Snappledagain's Blog

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What happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370?

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At this point, who knows. It has been a few months now and thus far, not a shred of physical evidence of the fate of that airplane and its passengers and crew has emerged anywhere. That is so unusual, and all of the circumstances surrounding the flight so sketchy, that one principal question emerges. Why did this happen? Why did what happen is the current answer.

Theories, both practical and those that are more like conspiracies abound. Hijacking, crew error, terrorist act, stolen, lost at sea, lost on land. Curious satellite tracking data that introduces more questions than it answers. Secretive radar tracking data from the Thai military. Spurious ping signals heard, then not heard, then heard again in both the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean alike. Debris spotted, then discarded as irrelevant. Oil slicks on the water. But then it turns out there are oil slicks on the water all over the place.

What is real, and what is not?

In that thread there was also two witness reports of flaming debris falling from the sky received from two different locations around the time that something might have occurred with that flight. One was near Thailand (the less credible one) and the other was further north of the last known position the flight was reported at. That report introduces some interesting possibilities that so far very few people seem to be discussing.

Mike Mckay submitted a report to authorities after the fact about something he claims to have seen while at work. Mr McKay had been working on the Songa Mercur oil rig in the South China Sea when he saw an ‘‘orange light’’ on an especially clear night. He postulated that it was a fire, and that the fire he saw was MH370.

<McKays Report MH370>

His theory that the flaming debris he spotted was MH370 was debunked by authorities, and he was subsequently dismissed from his job on that drilling platform. Now, it may have been correct to assert that what he saw was not MH370, but perhaps it was an error to dismiss the idea that he saw anything at all. Just try running with that notion for a moment here.

If he did indeed see something then what are the other possibilities?

A meteor, just coincidentally, in nearly the same place, and at around the same time that something catastrophic might have occurred to the airliner? Talk about one in a billion. Or maybe a trillion. So not impossible, exactly, but really, really unlikely.

No other aircraft experienced emergencies or were reported missing at the same time, at that place.

But what about an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)? One that was crashing. Could one of those have been out over the South China Sea that night? Yes. Most definitely. Likely several UAV’s, every night, in numerous locations listening in on, and watching the activities of China, or North Korea.

Would the loss of a UAV involved in a collision with a civilian airliner even be reported by the nation that was operating such a mission? A mid-air collision with a drone involved in a spying operation that results in the deaths of a few hundred civilians and losses that amount to billions. That would probably be nothing but trouble. And there would be no evidence that such a collision occurred, so why would a country cop to such a thing?

We still have not discovered the wreckage of MH370, and it would be even more unlikely that the wreckage of a UAV with inherent stealth characteristics could even be found. Whereas there might be a chance that side-scanning sonar might paint the wreckage of an airliner, there is no technology available today that could find the hull of a stealth airplane that is sitting at the bottom of the sea.

And there is no missing crew, of course.

Why could this be an important theory as to the cause of the (possible) crash of Malaysia Airlines MH370? Because it partly answers the “Why did this happen?” question. When you have that piece of information, all of the rest that we think we know then falls more neatly into place. The westward turn the airliner apparently took across Thailand, then the second turn south over the Indian Ocean. Just try to imagine what the collision would have been like, first-hand.

You are an experienced pilot, with another experienced pilot sitting in the seat next to you, and both of you are flying a modern, reliable, sophisticated airliner in shirt-sleeve comfort. It is a smooth, quiet night-flight between countries, and is all completely routine, and is all going just fine thank-you very much.

Then, all of a sudden, it is freezing cold, around minus fifty-two degrees Celsius. The insides of the windows have frosted over in the blink of an eye. The guy that was in the seat next to you is gone, blown out of a massive hole in the front of the airplane. You are injured too. The airplane is broken, and many of the instruments do not work properly. It is suddenly difficult to breathe. Not that this matters, because there is nothing to breathe at this altitude. A totally unexpected night-time mid-air collision with another airplane would have to be completely disorienting and more than a little terrifying, even for the best drilled crews.

Your first thought? Get to the nearest airport. In your last few seconds of useful consciousness you select the nearest airport at which you can land a jumbo jet from your Flight Management System (FMS), then activate the new destination in the auto-pilot. The aircraft begins to turn as you fall asleep. It all happened so fast, and was so frightening that it never even occurred to you to pull on an oxygen mask. Useful consciousness in the thin air is less than thirty seconds, and that must have seemed to pass in an instant.

Forty-five minutes later you briefly regain consciousness and now, in a hypoxic stupor select a setting on the auto-pilot that turns the plane one more time before you pass out forever. The plane flies on with the auto-pilot, severely damaged, until the engines are starved of fuel. If the satellite tracking is to be believed, that apparently occurred somewhere over the Indian Ocean to the west of Australia.

After so long without sufficient oxygen, and even if you woke again after the airplane descended into thicker air after the engines lost power, you would only have a few seconds to attempt anything with what would now be a completely crippled airplane. More likely however that you never even regain consciousness. Mercifully, nobody on board would have.

It is possible that Mr. McKay might have made the correct report, about the wrong thing. And if his report ever turns out to have been true, there will be a firestorm of controversy about a technology, and an activity, that has always been controversial in the first place.

Written by snappledagain

06/27/2014 at 09:57

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