Three pieces of news today about missing Malaysia Flight MH370: The first is that the flight did not (as in ‘never’) enter Vietnam airspace. The second is that the ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) was disabled before the hand-over to Vietnamese controllers when we are told the last words heard from Flight MH370 was one of the MH370 pilots responding “All right. Goodnight.” The ACARS system is said to be located underneath the cockpit. It is not a button to push or a switch to flip.
2) The search is now focused to the south Indian Ocean, a much larger area than searching to the North.
3) After making the turn west, some reports are that the flight dropped down to 5,000 feet, very low for an aircraft this sized, yet “authorities” are confirming that report.
4) Kazakhstan says their radar did not pick up this aircraft over its airspace.
5) MH370 could have landed and the last ping from the aircraft could have come from land.
The third is that Captain Shah, shown wearing a t-shirt declaring ‘Democracy is Dead,’ is reportedly an ardent supporter of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, a married man who has been accused and convicted of sodomy in Malaysia more than once. The day before Captain Shah’s fated flight departed, he allegedly attended the court proceeding that once again overturned the acquittal. Some believe Shah may have been so upset that he ‘disappeared’ MH370 in protest — or something. Ibrahim’s story is a sordid tale of political power gone ‘horribly wrong’ in a Muslim country that, as with all Muslim countries, is accustomed to treating their own ‘horribly wrong,’ and doing so often.
Ibrahim is free on bail pending yet another appeal, but is facing five years in prison. In 1998 he was convicted on sodomy charges, sentenced to nine years, and released after six years. He was charged on new accusations of sodomy in 2008, tried in 2010-2011 and acquitted in January 2012. The acquittal was overturned on March 7, 2014.
The Religion of Peace, in Ibrahim’s case, has raised it’s ugly head once again in complete disregard for human rights. I may be wrong in my guess that Captain Shah is not the perpetrator here. I’m willing to give a man credit who lives a good life in Kuala Lumpur, loves the craft of flying and supports democracy with great passion. It is co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid who is said to be the “devout Muslim.”
Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch said “this was a politically-motivated trial that was all about knocking Anwar Ibrahim out of politics and the government was prepared to do whatever it took to make that happen.”
“Anwar and his family appear caught in a never-ending nightmare of his political adversaries’ making, with the courts as the instrument of his political execution,” Mr Robertson said.
“It’s truly a dark day for the Malaysia judiciary which has shown itself incapable of standing up straight when national political issues are in play in cases before them,” he said.
Mr Robertson said the crime that Anwar is accused of should never have been considered a crime in the first place. Source: SMH
About the ACARS, which is much more difficult to shutdown than the transponders.
Turning off the radios and ACARS would be more difficult. NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel spoke with commercial pilots, including two who have flown Boeing 777s similar to the jet that vanished with 239 people aboard. He says the pilots tell him that those systems are “pretty hard-wired into a modern aircraft.
“They said you’d have to go through big checklists, you’d have to possibly pull circuit breakers if you wanted to deactivate [all the communications equipment]…”
“So, to do this, you’d have to have some degree of premeditation and a lot of knowledge of the aircraft,” he says.
Even without those systems, the plane’s satellite antenna appears to have kept communicating for at least 5 1/2 hours after Malaysia Air MH370 disappeared from air-traffic controllers’ radar. Read more at NPR
Najib said the plane’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, was disabled just as MH370 reached the eastern coast of Malaysia. The transponder was then switched off, Najib said, as the aircraft neared the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace.
A reminder: the words we are told were the last words heard from the flight and the pilots are not actually the last. A pilot flying to Narita, Japan was asked by Vietnamese airspace controllers to try to contact MH370 through his emergency communications to help them establish the MH370’s location. The pilot made contact, said there was a lot of interference on the frequency, but he heard someone “mumbling” before losing contact. He said while he couldn’t be certain, he thought the voice he heard was the co-pilot (Hamid).
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