MH370: Hijacked Twice

Hijacked first by the pilot himself. Then by someone with obvious ties to the Australian government.

How obvious? Look at it this way. In the United States, and perhaps even moreso in other parts of the world where math skills are still strongly encouraged, most 14-year-old math students would have known: 1) if the Kuala Lumpur airport where the plane departed was 1) 4,152 kilometers east of the tracking satellite; and 2) if the radius of the final ping from the same satellite was 4,817 kilometers [a difference of a mere 665 kilometers], then 3) there is no way in heaven or on earth MH370 could have ended up 4,800 kilometers southwest of the airport.

Yet 4,800 kilometers southwest of Kuala Lumpur Airport is precisely where Australia spent THREE YEARS looking for who knows what? This is so simple and fundamental it is frightening to think the International Maritime Organization (IMO) trusts Australia to properly manage the world’s largest Search and Rescue Region (SRR). Someone dubbed that painfully ridiculous search area “Penguinville”. It fits.

But I refuse to believe that Australians as a whole are not capable of doing high school math, thinking outside of a box, or doing any of the other things we typically do with math. Failing to find MH370 had to have been intentional. It had to have been a deliberate effort to AVOID finding the plane. It is criminal, in my personal view. Think about it: ATSB not only searched far far from where the laws of mathematics and physics tell us the plane fell out of the sky, it appears Australia searched that far from the crash site to preclude incidental plane debris from drifting into the search area. Someone wanted to make certain there was no chance plane debris would somehow settle where Fugro had been instructed to search.

The following illustrations show how a fourteen year old student might approach this problem. She probably wouldn’t need the illustrations, but I include them.

Figure 1
The basics: a satellite and the final ping ring with a radius of 4,817 kilometers.


Figure 2
Add an inner ring that intersects the Airport. (Could also simply connect satellite and airport with a straight line, known as a baseline). Notice there are only 665 kilometers between the airport and the final ping. That tells us something important without doing any math at all: it tells us the plane crashed farther from the airport than half the radius of the final ping (2,409 km), but not much farther than that. Indeed, it crashed 2,760 km due south of the airport. #JustGoGetIt


Figure 3
A simple right triangle is all it takes to solve this problem, and most young geometry students can do it in their sleep. On a flat surface like a piece of paper, the distance is 2,442 km south of the airport. On Earth’s spherical surface, it’s 2,760 km. The endpoint is always at right angles to the “baseline” that connects satellite and airport because a perpendicular bisector gives us the shortest possible distance between takeoff and crash. Importantly, there are other ways to solve for the plane’s endpoint, including with Bayes Theorems, but variations point to exactly the same terminal location. The examples used here are simple and widely understood.


Figure 4
This final illustration simply combines the calculations our hypothetical 14-year-old Middle School student jotted down on the back of an envelope while walking from her second class of the day to the third class of the day.