The position of the Malaysia cash investigators that appears to exonerate the two pilots of MH370 from any responsibility for the loss of the Boeing 777 and the 239 aboard is extraordinary but not surprising.
Throughout aviation crash history when a pilot suicide has been involved or strongly suspected the country whose pilot is implicated strenuously denies the fact.
The most recent example was the loss of EgyptAir Flight 990 on a scheduled flight from Los Angeles to Cairo, with a stop at New York on October 31, 1999.
The Boeing 767 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 100 km south of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, killing all 217 passengers and crew on board.
The US National Transportation Safety Board said the probable cause of the crash was a deliberate action by the relief first officer, while the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Egyptian Civil Aviation Agency blamed a combination of mechanical failures.
And it’s just not pilot suicides that causes a country’s crash investigator to twist reports to protect its airline or citizens for the blame.
A country’s airline is a flagship for its technological and economic success and cannot be seen to be incompetent.
The Malaysian investigators say there was no evidence of stress or financial pressures on the pilots thus no reason for suicide – yet in many suicides, particularly with men, there are no obvious signs.
And as if to absolve Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah totally the Malaysians have walked away from his flight simulator as key evidence in stark contrast to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau final search report.
The Malaysian report says that the Royal Malaysian Police Forensic Report concluded: “that there were no unusual activities other than game-related flight simulations.”
However, the ATSB said that “six weeks before the accident flight the Pilot in Command had used his simulator to fly a route, initially similar to part of the route flown by MH370 up the Strait of Malacca, with a left-hand turn and track into the southern Indian Ocean.”
The Malaysian report says that the various waypoints recovered in the flight simulation could have been from different gaming flights at different times.
Even if that is true two of the waypoints are in the general area of where the search has been conducted off Perth, Western Australia.
Why chose waypoints in the southern Indian Ocean?
The Malaysian report does point the finger at human intervention and here it gets muddled.
The report says that the aircraft was “under manual control not autopilot” when it made the various turns but that it could not be established whether the aircraft was flown “by anyone other than the pilots.”
There are some unshakable facts about this mystery that point at the pilots or someone with aviation skills.
Firstly, the plane went invisible just after handoff to Malaysia ATC and before contact with Vietnamese ATC.
After the various turns back toward and then across Malaysia, the Boeing 777 followed known air routes and waypoints.
An electrical fire that would disable cockpit systems is possible but the pilots could have contacted ATC once over Malaysia with their mobile phones.
A cargo fire would have seen the aircraft crash almost immediately.
The known flight route of this aircraft is almost identical to the one recovered from the Captain’s flight simulator which is hardly “a game” as suggested by the Malaysian report.
Flight Simulator is the most sophisticated flight training tool for pilots outside an airline flight simulator and is used by air forces around the world for situation awareness training. Hardly a game!
This tragedy is no game with the relatives and the aviation industry deadly serious about not letting this rest.
Perhaps there is something lost in translation but the Malaysian report seems to be saying, the pilots were not to blame, the aircraft is not to blame and there is no evidence of a third-party interference.
In fact the report is so muddled that it raises more questions than it answers.
What the Malaysians appear to be saying is we are done with MH370.