Malaysian Flight 370: Five Years Later

By Robert Mark on March 8th, 2019

Md Nor Yusof, chairman of Malaysian Airline System Bhd., right, told reporters on March 25, 2014 that Flight 370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean with no survivors. The search for wreckage was suspended. (Photographer: Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg © 2014 Bloomberg Finance LP© 2014 BLOOMBERG FINANCE LP)

On March 8, 2014, a Boeing 777 with 239 people went missing on a flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. As details emerged within hours of the airplane’s last communication with air traffic control, it became clear that Malaysian Airlines 370 (MH370) was lost … literally; no one knew where the airplane went once it disappeared from radar about 40 minutes after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur.

Because the Boeing’s transponder also ceased functioning, tracking the airplane by air traffic control became impossible.

Five years after the Boeing disappeared, setting off the longest and costliest search ever undertaken for a commercial airplane, the question of what happened remains unanswered: was it hijacked, brought down by a mechanical problem or crashed by a suicidal pilot? We may never know, but away from the spotlight on the investigation, the aviation industry has been refining the technology to ensure that an airliner never vanishes again.

Over the next three years, airlines will begin plugging into a satellite-based system that will track their planes at all times, anywhere on Earth.

In 2014 it was not unusual for airlines to have little direct contact with some of their airplanes for extended periods of time, especially when they were flying over open water where traditional ground communications and radar don’t work well. To their credit, the airlines operate airplanes that are so reliable, that being out of touch for a sustained period of time has never been a real problem.



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One Response to “Malaysian Flight 370: Five Years Later”

  1. Donna Says:

    What about Field McConnell’s explanation of flight 370?

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