The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane, which vanished without a trace almost eight months ago, is most likely to be lying under nearly four miles of water — in one piece. And only some sort of deliberate human intervention could have brought it there, according to an experienced pilot of Boeing 777 aircraft.
Writing Sunday in Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper, former 777 captain Byron Bailey declared that there is no way the plane would have simply flown on autopilot until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean, which is the assumption made by the experts leading the current search for the Malaysia Airline plane in the Indian Ocean.
If the flight crew was somehow incapacitated, Bailey wrote, the plane simply would have continued on auto-pilot to Beijing — not made the hard left turn that took it, searchers believe, seven hours out of its way and into the Indian Ocean.
"The flight profile is programmed into the FMS computers before engine start and, with the autopilot(s) engaged, normally immediately after takeoff, the aircraft would have flown itself automatically to its destination unless there was human input to change the flight profile," Bailey wrote.
In an op-ed entitled "MH370: I Have Flown These Jets, Here's What Probably Didn't Happen," Bailey noted that a Boeing 777, of the type flown by Malaysia Airlines on its Flight 370 route March 8, "has 80 computers and, except for two engines, nearly every system on board is triplicated to ensure a practically fail safe operation."
"To lose secondary radar contact with MH370 someone had to deactivate all three by manually selecting them to off," Bailey said in the Sunday piece.
The fact that the Malaysia Airlines plane somehow managed to avoid radar detection by any of the countries it flew over on its rogue journey also suggests a deliberate act, Bailey said.
Flight MH370 "tracked across northern Malaysia then deviated to the northwest before turning south to the southern Indian Ocean," he wrote. "Is it a coincidence that this track managed to avoid Indonesian, Thai and then Indian military radar?"
Bailey's views join a growing consensus among independent investigators — but not shared by the official investigators — that the plane was the victim of some sort of high-tech hijacking.
A recent PBS NOVA documentary also suggested that the plane was commandeered electronically.
The recent book, Goodnight Malaysian 370: The Truth Behind the Loss of Flight 370, argued that the pilot of the Boeing 777, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, deliberately flew the plane off course in an elaborate and bizarre murder-suicide plot. That book also asserts that the plane was landed on the water, where it sank intact to the bottom — a view echoed by Byron Bailey.
"The Boeing 777 is a very large aircraft and I personally believe that MH370 is intact and in 6000 meters [nearly four miles] of water," wrote Bailey, speculating on the likely fate of the Malaysia Airlines flight. "If we search long enough it will be found."