April 18, 2024

UT aviation professor baffled by missing airplane, offers theories

Last Saturday, March 8, Malaysia Airlines flight 370 lost contact with air traffic control nearly an hour after takeoff and has since been missing. One week later, the fate of the flight remains a mystery as several theories have been dispelled or are yet to be proven legitimate.

Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was a Boeing 777, similar to the one in the image above.
Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was a Boeing 777, similar to the one in the image above. Courtesy of Hugh Llewelyn/Flickr.

University of Tennessee research professor of Aviation Systems and Flight Research Dr. Borja Martos said he was concerned about the communication from the cockpit, especially after learning the two pilots were highly trained.

“What’s very interesting I guess, unfortunately, is the lack of communication and the lack of what’s typically called a transponder that allows air traffic control where you’re at, who you are and what altitude you are at.”

“There is an axiom that is often taught,” Martos said. “It is: aviate, navigate and communicate. In that order is a priority. In case of emergency, the very first thing you do is not communicate. It is to manage the aircraft. Because, obviously, if you talk and don’t take care of the problem then you haven’t really helped out the situation.”

Martos said that, like many others, he was still confused by the chain of events.

“I heard some theories about a total electrical failure, which seems quite possible with what they’re saying. I don’t know why any cabin in distress would not announce that there is a problem. That, to me, goes against any training you ever receive.”

“To be quite honest with you, the only thing I could think of would have to be some sort of explosion. One catastrophic enough that the whole thing would have ripped up quickly.”

“I don’t have many answers; I have a lot of questions.”

Edited by Maggie Jones

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