The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #51  
Old 03-16-2014, 09:16 PM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Kiwi in Adelaide
Posts: 8,152
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatherineZeta View Post
But the map you linked to showed landing spots in heavily populated countries with modern technology such as radar to detect any planes. I mean, spots on the coast of Australia were marked. There is absolutely no way such a large plane could land undetected in Australia.
Actually the parts of Australia marked are desolate and relatively unpopulated with no radar coverage apart from Darwin which is the group of northern most spots.

The aeroplane could have got to most of those spots without being detected by radar. It only takes one person to spot an aeroplane though so someone would've noticed a B777 arriving. The least unlikely possibility would be Curtain which is a large Air Force base that is only used for temporary deployments. Curtain would still have a skeleton crew of caretakers though who would notice the presence of a B777 and 240 odd people.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #52  
Old 03-16-2014, 09:20 PM
CatherineZeta CatherineZeta is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Well, on another note someone I know on Facebook posted that it's "So weird that contestants for the amazing race are flying to Kuala Lumpur." Uhh...nothing happened in Kuala Lumpur and as far as I'm aware it's a relatively safe city, right? I don't think I've ever even heard that much about Malaysia until now. And of course nothing happened there aside from the plane taking off. I pointed that out to her and said it's not any different from people continuing to film shows and movies in New York post 9/11 except there was serious damage and loss of life in New York.

I'm starting to think the pilot (yes, the pilot, not hijackers unless they were trained pilots themselves) was a lone nut and what happened is in no way a reflection of Malaysia itself aside from their somewhat evasive responses to what's happened, but I'm guessing that's out of embarrassment, not malice.
Reply With Quote
  #53  
Old 03-16-2014, 09:24 PM
CatherineZeta CatherineZeta is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Pearse View Post
Actually the parts of Australia marked are desolate and relatively unpopulated with no radar coverage apart from Darwin which is the group of northern most spots.

The aeroplane could have got to most of those spots without being detected by radar. It only takes one person to spot an aeroplane though so someone would've noticed a B777 arriving. The least unlikely possibility would be Curtain which is a large Air Force base that is only used for temporary deployments. Curtain would still have a skeleton crew of caretakers though who would notice the presence of a B777 and 240 odd people.
Ok- although I did look at a map of Australia and there are cities and towns all along the coast in that area although I have no idea how many people live there.

I just find it strange that Australia wouldn't monitor their entire coast, although as you pointed out, at least SOMEONE probably would have seen a B777.
Reply With Quote
  #54  
Old 03-16-2014, 09:31 PM
tapu tapu is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: maine
Posts: 1,296
Maybe it was a dot somewhere other than in Australia. From what I see there (though I make no claim to comprehensive knowledge of such a vast area and... so many dots), I wouldn't want to claim it has to be that one set of islands or nothing.
Reply With Quote
  #55  
Old 03-16-2014, 09:33 PM
Princhester Princhester is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 11,575
Quote:
Originally Posted by nevadaexile View Post
Since the US Navy is involved and they have access to the most advanced sonar gear on the planet, the plane will eventually be found.
I don't think this is necessarily true at all. The US Navy no doubt has good sonar but it doesn't have magical sonar. A plane isn't that big to begin with and if it hit at speed in deep water it will have broken up.

The fog of war is such that about 90% of everything currently being said about this incident will be BS. Nonetheless at least at this point it does not appear that they have any clear fix on where the aircraft was when it crashed, and it may have been flying at many hundreds of miles an hour (or not) for many hours.

So it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack, only the haystack would be millions of square miles in size.

Perhaps once everything calms down and all the electronic (and perhaps other) evidence is gathered they will be able to pinpoint a flight path and a time of crash.

Otherwise, some buoyant bits may turn up sooner or later but finding the wreckage just based on searching with sonar is unlikely to be successful.

Last edited by Princhester; 03-16-2014 at 09:33 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #56  
Old 03-16-2014, 09:36 PM
CatherineZeta CatherineZeta is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by tapu View Post
Maybe it was a dot somewhere other than in Australia. From what I see there (though I make no claim to comprehensive knowledge of such a vast area and... so many dots), I wouldn't want to claim it has to be that one set of islands or nothing.
Neither do I. I just think that's the most plausible place for a plane to crash undetected aside from the ocean. I could be wrong though.
Reply With Quote
  #57  
Old 03-16-2014, 09:45 PM
PaulParkhead PaulParkhead is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Pearse View Post
If he said it like that then I agree it is quite normal, but from what I've read he didn't read back the frequency which is not normal.
Fair point. What I can't see is what that last message was in response to. Was it issued for no apparent reason?
Reply With Quote
  #58  
Old 03-16-2014, 09:58 PM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Kiwi in Adelaide
Posts: 8,152
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatherineZeta View Post
Ok- although I did look at a map of Australia and there are cities and towns all along the coast in that area although I have no idea how many people live there.

I just find it strange that Australia wouldn't monitor their entire coast, although as you pointed out, at least SOMEONE probably would have seen a B777.
Along the coast from the bottom dot to the top dot there is Exmouth (pop 2200), Onslow (pop 660), Karratha (16,000), Port Hedland (15,000), Broome (12,000), Derby (3000), Kununurra (3800), Port Keats (1600), and Darwin (129,000). The road distance from Exmouth to Darwin is about 1800 miles. Out of those towns the only one with a radar is Darwin. The rest is a vast desert wasteland with tiny isolated population centres. The cost/benefit equation doesn't support covering the area with radar. They do have ADSB ground stations which is a relatively new technology but it relies solely on having the correct transponder fitted to the aircraft and having it turned on.

This is a picture of Australian radar/ADSB coverage. The orange area is covered by radar while the red area will be covered by ADSB once all of the ground stations are operational.

Something not well understood by many foreigners is that Australia is about the same size as the continental United States but only has 6% of the population and the vast majority of Australians are compressed along the relatively fertile eastern coast (which happens to be where most of the radar coverage is.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Parkhead
Fair point. What I can't see is what that last message was in response to. Was it issued for no apparent reason?
I haven't seen the report where his last message was described in detail myself but I gather it was in response to a frequency hand-over to the next FIR.
Reply With Quote
  #59  
Old 03-16-2014, 10:14 PM
CatherineZeta CatherineZeta is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Thanks for the explanation, Richard Pearse.
Reply With Quote
  #60  
Old 03-16-2014, 10:14 PM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
Ah, the fog of war. Even if that is true, it's unlikely any passengers are still alive. What happened to all their cellphones?
To those of us who live in the cities and/or suburbs and travel between them via major highways, it seems that cellular coverage is ubiquitous. But, unfortunately, the entire earth is not yet covered by cellular phone service. I was reminded of this just the other day while driving along a small road through a forest just south of San Francisco. Despite being located next to a densely populated first-world metropolis, there was no cell phone coverage for several miles of road. At another point, I spoke to a woman who lives further south (near Monterey) in a more rural area. She has no cell phone reception at her house. There seems to be a local dispute between a group of neighbors who would like Verizon to put up a cell site and others who don't want their area despoiled with antennas and dangerous radiation and Verizon is staying out of the dispute.

At 40,000 feet, it's not highly probable that they can make contact with a cell phone antenna. And there are vast stretches of land and sea that are not covered by cellular service.

While satellite (not cellular) phones may work in those areas, not many people carry those.
Reply With Quote
  #61  
Old 03-16-2014, 10:29 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
Elephant Whisperer
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Bangkok
Posts: 29,926
Let's say the plane did land somewhere. Maybe with local help, maybe even a local government. Somalia, Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan. And there was a whole army to guard the passengers and keep them in line. Assume all of that to be true. Then the question becomes: If they're holding secret negotiations with the Malaysian government, why would Malaysia let all those countries -- 25 now, the BBC reports -- expend all that time and money in what the government knows would be a fruitless search? And if no ransom demand or negotiations have been initiated by now, nine days after the event (it's Monday morning over here), then why not? Or could there be negotiations ongoing with the airline itself, and the airline didn't inform the government for whatever reason?
Reply With Quote
  #62  
Old 03-16-2014, 11:11 PM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Kansas
Posts: 5,332
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatherineZeta View Post
Well, on another note someone I know on Facebook posted that it's "So weird that contestants for the amazing race are flying to Kuala Lumpur." Uhh...nothing happened in Kuala Lumpur and as far as I'm aware it's a relatively safe city, right? I don't think I've ever even heard that much about Malaysia until now. And of course nothing happened there aside from the plane taking off. I pointed that out to her and said it's not any different from people continuing to film shows and movies in New York post 9/11 except there was serious damage and loss of life in New York.

I'm starting to think the pilot (yes, the pilot, not hijackers unless they were trained pilots themselves) was a lone nut and what happened is in no way a reflection of Malaysia itself aside from their somewhat evasive responses to what's happened, but I'm guessing that's out of embarrassment, not malice.
Well put. As you know from your adventures with SeanConnery on the PetronasTowers , Malaysia is indeed quite a safe and modern country, about the same average level of development as, say, Mexico, without Mexico's drug-war-related violence of the last eight or nine years. It would indeed be silly for anyone to avoid Malaysia, or Malaysia Airlines, due to this mysterious incident. You are absolutely correct that the government's handling of the public statements and such has been poor, but (like pre-2000 Mexico) this is mainly due to the same political party holding national office for far too long.
(My cite for all this: being married to a former Malaysian citizen, and having visited the country four times for at least a month each time.)

Last edited by JKellyMap; 03-16-2014 at 11:14 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #63  
Old 03-16-2014, 11:16 PM
CatherineZeta CatherineZeta is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
People are just so ignorant about foreign countries. I just got off the phone with my mom and she was surprised that I'm able to communicate with my friend who teaches in South Korea via Facebook. She also made a dumb comment about "everything being skinny in Korea" because my friend adopted a cat that looks like my cat except skinnier. South Korea is a modern first world country! They have food and the internet there! I can't believe my mom wouldn't know that. Plus my cat weighs around 17 lbs and this cat looks normal, so a more accurate statement would have been "Everything is skinnier THAN MY CAT" which is what I thought she was going to say.

ETA: Sorry for the tangent about South Korea and cats, but aside from North Korea, people need to understand that Asian countries are generally safe, modern places with some areas of poverty (just like the US). And thanks for the info re: Malaysia JKellyMap. I'm guessing some random people watching the news (not people on here) don't understand that is is an incredible anomaly that has nothing to do with the safety of Malaysia or traveling in Asia in general.

Last edited by CatherineZeta; 03-16-2014 at 11:19 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #64  
Old 03-16-2014, 11:45 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
Elephant Whisperer
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Bangkok
Posts: 29,926
Quote:
Originally Posted by JKellyMap View Post
It would indeed be silly for anyone to avoid Malaysia, or Malaysia Airlines, due to this mysterious incident. You are absolutely correct that the government's handling of the public statements and such has been poor, but (like pre-2000 Mexico) this is mainly due to the same political party holding national office for far too long.
Indeed. I like Malaysia a lot. Have visited it multiple times. Kuala Lumpur does have a problem with bag snatchers on motorcycles, but it's still generally a safe city. We've even flown Malaysia Airlines in the past, and it's a good, solid airline. I still highly recommend a trip to Malaysia. This incident is just one of those weird blips.
Reply With Quote
  #65  
Old 03-17-2014, 01:51 AM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonySinclair View Post
Sorry, that's not a 777. The real plane must be somewhere else on the moon, or possibly mars.
Reply With Quote
  #66  
Old 03-17-2014, 02:11 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Pearse View Post
The aeroplane...
Sorry, but I had a double take on that archaic term. Aeroplane? Are we living in the earliest part of the 20th century?
Reply With Quote
  #67  
Old 03-17-2014, 02:17 AM
buddha_david buddha_david is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Sorry, but I had a double take on that archaic term. Aeroplane? Are we living in the earliest part of the 20th century?
So, you're saying, he's too late for the 4:30 autogyro to the Prussian consulate in Siam?
Reply With Quote
  #68  
Old 03-17-2014, 02:44 AM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Kiwi in Adelaide
Posts: 8,152
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Sorry, but I had a double take on that archaic term. Aeroplane? Are we living in the earliest part of the 20th century?
Yeah, I suppose you call it an "airplane"? My kids grew out of that phase and started pronouncing it properly when they were about 3 .
Reply With Quote
  #69  
Old 03-17-2014, 03:09 AM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Was he leaving one control area and entering another?

Was he handed-off?
Reply With Quote
  #70  
Old 03-17-2014, 03:56 AM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
I'd like to raise a possibility of how a Boeing 777 could land unnoticed: What if, for the sake of discussion, the people in control of the plane kept the aircraft in shade created by the Earth eclipsing the sun? Such a shadow would be dark enough to make it very difficult to see the plane flying overhead and landing, especially if they turned off the various lights on the exterior of the plane specifically designed to make the plane visible in the event of such an eclipse.

Now, the Earth moves at a speed of approximately 54,000 knots, compared to the Boeing 777's paltry 500 knots, but I think it's possible for a skilled pilot to pull it off if he can get the plane into the Earth's gravity well.

Worth noting, the plane was expected to arrive in Beijing at 6:30AM, local time.
Reply With Quote
  #71  
Old 03-17-2014, 04:26 AM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Kiwi in Adelaide
Posts: 8,152
You mean, fly it at night?

You still need to find an airport that either has no one there, or has people who are in on it, that's the tricky bit.
Reply With Quote
  #72  
Old 03-17-2014, 04:32 AM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Kiwi in Adelaide
Posts: 8,152
Sorry, my humour detectors are on the blink
Reply With Quote
  #73  
Old 03-17-2014, 04:37 AM
Princhester Princhester is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 11,575
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raguleader View Post
I'd like to raise a possibility of how a Boeing 777 could land unnoticed: What if, for the sake of discussion, the people in control of the plane kept the aircraft in shade created by the Earth eclipsing the sun?
And fitted the second biggest silencers you would ever have seen in your life.
Reply With Quote
  #74  
Old 03-17-2014, 04:57 AM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Princhester View Post
And fitted the second biggest silencers you would ever have seen in your life.
Or just land it somewhere they usually have large aircraft taking off and landing, where such sounds wouldn't really draw much attention. If you assume a state actor up to something which probably requires more ambition than seems reasonable, any military airfield would work.

Not saying it's likely, I'm just spitballing ideas here.

EDIT: Or just glide it in with the engines silenced, which is of course even more unlikely.

Last edited by Raguleader; 03-17-2014 at 04:58 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #75  
Old 03-17-2014, 05:50 AM
Namkcalb Namkcalb is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Sorry, but I had a double take on that archaic term. Aeroplane? Are we living in the earliest part of the 20th century?
It's the standard word for a fixed wing aircraft in Australia and the UK.
Reply With Quote
  #76  
Old 03-17-2014, 07:10 AM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Kansas
Posts: 5,332
Quote:
Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
Was he leaving one control area and entering another?
Who, Richard Pearse and his kids? You mean, did they move from the US to Australia and then start saying "aeroplane" rather than "airplane"? No, I think they were always in Australia; I think RP might have been referring to the kids' early explosure to U-dominated media (e.g. children's books?), or maybe just made a joke that the US term sounds childish while the Brit-Aussie term sounds sophisticated.

Quote:
Was he handed-off?
Please, we're trying to run a clean thread here. If you mean the Malaysia Airlines pilot in question, he was known for having nubile ladies invited into the cockpit, so maybe you're on to something.

Ok, kidding aside, the answer is "yes" -- whoever turned off the transponders and stuff was informed enough to choose the moment when they were leaving Malaysian airspace and entering Vietnam's. Did they formally verbalize this fact? Good question -- I'm not sure we've been told this yet, but I'm pretty sure the answer is "yes." And that the answer is "no" for Vietnams's relevant ATC.

Last edited by JKellyMap; 03-17-2014 at 07:11 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #77  
Old 03-17-2014, 07:20 AM
tapu tapu is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: maine
Posts: 1,296
Aren't you quite the joker at this hour?

<smiley with coffee>
Reply With Quote
  #78  
Old 03-17-2014, 07:26 AM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Kiwi in Adelaide
Posts: 8,152
Quote:
Originally Posted by JKellyMap View Post
...or maybe just made a joke that the US term sounds childish while the Brit-Aussie term sounds sophisticated.


Quote:
Ok, kidding aside, the answer is "yes" -- whoever turned off the transponders and stuff was informed enough to choose the moment when they were leaving Malaysian airspace and entering Vietnam's. Did they formally verbalize this fact? Good question -- I'm not sure we've been told this yet, but I'm pretty sure the answer is "yes." And that the answer is "no" for Vietnams's relevant ATC.
The "Alright, goodnight" last words was in response to being handed-off to the Vietnamese controllers. It's a little odd, not so much for the words used, but normally you'd repeat the frequency back so the controller knows you have got it right and are about to contact the right people. "132.5" would be the strictly correct response (or whatever the frequency was), "132.5, goodnight/ciao/g'day" is fairly common, while missing the frequency part all together is slack but not unheard of.
Reply With Quote
  #79  
Old 03-17-2014, 07:29 AM
asterion asterion is offline
2012 SDMB NFL Salary Cap Champ
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Guilderland, NY
Posts: 10,177
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Sorry, but I had a double take on that archaic term. Aeroplane? Are we living in the earliest part of the 20th century?
What if I'm singing along to Red Hot Chili Peppers?
Reply With Quote
  #80  
Old 03-17-2014, 07:49 AM
mandala mandala is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
I heard the aircaft turned west and flew toward northern India for several hours. IN that case, it might have just barely made it to the Taliban badlands. (I heard the plane had enough fuel to fly that far.) However a 777 crossing Indian airspace into Pakistan undetected is entirely unthinkable with the kind of air defences India and Paskistan have in place there. It is a perpetually war-ready zone.

It is possible that Indian and Pakistani militaries detected an unidentified object, and are not telling anything because that would reveal their radar capabilities.

Taliban may have access to remote airstrips that have the additional benefit of no telecom network. And under the cover of darkness hiding a large aircraft is not impossible. As for the people, the Taliban is not known for its kindness to the infidels...
Reply With Quote
  #81  
Old 03-17-2014, 07:54 AM
tapu tapu is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: maine
Posts: 1,296
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatherineZeta View Post
People are just so ignorant about foreign countries. I just got off the phone with my mom and she was surprised that I'm able to communicate with my friend who teaches in South Korea via Facebook. She also made a dumb comment about "everything being skinny in Korea" because my friend adopted a cat that looks like my cat except skinnier. South Korea is a modern first world country! They have food and the internet there! I can't believe my mom wouldn't know that. <snip>

Not to defend your ignorant mother, but most of the world population has absolutely no concept of the scope of the world. Not even, say, of Australia.
Reply With Quote
  #82  
Old 03-17-2014, 08:02 AM
tapu tapu is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: maine
Posts: 1,296
I posted this link yesterday so others could see the "dot map" showing possible landing strips for a 777. The link has solid updates on the hunt for the flight in general, and updates every 90 seconds. It also includes graphs and other input I haven't seen gathered elsewhere. Here it is again:

Live Updates on MH370--The Telegraph, U.K.
Reply With Quote
  #83  
Old 03-17-2014, 08:08 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 17,566
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post

At 40,000 feet, it's not highly probable that they can make contact with a cell phone antenna. And there are vast stretches of land and sea that are not covered by cellular service.
To land, the plane has to come down. Somewhere between 40,000 ft and zero, if there was any cellphone tower anywhere in range, and if the passengers were alive, I would expect someone to try to call. Maybe there are remote islands with long runways, no control towers, no inhabitants and no cellphone sites for 50 miles, but it's more likely that the plane crashed than landed.
Reply With Quote
  #84  
Old 03-17-2014, 08:15 AM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatherineZeta View Post
Do you think the US would also foot the bill considering that there were US citizens on board?
Nope.

Only three Americans were on board and that's slightly below the "give a shit" limit for American deaths outside of the US. Also, none were blonde females, so that reduces the level of scrutiny even further.

It it were an American-based carrier, then the US Navy would be a little proactive than it is. It's not, so they are not.
Reply With Quote
  #85  
Old 03-17-2014, 08:17 AM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
Somewhere between 40,000 ft and zero, if there was any cellphone tower anywhere in range, and if the passengers were alive, I would expect someone to try to call.
If it landed, which is a stretch, would the passengers necessarily know anything was wrong until the end? Say one of the pilots suddenly pulled out a club and brained the other, nobody behind the cockpit door would necessarily notice anything was wrong, would they? It was night so the windows wouldn't help, and if the map in the entertainment system can be disabled, the passengers would be essentially blind to their location.

In that (far-fetched) scenario, maybe the passengers wouldn't notice anything was seriously wrong until the door opened and the death squad came in and started liquidating the witnesses.

Of course, people try to make calls even from normal flights...
Reply With Quote
  #86  
Old 03-17-2014, 08:21 AM
mandala mandala is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
If it landed, which is a stretch, would the passengers necessarily know anything was wrong until the end? Say one of the pilots suddenly pulled out a club and brained the other, nobody behind the cockpit door would necessarily notice anything was wrong, would they? It was night so the windows wouldn't help, and if the map in the entertainment system can be disabled, the passengers would be essentially blind to their location.

In that (far-fetched) scenario, maybe the passengers wouldn't notice anything was seriously wrong until the door opened and the death squad came in and started liquidating the witnesses.

Of course, people try to make calls even from normal flights...
Anyway for an aircraft to jam the pesky cellphone signals? Given that airlines keep bleating about cellphones interfering with comm/nav systems, maybe the pilots could pull a switch a block those frequencies?
Reply With Quote
  #87  
Old 03-17-2014, 08:23 AM
tapu tapu is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: maine
Posts: 1,296
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
To land, the plane has to come down. Somewhere between 40,000 ft and zero, if there was any cellphone tower anywhere in range, and if the passengers were alive, I would expect someone to try to call. Maybe there are remote islands with long runways, no control towers, no inhabitants and no cellphone sites for 50 miles, but it's more likely that the plane crashed than landed.

I would agree that sea crash is more likely than landing or even land crash. (Though again, I have no credentials to back that opinion--nothing more than my inadequate understanding of all I'm reading.)

That said, I'd think they could've divested all passengers of their cellphones upon takeover. To accomplish this, I'd have them systematically strip and surrender all clothes and possessions and then direct them back to different seats.

Just saying that what you're suggesting about cell phone calls might be thwarted.
Reply With Quote
  #88  
Old 03-17-2014, 08:26 AM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
If it landed, which is a stretch, would the passengers necessarily know anything was wrong until the end? Say one of the pilots suddenly pulled out a club and brained the other, nobody behind the cockpit door would necessarily notice anything was wrong, would they? It was night so the windows wouldn't help, and if the map in the entertainment system can be disabled, the passengers would be essentially blind to their location.

In that (far-fetched) scenario, maybe the passengers wouldn't notice anything was seriously wrong until the door opened and the death squad came in and started liquidating the witnesses.

Of course, people try to make calls even from normal flights...
Many people look out the windows during flights. Well-lit Chinese cities would appear to be much different than an abandoned airfield in the middle of Nowherestan. Even during the descent, one would expect to see lights of other cities and their lack would probably have caused noticeable disconcertion among the passengers.

Also, than maneuvers that the plane made when changing direction would have alerted savvy travelers. People who fly frequently recognize when their aircraft changes direction often by the "feel" they get when it does.
Reply With Quote
  #89  
Old 03-17-2014, 08:38 AM
BobLibDem BobLibDem is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
I don't think there is a realistic chance. I think whoever was in the cockpit murdered the passengers in flight. They ascended to 45,000 ft, perhaps to depressurize the cabin and suffocate the passengers. Apparently the cabin oxygen masks only last for some 15 minutes while the cockpit masks last longer. So they wait till the passengers are dead and then descend to avoid radar. Now they don't have to worry about the passengers (possibly including the real pilot) getting in their way.
Reply With Quote
  #90  
Old 03-17-2014, 08:50 AM
Martini Enfield Martini Enfield is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Sorry, but I had a double take on that archaic term. Aeroplane? Are we living in the earliest part of the 20th century?
You are being facetious, right? "Aeroplane" is the British/Australian/New Zealand term for, well, fixed-wing powered aircraft. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, even on the SDMB where significant numbers of people were (apparently) completely unaware the UK/Aus/NZ pronounciation of the letter "Z" is "Zed".

Last edited by Martini Enfield; 03-17-2014 at 08:50 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #91  
Old 03-17-2014, 09:13 AM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Kansas
Posts: 5,332
Quote:
Originally Posted by tapu View Post
Aren't you quite the joker at this hour?

<smiley with coffee>
Yeah, feeling weird this morning...I'm a Kelly on St. Patrick's Day, I've been up since 5 AM, it's 8 AM now, and I'm not even drunk yet!

Richard Pearse, thanks for clarifying/verifying what I said about the "hand-off." I had forgotten that the "good night" verbal message was directed at the Malaysian and Vietnamese ATC's; ever since the news about the message was first reported, I have had it stuck in my head (wrongly) that it was a statement said to the passengers.

Last edited by JKellyMap; 03-17-2014 at 09:15 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #92  
Old 03-17-2014, 10:00 AM
Shakester Shakester is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martini Enfield View Post
You are being facetious, right? "Aeroplane" is the British/Australian/New Zealand term for, well, fixed-wing powered aircraft. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, even on the SDMB where significant numbers of people were (apparently) completely unaware the UK/Aus/NZ pronounciation of the letter "Z" is "Zed".
Don't misunderestimate the American capacity for not just mangling the English language, but for not even being aware that they're doing it.

Last edited by Shakester; 03-17-2014 at 10:03 AM.. Reason: typo, of course
Reply With Quote
  #93  
Old 03-17-2014, 11:19 AM
tapu tapu is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: maine
Posts: 1,296
I'm pretty sure the guy was freakin' joshing. Ya goofs.
Reply With Quote
  #94  
Old 03-17-2014, 11:25 AM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Princhester View Post
I don't think this is necessarily true at all. The US Navy no doubt has good sonar but it doesn't have magical sonar. A plane isn't that big to begin with and if it hit at speed in deep water it will have broken up.

.
The entire surface of the Earth has been mapped, including the subsurfaces of the ocean. Given the relatively limited areas of planet where the plane could be, searching those areas from the air and by using sonar will eventually provide results. The plane didn't crash into the Marianas Trench; the Indian Ocean while wide and deep isn't "bottomless."

The plane's wreckage will be found.
Maybe in a few weeks or months
Maybe in a few years.

Nothing "magical" about that.
Just reality.
Reply With Quote
  #95  
Old 03-17-2014, 11:39 AM
tapu tapu is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: maine
Posts: 1,296
Latest update from earlier "live" source given:

14.50 Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan, who are seeking to oust foreign troops and set up an Islamic state, said the missing plane had nothing to do with them.
"It happened outside Afghanistan and you can see that even countries with very advanced equipment and facilities cannot figure out where it went," he said. "So we also do not have any information as it is an external issue."
A commander with the Pakistani Taliban, a separate entity fighting the Pakistani government, said the fragmented group could only dream about such an operation.
"We wish we had an opportunity to hijack such a plane," he told Reuters by telephone from the lawless North Waziristan region.
Reply With Quote
  #96  
Old 03-17-2014, 12:33 PM
Diceman Diceman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
I'm starting to wonder if the goal might have been to steal the plane. In this scenario, the passengers themselves are just collateral damage, and are probably lying in a mass grave on the outskirts of some remote airfield. It's all very James Bond-ish, but I can imagine a nation setting up something like this as false-flag attack: Load the plane up with explosives, crash it into their chosen target, and let everyone blame terrorists for it.
Reply With Quote
  #97  
Old 03-17-2014, 12:41 PM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diceman View Post
I'm starting to wonder if the goal might have been to steal the plane. In this scenario, the passengers themselves are just collateral damage, and are probably lying in a mass grave on the outskirts of some remote airfield. It's all very James Bond-ish, but I can imagine a nation setting up something like this as false-flag attack: Load the plane up with explosives, crash it into their chosen target, and let everyone blame terrorists for it.
It would probably be better to have stolen a cargo aircraft to do something like this. Fewer passengers to "dispose of" and a greater hauling capacity. Also, the concerns over searching for it would be far less than a plane with passengers.

if a cargo plane went down, the disappearance/deaths of 3-5 crew members would be a minor news story, not the major drama that this has become.
Reply With Quote
  #98  
Old 03-17-2014, 12:58 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diceman View Post
It's all very James Bond-ish, but I can imagine a nation setting up something like this as false-flag attack: Load the plane up with explosives, crash it into their chosen target, and let everyone blame terrorists for it.
But if an organization / government has the resources to pull this off, wouldn't they be able to just buy a plane?

Also, haven't they used it yet? It would have been much more effective to use it immediately, when everyone still believed it crashed into the sea.
Reply With Quote
  #99  
Old 03-17-2014, 03:40 PM
Quercus Quercus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
But if an organization / government has the resources to pull this off, wouldn't they be able to just buy a plane?
Well, no, because eventually some scrap of debris with a serial number would be traced back to the plane that Government X bought, and now everybody knows who actually destroyed CarHenge (In my fictional scenario, the targetting committee didn't really do their best work).

If, on the other hand, the debris is traced to the plane that mysteriously disappeared after likely being hijacked, then suspicion is more likely to fall on Al Queda or PETA or someone rather than on Government X.
Reply With Quote
  #100  
Old 03-17-2014, 04:02 PM
Diceman Diceman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
Well, no, because eventually some scrap of debris with a serial number would be traced back to the plane that Government X bought, and now everybody knows who actually destroyed CarHenge (In my fictional scenario, the targetting committee didn't really do their best work).

If, on the other hand, the debris is traced to the plane that mysteriously disappeared after likely being hijacked, then suspicion is more likely to fall on Al Queda or PETA or someone rather than on Government X.
That's my thinking. I'm sure that most of the world's intelligence agencies have a pretty comprehensive list of which companies are fronts for which other governments. So if they purchase (or build) a plane, it will be traced back to them.

Still, the point about stealing a cargo plane is a good one. A cargo plane with a couple of guys on it would be forgotten a heck of a lot quicker than a commercial airliner ever will be.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:33 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.