From the day the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared many theories such as hijacking, disintegration in midair, missile attack, and so on, are being elucidated by pundits and amateurs for the possible disappearance of the flight that took off on Saturday, March 8, 2014, at 00:41 MST from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 239 people, including 12 crew members.
Since the international search for the missing aircraft has not yielded any result and the hope of finding it is waning as the days dawn on, implausible and whimsical theories are now circulating in regular and online social media.
A meteor strike?
Some have suggested that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 could have been struck by a powerful meteor that shattered it to smithereens, and the bits might have fallen into the sea.
Interception by aliens?
On the ForbiddenKnowledgeTV.com, a conspiracy theory site, Alexandra Bruce has interpreted the unusual data on Flightradar24.com on the date of the disappearance. He suggests that a UFO might have intercepted the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Seeing the radar playback of the moments leading up to the plane’s disappearance, one may forgive Malaysia Airlines for not being more forward, in this case – because the radar playback is not only baffling, it shows two distinct anomalies, as pointed out by Intrepid citizen-reporter and YouTube popstar, DAHBOO7.
The radar playbackdepicts dozens of planes in flight over the region at the time. The first peculiarity is seen in the lower left of the screen. A round object appears in the vicinity of Flight 370 (and amid several others), which the radar does not automatically “read” as airplane. Suddenly, this round object take the form of a “plane” on the radar screen and accelerates at a rate of speed that must be at least five times the speed of the surrounding planes, heading eastward, over the South China Sea – and just as suddenly the object stops and appears to hover in place.
During this same time, there is some evidence that shortly after crossing the Malaysian Peninsula, Flight 370 was in trouble. The radar playback shows that the plane took three sharp turns: right, left, right at an altitude of 35,000 feet and at a speed of 473 knots – just before the radar readings instantly go from 35,000 feet to 0, with the plane still traveling at that speed for a few moments more, at 0 feet altitude before it vanishes from the screen. As of this writing, this plane remains missing, even though the sea is relatively shallow in the area where the lane went missing.
As for the other object described here, it disappears as well. There have been no reports about this object – or plane, or what have you; whether it was a commercial airliner, like the many others in flight during the final moments preceding the disappearance of Flight 370 – but the object in question certainly didn’t behave like a commercial airliner.
Regardless of whether or not this mystery object had anything to do with the demise of of Flight 370 – what IS evident is that the radar readings shown in this clip captured signals from what for now, can only be termed a UFO.
Copywriters persuade people to buy or use a product by writing eye-catching, meaningful advertisements.
At times people can be ingenious and for fun alter a copywriter’s creation and play havoc with other people’s beliefs and trust.
I came across the following Malaysia Airlines advertisement posted on Facebook.
This advertisement shocked me. At first I thought the copywriter who created this advertisement must be a modern-day prophet who must have had a premonition of the future.
I define “prophecy” as the process of communicating to others about events that are due to take place in the future. This knowledge about the future can be the outcome of communication received from a divine or a supernatural entity or arising from one’s own frustration or wishful thinking. The person who foretells the so-called future events is given the hallowed label “prophet” by those who believe him, or slapped with a profane label “jerk” by those who feel he is a nut who ought to be institutionalized.
As usual, I dived in to find whether such an ad was ever published by Malaysia Airlines.
This image purported to be an old Malaysia Airlines ad is a sick joke in bad taste. Posted on social networks, it has gone viral at a time when people are worried about the fate of the 239 people on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
No such ad was ever created or published by Malaysia Airlines. It is a gigantic hoax.
No such ad was ever created or published by Malaysia Airlines. It is a gigantic hoax. The plane pictured in the ad is not a Boeing 777. It is an Airbus A380.
In fact, I came across the following two advertisements published by Malaysia Airlines in 2012 using the image of Airbus A380.
Why do some people deliberately fabricate falsehood made to masquerade as truth such this? Why should some attempt to misinform fellow beings?
A hoax is obviously a form of vandalism. Misinformation misleads people making them commit judgmental errors with real consequences, including hurt feelings, public embarrassment, etc. Misinformation in some articles, like medical topics, could lead to health injury or even death. So, why don’t the perpetrators of hoaxes use their resources to create useful topics that could help people instead of deceiving them?
Theories such as hijacking, disintegration in midair, missile attack, and so on, are being expounded by pundits and amateurs for the plausible disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that took off on Saturday, March 8, 2014, at 00:41 MST from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 239 people, including 12 crew members, on a scheduled six-hour flight to Beijing. About two hours later, the aircraft was last seen on Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar at 02:40 MST. After that the aircraft ceased all communications, and the transponder signal was lost.
Was the Aircraft Hijacked?
On Saturday, March 15, 2014, a week after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters:
“Based on new satellite information, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was disabled just before the aircraft reached the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Shortly afterwards, near the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control, the aircraft’s transponder was switched off.”
The Prime Minister further said:
“Despite media reports that the plane was hijacked, I wish to be very clear: we are still investigating all possibilities as to what caused MH370 to deviate from its original flight path.”
I have reproduced below the full text of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s statement on the investigation into the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, as provided by the Prime Minister’s office. I have used the two diagrams from the very informative article published in the The New York Times titled “Search for Malaysian Jet Becomes Criminal Inquiry” authored by Keith Bradsher and Chris Buckley.
Seven days ago Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared. We realize this is an excruciating time for the families of those on board. No words can describe the pain they must be going through. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them.
I have been appraised of the ongoing search operation round the clock. At the beginning of the operation, I ordered the search area to be broadened; I instructed the Malaysian authorities to share all relevant information freely and transparently with the wider investigation team; and I requested that our friends and allies join the operation. As of today, 14 countries, 43 ships and 58 aircraft are involved in the search. I wish to thank all the governments for their help at such a crucial time.
Since day one, the Malaysian authorities have worked hand-in-hand with our international partners – including neighboring countries, the aviation authorities and a multinational search force – many of whom have been here on the ground since Sunday.
We have shared information in real time with authorities who have the necessary experience to interpret the data. We have been working nonstop to assist the investigation. And we have put our national security second to the search for the missing plane.
It is widely understood that this has been a situation without precedent.
We have conducted search operations over land, in the South China Sea, the Straits of Malacca, the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean. At every stage, we acted on the basis of verified information, and we followed every credible lead. Sometimes these leads have led nowhere.
There has been intense speculation. We understand the desperate need for information on behalf of the families and those watching around the world. But we have a responsibility to the investigation and the families to only release information that has been corroborated. And our primary motivation has always been to find the plane.
In the first phase of the search operation, we searched near MH370’s last known position, in the South China Sea. At the same time, it was brought to our attention by the Royal Malaysian Air Force that, based on their primary radar, an aircraft – the identity of which could not be confirmed – made a turn back. The primary radar data showed the aircraft proceeding on a flight path which took it to an area north of the Straits of Malacca.
Given this credible data, which was subsequently corroborated with the relevant international authorities, we expanded the area of search to include the Straits of Malacca and, later, to the Andaman Sea.
Early this morning I was briefed by the investigation team – which includes the F.A.A., N.T.S.B., the A.A.I.B., the Malaysian authorities and the acting minister of transport – on new information that sheds further light on what happened to MH370.
Based on new satellite information, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was disabled just before the aircraft reached the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Shortly afterwards, near the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control, the aircraft’s transponder was switched off.
From this point onwards, the Royal Malaysian Air Force primary radar showed that an aircraft which was believed – but not confirmed – to be MH370 did indeed turn back. It then flew in a westerly direction back over Peninsular Malaysia before turning northwest. Up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, these movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane.
Today, based on raw satellite data that was obtained from the satellite data service provider, we can confirm that the aircraft shown in the primary radar data was flight MH370. After much forensic work and deliberation, the F.A.A., N.T.S.B., A.A.I.B. and the Malaysian authorities, working separately on the same data, concur.
According to the new data, the last confirmed communication between the plane and the satellite was at 8:11 a.m. Malaysian time on Saturday 8th March. The investigations team is making further calculations which will indicate how far the aircraft may have flown after this last point of contact. This will help us to refine the search.
Due to the type of satellite data, we are unable to confirm the precise location of the plane when it last made contact with the satellite.
However, based on this new data, the aviation authorities of Malaysia and their international counterparts have determined that the plane’s last communication with the satellite was in one of two possible corridors: a northern corridor stretching approximately from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, or a southern corridor stretching approximately from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean. The investigation team is working to further refine the information.
In view of this latest development the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board. Despite media reports that the plane was hijacked, I wish to be very clear: we are still investigating all possibilities as to what caused MH370 to deviate from its original flight path.
This new satellite information has a significant impact on the nature and scope of the search operation. We are ending our operations in the South China Sea and reassessing the redeployment of our assets. We are working with the relevant countries to request all information relevant to the search, including radar data.
As the two new corridors involve many countries, the relevant foreign embassies have been invited to a briefing on the new information today by the Malaysian Foreign Ministry and the technical experts. I have also instructed the Foreign Ministry to provide a full briefing to foreign governments which had passengers on the plane. This morning, Malaysia Airlines has been informing the families of the passengers and crew of these new developments.
Clearly, the search for MH370 has entered a new phase. Over the last seven days, we have followed every lead and looked into every possibility. For the families and friends of those involved, we hope this new information brings us one step closer to finding the plane.
On Saturday, March 8, 2014, the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370) took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 00:41 MST, with 239 people, including 12 crew members, on a scheduled six-hour flight to Beijing. About two hours later, the aircraft was last seen on Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar at 02:40 MST. After that the aircraft ceased all communications, and the transponder signal was lost just before tracking was passed off to the Ho Chi Minh Area Control Center in Vietnam. Airline authorities in Thailand and China informed their Malaysian counterparts that the aircraft had not entered their airspace.
From then on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been listed as missing. No one knows about its whereabouts. It has just vanished into thin air.
Theories such as hijacking, disintegration in midair, missile attack, and so on, are being expounded by pundits and amateurs for the plausible disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
On Thursday, March 13, 2014, a US official said during his brief on the search that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 sent signals to a satellite for four hours after the aircraft went missing. This was an indication that the missing aircraft was still flying for hundreds of miles or more after it was last contacted by ground controllers.
The Boeing Company offers a satellite service that can receive a data from an aircraft during its flight about its functioning and relay the information to the plane’s home base to help provide information before it lands on whether maintenance work or repairs are needed. Though Malaysia Airlines did not subscribe to that service, their aircraft still had the capability to connect with the satellite and was automatically sending pings to it to establish contact.
“It’s like when your cellphone is off, but it still sends out a little ‘I am here’ message to the cellphone network,” the official said. “That’s how sometimes they can triangulate your position even though you’re not calling because the phone every so often sends out a little bleep. That’s sort of what this thing was doing.”
However, there was no comment from Boeing.
Messages involving a different, more rudimentary data service also were received from the airliner for a short time after the plane’s transponder – a device used to identify the plane to radar – went silent, the official said.
A transponder is a radio transmitting device in the cockpit used to identify the aircraft to the ground radar with a four-digit identifying code known as the squawk code entered by the pilot for each flight. The transponder also helps air traffic controllers on the ground to ascertain the aircraft’s position, its altitude, speed, and direction.
There are codes for different situations: 7500 for a hijacking, 7600 for communications failure, etc.
A switch on the transponder can be moved to “ON” or “SBY” (standby) or “ALT” (altitude). Manually one can also pull the circuit breaker to turn off a transponder.
A transponder would be turned off during a normal flight if another aircraft gets closer while approaching an airport. The Air traffic controllers may then ask the pilots to switch off the transponders or to move the switch to SBY. At times the pilot might turn off the transponder if it sends faulty information. Even if the transponder is switched off the aircraft will still be visible on primary radar unless it gets below the radar’s visible range.
If the plane had disintegrated during flight or had suffered some other catastrophic failure, after the aircraft was last seen on Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar at 02:40, all signals – the pings to the satellite, the data messages and the transponder – would have stopped at the same time.
If the plane did not disintegrate during the flight and the transponders on the aircraft were disabled manually, the ground radar can still track the location of the aircraft using “passive radar systems” also known as “passive coherent location” and “passive covert radar.”
Passive radar systems
Conventional radar systems comprise an assembly of transmitter and receiver, sharing a common antenna to transmit and receive signals. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio waves or microwaves that bounce off any object in their path. The object echoes a tiny part of the wave’s energy to a dish or antenna that is usually located at the same site as the transmitter. The time taken for the pulse to travel to the object and back allows the distance of the object to be determined.
In a passive radar system, there is no dedicated transmitter. Instead, the receiver uses third-party transmitters in the environment, and measures the time difference of arrival between the signal coming directly from the transmitter and the signal arriving via reflection from the object. This allows the bistatic range of the object to be determined.
The term “bistatic range” refers to the basic measurement of distance calculated by a radar or sonar system with separated transmitter and receiver. The receiver measures separately the time for the arrival of the signal directly from the transmitter and the time for the arrival of the reflection from the target, and then measures the time difference between the two. This data defines an ellipse of constant bistatic range, called an iso-range contour, on which the target lies, with foci centred on the transmitter and receiver.
If the target is at range Rrxfrom the receiver and range Rtxfrom the transmitter, and the receiver and transmitter are a distance L apart, then the bistatic range is Rrx+Rtx–L. Motion of the target causes a rate of change of bistatic range, which results in bistatic Doppler shift.
On Wednesday, March 12, 2014, the Malaysian military acknowledged that it had recorded radar signals from the location where the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was last contacted by ground controllers, hypothetically indicating the aircraft might have changed its path from its northeastward course toward Beijing towards the west.
The Military radar detected an unidentified aircraft at several points, apparently headed west across the Malaysian peninsula and out into the Indian Ocean. The last detected point was hundreds of miles to the west of where search and rescue efforts were initially focused.
On Saturday when the aircraft went missing, the military took no immediate action to investigate the unidentified blips, whose path appeared to take the aircraft near the heavily populated island of Penang.
A senior US official told CNN that Malaysian authorities believe they have several “pings” from the airliner’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), transmitted to the satellites in the four to five hours after the last transponder signal, suggesting the plane flew to the Indian Ocean.
The Military officials then realized the significance of blips on their radar.
If Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 crashed into the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean with depths of more than 23,000 feet (7,000 meters), the task faced by searchers would be indomitable like finding a needle in a haystack.
India joined the multi-national search operations and has stepped up its search deploying three aircraft and three ships in the region around Andaman and Nicobar Islands.