AirSafe.com founder Dr. Todd Curtis called MH370 “unprecedented” in commercial aviation history because of the large search area and said no country alone could mount a search. He also highlighted the various challenges faced by authorities in finding the missing plane.
Dr. Curtis was a former engineer at Boeing who was involved with the Boeing 777’s development before founding AirSafe.com in 1996, just two weeks before the tragic crash of TWA flight 800.
“In the context of MH370, this was an unprecedented event for a bunch of reasons, one of them being because of where this occurred and the lack of information about the location of aircraft,” he said.
“You had a search area that was broader than any search area in the history of commercial jet aviation, a search area even greater than what was done after the Columbia spacecraft broke up in the upper atmosphere.”
“From the last known location, how big of a circle do you draw? That was huge, that was roughly a third of the planet Earth’s surface. No country on Earth, not even the United States, no country alone could have mounted a search effort to look for something in an area that big.”
Dr. Curtis commended the Australian Transport Safety Bureau [ATSB], the lead agency searching for MH370, while saying that a lack of experience by Malaysian authorities in addition to another disaster just months later [MH17], further compounded matters. The large search area and the lack of a last known direction of MH370 has made the search even more difficult.
Wrapping up our interview, Dr. Curtis said it would be near impossible to determine what happened to MH370 without the cockpit voice and data recorders. Without these pieces of evidence, investigators will have to rely on the small amount of debris which has been discovered so far.
MH370Latest had reported about a discovery of possible debris in January by a professional cricketer on a beach in South Africa but to date, it is yet to be confirmed by authorities whether there is a link to MH370 or not.
A right flaperon was discovered on the French island of Reunion on July 29, 2015. It was later confirmed to be from MH370 but raised more questions as no other substantial debris was discovered in that immediate area. This led to the belief that MH370 may have broken apart prior to hitting water.
“The end of the flight was not a stable, controlled flight of the aircraft,” said Dr. Curtis. “It was not a controlled impact with the water. The aircraft may or may not have been intact at the point that it hit the water, that’s unclear.”
“It could have been a situation where it was in a very, very high-speed dive and you would have pieces of the aircraft torn off,” he added.
Theories revealed by Dr. Curtis:
- Traditional Hijacking: Outside entity not connected with the airline “Takes over the aircraft and for whatever reason, flies it to the Indian Ocean.”
- Insider Hijacking: Someone with extensive knowledge of the aircraft, aircraft procedures, security methods and technologies available. Doesn’t have to be the pilots, Dr. Curtis said.
- Traditional / Complex Accident: A series of problems either simultaneous or sequential, where the aircrafts systems are compromised. Pilots would have used creativity and decision-making in the heat of the moment.
- Crew Unable / Unwilling: At some point, pilots unwilling or unable to change aircrafts airspeed, altitude, etc.