I originally started this as a short post but ended up with one a little longer than intended. Reading a lot of the previous post has fostered a few questions that I think are pertinent and that I have not found conclusive answers to. This is more of a brainstorming of ideas and a list of things to think about.
Does this particular T7
have the reinforced cockpit door? I have read that they are mandatory in the US, but are not in other parts of the world.
At what time did the a/c reach its cruising altitude? I think I read somewhere that it had been at cruising altitude for about 5 minutes before it went black.
At what time did the pilots turn off the seat belt sign? Was it ever turned off?
Is the data that indicates FL45 FL23 and a 40000fpm drop accurate? Is that data transmitted from the aircraft or determined by ground radar? If this is accurate data, I think if you figure out why this happened, you will solve the puzzle.
Regarding the 8:11am sitcom ping. We keep seeing a 2d map with an arc that indicates where the plane was. Shouldn't this be thought of in a 3d context? Imagine a sphere around the immersat satellite. Wouldn't the aircraft be located at some point on the surface of a sphere bisected by a plane running from about 40000ft altitude to the ground?
When a pilot enters waypoints, does each one have to be entered individually or are there macros or sets of waypoints that can be entered with one button? Are previous sets of waypoints stored in the computer that can be recalled and used?
Did MH370 fly waypoint to waypoint or are the waypoints simply along the route the plane was flying?
What happens to a T7
at cruising altitude with no pilots and no autopilot? Does it plunge to the ground or does the computer try to fly it? (addressed in the updated sanity check)
Does daylight savings time have any effect on the reported local times?
Has it been conclusively determined that there was not a shipment of Lithium batteries in the cargo hold?
Is there a common point in the cargo hold that if damaged can short ACARS and the transponder?
Is the life raft/emergency slide accessible while in flight? I read it is located in the door in the "side bustle". Can this be opened by one of the FAs or PAX? If it is, can the ELTs on the raft be retrieved? How is the life raft ELT activated - by a button or by impact? Once activated, can the signal be seen at 29500? Are MA
FAs trained about how to access a ELT in an emergency?
What is the Captains history with allowing access to the cockpit? Does he leave the door open? Is it locked? I think interviews with all fight attendants that he has worked with during the past 3 months could answer these questions.
When was the last time the Captain slept?
Was he a substitution at the last minute? Why? Has the originally scheduled pilot, Anas Mazlin, been interviewed? MAS denies the roster switch. The facebook page of the wife of Anas Mazlin has been cancelled. (http://devel.malaysiandigest.com/news/493357-mas-official-denies-pilot-swap-in-mh370-roster.html)
There has been a lot of talk about cell phones. I have not seen any mention of the possibility of a cell phone or computer in checked baggage trying to connect to a network. Devices in checked baggage would have been safe from possible hijackers. With so many passengers I expect that there is a probable chance that there were devices left on in checked bags. If the plane was ever within range of a tower )via low flying to avoid radar or landing) I find it extremely hard to believe that there would have been 0 transmissions between the peoples devices and a cellular network. That means, if investigators can obtain phone records from all devices possessed by people on the plane and then if there is no data to indicate the devices were within cellular coverage area, we might be able to determine where the plane wasn't(up until the estimated time of battery life).
1. Political stunt/suicide by cop -- The pilot was a vocal critic of the current Malaysian government and posted many rants against them on Facebook. Given the overturn of Anwar's conviction earlier in the day, the pilot could have decided to do something about it. What if the MO
was to embarrass the current regime and to get the plane carrying 154 Chinese to be shot down by the Malaysian government. When that failed, he just set autopilot to fly the plane until it ran out of fuel. Are there any ground based defenses along the suspected route of the plane? Is there anything with the altitude, waypoints, or behavior of the plane that indicates that the pilot was trying to disguise it as a military aircraft?
2. Hack - I have seen several experts say the flight computers cannot be hacked and there is no way that this could happen. I think if humans can put a man on the moon, a flight computer could be hacked. Could the plane have been hacked by a passenger during flight, someone somewhere in the world on the ground, or was a virus planted in the computer before the flight? There were many engineers on board that worked for Freescale Semiconductor. Did Freescale Semiconductor have any military contracts? Are any Freescale Semiconductor chips used in the construction of a Boeing 777? From Wikipedia:
Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. is an American company that produces and designs embedded hardware, with 17 billion semiconductor chips in use around the world. The company focuses on the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets with its product portfolio including microprocessors, microcontrollers, digital signal processors, digital signal controllers, sensors, RF power ICs and power management ICs. In addition, the company offers software and development tools to support product development.
3. Fire - It is a known issue that Lithium batteries can burst into flames when exposed to air. They will burn until burnt out and fire suppression will not work. This has happened several times before. If there was a fire in the cargo bay could the acars system short before smoke/fire detectors send alarms? Knowing there was a fire in the cargo hold but not the source, would this pilot make and ascent to try to put it out? (one answer part 34 post 260)
4. Collision - Could there have been a mid air collision with a military aircraft or drone from another government on a covert operation? Meteor?
5. Unknown aircraft failure - Some kind of failure left the pilots incapacitated and with a reinforced cockpit door, nobody was able to get inside. The plane was on autopilot or computer flown until the fuel was exhausted.
6. Pilot Error - I think this is the most plausible. It appears the captain was exhausted and was not scheduled for this flight. There are reports that he was on vacation and was a substitute at the last minute. MAS has denied this. Could there have been a medical issue with the captain such as a seizure or heart attack? Step by step, what is the procedure if the Captain intended to get some sleep? Exactly what would he be doing procedurally from about 1:15 to 1:35? What would he be turning off and what would he be turning on?
7. Failed or successful Hijack - Somali pirates are pretty brazen. They have attacked and taken over massive cargo ships with skiffs. Read the Wiki about them. They collect an average of $4.7 million per ship. Since the attack on the Maersk Alabama, thousands of pirates have been caught and are in prison. The Malaysian navy has caught many of them and they are held in Malaysian prisons. The success of anti-piracy measures has lead to an increase in land based attacks has caused them to go further and further out to sea looking for targets. Ship piracy has gone from several hundred attacks in 2010 to 2 in 2013. Maybe a few of them figured out how to hijack a plane a forced the pilots to fly somewhere. I am not saying the plane actually made it to Somalia and that is where SAR should look. This theory is that there was an attempt by Somali pirates. They fail all the time. Maybe the pilots won the struggle but were fatally wounded. If the seatbelt light had been turned off about 5 min prior to the dramatic turn, it would lend credence to a hijack by one of the PAX.