MH370 pilot left ‘false trails’ to avoid detection before plane disappeared killing all 239 on board

THE PILOT of the doomed MH370 left "false trails" to dodge radars before the plane disappeared killing all 239 on board, it has been claimed.

The theory that the captain made a series of zig-zagging movements to throw off air traffic teams comes seven years after the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 suddenly vanished – sparking the world's greatest aviation mystery.


 

According to aerospace engineer Richard Godfrey – who has spent years investigating the flight’s 2014 disappearance – the pilot made a number of deliberate turns and speed changes to avoid detection before plunging into the Indian Ocean.

Godfrey said his research suggests the pilot in command, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, took a “carefully planned” flight path to avoid “giving a clear idea where he was heading”, reports news.com.au.

The Boeing 777 with 239 people on board mysteriously disappeared from radar after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, bound for Beijing, on March 8 2014.

The plane took an unexplained U-turn from its planned flight path and headed back across the Malay Peninsula and the Malacca Strait before vanishing.

Godfrey said the plane’s final movements could be mapped out using data from Weak Signal Propagation (WSPR), a global network of radio signals that can trace the movement of planes as they cross signals and set off invisible “electronic trip-wires”.

“WSPR is like a bunch of trip-wires or laser beams, but they work in every direction over the horizon to the other side of the globe,” he said in his report.

His research found MH370 crossed eight of these “trip-wires” as it flew over the Indian Ocean, which is consistent with previous studies of the plane’s flight path.

In busy airspace, these tripwires are crossed so frequently it can be extremely difficult to track individual aircraft.



But Godfrey believes that if authorities are able to combine WSPR data with pings from the cockpit's satellite phone, it could potentially pinpoint the location of the missing plane.

His analysis and research of the plane's apparent course over the Indian Ocean suggests the final resting place could be southwest of Western Australia.

Different theories of what caused the disappearance have swirled in the years since – but Godfrey's research adds weight to the suggestion that the pilot was responsible.

“The pilot of MH370 generally avoided official flight routes from 18.00 UTC (2.00am AWST) onwards but used waypoints to navigate on unofficial flight paths in the Malacca Strait, around Sumatra and across the Southern Indian Ocean,” he said.

“The flight path follows the coast of Sumatra and flies close to Banda Aceh Airport.

“The pilot appears to have had knowledge of the operating hours of Sabang and Lhokseumawe radar and that on a weekend night, in times of little international tension the radar systems would not be up and running.”

The flight path appears carefully planned.

He added that the plane's change in movements and speed appeared to suggest the pilot could have been avoiding leaving clues about where it was heading.

“The pilot also avoided giving a clear idea where he was heading by using a fight path with a number of changes of direction,” Godfrey said.

“These changes of track included toward the Andaman Islands, towards South Africa, towards Java, towards 2°S 92°E (where the Flight Information Regions of Jakarta, Colombo, and Melbourne meet) and towards Cocos Islands.

“Once out of range of all other aircraft, at 20.30 UTC (4.30am AWST) the pilot changed track and headed due south.

“The flight path appears carefully planned.”

Problems appeared to start for the passenger jet at 1.20am on March 8, 2014, just 38 minutes into its nine-hour plus flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, over the South China Sea.

What are some of the theories about the Malaysia Airlines flight?

Vladimir Putin

Some feared Russian president Vladimir Putin was involved in the hijacking of MH370.

US Science writer Jeff Wise claimed Putin "spoofed" the plane's navigation data so it could fly unnoticed into Baikonur Cosmodrome so he could "hurt the West".

US shootout

French ex-airline director Marc Dugain accused the US military of shooting down the plane because they feared it had been hijacked.

A book called Flight MH370 – The Mystery also suggested that it had been shot down accidentally by US-Thai joint jet fighters during a military exercise and covered it up.

Suicide

Malaysia police chief Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar suggested the disappearance could have been the result of a suicide.

He claimed someone on board could have taken out a large life insurance package before getting on the plane, so they could treat their family or pay back the money they owed.

In hiding?

Historian and writer Norman Davies suggested MH370 could have been remotely hacked and flown to a secret location as a result of sensitive material being carried aboard the jet.

Cracks in the plane

Malaysia Airlines found a 15-inch crack in the fuselage of one of its planes, days before MH370 disappeared.

The Federal Aviation Administration insists it issued a final warning two days before the disappearance.

But the Daily Mirror claimed the missing jet "did not have the same antenna as the rest of the Boeing 777s" so it did not receive the warning.

Pilot planned the incident

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unexpectedly said it was “very likely that the captain planned this shocking event”.

He claimed the pilot wanted to "create the world's greatest mystery".

Another theory claimed that he hijacked his own plane in protest of the jailing of then-Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and as a way to destabilise the corrupt government of Najib Razak.

Another seemingly far-fetched idea said the pilot had deliberately crashed the plane to cover his track as he had parachuted out of the plane so he could spend the rest of his life with his girlfriend who was waiting in a boat in the sea.

North Korea took the plane

In the wake of the incident, South Korea noted that North Korea nearly took out a Chinese plane which had 220 passengers on board, on March 5, 2014.

Some fear Pyongyang shot the plane down, but others believe it was hijacked and diverted into the communist nation.

Victims mobile phones ringing

One theory claims that because many relatives were able to hear a ringing tone for up to four days after the crash so the doomed jet could not have smashed into the Indian Ocean.

Nineteen families have all claimed the devices of their loved ones rang for up to four days after the jet went missing.

However, wireless analysts claim that phone firms sometimes use a phantom ringing sound when the device is not active, the Daily Star reports.

Crashed in the Cambodian jungle

In September 2018, British video producer Ian Wilson claimed to have found the missing aircraft using Google Maps.

Despite millions being spent on the search to located the wreckage, the Brit sleuth believes he has found the jet in a mountainous area of the Cambodian jungle.

In response, the Chinese government used observation company Space View to focus in on the high-altitude area on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

However, the firm claim there was no sign of any plane, least of all the Malaysian Airlines aircraft which has been missing since March 2014.

An MH370 sleuth has claimed that locals in Cambodia told him they saw a plane believed to be the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight crashing in the jungle.

The plane was heading for Kazakhstan

If the jet was flying north then possible locations could stretch as fast as the border between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Thailand.

The Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak originally asked the Kazakhstan leader Nursultan Nazarbayev to set up a search operation in the country but this quickly got sidelined as the rescue efforts focused on the Indian Ocean.

Passengers included Chinese calligraphers, a couple on their way home to their young sons after a long-delayed honeymoon and a construction worker who hadn't been home in a year.

In the official version of events, the plane performed a U-turn and was tracked by radar crossing Malaysia.

Later satellite analysis was said to have identified a potential splashdown site in the Indian Ocean.

A £110million search led by Australia scoured 50,000 square miles of the ocean floor using high-resolution sonar from 2014 to 2017.

A second search sponsored by the Malaysian government also failed to find any trace.

So far 33 pieces of debris – either confirmed or deemed highly likely to be from MH370 – have been found in Mauritius, Madagascar, Tanzania and South Africa.

Another suspected piece was found in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in February.

It comes after we reported in March how apanel of oceanographers and flight experts have identified a new area where they think the plane is lying.

Ocean drift analysis and a review of a revised flight path released late last year agreed it probably went down about 1,200 miles west west of Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia.

The area is notorious for its deep ocean floor canyons and underwater mountains.

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