Unaccustomed as I am to conspiratorial theorems, here goes… Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 flew for over four hours after its last point of contact and that creates a credible scenario if, as reported in the Malaysian Press, an Aircraft Worthiness Directive (an AD) was current for the Boeing 777.
The pilot’s last words to traffic controllers were, “All right, good night”. The plane at the time would have reached its designated cruising altitude and should have been emitting a mode C recognisable transponder signal. It should also have been on autopilot (should have been). I hope my fellow pilots will agree with me here.
The pilot at the time was probably using HF which is notoriously unreliable or he was using ACARS messaging system.
The AD, whether it had been complied with or not, had been issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration last week and they had ordered additional inspections of certain Boeing 777 aircraft after having received a report of a 16-inch crack in the fuselage skin underneath the airplane's satellite communications antenna.
Okay, “cracking” on a much lesser scale than that reported, can lead to rapid decompression and damage to the structure of the aircraft. Rapid decompression on any scale will invariably render every person unconscious, if not the the aircraft's complete destruction.
So, if the “cracking” had occurred under maximum compression at the designated altitude but the aircraft had somehow remained in one piece, and if the autopilot had not been engaged, it would have remained flying at cruise settings, albeit gradually off course, for hours.
If this is what happened, it explains why the aircraft wreckage has not been found. They are simply looking in the wrong place, and the right place could be 3,000 miles to the north, south, east or west of the last point of contact. It would have remained flying until fuel was completely exhausted.
Now, sorry if this getting a bit complicated but it also explains US radar indicating it may have turned inexplicably to port and toward the Malacca Straits.
This possibility also explains the lack of any terrorist organisation claiming credit. There is no point in a terrorist bringing down an aircraft if credit is not claimed, so there was no bomb.
This awful scenario has happened previously:
Golfer Payne Stewart died, along with other passengers and crew, due to a runaway aircraft that had suffered decompression.
On this occasion the autopilot was engaged and the plane therefore held its course, overflying its intended destination with its unconscious occupants until it exhausted all its fuel and crashed.
It’s not certain that this happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, but amid the conflicting mish-mash of rubbish information meted out by confused Malaysian authorities, it’s becoming increasingly likely…
… in which case the aircraft’s wreckage may never be found, let alone the black boxes.