Guest Post: “60 Minutes: How to create your own facts before the real ones are at hand”

by Mark D Young

[Reprinted with permission from Mr Young’s website, Flightlevel42]

This past weekend saw the Australian public shown a television programme from the well known 60 minutes team. The programme has been getting a lot of attention, as most episodes do. Similar to the Carte Blanche segment on South African pay-tv station M-Net, 60 minutes has had some stellar moments of true investigative journalism during its run. However, like Carte Blanche, the manner in which many programmes are put together is formulaic.

A script is devised and then a pre-determined set of outcomes is established prior to interviews being conducted. The selection of participants and the editing of footage is carefully undertaken to steer the selected narrative in the direction chosen by the production executives. I have seen enough of both programmes to spot where and how they are edited, how shot selection is strategic and selective staging is used to ensure the script worked out by the production team achieves its goal.

A valid retort to anyone taking issue with the broadcasts of either programme is that “Well, we’ve merely presented some facts and opinions. We have got people talking. If anything changes, we will do a follow up.”

From a purely legal point of view, they are–of course–correct. As they would need to be. One cannot keep your programme running if it upsets too many courts. However, the odd bit of legal controversy–actual or threatened–never hurts the ratings. That’s show business.

This past Sunday’s programme–from “The Situation Room”–supposedly investigating and revealing new information on the fate of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, is a great case study, in my view, of how to go about doing what the team at 60 minutes does so well.

Get folk who apparently have complete expertise in the field being discussed into an impressively titled studio set to give their opinions. If you choose the music and selectively edit well enough, you can create a wrapper of atmosphere and supposed investigation effective enough to permit a public lynching to take place in such a subtle way that a non-thinking viewer, devoid of all the salient facts involved (in what is a very complex matter), can comfortably accept that the 60 minutes team had got to the heart of the matter and presented an irrefutable hypothesis. Viewers can then go away into the world apparently ‘fully informed’ when they are nowhere near such a state.

Articles about the programme are trumpeting the fact that “aviation experts” have changed their views on what happened to MH370 and the “mystery” about what happened has now been resolved.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Great expense was involved in giving one guest the lion’s share of the programme running time to ostensibly present two options (in a Boeing 777 simulator) of the end of flight situation. Both, however, were based on the same core premise for why the airliner was where it was at that stage of its flight. This was not investigation – it was a bludgeoning of a reputation using a personal opinion presented as fact.

Two other guests involved in the show put forward a similar view. Combined, they were given the majority of the airtime.

Counterbalancing these three was only one person who was actually at the sharp end of the official investigation. The edits made have effectively sidelined his attempts at presenting his views or asking for the factual basis of some of the claims made. His approach was, in fact, the only one grounded in the science of flight safety and not wild, headline grabbing speculation.

The second person not pushing the pre-determined premise was an oceanographer who has, in the flow of things, made an entirely incorrect prediction of where the airliner lays. He was edited down to – roughly – a total of 90 seconds of speaking time during the entire exercise.

Balanced?

Hardly.

What of the lynching? Well, that was of the Captain of flight MH370. He was, of course, not present to defend himself. Nor were any of his colleagues questioned on their views of the pre-determined theory. No input was presented from the Malaysian authorities who had actually performed background checks on the pilot and his life-story.

Instead, the script used the few–extremely rare–incidents of malpractice by flight deck crews (and one of those is still highly disputed due to the possibility of misunderstanding of the culture of the pilot by foreign investigators) to try and corral the MH370 loss into the same pen.

A countervailing view can just as easily be that the very fact that they had to scrape the barrel to find – in the event – only one irrefutably proven case of pilot suicide/mass murder in the jet-liner era demonstrates just how rare that prospect is.

It hardly forms–from an aviation safety perspective – the basis of an explanation for this loss. It does not provide, in the remotest manner, a means of conclusively ruling out a sequence of events that provide an alternative explanation to the loss of the aircraft.

And looking at “coincidences” and “what the numbers tell us” is equally flawed as an investigative technique upon which to base conclusions that could affect all future journeys.

Assuming that the statistical safety of a design precludes a cause other than wilful action (or inaction) by the captain as postulated by “experts” prior to the full investigation’s findings, has already proven to be a flawed foundation for the explanation of another Boeing 777 crash.

I, therefore, do not believe that the “statistical safety” of the Boeing 777 airliner can form the foundation upon which to dismiss any possibility of a rare, as yet unknown, combination of mechanical and other factors, which could explain the loss and prevent a recurrence of it with another aircraft.

BA flight 038 is the case in point. A Boeing 777 airliner – statistically the safest aircraft ever built and without an accident prior to the event – generated a set of circumstances which had, and have never, taken place before or since in the history of jet airline transportation. This set of one in 100 million (or more?) factors caused, however, the airliner to drop out of the sky on short final approach.

In that case the wreckage was readily at hand.

No one was killed.

Yet, when the investigators could find no fault in the mechanical systems, “experts”–many within the technical division of the airline rightfully proud of their maintenance–postulated the only explanation for the crash, given the “statistics of the aircraft type” and the lack of other evidence of mechanical causes, was that the captain had “frozen at the controls”.

In that case, even without fatalities having taken place, the investigators eschewed the “experts” views and set about a two year long search for the cause.

In the end, it was found that a particular set of circumstances, unique to that flight, airframe and route used on the day, had caused some freezing, not of the captain’s responses, but of the fuel supply.

Had it not been for the instincts of the captain to survive and to save his passengers, there would have been fatalities. The Captain there proved that airline commanders are humans. They want, in my experience, to survive and do their best to ensure the safety of the passengers in their care.

I cannot but wonder how the same panel of experts on last week’s 60 minutes programme would have set about blaming that captain were they to have been asked to do the same type of programme in regard to flight BA038 prior to the official findings of the painstaking investigation having been released?

And so I place on record my disappointment with the programme and its premise. I am also less than impressed with the manner in which the only true expert on this particular tragedy, Mr Dolan of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, was so obviously hung out to dry and sidelined when he asked valid questions of those postulating their theory.

In effect the panel was 4-2 against with the presenter asking only those questions that steered the discussion further along the pre-determined lines.

Mr. Dolan tried to take the sober view I would expect of a professional investigator. The only facts on hand are that the airliner was, at various intervals, at “some point” along arcs of distance from a satellite. Some wreckage has washed up indicating the airliner is most likely–based on drift analysis of oceanic data gathering bouys–somewhere in the southern Indian ocean. Other than that, there is no undisputed data on the flight as even the radar plots used as a given, undisputed piece of evidence in the “situation room” are of a questionable veracity and are only, officially, “presumed to be” of the missing airliner.

Notwithstanding all the noise around the matter, and his current lack of official involvement, Mr Dolan would still like the wreckage found and he is not prepared, like every official investigator I have encountered in my 30 year involvement in reporting on flight safety, to make any findings in regard to the causes of the loss until it is located and examined.

And I concur with his approach–for it is only once it is found and the available data on the recorders is analysed, or the wreckage examined, that any proper investigation can be undertaken and probable causes established. He also made the point that there has already been learning from the loss–steps have been taken to ensure airliners will soon be tracked every inch of their journey and that a sole crew member cannot take control of an airliner.

While those steps–of themselves—do not support the predetermined, hurtful and highly speculative premise of the programme that “the pilot did it,” it actually highlights how the industry learns from everything and takes steps to mitigate against similar losses in future.

As things stand, and this was mysteriously left out of the programme, the various search areas that were originally determined by various experts, as well as the revised areas and the one determined by the oceanographer who appeared on the programme, have been exhausted without a trace of the aircraft. So, at present, only the places where drift analysis indicates the airliner crashed remain unsearched. Through a long, costly process of elimination, it is now–more than ever– known that the aircraft is not lying on the ocean floor below 28 degrees south on the last communication arc.

What is needed is that the search for the aircraft must be continued in the remaining, most logical areas–based on the physical evidence in the matter–until it is found. There cannot be a number placed on the safety of passengers on other flights.

As pertinent, in my view however, is that–as was said by a relative of one of the passengers in the 60 minutes programme– there cannot be a number put on the peace of mind of the relatives either. “They must look until they find it.” she said. And that, I feel, must be the focus of all efforts in regard to MH370.

I, for one, am not comfortable to fly long haul flights knowing that there is an, as yet, unexplained set of circumstances that led to the loss of an airliner full of people. And “the pilot did it deliberately” is not a comforting or reasoned answer. It is a lazy, ill-advised and insulting cop-out without–as yet–any concrete evidence to support it. Until the recorders are found, any programmes or news articles claiming to have “the real” answers will be nothing more than speculation. Speculation did not get air transport safety to where it is today. We should not let it start to play a role in the future of aviation safety now.

And, rather than spending money on speculative sessions in costly flight simulators, perhaps TV stations should rather band together and fund the final search needed to provide material for a real ratings hit and help to bring closure to the relatives?

199 thoughts on “Guest Post: “60 Minutes: How to create your own facts before the real ones are at hand””

  1. @buyerninety
    I believe Rob has carefully checked and 38S is OK. Originally DrB felt 38S would be ruled out, but when DrB got his final fuel model refined, apparently 38S is within possible range.

    Of course now there is some question altitude/speed after IGARI, which could impact fuel remaining.

  2. News digest this morning suggests Anwar intends to investigate (internally) the government response following MH370 disapearance. Concerns appear to be inconsistencies in passenger list, cargo and more could perhaps be learned from radar data.
    It makes sense to review all the basis before launching a new search.
    Maybe he can also investigate the fire that destroyed the maintenance records as reported by FdG some time ago.

  3. @TBill
    DrB’s recent comments support your assertion;
    “My predicted range limits (using my fuel model) are 14-39 degrees South”…

    I assume that southerly range would be with all Air Packs off and the altitudes
    most favourable to long endurance, to be flown by the aircraft.Unfortunately I
    am not able to check the ‘9M-MRO Fuel Model V5.n.xlsm’ at this time.
    Cheers

  4. Remarkably, now the search is almost over several respected contributors on VI’s blog start to express essentially the same arguments I expressed for so long there and have been called an idiot, inane, lunatic etc. for, under the constant threat of banning me for my arguments and views.

    F.i. @DrB now (among others) uses almost the same arguments I put forward many times before. Is he called an idiot? Threatened with banning? No. Why not?

    I suspect the threat (mine) is gone now for the IG has accomplished it’s goal: by all means obstruct finding the plane. They succeeded so far.
    Now it’s easy to accept different views (mine and others) there for they can do no harm to them anymore.

    The IG should be investigated on deliberately misguiding the search effort.

  5. To add: This is not a revenge campaine.
    I’m serious on investigating IG members.
    IG members had direct contacts throughout and some meetings with ATSB/Malaysian officials and OI officials and advised them. They influenced the search on a high level with ‘their script’ information and surpressing other information by all means.
    With the now know result.

    It’s clear OI has been highly influenced by the IG in their search effort and locations to search (including the search width).
    They covered all the ATSB and IG ‘hot spots’ just before they are going to stop searching.
    It’s clear to me OI has been highly influenced by the IG which resulted in a failed search.

    Therefore they are partly accountable for the failure and therefore their true intentions should be investigated.

  6. @TBill
    @Buyerninety

    Re Dr Bobby’s fuel model: I took the precaution of printing off the range/endurance table in case he amended it to fall into line with ALSM’s 47,000ft passing Kota Bharu ploy. Mach 0.82 at FL400 gives a range of 2795nm between 1829UTC with MEFE at 0019UTC (Dr Bobby’s MEFE times are rounded to the nearest minute). My path is 2788nm between 1829UTC and MEFE 0017:30UTC at coordinates S37.61 E88.66, assuming a 15nm right offset to N571 effective between 18:29 and “the FMT initiated at 18:35.20 UTC 30nm prior to reaching a point abeam of IGOGU (the SIM FMT was 30nm before reaching DOTEN). Now, if you assume (as I do) the aircraft to be at approx FL350 on arriving at the 18:25UTC first BTO ring, and slowing from M0.87,then by 18:29 the pilot had initiated a gradual climb to FL400 together with a gradual slowdown to M0.82 in preparation for the journey south, then the 7nm shortfall in range and the 1 minute shortfall in endurance can be explained by the additional fuel expended in the gradual climb from FL350 to FL400.

    But you are now going to point out there appears to be a 1.5 minute shortfall in endurance, not 1 minute. Actually, believe it or not, the discrepancy can be accounted for by Dr Bobby having used average M1 587kts, while I used average M1 588kts for the journey between 18:29 and 0017:30. So Dr Bobby’s fuel model supports 7th arc crossing at S38 to an uncanny degree.

    I think the word is “eureka!”

  7. @Ge Rijn – actually the data source within Malaysia are the ones who should be investigated. They keep giving out false data to the core IG’ers.

  8. And the other documentary (‘Inside the Situation Room’) was, according to Don Thompson (posting in another place), produced by Jonathan Stadlen, the brother of Paul Stadlen, Najib’s PR and strategy person, and not a single difficult question asked of Hishy and gang:

    =====================

    Don Thompson says:
    April 30, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    For those in UK, or with access to the Freesat broadcasts, there is an MH370 documentary scheduled on Tuesday evening, May 1st at 22:00BST, Channel 5.

    Notably, the programme’s production company is headed by the brother of Najib Razak’s chief communications strategist. There’s a coincidence!

    The promo image features Def Minister Hishammuddin, CAAM DG Azhurrudin, 2014’s air force chief Rozali Daud and overall armed forces chief Zulkifeli Mohd Zin.

    ====================

    Paul Stadlen seems to have a chequered past.

    https://www.knickerbockerglory.tv/jonathan-stadlen

    http://www.channel5.com/show/mh370-inside-the-situation-room/

    What a coincidence indeed.

  9. @TBill

    The nominal terminal point is S39.20 E88.35 for a 16.5:1 ratio glide consciously kept to 188° heading by the pilot, and adjusted for estimated headwinds encountered during the descent.

    It has to be labelled as nominal because we don’t know how far he managed to glide. All we can do is make an informed best estimate and build reasonable leeway into the recommended search area.

    Accordingly, a 20nm radius circle centered on S39.20 E88.35 will safely cover glide ratios between 13:1 and 20:1 and should contain the aircraft.

    The pilot appears have wanted maximum range as a priority if the M0.82 FL400 cruise is anything to go by, so it’s logical to assume he would want to continue to glide as far south as possible once the fuel had run out, and it also explains why he wasn’t found by the original search.

  10. @TBill

    BTW when I say glide ratio, I mean effective glide ratio because there was a steep descent phase followed by a climb back to an optimal altitude from which to establish the minimum drag extended glide. If we assume MEFE was at no less than 38,000ft, then the pilot would have entered a steep descent in order to exchange potential for kinetic energy and to get out of the increasingly strong headwinds from the Northern fringes of the Southern Jetstream. 38,000ft in a 33kt headwind is no place to initiate a minimum drag extended glide.

  11. @Rob
    So correct me if wrong, you are suggesting MH370 rests outside that original search zone, which looks like it already extended quite far about +60 nm outside Arc7. You are thinking the problem is ATSB actually needed to go about 80 nm off Arc7.

    (whereas I refer to Arc7 approx. as defined in the current search)

  12. @Rob
    Correction (drawing the shortest lines):
    …you are suggesting MH370 rests outside that original search zone, which looks like it already extended quite far about +50 nm outside Arc7. You are thinking the problem is ATSB actually needed to go about 70 nm off Arc7.

  13. @Steve Barratt

    Too honest? Exactly the same arguments I presented many times there asif now new, are now brought up by @DrB and IG member Richard Godfrey.
    The latter calling me a ‘complete idiot’ for bringing them forward and now they adopted my idea of using mean values of combined drift studies and centre latitudes.

    Now they come to the suprising combined conclusions the most probable crash latitudes have to be around centre latitudes of 30.2S and 31.6S +/-1 degree till 32.9S.
    @DrB even adding a 50Nm search width.

    Covering almost exactly the latitudes and width I proposed around a centre latitude of 32.4S many times before while the search did not even had reached this area and still had a chance of succes. Now this chances are gone.

    This is not honest this is suspicious.
    If Victor Ianello had been honest he would not have allowed IG members Godfrey and Thompson to intimidate me the way they did constantly under constant threat of banning me.

    If Godfrey was honest he would admitt he has been wrong and now uses my idea of combining drift studies and using mean values and centre latitudes (like @DrB has done also now).

    I don’t trust them anymore (IG). Unless they come with a very good explanation and deep apologies.

  14. @TBill

    They should have gone at least 62nm radially out from the 7th arc, to catch a nominal 16.5:1 ratio glide or 77nm to catch a 20:1.

    The problem was that the ATSB were tied to the 120,000sq km agreed by the Tripartite Ministers. I believe that privately, when it became clear that they weren’t going to find the plane, the ATSB were of the opinion that the pilot had probably performed an extended glide, but the Malaysian government wouldn’t countenance a piloted end of flight. A very sticky situation, as they say.

  15. Todays Guardian has an article on MH370 from the perspective of the NOK. I found these bits telling…

    “…On Thursday, the new transport minister, Anthony Loke Siew Fook, signalled he wanted to abandon looking for the plane and seek ‘closure’…”

    “…Grace Nathan, whose mother was on MH370, said the government had broken an election promise and failed to give a clear reason why the search should be abandoned.

    ‘There was a lot of mention of it in the run-up to the election, and immediately when the new transport minister was appointed, the first statement he made was that MH370 would be his top priority,” she said. “Then a mere two or three days later, after the first cabinet meeting, he said we’re not extending the search anymore. I was really shocked’…”

    I’d love to know what caused the transport ministers sudden volte-face? I suspect that before he got his new job he didn’t have a fooking clue what he was getting into.

    Link to full articel here…

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/29/mh370-is-not-history-families-of-missing-demand-answers-as-search-nears-end

  16. @Jeff Wise

    Now the search has finished and failed I want you and all contribitors who spent so much time and effort over the years, to know also my intend and dedication have only been to serve the goal of finding the plane and conclusive answers.
    Long time contributors will hopefully know my intend and contributions have been sincere from the start. And I’ve always been honest about them.

    And it’s not my intend now to crucify the complete IG and make all of them subject for investigation on supplying OI and the ATSB with deliberate ill advice.
    Noteworthy though is the attitude of specific members first intimidating me and threaten me with banning because of my arguments and later adopting them asif it invented themselfs.
    I’ll leave it with a comment I posted on VI’s blog 7 may 2018 after being threatened by the same person now using my ideas.
    I leave it to you all to make up your mind about this.

    IMO it’s suspisious they (IG) completely ignored my (and others) arguments before and now using them while the search has ended and failed. For the ones interested read the comments just before 7 May and after till ~11 May.
    Jeff, maybe the same happened to you long time ago. I also don’t know who this IG-people really are ofcourse.
    It’s about time someone seriously takes note of them. I’m not in a position to do this.
    I ask you all to have a read on this conversation below and think about it:

    “Ge Rijn says:
    May 7, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    @Richard Godfrey

    I believe it is better to combine the results of the best studies at this stage (like yours!). They overlap and all use high standards.
    Refusing to use CSIRO/Griffin’s data or others (i.e. Pattiarachi) is an unwise approach.
    CSIRO/Griffin’s conclusions have failed considering the impact-areas but their drift-analizes are what they are and you can not simply refute them cause the plane was not found in those areas or cause you use different methods you believe are superior to those of them.

    And to remind you, I don’t need your allowance to express my thoughts and are free to compare every study I like.

    Your priority area is about to fail also. If so there must be an explaination. Combining all drift-data then could help to find a solution. You with your skills could be helpfull finding this solution if your area turns out empty also.”

    And to end: I wish all NoK all comfort to overcome this sad news.

  17. @Ge Rijn:
    “… Combining all drift-data then could help to find a solution. You with your skills could be helpfull finding this solution if your area turns out empty also…”

    Not sure that the the drift data will help anyone to find the plane. In my view I think that the wreakage finds is a red herring, just like the Inmarsat data, designed to justify searching in the SIO. There are just too many question marks around these convenient ‘clues’ to the final resting place MH370 for them to be useful.

  18. @Boris Tabaksplatt

    My theory (and others) is also based on the assumption the Inmarsat-data are genuine/correct and the 7th arc is therefore valid as well.
    If this is not the case and Jeff Wise or others can prove this Inmarsat-data where spoofed in a way and therefore useless to determine a possible final area, this would be huge.
    I really don’t see this happen.
    We have the fact of ~30 debris finds connected to MH370.
    You still can question the Inmarsat-data but you cannot deny the debris finds.
    Unless you argue they all have been planted ofcourse.
    But who knows.

  19. Possibly the local geopolitical players didn’t want to face the culprit of the disappearance of MH370. That is why the search was done to be a no-find ….

  20. Question for those of you who think a conscious Zaharie locked Fariq out, and then killed all 238 souls: what happened next? He consciously landed the plane? Drowned? Cyanide? Would he go through the trouble of dragging Fariq’s corpse back into the right seat in the event that the plane is found? I really would love to hear how divergent, or unanimous, the Vance Camp’s theories are.

  21. @Sunken Deal
    I have not read the Vance book. But the idea of suicide flight was first disclosed in an earlier book “Goodnight Malaysian 370” by Ewan Wilson, which I have adopted as my flight hypothesis quite some time ago.

    Ewan Wilson did not get into details like staging the end appearance of the cockpit. I do not think much public discussion like that has happened to date. My personal thought is maybe the last action was to leave the cockpit empty.

    Another suicide scenario is Ed Baker’s scenario given in a blog spot in 2015 on the 1 year anniversary.

    Ewan Wilson summary-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEfj6xiuGro

  22. TBill, thanks for this answer. Very good summary. Ed actually tweeted this last night, which is also very interesting:

    “I’ve been reading the final AF447 report again. Based on witness marks they could tell what part of the seatbelts were harnessed at impact. I had high hopes for similar info about the FO’s seat, once found. #MH370 @atsbinfo”

  23. Article in the Australian tomorrow by Byron Bailey about getting the Chinese to take over the search. I’m not sure if that’s possible or they will need to get Malaysian permission. Maybe worth a read. Has been quite a bit lately in the MSM in Australia about MH370.

  24. @MH

    The only scenario which I can think of regarding your comment is the one I suggested long time ago:

    The plane was intercepted by yets and shot at around 18:22 causing a sudden decompression and other damage that triggered the re-log-on. Then forcing a descent and a turn to the SIO later as a final action of the PIC before he lost consious.

    Maybe this relates to the information the ATSB does not want to disclose for it would harm ‘bilataral connections’. This on it’s own is a big issue. What is the ATSB hiding and what for?

    But this could well explain the certainty Dolan expressed publicly the flight ended uncontrolled. How would he know so sure?

    It could also well explain the reluctance of Malaysian officials to provide data (specifically military radar-data).

    IMO this can be the only explanation for a ‘ghost flight’ after FMT. All the rest is a one in a billion chance.

  25. @Ge Rijn, I can’t see any reasonable reason for the turn back at IGARI other than to do an emergency landing …

  26. @MH

    Yes I agree that would be the most reasonable reason but the plane did not make any attempt to land (based on military and PSR radar-data) and did not make any (distress)call or contact after 17:21 (if we believe the official reading).

    Then an intercept and shooting at the plane would be a reasonable reason.
    But to hide this from the public makes very little sence. The plane was an immediate threat after IGARI to Malaysia and Thailand and after passing Penang to many other countries.
    Although very hard, I think most people/countries would have accepted such an intervention after thorough investigation.
    Therefore I also regard this scenario as very unlikely (but not quite impossible).

  27. @MH If any such shooting incident occurred while approaching the Vietnamese coast, would it not be better to try to land at a nearby airport there such as HCM which would be closer than Malaysia?

  28. It seems the search is not quite over yet.
    They are specifically searching the Haixun 01 ‘ping-area’ as a final resort.
    I hope with all my heart a miracle will happen.

  29. @Ge Rijn:

    If the plane wreckage is found in the original ‘ping-area’, it would cause maximum damage to Malaysian/Chinese relations. Ironically, it was a Chinese vessel that claimed to find the signal, along with some floating debris – none of which was ever recovered.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Ocean Infinity found a large jet engine on the sea bed around there. I wonder if this small diversion by OI has been officially sanctioned by the Malaysian Government?

  30. @Boris Tabaksplatt

    We’ll see. It’s way beyound the best combined drift analizes regarding timeframes and locations but still not quite impossible.
    I truly admirre OI takes this effort beyond their contract and kind of pray they will find this engine and the rest of the plane (which will be near ofcourse).

  31. @ABN397
    @Ge Rijn

    perhaps if it could continue to fly for a significant time, it was not shot at.

  32. @MH
    “perhaps if it could continue to fly for a significant time, it was not shot at.”

    Depends.
    Hypothetically.
    If we assume it was intercepted and shot at, it depends on what it was shot at with, and where it was hit.
    A missile hit is unlikely to have let it fly at normal cruise speeds, regardless of where the missile hit.
    But cannon fire would not do the damage necessary to slow it down.
    I doubt fighters have live missiles on them unless on alert to begin with.
    Guns on the other hand, are more likely to be loaded when not specifically on alert.
    If a fighter was scrambled, perhaps it’s only available armament was the gun.

  33. @MH

    If hypothetically the plane was shot at at ~18:22 and one engine was taken out the plane would be forced to descent to ~25.000ft for continued one engine INOP flying.
    @DrB once calculated endurance and range with one engine INOP.
    Endurance would be about the same with one engine operating compared with both engines operating but range would be limited due to lower speed on lower altitude (~25.000ft).
    Ending the plane farther north on the 7th arc.

  34. @all (trying only, being banned as wannabe russian troll, by someone)

    many of the personal rants here and there are about not accepting somewhat selfish and narcisist theories by IG – my theory was imaginated under temporary brain overload, so I am good with it, already trying to believe more for Occams approach, but … yeah, there is still lack of debris field and most important for me, the “just one” satphone ring/call into cokpit by MAS (+ the 2nd one uncompleted at very end) – we all were trying here to EXCLUDE nonsenses over the years, everyone using his part of expertise (mine is low), but I cant imagine WHY MAS wasnt trying to contact the cokpit over satcall more than just 1x …

  35. I think the supplied data (unless unrepresentative of the true mh370 data) precludes the above stated ideas. It continued to fly on for another 5+ hrs north or south. Where south looking not likely.

  36. Does anyone have an app or account that can look up actual departure times for flights as early as March 7, 2014? I don’t, but wish to complete a comprehensive database of the precise paths of all flights “in the news” as being potentially connected to MH370.

    If anyone responds that they are both willing and able, I’ll send on a comprehensive list of flight numbers and dates.

    Huge thanks in advance! Sorry for not getting on this sooner.

  37. @Brock McEwen: You might as well directly get in touch with FlightRadar and similar sites.

  38. @all

    on a lighter note and hoping not to sound too ‘crazy.’ I had a strange dream about MH370 (not surprising considering I dip into here from time to time).

    First is the absurd part locating the plane somewhere in the French Alps (So now we know why the French won’t let go of the flaperon! Hahaha!)

    Second ‘part’ was more interesting and addressed the question someone once asked: “why specifically MH370?”

    In my dream it was also ‘suggested’ that 370 carried significance as a sort of dead drop code in itself, either as part of coordinates or in a place name ‘three seven zero…’ etc

    In my amateurish attempt I gave this a try. Interstingly 3°7’0″N (3°07’00.0″N) is a line that cuts through the Maldives, Aceh, close to KL, and through the Riau Islands in the east.

    Pretty interesting angle – MH370 being ‘targeted’ for its specific flight code rather than ‘passengers’ or ‘destination’ as such!

  39. @MH

    With only one engine operating after ~18:22 the plane could have continued flying the ~same time only range would be much shorter due to forced lower altitudes and more drag (windmilling other engine and rudder-compensating etc. causing some slip).

    A route north is virtualy impossible cause we have ~28 pieces of confirmed, highly likely or likely debris finds at specific locations. There is not one indication or any proof like this to support a northern route.

    Problem with a farther north crash area in the SIO (where they are searching now and frather north) is mainly the combined drift-analysis.
    They don’t completely exclude those northern areas but make them very unlikely.

    I would be really suprised if OI finds the plane these days. But I hope they do ofcourse.

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