chris goodfellow
1 year agoEditedPublic


MH370  A different point of view. Pulau Langkawi 13,000 runway.

A lot of speculation about MH370. Terrorism, hijack, meteors. I cannot believe the analysis on CNN - almost disturbing. I tend to look for a more simple explanation of this event.
Loaded 777 departs midnight from Kuala to Beijing. Hot night. Heavy aircraft.  About an hour out across the gulf towards Vietnam the plane goes dark meaning the transponder goes off and secondary radar tracking goes off. 
Two days later we hear of reports that Malaysian military radar (which is a primary radar meaning the plane is being tracked by reflection rather than by transponder interrogation response) has tracked the plane on a southwesterly course back across the Malay Peninsula into the straits of Malacca.
When I heard this I immediately brought up Google Earth and I searched for airports in proximity to the track towards southwest.
The left turn is the key here. This was a very experienced senior Captain with 18,000 hours. Maybe some of the younger pilots interviewed on CNN didn't pick up on this left turn. We old pilots were always drilled to always know the closest airport of safe harbor while in cruise. Airports behind us, airports abeam us and airports ahead of us. Always in our head. Always. Because if something happens you don't want to be thinking what are you going to do - you already know what you are going to do. Instinctively when I saw that left turn with a direct heading I knew he was heading for an airport. Actually he was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi a 13,000 foot strip with an approach over water at night with no obstacles. He did not turn back to Kuala  Lampur because he knew he had 8,000 foot ridges to cross. He knew the terrain was friendlier towards Langkawi and also a shorter distance.
Take a look on Google Earth at this airport. This pilot did all the right things. He was confronted by some major event onboard that made him make that immediate turn back to the closest safe airport.
For me the loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense if a fire. There was most likely a fire or electrical fire. In the case of fire the first response if to pull all the main busses and restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one.

If they pulled the busses the plane indeed would go silent. It was probably a serious event and they simply were occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire. Aviate, Navigate and lastly communicate. There are two types of fires. Electrical might not be as fast and furious and there might or might not be incapacitating smoke. However there is the possibility given the timeline that perhaps there was an overheat on one of the front landing gear tires and it blew on takeoff and started slowly burning. Yes this happens with underinflated tires. Remember heavy plane, hot night, sea level, long run takeoff. There was a well known accident in Nigeria of a DC8 that had a landing gear fire on takeoff. A tire fire once going would produce horrific incapacitating smoke. Yes, pilots have access to oxygen masks but this is a no no with fire. Most have access to a smoke hood with a filter but this will only last for a few minutes depending on the smoke level. (I used to carry one of my own in a flight bag and I still carry one in my briefcase today when I fly).
What I think happened is that they were overcome by smoke and the plane just continued on  the heading probably on George (autopilot) until either fuel exhaustion or fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. I said four days ago you will find it along that route - looking elsewhere was pointless.  
This pilot, as I say, was a hero struggling with an impossible situation trying to get that plane to Langkawi. No doubt in my mind. That's the reason for the turn and direct route. A hijack would not have made that deliberate left turn with a direct heading for Langkawi. It would probably have weaved around a bit until the hijackers decided on where they were taking it.
Surprisingly none of the reporters , officials, other pilots interviewed have looked at this from the pilot's viewpoint. If something went wrong where would he go? Thanks to Google earth I spotted Langkawi in about 30 seconds, zoomed in and saw how long the runway was and I just instinctively knew this pilot knew this airport. He had probably flown there many times. I guess we will eventually find out when you help me spread this theory on the net and some reporters finally take a look on Google earth and put 2 and 2 together. Also a look at the age and number of cycles on those nose tires might give us a good clue too.   
Fire in an aircraft demands one thing - you get the machine on the ground as soon as possible. There are two well remembered experiences in my memory. The AirCanada DC9 which landed I believe in Columbus Ohio in the eighties. That pilot delayed descent and bypassed several airports.   He didn't instinctively know the closest airports. He got it on the ground eventually but lost 30 odd souls.   In the 1998 crash of Swissair DC-10 off Nova Scotia was another example of heroic pilots. They were 15 minutes out of Halifax but the fire simply  overcame them and they had to ditch in the ocean. Just ran out of time. That fire incidentally started when the aircraft was about an hour out of Kennedy. Guess what the transponders and communications were shut off as they pulled the busses.

Get on Google Earth and type in Pulau Langkawi  and then look at it in relation to the radar track heading. 2+2=4  That for me is the  simple explanation why it turned and headed  in that direction.

Smart pilot. Just didn't have the time.

If you are reading this the first time please read the two further comments containing corrections and additions to the above in the string of the comments below
Thank you. 

Ted Holmes1 year ago
Hello Chris,

This is the best analysis I've seen on what happened to MH370. I'd like this article to be searchable from google. Google hasn't indexed it. The only way I found it was through Google+

If it were to be also published beyond Google+ , a lot more people would be able to read it.

Reddit has this event as a current topic and would be a useful place to post this.

Should you require assistance in this, I would be happy to help, and again, thank you for providing your professional insight and clarity on this topic.


I agree withTed. I was driving from LA to San Diego yesterday afternoon and was delighted to read your analysis to some friends and even prouder to say you were my cuz!
Thanks Ted. You are welcome to share and post it anywhere... +24
I agree, I saw this theory posted on the Google Earth forms.  The turn makes the most sense at the first sign of trouble.  The Captain would have been immediately prepared to do this having gone over water and still at a point to turn back.

See alt landing theory:

Singchang T1 year ago
Very well explained!

But it's Malaysia, they'll need a few more months.
Curt Mills1 year ago
Kind'a goes along with the New Zealander on the oil rig SE of Vietnam that saw a burning plane for 10 to 15 seconds as well...  From the data in his letter he seemed a decent observer.  Had actual facts and compass headings.+39
Andrew Wan1 year ago
If the plane was on fire and the pilot was in danger of being smoked out, why wouldn't he just dump his fuel and try to land on the water? I have no knowledge of flying, but this is the question that comes to my mind after reading your analysis.+21
Tim Schröder1 year ago
Okay, the theory make sense, but you forgot some procedures in case of 'Cargo fire', 'Engine fire' or 'Cabin fire': Everytime you stick to your checklists. In this case the aircraft gives you ECAM actions! You have to work through this! Perfectly you can watch those Crew Resource Management on Sim Training Videos on YouTube. A good one is this: 'A380 Engine Fire -' Link: - A380 EngineFire - SimulatorPattern Toulouse - Bonus DVD|BD
After you analysed the problem as a pilot you inform ATC. You're right with: Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. Aviate: Autopilot on and work correctly. Check. Navigate: Autopilot still on. Communicate: Inform ATC: Short message, takes only few seconds! Then start ECAM actions. Watch the sim video. And the other ones. The Theory fits not to the outcoming information about disabled ACARS before last radio transmission etc.
- They intercept an other airway captured by primary radar: IGARI - VAMPI - GIVAL - IGREX.
- Inmarsat Satellite still gets requests from aircraft hours after disappearing.
- No debris found in street of malacca. If it were on fire, look at other incidents, the crew were not able to fly for hours. they crashed within 1 hour!
- They are more alternate and possible airports to land in that area.

Perq Jon Chia1 year ago
Lau Ching Jun1 year ago
How about the airport in Kuala Terengganu? It's certainly closer to the plane than Langkawi and I know that 747 is able to land on that airport.+16
Rajat Gupta1 year ago
If your theory is true, where is the Plane. They must have found it by now.+28
Chris C.1 year ago
Answer is mostly more simple than they actually guessing around. Good post! +1+1
How does your theory line up with the IMARSAT 40deg arc and that signals from ACARS were still pinging 5 hours later?+45
Jamie Ackland1 year ago
first thought that came to mind after i heard transponders had been turned of was the fire on 998 crash of Swissair DC-10 off Nova Scotia, glad someone else has though of this also, makes sense.+4
Shubhashish1 year ago
You mean hijackers would plan a meticulous hijacking but leave out an important detail like where to take the plane? This theory, like others, makes no sense. +17
tom jacobs1 year ago
I've made pictures from Google Earth of the Airport here:
Ben Collier1 year ago
Could he have climbed to 45,000 ft to try to starve the fire of oxygen?+36
Lucho Sadot1 year ago
You could have been right but for the fact that the copilot said everything was in order AFTER on of the beacons stop transmiting.+32
pavel zvolanek1 year ago
if he had troubles why he didnt try to land at airports at east coast like Kota Bharu at Malaysia or maybe even Narathiwat in Thailand is more closer then Langkawi ..?+7
David Schmidt1 year ago
This analysis makes no sense.

Doesn't like up with satellite data or Malaysia primary radar or the fact the the pilot said everything was all right AFTER the first tracking system was disabled.
Samir Katti1 year ago
finally some sanity. Makes me wonder if we are in 21st century or 14th century. Good one.+3
but then pulau langkawi is in malaysia.
sudhir syal1 year ago
Great analysis and thanks for this. This doesn't however quite explain how come mobile phones kept ringing almost 4 hours after the plane went missing!+12
Adam Webster1 year ago
In your scenario - how does the long time after the event / fire get explained?  I think your explanation is the best yet... in that the older we get, the more we become laser locked on that list of nearby alternates.  I can see the autopilot flying it for awhile, but the fire / event would have to wipe everyone out (with fumes etc.) but yet leave enough of the plane intact for it to fly for awhile.  
Diogo Maciel1 year ago
Hi Chris

After two days of this post, and with evidence that completely goes against this argument, what is your analysis now?
Adam Webster1 year ago
+sudhir syal if the smoked out cabin / fire theory holds... phones would ring if the fire had not consumed the entire aircraft+3
Adam Webster1 year ago
+Diogo Maciel the only new thing I see that pokes holes in it is the 811am "handshake" as the final signal rec'd from the aircraft
Mark Fenwick1 year ago
Article is missing the fact that the plane made several route changes and was still pingable by SATCOM over 4 hours later.+8
Caio Zink1 year ago
Interesting, but....we now know for a fact (unless the malaisian are not telling the thruth), that xponder signal was lost before atc handover to Vietnam, when pilots responded with "good night, so long" !
Would they do so if dealing with an electrical fire ? Don´t think so....
Diego and all who have commented - thank you.

I wrote this post before the information regarding the engines continuing to run for approximately six hours and the fact it seems acars was shut down before the transponder.

The continued speculation of hijack and/or murder suicide and the latest this morning that there was a flight engineer on board that is being investigated does not do much to sway me in favour of foul play until I am presented with evidence of foul play.

My post received a lot of comments on Reddit as well if some of you wish to read those.  MH370.

Now let me deal with Diego's request for my present view in light of new evidence.

We know there was a last voice transmission that from a pilot's point of view (POV) was entirely normal. The good night is customary on a hand -off to a new ATC control. The good night also indicates STRONGLY to me all was OK on the flight deck. Remember there are many ways a pilot can communicate distress - the hijack code or even a transponder code different by one digit from assigned would alert ATC that something was wrong. Every good pilot knows keying an SOS over the mike is always an option even three short clicks would raise an alert.

So I conclude at that point of voice transmission all was perceived as well on the flight deck by the pilots. 

But things could have been in the process of going wrong unknown to the pilots -
Evidently the ACARS went inoperative some time before. Disabling the ACARS is not easy as pointed out. This leads me to believe more in an electric or electric fire issue than a manual shutdown. I suggest the pilots were probably not aware it was not transmitting.

The next event is the turn to the SW in what appears direct Langkawi.
As I said in the first post the pilot probably had this in his head already.
Someone said why didn't he go to KBR on north coast of Malaysia which was closer. That's a 6,000 foot runway and to put that plane down on a 6,000 foot strip at night uncertain of your aircraft's entire systems is not an option. I would expect the pilot would consider ditching before a 6,000 runway if still above maximum landing weight which he likely was. 
The safest runway in the region to make the approach was certainly Langkawi  - no obstacles over water with a long flat approach. In my humble opinion this 18,000 hour pilot knew this instinctively.

Reports of altitude fluctuations. Well given that this was not transponder generated data but primary radar at maybe 200 miles the azimuth readings can be affected by a lot of atmospherics and I would not have high confidence in this being totally reliable. But let's accept for a minute he might have ascended to 45,000 in a last ditch effort to quell a fire by seeking the lowest level of oxygen. It is an acceptable scenario in my opinion. At 45,000 it would be tough to keep this aircraft stable as the flight envelope is very narrow and loss of control in a stall is entirely possible. The aircraft is at the top of its operational ceiling.  The reported rapid rates of descent could have been generated by a stall and recovery at 25,000. The pilot may even have been diving the aircraft to extinguish flames. All entirely possible.

But going to 45,000 in a hijack scenario doesn't make any good sense to me.

The question of the time the plane flew on.

On departing Kuala he would have had fuel for Beijing and alternate probably Shanghai and 45 minutes. Say 8 hours. Maybe more. He burned 20-25% in first hour with takeoff, climb to cruise. So when the turn was made towards Langkawi  he would have had six hours or more. This correlates nicely with the immarsat data pings being received until fuel exhaustion.

The apparent now known continued flight until TTFE time to fuel exhaustion only actually confirms to me the crew were incapacitated and the flight continued on deep into the south Indian ocean.

There really is no point in speculating further until more evidence surfaces but in the meantime it serves no purpose to malign the pilots who well may have been in an heroic struggle to save this aircraft from a fire or other serious mechanical issue and were overcome. 

I hope the investigation team looks at the maintenance records of the front gear tires - cycles, last pressure check and maintenance inspection. Captain or F/O as part of pre-flight looks at tires. Is there any video at the airport to support pre-flight walkaround? Any damage on pushback? A day after I wrote the original post a plane in the U.S. blew a tire in takeoff and the t/o was fortunately aborted with a burning tire.

 Hopefully - and I believe now it is a slim hope - the wreckage will be found and the FDR and VDR will be recovered and provide us with insight.  Until facts prove otherwise, I would give the Captain the benefit of respect and professional courtesy.


Brad Prentice1 year ago
Chris, I am following all theories on MH370 . You make perfect sense and yours should be considered based on past examples you have cited. I have my own theory but will not get into it now. Myself being based in Singapore for 18 years and very familiar with all on the airports in the region, I would have thought if in trouble you track to the best equipped airport in the region with 2 major runways available to handle the heaviest of equipment. A 3rd runway is there not used for commercial traffic. It has best in class emergency facilities and are disaster ready 24/7. Not to mention, it's closer than Langkawi with no terrain to speak of regardless of approach in any direction. In addition, winds are generally very calm at Singapore Changi Airport and any approach would be suitable in an emergency. Remember the recent Qantas A380 incident? The MH370 cockpit crew would have been a regular at Singapore with the B777. At Langkawi, MH B777 aircraft do not service that airport. In support of your theory I would suggest Penang was a better option. The runway was lengthened in the late 90's to accommodate the daily B747 Cargo departures full of Dell laptops manufactured at Dell's Pengang plant. Thanks to Michael Dell himself. Penang is better equipped and MH B777, B737 & A330 's are regularly deployed to Penang. There are a couple of hills nearby to concern yourself with but the airport is well lit by the surrounding city. Anyway, that is my thinking. I hope we determine what had happened sooner rather than later. Brad +10
I'm sorry- but your theory is absolute BS.- 
First- 1. Smoke/fire demands a landing at the nearest available airport
2. If he headed for Langkawi- why not a closer airport- Kota Baharu or Penang.
Both would have taken a 777-200 at max manual braking.
Neena Kalyan1 year ago
You mean to rule out the possibility of hijacking because you think the hijackers who planned the whole thing would have forgotten to think of where to take it? The theory is not entirely improbable, but in which case it is, no remains has been found anywhere yet.+3
2RockMe21 year ago
Chris, I think your theory might have been good about 5-6 days ago and I find it very interesting and it is well composed. However, had it crashed or landed on Peninsular Malaysia or in the water on this projected track they would have found it by now. Typical survival with a fire on-board ranges from 12-20 minutes. We now train our pilots to get it on the ground in a serious smoke/fire situation like that, starting from 35,000 feet starting a clock and saying "your dead in 15 minutes." Most of them land it within 10-13 minutes and evacuate and live to fly another day. That assumes that you have an airport to find pavement in that timeframe. If not you ditch and you don't fly around out there running checklists either. One of the crashes you cited was SwissAir 111, an MD11 that went into the water at Peggy's Cove heading for Halifax, Nova Scotia. I can't quote the exact time from when it was transmitted that they had smoke in the cockpit, but from memory I believe it was 16 minutes until they crashed. Part of their problem was they were doing extensive trouble-shooting and running a long checklist where you are attempting to locate and isolate the system that is the source of the fire/smoke. Since that crash (actually well before it) we aviate, nagivate and communicate like we always do and we run what checklists we can to the extent possible, but we do not delay getting it on the ground and getting the hell out of it. The Air Canada DC-9 crash you cited was a perfect example of that, passing up multiple airports while trouble-shooting, etc. until finally landing at Cincinatti full of smoke/fumes/fire that killed around 30? By the way this was the result of multiple lavatory circuit breaker resets that finally overloaded them and started a fire. Beyond the fire scenario we now know that this flight varied altitudes enough and changed courses finally to the northwest toward the Andaman/Nicobar Islands that we're pretty confident that it wasn't trying to land at all. Further, any wide-body pilot knows that he can't realistically consider going above the service ceiling altitude on a heavy airplane like that. Our maximum altitudes heavy are in the mid-30's, nowhere near 40+K. That was probably done to kill the passengers. Yes, we speculate now, because we have very little evidence to go on and we all want to solve the mystery or find some definitive explanations for one that is baffling the world. The poor families and friends left behind deserve to know, as well as MAS.    +18
Arjun Basu1 year ago
But then what about his last message? He said everything was fine. And that the two transponders shut down at different times...

This is the most coherent analysis/theory I've heard so far. But it still leaves some questions. As all theories will until the aircraft is found.
Dub Snapper1 year ago
One thing not mentioned in this theory is why no cell phone contact from passengers! it's the first thing they do in situations like this, suggests they became incapacitated very quickly, my son is an air corp pilot & he tells me that at 45k feet you go under in 3sec without oxygen.+2
Ben Inglis1 year ago
An additional thought experiment for those who wish to dismiss the fire theory in favor of more complicated hypotheses: If it was a 787 missing instead of a 777, how much speculation would surround an in-flight battery fire?

An instrument panel fire (say) can explain all the lost comms issues, the ultimate loss of crew control (e.g. CO poisoning), and so on. Depending on whether the AP was affected directly by the fire or not, even the subsequent flight path can be explained as a (partially) controlled flight, or worst case as an uncontrolled, trimmed flight at the mercy of the winds aloft.

Well done, Chris. Keep it up. I'd be very interested to hear what the NTSB has as its top ten list of probable causes now. I bet fire is waaaaay up there.
Mohammad Husain1 year ago
This is the best theory I have read so far and I believe the plane should be searched for where it might end up after 7 hours of flying under AP in that airport's direction. Thanks Chris for the simple but very plausible theory.+5
Best theory so far+2
Hello Chris,

This is a great explanation. We'd love to post this as an article on our site -, and will be crediting you for it :) 
Ma G1 year ago
Why not track the missing pasengers mobile phone ?+6
Bruno Adele1 year ago
I don't understand, with our actual technologies, we can't store all airports localisation in the similar GPS system ? Why a pilot must memorize all airports in his brain ?+4
Ramanan R. V.1 year ago
I think I have been able to read a sane analysis among all the sensationalism going around. +2
Shared on my Facebook. Best I can do spread the word.+1
Jason McCay1 year ago
+Bruno Adele Um ... if you did that and you were a pilot that had an electrical system failure, you'd be in a world of hurt.+11
Ben Inglis1 year ago
Additional info for those wanting to comprehend the subsequent altitude changes. The plane would possibly have been trimmed for level flight at its weight & balance at the time of an emergency. Let's go with the fire scenario for now. Next, assume the crew is overcome, e.g. CO poisoning, and now that the plane's flight controls are functional but the autopilot is disengaged (either because of damage or because a pilot disengaged it as an action item in dealing with the emergency). Now what happens to the plane? It flies at its previous trim but it will start to experience long phugoids, the precise character of the oscillations changing as the plane encounters different winds aloft and air density, and as the plane's W&B changes, e.g. due to fuel consumption.

More info:

Getting up to FL450 and down to FL280 with no change in control surfaces is relatively simple aerodynamics.
Ramanan R. V.1 year ago
I am sure inboard fire would have been top of the list of media and not pilot suicide had it been an American or European airline instead of Malaysian. +7
Puneet Singh1 year ago
Hi Chris,

I am a Business Reporter with the BBC and closely following the developments on this story. I would like to speak to you about your posts and your thoughts behind what may have happened with the plane.
Can you please share your contact details with me (email and phone) at:

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thomas Ehrhardt1 year ago
Nice Chris. I have taken a look on Google Earth. Your idea is great. If you take a look on Google Eart, you can alswys find the airport at Bayan Lepas. Do you think thats also a possible location. This is interesting, because there was a news on Bernamas that eight (8!) people at Kampung Pantai Seberang has heared something thsat sounds like an crashing plane. And this position is located exactly on the way from the last known position to the airport at Bayan Lepas....+2
Gayatri N1 year ago
+Tim Schröder I have the same question concerning this theory. They say ACARS turned off before "All right, Good Night" message. If as Chris says, ACARS turned off is part of turning of busses to manage fire, why not radio message the ground control? And yes, how come satellite pings from aircraft for hours, if there was a fire and it had crashed?+1
It´s a great theory but the sequence:

Fire->turn off the ACARS-> "All right, good night"

Does not make sense
Ben Inglis1 year ago
@Gayatri: If the instrument panel, say, suddenly bursts into flames you simply don't have time to send a mayday. You have to try to deal with the emergency yourself, and fast. Only if contacting the ground can help you immediately resolve the situation would you do that. Assuming a fire at night, at FL400, over open ocean the number one priority is to try to extinguish the fire (e.g. by getting at its source) without losing control of the plane, second priority is to head towards a suitable landing site.

Re the pings, if the fire overcomes the crew - CO poisoning is always a risk, especially in a slow fire - then the plane would fly on. Perhaps some of the electrical systems were disabled by the fire, or by the crew. Hard to say. But it is easy to imagine that once the crew is overcome, from a slow electrical fire, say, the plane would fly on as a ghost plane. A fire doesn't imply that the plane is immediately lost in a conflagration. Fires can go out as much as they can accelerate.
Ben Inglis1 year ago
@Mauricio: What if a fire was disabling the comms? Then all we need imagine is that the crew wasn't aware of the fire at the time they last broadcast.+3
Martin Feeney1 year ago
Latest NYT article now says it is unclear when the communications ecquipment went out/was shut off. This makes your theory more plausible again if the "All Right, Good Night" did in fact happen before the transponder and ACARS went out.


"The Malaysian authorities said on Monday that the plane’s first officer — the co-pilot — was the last person in the cockpit to speak to ground control. But the government added to the confusion about what had happened on the plane by that time, withdrawing its assertion that a crucial communications system had already been disabled when the co-pilot spoke."
Ramsey Meyer1 year ago
+chris goodfellow If they did have an electrical fire it is virtually guaranteed, as you've suggested, that they would have pulled all the main busses as soon as practicable in an attempt to isolate / diagnose / ameliorate the problem. If they had done that, wouldn't they have lost their Inmarsat link?+1
Martin Feeney1 year ago
More from the NYT article:

But Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, the chief executive of Malaysia Airlines, said at a news conference early Monday evening that the Acars system had worked normally at 1:07 but then failed to send its next regularly scheduled update at 1:37 a.m., and could have been disabled at any point between those two times. “We don’t know when the Acars system was switched off,” he said.

Mr. Ahmad Jauhari said the co-pilot’s verbal signoff was given by radio at 1:19 a.m., and the aircraft’s transponder, which communicates with ground-based radar, ceased working about two minutes later.
The new account appeared to reopen the possibility that the aircraft was operating normally until 1:21 a.m., and that the two communications systems failed or were deactivated at the same time, not at separate points. That could raise additional questions about whether the plane was deliberately diverted, or experienced mechanical or electrical difficulties that crippled its communications and resulted in its flying an erratic course.
+Ben Inglis I think that we have to assume that the fire disabled the ACARS (not the pilot, like the author said), they didn´t noticed it, comunicate the "good night" and then the fire disabled the transponder (or could it be turned off manually too) . Regards+1
+Martin Feeney that´s another twist....  tks for the heads up
Gayatri N1 year ago
+Ben Inglis Thanks for the clarification.
Okay. Got point no. 2 . That it has not necessarily crashed cause of fire and hence satellite pings.
But, point 1, in the time the co pilot says "All right, good night",couldn't he have relayed a very short message indicating possible fire on board? Why keep ground control in the dark and deal with controlling the situation yourself without informing them? I do not get that.
Also, the way the plane seemed to be heading for way points. If that is true, then would a ghost plane do that? 
Ian Duke1 year ago
Chris, I'm sure many readers appreciate the effort you've spent into describing this theory, but there's a number of significant gaps. You state "pilots have access to oxygen masks but this is a no no with fire". You might be surprised to learn this is actually the very first step when dealing with fire/smoke/fumes aboard a commercial airliner, along with donning smoke goggles. The next items are to isolate the source and LAND ASAP.  Any pilot will tell you that "climbing to starve a fire of oxygen" will have zero effect inside a pressurized aircraft - nor would any rational pilot exceed the aircraft's certified service ceiling when the established guidance is to initiate an immediate descent/diversion. Just these facts alone clearly suggest there is more at play than we currently understand. 

Still, the "landing gear" hypothesis is easily debunked as each tire on the B777 is equipped with a pressure and temperature sensor. A situation with hot brakes or a blown tire on departure would immediately trigger a visual and aural EICAS caution in the flight deck. Furthermore, there wasn't any tire debris recovered from the runway. I've yet to see a shred of credible evidence to compare MH370 with the Nationair accident.

Bruno Adele1 year ago
+Jason McCay Sure, but if has have a electric failure the GPS is unusable, in this case, is there exist a  book paper with the major airport ?+1
Iu Escobar Vela1 year ago
Hello Crhis.
I have read your theory and I am also in favor of seeking a simpler solution to the mystery. In theory I see your not careful communication via Inmarsat seven hours later. And the radar signal Malaka is not confirmed because there was not by Acars. What you think about my theory?:
Martin Feeney1 year ago
Lastly this: the supposed email from an oil rig worker who claims to have seen a plane on fire. The lat/lon he gives for his location is in the general area:
Ben Inglis1 year ago
Hi Gayatri, the lack of a mayday or other emergency declaration (e.g. squawk 7700) may simply have been a matter of expediency. In a true emergency we hope that a pilot defaults to training. In which case, the pilots may have done everything they could to try to extinguish a fire and retain control. If the fire (or smoke from it) overcame them, what happened next is a matter of configuration, possibly combined with any progression of a fire or loss of systems from some other cause. Thus, the autopilot may have been on and the pilots selected a landing site for it to head to while they tried to identify the source of a fire, for example. Or, the pilots could have aimed the plane at a landing site before being overcome. Or it could have been our reading "faces in the clouds." If you pull out a sectional chart and draw a straight line at random then the chances are pretty good it will look like a journey between two way points! These are the mysteries that the black boxes might be able to shed light on. But of course, that presupposes locating a crash site first! +1
Hasan Yahya1 year ago
I've been trying to argue for days that the plane might've never left the area of Thailand - any reading past the voice communication must be double checked. My doubt here is that after the plane deviated from its original route - in the theory above, presumably heading for P. Langkawi - we were never sure that the plane actually made it across the Malaysian Peninsula (and thus placing it on the wrong side of the water) 

Since i'm not at all a pilot or experienced in reading flight path and stuff, do you know how accurate/reliable the 'supposedly' available information from the radar readings in the area? 

(I found this map below - from

Hi res FIR:
Sonja Sa.1 year ago
+Caio Zink I saw the reasoning line followed by Ledgerwood 2 days earlier on reddit: It seems based on interesting research, yet it is a much more complicated theory than the fire hypothesis.
François Meyer1 year ago
Ok, simple and very plausible indeed.
One question though: you end up your scenario with 'What I think happened is that they were overcome by smoke and the plane just continued on the heading probably on George (autopilot) until either fuel exhaustion or fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. I said four days ago you will find it along that route - looking elsewhere was pointless.'

It seems that that route (the one aiming towards Pulau Langkawi) is not even close to being parallel with the southwest arc deduced from satellite pings

The route that would have been kept by the auto-pilot seems to me as going way more the east than the south route computed from satellite data ... I concur that the satellite route might be skewed for many reasons ...

Also, if the fire would have disabled the pilots in less than an hour, could have been 'burning' for 6 more hours without having the plane explode?
2RockMe21 year ago
+Jay Van Der Zant" 2RockMe2, why do you say going high was to probably kill the passengers? Can the cabin not maintain pressure at this altitude or could they purposely decompress it? Either way I presume emergency oxygen wouldn't lasting enough or it perhaps it's just too cold up there? It's a horrible thought."
Jay, IF this was a terrorist hijacking where they wanted the aircraft and possibly what was below the main deck (nobody talking about that?) and not the passengers then they go high where the "time of useful consciousness" is very low and can't sustain life for long. TUC at FL350 is 30-60 seconds, FL400 9-12 seconds. Since we know that passenger oxygen is required to work for 15 minutes and then it's done you fly high until it's gone and then the result is predictably catastrophic. I pray that is not the case here, but why go that high otherwise. This would be done by manually depressurizing the cabin while on continuous oxygen in the cockpit. If you aren't on O2 you're done. It is a horrible thought, but terrorists are horribly-minded vermin.    
2RockMe21 year ago
+Ben Inglis OK Ben, but who turned the airplane on a steady course to the northwest toward the Andaman/Nicobar Islands. Fire that was bad enough to take out all 5 radios (3 VHF and 2 HF) is a fire that would have consummed the airplane rendering it unflyable by that point and crashed into the sea. Coincidence that MH370 turned up an established airway running up the Straits of Malacca? I don't think so.   
Gayatri N1 year ago
+Ben Inglis Thanks again Ben! Sounds legit.
Ben Inglis1 year ago
Hi 2RockMe2, it all would depend on which systems were damaged, how severely and in what order. Many systems converge in the cockpit but have separate busses, separate backups, etc. just so that a failure (or a fire) in one piece of kit doesn't lead to a catastrophic chain. But catastrophic chains can and do occur when fire is involved. As for the course changes, these too are consistent with a partially failing autopilot, or just coincidence. Coincidences really do happen, especially when there are hundreds of facts to account for. The chances of one or two facts appearing to be something else entirely are again quite consistent with the fire hypothesis. +1
Jamie Sharpe1 year ago
Extremely interesting theory but if the fire/crash scenario was true why were satellites picking the aircraft up hours after it turned to the left.+1
Andrew Martin1 year ago
@claire phillips - yes it does. He argues it was still in flight on a westerly heading.
Ben Inglis1 year ago
Hi Jamie, because the outbreak of fire and the loss of crew and (some or all) systems doesn't imply an immediate crash. Fires can accelerate, or they can go out. Electrical fires, in particular, can be intermittent.+1
Gayatri N1 year ago
+Martin Feeney This really does sound like what happened. It seems the Malay search parties did not find anything in those waters. But what if the plane completely sank with all baggage etc and is in the bottom of the South China Sea after all these speculations? Does sound possible and would definitely back up Chris's theory. I wonder how confirmed are the evidences for the turn back and going over Indian ocean etc. 
Andreas Hoerler1 year ago
This explanation seems very logical but what about the partial ACARS information that was being received for many hours after takeoff?
Great points!
Neil Bailes1 year ago
so putting two theories started as a fire as per the above, the pilots could not work out where they were going due a to failure of the electronics or similar, and so followed a plane gambling it would guide them down, but they picked the wrong plane, they choose one that was flying further than they had the fuel for..  then they panicked realizing the plane they were following might be going to europe, and so went north east knowing that took them away from the ocean and into the flight corridor here:
Ben Inglis1 year ago
Hi Gayatri, Yes, so this is where the speculation converges with the current search efforts. In the case of an eventual crash, most of us are assuming a large debris field with lots of flotsam visible from the air. But perhaps the plane impacted the ocean in a relatively flat attitude and the plane sank relatively intact. That would make finding surface traces all the more difficult, I think. I'm not an ATP, I only fly light aerobatic planes, so I can't comment on how a 777 would descend from trimmed level flight on two engines once one or both (one at a time or together) shut down. But it doesn't seem inconceivable that the pitch down could be relatively shallow. Be great if any ATPs could speculate on that phase of flight.
Gary Denness1 year ago
+sudhir syal they didn't. +1
Calman LA1 year ago
I do not subscribe to the sabotage/suicide/hijacking theories. I believe that there was a fire or explosion in the E/E bay ("Main Equipment Center"). Transponder and ACARS knocked out. (ACARS was not intentionally shut down.Media reports are wrong and now Malaysians have clarified this. It just didn't transmit info when due at 1:37 am.) Autopilot may have remained operational. Decompression. Hypoxia. Someone attempted to control the plane using the heading knob but could not as a result of hypoxia and possibly smoke. Plane continued with crew and pax dead for hours in a straight line until it ran out of fuel. This is a combination of various aspects of UA 777-200 at LHR, Egyptair 777-200 at Cairo, and Helios 737.

With such unique insight that the world's aviation industry would be envious of, can you explain who killed JFK?+3
Andrew Ryan1 year ago
Good article, one of the most credible so far, even given latest 'updates'. Just wanted to point out that Swissair was an MD-11, not a DC-10 :-).+1
Todd Wright1 year ago
+chris goodfellow  I think you might have nailed it, Time will tell.

+David Schmidt  They have now said the first system may have been disabled after the last ATC communication. Someone assumed that because the last ACARS transmission was 1:07am that it must have been switched off then, but it wasnt due to transmit again until 1:37am, and could have been turned off any time in between. The last ATC Transmission was at 1:19am.

As to the satellite data, I agree that the crew were likely incapacitated attempting to land and the plane flew on autopilot until it ran out of fuel or the control surfaces burned.

Now that I think about it, this also lines up with the NZ Oil Rig worker who said he saw a burning plane. He was a long way away, but in the dark night sky, he may have been right.
Daniel O'Brien1 year ago
It makes total sense... look at what I was thinking the other day too... look for my post on G+ or Twitter.@danielo_32641
Todd Wright1 year ago
One last thought. if incapacitated and flying on Autopilot the course likely wouldn't line up so neatly with those satellite arcs they published, however those arcs always looked hinky to me - they are both always at the same distance to the satellite, surely that is too much of a co-incidence (to fly exactly that arc) so Im not sure how accurate those diagrams are, esp given that they calculated the distance by timing the difference between ping and response. I still think this theory looks very good.  Lets hope they figure it out soon.
Andrew Ryan1 year ago
Todd, that's the whole point of the arcs: the plane was supposed to be somewhere along one of the arcs, not to have flown that perfect arc path. The satellite picked up a signal but couldn't determine whether it was somewhere along the northerly arc or the southerly one - hence why the area to search is so immense.+4
Mike Kujawski1 year ago
Excellent analysis. Thank you.
Mark P1 year ago
Doesn't explain why it shook hands with a sat 7 1/2 hrs later
Todd Wright1 year ago
+Andrew Ryan Honestly I havent thought it through, but my instinct tells me 5 or 6 pings over a period of hours would not all be at the same distance from the satellite. Plotting a line between the points would more likely cross those distance rings than follow them. Anyway, Im not inclined to do the math at the moment. Ive conceded that the arcs are an estimation, and Im aware they represent a wide area.
Todd Wright1 year ago
+anthony tozer That link requires registration
Thank you, Mr Goodfellow, and many others, for some very sensible thinking. I'm not an aviation expert, so could someone tell me how autopilots behave? Does an autopilot always try to fly to the next waypoint, consistent with its general heading? Does it automatically take over, if it detects an absence of a human pilot? And once this particular autopilot failed, would the plane then straighten its path, or would it continue to fly with the last trim provided by the autopilot, with the possible implication that it might remain in a gently circular pattern, thus not crossing any other countries?+2
anthony tozer1 year ago
Your theory is the same in essence as mine
and the search should be in the western Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia.
Rama Drama1 year ago
+Rakesh Rao check this out!
Keith Miller1 year ago
Still no debris field . That disproves the crash theory+1
anthony tozer1 year ago
+Todd Wright Sorry- I forgot its in the members Cafe.
Heres the text."I am reminded by the mystery of the Malaysian airliner's disappearance of a strange incident that occurred some years ago when an airliner was tracked by some military planes because it was not responding to ATC radio calls and flying off course. The military pilots reported that there appeared to be no life on board and they followed the airliner until it ran out of fuel and crashed. The crew and passengers were all dead because of a decompression at altitude and failure of the emergency oxygen supply to deploy.
"Helios Airways Flight 522 was a scheduled Helios Airways passenger flight that crashed into a mountain on 14 August 2005 at 12:04 pm EEST, north of Marathon and Varnavas, Greece, whilst flying from Larnaca, Cyprus to Athens, Greece. A lack of oxygen incapacitated the crew, leading to the aircraft's eventual crash after running out of fuel."


This would account for the circumstances in this latest incident - a sudden decompression incident (a meteorite strike - or perhaps a bit of space junk )which knocked out the transponder aerial system and the oxygen tanks or control system.

The pilot would immediately respond, as they are trained to do, Aviate - Navigate - then Communicate. 

Swinging the plane round to return to Kuala Lumpur before being rendered unconscious and then the plane would fly on the last heading set with no-one alive on board to either alter course or communicate with ATC until its fuel supply was exhausted."

I drew a map which shows the plane's route across the Indian Ocean to an area off the coast of Somalia (Which ties in with Chris's theory,) where it would have run out of fuel.
Rakesh Rao1 year ago
IF this indeed happened, the plane would have been on a descent and the impact on land or sea would have triggered the ELT which in close proximity of 'listening' stations would have been picked up by now. 
These are all theories and speculations. Only time will tell or lay this to rest. 
If not a crash, the aircraft might be hidden under some haystack! That's how India moved nuclear bombs t pokhran!
Philip Ravicher1 year ago
Rubbish analysis. 1. ACARS was pinging satellites 7-8 hours after the flight has disappeared; 2. The flight followed an airway after making another turn upon reaching straights of Malacca; 3. Boeing 777 ditching in the sea short of Langkawi would have been located quite quickly by fishing boats, anyone who had ever been to that area knows how many of them are around between Langkawi and the peninsula; 4. Last communication from the aircraft took place AFTER the ACARs and transponder were switched off; 5. Langkawi, an island on the other side of the Malaysian peninsula was not the closest airport to the aircraft's last known position. The closest airport was Kota Bharu, with a runway of 1923m, capable of landing a 777 (MLD is 1506m).  The pilot would not have needed to cross the peninsula and fly out 200 extra miles to land his burning plane on Langkawi.+4
averilleX1 year ago
Yes, fire is the most plausible theory ... particularly considering news that an "unusually large amount" of lithium ion batteries were cargo. In fact, Boeing already had problems with fires due to these batteries... Google it. Hope truth not being hushed up for insurance purposes & pilots made scapegoats... +3
anthony tozer1 year ago
The satellite 'pings' are being misinterpreted - the plane doesnt have to be anywhere near the orbital path for its signal to be picked up - it could be hundreds if not a thousand miles away+1
It would be stupid if a country didn't know there's an emergency landing on one of its airports after more than a week. Besides, Langkawi is popular tourist destination, you'd have to conspire with the entire island (which includes many foreigners) to keep it secret - but for what purpose?

This theory only makes sense together with hijacking scenario, in which the hijackers are now in ongoing negotiation with airline/government, who has decided to keep it top secret until a deal is reached.
Nate Behary1 year ago
+Mario Tinton Prambudi It makes sense that the pilot was heading that way and then something (smoke) incapacitated both pilots.  If the plane was in a stable flight path when that happened, and that the fire wasn't enough to cause the plane to break apart or disable the engines, it doesn't seem unreasonable that it continued flying out over the Indian Ocean for hours.

I really think, unless there's something really new I haven't heard that this is a very likely scenario.
Dub Snapper1 year ago
Eye witness on the Songa Mercur oil rig off the S/E coast of Thailand  8°22'30.23"N 108°42'22.26"E saw a plane on fire high to the S/W for 15sec, was not a lateral view,plane seemed to be moving away from his location, draw a line on google earth from oil rig & it will intersect with location of plane when last voice msg received & last location tracked by Malaysian military radar over Malacca Strait & you basically have a straight line
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Lucho Sadot
The beacon that stopped transmitting before the last voice comms was an AUTOMATIC transmission of the ACARS. It was supposed to transmit again in about 30 minutes or so. So the fact that it was not heard 30 minutes later does NOT mean that it was turned off BEFORE the last voice Comms. Tha Malaysian Govt has already backtracked on this error that set off finger pointing at the crew.
Michael Barber1 year ago
The big problem for me with this theory is the multitude of altitude changes and the planes direction was changed 2 more times afterwards.... This seems to infer control...does it not? Or, are you saying in this huge "electrical" emergency, this very experienced pilot actually RELIED on a major electrical/computer system, the autopilot and simply punched an entirely new course with "no landing" in that course right before the smoke over came him...because that seems a bit far fetched to me. Also, according to your theory, the last direction is towards India and after that, the most advanced radar in the entire area, and then there is the data from the ACAR's satellite handshakes that says the plane ended up entirely somewhere difference. Also, if the plane stayed on course on its last heading, it would have crashed most likely on what about the ELT. Its a stretch to have this plane navigate all those paths on autopilot, then crash with no ELT and no requires a bunch of weird stuff to happen after the electrical fire that takes out all communications. It has to further somehow "partially" incapacitate the ability to fly the aircraft but not completely take out that capacity, at least initially.
Mirtha MM1 year ago
I agree with your opinion that the plane was turned back on an emergency landing course.

It is my opinion that the Honeywell ELT transmitter caused the fire and set off a cascade of events. Take note that nowhere in the reports has the ELT been discussed. It apparently never triggered. This device has a lithium primary battery that has been implicated in a couple of serious fires. If the ELT burned, it would be silent and a potential cause of fire in the A/C ceiling in the tail.

Secondly the fact that the Inmarsat terminal continued to ping for hours is no indication that the plane was airborne for hours. The plane could have ditched in the rough vicinity of its last ping and the last radar contact. The pilot may have skillfully ditched the burning plane only to have it gradually sink mostly intact. On water, the flotsam consisting of the fuselage could have supported power to the terminal for hours.
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Todd Wright
I think the pings are a red herring. I don't disagree with the fact the terminal continued to ping, however the "experts" have provided only one set of arc(s?) (actually formed by a circle) and that arc may be formed by a data set originating from a single location, It may turn out the plane sat at one location for hours in the water until it was fully submerged. Additionally the accuracy of the arc is somewhat dependent upon the  tolerances of the electronics. I assume that the trigonometry used to derive the arc is correct (scratching my head while reading the data).
savannah wyatt1 year ago
But Why have they been searching everywhere for 11 days now and no sign of any wreckage at all?? No oil spills, no debris, not a door, not a bag, no bodies, nothing! It's too strange. I think they are still alive somewhere and time is ticking....Also someone called a cell phone of someone on board today and it was ringing. Which means it's not turned off....can't you track a phone as long as it's turned on?? +2
anthony tozer1 year ago
The altitude data being bandied about is pure hogwash - there is no altitude data from a primary radar return. 
If the pilot managed to alter course for the nearest airport Trengannu but was rendered unconscious before completing the manouver and before going  into a descent it would have flown on across the Indian Ocean until the fuel ran out somewhere off E Africa.
The satellite pings are being misinterpreted - the plane doesnt have to be under the satellite to do the handshake -it could be hundreds of miles if not a thousand miles away but still be in range to register a 'ping'.
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Andrew Ryan
Arguably the aircraft could have traveled straight across the entire distance (diameter) to the other side of the circle formed by the arcs. Though I don't believe it really managed to go further than one point on the arc.  Where are the arcs formed by the pings prior to the last? Is the assumption they all magically followed an arc north or south? Maybe it did not move at all!
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Ben Inglis
The comments on this page have been excellent. I agree, the pilot was skillful, made a valiant attempt to land a crippled craft and failing that, ditched the  plane where it partially floated some 7 hours (while still pinging Inmarsat).  This would explain lack of debris field. A fire most certainly could have resulted in the eventual loss of the passengers and crew despite efforts.
anthony tozer1 year ago
+Mirtha MM The arcs being displayed are the orbital paths of the satellite - NOT possible routes of the plane. Anywhere within the maximum range of the pinger transmitter either side of the arc is a possible position of the plane . That does mean way out across the Indian Ocean on a wsw route south of Sri Lanka is quite feasible.
micro _1 year ago
Except if it were a tire-fire it would not take 2 hours to reach the cockpit.
And the plane would not ping the satellites for another 5 hours
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Jamie Sharpe
See my comments. The Inmarsat pings are a red herring.
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Singchang T
No doubt there will eventually be a hero day for the flight crew. Sadly they are flinging mud at present.
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Tim Schröder
I would guess at some point in a fire you throw out the rule books and skip the "communicate steps". In fact dumping fuel, altitude and airspeed probably give enough time to delay the communications until you line up an approach. And read my comments and you will see why the Inmarsat data is a red herring. They did not fly on for hours, It makes no sense.
anthony tozer1 year ago
"Fisherman Azid Ibrahim, 66, in Kota Baru, told the New Strait Times that an airplane appeared to fly low below the clouds which he followed for about five minutes before it disappeared. He was out at the sea with six other fishermen about 14.4 km (8.9 miles) from Kuala Besar in Pantai Cahaya Bulan." this was in the area the initial search was carried out I believe.
anthony tozer1 year ago
"Fisherman Azid Ibrahim, 66, in Kota Baru, told the New Strait Times that an airplane appeared to fly low below the clouds which he followed for about five minutes before it disappeared. He was out at the sea with six other fishermen about 14.4 km (8.9 miles) from Kuala Besar in Pantai Cahaya Bulan. This ties in nicely for a plane headed for Pulau Langkaw as originally suggested.
Dean Gebert1 year ago
From their last known location, Narathiwat Airport is almost 1/2 the distance to Langkawi.
Mohammad Husain1 year ago
I am wondering how this article says the modified route was programmed by hand: In a fire scenario it would be unlikely for a pilot to take time to program the new route IMO. Can someone shed some light on it?
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+anthony tozer
The chart I have seen shows two arcs, northward and southward which if extended would form a circle. The data is reportedly based upon the timing delay of the ping (handshake) with the satellite (system) plus some magic trig calculations. This depiction was presented as being formed by the last satellite contact (some 7 hours later). Why no other arcs were presented is known only to the Malaysian Govt, but I would presume they believe the aircraft traveled to a point along the arc somewhere.  Why they did not present other data points is speculative. Conceivable they (Malaysia) believe the aircraft traveled along the arc either to the north or the south. Conceivably if all the pings were at the same distance from the satellite, they could be all from or near the same location. Since the last radar contact was near to the center of the arcs, logically the plane could have ceased flight in that vicinity and the fact that transmissions continued for 7 hour total only speaks to the possibility that the fuselage was largely intact, possibly ditched at sea, floated for 5 or 6 hours and by now fully submerged.
Hello Chris
The attempted turn back to Langkawi theory also fits the evidence of a ditching just off Pulau Perak, coordinates: 5.6522222, 98.8438889 (you can paste into Google maps - on a straight vector in alignment with the Langkawi runway bearing).  
as discussed on Reddit here:
Perhaps MH370 ditched in tact, continued transmitting for a few more hours and then started to sink.  I have no idea why this evidence is apparently not being followed up by the authorities, there doesn't appear to be any ships in the area.  
regards, Sam (Singapore)
Mirtha MM1 year ago
I am not convinced about the "huge number of lithium batteries" that the media reports. 1) The 777 does not have a lithium service battery like the 787 does. 2) Lithium batteries in the cargo would either be on the manifest or in checked baggage (passenger laptops). 3) That being said, 290 passengers each with a laptop or iPad is equivalent to 290 incendiary devices many with the potential energy of a hand grenade.
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Dub Snapper
I have no doubt that eyewitness saw something. The distance reported has been argued to be well beyond line of sight. However the atmosphere can refract and extend the visual horizon. On the other side of the Gulf fisherman heard and saw soething. The event was at a midpoint for both sets of observers.
Mirtha MM1 year ago
Recall as well some fisherman hauling in a life boat in the Strait only to have the coast guard lose it into the water. I am baffled about the apparent incompetence of the Malay Govt.
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Mohammad Husain
Thats why it is good to have a co-pilot on hand!
Ben Inglis1 year ago
Hi Mohammad, I've only glanced over the article and I'm not familiar with the re-routing "facts" thus far, but I can tell you what most pilots would do in an emergency. We hit the button NRST on the Nav, then select the nearest airport (some Navs show way points in the menu as well, depends on the system), then we hit DIRECT and enter that. It is designed to be a fast way to find a course towards safety even if you've lost track of where you are relative to suitable landing sites. (Sometimes the nearest airport is behind you!) So, in even of a fire, the crew would likely initiate countermeasures and at the first available moment get the plane headed for a suitable airport. There is no time to spare so clear thinking tends to be tough. There are memory item checklists to do immediately, then if there's time they pull out the appropriate hard copy checklist and start working the problem. +5
Dub Snapper1 year ago
 NZ worker on the Songa Mercur oil rig off the S/E coast of Thailand  8°22'30.23"N 108°42'22.26"E saw a plane on fire high to the S/W for 15sec, draw a line on google earth from oil rig & it will intersect with location of plane when last voice msg received & last location tracked by Malaysian military radar over Malacca Strait & you basically have a straight line pilot managed to ditch in the ocean & plane floated for some hours, this would account for it responding to ping from Inmarsat hours after it vanished from radar.
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Ben Inglis
Ben would it be safe to say that in an emergency such as this communications with ATC would not be high on the crews priority list?
James Foreman1 year ago
I am not versed in aviation in anyway, but I try to adhere to Occam's Razor, the simplest explanation is usually the best. Thanks for the work that you put into this post and the follow ups. It also seems to me that you have stimulated some very perspicacious comments.+6
Alson Lee1 year ago
Honestly, the only reason why CNN is running with the whole hijacking thing is cause of ratings. Mechanical things like mechanical fires don't sell. But someone deliberately crashing it? Oh man.
Just my two cents though.
Ben Inglis1 year ago
Hi Mirtha, that is correct. If the emergency happens just after takeoff and a return to landing is a possibility then the utility in talking to ATC increases, but it is still third on the basic aviation action list: Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. I've never experienced one, but from everything I've learned an in-flight fire is the mother of all emergencies no matter what you're flying. Over open ocean, at night, and the situation is a good candidate for worst case scenario. At which point the crew will have been almost fully consumed with trying to eliminate the fire, then redirecting the plane as a second priority.+3
Dub Snapper1 year ago
+Mirtha MM
 Guy on oil rig was over 100 feet above water, he is also an experienced mariner & said he was familiar with flight paths over that part of the ocean, his sighting lasted 15sec by which time it could have flown over horizon towards malacca strait, I believe initial search prompted by his sighting wrongly assumed his 'end of sighting' to mean plane hit the water N/E of known last voice msg location, he never said he saw plane crash into ocean.
Major Loser1 year ago
I really like your analysis and everything makes sense except for the catastrophic failure. To think that just a couple of moments later they would be overcome with a nosegear fire or any fire that takes out the transponder & communications is seemingly incredible since there are redundancies in the aircraft that would allow for some communication. Nonetheless, I accept your logic for the abrupt turn and reasoning which all makes perfect sense. However, I surmise that the catastrophic failure was a meteor strike that clipped and/or pierced the aircraft hull which coincidentally disabled the transponder and forced massive decompression of the aircraft. This meteor strike, even though not fatal to the aircraft's flight, placed it in deep peril. A meteor strike might also explain the 2.7 magnitude seismic event on the seafloor nearby which is also consistent with the timing of events. Water depth in the Gulf of Thailand is generally at 200 feet or less.

I realize that this may not be a popular theory but it is certainly better than the "Dr Goldfinger scenarios" bombarded by CNN 24/7 as they invite throngs of has-beens posing as various levels of experts and pathetic prognosticators. If you look at the satellite projections based on last contact, the "Red Ring" mysteriously avoids the eastern Gulf of Thailand or Western South China Sea likely in an effort to milk this topic for all it is worth. Couple this farce with the fact that it is clear that the government officials of Malaysia don't really have a clue as to what they are doing. I think most of us really hope that Mr Goodfellow is correct in that it will be entertaining to see all of these CNN anointed 'experts' on TV to explain their reaction after this is over. Most will likely be no-shows when it is their turn.

Mr Goodfellow, everything you said make sense. Unfortunately, CNN couldn't care less about making sense of anything.
Good analysis. Thanks. I'll add this to my personal mental database of information I'm percolating through on this event.
Ben Inglis1 year ago
Hi Major, rather than a catastrophic failure at first, think of something more insidious. A smoldering electrical fire, for example, can cause a number of problems. It can cause a progressive loss of instruments, for example, and it can produce noxious gases, CO being a major problem (that is exacerbated at altitude because of CO's affinity for red blood cells). The catastrophic failure, as we might envisage it, may not have happened until many of the aircraft systems were damaged, and possibly not until after the pilots had been incapacitated.+3
Tim Lemke1 year ago
Under this scenario, what is the status of the passengers? Also overcome with smoke and incapacitated?
Stephan Kühl1 year ago
Interesting comments.
Ben Inglis1 year ago
Hi Tim, yes, that is one possibility. Or if it was a nosewheel fire then decompression is a possibility. Decompression following a panel fire is also not beyond the realm of the possible. All reasons, as if we needed them, to find the plane or its wreckage. +2
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Joseph Munaretto
Whatever deliberate course corrections that were made were likely done by a flight crew operating under a stressful situation.  The media was stoked up on this hi-jacking theory by erroneous reports that the ACARS was turned off by the flight crew PRIOR to the last voice comms. The truth is they have no idea when ACARS went off or how, and most likely it was a result of failure on board. There was nothing sinister in the timing of the ACARS transmission, the casual sign off by the FO, the flight simulator owned by the "everything airplane obsessed" Pilot, the "Democracy is Dead" (actually it is) T-shirt worn by the pilot, the religious (or lack of) leanings of the pilot, the meat cleaver wielded by the pilot in his kitchen,  or even the political leanings of the pilot. Most of this bogus conjecture was created by the incompetence of Malaysian Govt and media frenzy feeding upon itself.    This media farce compares only to the political circus here in the US of A.
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Major Loser "the "Dr Goldfinger scenarios" bombarded by CNN 24/7 as they invite throngs of has-beens posing as various levels of experts and pathetic prognosticators."

How true. I am taking names of the hysterical experts and news hounds that have appeared on TV the last few days so that I can switch my TV off when they appear!
Mirtha MM1 year ago
We had an autistic child missing in the woods for days in my town. She remained missing while all the experts with choppers, dogs, search teams and theories went about looking in the wrong direction. Finally one lone guy discarded "conventional wisdom" hiked in and found her in 30 minutes. This is how MH370 will be found.+2
Peter Mancini1 year ago
I don't think it can be a water crash - no ELTs went off and they would if the plane hit water. Cospas-Sarsat made nhe to indication it was alerted to that planes beacons. The satellite pings go until 8:11am which would have been just before fuel exhaustion.

The main thing one learns in reading up on this case is how much the Media gets wrong. The timeline, the sequence of things, how certain people are of the data... it all gets reported 10 different ways. Primary radar contact was lost. The next time we have anything its the military radar and that is just a skin paint reading which could have been a lot of other aircraft.

Reading above that the ACARS did not have a nice manual shutdown but an abrupt one contradicts other sources. Which is right? In one version the left hand turn is programmed in, reported by ACARS before the last transmission. Getting the facts right is important and I think the Malaysian government has done a piss poor job of carefully checking then reporting.

As for a single point of failure that could cause all of this without a fire, look at Quantus 30 that had the O2 bottle for the flight deck break off at it's connector and under great pressure it punched a hole through the aircraft hull. On the 777 the same bottle is in the wheel well and pointed right at the MEC. With enough force it could punch in there and take out everything at once. - power, comms, nav and transponders.

So there are non-fire reasons why all of this could occur. I hope someday we find the truth.
Yuanyuan MA1 year ago
translated and posted in china's weibo. thanks Chris! very good analysis.
Daniel Crilly1 year ago
The only problem is that Langkawi is one of the busiest airports in Malaysia servicing a populated Island that is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the region.  There is no way that plane could have landed without there being thousands of witnesses.  Kind of hard to hide an aircraft of that size for an hour let alone 10 days.
Yuanyuan MA1 year ago
My guess is that the plane continued on the southwest route and finally 811am signaled the lack of fuel and ditched the ocean.
MingJian Yap1 year ago
Airplanes have a max takeoff weight and max landing weight. Was the pilot able to do a fuel dump to safely land? Or did fire disable that feature.

If a fuel dump was performed but pilots are incapacitated, it'll crash sooner.

Just pointing out the possibilities.
Ben Inglis1 year ago
+Peter Mancini "So there are non-fire reasons why all of this could occur." Yes there are. And all of them should have been considered very seriously from the start. Perhaps it would have made little or no difference to the search, but the present fascination with stolen planes and the like seems like a very imaginative interpretation of what little evidence there is. Sadly, however, a stolen plane with a bunch of hostages is now a best-case scenario. I would weight the possibility very low, but I would welcome it were it true.
Ashley Odell1 year ago
So I know nothing about the science of flight and certainly have no clue what happened to this plane, but this thread was fascinating to read and I really appreciate all you pilots who've taken the time to explain things clearly and using examples from your own experience. I feel like a better passenger already. Thanks again.+6
Kiero Nokoma1 year ago
+Neena Kalyan
Hijacking needs a motive. The pilot was an ace so to speak, well settled with a family, money wasn't a problem. So what's the motive ? Every other hijacking in aviation has had a motive. The evidence gathered does not appear in that line as well. The govt and people are just speculating that this specific pilot is involved. Do line up the airports and heading as Chris suggested and you see his point of view.
Nate McD1 year ago
Courtney Love's probably location for the plane corresponds with the Auto-pilot flight path, assuming the pilots succumbed to smoke inhalation and were unable to land in Pulau Langkawi and the plane just kept on until it declined and/or suffered some other failure from smoke or fire damage.
Agnik Shanti1 year ago
The imersat ping generated search corridor is a complete bull. Why a circle ( center being the sat itself) ?. why not a sphere with 22,800 miles radius, that is a huge surface area, all surface points of the sphere generating same ping response time. It could be anywhere on indian ocean. Chris Goodfellow is correct, there was a catastrophic event, the crew passed out. Everybody is trying to save their ass and trying to imply hijacking, it works out best for Boeing,Rolls royce and Malaysia's incompetence. What a scam!!+3
george somers.1 year ago
This is my theory from the beginning of the flight disappearing ..and I didn't look in Google causing unconsciousness of crew and passenger..before the pilot could have communicate…and too late for sos..
bbunting7991 year ago
All well and good but why not send a distress call?
Betsy A. Ross1 year ago
CNN was saying that if something went wrong, a fire or mechanical problem, the ACARS would have sent out alerts before it stopped broadcasting.+1
Peter Mancini1 year ago
+Betsy Ross unless the ACARS was taken out first. There is a plausible chain of events that could take out all the coms, power and nav at the same time. It's unlikely but it could happen. See my previous comment above.
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Betsy Ross
I wonder if there are smoke detectors in the main cabin. There are in the lavatories to detect smokers. And there are now supposed to be detectors in cargo. I think the electronics bay has halon so there must be detectors. But honestly I can't recall seeing detectors in the passenger cabin.
barry drake1 year ago
So how do you explain the pings hours later coming from totally different directions
Dayanand Sutar1 year ago
This is what I had thought initially i.e the fire problem. But then I read that the last signal received by the Inmarsat was at about 8 AM. Also as reported in the news the plane crossed several waypoints which would not have taken them to pulau langkawi airport.
What ever happened to that once paln of having small "tracking" chips on various parts of any commercial jet liner. I am not sure where I came across that, but experiments wer on to install relatively small pingers with identity at the extreme ends and center of an airplane.. ie, the nose, the tail, the wing tips and the body with power backup that would kick in automatically once disconnected from main source (the airplane). It was intended for just such a serach and rescue operation where these would ping at 1 hour interval as broadcast to be picked up by satellites , subs, ships, other radio reciving stations to enable triagulation. Of course it might have either failed or shunned but it was 1998ish when I had read about it and assumed by now would have been implemented.
MingJian Yap1 year ago
+Agnik Shanti There's another satellite that was covering the middle section, if the satellite was there, that 2nd satellite will pick it up. Only 1 satellite received the ping.

The outer circle is disqualified based on known fuel reserves
Jacob Churruca1 year ago
I think your theory is spot on. There was a fire on the aircraft and it made maneuvers to try and land at Langkawi Airport LGK. The investigators seems to have ignored one of the initial eyewitness reports by Mike J oil rig worker on the oil rig Songa Mercur.

 “From when I first saw the burning (plane?) until the flames went out (at high altitude) was 10-15 seconds.
“There was no lateral movement so it was either coming toward our position  stationary (falling)  or going away."

Songa Mercur´s position: Lat: 8°22'30.20"N, Long: 108° 42'22.26"E

Draw a straight line from Songa Mercur to MH370 (where Civil radar lost contact at 01.30) continue that line towards the point where military radar contact was lost before the turn towards NW...It is a "straight" line. Mike McKay is right...MH370 was flying straight away from him.

It seems the pilots managed to initially  fight the fire and diverted towards Langkawi Airport. But where instruments and radio rendered useless by the fire...Could that be? Over the sea it seems to me that mobile coverage would not be present. If the fire was so intense that it could be seen from Songa Mercur I believe the first ones to be overcomed by smoke inhalation would be the passengers. The crew and pilots would be the last to be overcomed. They are trained to put on their smoke hoods in such a situation.

I think commander Zaharie Ahmad Shah and first officer Fariq Abdul Hamid flew more or less "blind" or with the aid of few instruments towards Langkawi Airport in an effort to land the 777. That final turn towards the North West could be the last effort to reach the airport if they were still alive at that point. What ever happened next...was probably out of human control.
Choon Leng Eu1 year ago
There was no fire. The hijackers were either heading towards Langkawi aiming for Mahathir's residence or towards Penang's 65 storeys Komtar Tower.

I am pretty sure Malaysian Air Force jets were scrambled when they saw in their military radar the incommunicado jetliner was approaching that region. They then forced MH370 away from its intended target. The 777s then headed north probably towards Phuket but were forced by the Thai Air Force to divert away. It then headed North-West where Malaysian military radar lost it after it went out of range.

My theory is based on this zigzagged flight path of MH370 published a few days ago.

Jennifer Wong1 year ago
News reports are suggesting the first change to the flight path was programmed into a computer in the cockpit.  If there was an emergency, wouldn't it be more likely the plane's controls were used? 

It's hard to imagine neither pilot (nor any crew/passengers) had time to communicate the emergency, doesn't one pilot always have control and the other pilot is responsible for communicating on the radio?  Fire generally doesn't become uncontrollable in an instant.  I imagine it would only have taken seconds for the co-pilot to communicate the problem to the ground after a problem was detected.  And for this to just happen just at the handover from Malaysian to Vietnamese airspace, the perfect time for evading detection, sounds a bit too much of a coincidence. 
coreyagraph1 year ago
what about the 'black boxes?'  when are they activated? regardless of where the plane is, wouldn't they have been communicating? the technical expertise of your readers is enlightening........
Rob Lipton1 year ago
I've actually posted a similar explanation since about a week ago but not with the Pulau Langkawi part. I would add that a possibility for the cause of the fire is something similar to what happened on Egyptair flight B772 in 2011. In that case a similar Boeing 777-200 had a catastrophic cockpit fire that involved a faulty oxygen bracket and hose. The oxygen fueled fire was estimated to have been up to 1000 degrees and was almost impossible to put out. The fire happened while the plane was still on the gate and even though the first firefighters responded within 3 minutes it took 90 minutes to put it out. The entire cockpit was melted, windows charred, instruments, communications...everything...completely destroyed. Even burnt a two foot hole clear through the metal hull of the plane to the outside. If this had happened while the plane was in the air there is simply no way they could have put out the fire and saved the plane. It fits in perfectly with the scenario that Chris paints of two heroic pilots fighting a fire that was too much to take on. The exact cause of the fire was never 100% determined but what was suspected was faulty oxygen ducting that apparently was likely in many 777s. I would recommend everyone take a look at this link and you can see how devastating the fire was.
Rob Lipton1 year ago
I should also add that the extreme fluctuations in altitude which has been called 'Porpoising' is something that a plane with no pilot at the controls would be expected to do. It fits in perfectly with what we know about Malaysia 370s flight info after loss of contact. Again...see link and look through the comments for more info.
Rob Lipton1 year ago
To all that have a problem with this theory saying that the pilot would try to land the plane asap after a fire broke out keep in mind if my cockpit fire similar to Egyptair B772 theory is correct this would have been impossible since it was the crew cabin that was on fire. The fire completely consumed the entire crew area including the pilot and co-pilot's seats and all controls. They would have literally had to run out of the crew cabin in order to not be burned alive.
Ed Collera1 year ago
+savannah wyatt
I agree with you here. Don't cellphones have GPS tracking in them or is that all nonsense ? IMO, this plane was hijacked, and forced to fly to one of the "Stans" where it could land with no fanfare whatsoever.  I hate to go back to it, but there might have been as many as 4 passengers flying on stolen passports. We know 2 were, and 1 was a known asylum seeker. This plane landed and that's why nothing has been found. Are large airliners still capable of sending out signals when all the equipment has been shut off ? I don't know, but maybe some of you do. Best case - all passengers and crew are still alive, but this seems highly doubtful.  Worst case - we will see this plane again in some kind of 9/11 scenario.
ocerg11111 year ago
One problem with this theory;

"Malaysian authorities had said the message "All right, good night" came after the system had been disabled."

So, if the transponder was turned off as he pulled busses trying to put out a fire, why didnt he report the fire first?
Mick Fealty1 year ago
Fire/smoke in the cockpit scenario has been mentioned for the first time on RTE, Irish radio by a former Aer Lingus pilot and engineer, but only as a possible contributory factor to the switch off.

That is it was not being offered as the 'driving' narrative for the ultimate disappearance. +chris goodfellow
Keith Tan1 year ago

would you read & comment on this theory:

would be good to hear from a real professional's perspective if this "shadowing" method is possible.
Rob Lipton1 year ago
ocerg1111, that is no longer the case. The Malaysians have backtracked and said that the 'All right, good night' came after the last ACARS transmission but that the ACARS only transmits once every 30 minutes. Thus, it could have gone out after that last communication with the pilot. This came out in last night's press conference so it's no longer necessary that the pilots knew anything going wrong during that last communication. Most likely the ACARS went out at the same time as the transponder.+1
Sara Fors1 year ago
I'm no expert, but I think a report by eight witnesses of a "loud, terrifying noise" over the ocean around 1:20 AM that sounded like "a tsunami was about to strike" is a pretty good clue as to where to send our best search boats.

Malaysian authorities have been using the word "confirmed" irresponsibly. Using a higher standard of proof, it sounds like the ACARS system may have gone down at the same time as the transponder. That could have been from a catastrophic event. It sounds like the altitude data from the military radar is unreliable. That could have been artifacts. It sounds like the data off the west coast of Malaysia might not have even come from MH370. As my husband joked, that could have been Diddy taking a secret vacation. And since no red arcs have been released from previous pings, no explanation has been given for why not, and there seems to be a pattern developing of blind-spots-caused-by-Malaysian-overconfidence-in-incomplete-information, it sounds like all of the arcs might be the same, which could mean the plane or its remains could have been in the same place for several hours. If the reasoning behind the missing middle section of the arc is that the Malaysians have "confirmed" that an overlapping satellite to the east would have picked it up there, I think we should skeptically question that and search along the middle section just in case. Especially in light of the five sets of eyewitness accounts that point to fire, descending lights, and loud noises there.
Vcat Srinivasan1 year ago
Why does this simple post seem to make more sense than everything I've read or seen this past week? +chris goodfellow +6
Sriram Popuri1 year ago
This makes more sense than all the rubbish we are hearing. It could be somewhere deep in Indian Ocean.
So this makes sense.
1. Instrument electrical fire. Transponders out because of this. Poisinous fumes in cockpit.
2. Pilot instinctive turns around towards closest airport. Sets autopilot and starts working the problem. Before he starts emergency landing pilots pass out.
3. Plane flies dark straight for several hours on autopilot. Pilots, crew and passengers out. (has happend before:
4. Runs out of fuel and crashes in the ocean.

Now we just need to locate the plane...
Mick Fealty1 year ago
Francis Bacon's golden rule is resist coming to a premature conclusion. None of us knows what happened yet. It may be months or years before we do.

But this requires less suspension of disbelief than those being explored by the MSM determined on finding certainty where there plainly is very little to be had.

Further thoughts on the doing-journalism-in-the-dark-as-if-the-lights-were-on problem as I see it here:

I'd only add that there's a limit to how much can falsify something as simple as +chris goodfellow's scenario without more complete data. 
anthony tozer1 year ago
+Lars Christian Nygård I agree this is the only logical conclusion given that no debris has been found off of the east coast Malaysia where the fishermen's reports are located.
Posted in yesterday;"I am reminded by the mystery of the Malaysian airliner's disappearance of a strange incident that occurred some years ago when an airliner was tracked by some military planes because it was not responding to ATC radio calls and flying off course. The military pilots reported that there appeared to be no life on board and they followed the airliner until it ran out of fuel and crashed. The crew and passengers were all dead because of a decompression at altitude and failure of the emergency oxygen supply to deploy.
"Helios Airways Flight 522 was a scheduled Helios Airways passenger flight that crashed into a mountain on 14 August 2005 at 12:04 pm EEST, north of Marathon and Varnavas, Greece, whilst flying from Larnaca, Cyprus to Athens, Greece. A lack of oxygen incapacitated the crew, leading to the aircraft's eventual crash after running out of fuel."


This would account for the circumstances in this latest incident - a sudden decompression incident (a meteorite strike - or perhaps a bit of space junk )which knocked out the transponder aerial system and the oxygen tanks or control system.

The pilot would immediately respond, as they are trained to do, Aviate - Navigate - then Communicate. 

Swinging the plane round to return to Kuala Lumpur before being rendered unconscious and then the plane would fly on the last heading set with no-one alive on board to either alter course or communicate with ATC until its fuel supply was exhausted."
Substitute the more likely cockpit /instrument panel electrical fire as the cause et voila!
BTW It had enough fuel on board to almost reach the  E.African coast(Somalia) which is probably where it will eventually be found.
Pratyush Nalam1 year ago
Why didn't they find any wreckage then?
Hafis Hashim1 year ago
anthony tozer1 year ago
No one has started looking in the right area - yet.+1
Nick France1 year ago
I like the theory, just like to clarify a few things being asked, the autopilot will only do as you tell it ie if you want to fly to point x, you have to programe it to fly there. As for the Nrst button it will give you a choice of airports and when u select the airfield/airport it will give you a direct route which will go straight into the autopilot. One thing does puzzle me though, turing around would have given him at least six airports in close proxmity. I doubt
He would have headed for penang. Runway is not long enough for a 777 still relativly fat with fuel, not sure dumping fuel with a fire as eyewitness suggest is a good idea. The lack of any flotsam is another puzzle even if it did go in shallow I would think there would be some, the water pressure as it went down should allow stuff to float out after some time.
Charles Henkel1 year ago
The supposed track of MH370 based on Malay primary radar returns shows it making the VAMPI, GIVAL, and IGREX waypoints, well west of Langkawi and requiring a jog between VAMPI and GIVAL.

Do you think the later radar indications were from another flight (perhaps SI68?) and were mistaken for MH370?

What about the satcom pings which were still being registered many hours later, and at apparent locations differing from an overrun of Langkawi? 
Geoff Blackmore1 year ago
Your theory is probably the best to date.  But what do you make of this?
Choymun Lai1 year ago
If the blackbox is successfully extracted, who will be responsible to analyse the information it carries?
Laura Connor1 year ago
Hi Chris, I am a Media Wales newspaper reporter, based in Cardiff. Your thoughts are really interesting and we would love to use them for the Western Mail newspaper, Wales' national newspaper. Do we have your permission to do this? If you would like to discuss this with me, you can email me on Thanks, Laura
Pratyush Nalam1 year ago
Ron George1 year ago
Chris, I wish we had an injunction of some kind that people posting their numerous theories to a flight disappearance (meteorites, hijack etc) must first include their profession (aviation or non-aviation), age and experience level. From there on, we can take their theories in context of their personal agendas. This is where I believe the internet fails. There is no way to effectively moderate the nonsense, to separate spam from newsworthiness.

That said, I do hope your theory is placed among the best ones made so far. Rest be assured that NTSB investigators, putting their full breadth and weight of past experience in similar incidents into this investigation , try to "test" this theory by by application of "stray" spark (for example) to items known to be in the cargo manifest of this airplane (eg, lithium ion batteries). Then the question becomes the source of the fire. What combinations of conditions started the fire? This is where you have to lay to rest the theory and continue to wait for "physical evidence" from the SAR. It is easy for someone on the internet to dedicate a couple of hours worth of his time to theorize, but one imagines it is not easy for an actual investigation to divert huge amount of time, money and manpower to investigate numerous theories without physical evidence. So where do we draw a line? Something to think about...
Irene Hoffman1 year ago
Thought you'd be interested to see this comment from someone posting on the NYT website which fits with your theory:

Michael Price USA 4 hours agof
"Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence." - Napolean.
There is an estimated 60% probability that Malaysian Airlines, in allowing a large cargo of unstable lithium-ion batteries to be loaded onto a civilian passenger flight for money (which many airlines don't allow per NTSB, IATA and ICAO safety recommendations) triggered a disastrous chain of events. Unlike the tragic 1987 South African Airways 747 conventional cargo fire where the pilots were able to transmit for a full 15 minutes before most of the electronics were burned out and all lives lost, a large lithium-ion fire would have given the Malaysian Airlines pilots under a minute to react in futility and certainly no time to attempt a report even if some of the radio electronics were still working. The batteries would have then melted through the bottom of the aluminum cargo hold and fallen into the sea. The visual sighting of the plane burning brightly at high altitude for 10-15 seconds by oil platform worker Michael McKay who promptly reported it to authorities confirms the intense fire which certainly in combination with smoke, then freezing temperatures and hypoxia would have quickly killed all occupants. What remained of the electronics was apparently able to keep the 777 aloft until the fuel ran out. The likely trajectory would have been SW toward the Indian Ocean crossing the satellite ping overlays as heading North would have been detected by various countries' radar.
Pratyush Nalam1 year ago
^ Pings detected for 7 hours. How does your theory explain this?
Todd Wright1 year ago
+Mirtha MM
Thats kinda what I was saying. It doesnt appear to be a full set of data points so im not inclined to take it as solid evidence.
Todd Wright1 year ago
+Pratyush Nalam
If the plane had continued to fly its last recorded heading (the radar track across the peninsula, toward Langkawi, it would be on a line somewhere between Langkawi, the Maldives and Somalia, but apparently they are looking off the coast of Australia, or North over India, based on some satellite data which doesnt appear to tell the whole story (not to mention it was never meant to be used this way), and the north and south arcs are a calculation based on using delay time to find the distance (but not direction) to the satellite. A guess, at best.

In other words, they're not looking in the right place. Even if they did, after 10 days, any surface wreckage would by now be scattered far from the crash site (by waves and tidal forces) and any wreckage at the bottom of the Indian Ocean (Deepest in the world) would need to be passed almost directly over by a ship or plane to be spotted by sonar, or temperature differential techniques. The longer it sits there the fainter that differential becomes, as it equalises with the temperature of the water. If its deep, it may never be found.
James Verster1 year ago
It's an interesting article and quite plausible, but it raises some questions:
1. in the event of a fire, pilots are taught to land the plane at the soonest opportunity and the closest suitable runway.  So why fly all the way to Langkawi when they could have gone to Kota Bharu which is on the Malay Peninsula coast, just south of, and MUCH CLOSER to where transponder contact was lost with the plane?  Granted, it's not ideal for a 777, but you can land a wide body twin-engined jetliner on it in an emergency (you'd worry about how to get it out of the airfield later once the people on board are safely on the ground and the fire has been extinguished.   
2. How does this fit in with the Malaysian authorities claim that they received signals from the plane up for up to 6 hours after the transponder stopped transmitting?  Similarly, Rolls-Royce (the plane's engine supplier) said it had received data-bursts from the engines over a similar period.  If the pilots had attempted to reach Langkawi, but failed, then the plane would have come down either over the Gulf of Thailand, over northern Malaysia or in the sea off Langkawi island.   
Comments please.
Monika Flang1 year ago
This theory has some serious flaws. If the situation was such an emergency as he claims, why the pilot didn't make an emergency landing on water instead of flying back to some remote airport? But even so, if they indeed headed for Langkawi and the firve overcame them, wouldn't they crash on the route there? However, there were no reports of a crashed plane on Malaysia's territory. So would they just fly for seven more hours with a fire on board without any attempt to communicate? They had sattelite phones, people also had their personal phones. Say the smoke made everyone unconscious or even dead - it also would have brought the plane down at some point. Yet there was a communicaion with a sattelite at 8.11am. It doesn't make sense to me.+1
I cannot comment but it makes sense for me
Charles Henkel1 year ago
Look at this report from Kuda Huvadhoo, Maldives, which is on the projected path of MH370 if it overran Langkawi:

"Whilst the disappearance of the Boeing 777 jet, carrying 239 passengers has left the whole world in bewilderment, several residents of Kuda Huvadhoo told Haveeru on Tuesday that they saw a "low flying jumbo jet" at around 6:15am on March 8."
Ian Broughall1 year ago
If there are so many experts and pilots............ WHERE is the plane, and more importantly - WHERE are the PASSENGERS...?
Keep chatting and posting - and lets see who is correct - STAY SAFE AND STAY HAPPY :)
Michael Kelley1 year ago
Hello Chris. My name is Michael Kelley and I work for Business Insider. We'd love to do a Q&A with you about your theory. You can reach me at
Michael Marsden1 year ago
Personally I think it was the Klingons who grabbed the aircraft+2
Sara Fors1 year ago
He was supposedly a very good pilot. Maybe he did manage to make an emergency landing on the water (on either the east or west coast of Malaysia) and the plane sunk relatively intact with minimal debris. Maybe most people on board were already unconscious, or were knocked unconscious by the impact, or couldn't get out. Maybe every projected flight path after 1:21 (including the ping) is based on unreliable data.

Darkness is a powerful thing. If you make a miracle landing in the daytime, you get invited to the White House and hailed as a hero. But try it at nighttime and you might disappear into the ocean with your passengers and crew and get posthumously accused of being a suicidal political fanatic and a terrorist hijacker.
Philip Kurian1 year ago
A simple question. What happened to the fire that incapacitated the crew? The plane was still working even after 5 hours according to the satellite pings.
MeMe Melvin1 year ago
My only issue with this theory is that in 2014 239 people would be aware of the fire if it was inside of the cabin. Based on that knowledge, I find it difficult to believe none of the people on the plane would attempt to use their cellphones or electronics to message loved ones. If the pilot had enough time to turn and zone in on an airport, do you believe he would deliver a message over the intercom about the situation? Did electronics not work on the plane? +2
Sara Fors1 year ago
Holy crap. North to South-East over the Maldives is toward Diego Garcia Naval Base. That's some seriously disturbing circumstantial evidence. Hopefully now we can find the plane and get some answers.+2
Jon Dunn1 year ago
Good to hear from an insider/expert. I just think the fact the plane made several turns at waypoints a good hour after the first turn means someone was still at the controls deliberately flying it, someone who at least THOUGHT they knew what they were doing.
+David Schmidt and +Lucho Sadot there is no proof the ACARS was disabled earlier. The system sends data every 30 minutes, the last signal received is at 01:07 so it could have been disabled anytime between then and 01:37. The transponder last signal is at 01:21, I would say there are good chances they were both disabled at the same time.
Also, I wouldn't trust the Malaysia military radar, what they have tracked could have been a spy plane.
Graham Davies1 year ago
The one thing that is the most certain is the arcs showing the possible position of the aircraft on its last transmission "ping" to the Inmarsat geostationary satellite. This is calculated from the satellite information and makes no assumptions. Unfortunately this is still a very large area.
Sara Fors1 year ago
More bad news. They found Male International Airport in The Maldives in the pilot's simulator.

Still circumstantial, but troubling. To other pilots who are reading this thread, how common an occurrence is it to have random island runways in your simulators? Is Male a common one?
Hmmmm........definitely food for thought, Philip.  Makes good sense.
Good morning all.

I am pleased this thread has gone somewhat viral and produced many useful additional insights for me into this mystery.

I was not going to add anything more myself but new information keeps coming to my attention that only serves to confirm my thinking that we are dealing with a fire/mechanical issue rather than hijack.

Many have written and said why if he had a fire didn't he proceed direct KBR which was closer. My reading would be that KBR is just under 6,000 feet and he would not have had this in his head as a viable safe harbour. Keep in mind this was a heavy and a lot of fuel. If he had fire he would not want to dump fuel. He would head for the long runway. Yes you could probably stuff a 777 into 6,000 feet with everything going your way but it is under the recommended length 7,200 feet I believe and remember this is a ATP with 18,000 hours who would likely go by the book. He turned towards LangKawi and/or Penang.

The real new news is the cargo question. If indeed there was a shipment of lithium batteries in the hold this is a definite line of enquiry. I had a long conversation last night with the reporter for the Christian Science Monitor in Kuala, Peter Ford, and I suggested that he dig deep into the cargo manifest but also try and get more information on the state of the tires on the front landing gear - number of cycles, maintenance records, last pressure check etc. and as many of you know the time honored tradition by the pilot and/or first officer pre-flight walkaround. I suggested there may be security video of all movements in and around the aircraft during the time the aircraft was being serviced and that the pilot or first officer may be on video during their walkaround. Did they stop and take a second look at the nose gear? Any clue there? Was the loading of the lithium batteries on video? Was there an mishap on loading that might have led to leakage?

If indeed there was fire, it was either cargo, avionics or possibly related to a tire overheat.

My thoughts were towards fire from the beginning and the reports by ground witnesses are flowing in. One, in particular, needs careful analysis and that is Mike Mckay the oilfield tech who wrote a detailed email to authorities. He obviously saw something unusual in the night sky and is apparently a reliable person. Other local people made sightings evidently on the north coast.

 We now have a good timeline on the Acars, last voice communication and transponder shutdown. It is clear now that Acars was not shut down before the transponder or last call. It just made a transmission at 1:07 and not as expected at 1:37, so it could have gone down along with the transponder at 1:21 either as a forced shutdown by the pulling of breakers or the breakers all blowing at the same time as fire hit the electronics.

It is clear the data bursts went on for a period of time that correlates very well with fuel exhaustion. There is a lot confusion about these databursts and how they could have been taking place if the ACARS was down and other electrics down. I am simply not able to answer how that system functions but it clear it is on a separate electrical system. Most likely if it is communicating via immarsat it is something akin to a satellite phone that dials up and dumps information on a timed basis. It may even be battery powered.

The piggy back theory. While I will not discount this is possible I think this reaches new levels of speculation. I have no idea of the capability of Malaysian radar but perhaps they were painting the other aircraft that proceeded up the straights of Malacca north westwards as MH370 continued unnoticed south westwards. I would not have high confidence in their primary radar beyond very short range. Remember the other plane would have been squawking on a transponder and provided a stranger return. It may simply be co-incidence that their paths crossed.

A very wise mentor of mine always cautioned me to keep an open mind and I continue to do so. All of our theories are essentially speculation and the most important thing is not to come to any definitive conclusions without the concrete evidence. 

This may go down in aviation annals as the longest ghost flight of all time. In an age when we have so much technical capability that we can see a person on a street in Kabul using drones piloted from a bunker down near Tampa Florida it is indeed hard not to want immediate fast answers as to what happened here.

We may never know.  

Thanks to all of you. Keep the thread alive.

John Foster1 year ago
+Daniel Crilly Pay attention mate. Chris doesn't propose that the plane made it to the airport, he proposes the flight crew were overcome and George took the plane onwards for some time until it eventually crashed+1
Gi Lip Terr1 year ago
  Actually- I am a journalist who has been assigned to this particular disappearance- and honestly, out of all the theories i heard from officials anywhere in the world- this was the one that made the most sense....+2
Adel Al-Zawm1 year ago
Are not you give too much information here about airplanes, codes, systems, controls, ...... be careful
Waaw Is all I can say now. This is possibly the best explanation I've heard so far from my own perspective :)
Pablo Ambram1 year ago
A lot of planes take off on heavy nights on sea level cities. How does a blowout on a tire cause a fire again? That's your main assumption, and sounds pretty implausible, as simple as it sounds.
Ephata Sozigwa1 year ago
tripti sarkhel1 year ago
Excellent analysis..
james burke1 year ago
Thanks for devoting such a massive amount of effort to trying to establish what happened Chris, having printed off a map from google, plotted on it the oil rig positioning, lankawi and the last known co-ordinates, there does seem to be a lot of credibility to the possibility that the plane turned back from its original route, headed right (east) towards Langkawi and possible, sadly, continued flying until it ran out of fuel. +1
Robin Murray1 year ago
Nice theory Chris but for us the chief pilot(s) turning off TRANSPONDER to fly "off the radar" instead of dialing in 7500 7600 or 7700 emergency codes favor an "inside job" not fire. Robin Murray 2131671CFII commercial pilot 15000 hours total time+1
Eric Dumont1 year ago
Very interesting and enlightning read. Thank you.
Charles Bright1 year ago
If the plane came down in water, isn't dinghy release automatic? I also assume that the dinghies carry salt-water activated batteries to send an emergency signal. This assumes the plane did not explode in the air and destroy them.
Core Lohse1 year ago

Finally something that makes a lot of sense!

I have been thinking fire/explosion/flooding/crew oxygen bottle explosion - one of these happening in the MEC.

Your analysis is way better than any other I have read, it makes a lot of sense.

It disturbs me when "seems" is made into fact, like "The pilots turned", "the pilots climbed" and so on - while the fact is that the aircraft turned.

I don't know which theory is more probable, but I definitely agree that a lot of things are assumed - and has to be, while information is so scarce!

Imagine a total electrical failure, whatever the cause is.

All that is left on the 777 is standby compass, one spoiler on each wing and some horizontal stab trim control. Not even altimeter is available then!

The engines could run on their own, keeping the last thrust setting they were given. The aircraft in trim, it could have flown for hours - without autopilot, and whether or not the pilots were incapacitated, or just unable to control the aircraft.

See this post, and possibly follow the links for more, at the end of the post:åre-Lohse/Posts/Commercial-aircraft-CAN-and-WILL-fly-without-pilots-autopilots

Some different views of the same scenario. Initially, I considered some kind of illegal action was more possible, but as more information came out, I think the most probable answer is some major technical event - whether fire, explosion, flooding or what.
Really good analysis by someone who knows what he's talking about. This analysis is starting to be noticed - I found this via a tweet on the BBC News website.

The problem with the media coverage is they are presenting hypotheses and conjecture as theories and facts. Like "the transponder was deliberately turned off from the cockpit". Clearly, the possibility of an electrical fire reduces this oft-repeated fact into conjecture.
Core Lohse1 year ago
I haven't had it confirmed, but it is possible that the RR Trent engines have a small separate generator that powers the FADEC (to keep it separate from the ships electrical system), as well as the ACARS uplink. A direct uplink from the engines to Inmarsat (although empty pings) would explain how the engines could have kept pinging ever 30 minutes for so long time - even if there was a total electrical failure of the 777 electrical system itself.

One can wonder why the Rescue 406 (or similar) beacons weren't activated - which might suggest that whatever failure there was included depressurisation or smoke in the cabin.

I think that 777 is far down south in the Indian Ocean, and I hope a P3 will pick up some signal from the black (orange) boxes soon. And I hope they fly far enough South, to cover the entire area it could have gone to.
Mike McDowall1 year ago
Would you be prepared to talk about this on BBC World Service radio today?  Pre-recorded, between 1400 and 2000 EST.  We could conduct an interview by Skype if you have it. Best wishes, Mike McDowall
Lawrence Greco1 year ago
Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had told reporters on Sunday that the plane's ACARS system – a satellite data-link – had stopped transmitting before someone in the cockpit said “alright, goodnight” in the last voice transmission from the cockpit to Malaysian air traffic control. 

So, if it was not everything alright, why he said that?
stu10021 year ago
I'm not buying this theory yet. Strangely, no one theory seems to really fit with all the data.

So, the pilots become aware of a fire, and turn the aircraft to the nearest appropriate airport.  So far so good...

If the  plane was in ALT/HDG/SPD HOLD mode, then it should be dead easy to draw a track to where it would run out of fuel and splash down. Draw an extension of the line of the last heading.

Problem is, they seem fairly convinced they have data which places the plane in an Arc which is nowhere near the location Chris Goodfellow predicts. It looks like the plane made all sorts of course changes. That needs explaining.

The plane COULD have continued to make course changes based on a course pre-programmed into the CDU ,rather than merely holding a straightline course, but, if that were the case, it should take it somewhere logical and fairly easy to locate.

The transponder, on Chris's theory, failed because of electrical failure, yet, according to Chris's theory, all the avionics required for the AP continued to function flawlessly for hours. That's a very interesting kind of  fire that picks and chooses what it burns out.

We also have an enormous coincidence to overcome: The transponder switched off just two minutes after a routine "sign off" transmission on leaving Malaysian ATC. This is absolutely the logical point to "disappear" your aircraft: Sign off from one ATC service, and don't sign on with the next...and at exactly this point the transponder goes.

We also have to believe that the fire went from undetectable, to causing the failure of the Transponder electronics within 2 minutes, and caused the pilots to lose comms either due to them being rendered unconscious or the comms themselves failing. Fires happen fast...granted...but that's gosh-darned particular kind of fire.

The theory for the cause of the fire is questionable too. The fire smouldered away in the wheel well for a whole hour without triggering a fire sensor or flaring up? Really?

I agree the left turn which places the aircraft slap bang on course for an airport is very striking - but it's not compelling.
+Robin Murray Well Said, somewhere its totally illogical for the pilot not to send a distress! Another question, I believe position shown in IFE would have been definitely questioned by atleast 1 passenger the moment the plane took a turn. Why is that not thought off? worst case, if some one had noted that, the immediate impulse is to send a message to someone, an SMS will stay in outbox and will be sent out the moment the phone gets a network. Or, If the phone was already on the InFlight roaming it makes it all the more simpler. Now with people claiming their relative's mobile phones ringing, why there was no SMS? Was it all confiscated before they took over cockpit? If yes, the pilots had all the more time to send a distress signal. Why didnt they? I also believe, the cockpit door is locked by a numeric lock. How did someone from outside gain access? Within 1 hour of the take off? Just a few questions from my side!
People ask me why I spend so much time on the Internet...this is why great article and follow up by an audience of global participants. My thoughts are with the flight passengers and staff , and the families of the flight passengers and staff.+3
Core Lohse1 year ago
Lawrence, because he doesn't understand how ACARS works, maybe? The Malaysian officials have not acted very credible in this so far.

Is there a Malaysian "NTSB" at all, or is it done by the transport minister himself?
Core Lohse1 year ago
The B777 cockpit is equipped with at least 4 PBEs or smoke hoods, so the pilots will have time to put them on to prevent being incapacitated by smoke and would have been able to send out a distress signal. The closest airport to the location of the last transponder signal is Kota Bahru, right on the South China Sea coast and can land a B777 in an emergency, it is much closer to the stricken jet than Langkawi is (Captain Shah must be aware of this). Also, with a fire in the aircraft, there is no way the aircraft could have flown a further 4 hours. So I think this scenario is not very likely. Also, if the Malaysian authorities are to be believed with regards to the radar tracking by the Malaysian military, it appears the turns et al were deliberate. If the radar tracking was proven to be false, then I believe the aircraft is at the bottom of the South China Sea, waiting for that piece of debris to wash ashore on a beach on the east coast of Malaysia.+1
Denise Wong1 year ago
hi Ted, I am a Chinese Malaysian. Thank you for this very rational and practical explanation. I've been to Langkawi before. You have written a very important article. I pray that Malaysian government will be able to read this. There has been one email about a man who has witnessed a plane which he believed to be of MA was burning... more:
Here is my blog:

Best wishes,
Geoff Cates1 year ago
The timing of the last ping (8:11am Malaysian time) corresponds to 5:10am Maldives. If sighting at 6am over kuda huvadhoo is credible then the plane may have been on last fumes and crashed beyond the islands within 5-8 minutes such that 9:11am ping never responded. Wonder if anyone is searching there now?+1
Kerti Alev1 year ago
This theory makes the most sense if the plane was not overtaken by someone. My questions:
1,If you program the plane autopilot to go to  Lankawi but you do not land, where will it go then by autopilot? Autopilot can be affected by fire too and what happens after?
2. Is it possible that the planes autopilot was trying to turn back to it's original destination after not landing on Lankawi and what decisions the autopilot can make? Is there a reason for it to take a very long turn southwards?
3. If they landed it on water, does the "black box" turn on?
4. Can you land such plane on water successfully at night or day?
Core Lohse1 year ago
I would have stopped in the Maldives then - have never been there but it should be a nice place.

If there was a total electrical failure, they might have been more or less out of control, just the aircraft flying itself, engine driven fuel pumps suction-feeding the engines.

Until the first one quits, then - without any or very little flight controls available - it would have given massive assymetric thrust, with no rudder or aileron to help, and that would be the end of THAT flight :(
Denise Wong1 year ago
+Geoff Cates I really find that the search and rescue team should seriously looking into this area, that the plane is not hijacked, and maybe it's time to stop suspecting the pilot, he has a very good flying record, and I believe that he has done his best saving the plane and the people on board.

Andy Zakaria1 year ago
trengganu has a airport , pulau redang has a airport , kota bahru has a airport , penang has airport .. why fly to langkawi????????
Terengganu has a airport, the island has a redang airport, the city has a bahru airport, Penang has airport .. why fly to Langkawi ????????
Translated from Malay|Original
Charles Bright1 year ago
If it overflew the Maldives, would it have been spotted by the radar at Male Airport?
John Murphy1 year ago
His last communication was "All right, good night" makes no sense if there was a fire. 
Robert June1 year ago
Thank you for posting a realistic, intelligent scenario.  I have seen so many items posted by people who couldn't tell a Cessna 150 from a 747.  Although I have been retired from flying for over 10 years (KC-135 Navigator,  A,E, and R models), I still remember that we briefed emergency airfields every time we went to fly.  Pulling breakers in the case of a fire to isolate the affected equipment is a standard procedure.  Most reporters wouldn't know this.+2
David Campbell1 year ago
This has now been mentioned on the BBC live update. Interesting theory.

I'm still wondering why we havent seen the locations of the other pings. If the pings happen every hour there should be a series of rings instead of just one, which would help to get a possible path rather than just a final location and could assist with determining when the plane stopped moving.
Wooden Spoon1 year ago
Nice theory Chris......but obviously not true. Why? Because they would have made a mayday call. If they had time to turn the plane they had time to put out a distress call.+1
Bruno Dell'Erba1 year ago
Chris, why not Penang?
Frank Pangallo1 year ago
Can u please email me your phone email details when convenient.i would like to discuss your theory & others
Frank Pangallo
Adelaide South Australia
Sara Fors1 year ago
Chris's trajectory would put it crossing the Maldives heading east. But the witnesses described its crossing as heading toward Addu, which is south, and also the direction to Diego Garcia. Hard to tell at this point if the directional heading signifies anything important or not. It could have just been drifting aimlessly. The reports of it being really low make this sound more probable.
Manaram de mel1 year ago
Good analysis Chris. Develop it when more information follows.+1
Geoff Cates1 year ago
+Charles Bright distance between Male international airport and remote island 180km. Who knows extent of radar coverage?. Maybe they haven't gone back and checked?
Vipin Ravi1 year ago
The missing of MH370 (BOEING 777) MIGHT BE due to either of the following:

1.The navigatinal and communication systems onboard mh370 going off one by one after several minutes of gap between each suggests that the flight must have faced electric failure @ night.The crew must have decided to return back to kualalmpur as shown by the radar data that it turned back. The primary radar data, that the flight abruptly climbed upto 45000 feet and then rapidly descended to 23000' while navigating relaively well, suggests that the aircraft must have experienced some structural failure ( or some malfunction affecting the control of elevator ) adversely affecting the control of flight in vertical sense while being able to control better in directional sense, however the flight going from waypoint to waypoint might be with the use of any other handheld gps or navigation using routechart and e2b compass.
The missing of MH370 (Boeing 777) might be the first case in the aviation history where the fly by wire (FBW) and FADEC (Full Authority digital Engine control ) have failed. This can happen in the case of a total electric failure, which is an extremely rare possibility in such a modern aircraft, but it is not IMPOSSIBLE (even a fire which got contained eventually can cause it). Boeing 777 has actual cables to some of the spoilers (roll control) and the stabilizer trim (pitch control). I don't believe there is any rudder or elevator in the event of total FBW failure on a 777. Also boeing 777 uses FADEC, for engine control. So with a total electric failure using differential thrust is also out of the window. Hence if the aircraft continued its flight upto 0810 in some unknown direction as suggested by the last pings received by inmarsat satellites,the pilot must be commended for his tremendous effort for continuing the flight @ NIGHT in the vastness of ocean desperately for hours in search of landmass where they can land, unable to control the aircraft in any desired flight path, rather than being suspected for hijacking his own flight. The manufacturers must rethink the design considerations, taking into account the importance of a revision to manual control, using cables in the rarest of rare emergency of FBW failure.

2. There must have been cockpit intrusion by hijackers may be with relative flying experience who would have forced the crew to make the aircraft climb above 43000 to prevent the radar detection. but the sudden descent thereafter suggests a purposeful manoeuvre by the crew to take control of the situation by physically engaging the hijackers, which must have resulted in killing of pilot/(s)/ thereafter hijackers being unable to navigate.

The aircraft would have continued flying in some direction and could have ended up running out of fuel in mid ocean at several thousand feets above. In that case the aircraft must have plunged into water at a significantly higher velocity preventing the activation of distress signals from ELT and maynot have left any significant debris on ocean floor, since an aircraft with engines out would glide down at a steeper velocity than normal without disintegrating.
So the scope of search and investigation must focus on a wider perspective on the indian ocean, bay of bengal, and arabian sea using ships which can scan the sea bed and ocean floor and landmass in africa, middle east and south asia.The approximate location of which can be detected by analying the inmarsat satellite position and its area of coverage, which had received the last known pings @ 0810;and analysing the primary radar data of all the south asian and indian ocean islands like diago garcia, coco islands, maldives, sri lanka, india, indonesia, malaysia, singapore, australia, thailand, etc.
+chris goodfellow Just messaged you on Hangouts. Awaiting your permission on whether we can use your photo in the author bio when we post this on 
Nick Longinow1 year ago
You left one thing out - why no cell phone traffic?  Even if there was a fire and much smoke, someone would have gotten on their phone and texted something or called someone.  There was nothing.  No contacts whatsoever.  How do we explain that?
W Lynch1 year ago
Most plausible chronicle of events in line with my own thoughts, until more information in forthcoming and the aircraft is found we can get into the details of what really took place. Shame on all the questionable so called "responsible journalism". but controversy sells.+1
Robin Murray1 year ago
Agree also even a basic pilot would know to immediately dial in 7500 7600 7700
transponder emergency codes not
TURN IT OFF??!!!!  indicating pilot "inside
job" deliberate deception and evasion not fire.
Paul Stanley1 year ago
Chris, I am the political opinion editor at The Christian Post. Please contact me at
Khurram Minhas1 year ago
Controversies aided by government functions that are head bent to justify their budgets for existence, will definitely like this story to be bigger than the Russia & US bout. So hang in there, people with sane minds and logic, you will be heard when the movie directors and the producers are done.
Tristan Lewis1 year ago
+chris goodfellow Did you see this article by another pilot that also has some great details? & seems as informative as you? (Also an island in Maldives is reporting seeing low flying jet?)  +1
Raju Das1 year ago
A fire that immediately disabled all communication systems/forced to shut all communication systems down, did not affect any other system and let the plane fly for several hours on autopilot??? 
Not possible at all, any fire will damage electrical systems, hydraulics etc. in minutes and the plane will crash.
John Smith1 year ago
A great theory on what may have transpired Chris but, like Bruno, I have to ask why not somewhere else.  The aircraft had a MTOW of 286,897 KG of which around 137MT would be the max fuel load. A max landing weight of around 213 MT and assuming a burn rate of 8MT of fuel per hour would necessitate dumping of fuel in any situation to meet the landing weight requirements.  The last contact at less than midway across the Gulf of Thailand means that there was Narathiwat Airport with a 2,500 metre runway (well within limitations for landing for a 777 at max landing weight) or Sultan Ismail Petra Airport at Kota Bharu which at 1,981 metres was still good for landing a 198 MT 777 on a dry runway (bit more of a fuel dump).  Both of these were considerably closer than flying across land to an island on the west coast (assuming that the military radar contact was indeed MH370).+1
Mark Sofla1 year ago
Makes sense. #occamsrazor  

what about the 1.6km long airstrip just outside of Hat Yai?,100.3943007,4675m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x304cd90281907b63:0xf0223bd0b5f3ac0?hl=en

you said get on the ground ASAP, that runway is surely long enough? even though its under half as long?
gires usup1 year ago
Based on police reports made by locals in Kota Bharu and Terengganu, my theory is that there was a fire and the plane circled the area for a while maybe to dump as much fuel as possible before attempting an emergency landing either at Kota Bharu airport or Terengganu airport. Both of these airports are non operational from midnight to 4 or 5 in the morning. There's also a likelihood of landing gear failure. Why these reports were just dismissed off hand I don't know. I have summarized alleged sightings by locals, based on newspaper reports and TV interviews. Maybe someone can try to fit these on a map as an academic exercise and see if it even make any sense.

1. Kampung Kadok Ketereh, 01.45(L) saw plane with bright white light going down seawards toward Bachok. No red blinking lights
2. Kuala Besar Kota Bharu, 01.30(L), saw plane overhead with bright light moving out to sea. Plane flying below cloud. He was at sea night fishing.
3. Kampung Pantai Seberang Marang, heard by 8 people sitting at beach. 01:20(L). Very loud jet engine noise out at sea northeast near Pulau Kapas.
4. Tumpat Kelantan beach. Very low flying aircraft overhead. 02:00(L). Very bright possibly undercarriage lights, two lights as big as watermelons according to the farmer; claims fire at tail end, could see MAS logo on tail
5. Pantai Geting Tumpat, 01.25, low flying plane with bright lights
6. Kampung Pasir Kasar Sering, 01.45, low flying aircraft with bright lights
7. Kemaman Terengganu. 08:00(L) first morning of missing. The most strange yet. Reported by district police chief and colleagues. Loud explosion out at sea. No sighting.

Charles juez1 year ago
I agree. flawless logic.
Robert Machin1 year ago
Great piece of analysis. Any more thoughts on the basis of information and opinion that's emerged over the weekend?
Ábel Lőrinczi1 year ago
Very well detailed and very plausible theory. I have some further ideas.

Because one of the landing gears caught fire, they couldn't land and that's why they continued flying, also is it possible that they didn't land at Langkawi because they couldn't establish communication with the control tower? If so then they continued flying in the hope that they might repair communication, burn fuel in the process so when they try to land without the landing gear the plane wouldn't blow up.
stu10021 year ago
Anyone know if all the available Speed/heading/altitude data (particularly from radar after the transponder went off) is in the public domain somewhere?
Philip Hogarth1 year ago
I have to say.... there is a lot of pie in the sky here with many of the theories.... ACARS goes off, a short while later there is a conversation between malay ATC and the co-pilot to hand over to vietnamese ATC in which there is more than enough time to say 'we have some electrical issues' or 'smoke in the aircraft warning lights' but no, he says 'ok, good night'. then the transponder is stopped and then it changes course towards northwest where the rolls royce engines continue to try and talk to their satellites for 6+ hours more in one of 2 air corridors...

the autopilot was set for beijing!!! if the pilots were unconcious and the plane was on AP then it would have headed back towards beijing. Only the pilots would have changed the AP to a different location and without having already planned a heading he would never have had a chance of reprogramming if he was tied up with an event in the cockpit. I'm not buying into the fact that there was a fire that disconnected ACARS without anyone noticing, the pilot waving off malay ATC whilst the fire hides in a cupboard in the back of the cockpit waiting to then take out the transponder, burn the radios, incapacitate the passengers and crew but NOT get too greedy as to burn the electrics to the engines and not to burn through the ANY hydraulics or wiring systems, or indeed the fuselage, so that the plane can fly off into the sunrise till it runs out of fuel.....


A) The pilots colluded to hijack the plane to use as a weapon at a later date or there was someone/something onboard that someone paid big money for, OR
B) It crashed!!

now, without the luxury of a crash site, I am inclined to think the first holds some weight!!
To my opinion i think the pilots tried their best . They will b foun soon. May god be with them.+1
Graham Woodward1 year ago
A great read and some really good comments, I'm still not convinced that they couldn't send a distress signal and as others have commented, the fire didn't knock out all the electrics/hydraulics enough to stop the plane flying until it ran out of juice.
Robert Machin1 year ago
sorry, posted that before reading all the excellent follow-up...
Hp Gunther1 year ago
Doubtful that the transponder would be switched off. Besides that, if on fire, I wouldn't be wasting time crossing the entire peninsula. I'd head for the nearest coastal airport like KBR (Kota Bharu) or TGG (Terangganu) and make straight in approach and landing. Both of these airports have pavements in excess of 7000' which is sufficient to land above max landing weight with max auto brakes and full reverse thrust.
b. free1 year ago
in all of the reporting, we get some bits and pieces of information. some is verified, some is not. there is one item that i did see that may go along with chris' theory. i read that at the time of the handover to Vietnam ATC, the Vietnamese controller asked another flight (one that was heading to Japan) to attempt to make radio contact with MH370. If I am not mistaken, and if this can be verified, the Japanese-bound plane's pilot reported hearing a lot of interference and mumbling of some sort. this might be consistent with someone wearing an oxygen mask? and attempting to speak? my question would be: is it possible that MH370's radio was still able to work for air to air communication at a short distance but not air to ground? It would be helpful if the Japanese-bound plane pilot could elaborate on this communication attempt. - if it is a reliable report. the other issue is these reports of differing altitudes being reported... why would the plane climb to 45,000 feet? and then go down? I read something about trying to deprive a fire of oxygen? but that this would also incapacitate everyone on board? also, if there is a fire of any sort - how did it manage to get put out? how could the plane continue flying for several hours if it had all these problems? Wouldn't the fire continue - and eventually cause massive damage of some sort? Or did the pilot put the fire out? But then failed to maintain consciousness? at the moment that you see a fire or issue - wouldn't u mention something to ATC? i know communicate is last on the list, but it seems to me you could key the mic several times even if you can't speak. But we have no reports of this keying action - it seems that at that late hour... not too many people are paying attention... but again, if the japanese-bound plane reported contact of some sort - that should be investigated.
jodi mcmullen1 year ago
Polyvinyl chloride wiring (with a nylon topcoat)
Davy Schmeits1 year ago
Post has now been linked on guardian website as well.
Joren Carlson1 year ago
Two points I'd like to correct:
The "well known" case of the DC8 with under-inflated tires did not crash in Nigeria. It crashed at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was a Canadian airline called Nationair that was doing charter flights for Nigeria Airways. Flight 2120

The Air Canada DC9 landed in Cincinnati, Ohio, not Columbus. AC797. 
Charles Bright1 year ago
Nobody has answered my question about automatic dinghy release and radio signals if the plane lands in water.
Martin Kus1 year ago
very interesting theory but has some gaps in my opinion.
1. since Swissair 111 crash (it was MD-11 not DC-10) once smoke is discovered the cockpit landing is the first option. In order to get a chance the airport needs to know about possible fireball coming so the could prepare emergency response and provide safety to the airport.
2. I doubt quick smoke overcoming the crew. They have oxygen masks to prevent that. They should have at least managed to declare emergency or issue pan-pan while making a turn.
Parker DeWitt1 year ago
It came out yesterday that the only way that turn would have been possible, is if it was planned BEFORE flight into the autopilot.+1
Mathew Paret1 year ago
Great. Theory is perfect.
Mathew Paret1 year ago
Are the officials looking into this theory?
Daniel Stoddart1 year ago
It's all over Business Insider now. Which means it's probably also on Reddit and Hacker News.
Zeenat Durrani1 year ago
Hi Chris, I TOTALLY AGREE with YOU.....I too have experienced what happens when a plane catches FIRE in mid was 1978...August the husband, my 9th month son and myself were flying on PIA...we had stopped in Tehran and the plane had refueled...a full load....the we started to fly and there was fire in one of the engines...and an explosion in the other...lucky for us blew 3 of the 4 engines of the plane...there was such a commotion in the plane and people were all moving to one side of the plane and the plane actually tilted ...passengers were screaming and fighting and throwing punches in the span of seconds...THE CREW ..THE AIR STEWARDESS WERE amazing as I saw how they controlled the situation...and YES THEY DID...the pilot voice I could tell was crying as he spoke...he said please remain calm He was going to do his BEST TO LAND THE for the next 20 minutes the COMPLETE LOAD OF FUEL was thrown out of the plane in mid air as he ...spoke and cried while he calmed every one down....I can still feel the panic as I write this to you.....once the plane was empty he landed the plane at Tehran itself....and we had to make a foam landing.....All the people on board were saved....

I should add that as we had boarded the plane that particular day...there was talk that there might be a bom on board.....the flight had been delayed almost 2 the American Iran war had broken out a few days when the fire was clearly visible on one of the wings....we all thought we were gone....So I totally believe that the Crew are Heroic...these people...pilots and the on board crew are commendable people....risking their lives with each flight for whom...if not the passengers...
Elaine Clisham1 year ago
My only question: Why does a hot night correlate with under-inflated tires?+1
Patrick Keefe1 year ago
Re: Parker DeWitt's comment:

"The computer, known as the Flight Management System, directs the plan according to a flight plan submitted before take off. It can however, be altered mid-flight though it's not known when the diversion west was programmed into Flight 370's plan."

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Geoff Marchant1 year ago
Some misunderstandings here about the Inmarsat pings. Contrary to what was stated here earlier Inmarsat satellites are geo-stationary and not travelling in arcs!. By measuring the exact time of receipt of each successive ping it is possible to calculate the distance from the satellite of the plane at each ping and thus establish  a number of possible trajectories (this is not guesswork as someone else has suggested here). Knowing the starting point eliminates most of the possible trajectories leaving only two - the so-called northen and southern arcs or corridors. This is fact - and pretty much the only facts we have which are uniquely attributable to this aircraft!. The accuracy to which the exact path can be determined is limited by the precision of the time measurement which I'm afraid I don't know. But none of this is guesswork or supposition as some have suggested above.+2
gires usup1 year ago
This article has now been picked up by some Malaysian newspapers. This will confuse the authorities even more. I can't even believe the passenger manifest now. They say 5 no-shows, replaced by 4 standbys. But it is a fact that 6 of the Chinese artists group changed flight at last minute, going to Shanghai instead on a later flight. I wonder if their names are still on the list. Also two instances of identical passenger names. The main cargo as told by MAS was about 4 tonnes of mangosteens (delicious local fruit). It is currently not in season so I wonder where they could get so much for export.+3
Most perceptive theory so far....thank you. Do you think the New Zealander seeing transiently smoking plane aligns with your explanation. Would left turn be visible from the coordinates he provided?
Digi Mortal1 year ago
Most human beings will at least agree that there are physical laws beyond our understanding whether it be spiritual, supernatural, or just metaphysical in nature. I see a lot of "aliens, elves and witchcraft" but never any credence to fitting facts together that have been dismissed as irrelevant: the seismic activity reported at the last transponder location at the same time; the possible hijacker would have to have been "James Bond"; a current or post Soviet state it central Asian country was complicit in this (Ghost of old Tom Clancy); undetected external influences. We already have so many "rational" theories that continually get debunked by facts we already know, maybe it's time to call Steven King and ask him how the langoliers eat time again.
Faissal Otmani1 year ago
Just a thought and I'm not very tech savvy with this, but there are reports of family members calling passengers by phone and getting unanswered ringing tone from missing passenger's mobiles - if mobiles are ringing and they apparently do ping, should they not be tracked?
Kada Saikumar1 year ago
Chris, is there any chance of survival in this incident? if your predictions are true ? 
Nick Blackhall1 year ago
Hi there,  I am with +WFAA in Dallas. Would you be willing to talk to us on skype or hangout about your theory today? 
Will Pollock1 year ago
I'm sending to my twitter feed now. thanks for taking the time to parse out that theory - most likely thus far.+1
Shinu Joseph1 year ago
Ed Gilchrist1 year ago
Hi. thanks for the very plausible explanation. Just can't figure out about the silent black box(es)  and zero noise from cell phones? (I guess these - especially the latter -  may have a very good explanation that i haven't seen yet.)
Thoughts are with families and loved ones and any survivors desparate to be rescued.
MC Wong1 year ago
Does the flight path of a straight line from turn back to langkawi correspond to the 2 corridors from the Inmarsat readings ? If it does then it's very likely
 Hi Chris,
thanks for your post.
here's a map of all the airports around the location where contact was lost.

Kota Bharu is a lot closer than Langkawi. It has an air strip that's 7800 feet long.
According to wikipedia, a 777 would need 8000ft. In that case, wouldn't it have made sense to risk a landing at kota bharu instead langkawi?
for this they would have had to turn a bit more than they actually did.

Also, if they had flown towards langkawi, wouldn't that airport's ATC have picked them up?

Rika Ag1 year ago
experienced pilot? sorry but i don't agree with your theory. Just don't buy it. 
A very short response to Elaine. The hotter the ambient air at the airport when taking off, the take-off run will be longer. If the tire is under inflated it does not roll as it is designed to do and there is additional friction. Accordingly heat builds up from this as well as the longer take-off run.
The age and condition of the tire also should be factored in.
Simon Emge1 year ago
There is still the question why nobody made a phone call using his cell phone right? Forgive me if somebody mentioned this before ... there are just too many comments on this (interesting) insight.
Graham Lamont1 year ago
I really would like to see Inmarsat release their 14-15 data points.

At the moment they have only published the final point, and the 40 degree arc corresponding to that point.

Could the Inmarsat data correlate with the Maldives sighting ?
Faissal Otmani1 year ago
1. I wonder if most people were sleeping as it was early hours of the night.
2. If there was a fire how long before people are unconcsious and can't make any kind of sos
3. At 3500ft Could they get a signal. I've tried to get a signal at cruising height before and got nothing.
Simon Emge1 year ago
+Faissal Otmani I don't know what's it like in a plane but when there is heavy smoke I believe it only takes as much as two deep breaths for a person to get unconcsious. I don't have any proof on hand for this now, sorry, just read it somewhere ...+2
Patrick Keefe1 year ago
Regarding the question about cell phones that keeps coming up, this plane had no pico-cell. The only way for any passenger to use a cell phone would have been to connect with a terrestrial tower. By the time they were over land and low enough, hadn't the plane already climbed to 45K feet (likely incapacitating all passengers)? Cell phones on planes with no pico-cell and no wifi are worthless out over the ocean with respect to functioning as communication devices.+4
Oli Norwell1 year ago
It reads nicely, but unfortunately as a theory it's massively flawed... which makes me sigh when I see the amount of news organisations that are going with this.

If the pilots (remember there are two of them), have time to calmly change the course of the plane (via a computer we're told, 'minimum of 7 key-presses') rather than manual controls. And critically the captain believes there is enough time to get to this airport with a long runway and clear approach, then there is definitely time to put out a distress call.

If the situation is serious enough to have taken out all communications equipment and distress signal devices, then an emergency landing at the nearest airport would become the obvious route of action.

No landing is attempting at any of these airports, and no debris are found nearby, and we hear reports of this satellite being able to 'ping' the plane some 6 hours later.
Patrick Keefe1 year ago
I suspect the pilot with the information we have thus far. My guess is that that the FO was sending a signal with the non-standard sign-off.
Edson Costa1 year ago
Great theory but according to Google Earth (not Google Maps, they are different) there is an airport closer than Langkawi one, the international Hat Yai (HDY) airport.
Jack Lin1 year ago
+Lucho Sadot that timing is now in dispute. Please see the correction in the middle of this article
Jack Lin1 year ago
+David Schmidt Now Malaysia is backtracking and saying they can't be sure the pilot said goodnight first! See correction in the middle of the article here
Pascal Kelly1 year ago
Great analysis. Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective. Reminds me of helios 522 where the crew and all passengers were incapacitated due to lack of oxygen and couldn't radio out.
Prem Suraj1 year ago
So then what about the plane turning towards the north west again?
Jorge Miguel1 year ago
What happened to the avionics/tire fire? How plausible is it for it to go out by itself and allow the plane to fly for hours?
Since this was written it transpires that ACARS only transmits every 30 min, so the last transmission is not necessarily when the plane went dark.
Im not sure about this theory.
Philip Goh1 year ago
Your analysis is flawed because you are assuming that any fire on the plane can spread so fast that no action by anyone on board is possible, and the plane kept on flying for hour with such intense fire and people on board keep fighting the fire without a thought on SOS. I am not a pilot but I could have just ditch it instead of an elaborate flight path to a distant airfield.
Chris Atkinson1 year ago
Could this be a similar incident to the crew and passenger succumbing to hypoxia as did Payne Stewart on the Learjet accident in '99?

"On October 25, 1999, a chartered Learjet 35 was scheduled to fly from Orlando, Florida to Dallas, Texas. Early in the flight the aircraft, which was cruising at altitude on autopilot, quickly lost cabin pressure. All on board were incapacitated due to hypoxia — a lack of oxygen. The aircraft failed to make the westward turn toward Dallas over north Florida. It continued flying over the southern and midwestern United States for almost four hours and 1,500 miles (2,400 km). The plane ran out of fuel and crashed into a field near Aberdeen, South Dakota after an uncontrolled descent"
Jorge Miguel1 year ago
A fire apparently visible form an oil rig that overcomes the crew and passager but not the plane... Is this plausible?
Otheus Shelling1 year ago
+Lucho Sadot you have misconstrued the facts. It's not your fault, as sloppy journalists have mistakenly repeated this notion that the pilot signed off "after the transponders were turned off". The error is in confusing the last time of transmission with a state of being turned off. In fact, we don't know when the things were turned off -- we only know the last transmission.

There were two transmission thingys. The first was the standard airplane transponder, which "pings" at least once a minute. The last transmission was received at least one to two minutes after the co-pilot said 'good night'. 

The second thingy is the ACARS engine feature which reports to the ground things like air speed, engine speed, altitude. It's used for mechanical diagnostics and performance metrics. It sends its data once per 1/2 hour. The last signal from it was received before the co-pilot's sign-off, but long before (15 min+) its next expected transmission. 
Patrick Keefe1 year ago
Otheus, I think the ACARS transmits every 30 minutes.
Paul Nearn1 year ago
SOP i believe if there is a Fire in the wheel well is that after the pilots get the EICAS Fire warning they followed the QRH procedure and declared a Pan or Mayday as required. This didn't happen, rather the comms were turned off and new waypoint was added manually into the FMS

If events overtook them as they worked through the QRH and there are valid reasons why this was procedure was not followed (Aviate first then communicate)- you can understand that but two things don't add up

1. The plane flying on with a catastrophic fire and no debris found on the route of the changed course. As i understand it every plane that's had a fire of the magnitude to disable pilots, comms etc has come down less than an hour later
2. Inmarsat Satellite still gets requests from aircraft 7 hours after disappearing
Terry Pinder1 year ago
+Charles Bright if the plane crashed at speed into the ocean, it disintegrated, dinghies included.+1
Matt Smith1 year ago
Finally.  A theory which passes the Occam's Razor filter.  Thank you.
Marcus Osborne1 year ago
Very good. On element that you didn't refer to but makes supports your explanation is the peat fires that were raging, no burning around KLIA at the time. I flew in and out of KLIA over the same period as MH370 and coming into land I thought the plane was on fire. Sparks or embers could easily have reached the plane as it took off over burning peat bogs
Michael Tomczyk1 year ago
Very thoughtful analysis. .sad if true. The long flight into nowhere suggests an incapacitated crew. .. It may be a coincidence that one of the pilots was distraught over the prison time given the Maylaysian opposition leader ( he was in the courtroom). Until the aircraft is found the pilots should be given the benefit of the doubt. .. innocent until proven guilty. +1
Nanam Soyuf1 year ago
Today our local news stated that the flight simulator that the police seized from the pilot house contains five locations of airports among others location.. Thus five lcated at the southern corridor... Among the airport is one in Maldives and the other one is at Diego Garcia ( run by US ) but both airport deny that MH370 has landed there.

To a layman like me... Someone or some of the govt knows wheres this plane are... With all the technologies... Satelite etc...
BUT they are reluctant to tell because of their own military stratergy or purpose....
Mark T1 year ago
Mr. Goodfellow, I don't know what your experience in aircraft is, but it certainly isn't in any thing like the B-777. We don't "pull" busses. If the Captain was doing anything witht he electrical system, he was making it up. Of course you don oxygen in fire or smoke situations. Why wouldn't you?

If there were a tire problem, the pilots would have been alerted prior to take-off by TIRE PRESS EICAS. Not discounting it completely, but not a likely source.

I am not saying there was or was not a fire, but your scenario and explanations do not fit with the aircraft. It is very old school.
Chris, this would have made a bit of sense last week. Not this week after all the new evidence that has come to light.

1. The Satellite pings have been verified, this trajectory would not have been anywhere near the arcs where the plane was at 8.11am. (i even wrote a similar theory to yours a week ago but with all the new evidence coming to light, it wasn't feasible anymore).
2. The trajectory over langkawi also would depending on which approach it took send it either across Sumatra, Sri Lanka or India, where it would have been picked up on primary radar. It wasn't
3. The plane disappeared almost an hour into the flight, a tire fire would have spread a lot faster. Three minutes before it went dark, there was a final communication call from the pilot/co-pilot and there was no signs of anything wrong.
Mary McGuire1 year ago
@Patrick - Just a little bit of local info for you ... The Star newspaper here in Malaysia is totally aligned with the ruling government and has very little credibility in terms of journalistic integrity. They are nothing more than a mouthpiece for the ruling UNMO party who pretty much dictates to the Star what does and does not get printed. Read it with a great dose of salt ...+1
Paul D1 year ago
So they lost their navcom, either through misfortune or malevolence, but we know that maintenance data was being transmitted for several hours, so the aircraft did not crash. Are we to believe that of the nearly 300 passengers and crew, no one had a smart phone with GPS? I will bet that 10% of those on board had such a device and I am willing to speculate that of those 30 or so people, some had aviation related software like ForeFlight, Naviator, or Garmin Pilot.

This is the modern era and it is difficult to go completely dark. I am favoring the rogue crew member theory, and my condolences go to the families and friends of all involved in this tragedy.
Magnus Bergmark1 year ago
Whats wrong in that case to choose airport next to Kampung Wakaf Tembesu ? Or 8 Brigade army camp rwy ? Thai military says it have not passed over their country So i guess thay did take a longer route when it was on fire ? Dosent make sence to me.
John Sage1 year ago
Read this: then fire up Google Earth and connect three dots: last known in Gulf of Thailand, Pulau, and Kuda Huvadhoo in the Maldives. I see a straight line. Only stumble, Kuda Huvadhoo reports jet as flying N - SE, but that would be toward only airport in the Maldives at Gan.
Abk Nair1 year ago
Suspense being replaced by intrigue ?

A new dimension has been added to the MH370 saga.
Luke Thomas1 year ago
My understanding of setting way points is that when a plane reaches its way point, unless otherwise instructed, the plane will continue circling the way point until it runs out of fuel. It will not continue on its initial bearing to that way point once reached.
Patrick Keefe1 year ago
@Mary, the runway in the Maldives was also found on the simulator in the pilot's home. Can anyone explain why? Was it a potential bail out point on the intended path in case they had to land there? Did the Star pay people to fake eye witness testimony or just make it up?

It's the pilot. Prove me wrong in my conjecture.
Michael S. Dow1 year ago
Your theory is logical, simple, and probably correct.  I hope it's wrong, because that means all those people are dead, whereas some elaborate heist scenario holds out hope that everyone comes home to their families. +1
Andrew Ho1 year ago
I think this may be THE MOST logical and credible hypothesis to date. I just hope they will analyze and make full use of your theory +chris goodfellow. Great work! Oh one more thing, I wouldn't put a lot of faith into what our Government are saying because I suspect they are clueless on this. Either that or they are hiding something.... Every thing uttered will be contradicted the next day.+1
Sangeeta Patel1 year ago
Hi Chris,
I'm a producer with CTV News Channel and I was hoping we might be able to reach you for an interview this afternoon about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight?
We could do something by Facetime if possible iPad/iPhone/mac computer would work or 416-384-7451.
Thanks for your time,
Patrick Gardner1 year ago
I have a question regarding the arcs.  Please forgive me if it is misconceived.  However I can't figure out how it can actually BE an arc.  As I understand it the distance from the satellite is measured by how long the ping takes to reach the plane and return.  The arc implies this is always the same distance.  The chances of a plane flying for seven hours so that it remains at all times the same distance from a satellite is surely nil.  The only realistic possibility is surely that the plane was at the same place for every ping.  What seems highly unlikely is that the plane flew out of the box area (where there is no arc on the diagram) and then stopped moving.  In which case (applying the Sherlock Holmes procedure) all that remains - however unlikely - must be the truth.  That to my mind implies that (a) the "box" where the plane is NOT to be found must be incorrect in some way OR (b) that the pings upon which the ARC is based must be incorrect.  Am I bonkers?+3
Grant Sharp1 year ago
A raging fire so severe that it incapacitates a crew before they are able to even utter a distress call, but the airplane continues to remain intact for another 7 hours, with the electrical bus that controls the autopilot remaining powered. Also I'm concerned this "Pilot" describes the use of an oxygen mask in a smoke emergency as "No No", which in any aircraft I'm familiar with is literally the first action to be completed. Modern aircraft like the 777 have a combined o2 mask / smoke goggles for exactly this purpose. With regards to Aviate, Navigate, Communicate that doesn't mean you navigate where you're going to before you communicate. Ensure the airplane is under control, turn the autopilot heading bug to approximately the direction of the airport you've chose for diversion, and then press the push to talk on the control column, and utter "Mayday Mayday Mayday MH370 smoke in the cockpit, descending and turning westbound off the airway, standby". There is literally no way this guys theory would hold water, unless you were looking at a very serious lack of ability between 2 otherwise qualified, well regarded airline pilots.+5
Ian Duke1 year ago
+Patrick Keefe Because it was Microsoft Flight Simulator X, which coincidentally has almost every airport (over 24,000) in the world. It's a moot point.+2
Bill Howard1 year ago
Good theory. Got a couple of questions or remarks.

Was the course change to the west, that was supposedly preprogrammed, is this part of the ACARS data that gets reported back and if so, when was this change entered? Before takeoff or during flight?
And why no radio call of smoke in the cabin or cockpit? That's the first thing I would have done as a pilot. Let someone on the ground know, I've got a problem and where I'm going.
Marcus Werneck1 year ago
Look for 
Varig RG-820

The experienced pilot saved the plane after a fire when was descending to Paris. Only one passenger survived. The unfortunate thing is that the pilot was the one that disappeared on a flight from tokyo to Los Angeles seven years later.
Paul Nearn1 year ago
+Grant Sharp Plus when it reached the new waypoint it would have circled that point until additional instructions were received. Inconceivable to think a distress signal could not have been placed if there was still power to the FMS
Patrick Keefe1 year ago
Ian, the word "moot" can also mean open for discussion. :)

I read elsewhere (and sorry that I don't have time to find it) that the runway in the Maldives was one of 5-6 found on the simulator in his home that he had actually done test runs landing at. If I do find that info with a solid link later, I'll post it.
Hp Gunther1 year ago
+Parker DeWitt ...nothing has to be "planned" - a turn can be made instantly manually, or by turning the "heading bug" of the auto pilot, or by inserting and selecting new waypoints in the Flight Management System and pushing the "execute" button.
David Smith1 year ago
The arc we've seen is presented as the last known position. What we've never seen is arcs from previous pings, by my count there should be 4 or 5 more. If the arcs from the previous pings are the same, then the aircraft was probably stopped somewhere exactly on the arc for 4-5 hours and is probably still on the arc. Actually I suppose if the arcs are all the same, implying the aircraft was stopped for most of the pings (highly unlikely it was flying exactly on the arc, either on purpose or due to auto pilot left on), it should be close to point of last contact. If there are indeed other arcs, it should be possible to plot the course assuming likely speeds. If the arcs are far apart the aircraft was going more or less directly toward/away from the reference point (satellite). If the arcs are close together, the aircraft was flying generally perpendicular to the direct path to the reference point. +2
Thank you, Chris! I appreciate the expertise and insight.
Charles Singer1 year ago
From a friend of mine who has psychic powers, this is what he told me:
after flying 816km, the plane's port engine caught fire and exploded.
The cabin was penetrated. Pilot turned aircraft  35 degrees west and shortly thereafter crashed into the Gulf of Thailand at 104 E, 8 N. Prior to crash, he saw 28 dead passengers fall from the plane. 
Andrew Ho1 year ago
+Patrick Keefe you can read The Star papers but you cannot believe it entirely!!! It's the Government's mouthpiece. So far, are you not already confused by what is being fed to the public? Yes one day, no the next?
neburex1 year ago
THINK PAYNE STEWART. No terrorists, no hijacking, no Grand Theft Airliner, no political statements. No cell calls, no radio transmission, no xpndr xmsn, haywire control inputs, that looks like someone really knows how to fly but there's no rhyme or reason to the flying. It would need to have been an electrical failure/fire of the type that first started to affect the NAV/COMM systems. If a fire it could have flamed into the cockpit quickly enough that it made the cockpit untenable, or the cockpit controls may have become unresponsive or only responsive to frying, soon to be toast, black boxes that are feeding the flight controls with bizarre haphazard inputs which when looked at from the ground do not make any sense. In this 'Perfect Storm of Techno Nightmares it 'flew' itself to the reported 45000ft where it suffered a sudden and very rapid depressurization knocking out the crew and passengers and the plane flew itself around for 7 hrs until it ran out of fuel(still airworthy but everyone on board is 'napping'), much like the Payne Stewart accident.
At 45000ft, death could have been instantaneous.
Marc Voogt1 year ago
I think the stewards would had noticed the smoke coming out of the cockpit (even if it's locked), also they bring meals to the flight crew after several hours right?
Faissal Otmani1 year ago
+Paul D If cabin pressure was compromised causing hypoxia or if fire smoke filled the cabin everyone on board would've passed out almost immediately. +2
Faissal Otmani1 year ago
As happened on 1999 South Dakota Learjet crash:
ishak daud1 year ago
Thanks Chris Goodfellow, hope they'll find mh370 as soon as possible, is it possible to land it by autopilot when it ran out of fuel anywhere?+1
This supports Chris's theory..
Andrew Ho1 year ago
+ishak daud no it is not possible to land or take off with autopilot.+1
Low flyer over the Maldives, direct flight path with the airport suggested
This theory omits a lot more facts than it encompasses. Sorry, but as a retired USAF pilot I have to disagree with your assumptions, and they are assumptions based purely on speculation and not fact. 

Oh, and we don't climb to 45k feet to put out fires. The time to climb would be severely detrimental among other things.
Patrick Keefe1 year ago
Ishak Doud, autopilot will only get the plane to the programmed coordinates. It will then circle until the landing sequence is manually controlled or until it runs out of fuel (as I understand it from reading posts from pilots).
Patrick Gardner1 year ago
Thanks David Smith.  I hadn't realised that the Arcs were based on just one ping (the last one).  Your point about the significance of the different arcs (one from each ping) looked to be correct.  A question however, if we assume a constant speed and factor in the constant position of the satellite can't we learn quite a bit from changes in distance from the satellite to the aircraft from each ping?  Obviously there will be no difference if the plane is stationary (valuable to know); but if not is there not enough data for some clever mathematician to work out where the plane actually was?
Hello my friend. I think you'r saying this : ",99.7320106,6360m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en". You are saying that this runway is 13 Km long. But according to the scale given in the above link, its not more than 3.5 Km. Can you check it out please ? If anything i mentioned wrong, just correct me.+1
Larry Larry1 year ago
Hey Chris, I think this situation may indeed be possible, but a cursory glance through (list of airliner accidents caused by inflight fires) seems to tell me that your account... will likely require large amounts of coincidental events.
Don Hamilton1 year ago
The "simple" theories so far have not led to location of the plane, thus the understandable expansion into alternate theories. I'd also like to think the crew were valiantly fighting an unexpected crisis and just too busy to at least alert the airport they were heading for, but until the plane or wreckage is found, that's not really something to "believe" in. (But get ready--even if/when debris is found, some will question its authenticity and argue it was planted to throw searchers off the scent.)+2
Hi Chris - excellent article. keen to get you on to the BBC News in the UK - can you email your contact numbers pls? Many thanks. Jonathan 
Faissal Otmani1 year ago
I think the Maldives need to get involved it seems like it's around there.. 
David Smith1 year ago
Patrick, yes, that's my point. The ping was described as having a 1 hour "period", so there should be more than one and therefore presumably multiple arcs over time. Obviously we don't know the exact speed and it could vary within the hour, but it should be useful to see the arcs calculated by the prior pings, if not to calculate the precise location, at least to eliminate potentially huge areas from the search grid. In the "ghost plane" scenario, a constant speed and direction is pretty much a given and would make the math easier/more precise. Not sure why anyone in the press hasn't asked about this, it seems to be pretty simply geometry to me.
Todd Wright1 year ago
+an drew My take on the "programmed" report is that the person quoted obviously did not think of the other way to change the planes course via autopilot. I think the idea he was trying to convey was simply that the turn was not flown manually. 

If the crew were busy dealing with an escalating emergency (one fire fighting, one flying the plane), the quickest and easiest way to turn back toward Langkawi would be to reach over to the auto pilot controls and turn the heading knob to the desired course. If as Chris says he already knew where he would go in an emergency its fairly easy to dial in a course to a known waypoint which was probably still on his screen, showing the radial.. 

Knowing he intended to land, he may also have dialed the altitude down to 5000 feet at the same time, initiating a decent that could explain the low altitude seen on miliraty radar. 5000 feet is around the height that air liners begin their landing procedures, and is enough to clear the peaks along their path. Unlike programming the FMC, with a waypont, the plane would hold this course and altitude until it ran out of fuel or was instructed otherwise.

Either way, all the report is inferring is that a professional pilot turned the plane via the autopilot. This does not affect this theory as Chris never claimed that anyone other than the pilots flew the plane.
Thomas Newton1 year ago
If the pilots lost control of the aircraft at a point before reaching Langkawi Island and therefore continued westwards as you suggest (Military radar picked them up last west of Langkawi) then how on earth did the plane change course to end up within the 40 degree Inmarsat satellite corridors?

The westward direction would take the plane to Sri Lanka or the Maldives, but the Inmarsat "ping" data doesn't back up your theory at all and shows the flight to have headed north or south.
Paul D1 year ago
+Faissal Otmani
But if the aircraft depressurized, the autopilot would have kept flying it on its programmed course. If depressurization occurred due to some catastrophic fire, the autopilot should have been disabled, but so would the ACARS system, which is collocated in the electronics bay. ACARS kept transmitting its maintenace data, similar to the way AF447 did before its crash. Even in the event of an onboard fire, presumably a short Mayday would have been sent, as in Swissair 111.
William Cho1 year ago
I think there is way too many folks accepting that what the Malaysian officials and Malaysian military or other military of nearby countries have provided about radar data and other data is in fact true.  I would bet they are more likely to be wrong than right about their claims.  

Also I would not assume that the search vessels are being coordinated properly as the Malaysian Investigators claim they are in charge of.  

And I could definitely believe the Malaysian airport allowed illegal materials on the plane.  

I could also easily believe Malaysian airport crew did not properly maintain the tires.  

But what really bothers me is that Boeing engineers did not place back up system for just a case like this.  It seems easy to come up with this kind of worst case scenario.  

With memory and communication circuitry (iphone technology + sat phone circuitry) that can fit in a USB drive size why not have multiple recorders positioned in different parts of the plane that gets ejected from the plane when altitude reaches a certain low level automatically if pilot does not do something consistent with landing.  A small battery/super cap backed up device like that needs very little physical protection and can float and send beacon signal.

Boeing should be getting the bill for this disaster.  My guess is engineers suggested something but the bean counter over rode them.  Only if Boeing pays this time will they go ahead and place the kind of back up system mentioned.
Mike Smith1 year ago
I would be more ready to buy into your theory than any of the others I have been seeing lately. As a pilot myself (though never on heavies), I can accept that with a complex aircraft, such as the 777 – there are a variety of areas where an electrical fire could occur within the hull of the aircraft. Most people have no idea about the miles and miles of wiring inside a commercial aircraft.
A couple of things that stood out from the major news sources is the lack of factual information. Number one is that there is an abundance of data available to both the flying public and general public as opposed to the media reporting how complicated it would be to shut down systems. It’s not hard to turn off or locate the Mode-C transponder. In fact, it is not hard to turn off anything in the cockpit – be it a Cessna 172SP of a 777. Cockpits all sort of function the same way in in functionality and workflow, though the 777 has more bells and whistles.
It makes sense to me that the PiC would know where his options were for an in-flight emergency. If there was a fire and they shut down the busses, it could be they may have left the GPS on and slaved to George with a Direct set to Pulau with no waypoints. The altitude variations also can be explained. If there was a fire and some the wiring harnesses were damaged (meaning insulation burned and melted off the wires), you would have electrical shorts that could cascade and disable multiple systems. I have personally experienced a massive short in the electrical system on a 172N at night over Lake Joe Poole in the DFW airspace. I had no running lights, one bad mag and the other mag misbehaving. I also had no radio, except my backup hand-held which had crap range, but just enough to contact RBD and declare an emergency and have them let others in the airspace know I was running dark back to Arlington.
Good work Chris!
Graham Davies1 year ago
+Geoff Marchant You have made exactly the same point as I made earlier. However there are a huge number of postings so I don't really expect you to have read it :-) 
James Kendall1 year ago
Three facts discount this theory outright. First, the transponder was deactivated before the 'goodnight' message. Second, the pilot used the FMS computer to program the course change. No pilot in a fire would EVER take the time to do that. Third, no distress call. Take your pilot cap off for 30 seconds and stop trying to paint these criminals as heroes. You must be joking.

Ps. Please save your indignant 'well I NEVER' response, but if you must offer it, I expect a written apology when I'm proven right. I offer the same.
rob damiani1 year ago
How do you explain the altered course being initiated via computer input? ~7 keystrokes manually inputted into computer, correct?
rob damiani1 year ago
+Simon Emge cell phones don't have service at 45,000 feet+2
rob damiani1 year ago
+Faissal Otmani they were in the middle of the ocean where there's no cell coverage. +2
Lynette Mazz1 year ago
Hi Chris , your explanation makes the most sense .+1
rob damiani1 year ago
+Patrick Keefe plus, they were in the middle of the ocean where there's no cell service! +1
rob damiani1 year ago
+Terry Pinder lol @ "dinghies"
Hans Havermann1 year ago
+chris goodfellow Thank you for this. I was beginning to believe that there were no more rational thinkers on the planet.+2
Eric Bardes1 year ago
Excellent post. Thank you. My inner pedantic would like to clarify the Air Canada incident. AC797 landed at CVG (Cincinnati) in 1983. +1
neburex1 year ago
+Brian Tuck
It may have been an uncommanded ascent caused by screwed up electricals under the floor, behind the panels take your pick.
Chinmoy Ganguly1 year ago
Thanks Chris , this looks most perfect explanation+1
neburex1 year ago
+rob damiani
No one can say if they were the work of a human hand. First I don't know how anyone on the ground could know how many keystrokes were entered into a system that is 30some odd thousands of feet in the air in an enclosed cabin????? The only way is thru ACARS and that allegedly was disabled early on. If they were deviating as a precaution which would soon turn into emergency than that would not be out of the ordinary.
Dean Gilbert1 year ago
Okay, by my math, the last known contact time NE of Malaysia was at 1730 UTC. It was then possibly seen at the Maldives at 0115 UTC, which is 7h45m later.  That's 2135 miles, so it was moving at roughly 275 mph. So at the last 'ping' by the satellite was 7.5 hours after lost contact. That puts it at 2062 miles...just before reaching the Maldives. Assuming it flew at most another hour, that gives a distance along that track of no more than 2337 miles.

So my guess of where it crashed would be in the shaded area.

And given that the currents right now I believe are westerly, away from the Maldives, any wreckage would be west of the crash site.
Jessica Howe1 year ago
Hi Chris 

I'm contacting you from Sky news - I wondered if you might be interested in speaking with us about your theory? 

We are based in London, but could do an interview via Skype? 

Do let me know if you're interested - my email is or my direct line is 0044 207 032 3925

Many thanks 

neburex1 year ago
+James Kendall
If your nav/comm has been compromised by fire or otherwise than you can not communicate.  Transponder is just an assist to navigation. It being inop makes ATC job a bit more difficult and compromises mid-air avoidances but it is not a reason to declare an emergency or reason not to continue on to your destination.
Patrick Gardner1 year ago
Further on arcs.  Dave Smith and I seem to be at one about this.  Let me throw in another idea that In think just might narrow down the area much further.  The difference in distance will be dependent not on airspeed but on the combination of air speed and wind speed.  Since this is different in different places this could prove to be a key to unlocking precise positions on the arcs.  I'd have thought that the initial location could be validated by repeating the exercise between successive sets of arcs.  (Maybe to decide between different first set possibilities.)
Mark Zalewski1 year ago
Couple of points. KBR is nearly 8k feet. Still not ideal but doable. Also direct HDY/VTSS or TGG/WMKN would be the better option at each are +10k feet and closer than Langkawi. But in any of these scenarios if the plane kept flying on George to any of these harbors wouldn't ground radar have picked it up? At least enough to raise some flags?
Graham Woodward1 year ago
If it wasn't a planned deviation/hijacking, then why was the plane carrying more fuel than neccessary? It costs a fortune to carry fuel around the world, surely it'd need just enough to be diverted if an incident occurred, from what I read it had enough to do 2 or 3 hours more flight?
Sergio Rattner1 year ago
Chris, you leave out the critical fact that the reason for the turn could have been to avoid entering Vietnamese airspace. Seems quite pertinentthat the pilot(s)/someone, steered the plane JUST as it was about to leave Malaysian airspace, or do you think that was mere coincidence.
Also, such trained and experienced pilots would not have had 2 seconds to alert the ground of this supposed fire?! Come on!
Nick B.1 year ago
Very interesting and convincing analysis - thank you chris! would your theory maybe fit well to this report from the Maledives: ?
At least: If you draw a line from the last radar position across the runway at Pulau Langkawi it also crosses the Maledives at some point - exactly where residents believe to have spotted a plane early in the morning. See the picture here:
Brian Digate1 year ago
"the turn away from Beijing was programmed into the computer"

If there was  a fire on the plane or some type of malfunction; Why would they turn via a computer?
neburex1 year ago
+Graham Woodward That's SOP. Fuel to destination, fuel to suitable alternate and than an hour after that is the bare minimum that legally needs to be carried. You don't want to be flying a 777 glider.+1
Graham Woodward1 year ago
Thanks for the reply
taukeleh1 year ago
Dear Chris, i appreciate you comment. I am from KBR, so i know the places better than others in this thread. In case of emergency landing, would the pilot also consider the people on ground? Many commented based on technical aspect, yes, KBR, Terengganu are airports closer to the location where MH370 changed course. But KBR, Terengganu are highly populated areas! I believe the pilot put this into consideration, what if the landing fails, am i going to crash to a residential area, or would i choose an island? Yes, first was Langkawi, low density. Why no distress call? I'm not sure, Chris had given sufficient insights. I assume electrical failure had caused the pilot unable to contact the ground, thus he couldn't land at Langkawi. Then he changed course, tried Phuket, another island, failed. Thinking he may not hold on for too long, the captain decided to go towards the sea. This explained the zig-zag. Why the corridor, it's because he's a pilot, he knew where to head to at such tensed moment. I don't think cell phone would work at that altitude. It could have been smokes in the cockpit, or toxic fumes. Maybe MAS and the pilot knew exactly what were inside the cargo that he could not afford to crash to ground. I hope there was no Lynas waste inside.+5
Graham Davies1 year ago
+Dean Gilbert Hi Dean. The satellite info is probably the most reliable data that is available which means the aircraft ceased transmission on one of the defined "arcs". These should be reasonably reliable as they do not depend on anything on the plane except for a short, automated, radio contact with a geostationary satellite. The arcs are calculated from the satellite data resulting from the last ping from the aircraft.

I have not seen anyone try to use the possible positional arcs from the earlier pings as this, combined with the estimates of the starting time/position from the last radar contact, could give a view of the possible courses the plane could have taken and/or if the airspeed and direction were constant or varying. I would actually expect this to have been done but the data not released to the public.
Daniel Dahlbo1 year ago
+chris goodfellow Thank you, this looks like a good explanation.

I also believe they tried to make it to Langkawi but failed. I don't know if it is possible to land or make a decent crash landing on water with a 777. But if he did ditch on water when Langkawi was out of reach, it shouldn't be far away from last contact by military radar.
IF the plane was crashed on water, is it possible it made it intact or in a few pieces? If so it would explain the pings continuing for several hours, but also why no new "ping points" are visible. This area is more or less within the area for the two arcs, or right on the middle if we draw a circle.
MH370 was slowly sinking during the night. In dawn about 6.00.-6.30 the plane should have been more or less fully submerged.
The search was focused at the South Chinese Sea, at the wrong side of the peninsula for the first several days. So the debris and oil spills wasn't just located in time. I believe the aircraft will be found on the seafloor of the strait of Malacca.
Hp Gunther1 year ago
+Sonja Samuda Billie Vincent of the FAA is NOT a pilot, for if he were he would know that a cargo fire would NOT switch the transponder into STANDBY.  Human fingers had turned the knob 4 clicks counterclockwise from TA/RA to STBY.  A cargo fire/smoke would first sound an alarm in the cockpit and not instantly cut electric power to the radios for pilots to be unable to transmit an emergency message. There are five (5) independent sources of electrical power to VHF-1 (the captain's radio) Two engine driven generators, Ram Air Turbine, APU generator (when running) and battery.  There is no way for a cargo fire to INSTANTLY cut all sources of electrical power and making the crew incapable of reporting to ATC a turn-back.  +1
Francis Carden1 year ago
This was similar to my own theory. Everyone else is looking at what would happen in all the scenario's of a hijack. Very few people analyzed what would happen in the event of a number of weird emergencies on board. This is a very plausible scenario.

For all those commenting about why CELL phone signals were not picked up. PLEASE are you crazy. 1. Most phones are actually switched off. 2. Even over the USA, at much over 10,000 feet I get zero signal. Let alone in the middle of nowhere, over the ocean. Phones don't work. All the idea about "well the phone were ringing" is ridiculous. The ring sound you hear in today's world is NOT the sound of the other phone ringing. It is the simulated RINGING sound coming from a server (network), whist the network carrier tries to establish connection with the phone. Are you the same people that think it's your PHONE that holds the voice mail message like an old answer phone "tape"? Sorry to tell you - it doesn't work that way any more!
Connie Wong1 year ago
Excellent analysis.  Very plausible.  Has this article made it to the search teams yet ?  +1
Given the last radar sighting, and the Inmarsat ping, and the hours in between, can one calculate the theoretical speed/distance traveled options that would make both sets of data points valid, solving for the most plausible points along the Inmarsat arcs?  Therefore extrapolating from those points to the point of where the aircraft would be out of fuel, given the speed assumptions already established, as a means to narrow the potential earth impact points?
Mike McDowall1 year ago
Dear Chris,
Apologies for this repeat message.  I wondered if you'd be prepared to speak on BBC World Service radio this evening about MH370.
I'm at
We could conduct the interview via Skype or telephone.
Kind regards,
Will Taylor1 year ago
As someone else pointed out there are a lot of known facts missing from this analysis most glaringly why the transponder and ACARS system were turned off at SEPARATE times. Mechanical failure would have deactivated the systems simultaneously. And could a plane have flown so far into the Strait of Malacca if it were on fire?? No, it's not possible. It would have touched down shortly after last radio communication in the South China Sea.+1
Kristina B.1 year ago
This post was just referenced and discussed on CNN. The pundits believed if the plane was suffering a major electrical failure caused by fire, it wouldn't run on autopilot because auto-pilot runs on electricity.
John Elliot1 year ago
Chris fails to point out that the nose gear has no reason to overheat or ignite, even if it did, this item is outside the pressurized section of the airplane, so if smoke came from this source, it would mean that the pressurized area had been breached and the plane would depressurize blowing out the smoke and providing time for them to declare a Mayday. So it's not a good theory and actually full of holes.
Ava Brattzen1 year ago
They just talked about your theory on CNN!
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Thomas Newton
Or stopped moving altogether at the 40 degree corridor. There is NO data to suggest movement either north or south. The plane could have ditched right there and continued pinging.
Major Loser1 year ago
Someone has kiped your theory and is promoting it on CNN ass their own while CNN prominently lists them as an "EXPERT" and 'explorer. What a farce!
Ashby Manson1 year ago
+Dub Snapper If the communications cut out due to fire right after the last transmission (and before next ping), then sighting by oil worker of plane on fire and sudden course change toward air field for emergency night landing makes sense. If all died before further course change could be entered, then "ghost plane" on autopilot continuing on to sighting over Maldives also makes sense provided fire didn't destroy plane and autopilot. 
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+David Smith
Exactly my point. The pings are a red herring.
Harsh Rao1 year ago
but if the pilot and copilot had time to remove the buses, change course, even fly to 45000 to put out the fire, etc- wouldn't they have realized they've reached a stage where they are required to issue a mayday? i mean, how come they didn't open up on the radio? by this argument, they were conscious, they knew the situation they were in, if they had decided Pulau Langkawi was the best course of action, wouldn't they have felt the need to inform ground staff at that runway to prepare for incoming mayday?? or, is the radio linked to the same electrical circuitry, or is it stand alone??
Ava Brattzen1 year ago
+Major Loser No they aren't giving credit to some other person. They have given credit to this man Chris, they even showed his face and refer directly to this post.
Dina Desveaux1 year ago
There is another reason for heading to Langkawi - that's where the co-pilot studied!
Patrick Gardner1 year ago
Further on arcs (my posts of 1612, 1646 and 1741 and David Smith posts of 1624 and 1700).  By my rudimentary mathematics/geometry if the plane was on a constant course and a constant speed the arcs would be the same distance apart bar for one issue - the local wind speed.  If the distances vary and we assume direction and speed do not then the difference is attributable to the local wind speed>  As I understand that there is a lot known about local wind speeds, one could potentially identify locations on the arcs that were consistent with the variations in distance between pings.  I appreciate that the calculations will be complex (different wind speeds at different heights).  However a ghost plane scenario is a clear possibility making constant air speed and direction likely if not probable.  So work on this would seem to be worthwhile (it may of course already be under way).
Muju Naeem1 year ago
Captain Zaharie does not fit the profile of a bad guy. He could very well be a hero. Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah+6
pavan kumar1 year ago
I agree with you Mr Chris.. I looked up in google earth.. There are 2 airports near langkawai.. And the run ways are also very long.. Maybe this was the reason the pilot took a left turn! And when the plane is on fire they'd be In a tension to put the fire off or try to land and the transponders might have stopped working because.of this.. And they'd left with no time to inform the air tower!+1
Todd Boyer1 year ago
Great write-up Chris! I agree, these pilots are hero's in my book. I commented on a Facebook post by CNBC on March 11th thinking along your lines without the details that you put together. As a fellow pilot myself, I agree looking for the simple answer is the most likely result. I believe an overwhelmed by very experienced crew did what they could without the result we all would hope would have occurred. Thoughts and prayers to the families of all of those impacted by this.

From my Facebook post on March 11th:
Possibly would have been seen on radar the lower and closer to land the plane got. Without a working transponder would have been difficult to identify what that blip on the radar was. I guess catastrophic mechanical problem knocking out some systems pilots, crew, and passengers. Fire in the cockpit or explosion out of the baggage area would cause a very serious issue with little to no time to respond. My guess is that the plane flew itself on autopilot for half hour to an hour lower and lower probably into or near land hundreds of miles outside of the flight path.
Like · March 11 at 7:18am
Jahabar Oli1 year ago
The location of MH370
Please read this credible post by an Aerospace Engineer:
Kris Korsmo1 year ago
Chris - I have a very similar theory.  Mine differs in that I think if there was a fire the automation would've disengaged and/or the airframe would have been destroyed.  Curious to hear what you think of my scenario -
Kazmi Syed1 year ago
Ava Brattzen1 year ago
+Faissal Otmani Especially since there were eyewitnesses that claim they saw a plane flying at very low levels with red markings in the early morning on that day the plane went missing. Agree with you 100%!!
Nick Gilbert1 year ago
Why would the pilot climb or dive in an attempt to extinguish an electrical fire (which implies pressurised)? If the fire was electrical, it's almost certainly pressurised and therefore both climbing (to reduce O2) and diving (to try and blow the fire out) will have no effect on the fire, which would be sealed within the aircraft body. He would likely only climb/dive in the event of a confirmed engine fire (or other external fire), but not an internal electrical fire. +1
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+jodi mcmullen
Is that what is used for wiring? Seems  sort of crappy house wiring and a fire/smoke hazard. I know that Kapton had its issues with arcing. I thought teflon would be the insulation of choice,
Daniel Seleanu1 year ago
Hi. Why do you think the plane turned toward the Andaman islands. It went through Igari and Vampi, then turned toward Igrex. Does that change your theory at all?
Ella Doggo1 year ago
It seems the report of the radar tracking coming out of Thailand contradicts the maps of the tracking by the Malaysian radar but backs your theory that they were headed toward the airport.
Chuck Vine1 year ago
Swissair was an MD-11 with known electrical issues. The 777 has a stellar safety record. Good theory, but just that.
judson frondorf1 year ago
I'm from an Air Force family. Father flew C-130's. Great explanation, logically possible. I'd thought all along fire or explosion in mid air. Deep water and very little debris...may never be found. 
Dave B1 year ago
This theory is a the best explanation yet. Also take into account the oil worker who reported seeing a plane on fire flying in that general direction. 
Start looking near the Maldives, very plausible story!
So pilots did extinguish the presumed fire, but must have become incapacitated. On fire the plane could never have flown that far.
Ali Hoolash1 year ago
It has been reported that some locals in Maldives have sighted the plane on the day it disappeared!+1
Kevin Lester1 year ago
Chris - as a private pilot (with less that 200 hours in the air) I have found this conundrum fascinating.  I totally agree with you about CNN's WILD theories and find it difficult to continue to watch their coverage (ie - THEY interview someone from USGS that debunks the seismic event theory that the plane hitting the ocean floor caused sensors to record an "event" but continue, for HOURS, to report it as a "possibility).

I found your article/essay most plausible and wonder why not one "expert", in all of the media, have not either repeated yours (with credit) or come to the same conclusion, on their own.

It is nice to, finally, read something that makes sense.

Thanks for your clear headed reporting.
Dina Desveaux1 year ago
Langkawi is probable for a 2nd reason - that's where the co-pilot studied.+1
Amar Patel1 year ago
Is it possible for the plane to crash into the waters and not break in half? instead, sink all the way down to the bottom of the ocean? 12,000 feet under.
Matthew Johnson1 year ago
The last radio communication with the ground occurred AFTER the transponders where shut off. The plane also was tracked nearly an hour AFTER the transponders were turned off. A mayday would have been giving.
Matthew Johnson1 year ago
After MH370 disappeared from civilian radar in the early hours of March 8, the plane was flown westward from its intended path to Beijing, turning around at Checkpoint Igari in the South China Sea.
From there, it flew on to Checkpoint Vampi, northeast of Indonesia’s Aceh province and a navigational point used for planes following route N571 to the Middle East.
Subsequent plots indicate the plane flew towards Checkpoint Gival, south of the Thai island of Phuket, and was last plotted heading northwest towards another checkpoint, Igrex, used for route P628 that would take it over the Andaman Islands and which carriers use to fly towards Europe. - See more at:
Mirtha MM1 year ago
+Robin Murray
Robin; Question. When flying normally,

1) is it a custom for the pilot to switch the transponder to standby or off when entering a new squawk code?

2) When leaving the airspace of one ATC to another is the transponder set to standby or off until a new code is received from the ATC it is entering?

3) Or does the aircraft enter a code such as 7000 until receiving instructions.

4) Did the ATC in Vietnam make contact with any unknown aircraft at about same time as the handoff and issue a code which later disappeared?

5) Similarly did ATC in Vietnam receive a squawk code such as 7000 which later disappeared? 
Kevin Lester1 year ago
+Matthew Johnson
that info is now in question (when transponders went off) - can't site but did read it sometime last night or this AM....per Malaysian Air or gov't.
Harsh Rao1 year ago
 but if autopilot was off, then the autopilot was switched off by the pilot, then switched on again, because only george could have kept it flying for 6 hours in a straight line! who switched it on? would the pilot have known he's 'succumbing to the fumes'? - highly unlikely - the one fact required to give credence to this argument, is that the radio was burnt out too - that can only be certified by a 777 engineer, who can vouch that the electrical circuits of the radio are on that common board
Harsh Rao1 year ago
 and if you conjecture that the pilot kept flying without the autopilot, and not able to communicate because the radio was burnt, then is it likely he'd have kept flying further out into the ocean? would'nt he have preferred to stick near the peninsula, whatever the consequences?
Mike Quinn1 year ago
+chris goodfellow andrew freelance wrote:
I'm sorry- but your theory is absolute BS.- 
First- 1. Smoke/fire demands a landing at the nearest available airport
2. If he headed for Langkawi- why not a closer airport- Kota Baharu or Penang.
Both would have taken a 777-200 at max manual braking.
1. I'm not a pilot, but even I can see that going forward to any number of available airports would be quicker than turning a plane around nearly 180 to land.
2. Flying to 45K is probably the last thing the experienced pilot would do. So the 'heroic'(?) minimally experienced co-pilot says, 'hey, I'm in a life-or-death situation due to a fire so why not make everything even more dangerous by flying to 45Kft?' 
3. Flying a plane to 45Kft due to a fire when you can't use an oxygen masks due to the same fire makes no sense.
4. If there was a fire, why wasn't a slick found from dumped fuel?
5. If they decided to turn around due to a fire, why no communication to the tower along the lines of 'hey guys, we're coming 'hot and heavy' so you might wanna have some fire trucks ready,' or even a simple mayday?
6. Statements such as, "This pilot did all the right things."; "makes perfect sense"; "There was most likely a fire or electrical fire."; "This pilot, as I say, was a hero struggling with an impossible situation"; "There are two well remembered experiences in my memory" are all too definitive or biased based on the known facts. 
8. All three crashes you cite are significantly different from how you recollect and/or portray them, see:
9. After overshooting the intended airport, the pilots make several more course corrections but never attempt to land or communicate?
10. So the front tire blows and/or catches fire and there's no sensor or other kind of warning until right at the very instant that the plane leaves Maya. airspace and enters Vietnam airspace? That's an airbridge too far for me.

11. Are you even a pilot?
Harsh Rao1 year ago
but the inmarsat data is not accurate - its a region- and that region, as i understood from media reports (TV), encompasses the coastline - chris, could it be that instead of looking far out, maybe the search should be concentrated near the coastline- because the pilot, being malaysian himself, would have known the coastal lights, and tried to keep it close to home
Matthew Johnson1 year ago
Would love a citation on that, I've not see any question that the transponders were not shut off before the last radio comunication. Also the last satellite ping 6.5 hours after the plane disappeared is not in question..... Plane was hijacked by the pilot.
Joren Carlson1 year ago
Good points Mike Quinn.

I mentioned the inaccuracies with the Nigeria Airways flight, the AC797 flight several hours ago. My comment seems to have been deleted.
A simple Google search would have caught some of the mistakes before publishing.

Given that he's a Canadian pilot, I would think/hope that his memory/knowledge of the worst Canadian aviation accident involving a Canadian-registered aircraft (and deaths of 14 Canadian crew members) and one of the most important accidents involving fire on board (which resulted in many changes being made to the way things operate), would have been a. Better or b. at least do a Google search to make sure you've got it right.
Naveen Narayan1 year ago
This seems like a very plausible explanation. My own thoughts are: that the plane flew on autopilot westward through the Indian Ocean is very much a possibility and due to the simple fact that no one has ever looked in the Indian Ocean around East Africa, the wreckage or what's left of the plane hasn't been found. It's possible that the smoke in the cockpit (due to the fire mentioned by Chris) spread to the cabin and made the passengers unconscious (possible CO poisoning, I am guessing). For some reason, the fire wasn't big enough to engulf the airline or bring it down before the fuel ran out and it crashed. Thai air force authorities have recently released radar data which shows that the flight was possibly spotted flying westward. Additionally, a report has emerged that islanders in Maldives had spotted a low-flying aircraft around the time the last satellite ping was received. I am thinking out aloud. I really hope this angle is adequately investigated so that the relatives can find some kind of closure to this long drawn horrible episode. +1
Boaz Weintraub1 year ago
A much more credible theory to me than criminal act by pilots is the electrical fire in cockpit, and I wonder aloud if Malaysian airline/aviation officials are covering up negligence on their part with other theories to distract the public. Did they allow flammable cargo (batteries) on board as reported or properly fix that wing? They have too easily dismissed those inquiries, and too quickly blamed it on highly unlikely causes with scant, contradictory evidence. Does this come down to a money issue? Will they go bankrupt if found negligent? I could be wrong, of course. They may just be as incompetent as they appear. +2
Tom Warner1 year ago
Brilliant post that has stood up to scrutiny and new information. I have a few questions I hope experts can answer.

If as has been suggested the disaster was caused by lithium batteries in the cargo catching fire, burning through and falling out the bottom of the plane, could the plane have continued flying with a hole in its belly?

If the fire was as intense as the oil rig worker says, could the plane have continued flying for hours? Could, say, all secondary fires have gone out of their own accord soon after a primary fire of lithium batteries dropped out the bottom of the plane?

If as has been reported the change of direction was selected with the autopilot system, could the plane have kept flying long past the programmed destination? If for example fire destroyed the autopilot soon after direction was changed, would the plane continue flying totally unpiloted? If the autopilot continued working, is there some reason why it would fly far past its selected destination?

Do we really know that the autopilot system was used to change direction? Is it not possible the pilot manually turned the plane then was incapacitated leaving it totally unpiloted?

Thanks to all for an enlightening thread.
Magnus Bergmark1 year ago
I guess the pilots are involved, but it can also be some passanger that got access to the plane because as i have read he let ppl in in flight. But "terrorists" can´t be sure he will fly. Lets hope the plane are safe on the ground and the ppl alive. Guess not but we can hope.
Kevin Lester1 year ago
+Matthew Johnson But the Malaysian authorities on Monday reversed themselves on the sequence of events they believe took place on the plane in the crucial minutes before ground controllers lost contact with it early on March 8. They said it was the plane’s first officer — the co-pilot — who was the last person in the cockpit to speak to ground control. And they withdrew their assertion that another automated system on the plane, the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or Acars, had already been disabled when the co-pilot spoke.
Tom Warner1 year ago
PS can anybody reconcile the Maldives sightings with the engine-satellite ping data? The published arc of final possible positions looks nowhere near the Maldives.+2
Kevin Lester1 year ago
Hard to argue a point when what seems definitive info, constantly shifts
raklajju1 year ago
Chris , assuming you are refering to Langkawi Intl (WMKL), I tested your theory in my home built simulator based on MS FSX platform (I have a 777ER in Asiana Airlines livery) . It's a good theory, except that the captain of MH370, with a crippled 777, would definitely have taken a the landward side approach with a heading of 221deg as that would be shorter instead of a flying past and executing a turn to approach from the seaward side. When I tried to approach from the land ward side in the night, it wasn'nt easy what with a hillock on the left 80' from the runway centerline and no ILS . But I suppose a senior Cap with 18000 hrs wud have done it easily (under stress ?)
Fun Booth1 year ago
They not going to Palau Langkawi, their destination was supposed to be at Hat Yai International Airport (HDY), 90115, Thailand but unfortunately the cockpit was already engulfed with smoke and then they head towards their heading till God knows what happened. Hat Yai International Airport (HDY), 90115, Thailand is much nearer than Palau langkawi but the communication was cut already.
Matthew Johnson1 year ago
" A signaling system was disabled on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet before a pilot spoke to air traffic control without mentioning any trouble, a senior Malaysian official said Sunday"
Although officials have already said that Acars was disabled on the missing plane, it had been unclear whether the system stopped functioning before or after the last, brief words were radioed to the control tower, in which the pilot did not indicate that anything was wrong with the signaling system or the plane as a whole.
During a news conference on Sunday, the defense minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also acting minister of transportation, gave a terse answer: “Yes, it was disabled before.”
Jia Wei Yong1 year ago

If your theory is followed, could it be that after the pilots passed out, autopilot had taken the plane all the way to the Indian Ocean towards Maldives? From Google Earth, a straight path from the seas near langkawi would lead it to Maldives' direction. Hmm. 
Hassan Jawad1 year ago
Makes a lot of sense, but still I pray and hope that ending of this episode should be a happy one. Families of passengers travelling in #MH270 have already suffered a lot in last 10 days.+6
Nate Behary1 year ago
+chris goodfellow Has started a new post for comments to continue on here:
Matt .Treasure1 year ago
they should try find my i phone app or and sort of tracking devices for the passengers  phones and laptops that might of been on the plan .+3
tim wade1 year ago
Were the suitecase and luggage at.
Steve Harwood1 year ago
Chris with the recent admission by Malaysia Airlines that MH370 Was Carrying 200 kilograms of Flmmable Lithium-Ion Batteries As Cargo makes your initial theory all that more plausible if not spot on! With the money involved with the manufacturing and transporting these batteries all over the world I wouldn't be surprised if we discover that some sort of cover up has occurred. I was shocked to discover just how many lithium battery combustion "events" have occurred in the past few years. The cargo transport of these batteries needs to stop!! +1
kumar setu1 year ago
Very well researched. Can't understand how authorities & media miss these things.
Grant Maconaghie11 months ago
A very interesting review Chris
Nurit L11 months ago
+chris goodfellow I have a question. Assuming that you are right and the pilot turned back because of mechanical failure. He tried to land in Langkawi, but either missed the runway or the Malaysian military accidently shot the plane. Either way he continued west and tried to land in Maldives, where Maldivian residents saw the plane. 

This is where gets is interesting. Residents in Kuda havadhoo (Maldives) saw the plane flying low from north-west to south east, toward Addu. (They also saw debris on fire in the water) Near Addu is Gan international airport, where the pilot was probably planning to land.  The question is, why not try to land in Male, which is closer to Kuda havadhoo?

And assuming all this is correct and the Maldivians did see flight 370, then we can assume it crashed somewhere between Kuda havadhoo and Addu. Would you agree? 
Nicholas Ash11 months ago
Hi Chris, the tech bulletins you talk about with regards to the antenna and wiring issue, would these not be a grounding the plane types of issues due to their serious nature?  I don't do jet aircraft engines for flight but I do maintain,remove, install and occasionally O/Haul aero derivatives such as R/R olympus and the like for power Generation and I know when we get FTA's that are for issues / mods to be carried out that we will either, reduce output till we can open it up or remove from service and rectify the issue. I know I am talking engines and you are talking air frame/ internal wiring but at the end of the day an issue is an issue regardless of where on the plane it is. And as I said our engines don't even leave the ground and we take any issue and treat it with the highest priority. I am with you on this one, I believe the situation went down hill very quickly and maybe comms were cut due to wiring damage or the like and the auto pilot was engaged to allow the guys the freedom to go over manuals and just try and get a handle on whats gone wrong. They may have then been overcome with smoke/fire, but I'm thinking more towards loss of oxygen and the plane just flew on till it had no more juice and then we all know what next.  anyway just my 2 cents and hope to hear more from people like you who know what their on about,take care.
Georgina Bandiera10 months ago
Hi Chris. What do you think about this plane now allegedly being the flight MH17 that was shot down (allegedly)???
Nate Behary10 months ago
+Georgina Bandiera Really?  (wasting 500 to say this)

That's the dumbest conspiracy theory I've ever seen, and it's an insult to the families of those on both that it's even being talked about.
Nate Behary8 months ago
+chris goodfellow You might want to disable commenting on this.  It's lost a few allowing comments, like the last, to show up.  (and will continue to lose them probably......500 threads rarely stay that way.  Disabling kills them no matter what.)+1