Malaysian Airliner Boeing 777 Downed by Fire?

Large pieces of debris have been found about 1,500 miles west of the Australian city of Perth by satellite.

“New and credible information has come to light in relation to the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Thursday.

“The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has received information based on satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search.”

Officials said that teams would be dispatched to the area to check the debris, which includes objects measured up to 78 feet long, consistent with what one would expect to find from an airplane.

Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared without a trace on March 8, generating a range of theories as to its fate – from hijacking to crashing to being diverted for use in a terror attack. 

In reality, the most probable cause is something even more dramatic for Boeing; another 777 overheated battery problem, resulting in an onboard fire, an emergency electronics shutdown and an attempted diversion of the aircraft to the nearest air field. 

All of these other speculations appear to be an attempt to avoid mention of this, by far most likely scenario, especially in view of the 777’s famous battery overheating problem.

The pilot / co pilot may well have been in a unwinnable situation and far from hijacking the plane, were most likely engaged in an heroic effort to fight a Boeing 777 onboard fire and save the flight.

A heavily loaded 777 departed at midnight from Kuala Lampur to Beijing.  About an hour out across the Gulf of Siam towards Vietnam, the plane goes dark meaning the transponder goes off and the secondary radar tracking goes off.

Two days later we hear of reports that the Malaysian military radar (which is a primary radar, meaning the plane is being tracked by reflection rather than by transponder interrogation response); has tracked the plane on a southwesterly course back across the Malay Peninsula into the straits of Malacca.

This was a very experienced Senior Captain with 18,000 hours flying time, and an immense number of hours on simulators; suddenly making a sharp left turn.  In doing that, he changed his heading towards the nearest emergency landing field able to handle his aircraft.

A Malaysian official with knowledge of the investigations into the pilots said three simulator games that 53-year-old pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, had played were being looked at.

“We are following up on the data logs being erased,” the source said. “These could be logs of the games that were erased to free up memory, so it may not lead us to anything. He played a lot of games, going into hundreds and thousands of hours.”

In an emergency the pilot would take a direct route to Palau Langkawi a 13,000 foot strip with an approach over water at night with no obstacles.  The pilot would not have turned back to Kuala  Lampur because he would have known that there were 8,000 foot ridges to cross on that route.  The terrain was easier to cross towards Langkawi and it was also a shorter distance.

The pilot appears to have been confronted with an emergency that required him to immediately turn back to the closest safe airport.

A hijack would not likely have made that deliberate left turn with a direct heading for Langkawi.

The loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense, if there was a fire. 

In the case of fire the first response is to pull all the main fuses and  restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one.  The fire response rule is: Aviate, Navigate and lastly Communicate when you are back in control.

If they pulled the fuses the plane would immediately go silent. It was  probably a serious event and they simply were occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire until they were overcome by smoke and unable to land, and the now ghost plane would have continued until it ran out of fuel. 

The use of oxygen masks would have greatly expedited the fire and made it uncontrollable; if they did become overcome by smoke and began to use the masks it would not have helped. 

The pilot / co pilot were in a unwinnable situation and far from hijacking the plane, were most likely engaged in a heroic effort to save the flight.

In view of the recent history of the 777 and its battery overheating issues there was most likely an electrical fire.