Flight 370. Piracy and Conspiracy
More than a week ago as I write this there was a big Boeing 777 airplane with over 230 people that disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China. A week ago Bob posted on several on-line discussions that the first place to look for Malaysian Airlines flight 370 is in Somalia or perhaps Iran.
The plane flew normally northward until they exited air traffic tracking from Malaysia. The pilots said goodbye to Malaysian air traffic control, “All right. Good night.” On a normal flight they would have immediately switched radio frequency and called air traffic control from Viet Nam. They did not do that. They turned off their automatic radio transponders, reversed course, and flew West by Southwest, passing just north of Malaysia toward the Indian ocean. The disappearance was carefully timed so that neither the Malaysians nor the Viet Namese would notice them missing. Nobody would report the plane missing until the next afternoon when it failed to arrive at Beijing.
The governments of Malaysia, the US, China, and several other nations wasted a week and a whole lot of money searching in the wrong places and refusing to search in the obvious places. Makes us wonder.
The pilots flying the Malaysian airplane flew out over the Indian ocean beyond ground radar range. They turned off their automatic data transmitter, but its a little like a cell phone. It “pings” the system periodically even while “off.” In a cell phone you have to take the batter out or it can be tracked. In an airplane data system the pilots knew how to go down through the floor and shut off data transmitter circuit breakers, but didn't know how to “take the batteries out” without killing the engines. That didn't really matter because it takes days for technicians in other nations to find the “ping” data.
The obvious thing for the pilots to do next would have been to reprogram their flight numbers and turn their automatic data responders back on. Pilots do that reprogramming every day when they prepare the plane for its next flight. Every pilot is trained how to do it. They program the autopilot with a new flight plan through GPS coordinate “way points” in the sky. They program the transponder with airline and flight numbers. They radio to air traffic control identifying themselves and the intended flight path.
All the pirate pilots had to do was to reprogram the plane data transmitter with a new FAKE plane number. Every day at busy airports they have hundreds of private airplanes, charter flights, maintenance flights headed for repair shops, etc. Air traffic controllers handle them routinely. Nobody looks at the airplane to compare its painted on tail number with the numbers in the transponder. An airplane passing by, or stopping for fuel, does not get inspected by border or customs officials unless the pilots try to leave the airport. Considering how little scrutiny fake or stolen passports get in that part of the world, even that would not be hard. Remember the plane was not yet reported missing so nobody in aviation would be looking for a strange plane.
If pirates planned ahead, and this event was well planned ahead, they could easily have rented an airplane maintenance hanger in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, or even Malaysia. Fly in with a fake number. Go to the hanger, off load captive passengers (or not) repaint Malaysian Airline tail markings with some white spray paint, paint a fake Tail Number, and the plane has a completely new ID. A little advance planning could easily have ground crew waiting for them to arrive, or on board.
After the tail number was changed they could buy fuel and fly absolutely anywhere they wanted to go, Europe, North America, Kansas, anywhere at all. Where pirates most likely would want to go is Somalia or Iran, dens of piracy.
None of the major media and big government law enforcement will talked about the obvious piracy until a week later and they still won't talk about the obvious ways to steal an airplane. They spent a week hiding information and “searching” in the wrong direction. Why? What was the government involvement in keeping these secret for days and days?
We will find out later. Stay tuned.