Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Where is that dang airplane

Wired has an interesting take on the matter that makes a lot of sense: an onboard fire, and a captain who headed toward the nearest airport.

The left turn is the key here. Zaharie Ahmad Shah1 was a very experienced senior captain with 18,000 hours of flight time. We old pilots were drilled to know what is the closest airport of safe harbor while in cruise. Airports behind us, airports abeam us, and airports ahead of us. They’re always in our head. Always. If something happens, you don’t want to be thinking about what are you going to do–you already know what you are going to do. When I saw that left turn with a direct heading, I instinctively knew he was heading for an airport. He was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi, a 13,000-foot airstrip with an approach over water and no obstacles....

What I think happened is the flight crew was overcome by smoke and the plane continued on the heading, probably on George (autopilot), until it ran out of fuel or the fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed.
even that strange increase in height to 45thousand feet might be explained as a pilot trying to put out a fire.

on the other hand, there are folks in the Maldives who reported a low flying plane...yet the Maldives includes several nice resorts, so planes do land in that area...

don't ask me: I'm a doctor not a pilot

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