This article is purely the opinion of two people. But we strongly feel that this is the mostly likely theory, explains ALL the evidence made public so far and it closely matches our hypothesis on the motivation. We invite you to submit any thoughts you have on contradictions.
Undisputed sequence of events (as of end of day 3/21/14)
- 12:36am to 119am Co-pilot speaks to the air traffic controllers from taxiing until take off. Pilot does not say a word (based on transcript released today).
- 109am ACARS system located at the back of the plane is turned off.
- 119am Co-pilot signs off with "all right, good night".
- 121am Two transponders accessible from the cockpit are turned off
- Soon after, radar shows a turn and climb.
- Radar shows rapid descent to 20K feet
- Plane is tracked in one of two common passenger routes
- Eight hours later, final ping is sent by plane.
Suicides are rarely planned by more than one person. The fact that the circuit breaker in the back of the plane was turned off while the co-pilot was talking to tower strongly suggests that we can rule him out. Since the cockpit door is locked, we strongly feel it was the captain or the flight engineer responsible. After the co-pilot finished his final sign off with ground control, he and the other person not responsible, left the cockpit for one of two reasons.
- A restroom break or other normal activity.
- They were told by the person flying to do something; get a glass of water, go to the back to check on the ACARS circuit breakers or other.
Radar records show that the plane then turned abruptly and started gaining altitude to 45,000 feet. There has been some speculation that this initial turn and climb was to avoid radar. We agree that the turn was due to avoid entering Vietnamese airspace and also to get to the final destination which will be discussed later. Also climbing to 45,000 feet would have minimized the odds of anyone using a cell phone to call for help. But the sudden gain in altitude was more sinister and diabolical in nature. If the two flight crew who left returned to the cockpit to find it locked they would have quickly found a way to use a satellite phone, turn the ACARS circuits back on the in the tail or find another way to alert authorities. Following our hypothesis of suicide with no trace, this gain in altitude was to quickly kill everyone on board. To do that the pilot would had to do the following:
- Depressurize the plane (yes, a pilot can do this for reasons such as if the oxygen supply system became noxious).
- Depressurize the plane. This would release oxygen masks for everyone including inside the cockpit; depressurizing the plane depressurizes the cockpit.
- Put on his oxygen mask.
- Gain altitude rapidly. Passenger oxygen masks only have a fifteen minute supply of oxygen. At 45,000 feet the air is not breathable and a person without oxygen would be dead in less than a minute.
It is also possible that someone in the main cabin was able to use more than one oxygen masks, but it was a fairly full flight with 239 seats taken. Plus one is not mobile when tied to an oxygen mask. Trying to break down the fortified cockpit door or go to the back of the plane without oxygen would have been impossible. After some time at 45,000 feet, the pilot would have descended to below 20,000 feet as radar records have shown it did.
At this point he continue to fly west following standard flight paths. This step was important because he was still close to Malaysia and military radar would have paid less attention to a radar screen blip that was flying in a typical passenger flight pattern. There was a Singapore Airlines plane flying in a similar direction and it is possible the pilot shadowed this plan for a period.
Flying to the remote
It is possible that during this time the person flying might have gone into the cabin to disable emergency beacons and equipment. But it is unlikely he would risk the chance of opening the cockpit door just in case someone was still alive. Also the thought of calmly walking through a plane full of dead people is so horrifying and morbid, it is beyond our comprehension.
Once he got as far south as possible and the plane was running on fumes, the pilot would have landed as gently as possible. There was no reason to crash into the water at high speed leaving debris strewn everywhere where it would be spotted by plane or satellite. Also by having everyone on board dead, there was no chance of emergency doors being opened or life rafts being deployed. An intact passenger jet would have floated for 30 to 60 minutes before sinking. By flying until his fuel practically ran out he also minimized any chance of oil slick. The plane sank into the sea and the captain went down with his ship. It is possible that wings or other large parts of the plane broke off as it settled and that would explain the large pieces of debris seen by the satellite.
Whoever was responsible planned well. He picked a fairly full flight which was important to limit how long passengers would survive and an overnight flight where people would have been sleeping, chose the perfect time within the flight when the cockpit would be quiet, and the time of day with radar crews paying less attention and limiting the likelihood of ground or ship based witnesses seeing the plane.