Firstly, responding to SSteve, the Bermuda Triangle nonsense was originally got up to disguise the DVD's sabotage programme against the Avro Tudor, an under-rated aircraft, designed by Roy Chadwick, who was assassinated in one. The explanation for the famous Flight 19 Avengers is straightforward - it was a navigational error, with the other pilots playing 'follow my leader'. Nothing to do with aliens. There is no evidence by the way that any aliens have ever visited Earth. The UFO scare was generated to cover up both DVD and CIA test flights in the 50s.
Zeke, as a nice CIA officer once told me, referring to the Intelligence Community (INTELCOM), "Michael, once you're in, you're in". I am not and have never claimed to be an intelligence officer. I was an intelligence lawyer, defending intelligence officers, an intelligence academic,teaching intelligence officers, an independent intelligence analyist and now I'm an intelligence author and commentator. I've been there and got the T-shirt.
What do you say was the fuel uplift for MH-370? 5.5 hours fuel for a 2.5 hr flight may be Cathay Pacific practice, but it isn't ordinary airline practice. Sounds like its more to do with fuel pricing or availability than safety. Carrying unnecessary weight does not always aid safety. I am not unfamiliar with commercial aviation and am aware of the post-flight paperwork. I am also aware, with respect, that ACARS is an automated system. Some ACARS systems however can be programmed in flight.
In response to EGGGs I am not hiding behind anonymity on this site, nor do I have any reason to disguise my identity. My analysis of MH-370 has been published online, on VeteransToday.com, and in print by British Mensa, in their aviation newsletter Flypaper. I'm a White Hat - I'm not exposing White Hat black ops here, I am exposing Black Hat black ops! If the Good Guys don't like what I'm doing they have ways of making their displeasure known.
Last time that happened was July 19th 2005, when an irate and exercised 'Met' Special Branch officer turned up at my home at midnight, banging on the door, demanding to know why I had rung Chicago PD to warn them of a possible Al Qaeda attack on their mass transit system on 21/7. Since I was working a terrorist emergency I answered the door fully dressed. I invited him in, offered him a cup of coffee and showed him into my lounge. He found a table covered in maps, papers and notes. My home library then had over 1,000 volumes on defence and intelligence topics, with hundreds of issues of specialist intelligence journals, to a couple of which I had contributed. He seemed to do a double-take when he looked at an aviation print on the wall signed by a Marshal of the Royal Air Force, and calmed down when I explained that Chicago PD had rung me, not the other way round, having been advised to do so by a Special Forces 2-star of my acquaintance. I warned him that INTELCOM had intercepted a 2-letter fragment of a 3-letter Al Qaeda target code, indicating an attack on a mass transit system for Thursday, 21st July, and that the intercept corresponded to 2 Western cities with mass transit systems, London and Chicago. His superiors ignored him and a terrorist cell was duly allowed to attack the London Underground system unimpeded. Fortunately, they correctly suspected that they had been double-crossed and withdrew the detonators from their explosive packs, so there were no casualties. The police did not learn their lesson from that and came after me in 2012, in a ludicrous operation which is now starting to blow up in their faces, with help from INTELCOM.
The British police should have followed the example of Chicago PD. They were courteous, respectful and professional, sharing information about suspected Al Qaeda activity on the ground. I gave my opinion - that the suspected activity was probably an Al Qaeda recon cell. They responded appropriately and unlike London, Chicago was not attacked. The DVD not only might come after me, they already have. I survived an assassination attempt 17 years ago, not long after I discovered them, and have kept a weather eye open since. I'm more vulnerable to character assassination, including bogus complaints and malicious prosecutions (been there, done that), but he who laughs last laughs loudest.
I am of course familiar with the Air Transat Flight 236 incident and the outstanding work by the crew, once you discount their lack of airmanship with respect, not helped by bad advice from their maintenance centre, in operating the cross-feed from a port wing tank to a nearly empty starboard tank. Once they realised their mistake their work was excellent and all the souls aboard were saved. 236 was an Airbus 330-243, but its gliding characteristics are broadly comparable with those of the 777-200. They were slightly heavier than MH-370, but again the loads are comparable. Their rate of descent, without flap, however, was 2,000 fpm, which is roughly what I would expect, glide duration from flame-out of No 2 to touchdown was 19 minutes and glide distance from FL330 was 65 nm. Hydraulic power becomes a critical issue on most wide-bodies once they are tanks-dry, given the limited output of RATs, limited battery capacity on civilian airliners and the lack of a self-sealed, emergency rear fuselage tank for APUs. We cannot therefore assume that Captain Shah would have had flap available at the top of descent. I was querying a glide distance figure of 150 miles. Still not buying, although I would buy 85-90 statute miles for a tanks-dry 777-200 from FL430 with no hydraulic power to operate flaps.
I am remiss in not having responded to the 'needle in a haystack' point. This with respect underestimates the performance of modern side-scan sonar systems. A state of the art commercial side-scan system like the outstanding Sonardyne Solstice with multi-path suppression will give you high-resolution sea-bed imagery with a swathe port and starboard of up to one cable. Just ten sweeps therefore gives you high-resolution coverage of 1 square nm, and that's a commercial system. Military systems, such as the integrated passive/active Thales 2076 suite fitted to the British Astute class SSN will give you better performance still.
What's more, for your initial quick and dirty search, given the size of the target, you don't need high resolution. Why do you think naval assets with high-performance sonar suites were withdrawn from the search fairly quickly? Because they were able to cover thousands of square miles very quickly and didn't get a sniff, that's why. There is no sonar target matching a 777 in the search box centred on the final ping, and those pings are almost the entire basis of the SIO theory, given the absence of radar reporting, satellite imagery, verified wreckage, visual sightings and a radio fix.
I was invited onto this site by an existing member. My purpose was to warn the aviation community of the high-altitude SAM threat in particular. Had I been listened to earlier we would not have had MH-370 or MH-17. The aviation community, with respect, needs to wake up and smell the coffee, and not dismiss claims of sabotage or shoot-down out of hand. There are some serious pilots on this site, and they're listening, so don't knock it!