dml2135
Fascinating article. I had a chuckle at this excerpt:

>The Malaysian investigators did look into whether the cargo could have started a fire, noting that it consisted mainly of ripe mangosteen fruits along with a small number of lithium batteries. Extensive attempts by the investigators to get mangosteen juice to react with the batteries and trigger a fire were unsuccessful.

I'm sure plenty of people here have spent time wracking their brain on a hard problem and the image of a bunch of transportation investigators dousing batteries with juice in a late-night fit of desperation really gets me.

hiidrew
Just noticing the medium author, this guy posts fantastic breakdowns of plane crashes on r/catastrophicfailure

Have to say the simulator part makes me lean heavily towards the pilot crashing it purposefully, from the article -

"The most widely reported piece of evidence tying Zaharie to the disappearance was a course he had charted on his home flight simulator about a month before the crash. Zaharie had a number of hobbies, including paragliding and flying model airplanes, but he also spent a lot of time at home on his computer playing flight simulator games. He sometimes uploaded videos of himself playing on his YouTube channel, where he comes off as affable and knowledgeable, if a bit socially awkward.

In 2014, a leaked Malaysian police report revealed that among Zaharie’s saved flight simulator sessions was a very odd route which ran up the Strait of Malacca, turned south after passing Sumatra, and then flew straight down into the Southern Indian Ocean before terminating in the vicinity of the seventh arc. Not only did the track resemble MH370’s actual flight path, it also contained a number of other intriguing details. For example, the track wasn’t really a track — rather, it was a series of brief clips lasting no more than a few seconds each, indicating that Zaharie had programmed it in advance then skipped along it to various points without actually playing through the entire hours-long flight. Furthermore, although initial reports indicated that the track had been intentionally saved by the user, later analysis showed that it was kept only in the system files, and certainly was not meant to be found. Was this a dry run? It seems too odd to be a coincidence."

Also discovering that black box is a misnomer is mildly humorous, these are apparently orange! - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_recorder

amatecha
If you haven't seen it, this Google Map of all found debris is quite interesting: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1Kghrk3iwRInii5qBTG...
sopooneo
Hearing about all the painstaking analysis of this flight made me wonder something: If you look deeply enough, how frequent are inexplicable situations? That is, if you took all the info from a normal flight, and cut it off at the halfway point and gave it to a group of enthusiastic investigators, would they find aspects that contradicted or truly did not make sense? My guess is they would.

This is not to say MH370 was without incident, only that apparent contradiction may be unavoidable if you look closely enough at anything.

markx2
I can highly recommend reading more of Admiral_Cloudberg's writings.

Start at https://old.reddit.com/r/AdmiralCloudberg/

If you wish to skip any comments,

https://old.reddit.com/r/AdmiralCloudberg/comments/e6n80m/pl...

and use the Medium links.

neilv
> But Sherlock Holmes was right: once we have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

This matter isn't entertainment fiction, and nobody involved is Sherlock Holmes.

Hundreds of people died. Amateurs publicly casting blame on one of the presumed dead seems unfair to the individual accused, and insensitive to the families.

Especially when it depends on bits like this:

> How these aspects of Zaharie’s life could have led him to commit an unspeakable act of mass murder is difficult to understand. But while he was said to be an affectionate and emotionally sensitive person who loved life, perhaps something dark lurked within him, something which he suppressed so thoroughly that no one else knew it was there. It is said that the people who seem happiest are sometimes also in the deepest agony, struggling against demons that they never reveal even to their closest friends.

Why not leave this real, recent tragedy to the professional investigators.

_Adam
> ... reaches up and flips the pressurization switch, cutting off bleed air to the cabin. The airplane rapidly begins to depressurize ...

I cannot believe that a "kill everyone" switch actually exists, and if it really does this seems like a bug. Especially because not hitting the switch would also kill everyone.

ErikVandeWater
According to experts hired by NBC news, the audio between the pilots and ATC were edited: https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/missing-jet/missing-jet-re...

For whatever reason, this doesn't seem to be widely discussed.

swyx
apparently Ocean Infinity, the private salvage search company mentioned in the article that spent millions on a "no find no fee" search for MH370 is committing to doing it again this or next year: https://www.reddit.com/r/MH370/comments/t85bdv/ocean_infinit...

how exactly do these guys fund themselves? this must be a horrendously expensive enterprise and fairly infrequent at that.

ak_111
The strangeness of this story - a 777 disappearing into thin air in one of the most surveilled and monitored (due to geopolitics) places on earth leaving no traces behind - has spooked people so much that there is a section on the wikipedia page debunking theories related to black holes.
bengl3rt
"Before Fariq can attempt to get back into the cockpit, Zaharie reaches up and flips the pressurization switch, cutting off bleed air to the cabin. The airplane rapidly begins to depressurize."

I really want to believe that a single switch doesn't control whether people in the back of the plane can breather or not...

roxgib
At this point the data from his computer, at least the data from the flight simulator software, should be released publicly so that those with experience can apply their knowledge to reconstructing the data. It's entirely possible that someone with more knowledge of the software in question, rather than a generic computer expert, might have more luck.
kgwgk
Relevant book (open access):

Bayesian Methods in the Search for MH370

Authors: Sam Davey , Neil Gordon , Ian Holland , Mark Rutten , Jason Williams

https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-981-10-0379-0

ak_111
As someone who doesn't have intuition about these things: what are the chances that an 777 could have crashed and yet many years later very very few of its debris showed up or were spotted anywhere in the world (also factoring in intense search efforts around the most likely places where it crashed)?

Is this one of these 1 in a billion chance thing or is it not as crazy as it sounds? Like even if you were intentionally trying not to leave a trace, it is so hard to plan the drift and spread of debris and get so lucky in them not being spotted.

phlipski
Fascinating read but for some REAL fun Jeff Wise's "Russian Hijacking Theory" is pretty awesome....

http://jeffwise.net/2019/03/09/the-russian-passengers-aboard...

nobrains
The article doesn't mention the amateur ham radio interference pattern research data to figure out the flight path.

See this: https://youtu.be/Jq-d4Kl8Xh4

LatteLazy
To me, the most interesting thing about all of this is that civilian airports don't really have radar. You can disappear from an ATC screen just by turning off a transponder. If they'd had radar we would at least of known which way the plane went. A curious controller could have asked "unidentified object at height X, region Y" who they were and why they were in controlled airspace without a transponder on.

The article even implies the controllers themselves did not know this:

>Initially, no one noticed the sudden disappearance of the airplane. After handing the flight over to Ho Chi Minh control, the Malaysian controller looked away from his screen, and when he looked back, the plane was gone. He assumed that it had flown out of radar range and returned to his duties without a second thought.

But there was no radar range limit. There was only a transponder range limit (or more likely an edge of the screen).

>In Vietnam, controllers expected the plane to contact them, but it did not, and they couldn’t find it on radar either. Controllers in Ho Chi Minh City began trying to raise the plane on radio without success. For 18 minutes, they sent out a series of increasingly desperate calls: would MH370 please respond? Could any planes in the area contact MH370? The only answer was silence.

So even when they were actively looking for it, it was invisible to their "radar". True radar would have told them there was a plane-sized metal object in their airspace even if it refused radio contact and had no transponder...

It turns out you can make an entire plane full of people completely invisible by throwing 1 switch. Who knew?

nerpderp82
> As of January of 2021, some 33 pieces of wreckage found on beaches have with varying degrees of certainty been tied to MH370. Of these, more than one third were found by Blaine Gibson.

This is amazing.

roxgib
> They were tracking the plane on the Flight Explorer website, which, as they would only realize hours later, simply continued to display an aircraft’s projected path if its transponder stopped broadcasting position information.

Oops

O__________O
Curious, based on actual evidence, is there any reason to believe the pilot didn’t exit the plane prior to it crashing?
washywashy
Once on a flight headed west I happened to look out the window and just then another plane flew beneath the plane I was on headed north-ish and quickly off into the distance. I remember thinking two things: 1. It was far away from us so quickly it kind of shocked me, although it makes perfect sense of course. 2. I felt like i got a really good view of it. It didn’t look far away at all altitude-wise as it passed beneath the plane I was on.

I’ve always wondered how normal this is to cross paths with other planes that closely. I’ve seen other planes way off in the distance before but never that close.

chs20
I agree that much evidence points towards the pilot intentionally crashing. However, it's not proven and constructing a story around this theory is a bit distasteful.

Otherwise, the article is quite interesting.

type0
I try to think positively. It successfully landed on the beach in North Sentinel Island, where all the passengers and the crew still live happy lives away from these pesky newfangled life we call civilization.

edit: satellite data needs to be bogus though, so my theory makes perfect sense

nadow
one of the best long-form articles i've ever read on this was "Goodnight Malaysian 370" by William Langewiesche in the atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/mh370-m...
stephen_g
Yes, I think the pilot has to have deliberately done it. The turns after the transponder went off are too intentional, and nothing like the flight plan the plane was meant to be flying.

I saw a simulation that looked fairly convincing, that showed if the plane was ditched in a controlled glide from where the last ping was received, assuming that's were it ran out of fuel, then the plane would have glided out of the area that was searched. They also claimed that the damage on the flaperons and other control surfaces that washed up was fairly consistent with landing fairly level, where those control surfaces may have been ripped off but most of the rest of the plane might have been fairly intact and would have quickly sunk in mostly one piece. It seemed fairly plausible.

valstu
This is 3 years old but still pretty well done explanation of the case MH370 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd2KEHvK-q8
femto
> However, engineers also could not rule out that some or even most of this frequency offset was due to the crystal oscillator inside the transmitter warming back up after the power interruption.

Didn't the plane have two power interruptions, the first of which it is known that the plane wasn't in the process of crashing at high velocity? I wonder what effort was made to compare them, possibly allowing the effects of crystal drift and Doppler to be separated?

Maybe any unexpected frequency offsets after the first power cut can be entirely attributed to the crystal warming up after the power cut? Maybe it could be assumed that the crystal behaves similarly after each power cut, as crystals are typically repeatable with temperature? In that case the characteristics of the crystal are known after the second power cut and Doppler can be determined.

I'm sure this would have been thought of, but one has to ask.

eternalban
> Routine automatic satellite communications were made approximately every hour, except for the initial period of the flight between 01:21 and 02:25, when some kind of power interruption to the airplane’s satellite data unit had prevented the satellite from making contact. After that, every hour or so a ground station in Perth sent a query (or “handshake”) to the plane via a geostationary satellite located over the Indian Ocean.

I didn't see any comments referring to this +1hr blackout of the sat unit. This happened right after the 1.19 ATC handoff.

Does anyone know if this signal could have been faked (e.g. by someone sitting in a boat in the ocean)? I assume the tx and rcv end points have some sort of private identifier.

hdesh
Fantastic article.

Did the MH370 incident change anything about the communication systems used by modern aircrafts?

cyber_mock
So 12 minutes of oxygen, i just learn that
sakex
I assume you must be pretty low to be able to ping a 4g tower. Is it impossible that the guy would have jumped from the plane with a parachute? Then he would have run with the insurance money.
MisterTea
"For the reasons listed above, most experts believe MH370 was the victim of some kind of deliberate action."

What if the plane was struck by a meteorite? It certainly sounds like there was some kind of incident that caused them to turn around abruptly to head back but they were disabled. It is possible they experienced an extreme rare event. Rare dpesnt mean impossible, just highly unlikely.

BoardsOfCanada
> Zaharie was also deeply involved in Malaysian politics and was a big supporter of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. In a strange coincidence, just hours before MH370 disappeared, Ibrahim was sentenced to prison on sodomy charges that were widely considered to be politically motivated.

I don't think this "strange coincidence" should be dismissed as the reason so easily.

karaterobot
Good read from a few years ago: Langewiesche's conclusion is that the pilot probably crashed the plane on purpose.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/mh370-m...

SethTro
Should have [2021]
mouzogu
another incident, that has some similarities

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_Airways_Flight_2...

theories that it was apparently transporting weapons to apartheid regime in a commercial airliner which caught fire over the indian ocean and consequently covered up.

smusamashah
Has anything been done in the airline system so that we never loos a flight again like this ever?
Flatcircle
another great article about a horrible crash.

https://admiralcloudberg.medium.com/the-long-way-down-the-cr...

rainworld
Read Florence de Changy’s The Disappearing Act if you want a rough idea what actually happened.
nigrioid
I still think it's weird that there were 20 Freescale employees on that flight.
loeg
Seems most likely it was a (mass) murder suicide. Extremely sad.
NHQ
I can think of one motive. The pilot knew that the internet is crazy for airplane crash mysteries, and wanted to create a grand one.
fds456435
Just erased from this timeline after a time traveling incident?
gautamcgoel
Can someone TL;DR this please?
edfletcher_t137
This is the crux/TL;DR:

"Perhaps the most compelling reason to believe that Zaharie hijacked his own plane is its simplicity. It’s the only explanation that doesn’t rely on a series of independently improbable events: given a desire to do it, everything else falls into place as a reasonable part of the plan. In fact, from the timing of the transponder failure to the specific locations of the turns to the flight path into the Southern Indian Ocean, it would be harder to come up with a better way to make an airliner disappear. Why believe that this is a coincidence when it could well have been the goal from the very beginning? Furthermore, whoever was flying the plane had extensive systems knowledge and excellent hand-flying ability. Who else on board had those skills but Zaharie? Indeed, it’s by far the easiest answer."

nakedneuron
> Exactly one minute and forty-three seconds later, a dramatic and mysterious sequence of events would begin to unfold, the opening chapter in a story that transfixed the world.

https://bocpages.org/wiki/Magic_Window

> "Magic Window" is track number 23 on the Geogaddi album. The song is one minute and forty-six seconds of pure silence.

stevev
Interesting bits from the reading:

Communication devices lost contact.

The first turn can only be done by an experienced pilot.

No distress calls. Or passenger attempted cellular communication when they became within range.

Flight path matches similarly to Pilot’s in-home game simulator.

If an explosion occurred wiping out communication devices, it was only a matter of time before they crashed. The plane was on radar and tracked going south for several hours.

Due to the many turns, someone had to be in control of the plane in some capacity after the first turn.

It leaves me to two conclusions.

An alien parasite froze everyone. Made the pilot turn off communications. Made the pilot fly a flight pattern that closely resembles the one at home.

The pilot picked that specific flight as his last. Why he didn’t just nose dived immediately will be answered in the remaining hours he was on that flight. It would be inhumane to keep crew/passengers alive to witness their own demise. Thus I believe he was alive and alone heading south.

zxcvbn4038
Better question is what has been done to prevent the next MH370 and I bet the answer is nothing much, it took a back burner once the story was out of the headlines.

There are only a thousand reasons aircraft operators might want to know where their planes are and if there are any issues. I’m sure that the gps position and black box data could be streamed over radio and/or satellite.

sr.ht