Fun Friday: The Missing Plane

While this is not exactly a “fun” topic, I thought it would be an interesting opportunity for a comment driven day at AVC. Last night at dinner, our friend Ben asked me if I had an opinion on the missing Malaysian Airlines plane (#MH370 on Twitter).

I told him I thought it was a hijacking and after that I had no idea. He went on to explain to me that the flight had continued for four or five hours after the communications systems were turned off. To me that suggests even more that this was an act of foul play and that the plane may have been landed somewhere with all the passengers now hostages. Of course, that’s just speculation on my part. What is shocking is given all the satellites and other systems designed to track things such as this, we don’t yet have any public information on the whereabouts of the plane.

So with that, let’s go to the comments and see what you all think. What happened to MH370 and where is it now?

#Random Posts

Comments (Archived):

  1. leigh

    I just started watching LOST on Netflix a couple weeks back and the similarities are weird. I have no idea what happened but i sure *hope* it was a highjacking because then maybe there is a chance that people will get their families back.

    1. Anne Libby

      I’ve been hoping they’re all alive somewhere, too

  2. Henry Yates

    I have no idea, but I just came across this site which crowdsources people to help look for wreckage etc using satellite images:

  3. pointsnfigures

    Hard to know. Feels like a hijacking, terrorism thing. Malaysia has a lot of Muslims, and they used to bomb hotels in Bali. Here is a Facebook thread (private thread so I deleted names and identities), and the guys talking are pilots.Black boxes ping for 30 to 90 days depending on environment and their condition before entering it (ie maintenance). Range is limited, example see lost air France plane off Brazil. I can introduce you to sone air people who do this for a living (make sure panes don’t crash and if they do, what happens) Radio waves don’t like water, so the more water, the lower frequency required, see subs and ulfm those comms sent using amtrak infrastructure. Also remember Malaysia is fantastically corrupt and that Gov may not know what really happened1. No, it is designed to stay with the aircraft. If they floated, they would drift away from the debris field with the current. 2. Yes, it makes sense. The satcom data sharing system with Boeing and Rolls Royce appears to have continued to receive transmissions that outlast the final transponder interpretation. 3. The fact that the debris field has not been yet found suggests they are not yet looking in the correct area. If indeed it actually crashed and is not sitting in IndonesiaAs I understand it from conflicting reports, Boeing (not Rolls Royce?) offers an added service that transmits engine data during flight; Malaysian Airlines does not subscribe to the service; the planes ping the Boeing satellite anyway. OK, so if it’s at the bottom of the ocean, the flight recorder is there with it, thus unlikely to be found?One impediment to searching might be that Sumatran plantations are burning their fields (illegally), sending up smoke plumes. At least I read that somewhere. And that assumes the plane turned west towards the Malacca Straits (for some reason).On the latter point, the US is searching there & the Indian Ocean, but hasn’t clearly explained why it is doing so. It could just be b/c the Gulf of Thailand is already well covered, or US ships were west of Thailand. But if they have some clue it would be nice to clear the air for the public.It is possible that they will be found. However, it took just under a year for the French to find the data recorders for AF447. It was a massive multinational effort to find them. So that we may learn from this event, we must hope that a similar effort is put forth to find them this time, too. They are most often the investigator’s most credible tool.The satcom data service is a data sharing system that allows the airline to share real time data with Boeing and the engine mfr, Rolls Royce. It is an option to subscribe to the data service which internally allows for engine data trend following…..the black box is built to withstand high g-forces (impact of an accident) and protect the data inside of it. floating doesn’t seem to be the priority in its design. It is also deep in the structure of the plane. The plane would send data as long as t…See Morenews today that the two transponders were shut off at separate times. that can’t happen accidentally. That info changes the story. My conspiracy theories become more of reality.Two pilots had to be in on something (very unlikely; pilots typically ha…See More

    1. gl

      Did you really just paint all Muslims with the same brush? Pretty ironic; this is exactly what terrorists do.

      1. Pointsnfigures

        All the terrorist acts I can think of off the top of my head in the 21st century were. committed by Muslims

        1. kidmercury

          FBI database says less than 10% of all terrorist attacks on US soil from 1980 to 2005 were committed by muslims: http://www.globalresearch.c

          1. $28312048

            Don’t let facts get in the way with ideology, kid! Fox News isn’t going to hate itself!

          2. pointsnfigures

            Since the turn of the 21st Century, how many terror attacks in the world weren’t muslim related? 9/11, the pirates, Boston Marathon, Shoe bomber, london buses, spain trains, India bombing, Tajikistan,Uzbekistan, Turkey, foiled suitcase bomb plot in Germany, Philippines, Bali, knifings in China, –I guess there is not one common thread there…..On US soil since 1993, there has been one non-Muslim terror attack. The OK City bombing in 1995.

          3. $28312048

            Cool story bro. I hear Hannity is about to come on, better warm up your TV dinner and get pumped. You do realize there is more to the world than the US, right?

          4. pointsnfigures

            Dude, if you read my comment you’d see I am looking farther than just the US. Have fun in your narrow world.

          5. pointsnfigures

            Don’t let statistics get in the way of bias.

          6. $28312048

            Those statistics prove you wrong. I know, but you can JUST FEEL IT, so that MUST make it so.

          7. pointsnfigures

            they actually don’t.

      2. LE

        A big difference between mere words and actions that kill people for sure.

    2. LE

      When you post things that others have said you should use the “blockquote” tag.You do it like the attached image below. (I had to make an image because otherwise the tag does does not show up because it’s a tag)This uses the blockquote tagBtw. You get the strike through with the strike tag.

  4. Henry Yates

    I have no idea, however I just came across this site which crowdsources people to help search for wreckage etc using satellite images:

  5. andyswan

    Hijack, pilot(s) involved. Who knows if successful and pending or failed and crashed.2nd realistic option is pilot suicide.As for this…”What is shocking is given all the satellites and other systems designed to track things such as this, we don’t yet have any public information on the whereabouts of the plane.”No, actually that isn’t shocking at all. “They” get the actual information, “we” get the news. “They” don’t like being spied on, “We” should be thankful for people spying on us. “They” get armed guards, “We” should not be trusted with firearms.

    1. William Mougayar

      They should totally open-up ALL the data they have on this. Some clever people will piece it together.

      1. andyswan

        Not if they know what happened.

        1. jason wright

          they know what happened, and it’s ongoing.

        2. William Mougayar

          You think they know, but are not saying?

          1. andyswan

            Of course.

          2. markslater

            i think they know what happened and its not over….this was a hijacking – someone is trying to bribe the chinese….good luck with that.

  6. William Paiva

    I think it landed in the Ukraine and that is why Putin is getting ready to roll tanks in there to go find it.

    1. fredwilson

      putin got the plane?

      1. William Paiva

        Not yet. He will find it with his tanks. You know what a hunanitsrian Putin is!!!

      2. ErikSchwartz

        He is the one guy who is most happy about the shift in the news cycle.

        1. LE

          Like a “wag the dog” theory.

  7. Dan F

    I am thinking hijacking and then something went wrong. I keep wondering why there have been no cell phone calls / text messages / etc.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      Because cell phones do not work more than a few miles offshore.

      1. paramendra

        This needs to change.

  8. William Mougayar

    Maybe with some crowdsourced thinking, this mystery will be solved. But where’s the data? Let whoever have that data open it to the public, and someone will solve it. Otherwise, it’s all pure speculation.This isn’t unlike the GoldCorp challenge story who crowdsourced the maps and findings on their gold mine, and 1,400 scientists, geologists and engineers around the world downloaded their data, and one of them found the gold and was rewarded half a million dollars.

    1. MelkiSch

      Agree with you.There is a great story about this in Steven Johnson’s book “Where good ideas come from”. Everyone was looking for a ship or a submarine in the ocean and they manage to find it by putting more than just experts in the same room.

    2. LE

      Except in this case there is a down side to certain parties showing all of their cards.For example let’s say you are eavesdropping on conversations at your place of business. If known that would land you in jail.Then an office worker goes missing.If you come forward your eavesdropping will be exposed.If you don’t the person won’t be found.What do you do?

      1. William Mougayar

        I meant: Share official data that gets no one in trouble, but rather increases the chances of figuring out what happened.If they aren’t exposing the data, then they might be hiding something. Andy thinks they know, but aren’t saying.

    3. Kirsten Lambertsen

      This is actually being done in one regard. A satellite company is sharing their satellite images for people to analyze:

      1. William Mougayar

        Interesting! Thanks Kirsten.

        1. markslater

          but now their servers are incapacitated due to traffic and we cant help

  9. Dale Allyn

    I’ve been following the situation pretty closely. Very interesting, puzzling, and frustrating…My first reaction (I heard about it in near realtime) was “hijacked”. I still feel that way as more evidence unfolds. Perhaps with pilot or co-pilot involvement, but intentional just the same.The fact that the transponders were turned of manually (the second 14 minutes after the first) suggest willful disengagement. Of course, pilots will turn off electronics in case of fire and such.The RR maintenance calls home are very telling.Thoughts and prayers to the passengers, crew and their families.

  10. bob

    waiting to see a picture of it on a desert landing strip somewhere, with a spray painted hull saying “in fond memory of osama bin laden”

    1. AG

      Apparently a “small” Chinese terrorist group claimed responsibility, but both Chinese and American authorities discounted their veracity….wonder if that will change.

      1. AG

        (Sorry…this was meant to be reply to Perry above)

  11. Mark Mc Laughlin

    Fred. Tomnod, a company set up by a school friend of mine Luke Barrington is running a crowd-sourced search for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane. If of interest anyone can help out with the search by following the link below

  12. Perry Rahbar

    Aren’t Terrorists pretty quick to take credit for things? Why haven’t we heard anything yet if that’s the case? At this point it’s also very hard to know what the real facts are.

    1. Michael Makunas

      Apparently, that’s not true. From…”Credible perpetrators claimed responsibility for only 14 percent of the more than 45,000 terrorist acts that have occurred since 1998, according to the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database.”

      1. Perry Rahbar

        That’s interesting, i stand corrected there. I guess if it is one of the larger organizations, wouldn’t have intelligence agencies gotten some sense of it by now? Seems like everyone’s pretty confused

      2. Ryan Frew

        Interesting numbers. Although with hostages it wouldn’t make sense not to take credit. That, unfortunately, is what’s bringing me to the conclusion that it is in the ocean somewhere. If they had successfully taken hostages, they would need to notify someone to get any use out of their operation.

        1. Michael Makunas

          That assumes that the goal was to use the people on board as leverage to get something not on the plane. By getting the plane, they may now be in possession of what (or who) they want. Or maybe they want a plane?But now we’re starting to get into bad action film territory.

    2. LE

      I go with that thought as well. Otoh (forgetting the child comment in reply to your comment) I tend to not like when the police always think they know what happens in a typical burglary. For example what about the first time someone breaks into a house?

    3. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Ya, the theory that they’ve landed somewhere reminds me of one of my favorite lines from “Dr. Strangelove”: “Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you *keep* it a *secret*! Why didn’t you tell the world, EH?”

    4. CJ

      Hijack the plane, land it, reprogram the transponder, put it back in the air…profit???It would be unlikely that you could hijack an aircraft from the USA nowadays but if you flew one into the US using a hacked transponder code you could do a lot of damage if you made it in without being detected. But I watch a lot of TV so…

      1. Ryan Frew

        Seems like this operation would be a lot more expensive than just picking up a DC-10 off the secondary market.

      2. JLM

        .An unscheduled 777 would attract a lot of attention. The way in is to fly it in the radar shadow of a real one.JLM.

        1. LE

          The way in is to fly it in the radar shadow of a real one.Great tip, thanks. Exactly why I read AVC. Actionable knowledge and entertainment , everyday.Reminds me in boating of how you follow the bigger boat if you don’t know how deep the water is. Bigger boat draws more. If it can make it through at low tide so can you. If it gets stuck you turn around.

          1. markslater

            he is stealing from reamde. 😉 is that whats happening here??

  13. MikeSansone

    I’m not big into conspiracy theories, but is this a test run to see if/how such an act (size and scope, not kind or type) could stay under the social radar?

  14. phoneranger

    Does anyone know where you can land a 777 without being noticed? Seems more difficult that flying into WTC.

    1. LE

      Old military runway. There was a Budd Plant near where I grew up. It made trains for the war effort I think. As a kid I remember we would ride over with our bikes and there was a huge runway that hadn’t been used probably since the 1950’s.http://www.airfields-freema

      1. Laura Yecies

        Couldn’t a highway function as a runway

        1. LE

          Yep. Was going to say that as well.

          1. markslater

            and it surely would have been seen by someone….landing on highway

        2. $28312048

          Perhaps, but it’d need to be pretty straight and if they were planning on reusing the plane nothing that could clip the wings off on the sides.

      2. phoneranger

        Ah so you think they made it to Philly? Interesting.

        1. LE

          There was a helicopter landing spot about 300 to 500 feet from my office for the hospital complex that used to be next door. They tore down the hospital maybe 2 years ago and got rid of the helipad. A few months ago for about 20 minutes there was a helicopter that circled around and around with it’s searchlight as if it were looking for that heli pad (which had been jackhammered away). (Was real annoying).If JLM is reading this I’m curious if it’s in any way common for pilots to have maps showing old landing spots and think they can land there for some reason. Which would explain why the heli kept circling with it’s spot light as if confused for some reason.

          1. Susan Rubinsky

            WWII airstrips on islands.

    2. $28312048

      Any flat piece of land a few thousand feet long.

    3. phoneranger

      Certainly every one of those passengers had a cellphone. If they saw they were flying west over the Malay Peninsula don’t you think one of them would have made a call? Despite FAA rules.

  15. LE

    This is kind of like internet investing, huh?You can only comment (or invest) based on what you know, and what you know is limited to the available information. And that information changes and is most surely missing something critical that would change what your opinion is.

  16. Harry DeMott

    Just seems like someone got control of the plane – turned off the transponders and made a left hand turn back west. The question is where – and why? If they knew enough to turn off the transponders manually, then you have to believe that they were capable of flying the plane – that said, if they didn’t know enough about the 777 design to understand the hourly positioning pings, and enough to know about the Rolls Royce engine pings then you can also assume some form of rudimentary knowledge but not necessarily deep knowledge of the systems. If that’s the case – then what you really worry about, and fear is exactly what that plane will be used for in the future. So I’m going with hijack – landing on some remote strip and converting the plane into some sort of weapon – with the crew and passengers all disposed of to cover the perpetrators tracks. Scary things is, if I am right, then these same skyjackers will have access to the news – and internet – and will find and turn off all of the other electronics now being mentioned.

    1. $28312048

      Maybe there was no way to turn it off? Apparently Boeing offers the service but Malaysian Airlines was not subscribed to it but it did it anyway. Maybe its to cover their own butt in the case of an accident?Perhaps the over-takers didn’t care since they knew it didn’t ping location just duration.

  17. jason wright

    i agree. it’s a hijack. there’s a deliberate news blackout, with a disinformation campaign orchestrated through the news media by governments with a direct interest in this situation.i’m sure the plane has landed, that governments know where it is, and probably there’s now a siege on the ground with the hijackers demanding the release of terror suspects being held in China. That’s my take on this as i’m speculatively linking it to the recent fatal stabbings at the train station in Kunming by separatists.

  18. Henry Chalian

    I can not help it and have to say: “So much for ‘Internet of Things” …. we really have a long ways to go and are not where most assume we are at!

  19. Zach

    I think the fuselage cracked near the SATCOM – destroying their communication abilities, GPS tracking device and caused a drop in cabin pressure that impaired the pilot’s responsiveness. I think that eventually everyone on board passed out and the plane continued flying on autopilot until it ran out of gas, continued to drift downward in the sky and crashed somewhere in an ocean.

    1. andyswan

      how does the “manual turning off of 2 transponders 14 min apart” fit into this

    2. Murtaugh

      And pilots have plenty of redundant oxygen in the cockpit to avoid being incapacitated due to oxygen loss.

  20. ErikSchwartz

    The plane is unlikely to have landed. You need a several mile long abandoned runway at an abandoned airport . There are a finite number of those in range and we know where they all are.No one who has ever been to sea finds it difficult to understand how something disappears without a trace there.If you want a great read about how cascading failures can get really interesting try reading Command and Control , it’s about the safely mechanisms of nuclear weapons. As a child of the cold war it will scare the living shit out of you.…My rampant speculation is a cascading accident that killed some of the electrical, left the AP working, killed the comms and emergency O2 and incapacitated the pilots (depressurization or fire)

    1. Murtaugh

      And how about that the nuclear code for weapons for years was ‘0000’. Amazing.

      1. Alex Murphy

        nobody would think of that … you have to start at 0001. 🙂

    2. LE

      Agree with “cascading failures”.You need a several mile long abandoned runway at an abandoned airportAlthough highly unlikely not impossible for a properly motivated group to make a makeshift runway.One of the things that, um, “impressed” me about 911 was how people with essentially street smarts were able to coordinate an attack that was never considered possible by far more “educated” people. (This is really the essence of social engineering meaning coming up with a plausible story about why you want to get training in a flight simulator that doesn’t raise any suspicions.)Building a runway basically takes people, money, machinery and a place to put the runway. While highly unlikely it is certainly possible. As far as “well there would be easier ways to do x y z” who cares? People do all sorts of things when there are easier ways to achieve the same goal for various reasons. I’m sure most people can’t understand why you would risk your life to cross the atlantic in a sailboat when you could just take an airplane. Or a cruise ship.

      1. bsoist

        I agree that motivated individuals could build a runway, but it seems like we would be able to see it, no?RE: “an easier way” – couldn’t agree more. Sometimes doing things the hard ( and less obvious) way is the best way to avoid being caught.

        1. LE

          but it seems like we would be able to see it, no?Camouflage before and after landing. Not like satellite images are being analyzed 24/7 for all sorts of off the wall “never going to happen” type things.You could build the runway in stages also.Build one portion, cover up, build another portion.Even with respect to evading radar not out of the question that someone who is in charge of a radar facility on the route (commercial or military (3rd world)) couldn’t be paid off if enough money was available. I mean there are people that trade in weapons, right?Unlikely but definitely possible given the right motivation.

      2. ErikSchwartz

        It is certainly do-able. It is certainly easier to make a runway that can handle one landing than a “real runway” that can handle tens of thousands of take offs and landings.But you know what they say about hoofbeats, horses, and zebras.

        1. LE

          “Don’t look for the zebras” is one of those sayings in medicine that is the root of all those “the doctor missed the diagnoses” stories that you hear. Where people love to tell about how the doctor was wrong.The good news is that that’s the reason you shouldn’t worry when the doctor tells you the headache is not a brain tumor. Because 99% of the time it’s not (I made that number up..)

          1. leigh

            My stepfather always says that to me ( being a mid range hypochondriac and all) all the time…it’s usually a horse 🙂

      3. 911theory

        lol at your 911 theory

      4. Dave Pinsen

        Tom Clancy anticipated a 9/11-style attack.As for building a runway, wouldn’t it be simpler to use a major highway?

        1. LE

          But then there would be people around who would know about it because major highways are located where there are people.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Major highways connect places where there are people, but you can drive for miles on some interstates in the US without seeing many people at all. I don’t know if there are any highways through remote areas in that part of the world though. Maybe in Northern Australia? Looks like that was in range of the flight, albeit in the opposite direction.

          2. ErikSchwartz

            …and then what? It’s been a week. You think it’s parked behind a Denny’s somewhere?

          3. LE

            Not enough Dennys internationally. (Amazing that such an old chain has such a smattering of international presence – surprised me.)I don’t think it has landed anywhere. Just more likely than pigs flying unassisted.I stick with “we don’t have all the info so it’s impossible to speculate intelligently about what happened”.

    3. jason wright

      ditching in the shallows up to a gently shelving beach is a possibility. if it can be done on the Hudson river….

      1. Alex Murphy

        waves make a successful ditch in the ocean just about impossible. hudson was a miracle.

      1. Alex Murphy

        I like the theory she presents, except it kept flying west. Makes me think the pilots did something other than push the plane down. Maybe they blew out the pressure somehow and the plane went on for hours into the indian ocean.

      2. ErikSchwartz

        In the comments she says she still thinks that TWA 800 was shot down by a missile.

        1. Aaron Klein

          But it’s very unclear what her position is on the Bermuda Triangle.

    4. sigmaalgebra

      > There are a finite number of those in range and we know where they all are.There is only a “finite” number of particlesin all of the visible universe. Maybe youintended to say “small” instead of “finite”!

      1. ErikSchwartz

        If you want to be pedantic, be my guest.I would not say it’s a small number. For the purposes of finding a lost plane that is underwater in the Indian Ocean there are essentially an infinite number of places it could be. Plane has ~4000 mile range, that makes a circle with an area that is 50*10^7 square miles (50 million). For all practical purposes that is infinite. By comparison the number of places is could have landed is finite.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          I’m not “pedantic” and, instead, am pissed, as in pissed off.Why? The anti-carbon, global warming, climate change crowd keeps saying that fossil fuels are finite as if this were an excuse not to use them and to use ‘renewable’ sources instead.Nonsense. Renewable sources are also finite.’Finite’ just does not mean ‘small’ and, instead, means ‘smaller’ than infinitely large.Yes, it is reasonable to regard the number of points on the bottom of the Indian Ocean as infinite. It is significantly less reasonable to regard the number of possible but not equivalent locations of the lost airplane as infinite.Or:A set is ‘finite’ if for some integer n the set can be put into 1-1 correspondence with the set {1, 2, …, n}.A set is ‘infinite’ if it can be put into 1-1 correspondence with a proper subset of itself.A set is ‘countable’ if it can be put into 1-1 correspondence with the integers or a proper subset of the integers.A set is ‘countably infinite’ if it can be put into 1-1 correspondence with the integers.A set is uncountable (uncountably infinite) if it is infinite and cannot be put into 1-1 correspondence with the integers.The integers, rationals, and algebraics are all countably infinite.The union of a countable set of countable sets is countable (proof essentially the Cantor diagonal process).Given a A, let the set P(A), the ‘power set of A, be the set of all subsets of A. Then A and P(A) cannot be put into 1-1 correspondence. So, easily can generate a countably infinite sequence of sets no two of which can be put into 1-1 correspondence. So, roughly there are at least countably infinitely many infinities.The set of real numbers is uncountably infinite (the proof is another application of the Cantor diagonal process).A big question was, can the real numbers be put into 1-1 correspondence with the power set of the integers? The answer: In terms of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, the answer is undecidable. See work of K. Goedel and P. Cohen.

          1. ErikSchwartz

            There are a finite number of places the plane could land. It is either finite or infinite, those are the two choices. You might argue that the number of locations the plane could have crashed in the sea are finite too and technically you would be correct. But in the vastness of the unexplored ocean bottom it is basically infinite.http://www.merriam-webster….fi·niteˈfīnīt/adjective1. having limits or bounds.I didn’t mean small, I meant finite. As compared to the practical infinity of the bottom of the Indian Ocean

          2. sigmaalgebra

            > There are a finite number of places the plane could land. It is either finite or infinite, those are the two choices.True. But saying that there are only finitely many places, i.e., runways, where the plane could land is saying next to nothing since finite could be as large as the number of stars in the visible universe.That finite doesn’t mean much is profound: The whole question of P versus NP, by far the most important unsolved problem in computer science and even an important problem in mathematics, with potentially profound practical consequences, is about just finitely many possibilities. It’s easy to write an algorithm that will solve all the problems in NP-complete, just enumerate all the possibilities, but that takes computer resources that grow like an exponential in the size of the problem. For some realistic sized problems, filling the visible universe with computers still could not do the enumeration before the sun burns out — finite can be big. If can get an algorithm that grows only as a polynomial in the size of the problem, then become world famous, a chaired prof at nearly any university of your choice, win $1 million from Clay Math in Boston, and have a wide range of startup opportunities that should build a company worth $1 billion or so. E.g., likely could bring down RSA and BitCoin with a wave of the hand. And there are claims that your algorithm would essentially trivialize all of mathematics — the consequences would be beyond belief.Again, finite is not saying much. What is important is that the total number of runways the plane could reach is known and not very large, i.e., dozens or hundreds, and, thus, easy enough to enumerate and even visit on the ground and inspect, one by one, by a not very large team, in just a day or so.> You might argue that the number of locations the plane could have crashed in the sea are finite too and technically you would be correct.No, “technically” that would be incorrect: The number of points, e.g., the number of latitude and longitude coordinates, in the Indian Ocean is the same as the number of real numbers and, thus, (uncountably) infinite.> But in the vastness of the unexplored ocean bottom it is basically infinite.No, in practice for this problem the number of points on the bottom of the Indian Ocean is basically finite: The plane and, indeed, any solid part of it, has area larger than 0. So, it would be possible to cover the bottom of the Indian Ocean with finitely many pieces of such positive area. So, in practice, for looking for plane parts, there are only finitely many inequivalent locations on the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

    5. PhilipSugar

      I cannot imagine having the guts to sail across the pacific by myself. Give you credit

  21. Michael Bernstein

    My guess is they’re all on an island in the south pacific preparing a new reality show by Mark Burnett.

  22. andyswan

    It’s pretty amazing that finding the plane is an expectation.I mean it used to be like “huh it’s been 3 years wonder where Magellan is?”

    1. LE

      Along those lines this is really entertaining to watch:Shackleton’s Frozen HellIn 1914, the world’s first trans-Antarctic expedition came to a cold stop. Trapped in ice just 60 miles from their destination, explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew found themselves in a dire situation that would play out as a two-year battle against starvation, sub-zero conditions, and the threat of being swallowed by the unforgiving Southern Ocean. Witness this incredible story of courage and survival, fueled by ship captain Frank Worsley’s exceptional navigational skills, the crew’s resiliency, and Shackleton’s cool-headed leadership.http://www.smithsonianchann

  23. c1ndygao

    a good and very astute friend in china has this interesting theory. having lived in china and seen the politburo at work, this seems less far fetched than house of cards. i quote:”What percentage of people on a plane are traveling on stolen passports? Im going with under 1%. The chance of 2? Miniscule. What are the chances of 2 stolen passports happening to be on a plane that happens to disappear between Malaysia and Beijing? Here’s what I think: – MH 370 was taken down by passengers with intent to terrorize – The weapon of terrorism is fear not bombs – The tool of terrorists is, ultimately, modern media with the ability to amplify and broadcast a small story around the world, thus turning one bomb into a series of crackdowns, security checks, and military actions that drag the world into the terrorists’ mindset – Inscrutable BJ is trying to deprive the extremists of their victory by denying the terrorists the one thing they need: credit This is a high-wire act. Can Beijing accomplish the unprecedented – derail terrorism by treating it as exactly what it is: a PR tool. Nobody runs PR narratives like China, and we are seeing it in place. My analysis may be totally off. Facts are still unfolding. But from what I see, we have a terrorist element in SE Asia (malaysia? elsewhere) that wants to make a name for itself by taking down the commercial and cultural umbilicus between Malaysia and China. And a totalitarian media-savvy empire that sees this shit as the PR bs it is. And is willing to call their bluff.You want to make us scared? How can you do it if we never say your name? If we never acknowledge your existence? If we never give you the power to terrorize us? China’s got a lot more planes where that came from – good luck taking them all down.”

    1. JamesHRH

      Nice angle & nice summary.

    2. Conor

      It’s a nice idea but in this age of modern media, YouTube, facebook etc. etc. do we really believe that this was terrorism and yet no one has come forward to claim credit? If it was someone on board wouldn’t they have left a video behind to be found? I doubt it’s terrorism because like you said terrorism is all about PR and without a press release left behind they’ve achieved nothing.It’s debateable about China wanting to deflect the fear by hiding the story. This isn’t pre-9/11 America, I don’t think people in China would be afraid of any extremists, and I don’t think it would shut the country, or even its airports, down. Look at the railway stabbing attack, it was all cleaned up in hours and the trains kept running.

  24. Murtaugh

    My pet theory is that the plane was hijacked and was going to be used as a weapon to take out some target vis-a-vis 9/11. And that said targeted nation or other nation identified the threat and destroyed the 777 in-flight and is staying quiet about it. And thus no one taking credit. The fact that it supposedly turned west seems to rule out China, especially Hong Kong (if true) but certainly not India, Bangkok, etc. I don’t know enough about geopolitics in that area to know which countries to the west might be viewed as targets for the supposed hijackers.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      This is actually a theory that is very consistent with what little is currently known.

    2. Alex Murphy

      Good theory, hard to believe that the military wouldn’t know about a plane being shot down. Even harder to believe that if they did they could keep it a secret.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        If it was shot down we would never be told.If the USAF had shot down any of the planes on 9/11 we never would have been told.

        1. Alex Murphy

          I meant if it was shot down by another country.

        2. Dave Pinsen

          Kind of hard to keep that sort of thing a secret, no?

  25. Geri

    This report from Business Insider this morning states that two communication systems from the plane, which would have cut out simultaneously upon an explosion, shut off 14 minutes apart. Pinging from the plane’s computer was read for 4 hours after that from satellite. This would suggest tampering. You would have to know how planes and airlines and international air traffic systems communicate to manipulate these things. They also knew it was a remote location where planes frequently lose communication anyway. Sounds way too planned to me. http://www.businessinsider….

  26. Rob Underwood

    I have travelled to this area of the world and my hunch is that it landed (or crashed) in the Mergui archipelago (best known from the James Bond film “Thunderball”) in Myanmar (Burma) — one of the most mysterious and unknown places on Earth I think (though getting increasingly less so as scuba tours operate out of Thailand and explore its southern islands).Some day I’ll tell my tale of traveling into Burma (not Mergui – northern part) without my passport in 1992, but that’s a story for another day.

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      I once got stopped by a guy with an AK47 finding myself in Namibia headed to Angola when i thought I was in Botswana headed to Maun. Later that day I heard about roads that move during the rainy season. Can’t wait to try a Google driven car there.

  27. Oscar Aabech Jung

    Why are black boxes not transmitting data live? If airlines have WIFI/satellite contact, why are planes not transmitting the last 4 hours continuously to ” the cloud” while a supercomputer could look over all systems. They spend 2 years before they found Air France 447’s box in the Atlantic last time.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      Ever paid a satphone bill? The airline business is very thin margin.

      1. LE

        If this was a big enough problem they could figure out a way to do what the parent suggested.But it’s not a big enough problem.It practically never happens and when it happens it only involves a small number of people. File under “sucks to be you” in life.Would rather the money go to protecting the power grid (if those stories are true) then trying to plug ever leaking hole where a small group of people may loose their lives.Knee jerk reactions to these rare events which drive extra regulation and costs for business (and taxpayers) is why shit in my state (NJ) is so fucking expensive.

  28. JLM

    .Deliberately turning off the transponders is a human act intended to disguise the identity of the plane. It does not hide the plane. The radar signature still shows up, it just doesn’t have a transponder code associated with it. It is a first step in some kind of dance. It is really not particularly insightful. Amateurish almost.Military radar is not coordinated with ATC radar and will therefore take a little time to bubble to the surface. Military radar likely has some more info that will show initial heading, altitude, speed of the plane after whatever happened happened. This will take some time to be found and analyzed. Likely it will not be shared with the public. Why?If the plane got off the radar screens, it was likely because it descended to an altitude at which they could not be “seen” by radar. Remember these ATC radar installations are looking at flights in the flight levels and likely in the 30,000 + MSL levels. They will have huge blind spots below 18,000′ MSL.I don’t believe the four hour “ping” info is correct. I know nothing about why but I have read things that make me skeptical. I am not absolutely certain that Rolls Royce engines have that system. I know that Boeing does.I suspect there will be satellite data which will be found. Once they get a pic of the plane at some point in its uninterrupted flight (before whatever happened happened) they will be able to trace the plane using infrared technology.The 777 is a very good plane and would fly itself after an explosive depressurization. This plane loses pressure and everyone is dead in about 30 seconds at that altitude. But it would also use some fail safe features to reveal its location.The black box is the key to this. It will be found and if the plane is in the ocean, it is pinging its fool head off and will continue for 90 days. The depth of the ocean is a huge consideration but the US has submarine assets that can hear it very well — within 500 to 1000 miles.My theory: Bad act with landing and future use.There are a huge number of abandoned airfields in that part of the world from WWII and the oil business. It would take a very big one.JLM.

    1. fredwilson

      I was waiting for you to show up JLMAnd was not disappointed

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Ha when I saw the post I thought why dont you just ask @jlm:disqus?

      2. JamesHRH

        Dude’s a goldmine.

    2. LE

      Amateurish almost.I always like to take into account the possibility of disinformation. Even when presented with conflicting clues. I mean even mere waiters use this to try and gain trust and get you to make a decision that you wouldn’t normally do.The only thing we can be sure of is this. When they interview the person or people who do find the plane the first question out of the mouth of the interviewer will be “so what was going through your mind when you saw the debris field?”

    3. BillMcNeely

      There was an American LTC they gave a similar analysis this morning.this feels likes a hijacking with well thought misdirection.Wether it was executed properly we don’t know yet.

    4. Pete Griffiths

      Are you sure it can be found at that range underwater JLM?”If immersed in water it should activate a “pinger” that can draw investigators to the location, although the signal cannot be detected over long distances.”I have heard a good deal to the contrary and previous accidents in the ocean don’t seem to have resulted in quick retrievals by such means, even when the search area was a good deal smaller.

      1. JLM

        .I understand our subs have a decidedly better acoustic receiver these days. We used to track the Russians on a choke point coming between Iceland and Ireland.With the focus re-oriented toward the Pacific, I understand our subs have increased their ability to pick up an acoustic signature dramatically.JLM.

        1. Pete Griffiths

          Definitely. And our signal processing is way better. But I think 500-1000 miles is a stretch. At the risk of being pedantic, that’s 1.5-3m square miles and every last drop on the planet is 140m Wouldn’t take us long at that rate 🙂

          1. JLM

            .Lot depends on depth and bottom contours. Like trying to find something in the Rockies.If it’s down there, I predict they will find it.JLM.

        2. sigmaalgebra

          > a choke point coming between Iceland and Ireland.The old jargon of that field was the GIUK gap for Greenland, Iceland, UK. So, look at a map and see where a ship in NW Russia has to go to get to the North Atlantic: (1) Between Greenland and Iceland, (2) between Iceland and the UK, and (3) if strain, between the UK and France.There has long been a lot to ocean acoustics: So, if there is a gradient in the temperature of the water, then it bends sound. There can be temperature layers in the ocean that easily transmit sound, and keep it in the layer, as far as the layer lasts, maybe all the way across an ocean. There can be simple time invariant linear system filtering, e.g., Wiener filtering for optimal separation of signal and noise. With digital filtering, that’s quite easy to do now. If want to track something, then use the computational efficiencies of Kalman filtering. There is a great dessert buffet of such math inD. Luenberger, ‘Optimization by Vector Space Methods’,basically fun and profit from the Hahn-Banach theorem. Luenberger was long a prof at Stanford.The submarines are not limited at all to just one microphone but can have large arrays, and the signals from these can be combined to create a spacial ‘antenna pattern’ or ‘beam forming’ to listen in just one very narrow direction. And large arrays of microphones can be towed behind a submarine with their signals treated with beam forming.Likely the US has microphones on the floors of all interesting points on the oceans, and those signals could be recorded digitally and individually, transmitted back to land, and then filtered and beam formed there, in principle with signals from some or many submarines, surface ships, buoys, etc. That is, just with careful clocks and good GPS coordinates, could treat the signals from 1000 sea floor microphones and 100 ships as all one ‘antenna’ that could be filtered and ‘beam formed’.So, hmm, if the US Navy has good acoustic resources in the Indian Ocean, then it might be able to take the data it recorded the day the plane disappeared and do beam forming from the sea floor to the sea surface and, for each, say, 10 seconds of real time that day, sweep the narrow beam over the surface of all the relevant area looking for a big splash. Hmm …. Of course, given the last location of the plane and the max speed of the plane, also considering winds, could limit the possible parts of the ocean that have to be searched.Also I would guess that scanning the sea floor with active sonar could locate the plane in a few weeks or so.And there can also be nonlinear filtering — there’s actually a large literature, ironically, heavily from Russian authors, e.g.,R. S. Lipster and A. N. Shiryayev, ‘Statistics of Random Processes I: General Theory’, ISBN 0-387-90226-0, Springer-Verlag.R. S. Lipster and A. N. Shiryayev, ‘Statistics of Random Processes II: Applications’, ISBN 0-387-90236-0, Springer-Verlag.Fun reading!Of course, that is the same Shiryayev as inAlbert N. Shiryaev, ‘Essentials of Stochastic Finance: Facts, Models, Theory’.Also could look at work of,Sanjoy K. Mitter, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MITDarned good applied mathematician for high end techniques in signal processing.As we know well, long ago when a Russian submarine in the Pacific collapsed and sank, from US Pacific Ocean acoustic capabilities the US knew right where that submarine sank, and Howard Hughes built and sent out the Glomar Explorer ship, ~1973, to reach down and grab the Russian submarine from the sea floor. I’m sure that the US Navy is doing much better now.Disclosure: Before and during graduate school, much of my career around DC in applied math and computing was on Navy acoustic and submarine problems.I could tell you more, but then I’d have to …!

          1. JLM

            .Did you ever read the story of that sub?Written by a guy from Austin, claimed to be a rogue Spetnaz operation to trigger an attack on Hawaii camouflaged as a Chinese sub — the Russians had sold the Chinese some of those subs with short range missiles.American fail safe technology given to the Russians triggered a non-nuclear explosion which killed the sub. The sub tried to launch their missiles without knowledge of how to disarm the fail safe devices.Tough to judge whether it’s all true except the sub absolutely ended up in California under lock and key for decades and the bodies were returned to the Russians years later. The burials were public information at the time.JLM.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            The story I heard, really just on TV, was that the Russian sub broke up on the way up but that the bodies of some of the Russian sailors were recovered. Then the US did a burial at sea, made a video, and presented the video to the Russian Ambassador to the US or some such.As LE here might warn, in such public statements there might be a lot of disinformation so that can’t take all of that at face value.The math is mostly regarded as not very secret. For a while, some of what the US was doing with spread spectrum in radar was getting to be sensitive. But, during the Cold War, the US was doing a lot with the work of Kolmogorov, Dynkin, Pontryagin, Markov, Rozanov, Lipster, Shiryayev, etc.Beam forming is basically just antenna theory and, thus, quite standard. E.g., a radar version is ‘phased array’ radar used, as I recall, long on the Aegis ships and later in the ABM radars. As I recall, seeing what was behind the nose cone of an airplane, now phased array radar has long been common on airplanes, too. So, with a phased array radar, can ‘steer’ one or at the same time several narrow beams just by digital electronics without moving anything physical, that is, just by adding together, with appropriate delays and weights, signals from many simple ‘dipole’ antennas or microphones.What’s somewhat interesting is just how much digital signal processing we can easily do with current or recent digital computing — off the tops of the charts. There ends up being a crucial Fourier transform in there so that the Cooley-Tukey fast Fourier transform algorithm gets to be important.When the special issue of an IEEE journal came out on the fast Fourier transform and was missing from all the university libraries around DC, I started to get paranoid! Eventually I did get a photocopy, as I recall, from the GE R&D center. I was working at the GE Information Services HQ in Bethesda at the time, along with feasting on French wines and cheese.Actually there’s some quite interesting ‘science’ just in the now quite oldEnders A. Robinson, ‘Multichannel Time Series Analysis with Digital Computer Programs’.This book was how to use the fast Fourier transform for fun and profit looking at layers in geology and, thus, promising pockets of oil. The book has in the back the source code for a nice library of signal processing subroutines. No doubt could do as well or better now with any of several math software packages. A recent Google search seemed to suggest that Robinson was still active in such things.> acoustic stampA first-cut way to do that is to get the power spectrum, and how to do the statistics there is in,Blackman and Tukey, ‘The Measurement of Power Spectra’.Else for a ‘stamp’ might use the statistics of sample paths of stochastic processes; that is a potentially quite interesting but narrow field not popular in US universities! Heck, even stochastic processes are not popular!Once I used Blackman and Tukey to win a contract from the Navy for the software house I was in! When I got my Ph.D. in engineering, one requirement was an example of competence in scientific programming, and I dusted off that work, submitted it, and got credit! So, with that spectrum could do an ‘optimal’ detector of that sub via Wiener filtering!Yes, the Neyman-Pearson result in statistics gets to be important there; the US Navy had no trouble appreciating Neyman-Pearson, but, from some work I did on detecting anomalies in server farms and networks, with also potentially some military applications, essentially no VC in the US could!Neyman-Pearson: You get a value of a random variable. You know the distribution when there is a submarine present and also the distribution when a submarine is not present. You want, say, a false alarm rate of 10%. Then, for a discrete case, for each discrete possibility, you find the ratio of the detection rate to the false alarm rate and include in where you sound the alarm for a detection of the sub the possibility with the highest ratio. Then for the false alarm rate there, you pay for that with your 10%. You continue until you have paid all your 10%.What possibilities you have bought are where you can best detect the sub for a false alarm rate of 10%.In more detail, there is a knapsack problem in there; yes a knapsack problem is in NP-complete, but in practice there is a good approach via dynamic programming.Or, you have $10 million to invest in real estate. You have 1000 candidate properties. You want the best ROI. For each property you look at its ROI. Then you buy the property with the highest ROI, then the next highest, etc., until you have spent all your $10 million. And that’s also a ‘real-estate’ version of the Neyman-Pearson result; it stands to be heavily used in any case of military target detection. But with your background in real estate investing, you knew that already! So, right, make a theorem out of that and help win the Cold War!I have a much nicer proof using the Hahn decomposition in measure theory (Rudin, ‘Real and Complex Analysis’ near his proof, via von Neumann, of the Radon-Nikodym theorem).I was reading Blackman and Tukey at a seafood bar in Silver Spring, MD when a guy on the stool next to me, about 50, said, “I bet you work for the Navy.”. Hmm! He didn’t seem to have a Russian accent, but, still, I didn’t respond to him!The main points in the book are (1) the measurement of power spectra is essentially just Chi-squared statistics and (2) there is a trade off between resolution and statistical stability.From a Google search I just did, apparently there is much more to Blackman and Tukey now. The book was written at Bell Labs and, no doubt, closely connected with the Shannon information theory on the capacity of a communications channel, and that work is closely connected with how many little balls will fit inside a big ball where the big ball is determined from the signal power used and the little balls, from the noise on the channel. How ’bout that!Actually one piece of work I did for such things, I learned later, got sold to a well known US intelligence agency. I could tell you which one, but then I’d have to …!

          3. JLM

            .Great write up. I will come visit you in jail when the NSA reads that stuff.I saw work product from that but know next to nothing about the underlying science.I do know that the US had every single Russian vessel’s acoustic stamp identified for years and years.JLM.

    5. jason wright

      the plane is on the ground and it’s a hostage exchange negotiation with Beijing, or it was taken for a 9/11 and was shot down over the ocean or remote territory before it reached its target. i think the first more probable, but the second is possible. certainly news blackout and misdirection campaigns are being run by all sides with an interest in this.if it was shot down that fact will be concealed from the public. if over the ocean easy to do. if over land more difficult, but the wreckage and bodies could be being removed as we disqus this ‘mystery’.

  29. Bernard Desarnauts

    Here is a link to the most common sense, well thought-through commentary on this whole missing plane saga… in a nutshell. Let the experts do their job and stop speculating. there is fundamentally nothing abnormal about this plane disappearance thus far. Aka it’s just a question of time etc.

  30. LE

    All the search planes that you see show people looking out the window.You wonder why there is not a rig that can be attached to a search plane [1] that shoots hi res photos that can be analyzed later -or- computer interpreted later identify objects. Or in real time.So in this case the debris field is so big it doesn’t matter. Maybe. Maybe not.But in other cases you are looking for small objects in the water (a floating suitcase or small plane parts) and the ability to fly higher up would in theory allow you to see a wider area. With hi res cameras I think you could certainly process a wider area and more data.[1] To answer my question it’s because this type of thing doesn’t happen that often (to justify the costs of a better search method). Personally I’m amazed at the amount of resources put into finding the answer to this. It reminds me of all those laws passed which are “if we can just save one life”. Imagine the same resources being thrown at other problems. I’m not saying not to find the answer but I think you have to not assume it should be at any cost.

  31. Salt Shaker

    In this day and age, how is it that all these int’l carriers don’t cross-check the passenger manifest with Interpol and other databases? We wrongly assume that many of the safeguards put in place post-9/11 by the FAA, TSA, etc., although hardly fail safe (and likely more an illusion of safety than anything else), is nonetheless being deployed internationally.Malaysia Airlines should be rebranded as Malaise Airlines!

  32. ErikSchwartz

    If the plane was flying an unknown track of the Indian Ocean there is a very real chance we will never find the crash site. It took 2 years to find the Air France flight and it was on a known track and they found initial debris very quickly.

  33. bsoist

    U.S. officials are pursuing the theory that someone caused the disappearance.

  34. Tracey Jackson

    Foul play. Thought so since day one. Don’t ask why, but I think it might be parked in a field in Indonesia.

  35. Donna Brewington White

    I think that a new name for “Fun Friday” is needed given the types of topics that often appear under that heading. I know that fun is relative. For instance, speculating on a juicy problem like this can be fun but there is probably a better word for it. Maybe a Fun Friday could be devoted to suggesting a new name for Fridays. I like Fred’s Friday, sort of like a bartender’s special.

    1. LE

      As Fred has said:I thought it would be an interesting opportunity for a comment driven day at AVC.Which essentially boils down to a topic that everyone can be a blow hard on. No right or wrong answers. No particular expertise needed.I’m just waiting for Kid Mercury and Fake Grimlock to give their 2 cents.For next week I suggest we discuss Belle Knox.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        If this doesn’t bring Kid home I don’t know what will.

      2. kidmercury

        i did comment elsewhere here, encouraging folks to go deep kook and check out the comments here:…i generally favor one of two explanations:1. alien intervention. maybe the plane was on its way to do something that ETs did not want, so they seized the plane. there is a whole sub-sect of advanced kookology that studies alien intervention, specifically to turn off nuclear weapons.2. technology display as act of aggression. could be US flexing its technology as a sign to putin. chavez accused the earthquake in haiti a few years back as an act of war by the US. there is a lot of science and insider testimony to this.

        1. JamesHRH

          This is the best type of deep kookology. Micro-personal motivations driving geo-politics via sci-fi cloak & dagger.

      3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        Hmmm Belle Knox – I thought that would be a lost gold mine – and it turns out it is !Next time – NOT SAFE FOR WORK !

      4. ShanaC

        Can’t we discuss something like favorite cookies or something?Favorite vegetables?

        1. LE

          See this is exactly why in shul the women sit separate from the men.

    2. fredwilson

      Don’t like Fred’s Friday but agree about fun. Not a great word to start this discussion with

      1. Govind Kabra

        Talk Friday

      2. JamesHRH

        Tangent Friday.Off topic Friday.In the Weeds Friday.Normals Friday.IRL Friday.Geek Free Friday.

    3. kidmercury

      upvote for fred’s friday! the alliteration is too much fun 🙂

      1. Donna Brewington White


    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Fascination Friday?

  36. Barry Nolan

    It’s extraordinary that it’s easier to find a lost iPhone, than a lost 777.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      If you drop your iPhone in the middle of the Indian Ocean it will not be easy to find.

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        To play up the pedantic -How specific are you being ? – found and recovered are two different things. “If you drop your iPhone in the middle of the Indian Ocean” it is arguably not even lost – as it is known to be somewhere – to whit – “the middle of the Indian Ocean”

        1. ErikSchwartz

          I would bet money somewhere in “the middle of the Indian Ocean” is where this airplane is.So it’s not lost.

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Hey everyone – Erik found the plane already !!!

    2. Ryan Frew

      I can assure you that there were a lot of iPhones on that plane. We haven’t found any of them.

  37. ErikSchwartz

    Maybe both pilots ate the fish…Yes, I know, tasteless.

    1. LE

      I don’t think at all.One of the things that always upsets me is when people get all pissed off and indignant against something someone says that is “close” to them to protect people that they have no connection to.Like when your sister in law gets upset at the Thanksgiving table because you make some comment that she doesn’t like and there is tremendous animosity created. And the “protected” group doesn’t know or even give a shit at all that someone defended them.

      1. Ryan Frew

        I’m not sure that I’m ready to make jokes about it personally, but I was surprised that The Onion already tackled the subject:

        1. LE

          That was pretty funny. Thanks for sending.I forked to this which is even funnier:…It hits home you know. Because I still can’t find someone that matches my eight grade boyfriend.

    2. Vineeth Kariappa

      LOST, part 2. …………. (creepy song in background.)

  38. Donna Brewington White

    If there was a group that could come close to finding the answer this would be it. I am often amazed at the body of knowledge represented in the AVC comments. Of course more trustworthy on certain topics than others but trustworthy nevertheless.

  39. kevinmurphy

    I have seen a number of references to this solution (… ) which is scheduled to start sometime around 2017. It fills in the gaps that exist in current coverage around the globe.

  40. D Chandler

    From personal experience, the investigators have a LOT more information than is being publicly released, especially given the international nature of the incident. Given that no wreckage was found along the submitted flight plan and the delay in the systems going off line gives a strong indication that it was not catastrophic at that time. When I first heard about those items, my first thought was what happened to the maintenance up-link.My question is how accurate is the range estimates being reported. Given the low passenger complement, the plane would not have been fully fueled and if the plane dropped to a lower altitude to evade radar, then the range decreases further. Weight is what determines the landing length needed, so they could have also dumped fuel to land at a shorter runway. With passengers and luggage unloaded, then you don’t need as much fuel, and thus not as long a runway, to take off again.What bothers me is how someone could get control of the plane with 12 crew members, and given what happened on 9/11, how you would think giving someone control would be a means to keep everyone safe.It’s definitely atypical, but so was the Egypt Air crash in 1999 when it happened.

  41. Ana Milicevic

    All I know is I’m playing the numbers from LOST in the lottery this week…

  42. matthughes

    I’m guessing foul play, followed by wrecking into the ocean.As such, I assume everyone on board was killed – RIP.It’s difficult to fathom how technology hasn’t found the plane yet.

    1. fredwilson

      Wow. The creativity of the kook community never ceases to amaze me

      1. Matt A. Myers

        It is amazing as the logic followed is generally correct, though the probability isn’t really there. The way I’d describe what a lot of conspiracy theorists have as ideas are possibilities but they’re not options.

      2. kidmercury

        creative. relentless. ambitious. #kookpride

  43. Kirsten Lambertsen

    People can help analyze satellite photos of the area that’s being searched:

  44. johnmccarthy

    Hijacking by Uighur separatists. This will be identified by future generations as a pivotal moment in Chinese history….but that’s just a guess…..

    1. JLM

      .The Uighurs are a very, very, very interesting Chinese tale.Have you ever read the story of the Uighurs @ G’itmo? Fascinating.It took years for anyone to figure out what language they were speaking.JLM.

      1. johnmccarthy

        Yeah, those guys at Gitmo were in the wrong place at the wrong time and on the wrong side of politics. Very diplomatically inconvenient. Xinjiang a pending flashpoint.

  45. Nil

    All airplanes must have WIFI – it could have made the different…

  46. Alex Wolf

    Agents of SHIELD may have taken it, or Dr. Evil in the Bob’s Big Boy.

  47. ShanaC

    I don’t like speculating how people die at sea.Too grim

  48. Salt Shaker

    Flew once on Iberia post 9/11 and the cockpit doors were open the whole time. International carriers have not adequately embraced post 9/11 security concerns, including database cross-checks. How does 2 passengers w/ stolen passports fly anywhere these days, even if they’ve subsequently been vetted and scrubbed? Unconscionable negligence by international carriers, as a breached cockpit will most likely substantiate. Unfortunately, too often only tragic events stimulate change.

  49. Emily Merkle

    Accident. Terrorism. Act of a unicorn. Good chance we will never know. Sic the media back on Miley; the investigation will continue. Lives have been lost. Let the loved ones mourn.

  50. Alex Murphy

    The thing that struck me as odd timing was that Russia walks into Crimea and within a week the whole world is focused on a plane that went somewhere with 200 people.Meanwhile, Kerry has conceded that Russia will probably just annex Crimea.Georgia … check.Crimea …. check.These are very scary times because the authoritarian approach is one of absolute domination at the expense of anything that stands in the way of that domination. You can’t take the KGB out of the thinking that is going on there …. and so what would you do if you were trying to take over countries in 2014? Create media storms that divert attention away from what you are doing.So where is the plane? It is in the Indian ocean 2200 miles from the point of last official contact drawing a line straight through the sat ping points into the Indian ocean and then straight down to the bottom.The downside of history is the fact that we are doomed to repeat it.The 90s were the 20s …Market crash in 01 … 08 to 12 were the Depression …We are in scary times.

  51. Angela Min

    Very compelling topic for a blogpost, and a relevant one for startup / VC industry. Because perhaps the more important question is, why is this story so compelling to begin with? The answer: because it’s a story as old as time: We are Lost, and we are Found. The archetypal Joseph Campbell “Heroic Story Arc” that underlines every story from Genesis and the Garden of Eden to Milton’s Paradise Lost to NBC’s 6-year run with the show LOST. A plane lost at sea, and it’s passengers, in purgatory for 6 years until they find redemption. And how did they get lost to begin with? Guilt. Just ask Eve, blamed for the very downfall of mankind, for taking a bite out of the apple. Sheesh. But perhaps redeemed through Jobs, who took a bite too, and created his own Eden. But that takes guts – a willingness to start a new story. In other words, leave the guilt behind. Grab permission for yourself, and create a new story. But easier said than done. As founders, with all good intention we set off on a mission to change the world, shake things up and disrupt the status quo … until, the peer pressure sets in. Who got published in Mashable? Maybe we can try that too, but wait, maybe try that instead, jumping on every trend, FOMO-iterating until there’s nothing left in the bank. You know … LOST. But not all is lost. We can redeem ourselves. To forgive ourselves, and let go of the past and start a new start. And that’s how we are found.

  52. Ken Galpin

    Every time I think about this missing plane the image of the business jet carrying Payne Stewart comes to my mind. How long did that plane carrying incapacitated crew and passengers keep flying before it eventually came down?

  53. Pete Griffiths

    “He went on to explain to me that the flight had continued for four or five hours after the communications systems were turned off” There seems to be real doubt about that.I don’t think anyone has the first idea what has happened to that plane. I listened to an expert who considered opinion was “I have no idea.” So who am I to speculate?

    1. Pete Griffiths

      The plot thickens:”The more U.S. officials learn about the flight, “the more difficult to write off” the idea that some type of human intervention was involved, an official familiar with the investigation said.”

  54. Dad

    Interesting that during the trial of Abu Ghaith we read the quote: “He said he was left with only one shoe bomb because he gave his other one to a group of Malaysian men seeking to blow open a plane’s cockpit door and carry out a Sept. 11-style hijacking of their own.”(source:… )Which implies that there were Malaysian men who wanted to hijack a plane as far back as 2001.

  55. paramendra

    As much as I would like to believe the people on the plane are alive, I have a feeling this has been a tragedy. If it had been a hijacking or a terrorist act, we might have had some group or the other lay claim by now. Is that not why they do it in the first place? To make a statement? I have a feeling the plane is at the bottom of the ocean. All people on board are dead.

  56. sgblank

    Given the sparse pings of the ACARS system but no data – a hypothesis: could this be this is another SwissAir Flight 11 – a fire in the Main Equipment Center (MEC) underneath the cockpit? If there’s a fire a smoke detector illuminates the ‘EQUIP COOLING OVRD’ message on the cockpit EICAS. see diagram here:…It’s possible after seeing a message the crew began a turnback to Malaysia. But if the fire continued it could knock out communications equipment, which would explain the loss of comms. the fire could have damaged the fly-by-wire flight controls which could explain the continued flight. And/or it could have blown out the crew oxygen bottle which could cause rapid decompression and crew hypoxia if it went off through the fuselage.While just a hypothesis, unfortunately a 777 had a fire in this exact location – luckily for them on the ground in London Heathrow in Feb 2007. See the UK AAIB report:…The report said, “…Prior to this accident the aircraft manufacturer was involved in investigating 11 in-service reports of power panel overheat events, three of which involved major damage to the panels. The affected panels were the P200 and P300, and the affected contactors were the RBTB, Auxiliary Power Breaker (APB)and the Primary External Power Contactor (PEPC).Now imagine if the fire occurred in the air at 35,000 feet.

  57. Twain Twain

    Some of the media outlets are saying it’s pirates rather than hijackers.My thoughts are mostly with the people on board and their families, waiting for verified official information on what’s happened to their loved ones.The other thoughts are about the need to improve how planes are tracked, passenger verification (especially wrt checking passports with Interpol databases on stolen passports) and better coordination and communication from the authorities involved in the search operation.

  58. ErikSchwartz

    Anyone have any idea how hard it would be to hack an avionics system? It’s got some kind of centralized comm bus on the aircraft. Could someone take over an aircraft by spoofing messages on that bus?

    1. LE

      One thing I do know is that all the things that people say they have figured out (security wise) you always find there is something that they have failed to do to protect that ends up being exploited. So in that sense I would say “yes it can be hacked into”. Especially since in this case there is not a history of people trying. Because when people try and succeed that is when things get hardened more. Consequently there is no doubt low hanging fruit of hacking opportunity. Meaning it can be done.

    2. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

      That’s too much work – just swap in a pilot for the two in the cockpit, or be one pilot and incapacitate the other.

  59. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

    Well, the latest info on Business Insider strongly suggests to me that one of the two pilots incapacitated the other and headed out over the Indian Ocean. Scenario: pilot A incapacitates pilot B. Then he puts on his oxygen mask, shuts off the passenger oxygen, takes the plane to 45,000 feet to make sure they’re dead.Now he’s got an airliner all to himself and needs a place to land. He miscalculates the fuel and runs out somewhere over water. Attempted piracy turns to murder – suicide. I’d be looking at the history of the pilots’ flights to see how well they knew the routes over the Indian Ocean.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      No one has enough information to strongly suggest anything, least of all business insider,

  60. Guest

    Hi all!Since this plane “vanished” from the Sky I wondering to little things: It’s near impossible to hide this kind of plane today [ I tweet this few days ago], because the Roils Royce machinery monitoring for the turbines act as a kind of transponder [without coordinates, only altitude, speed and other secrets things] and the other one why since 9-11 the transponder the pilot can turn off it manually? Bad regulation. It’s a must to avoid these feature for security reasons. For sure in the rise era of the #IoT these “missing plane” of these plane is a huge failure…. and it’s closing to new -shame of course- Guinness Record.

  61. markslater

    i watched piers morgan interview this poor lady with 2 young boys who’s husband was on the plane. It was heart breaking….I cant imagine how exhausting it must be for her and others to have to live in this appalling purgatory that exists between hope and devestation, day after day…..

  62. daryn

    I have no idea what happened, but hijackers typically have demands that they want to have heard, so complete silence doesn’t seem quite right. Clearly something went wrong one way or another.The first thing I thought about though, was when Jim Gray went missing in 2007, and the use of Amazon Mechanical Turk to search for him.

  63. DarrenC

    Does anyone know how accurately Malaysian airlines measure and monitor the amount of fuel loaded on a plane? If the plane was hijacked it was a sophisticated act so maybe it was arranged that extra fuel was loaded on the plane. In which case the distance flown could be larger and approach the maximum 9500 km of the planes design.

  64. anne weiler

    It’s not clear the ‘feature value’ of turning off the transponders in a commercial airline. Any idea why that is even possible?