The greatest mystery in modern aviation has been that of MH370, where in March of 2014 a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 disappeared shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur, while enroute to Beijing. With modern technology I find it amazing that a 777 could go missing without a trace, despite an international investigation.
There have been lots of theories as to what happened, ranging from believable and well researched theories, all the way to conspiracy theories. Some believe there was a catastrophic fire on the plane. Some believe the plane lost cabin pressure and just kept flying until it ran out of fuel. Some believe it was abducted by aliens. Some believe it was hijacked by the Russians.
But as the story of the missing plane began to unfold, more and more questions arose regarding the captain, to the point that the prevailing MH370 theory is that the captain intentionally crashed the plane.
Well, it looks like that theory is now more or less officially confirmed, as authorities have revealed that the captain had flown a similar route deep into the South Indian Ocean less than a month before the plane went missing.
Per New York Magazine:
New York has obtained a confidential document from the Malaysian police investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that shows that the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, conducted a simulated flight deep into the remote southern Indian Ocean less than a month before the plane vanished under uncannily similar circumstances. The revelation, which Malaysia withheld from a lengthy public report on the investigation, is the strongest evidence yet that Zaharie made off with the plane in a premeditated act of mass murder-suicide.
The document presents the findings of the Malaysian police’s investigation into Zaharie. It reveals that after the plane disappeared in March of 2014, Malaysia turned over to the FBI hard drives that Zaharie used to record sessions on an elaborate home-built flight simulator. The FBI was able to recover six deleted data points that had been stored by the Microsoft Flight Simulator X program in the weeks before MH370 disappeared, according to the document. Each point records the airplane’s altitude, speed, direction of flight, and other key parameters at a given moment. The document reads, in part:
“Based on the Forensics Analysis conducted on the 5 HDDs obtained from the Flight Simulator from MH370 Pilot’s house, we found a flight path, that lead to the Southern Indian Ocean, among the numerous other flight paths charted on the Flight Simulator, that could be of interest, as contained in Table 2.”
Here’s a map of the route the plane is believed to have actually flown, compared to what the captain had flown on his home simulator:
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) July 22, 2016
I do wonder how long Malaysian authorities have been withholding this information. They had access to his flight simulator shortly after the crash, so I imagine they’ve known this for a while. I haven’t exactly had full faith in the investigation all along, given the number of parties involved.
I’m not sure I would call what the captain did a “suicide route,” but rather it seems more like a sick, twisted game he was playing. If he wanted to commit suicide he could have just flown the plane into the ground, but it sure seems like this was a game for him, perhaps knowing he’d create one of the greatest aviation mysteries ever. In that regard he succeeded, unfortunately at the expense of a lot of innocent peoples’ lives.
(Tip of the hat to Nick)