Thursday 25 December 2014

Clear sky, top pilot – but jet's fate is still a mystery

London Daily Telegraph

Published 10/03/2014 | 02:30

A U.S. Navy MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter lands aboard Pinckney before returning on task in the search and rescue for the missing Malaysian airlines flight MH37

THE fate of flight MH370 remains a mystery. The jet was only 11 years old, had been recently serviced and was flying in clear weather.

Its pilot, 53-year-old Zaharie Ahmad Shah, was highly experienced and described by friends as an "aviation tech geek" who loved his job so much he even spent his days off tinkering with a flight simulator he had set up at home. "We used to tease him. We would ask him, 'Why are you bringing your work home?' " said a pilot who knew Captain Zaharie for 20 years.

"He knew everything about the Boeing 777. Something significant would have had to happen for Zaharie and the plane to go missing. It would have to be total electrical failure."

An American government official told the 'New York Times' that the Pentagon had reviewed its surveillance system that looks for flashes around the world and saw no evidence of an explosion.

Another Boeing 777 pilot, who was flying 30 minutes ahead of MH370 en route to Narita airport in Tokyo, told the 'New Sunday Times' in Malaysia that he had made contact with the plane shortly before it vanished. "We managed to establish contact with MH370 just after 1.30am and asked them if they had transferred into Vietnamese airspace," said the un-named captain.

"There was a lot of interference, static, but I heard mumbling from the other end.

"If the plane was in trouble, we would have heard the pilot making the mayday distress call," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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