A new theory has emerged on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 – a theory that doesn’t implicate either of the two pilots on the flight deck of the doomed airliner.
Aviation reporter Ben Sandilands, editor of the Plane Talking blog on Crikey.com.au, writes of the fresh theory by a Queensland-based MH370 researcher, Michael Gilbert.
While it’s still possible that one or both of MH370’s pilots may have been behind the plane’s disappearance, another scenario suggests MH370 encountered a crisis, followed by a malfunction with a process for descending the aircraft into thicker air after it depressurised.
The likely scenario outlined by Gilbert involves a windshield fire, fed by an oxygen leak in the cockpit.
The possibility exists that a flight level change autopilot function known as FLCH didn’t function as the pilots expected, “meaning that MH370 failed to descend into thicker breathable air when they activated it in a cockpit,” Sandilands writes.
He notes that the FLCH function, or its mishandling, “has been raised in relation to the crash landing this year of an Emirates 777-300ER at Dubai’s main airport and the Asiana 777-200 prang at San Francisco Airport in 2013”.
“It is not inconceivable that the crew missed the autothrottle disengaging, commanded a descent on the MCP (Mode Control Panel) using FLCH and were then too distracted to notice that the autothrottle had not retarded the thrust levers and that they were not descending. Such an event would not be without precedent. There have been at least two incidents involving 777s with throttle ‘mishaps’.
“Asiana flight OZ214 and Emirates EK521 both came to grief when their crews failed to realise the autothrottle had not responded in the expected manner.”
For more, see: https://blogs.crikey.com.au/planetalking/2016/10/20/61262/
Written by Peter Needham