Malaysia Airlines: Could this be what happened?

2014-03-19 15:28
Cape Town - Amid all the crazy conspiracy theories that have surfaced around the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 on 8 March, one simple conjecture has taken the internet by storm.

Time reports that Chris Goodfellow, a pilot with 20 years of experience, suggested in a lengthy post on his Google+ page that a fire on board the aircraft caused the pilots to set course for the nearest viable airport.  

According to Goodfellow’s theory, heading back to Kuala Lumpur for an emergency landing would have meant traversing difficult terrain, so the pilot instead decided to go for a much more feasible option: the 13 000-foot runway at Pulau Langkawi, a destination which would correspond with the new route the aircraft appeared to have followed.  

“What I think happened is that they were overcome by smoke and the plane just continued on the heading probably on George (autopilot) until either fuel exhaustion or fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. I said four days ago you will find it along that route - looking elsewhere was pointless,” he explains in his post on Google+.

In Goodfellow’s theory the much-scrutinised pilots are rendered innocent, in fact, they are rather made out to be heroes. “This pilot, as I say, was a hero struggling with an impossible situation trying to get that plane to Langkawi. No doubt in my mind,” he said.  

It's wrong?

While the theory is considered viable by many, Goodfellow has experienced a strong rebuttal from various sources.  

The most notable is an article on Slate titled: ‘A “startlingly simple theory” about the missing airliner is sweeping the internet. It’s wrong.’  

Writer, Jeff Wise points out that while Goodfellow’s account is emotionally compelling and simple, it falls apart when taking other major findings of the investigation into account.  

“For one thing, while it’s true that MH370 did turn toward Langkawi and wound up overflying it, whoever was at the controls continued to maneuver after that point as well, turning sharply right at VAMPI waypoint, then left again at GIVAL. Such vigorous navigating would have been impossible for unconscious men,” Wise writes.  

He adds that it also does not cover the electronic ping detected by the Inmarsat satellite at 08:11 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.

Without human intervention—which would go against Goodfellow’s theory—it simply could not have reached the position we know it attained at 08:11.

Goodfellow is, however, sticking to his guns and has even stated that he expects the aircraft to be found within the next day.  

“Somehow I believe this is coming to an end. The reported sighting over the Maldivescoincides with the time line well. The aircraft is probably a small distance west of Maldives. I believe it will be found in next 24 hours hopefully,” he said.       
Read more on:    air travel  |  travel  |  malaysia airlines flight mh370  |  aviation

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