The Independent Group, the leading non-government analysis team looking into the disappearance of MH370 has found that the Boeing 777s flight path near Penang was consistent with a navigation system that is fully operational and that it is possible that elements of the flight path near Penang were chosen to deceive radar operators into believing that the aircraft had an intention to land.
The comprehensive report published by Victor Iannello on his blog has used civilian radar data for MH370 that became publicly available in April 2018 which provides insights as to how MH370 was flown after the transponder was disabled around 17:20:31 UTC.
Mr Iannello, who was assisted by fellow IG members, Mike Exner, Don Thompson and Richard Godfrey, said that “after flying by waypoint IGARI and turning back, the aircraft passed to the north of Kota Bharu Airport, crossed the Malaysian peninsula in a southwest direction, passed to the south of Penang Island, turned to the northwest, and flew over the Malacca Strait.”
“In order to better understand the sequence of inputs to the flight control system, we created a simulation using the PMDG 777 model in Microsoft Flight Simulator. In particular, we studied whether the aircraft might have been flown with the pilot providing inputs to the autopilot, and what those inputs might have been.”
The IG report also found that “MH370’s flight path near Penang can be replicated with the autopilot engaged and the flight path near Penang is consistent with the image of the military radar data in the Malacca Strait that was never officially released.”
“It is very unlikely that there was an intention to land at Penang Airport,” said Mr. Iannello.
The study also found that aircraft’s flight computers were programmed before the turn for a path northwest up the Malacca Strait.
The findings are consistent with the widely held theory that one of the pilot’s – most likely the captain – was responsible for the disappearance of MH370.
IG’s report also puts to rest theories that the Boeing 777 was crippled by fire or systems failure.
The route below Penang and up the Malacca Strait picks up a standard air route, that was also found on the pilot’s flight simulator program, that was wiped and later recovered by Malaysian Police.