Finally, A Plausible Scenario Of What Happened To Flight 370

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

The scenario that best fits the facts is a spontaneously initiated "drastic political protest" by the captain that went awry.

At long last, a plausible scenario of what happened to Flight 370 has emerged. By plausible I mean that the scenario fits all the known facts.

The key piece of evidence has finally been released by Malaysian authorities: Pilot Spoke to Air Controllers After Shutoff of Data System (

This proves that one of the pilots turned off the ACARS communications link and then reported to air traffic control (ATC) as if all was normal. Twelve minutes later, one of the pilots switched off the aircraft's transponder, which transmits the aircraft's altitude and location.

This sequence of events more or less proves that one of the pilots was in charge of the aircraft. Given the lack of evidence of duress, this sequence strongly suggests one of the pilots was executing a plan of his own rather than following orders of hijackers.

Given the strong political views of the captain and his mastery of the Boeing 777, all evidence points to the captain as the pilot who turned off the communication links and was in command of the aircraft thereafter.

Post-disappearance moves suggest sophisticated handling, experts say (

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 search grows as pilots face increased scrutiny (

Though early reports on the captain were limited to neutral comments by peers that he was a nice guy and a devout family man, the strength of his opposition to the current regime in Malaysia is now coming to light:
'Democracy is dead': 'Fanatical' missing airliner pilot pictured wearing political slogan T-shirt (Daily Mail)

Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a father-of-three, was said to be a 'fanatical' supporter of the country's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim - jailed for homosexuality just hours before the jet disappeared.

It has also been revealed that the pilot's wife and three children moved out of the family home the day before the plane went missing.
Anwar Ibrahim is a broadly popular democracy icon and former deputy prime minister whose prosecution on a charge of sodomy is seen by many Malaysians as political persecution.

‘Colleagues made it clear to us that he was someone who held strong political beliefs and was strident in his support for Anwar Ibrahim,’ another investigation source said. ‘We were told by one colleague he was obsessed with politics.’

What makes this significant is the Malaysian authorities' attempts to suppress this possible motive.

Malaysian officials initially appeared keen not to direct any suspicion towards Zaharie or his co-pilot, 27-year-old Fariq Abdul Hamid, who was last week revealed to have invited two women passengers into the cockpit and smoked on an earlier flight to Phuket.

But evidence of the way the plane’s transponder and communication systems were disabled and the way the plane was expertly flown over the Indian Ocean apparently using navigational waypoints meant only a skilled aviator could have been at the controls. Investigators were also baffled by why, if hijackers took over the plane, there was no Mayday call or signal from the two pilots to say the cockpit had been breached.

Thus we have motive and clear evidence that it was the captain, not the co-pilot, who was in command of Flight 370. Enraged by the Soviet-style show-trial and imprisonment of his political hero, the captain may have "sabotaged the flight as a form of drastic political protest." Flight 370: Was Hijacking The Pilot’s Political Revenge?

Now add in that neither the co-pilot nor the captain requested each other, and it seems increasing likely that the captain was making it up as he went along, applying his deep knowledge of the aircraft and navigation to sketch out a makeshift initial plan that was dynamically modified along the way.

I think we can easily trace a plausible series of steps the captain initially took, and then speculate knowledgeably about the challenges and decision trees that arose later in the flight.

The first challenge would be to render the co-pilot unable to contest his control of the aircraft. The easiest way would have been to dissolve a sedative in a beverage and coax the co-pilot into drinking the Mickey Finn.

The "mumbling co-pilot" heard by the airline pilot flying to Japan who radioed Flight 370 offers tantalizing (if scant) evidence of this. (Interestingly, that pilot was confident he spoke with the co-pilot, not the captain.)

Alternatively, the co-pilot fought for control of the aircraft, one explanation of the abrupt climb to 45,000, well above the aircraft's designed ceiling.

If there was a struggle, clearly the co-pilot lost that battle or had already been incapacitated by other means.

Another explanation for the climb to 45,000 feet and the subsequent drop to 23,000 feet is that the captain sought to deprive the passengers of oxygen for long enough to render them unconscious but not long enough to kill them.

Given the profile of the captain that is emerging, I see little evidence of a personality who would set out to kill everyone on board, including himself. I believe the evidence strongly suggests a political motive, to embarrass the Malaysian government and perhaps to do so by seeking asylum in another country.

Once again, the key here is to understand the incomplete nature of the captain's plan: after the initial phase was successful--turning off the ACARS and transponder, incapacitating the co-pilot, and moving beyond the range of Malaysia's military radar-- a number of destinations might have occurred to the captain. It's important to note that flying was not just the captain's vocation, it was also his hobby. I think it is safe to say his life revolved around aviation and flying.

Data showing the number of plausible runways where the plane could have touched down - which need to be at least 5,000ft - offer a baffling number of potential locations.

According to a map drawn up by U.S. radio station WNYC, there are 634 locations which could fit, from Australia to the Maldives to Pakistan.
However, the true number is likely to be even higher, as estimates of how far the plane could have travelled have been increased since the calculations were carried out.

Here is the best current map of the possible routes of Flight 370. I have added the decision tree the captain faced: either fly north and seek political asylum or a remote landing site or fly south and search for a remote landing site.

If the co-pilot had regained control of the aircraft, either alone or with the aid of crew and passengers, he would have first turned on the ACARS and transponder and sent a Mayday signal. Since this didn't happen, we can be confident that the captain was in command of Flight 370 for the duration of the flight--roughly 7.5 hours.

While we don't know if the aircraft landed at some point, we do know the last ping to the satellite was at 8:11 a.m., roughly 6 hours after the last military radar contact.

Here are some other points to consider:

The fact that the Malaysian authorities withheld the sequence of events in the cockpit strongly suggest that they quickly identified the potential for a political motivation for the flight deviation and sought to suppress speculation along this line of inquiry.

This also explains why they withheld the military radar data for three days, and their continuing reluctance to share information or come clean about what they know. They fear the truth, and with good reason.

The captain's home flight simulator suggests that he may well have practiced all sorts of landing scenarios, just out of curiosity or to sharpen his skills in outlier situations. Think about it: if you already have over 18,000 hours in the cockpits of advanced aircraft, you're not going to practice conventional landings you could do in your sleep. That would be beyond boring to someone of his experience.

Given the few hours the captain had to assemble his plan, it is likely that once the initial phase was successful, he might have changed his mind, perhaps more than once.

Given his long experience in aviation, I think it very likely that he knew that the primary and military radars in the region were usually turned off at night. Off-the-record confirmations of this have come from Thailand and Indian officials with knowledge of radar covering the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Thus it is not surprising there were no primary radar sightings in the region: most or perhaps all of the radars were turned off.

It's also worth noting that most of the primary radars in the region have limited ranges--100 miles or less appears to be average. It is more than possible to thread a flight through the gaps in coverage, even if the radars were active.

Let's assume my speculation is accurate and the captain had no intention of crashing the 777 and killing all on board. As I noted in my first entry on Flight 370, if that was his intention (or simply suicide), why fly for hours? Despite his best intentions, he may have encountered some problem that he responded to incorrectly; it's even possible that he missed his intended destination or became confused about his location.

What Happened to Flight 370? An Analysis of What Is Known (March 13, 2014)

The scenario that best fits the facts is a spontaneously initiated "drastic political protest" by the captain that went awry, despite his intentions and experience.

One last thought: since the U.S. must monitor potential airborne threats and nuclear explosions virtually everywhere on the planet (with the exception of Antarctica), why wouldn't the U.S. have wide-aperture thermal imaging assets in space? And if the U.S. has space-based thermal imaging assets, would they be so low quality that the heat signature from two large jet engines would not show up? That seems unlikely.

Since it has long been known that the U.S. has "wired the oceans for sound," (SUBMARINES, SECRETS, AND SPIES - NOVA/PBS) it's also likely that the sound of a large aircraft hitting the water would also have been detected, regardless of the remoteness of the location.

All of which is to say that it seems probable that the global and space-based intelligence gathering assets of the U.S. recorded some sort of signals that could provide clues to the final resting spot of Flight 370.

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Murf_DaSurf's picture



Nah +1, if the info is from Malaysian

Ignatius's picture

If he really wanted to obscure the facts all he had to do was fly it into a money-losing U.S. skyscraper.

john39's picture

OT, navy seals board north korean oil tanker:

cover story? tanker was stolen by "libyan rebels"....    ok, sure thing...

Divided States of America's picture

Maybe its heading towards the Kremlin and then Russia will have no choice but to shoot it down and then the West will have the go ahead to start WW3 courtesy of JoKe and Obummer.

Also, if a pilot turns out to be a terrorist after all these years, then its not safe anymore to do anything because these sleeper cells can just activate all of a sudden.

Occident Mortal's picture

He will have landed in Malaysia.


Pick one of these islands


Or one of these uninhabited islands of Malaysia...



Honestly the guy will have flown over one island a thousand times and always thought... I bet I can land there. Wouldn't it be great. 

He's just a fan of Lost.

Anusocracy's picture

Damn! I was hoping it was baby Skynet waking up and grabbing a toy.

J S Bach's picture

C'mon... by now everyone knows it was an alien abduction.

jbvtme's picture

it's clear the markets are not confused

BobPaulson's picture

How come nobody talks about them being shot down?!?!

Malaysians figure out he has gone rogue and don't want a kamakaze ending so they shoot him down and say they can't find him. Seems pretty simple to me.

Or, a major power like the US detects them, unable to hail them on radio, and decided to shoot them down if they are approaching a sensitive target. Boeing could be in on it supplying red herrings to help out. Boeing would be easy to convince to do something for the US military for obvious reasons.

maskone909's picture

EvERYONE IGNORES THE DEAD NAVY SEALS AND THE 20 DOD CONTRACTORS!!!! I didnt see any mention of that in this "explanation".

ACP's picture

In death, a member of Project Malaysian Mayhem has a name.

His name was Z A Shah.

maskone909's picture

In an emergency situation oxygen gets you high- calm as hindu cows.
They were merely single serving friends.

Flux's picture

Who cares?

Wasn't WW3 supposed to break out over Ukraine? Or some global financial collapse?

I'm starting to think Zero Hedge is just another product pandering to the depressed and disenfranchised.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Whisper rumor that Simon Black is on Flight 370.

philipat's picture

This theory is now no better than several others. The ACARS system does NOT continuously transmit but rather sends an updatre every 30 minutes. Therefore, because the last received transmission was at 1:07A Local, the next transmission was due at 1:37A Local but was never received. All that we can conclude from that is the ACARS system (And the SSB Transponder) was switched off some time between 1:07A and 1:37A.

Back to the drawing board.

old naughty's picture

Let’s do a polling…

Given all the news published,

Do you believe the plane will be found?

Yes= Green/Up


No= Red/Down

old naughty's picture

Do you believe the plane was hijacked/sabotaged?
Yes= Green/Up
No= Red/Down

old naughty's picture

Do you believe all the “players” tell all they know?

Vietnam Australia China Ussa Ukraine Malaysia

India Russia

Yes= Green/Up No= Red/Down




Simple Q, no qualifying...

Cult of PersonALity's picture

wouldlike to see the manifest ....  anything interesting in the cargo hold?


HoofHearted's picture

Have they checked the Senkakus? I bet they snuck in there to claim the islands for Malaysia. 

dogbreath's picture

Can we get another Bitcoin article

0b1knob's picture

Pilot turned off the transponder and then moved into the radar shadow of another flight.   Invisible all the way to Pakistan or so.

Interesting speculation.

French Frog's picture

Am I the only one worried that a deluded/coerced pilot might have thought that landing in Iran would be a great idea?

acetinker's picture

Says the (wo)man who has never known either depression or deliberate dis-enfranchisement.  One precedes the other, do you know which?  Your reddies ain't from me, btw.

So, ZH is a honey pot?  Yer a fkn jeen yus!  Why did none of us ever think of that???  Duh.  I got a tip for ya' flux, you're probably on the same lists as me.  I couldn't care less.  You?

GhostInTheMachine's picture

...his name was Z A Shah.....his nam was Z A Shah....his name was....

walküre's picture

dead Navy seals in this story?

Rakshas's picture

Not sure if this is related to the reference of the Seals and DOD contracotrs but.....


footnotes people footnotes for the love of god, don't just assume all of us other assholes know what you are yammering on about, 911 was an inside job.... 

zerozulu's picture

Every one is using their full brain power. I say, think like a stupid and you might find an answer. What a stupid can do you cannot imagine.

Hooter Shaker's picture

He stole the aircraft.  Probably busy changing the serial numbers and digging holes for the passengers as I type.  

kaiserhoff's picture

Curiouser and curiouser.

One piece of evidence is hiding in plane sight.  45,000 feet is the service maximum for this type of aircraft.  Whatever happened before that, if the pilots were incapacitated or simply distracted, the auto-pilot should have (and apparently did) react and bring the plane down to a safer altitude.

Or maybe it's alien abduction.

LoneCapitalist's picture

It was because of that damned video!

mrdenis's picture


kaiserhoff's picture

Airline travel is relatively safe, because some of us do care.

The problems are found and corrected.  Now if that only worked on politicians and kleptocrats.

Tall Tom's picture

No. Even in the Airline and Aircraft Manufacturing industry problems are likely to be covered up rather than rectified.


It is about PROFIT...the Bottom Line. This is so pervasive that it is endemic throughout all corporations and politics.


I read another article on ZH today about GM not fixing an Ignition Fault switch that cost a lousy $1. (With the recall of 1.5 Million Cars that is $1.5 Million Dollars...which is equivalent to the annual salary of what??? About 15 to 20 Auto Workers???)


The kleptocrats are running both the Government and the Corporations. It is astonishing that anything actually works.

acetinker's picture

I dunno who you work for, or are invested in, either personally or collectively thru a 401k or similar.  However, if you expect 'income' or 'security', or are looking to some sort of 'retirement' in your old age- YOU are the reason that CEO's clip the corners and fervently hope the dupes themselves (you, again) don't notice.

Like I said, I don't know you.  But from what I've read from you, I'm fairly certain you're biting the hand that feeds.

GeorgeHayduke's picture

"...which is equivalent to the annual salary of what??? About 15 to 20 Auto Workers???"

Maybe...or it may mean one single member of upper management doesn't get his year-end bonus in 2014. After all, I've always been told by apologists that the upper echelon of the corporate world get paid so well because they're the ones taking all the risk. If that's the case, they should bear the brunt of fixing the problem. If the average Joes take the hit, then the whole "risk taker = money maker" is pure bullshit.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I'm beginning to think there is NO industry where problems aren't covered up. I was absolutely SHOCKED how much cover up was in healthcare when I started 30 years ago and, yes, I could tell some shocking tales. Of course it was all about money and what the patient didn't know, you got away with. Believe me it is so simple to impress people the care they are getting is stellar. Why do you think modern hospitals are built like high end mansions today? To feed this illusion. So typical. Spending millions on looks and cutting edge technology does not guarantee competent care.


acetinker's picture

Miffed, first of all- How are ya'?  Hope all is well.

This Tall Tom sets off several of my bullshit detectors.

At this point, I think he is just a ball lost in the tall weeds, but I can't rule out many other more nefarious possibilities.  Proceed with caution.

At this time, I've been so far down the rabbit hole that recent visitors to the 'other side' call me crazy.  And, it's OK.

This is how Tall Tom strikes me- He stuck his head into the hole, and came back out with an announcement.  That he wasn't as brave as Alice, who took the whole trip, speaks volumes about our condition.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

My dearest ace. Today is my birthday actually. So to celebrate I spent the day working! Things just weren't right in the cards I guess as I posted to a fellow medical friend Jena on another thread. I'm still trying to recover from the horror I had witnessed. I did respond to you on that old thread if you care to look my friend ;-)

As regards to Tom. You and I have an easy breezy way of talking. We post as ourselves as don't really give a fuck what people think. We understand each other. Some others here prefer a persona for reasons they alone know. I think Tom posts in this fashion to prevent himself from revealing himself to much to others. I think there is a lot more of Tom he cares to reveal based on prior pain and sadness. I do not sense nefarious or evil intent. Just someone trying to hide behind the Great Oz. The snippets I have gleaned from him have pointed me in this direction. He has on more than one occasion showed me a great kindness which I am grateful. Certainly violated the meme on ZH by doing so.Besides, I have forgiven him for calling me a one toothed East County Girl ( considering he's right... There are lots of those here! ) Mr Miffed had his hands full when I frothed over that one! But I agree to your assessment about proceeding with caution. I tend to mouth off before considering the consequences and listen to the admonishments for hours. When will I ever learn! ;-)


acetinker's picture

Awshit, Happy Birthday!  I had no idea.  Here's a virtual *hug*.  

You are right about that 'persona' thing.  I don't need one, and I'll bet you don't either.

People with actual persona just exist.  You have it, it can't be purchased.

The fucked up thing is, that you can't avoid the deer-in-headlights gaze of your neighbors.

They don't want your advice.  They think you're kinda goofy, but their lives are spiraling toward the drain.

Soon enough, IT's MY FAULT that their choices didn't pan out the way they'd hoped.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Well of course. Everyone who knows better must be at fault.
It's sheeplogic. Sheep all do the same thing together. They are blameless. Those who are not sheep must be wolves. Therefore when the sheeple become a zombie horde it's for them to kill all those who aren't zombies.
Logic - it's a special thing when context is actualized.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Since I'm not in America I don't get to see it but considering all the complaints about American healthcare I found it not plausible when its proponents jumped out and said "it's the best healthcare in the WORLD!"
Just didn't add up.

James's picture

From a Corporate pov that switch issue is really 100 million.

They'll have to buy 2.5 million switches at least because they'll buy them from same supplier who caused this to begin with and their will be defects.

Then you have the labor cost added on 1.5 million cars. 75+ million??

Then you add a bin charge to that.

Then is Liability for actual claims when they admit fault.

-NaN-'s picture

@Tall Tom a $1 part could cost $100 to replace.  For sure it cost a lot more than a dollar; gotta pay the mechanics.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Last I checked Edward Norton actually went over this... in Fight Club.

Narrator: A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.
Woman on plane: Are there a lot of these kinds of accidents?
Narrator: You wouldn't believe.
Woman on plane: Which car company do you work for?
Narrator: A major one.
[Plane turns heavily, narrator thinks to himself]: Every time the plane banked sharply on takeoff or landing, I prayed for a crash, or mid air collision, anything. Life insurance pays triple when you die on a business trip.
richsob's picture

And if someone kills your stupid ass everyone should ask "Who cares.....what difference does it make!!!!!"?  That was a shameful comment to make about people who were in a hellish situation and likely are all dead.  Who cares?  Any decent human being cares starting with their families and friends.