Many people are following this stranger than fiction story of the missing passenger jet which seems to have changed direction and headed west toward the Bay of Bengal. At this point we have few facts and lots of theories. Headline on Huffington Post and similar theme on other world news sources: Malaysia Airline flight MH370 was diverted deliberately says Malaysian PM.
Major reasons for this announcement the two transponders were turned off 14 minutes apart. Then there are the Rolls Royce jet engines sending pings to satellites with time and location indicating that flight MH370 was headed west. The details in this developing story and live blog time lines can be found at both Huffington Post and the Guardian.
What I’m reading is that the crew and passengers are being investigated but there is no mention of remote control of this passenger get — a Boeing 777. My mind clings to trivia and I remember reading several discussions about remote control of passenger jets being carried out just before 9/11. In fact the date of the remote piloting was August of 2000. It took me some searching and rewording the Internet search words and I did remember correctly. It turns out that a smaller Boeing Jet 727 was used than the missing Boeing 777.
Several commentators following articles about flight MH370 have suggested the theory of remote control hijacking. It turns out the early experiments with remote control of large aircraft began in the mid 1980s and Boeing has perfected auto pilot landing for several decades. My father was a lead mechanic on the Boeing 747 and he told me that he could tell the difference between the auto pilot landing and the real live pilot landing the passenger jet. Of course my dad had a lot of cockpit experience with landing and taking off. That was way back in the 1980s and we all know how far technology has progressed since the last century.
The mystery still remains — who or what was behind the redirection and silencing of human communication of this plane. If a remote piloting system was used in the disappearance of this Boeing 777 can the radio traffic between the remote control and air craft be tracked? How different is flying a military drone and a passenger jet? There have been no reports of any organization or individual taking responsibility — if indeed this is what has happened.
There are many unpleasant scenarios to explain what really happened to flight MH370, for instance could this be another case of a lithium battery failure? This scenario has been suggested by aviation experts (I don’t remember where I read this — Guardian or WSJ). There was one passenger jet crash in Florida due to heavy smoke in the cockpit that happen ages ago.
As many security experts have noted the heavy investment of security theater at airports ignores the fact that there are several other ways to take control of passenger jets. I’m guessing that turning a passenger jet into a huge drone is one of the alternative methods that security experts had in mind.
Perhaps somewhere remote the crew and passengers have been offloaded and the missing plane has been stolen. (This theory has been proposed and dismissed.) Only novels or movies of the week would end that way — but until we know what really happened. . . . .
Officials from China are asking that all information be released to searchers so that the possible location of the plane can be more accurately pin pointed. Will all the countries that monitor communications and have satellites share their secret data? That story is in the link in the above paragraph along with several other theories and links.