Malaysia Airlines MH370 mystery, is the riddle that ‘simple’?


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CHICAGO: Amidst all the speculation and conspiracy theories, Chris Goodfellow, a Florida pilot, has come up with a simpler and more logical explanation for the disappearance of MH370 and has written about it in a Google Plus post, and after creating a frenzy on Twitter got republished on Wired.

Boeing 777 departed from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and after about an hour out across the gulf towards Vietnam the plane’s transponder and secondary radar tracking went off. Two days later Malaysian military radar tracked the plane on a southwesterly course moving back across the Malay Peninsula into the straits of Malacca.

According to Goodfellow, hearing this he immediately brought up Google Earth and searched for airports close to the track towards southwest discovering Langkawi. Goodfellow believed the pilot did all the right things. As he was confronted by some major event onboard he made an immediate turn back to the closest safe airport.

“The left turn is the key here. This was a very experienced senior Captain with 18,000 hours. Maybe some of the younger pilots interviewed on CNN didn’t pick up on this left turn. We old pilots were always drilled to always know the closest airport of safe harbor while in cruise. Airports behind us, airports abeam us and airports ahead of us. Always in our head. Always. Because if something happens you don’t want to be thinking what are you going to do – you already know what you are going to do. Instinctively when I saw that left turn with a direct heading I knew he was heading for an airport. Actually he was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi a 13,000 foot strip with an approach over water at night with no obstacles. He did not turn back to Kuala Lampur because he knew he had 8,000 foot ridges to cross. He knew the terrain was friendlier towards Langkawi and also a shorter distance.”

Talking about the reason for the loss of communication, Goodfellow believes that a fire or an electrical on board would be a perfect explanation for that as it would prompt the pilots and crew to pull all the main busses to restore circuits one by one till they isolated the bad one.

“If they pulled the busses the plane indeed would go silent. It was probably a serious event and they simply were occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire. Aviate, Navigate and lastly communicate.”

As per Goodfellow, they would have been overcome by smoke while the plane continue on autopilot towards the nearest airport till either fuel exhaustion or fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. He believes that they would find the plane somewhere along the route and looking somewhere else was ‘pointless’.

He called the pilot a hero struggling to get the plane to Langkawi. For him, that was the reason for the turn and the direct route. A deliberate left turn with a direct heading for Langkawi did not indicate a hijack.

But things might not be as simple as Chris believes. Jeff Wise, a New York-based magazine writer who specializes in aviation, adventure, and psychology, has disputed Chris Goodfellow’s theory on his blog on Slate. Wise believes Chris Goodfellow lacks patience for the uncertainty concerning Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

As per Wise, when other major findings of the investigation are taken into account, Goodfellow’s theory falls apart. He said that the plane might have turned towards Langkawi but as per reports it continued to be maneuvered after that point as well, ‘turning sharply right at VAMPI waypoint,’ and then left again at GIVAL. Wise then reminded the readers about the electronic ping detected by the Inmarsat satellite at 8:11 on the morning of March 8.

‘According to analysis provided by the Malaysian and United States governments, the pings narrowed the location of MH370 at that moment to one of two arcs, one in Central Asia and the other in the southern Indian Ocean. As MH370 flew from its original course toward Langkawi, it was headed toward neither. Without human intervention—which would go against Goodfellow’s theory—it simply could not have reached the position we know it attained at 8:11 a.m.’

Given the theories and counter theories surfacing over the net, only time or the discovery of the missing plane will tell, which one of these were close to the truth.