Australian veteran airline captain Byron Bailey. He says the oxygen deprivation, or hypoxia, scenario does not stack up.
Australian air safety investigators are sticking to their preferred theory that Malaysian Flight MH370 crashed after the pilots lost consciousness for lack of oxygen, despite mounting opinion in the aviation community that the “rogue pilot” captain hijacked his own aircraft.
As revealed by The Weekend Australian, Australian veteran fighter pilot and airline captain Byron Bailey has joined British pilot Simon Hardy in saying the oxygen deprivation, or hypoxia, scenario does not stack up.
He suggested the known facts point to the captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, flying the Boeing 777 for more than seven hours and ditching it in the Southern Ocean.
Captain Bailey yesterday told The Australian many in the aviation community believed Australian authorities were under pressure from Malaysia to stick with the “pilot hypoxia” theory because the alternative “rogue pilot” theory would be awkward for the Malaysian government since it could mean Zaharie took the plane and the lives of 239 people including his own in an act of political protest.
Zaharie was a strong supporter of Malaysian opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim’s People’s Justice Party, and a relative.
A day before the doomed flight on March 8, 2014, Zaharie is believed to have attended Anwar’s court hearing that overturned his 2012 acquittal on sodomy charges, in what is widely seen as a politically motivated case.
“I have friends that say: ‘I smell a rat.’ ” Captain Bailey said.
“It could be a political act, and that would be embarrassing for the Malaysian government.”
While Australian authorities, in conjunction with Malaysian and Chinese officials, are co-ordinating the search for MH370, under international law Malaysia is responsible for the investigation. The search area was last month adjusted and now includes the area Captain Hardy identified as the likely resting place based on the controlled-ditching thesis.
Air Transport Safety Bureau spokesman Dan O’Malley said the authority was standing by its preferred unconscious aircrew theory. “The limited evidence available for MH370 was compared with three accident classes: an in-flight upset, an unresponsive crew/hypoxia event, and a glide event (generally characterised by a pilot-controlled glide),” Mr O’Malley said in a statement to The Australian.
“The final stages of the ‘unresponsive crew/hypoxia’ event-type appeared to best fit the available evidence for the final period of MH370’s flight when it was heading in a generally southerly direction.”
Not long into its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, radio contact was lost with MH370, and its radar transponder signal disappeared, but Malaysian military radar tracked the plane flying back over Malaysia, including Zaharie’s home island of Penang, before turning south towards the Southern Ocean, where electronic satellite “handshake” data from the aircraft indicates it flew.
Captain Bailey says this shows the aircraft was under pilot control well after communications were lost, because had the pilots lost consciousness through hypoxia, the autopilot would have continued the track to Beijing.
Captain Bailey also said an Australian government source had told him the FBI believed Zaharie hijacked the aircraft.
Story, photos and comments: http://www.theaustralian.com.au
NTSB Identification: DCA14RA076
Scheduled 14 CFR Non-U.S., Commercial
Accident occurred Saturday, March 08, 2014 in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
Aircraft: BOEING 777 - 206, registration:
Injuries: 239 Fatal.
The foreign authority was the source of this information.
The Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has notified the NTSB of an accident involving a Boeing 777-200 that occurred on March 8, 2014. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the Malaysian DCA investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the State of Manufacturer and Design of the airplane.
All investigative information will be released by the Malaysian DCA.