MH370: Pilot Heroic Mission or Pilot Suicide (MH370 Part 5)
MH370: Is the movement of a black beetle a heavenly sign?
On March 8, 2014, on the day of the disappearance of MH370 I celebrated my cousin’s wedding in my hometown, Ipoh. Malaysia. He works for Freescale Semiconductor. He occasionally went out for lunch with five of the twenty senior Freescale managers who were on flight MH370.
The next day I went on a family trip to Penang. I prayed for the MH370 passengers and crew. I asked for a heavenly or angelic sign to calm my soul, to solace others, and to shed some light and truth in the colossal confusion. When I got back home in Kuala Lumpur on March 12 at around 1:20am I noticed an inactive one inch long upright black beetle right at my doorstep. My immediate thought was a black box.
I did some chores and went back to see the black beetle. By now it had become very active. It was upside down. It flipped and flapped upright, opened its wings, but would turn upside down again. This went on for quite a few times. I felt the dramatic movement of the black beetle was trying to tell me something…
Then it walked (not fly) along the right porch wall to the gate but did not go pass it underneath. Rather it turned sharply to the left (West) and turned back. It went in and out of seven or eight holes along the left wall. It walked eleven more feet and then it totally disappeared out of my sight – weird. Was this the heavenly sign I asked for…
The day before was the first ever news of MH370 turning back to the West. But only on the eighth day of disappearance Prime Minister Najib announced that the plane was deliberately turn back.
Connecting the dots of what happened to MH370
Trying to connect the dots based on this heavenly sign and the information available up to now, this is what I intuitively sensed happened.
It is very clear from the flight path data that whoever flew MH370 was a very experienced pilot with full command of cockpit controls. This alone eliminates hijackers. From history hijackers had only basic or very limited flying or cockpit control experience like 911 hijack pilots, or no flying experience.
All passengers had since been cleared of terrorist links. There were no terrorist’s claims or demands. If there are any hijackings the SOP is most governments will quickly reveal to the media that there is a hijack happening although secret negotiation deals will not be revealed until it is over. In fact, hijackers usually want the world’s media attention to report on their cause.
This narrows down to the pilot and co-pilot. The 27 year old co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid does not fit the profile. As he had a lot to live for, a wedding soon to a female pilot, and living a good life.
The Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had a political ideology. Born in Penang and is a known opposition supporter. He worked as a poll monitor during the last General Election on May 5, 2013.
On March 7, 2014 the Malaysian court sentenced the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to five years in jail after overturning his acquittal on sodomy charges. It deeply shocked the 51% Malaysian voters who voted for the opposition.
The captain might have been deeply troubled about the one hour decision and rushed sentencing of Anwar, as this would likely mean that he cannot legally run for Prime Minister’s office in the next election in 4 years’ time.
A deep, desperate loss of hope. A last straw on the camel’s back to trigger him to act on what he had practiced and planned for months.
Seven hours later he took command of MH370 and the plane flew off at 12:41am towards Beijing.
The co-pilot last words “All right, good night” was spoken around the time when both the data reporting system and transponder were deliberately shut off 14 minutes apart indicating the plane did not had a sudden major catastrophic incident. Final contact with plane was at 1:19am.
He told his co-pilot to go for a break, or to do something. The Captain locked the cockpit door. He pre-programmed the auto-pilot to turn back to the West. The co-pilot banged at the door when he returned.
The captain climbed the jet to 45,000 feet above the approved altitude limit to knock unconscious the crew and passengers so that they would not disturb his heroic plan. The plane suddenly flapped back and forth and dived unevenly to 23,000 feet.
He made a deliberate turn back to the west and cruised at 29,500 feet in between the standard flying range of 29,000 and 30,000 feet until it reached the last military radar contact at 2:15am south of the Andaman Sea.
With his excellent flying skills and from practicing with his home flight simulator he had studied how to avoid civilian radars and to fly low into the night. He went in and out of “holes” crossing various radar coverage just like what the black beetle did – going in and out the holes in the wall.
He would likely flew the plane south over the Indian Ocean rather than north over the Indian subcontinent as there are no radar 250 miles from Indonesia. The last satellite handshake was 8:11am.
The Captain was probably on a pilot hero mission rather than on a pilot suicide (the unexplored possibility)
My sense is that he might initially wanted to fly the plane and land safely on one of the airports which he had practiced intensively in his home flight simulator. He would then be hailed as a pilot hero with a mission to tell the world why he did that.
He might have wanted to bring the world’s attention to what was happening in Malaysia i.e. the sentencing of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, corruption, incompetency, gerrymandering in elections, racial and religious tensions, etc.
All flight simulation logs with possible airport landings were deleted from the captain’s flight simulator data a month before. A critical reference laptop was not found in the police home search was probably with him.
Unfortunately… that heroic mission went really wrong.
He opened the communication phone to hear for sounds and voices of the crew. There were no sounds of life. The crew and passengers were knocked unconscious, but were likely to be still alive.
He panicked. He thought what if he landed on nearest airport and they found out that some passengers had died or were critically injured from the quick ascend and the sudden flapping and diving. Previously he was extremely disturbed and highly emotionally charged to carry out his heroic mission. Now his logic and stark reality returned.
He realized that he would no longer be a hero. He would have brought shame to his family, the opposition leader whom he admired, and his country. He became despaired, indecisive, and paralyzed. But pilot suicide was not an option for him. He let the auto-pilot fly south aimlessly for a few precious hours.
The thought came to save the plane and the passengers but he ran out of real options in the vast Indian Ocean… thousands of miles from the nearest airport.
The plane was nearly out of fuel… he thought the only option is to land in the sea… he rationalized that at least maybe some passengers may be saved, and no one would ever know what really happened to MH370…
And in a weird, ironic way his mission was accomplished in bringing the world’s attention on Malaysia and its issues…
…the plane ran out of fuel… the captain glided and landed the plane in the sea at 8:11am.
Is this what the movement of the black beetle was trying to tell me as a heavenly or angelic sign that MH370 was a pilot heroic mission gone badly wrong?
But, we may never know what really happened to MH370… even after the plane is found.
~ Robert Chaen writes at www.robertchaen.wordpress.com.