Was Flight MH-17 Diverted Over Restricted Airspace?

Tyler Durden's picture

While there are various questions that have already emerged from what was supposed to be Ukraine's "slam dunk" proof confirming Russian rebel involvement in today's MH-17 tragedy, perhaps one just as gaping question emerges when one looks at what is clearly an outlier flight path in today's final, and tragic, departure of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777.

Perhaps the best visualization of what the issue is, comes from Vagelis Karmiros who has collated all the recent MH-17 flight paths as tracked by Flightaware and shows that while all ten most recent paths pass safely well south of the Donetsk region, and cross the zone above the Sea of Azov, it was only today's tragic flight that passed straight overhead Donetsk.

 

Why is the diversion from the traditional flight path and passage over the highlighted zone a concern? Because as the following map from the WSJ shows this is precisely where the restricted airspace is.

 

So perhaps before coming to "certain" conclusion about the involvement of this rebel or that, the key questions one should ask before casting blame, is why did the pilot divert from his usual flight plan, why did he fly above restricted airspace, and just what, if any instructions, did Kiev air control give the pilot in the minutes before the tragic explosion?