Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 On Autopilot Before Crashing

Nearly four months since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared without a trace, authorities are saying the plane was on autopilot before it crashed into the ocean. On Thursday, Australian investigators searching for the missing plane, said that the search area is shifting.

More information related to the data between Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 and satellites, indicates that the ill-fated plane was cruising on autopilot the whole time after that unscheduled u-turn and eventually ran out of fuel over the southern Indian Ocean. The new information was revealed by Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Martin Dolan during a press conference.

"Certainly for its path across the Indian Ocean, we are confident that the aircraft was operating on autopilot until it ran out of fuel," Dolan told reporters in Canberra, according to the AP.

Even though investigators are not sure when the autopilot on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was turned on, they believe that it was done manually, by someone in the cockpit. Authorities doubt that the autopilot was turned on automatically.

According to analyzed data, in communications logs between the doomed airliner and Inmarsat -- the satellite service network -- Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 traveled for seven hours and 38 minutes, before running out of fuel. However, the Boeing 777 didn't just fall out of the sky.

When a jet runs out of fuel, the engines keep running, which likely caused uneven power, resulting in an uncontrolled, spiral descent. Dolan insisted that it's not his agency's job to determine why Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing. The Malaysian government is responsible for that part of the investigation.

"Questions as to why, are not what we needed to address to refine the search area," Dolan said.

The objective of the 58-page report is to determine where the plane went down, depending on its flight pattern. Thus far, not one single piece of physical evidence has been recovered by search crews in the rough Indian Ocean waters.

The report on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 suggests that an incapacitated crew, due to the effects of hypoxia -- a loss in cabin pressure -- is the "best fit" for the disappearance. Previous accidents due to loss of pressure in the cabin, resulted in loss of communications, lack of steering, and a constant descent once without fuel.

Working along with Boeing, Inmarsat and safety investigators from the U.K. and the U.S, the ATSB came up with about 1,000 scenarios in order to create a database to indicate where the plane crashed. This will allow investigators to create a more refined search area for two ships that are currently combing the ocean floor.

Additionally, as The Inquisitr reported, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370's pilot Zaharie Shah is considered the main suspect in the disappearance of the airliner, which Malaysian authorities have denied. The lost plane was carrying 239 people when it vanished on March 8.

[Image via Markus Mainka / Shutterstock.com]