest about how the AP modes get set during the ghost flight. That is why I believe this was a managed flight to somewhere.


    Don’t mix up the control problem of keeping the wings level and the navigation problem of where the aircraft goes.

    The atmosphere will disturb the bank angle and the heading will change until the FBW system levels the wings. If this was an entirely random markov process for bank angle disturbances, the aircraft would tend to follow a straight course. The magnitude of the s-turns would be based on the magnitude of the disturbances and the dynamics of the wing leveling.

    But the winds aloft change with location and altitude and this is not random on a small scale. So as the winds aloft could bias the bank upsets one way or another and maybe large turns could happen.

  25. @DennisW

    Thanks. I agree with you. The searching is most likely over and second guessing how ATSB decided where to search serves no purpose.

    I agree the mechanical failure theory followed by a ghost flight seemed preposterous to me – I still think a very well planned and executed suicide mission is more plausible.

    I was just wondering whether this could have happened without the autopilot engaged following the initial turn back.

  26. @Hank: “The atmosphere will disturb the bank angle and the heading will change until the FBW system levels the wings.”

    The Boeing simulations I referred to show that FBW system does not level the wings after a disturbance.

  27. @Hank

    Yes, as much as I (and others) have been critical of the ATSB, the fact remains that they did have a ton of expertise and information still not made public to work with. One has to assume they picked the most likely place to search. Initial terminal locations in the same general area derived by very competent outsiders support this view.

    What troubles me about suicide is that it was coupled with the mass murder of men, women, children, and colleagues. All things considered, a grisly event. There was no note. No reference to any situation in Malaysia. No apparent behavioral aberrations preceding it… Why the SIO, and not simply dump the aircraft is the South China Sea or better yet leave your car running in the garage? Sorry to be repeating stuff that has been hashed over many many times.

    I do think there is ample reason to believe something else was going on. The behavior of the Malays in the hours and days after the aircraft went missing would certainly seem to suggest scenarios alternative to suicide.

  28. @Gysbreght

    Re: “To keep the wings level during extended periods, I think you need the AP in ATT mode.”

    If the Roll Axis control laws of the fly-by-wire system operates as I think it does it could hold the wings level for seven hours without the autopilot engaged.

    The pitch axis is set to maintain one g and hold speed (C*U Mode), not pitch attitude or altitude. For a fixed throttle, the aircraft would cruise climb as fuel burned off.

    Is this likely – hardly. Is it possible, yes – if the lateral P-mode automatically holds bank angle to zero if it was last set to wings level by the pilot.

    I doubt that Boeing ever simulated this, because all of the effort was supporting ATSB in evaluation of long range cruise in some AP navigation mode.

    I don’t know if anyone every asked Boeing or a 777 captain what would happen if a 777 was being manually flown at 35,000 feet at Mach 0.82 and the wings were level and the pilots just fell asleep with the control yoke just sitting untouched.

    Does the aircraft just roll over and crash? Or does it just fly around on its own? Non-FBW aircraft just roll over and crash. 777?

    Who cares? What difference does it make now? All good questions. Doesn’t really matter now anyway.

    In my 40 year working career, it was all with fly-by-wire systems and electronic engine control systems (FADEC) for all kinds of military and commercial aircraft and I was a general aviation pilot. I have designed and implemented control laws in the past. I just do not know exactly what 777 implemented for roll axis.

  29. @Hank: “I doubt that Boeing ever simulated this, because all of the effort was supporting ATSB in evaluation of long range cruise in some AP navigation mode. ”

    The ATSB has asked Boeing to conduct End-of-Flight simulations. They reported on the first series of simulations in December 2015. In April 2016, the ATSB defined a range of additional scenarios for the manufacturer to simulate in their engineering simulator. Reasonable values were selected for the aircraft’s speed, fuel, electrical configuration and altitude, along with the turbulence level. Figure 6 of the Nov.2, 2016 report illustrates the resulting flight paths from the simulations performed by the manufacturer and aligned at a point consistent with when the final BTO transmission may have occurred. This illustrates the lateral ‘mode’ of the FBW system in secondary mode, which is similar to normal mode.

  30. @Hank
    The way I look at it, we have intentional diversion as the most likely cause, but we are not 100% certain, so there could be any number (hundreds) of “plausible” but unlikely theories, which do not seem to fit the known facts very well.

    As far as CNN, there was a turning point about 2 weeks after the crash, when CNN basically said it was not going down the “pilot did it” path out of respect, and that was the day the CNN coverage was more “reality TV show” than truth-seeking in my opinion. But I watched the show anyways.

    Interesting to note, we do not really have to wait for crashes to fix certain aviation issues. If spoofing BTO/BFO seems easy to do, let’s make it harder, if it is an easy fix. And why the heck can the transponder be turned off in mid flight? without any emergency signal or other control? Why do pilots need to be able to fully depressure the cabin, again with no emergency message?

  31. @TBill

    Certainly with technology cheaply available today using either Globalstar or Iridium it would be easy to include a non-interruptible tracking device on every aircraft. Consumer versions of such devices, SPOT (Globalstar) and DeLorme (Iridium), are available in the under $500 price range. I have one of each, and they both work very well. By the time the FAA might approve a version the price would likely rise enormously, but it would still be cheap in the grand scheme of things.

  32. @Jeff Wise @Hank

    Without any input on control surfaces and all control surfaces in neutral any plane (except fighter-planes) is designed to stay level within limits.
    A glider would not allow a dive-bank without human input unless iniciated, a mechanical failure, or a sudden drastic atmosfheric event.

    It’s inherent stability in case of no pilot input and all horizontal control surfaces neutral would keep the plane more or less level IMO.

    Just throw a well designed model glider plane from a hill with some side wind.
    You’ll see the plane won’t bank and crash but correct its attitude due to its inherent stability induced by its V-shaped wing configuration.

    If a ghost-flight was the case after FMT with the plane left on its own only depending on its inherent stability, this was what probably happened till the end.

    I don’t believe this happened fot it’s not logical at all.
    But if it happened the plane flew itself level till the end.

  33. @Gysbreght

    You are not correct about secondary mode. In the secondary mode the angle of the yoke sets the angle of the flaperons, but certain protection features are available. In normal mode, the angle of the yoke sets a target value for roll rate and the computer sets the control surfaces to exactly provide the commanded rate. In secondary mode the aircraft would quickly roll into a spiral dive as the simulations show. My interest was how the normal mode would operate through Arc 6.

    It looked to me that other than the terminal simulations, the ones used to support the DTSG modelling were based on autopilot and typical airline type cruise.

  34. @Hank: From the FCOM, Chapter 9.20, Flight Controls – System Description:

    Normal Mode Roll Control
    Roll control is similar to conventional airplanes. Aileron and flaperon surface deflections are proportional to control wheel displacement.

    Secondary and Direct Mode Roll Control
    Roll control in the secondary and direct modes is very similar to roll control in the normal mode. Bank angle protection is not available in either the secondary or
    direct mode.

  35. @Ge Rijn,

    Your statements sound very authoritative, but are absolutely wrong.

    A toy glider is designed with a huge dihedral and behaves exactly as you say.

    No real aircraft is built this way and this is intentional because it works against the ability to intentionally control the aircraft. You actually design the aircraft to be slightly unstable in roll because it makes it more agile and controllable.

    A 777 airplane with its control surfaces fixed in position will either pitch up, stall, and spin or dip a wing and slowly enter an ever tightening terminal spiral dive.

    The simulations for behavior after Arc 7 shows what happens in secondary mode when neither the AP or FBW system is holding bank angle. Gone!

  36. @Gysbreght

    I may have to say “never mind” – My Bad.

    The description you provided is a rather conventional description of the wheel directly controlling ailerons and flaperons.

    What has been confusing me is an article by Jaime Beneyto: An Analyses of the 777 FBW System. It has a YouTube that runs with it which is based on the PMDG 777.

    “The wheel controls: a set of outboard ailerons (locked-out during high-speed flight), a set of inboard flaperons (which function as a combination of flap and aileron), and two sets of outboard and inboard spoiler panels. Rolling the wheel commands, not a given roll attitude, but a roll rate instead. While the wheel is deflected a given roll rate will be obtained; once the wheel is released back to neutral, the achieved roll attitude (or bank angle) will be held. To roll out of the turn back to straight flight, the wheel must be rolled in the opposite direction to the turn, just to be released back to neutral once the wings are level.”

    This describes a classic Roll Rate Command/Bank Angle Hold control law which is clearly implemented by Airbus A330.

    So based on the training manual which I have not been able to download, the 777 roll axis is conventional and the plane will just roll into a spiral dive without a pilot or autopilot.

    I don’t know whether PMDG777 implemented conventional or did what Beneyto said.

    787 clearly states that it implemented a P-Beta mode for roll. I assumed that they went to P-Beta from pure P mode – but it looks they went from conventional to P-Beta.

  37. @TBill
    More on Godfrey’s new paper, he is saying maybe the southern Antarctica waypoint was really Wilkins Field YWKS…that puts the Arc7 pin at 30S which seems to match Godfrey’s debris drift model exactly. Fit to the Inmarsat data is not quite as good as NZPG at the moment, but not bad.

  38. @DennisW

    “I do think there is ample reason to believe something else was going on. The behavior of the Malays in the hours and days after the aircraft went missing would certainly seem to suggest scenarios alternative to suicide.”

    100% agreed.

  39. @Dennis Thanks for your response to my question about a substitute SDU. I am certainly not a proponent of a spoof theory. It was a ‘curiosity’ question.

    I think you summed the situation quite well here: Posted February 14, 2017 at 12:54 PM

    There is something significant missing and there are people that knew about it almost immediately. It seems someone knew what happened and knew that the plane would not be found. Illicit and valuable cargo that someone tried to intercept could explain a lot – but of course – there is no evidence to support that. Shah could have been coerced or enticed to divert the plane. He could have been betrayed somewhere during the process and/or something could have gone very wrong.

  40. @Hank

    Yes offcourse, a B777 is no toy-glider and its amount of inherent stability is not quite comparable with a glider. But still this tendency towards keeping the plane level with all flaps etc. in neutral is build in the design of a B777 too.
    By the angle the wings and elevators are attached to the fuselage.
    It was this factor I wanted to mention.

    In a ghost-flight scenario this could have been a factor of importance IMO.
    Not necessarily after second engine flame-out but then at least during a ghost-flight before engines flame-out.

    I don’t know if all control surfaces went back or stayed to neutral after a EOR/RD or the second engine flame-out during the real flight or in the SIM-tests.
    But I think this could make a huge differance in the attitude of the plane if they were or not.

    Just a point I wanted to shed some light on with a very simple incomplete analogy.

  41. Call me crazy, but until a viable piece of fuselage is found, I will assume the plane didn’t crash. Every piece that has been found so far is small enough to have easily been planted. It’ll take a much larger slice of the pie to convince me. It’s just my opinion, so please dont’t dogpile me too hard.

  42. @Tex: Which piece of fuselage big enough to have not easily been planted would you like top see bobbing in the ocean?

  43. @Hank

    I mean to say that after an EOR/Route Discontinuity without any pilot inputs I don’t know how much the inherent stability of the plane is of importance in keeping the plane level during flight. I assume the plane still corrects itself by keeping a heading or track.
    I still don’t know. No one seems to know what the plane will do after an EOR/RD without any pilot inputs before or after.

    Do you know?

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