Stolen passports

The fact that there appear to have been two people aboard MH 370 with stolen passports would not necessarily mean foul play. They could, for example, have been used by people trying to immigrate illegally, who just happened to be unlucky enough to board a doomed flight.

If they were travelling together, then it is not unreasonable to presume they would have bought the tickets together or checked in together, which would account for them having ticket purchase dates and sequence numbers one after the other. Continue Reading →

MH 370

I suspect that investigators will already have a fairly good idea what — so sadly — has happened to Malaysian flight 370. Key to this will be the ACARS system. ACARS is an automated reporting system that automatically reports messages back to the operating airline during flight. They range from serious faults to minor maintenance warnings, as well as periodic updates on location.

Key to working out what happened will be whether MH 370 sent any unusual ACARS transmissions, or indeed any ACARS transmission at all. In the case of AF 447, although no pilot-originated communications were received by any land station, Air France still received a number of ACARS messages. These gave enough information for informed commentators to work out roughly what happened, even before recovery of the cockpit voice recorders: a pitot fault, followed by loss of automatic pilot and disagreement between the onboard computers; then a descent rate warning. Then nothing. Continue Reading →